Published: January 21, 2021  |  

Our Student Advisory Board recently set out to learn from leaders in our local community about how high school impacted their own lives and careers. These virtual interviews discussed favorite classes, important life skills, and issues such as equity, allowing students to glean key insights from a diverse group of community leaders.

How do their high school experiences contrast with those of current students in the Boulder Valley School District? What advice can they offer students navigating personal and academic growth as they look toward their futures?

And of course: what do a Google engineer, a Colorado House representative, and two entrepreneurs have in common? Each community leader emphasized the importance of written communication skills as critical to their success, one insisting that a pen and paper should travel with you everywhere you go!

Below, our students provide a glimpse into four of these conversations, and you’ll find links to each individual interview. 

Bhavna Chhabra

Bhavna Chhabra is the Payment Engineering Director and Boulder Site Lead for Google. She was interviewed by Noah Mollerstuen and Maya Clements. Bhavna shared her unique journey to engineering, emphasizing the importance of hard work and communication skills.

Noah’s favorite part of the interview “was the opportunity to get advice from an industry leader on what students in our position can do to create a more equitable and inclusive school system,” while Maya enjoyed learning what it’s like to hold an influential position, and hearing “ about the trials and tribulations that come with the path when you’re a minority in your field.”

Watch Bhavna’s interview.

Justin Gold

Justin Gold is the Founder of Justin’s, a local natural foods company. He was interviewed by Lindsey Kendall and Mattie Pape. Justin shared his entrepreneurial journey and the importance of surrounding oneself with diverse and smart people who will challenge your thoughts and ideas. 

Lindsey was surprised to hear Justin share two important skills for running a business: positivity and curiosity: “Those are the things you are told when you are young, but to know he still thought those were important was surprising.” Mattie enjoyed hearing “how his unique experiences shaped his company. This taught me that all of our unique interests can grow into something big.”

Watch Justin’s interview.

KC Becker

KC Becker is a former Colorado state representative and Speaker in the Colorado House of Representatives. She shared her high school experiences and political journey with our students, Abby Cohen and James Clemson. 

When talking about “how to encourage diversity in both government and at school, she told us Colorado is one of two states with a majority female legislature, and emphasized how diversity can only be achieved through active effort,” says James. Abby says it was “an amazing opportunity. I really value her viewpoints … even though we disagreed on a few things.”

Watch KC Becker’s interview.

Pete Estler

Pete Estler is an innovative tech entrepreneur who founded and served as CEO of Quintess, was Chief Executive Officer of dbINTELLECT Technologies, and later founded and served as CEO of MatchLogic. He shared his entrepreneurial lens and perspective with Emery Jansen and Roane Edwards.

Emery found “it was incredibly fascinating to research our interviewee and brainstorm questions that would truly challenge him…Pete recognized the importance of diversity of thought, meeting people from all walks of life … and he emphasized that experiencing life and exiting the bubble Boulder County kids live in is vital to gaining perspective and learning how to better collaborate.” 

Watch Pete’s interview.


What I Know Now: Edition 2

In this edition, we hear from the first Colorado African-American member of Congress, the first female Boulder city manager, a healthcare CEO envisioning healthcare as an industry of service, and the founder of a wildly successful yoghurt company.

Read More

What I Know Now: Edition 1

What do a Google engineer, a Colorado House representative, and two entrepreneurs have in common?

Read More

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