Forbes Under 30 Summit inspires Donaghey Scholar for future success

Jaqueline Villalpa-Arroyo

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock student has learned the lessons for a successful career in technology and entrepreneurship after attending the Forbes Under 30 Summit Oct. 27-30 in Detroit. 

Jaqueline Villalpa Arroyo, a senior computer science major and Donaghey Scholar, travelled to Detroit for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit after being selected as a Forbes Under 30 Scholar. Forbes partners with schools and organizations across the U.S. to provide an opportunity for underrepresented college students to attend the summit. 

“I think any opportunity to learn from people who are leaders in a specific industry or technology is an opportunity that you should take advantage of,” Villalpa Arroyo said. 

Labeled by Forbes as the “world’s greatest event for young leaders, founders, investors, and creators,” the summit offered Villalpa Arroyo the opportunity to hear from professional athletes like Kevin Durant and Serena Williams who have turned their celebrity into successful brands. 

“You often see the brand of a person like a famous athlete, but what the speakers really talked about was what business strategies they used to get where they are, what they did to ensure their success, and what lessons they recommend to other entrepreneurs,” Villalpa Arroyo said. “It’s important to hear from self-made entrepreneurs who are using their platforms to create a business beyond their primary role.” 

As a Latina woman, Villalpa Arroyo said she was inspired by a group founded at the 2018 Forbes Under 30 Summit who are helping people of color succeed in the business world. 

“Forbes The Culture is trying to create a group that is inclusive for people of color who are entering the business and entrepreneurial world,” she said. “When you think about venture capital, only .003 percent of venture capital goes to women of color, even though women of color are opening businesses at a higher rate than any other demographic.” 

After Villalpa Arroyo, a native of Forest City, Arkansas, graduates from UA Little Rock in May 2020, she said the skills learned at the Forbes summit will be useful in her future career as a software engineer. 

“I’ve always had the entrepreneurial spirit,” she said. “I think the skills that entrepreneurs learn about being a problem solver, thinking outside the box, coming up with new ideas and learning how to executive them are valuable in any job.” 

Over the summer, Villalpa Arroyo completed Harvard Business School’s Summer Venture in Management Program, a residential educational program for rising college seniors designed to increase diversity and opportunity in business education. Friends from the Harvard program encouraged her to apply for the Forbes Under 30 Scholar program. 

“I think it’s always important to have someone to look up to,” Villalpa Arroyo said. “It’s always important to relate to someone who has made it and to know that you can aspire to do just as much, if not more. I take away the inspiration of seeing Latina entrepreneurs follow their passions and continue to excel. I will continue to be inspired by what I learned at the conference. If I ever decide to start a business, it will be because I am following my passion and because I am paving the way for other entrepreneurs as well.”

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