Victoria wants to explore the world with her imaginary cat. She hopes that she can contribute to the movement of world peace while attaining the meaning of “why?” When she’s not studying (which is most of the time), she can be found singing, cooking edible food, and wondering why she isn’t studying.
Victoria is the founder of Cering, a technology company focused on the empowerment and safety of women. Cering’s goal is to help women all over the world feel safer with wearable technology that is integrated into day-to-day personal accessories for your convenience.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: How did you become involved in the technology field?
Victoria Teo: I never really planned to become involved with technology, actually! However, it’s so prevalent in the world today that it’s inevitable that all of us will get involved with technology in some way or another. I started Cering during a local pitch competition, which I had joined two days before the actual event. I was in the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program at the time, so my team endorsed the idea after the pitch competition, and we ended up winning the year-end Dragon’s Den-style Venture Challenge with Cering. From there, we decided to continue pursuing our business.
Jacobsen: How did you begin to develop a new interest in sustainability?
Teo: I was part of the Metro Vancouver Sustainability Toolbox (MVST) program, which sought like-minded youth leaders who shared a passion for sustainability from all over Metro Vancouver together. Participating in this program connected me to so many amazing youth and community partners within Metro Vancouver, and inspired me to lead the Love Food, Hate Waste Campaign, which included a workshop series, in my school. I am excited to see where my journey in sustainability takes me!
Jacobsen: There’s an unacknowledged form of activism. Some might think of protests, letters, petitions, and community organizing when they think of activism. However, there are other types, too. Entrepreneurship ‘geared’ towards future technologies and sustainability is one. You founded Cering, a wearable technology company. What is the product and vision behind the company?
Teo: We are definitely a company that is focused on our social impact. Cering is founded on the belief that everyone has the right to security and to feel safe. It is a line of jewelry that when activated, alerts the local authorities and the wearer’s loved ones, and notifies them of the wearer’s location through the app on their phone. We are prototyping a sleek and discreet bracelet that will be activated with the touch of a button. With Cering, we hope to connect those who believe in our vision of a safer world with no fear–where dreams can be made reality.
Jacobsen: You named the company after the Roman Goddess, Ceres. She rescues and protects vulnerable women. With the vision of Cering as women’s empowerment and safety, how does the company assist in this?
Teo: Cering is creating the Cering Nation—a community of people who support and believe in our vision of empowering women to pursue their aspirations and live a life with no fear. We recognize that safety is an alarming and relevant issue in the world today, as statistics show that up to one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lives. Raising awareness and taking a stance for our beliefs is a core value of ours, and through this, we truly believe that Cering will positively impact women’s safety and empowerment.
Jacobsen: Being a young entrepreneur, how does your lifestyle differ, e.g. in school, in business, and in extracurriculars, from those who aren’t currently as involved as you?
Teo: I enjoy a life filled with spontaneity, so it’s thrilling to be both a student in school and an aspiring professional going out to conferences, events, and coffee with role models that I look up to. It’s definitely tough to balance scholarships and university applications, work, school, and all my other extracurriculars, and there are sacrifices to make, but it’s worth it because I genuinely love and am passionate about the work I do. It’s interesting to wear multiple hats throughout a week and it can be exhausting, but it’s probably more fun than being just a student. I think that getting myself out there gives me this unleashed confidence and assurance in both myself and the future I have in the world outside of high school.
Jacobsen: You are the President of the Indian Umbrella branch in your high school as well. What are some the things you do for activism with them such as youth empowerment and developing country aid?
Teo: Indian Umbrella is a youth-founded non-profit organization that empowers Canadian youth to raise awareness and monetary aid for grassroots charities in India. I am passionate about developing country aid and interested in Indian cultures, so I am proud to have this opportunity as my branch’s president! Through Indian Umbrella, I am focusing especially on inspiring and educating youth. I believe that it is important for today’s youth to understand why they support a certain cause, so I am bringing in multiple guest speakers involved in non-profit work to shed a light on what supporting these causes mean beyond secondary school.
Jacobsen: People can communicate more easily with hardware like cell phones and software like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and activism requires more rapid communication to organize and coordinate in the electronic era. Does this analysis seem correct to you?
Teo: Yes! It does. I am very lucky to live in an era where communication, organization, and planning is made easy through technology. I utilize all of the above softwares daily, and it is definitely an advantage that can be taken for granted. I do think that these benefits can go down two streets, though. Power must always be used responsibly, and can always be used for good as well as foul intentions.
Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Victoria.
Teo: It was a pleasure! Thank you for having me.
By Scott Douglas Jacobsen
* All views expressed in this interview belong to the interviewee and don’t necessarily reflect the views of CYH.
Photo Credit: Getty Images