Diversity Woman Magazine

SUM 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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Upfront > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m S u m m e r 2 0 1 7 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 15 Young Entrepreneur: Jewel Burks industrial and commercial parts supplier McMaster-Carr. ere, she discovered that customers often didn't know the name or number of the replacement part they needed, and were frustrated that they couldn't just send a picture of a part for the company to identify. "Listening to customers led me to understand the depths of the problem," Burks says. With her tech-company background, she quickly realized that an image-based parts identification system would be hugely useful. In 2013, she founded Partpic. Burks is enthusiastic about Atlanta as a hot spot for tech companies. "With so many great universities, Atlanta is an excellent place to recruit talent," she says. "It is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies looking for innovative ways to stay ahead." Her advice for others working in big companies who dream of becoming entrepreneurs? Be sure to save enough to cover your start-up costs before you quit your job—even if it means you have to build your company at night and on weekends. Don't burn any bridges at the company where you work. Identify the people who will be there for you when things get tough. And always remember to listen. "Listening to my team helped me learn about building a highly technical prod- uct," Burks says. "Listening to feedback, not with a defensive stance, but rather with a strong desire to improve, has helped me become a better leader." Finding a Market Niche Next F or Jewel Burks, the road to entrepreneurship started with listening closely. Burks, 27, is the founder of Partpic, which uses image searching to help manufacturers find and order replace- ment parts. e company won the 2015 Best Enterprise and Smart Data Technologies award at the South by Southwest Accelerator Showcase; that same year, Burks also presented the company's technology at the White House. Burks began her career in Silicon Valley, where she worked in enterprise sales for Google. But after a couple of years, she got homesick for the South— she was born in Mobile and grew up in Nashville—and took a job in Atlanta at

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