Meet Mara Lecocq
I’m Mara Lecocq and I live in New York. I am half French, half Filipino, and have grown up and lived in both countries. I am an advertising creative director by trade who took a break in my career to help address the problem of diversity in the workplace I was facing first-hand, as one of the rare female creative directors in advertising.
My team and I created Secret Code, a personalized children’s book that stars *your* girl as a tech hero. The way it works is that you personalize her skin color, hairstyle and name online so it looks like the girl you want to inspire, and she receives a beautiful picture book at home 2 weeks later.
My goal is to provide girls of all ethnicities with role models they lack, and at an age where they start developing aspirations. So that they can find male-dominated industries like technology fun and aspirational.
There’s also a piece in the story of Secret Code where parents play a role. We just launched diverse family options, where mixed-race, same-sex and single parents can finally see themselves in children’s media. And so all children can feel that their unique family situations are part of culture.
Secret Code was backed by Sophia Amoruso’s Girlboss Foundation and shared at the inaugural Girlboss Rally.
Why is it needed in our world?:
80% of the jobs in the next decade will require technology skills. These are high paying jobs that change the world.
And stereotypes start sinking in between ages 5 and 7. Children base their interests and their aspirations on what they are exposed to. As Marian Wright Edelman puts it, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. Secret Code is about making her see what she can be.
Finally, children’s books are full of stereotypes. 14% of children’s books feature people of color.
Girls of all ethnicities need more role models, and Secret Code introduces girls to the most effective hero she can be inspired by: herself.
What do you hope to accomplish?:
I’m hoping to make girls feel empowered in a more actionable way: by showing them an aspirational and brave role model who is ready to make things happen. At the end of the book, there are resources to get girls into technology.
And it’s working. Girls are suddenly developing an interest in coding and robotics after reading this book. One was ready to build a robot after reading the book. Another was collecting her grandmother’s jewelry to build robot parts. One woman said, “I gave Secret Code to my 6-year-old niece who hated science. She now wants to take robot camp and plays ‘engineer’.” Kids are incredibly and naturally talented: we need to plant a seed that can turn into a fulfilling career one day.
How can we help support your passion project?
I’m looking for Secret Code’s first intern. Someone who wants to own and develop Secret Code’s social media.
How can we follow you?
SIgn up for the newsletter to get updates!
As for me, @mara.lecocq on Instagram.
Watch the video below for more info on Your Secret Code: