Telling Our Stories: Leaders

“Take others advice with a grain of salt. Don’t just do what other people tell you to do because you think you should. There is no one right way to do anything. You can live your life the way that you want.”

Emily Coffin - Ladies Learning Code // codeAtlantic

So many people, when they set out on starting their careers, look at moving off-Island and living in big cities as the only way to do things. They assume that the big city centres are where you will find all the big opportunities. Emily Coffin was one of those people. She originally moved to Toronto four years ago to chase her dreams and do what she loves. She could have never imagined that moving back to Prince Edward Island would actually be the key to making those dreams come true.

Make no mistake, while Emily was living and working in Toronto she had some great experiences and connected with some incredible people, including the team from Toronto-based non-profit organization Ladies Learning Code. Emily had always dreamed of being a freelance designer so when the opportunity to move home and open a Ladies Learning Code chapter on PEI presented itself she jumped at the opportunity. The flexibility of LLC allows her to be her own boss, currently working as a freelance User Experience Designer.

2017 is going to be a big year for both Emily and for Ladies Learning Code. LLC will be offering more programming for youth and in particular girls including offering more longer term programs which will expand on the day-long workshop that they are currently offering. “Take advantage of resources that are available to you, learning opportunities and people. You can’t do everything yourself.” In addition to her work with LLC, Emily Coffin also recently launched her own business, codeAtlantic, which will bring a tech education sector coding bootcamp to PEI, an idea that recently won first place at Startup Weekend PEI.

Like many people, Emily’s career path has been a winding one. She always knew that she was good at math and science but was drawn to the more artistic side of things. She ended up taking a computer programming course in college but she was only one of two women in the program, “I felt like an outsider. Ladies Learning Code gives women a safe space to learn. It is a friendly, welcoming, social space.”

Moving to PEI, Emily soon discovered that one of the great strengths in being based on the Island is the level of support that is available to entrepreneurs but when it came to tech there wasn’t a lot of people to create the change or make resources available and that made her want to be that person for others. Her advice for others just starting out? “Get out and talk to people, not with the intention of making partnerships talk about what’s happening in the community and with your organization and the partnerships will happen organically.”