Jessica O. Matthews on Owning Who You Are | Impact Theory
Jessica O. Matthews
Innovator and CEO, Uncharted Power
- Founded award-winning power and data infrastructure tech company at just 22 years old
- Listed on over 10 patents and patents pending, including her first invention of the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball
- Recognized as Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, 30 Under 30 list for Forbes and Inc., and Scientist of the Year by Harvard University
- Inspires audiences to use innovation and tech disruption to power the needs of people, businesses, and communities worldwide
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Jessica O. Matthews is the founder and CEO of Uncharted Power, an award-winning, sustainable infrastructure company that transforms the ground beneath us into an industrial IoT platform for streamlined integration, deployment, and management of critical infrastructure like power lines, broadband, sidewalks, and water pipes.
Jessica’s career started at the age of 19 with her invention of the SOCCKET, an energy generating soccer ball. At the age of 22, Jessica founded Uncharted Power as a power solutions company before expanding to integrated infrastructure solutions.
Jessica’s success in entrepreneurship led to a White House invitation from President Barack Obama to represent small companies for the signing of the America Invents Act in 2012. In 2016, she raised what was, at the time, the largest Series A round ever raised by a Black female founder in history, and was selected to ring the NASDAQ opening ceremony bell, representing all Forbes 30 Under 30 alumni.
Jessica’s research and career center around the intersection of disruptive technology, renewable energy, human behavior, and the psychology of self-actualization. A dual citizen of Nigeria & the United States Jessica has a degree in Psychology and Economics from Harvard University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and is listed on over 12 patents and patents pending. Her list of accolades include Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs, Forbes 30 Under 30, Inc. Magazine 30 Under 30, and Harvard University Scientist of the Year.
Innovating During Times of Uncertainty: Adapting Your Business for the New Normal. COVID-19 is changing everything in the business world. Execs are forced to rethink how they operate, what they offer employees, and their greater long-term impact on society. But what about the smaller companies fighting to make it out of the pandemic “alive”? For startups and small companies that depend on investors and business continuity, the uncertainty is even higher. Uncharted Power is a venture-backed small business in the niche power infrastructure space – if you subscribe to the theory of intersectionality, the nature of their business stacks all odds against them. But CEO and founder Jessica O. Matthews is using this time to breed new vision for her company.
If you’re exploring business angles related to the pandemic, Jessica will share how Uncharted Power is adjusting to the new COVID-19 world by doubling down on their mission of redefining power access and building smarter, safer cities. She will discuss:
- The biggest challenges she has faced as a startup leader during the pandemic and how she’s turning adversity into vision
- The need for small companies to see beyond their own path and understand how they interconnect with other businesses / the world
- What the pandemic has taught us about global infrastructure and how we can make updates to improve public health / lives
- And more.
Innovating During Times of Uncertainty: Turning Adversity Into Vision. COVID-19 is unsettling for everyone, but the impact is even greater for underserved communities. Black people are dying from the virus at a higher rate - in fact, cities like Detroit, Milwaukee, Chicago and New Orleans have reported more than 50% of virus deaths were black. Business and government leaders hold an important role in coming together to create solutions that enhance the lives and health of marginalized citizens, but it is particularly exciting when small businesses within these communities led by members of the marginalized group feel empowered to take action.
One company working toward closing the gap is Uncharted Power, a data and power infrastructure startup creating tech to support these very communities. Jessica O. Matthews, a black female founder and CEO, chose to build her company in Harlem to encourage diverse decision-making and uplift the surrounding community. In this talk, Jessica will discuss:
- Challenges and gaps in access to info, education, and opportunity that she sees first-hand being immersed in this epicenter of diversity – and what her company is doing to address the problem in real-time.
- Why the pandemic is hurting black and brown communities worse – such as limitations on working remotely, more common pre-existing health conditions, and lower-quality healthcare
- How Uncharted Power is turning adversity into vision – doubling down their goal of expanding tech to support underserved communities
- And more.
The Uncharted Path. Join Jessica as she shares how an energy-generating soccer ball launched a global power and data infrastructure company, the trends she believes will drive the industry in the next decade, and the role Uncharted Power's disruptive innovations will play in this new ecosystem.
Power, Redefined: Leadership Acumen From the New Tech Frontier. Successful tech companies with a $7 million Series A Round typically start in Silicon Valley, not Harlem. But why is this the overriding norm? In this talk, Jessica reveals the obstacles she faced in wanting to move her company to Harlem, and discusses why it's important to question the status quo, go against the grain, and create something that works for you—no matter your location, background, or circumstances. Jessica will share how applying her leadership skills in unconventional ways has led to changing the renewable energy game. Her motto "succeed not despite of who you are, but because of who you are unapologetically" encourages individuals and organizations to embrace differences and recognize that personal struggle and challenges can give birth to solutions, if you let them. By leading with the simple understanding of focusing on what you can control, she inspires audiences to start with daily achievable goals and to lead by example.
Equitable Innovation: The Uncharted Power Effect. Jessica O. Matthews is no stranger to inequality—both gender and race—when competing in the behemoth industry sectors of renewable energy and technology. But her struggle is not unique. With technology giants such as Facebook, Google and Twitter all with less than a 20% female employee composition, the lack of diversity that is so unreflective of the global population drastically affects the quality, relevance and diversity of innovative ideas that companies can produce. Uncharted Power tackles the intersection between innovation and empowerment through their impact program, UPlift 1 million, where they use their curriculum "Think Out of Bounds" to teach STEM, design thinking, and innovation to underrepresented communities. In this talk, Jessica shares her own struggles to succeed in a traditional industry and empowers audiences to discover ways to combat the intrinsic biases against people who do not adhere to the norm, regardless of industry, as a means to cultivate innovation and creativity from within. A firm believer that innovation is shaped by struggle, Jessica uses her story to show people that look like her what's possible—inspiring audiences to seek out ways to contribute to both positive and sustainable economic development and personal growth.
On behalf of Brand 50 and World 50 at-large, I'd like to extend a sincere thank you for your time with us yesterday.
Throughout their takeaways, members continue to reference how important your insight was and how many new strategies and perspectives they have in their "toolbox" as a product of time spent with you.
Largely, they've shared with us that their conversation with you allowed them to consider possibility again. Not possibility as an idea, but possibility enacted in measurable and authentic ways. In a day where hope may not be as plenteous as it once was, Jessica, we could not ask for more.
It was a true pleasure. Thank you for your level of preparedness, focus and true candor with our members. It was noticed. It is appreciated.
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