As a Lime Green Giraffe writer, I had the opportunity to interview a female leader in our city. I interviewed Leapfrog Services, CEO, Yum Arnold. Leapfrog Services is an IT company with expert-level managed IT services that helps more than a 100 businesses and nonprofits worldwide. Yum Arnold is a woman pioneer in STEM and this year’s recipient of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta’s Changing the World Award.
While sitting down with Ms. Arnold we discussed the following:
Lime Green Giraffe: How did you use leadership to build you company?
Yum Arnold: I think that leadership requires self-confidence and some capacity to think through your ideas so others can understand them and want to follow them. I think leadership is something that you can work on all your life, but I think also some people come by it more easily than others.
She used self-confidence and courage to think through her ideas so others could follow.
Sounds like familiar words from our Girl Scout mission — Courage, Confidence & Character.
LGG: How did you get into technology?
Arnold: The summer of my sophomore year of college, there was a factory in the town where I lived. The local manager of the factory asked me to work there. My task was to figure out how to make computerized fabric and wool. Later he gave me a book on programming Fortran. Fortran is a general purpose, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. My summer experience with the factory lead to my interest in computers. After that I started my junior year of college. My college had just received their first computer so I helped program it.
LGG: What are some words of advice for girls who want to be entrepreneurs?
Arnold: I think it’s really important to not be afraid to fail. I think some keys to being an entrepreneur are thinking through the long-term goal that you have, then having a strategy that you try to follow and that you are willing to adjust. Entrepreneurs are known for not seeing all the pitfalls before they start something, because if they saw all the challenges, they would never do it. Instead, they solve problems as they come up and move forward.
It is also important to have a firm belief in your convictions and ideas, and also to surround yourself with people with who are strong, where you are weak. Because no one can do it all, no one is totally complete.
The reward for being an entrepreneur is wonderful.
LGG: What are some of your experience in Girl Scouts?
Arnold: I was never a Girl Scout but both of my daughters were Girl Scout Brownies. I would lead some of their activities. I knew a woman named Claire Smith. Her husband was the CEO of The Coca Cola Company. They were huge supporters of Girl Scouts. They did a lot of stuff for the Girl Scouts, so she really influenced me to get more involved with Girl Scouts.
I am such a firm believer of girls being in single sex situations. I went to an all women’s college. Things like the Girl Scouts give girls permission to excel in a non-co-ed environment. The fact the Girl Scouts are focused on STEM is fabulous.
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