#HowIMadeIt 2017

Madeleine Liu, Inventor and Startup Co-Founder

FLARE #HowIMadeIt celebrates 100+ talented, ambitious and driven Canadian women with cool jobs. Want what Madeleine has? Here's how she did it

Madeleine Liu smiling against a purple backdrop in a black top and white jacket
Madeleine Liu; Vancouver


Let’s say we just met—how would you describe your extra-curricular activities in one minute or less?

I am a student innovator and technology enthusiast driven by the desire to help others attain self-sufficiency through opportunity. As a winner of Startup Weekend Vancouver 2015 (where my startup, Culitech—maker of “smart” cutlery that can detect allergens, toxins and nutritional content—was also named Most Disruptive Idea), I talk to people about my journey creating Culitech alongside my cofounder, Angela Wang. After receiving an opportunity to attend the BC Tech Summit in January 2015, I was inspired to create TechCon, Vancouver’s first technology conference for high school students

Can you describe a typical day for us, detailing everything you do from when you first get up to when you head back to bed?

After waking up, I get ready for school, eat breakfast, and drink a glass of water before leaving the house. In the evening, I work, read and relax. I read a variety of books, but I really like non-fiction written by leading professors. I truly appreciate the amount of research and knowledge they make available to members of the public. I recommend Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.

What do you consider your biggest win in the past year?

Having the fortune of meeting and speaking to many young people at Sparkle and Grit: Whistler’s International Day of the Girl Event in October 2016, and also talking to a group of grade 7 students during their Social Entrepreneurship Week this past May.

What’s your #1 goal for the next year?

My goal for the next year is to continue learning and doing things that make me happy—including committing myself to outreach. I want to empower others to create and seek out the opportunities that I did, because experience builds the framework for further growth.

Do you ever just go home after school and binge on Netflix? If you do, what’s your current Netflix obsession—and why do you love it? (Here at FLARE HQ, we’re equally obsessed with Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why.)

I don’t watch Netflix, but I do like to read books.

Have you ever been bullied at school? If so, how did you handle it?

Although anger and sadness are likely the emotions that bullying evokes, take a deep breath and remember that bullies often project their own insecurities and problems onto others. It is not an acceptable reason; however, I personally find peace by thinking through my problems. Communication is also important to conflict resolution; don’t feel that you have to suffer alone.

What is the #1 misconception you think adults have when it comes to teen girls?

They might not realize that we’re imaginative, inspirational and influential.

Finally, based on your experience, what’s the #1 piece of advice you have for other teens who want to make a difference in the world?

Take initiative and don’t be afraid to travel the unbeaten path.

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