When I was a kid, an ice cream truck would come by every single day. I remember it was the same man and I knew the jingle the truck played kind of like I know all of Beyonce’s jingles today. Before he’d show up, I’d scavenger around for extra quarters or dollar bills. This typically involved doing a chore that led to compensation or convincing my sister to give me her money (the latter was always much easier and effective). Ironically, it wasn’t the candy I wanted to purchase, I was paying for recognition. I noticed early on that he would praise my math skills because I was able to add totals rather quickly and tell him if he owed me any change….way before he even brought out his calculator. After giving me my change, he’d always say something along the lines of “you’re so smart, keep studying!” or “wow! that was a tricky one and you figured it out before me.” I can’t tell you what I did with the candy afterwards but for some reason, I have a vivid memory of what it felt like to have someone encourage me to do better. To say I loved being challenged and working for that affirmation would be an understatement! I could do math problems that kids twice my age weren’t even beginning to figure out and someone took notice. That’s all it took for me to start my love affair with math that continued long after my scholastic chapter ended. It took me over 20 years to finally realize what a tremendous impact this had on me and why I strived to do complicated math problems in my head at a young age. Without knowing it, the ice cream man made me good at math and I thank him for it. Every transaction got more complicated as I chose different products so he knew I wasn’t cheating. He never stopped being impressed by my math skills and I never stopped wanting that recognition. Today, I know how important these skills are because I use them on a daily basis and the same skills allowed me to obtain my economics degree. Throughout my college career, I was one of few women in my math classes. Whether it was algebra, statistics or upper division calculus, the amount of female representation decreased drastically as the courses became more challenging. When I was in the classroom, it wasn’t a big deal. Now that I’m out of the classroom, I think how beneficial an ice cream man would’ve been to girls around the world. I’ve become a huge advocate for women in mathematics because I realize how much it impacts other skills. The ability to problem solve and think analytically is what allowed me to start my business and succeed at consulting. I used to think anyone could consult and solve problems for others but now, I know your brain just has to work that way and I’m thankful mine does. I wish I could say this came naturally however, I give all credit to mathematics because it has allowed me to think clearly and logistically. Numbers are the same worldwide and if you can apply those skills here, you can apply them anywhere. When you look at the most well-known CEO’s, they all demonstrate strong mathematic traits. So what’s the correlation? If math allows you to think critically and that leads to problem solving, then you become an asset to a corporation. Everyone is replaceable but, those that solve complicated marketing logistics and yield solutions leading to business growth are not. If parents would realize how important this is, I believe they’d start looking for the signs or at least be more encouraging and motivating towards their children. Women are already doing amazing things in this world and possess unique characteristics so, why not make them good at mathematics, too? Imagine the possibilities and business opportunities. I have a feeling our future economy would thank us greatly.