Debbie Sterling

Debbie Sterling

GoldieBlox, Inc.
San Francisco, CA
Debbie Sterling
Ask a Question:
Required field
Please note
The engineers who take the time to respond to student questions on this forum are often very busy and may not respond to some questions, particularly those that have been answered elsewhere. Please be sure to review previous questions and answers to see if your question may have already been addressed.
Enter the code shown: (only upper case)


Debbie Sterling is a female engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. GoldieBlox is a book series+construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writes and illustrates Goldie's stories, taking inspiration from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists and creator of "Mr. Magoo". Her company, launched in 2012, raised over $285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter, and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes. Prior to founding GoldieBlox, Debbie served as the Marketing Director of Lori Bonn, a national jewelry company. For the past 7 years, she has also served as a brand strategy consultant for a wide variety of organizations including Microsoft, T-Mobile, Organic Valley and the New York Knicks. Debbie's inspiration to create a mission-driven company came in 2008, when she spent 6 months volunteering at a grassroots nonprofit in rural India. She created a viral-video fundraising campaign called "I Want a Goat", raising over $30,000 for economic and educational development in the region. This experience helped pave the way to finding her true passion: inspiring the next generation of female engineers. Debbie completed her degree in engineering at Stanford (Product Design, '05) and currently lives with her husband in San Francisco.

BTW, if you are interested in GoldieBlox, check out our latest commercial that aired during the Super Bowl!


Stanford University, B.S. Engineering 2005
Answers by Debbie Sterling

I love to read, so as I started my entrepreneurial journey I found a couple of titles to be especially inspirational. I encourage anyone looking to start their own business to give them a read:

  • Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 
  • BossyPants by Tina Fey
  • Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Hi Joao,

It might sound crazy, but I never gave up because I believe that this is what I was born to do. I wake up every morning, so excited to tackle the next challenge of the day, all in the name of inspiring more girls and women to explore engineering. There have been (and continue to be) many obstacles along the way, but it is incredibly fulfilling to work on something I am so passionate about. As Steve Jobs put it in his speech at my 2005 Stanford Commencement, "never settle" until you find your passion.


Dear Genevieve,

I would suggest doing hands-on engineering activities with the girls so they can have fun playing with simple engineering principles. Sign up for our mailing list, the link is on the homepage of our website: Every week, we are sending out a newsletter that includes DIY engineering projects. Perhaps you could use this as inspiration?

Best of luck and kudos for taking the time to inspire little girls. Having a role model like you will be a life-changing experience for them.



Hi Melissa,

We are very interested in exploring how GoldieBlox could be used as a learning tool in the's on our to-do list this year. We'll be sharing highlights on our progress in our blog, Facebook, Twitter and mailing list updates. Subscribe to any or all of the above to stay in the loop! Links to all of them are on the homepage of our website:

Thanks so much for reaching out and for sharing your interest and passion for this important issue.

Oh, and congrats on your graduation...big milestone!



Dear Lauren,

I am so happy to hear you are interested in mechanical engineering! My job is a lot of fun. I invent construction toys with a focus on appealing to girls ages 4-9. I spend hours playing with kids to understand their needs, likes and play patterns. I prototype toy ideas using simple materials like clay, foam core, wood, ribbon and anything I can find around the house. I test my prototypes on kids to see how they respond and how they can be improved. Then, I take my designs and put them into computer-aided-drawings, getting the form and dimensions perfect so that they function well. Then, I work with manufacturing experts to produce the toys at a large scale so that thousands of girls around the world can enjoy them.