[Editor's note: This piece, based on my PandoMonthly interview with Sheila Marcelo originally ran on Startups.co as part of an editorial collaboration with Pando aimed at sharing founders' struggles, challenges, and origin stories with millions of founders across America.]
One thing that isn’t in all those official bios is that Marcelo– a Filipino born girl who was sent to America to get educated and become a lawyer– got pregnant unexpectedly in college. At a women’s college no less.
She wound up marrying her boyfriend of just three months and having the baby, but that wasn’t necessarily a given. “I was worried,” she says. “I wanted to be a banker. I was worried about what I was going to do in my career. Was this going to hold me back? He kind of said all the right things.” He also said the right thing to her parents at the wedding: “We will make sure she gets to law school. She’s going to do everything that you wanted her to do and more — we will make sure of that.”
They are still together more than 20 years later, and Marcelo got her law degree but never wound up becoming a big lawyer as her parents hoped. But her career was certainly wasn’t held back by being a mom: She spent years in consulting and working at other tech companies before starting her own in 2006. Today, Marcelo is not only one of the most powerful women in tech, she is one of the few female founder/CEOs running a publicly traded tech company...