The Passion Project: Find Your Purpose | Doina Oncel

Doina Oncel is the CEO/Founder of hEr VOLUTION, a non profit organization designed to provide access to women and young girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) based education and employment opportunities.

How did you find your purpose?

We all have a purpose in life. We are born to do something and sometimes it takes a lifetime to find it. I wouldn’t be the person I am without my past jobs. They taught me perseverance; they taught me to be a goal getter; they taught me that things could be done differently.

I was 14 when I had my first job.

Back in Romania, once you are 14 you can work legally. My mom has once said: “if you want something beyond basic essentials, you have to get it with your own money.”

I lived beside a beach there weren’t many choices. I visited stores along the shoreline and said: “Hi, I am 14. I can work now, can you hire me?” I remember getting lots of no’s. What’s important about doing that this young is it gives you confidence. You may hear no but you push forward and you go the next place and the next place.

I ended up working for my mom’s friend. My mom had no clue. I worked there for a month and came home with a whole bunch of cash. I gave half to my mom and saved the other half.

My mom asked me where I got all this cash from. “How did this happen? Did you steal it?”

I said: “mom, I’ve been working for a month!”

hEr VOLUTION is why I wake up every morning. This is what keeps me up at night. How can I make someone’s life better? How can I help more people? I am proud of how far we have taken hEr VOLUTION. Despite barriers and hardships, I did not give up. I was persistent to it happen. My purpose is bigger than myself and I hope that my passion for what I do will inspire others to find their passion and purpose.

Sometimes it is the life experiences that helps you find your purpose. I look at my daughter who is 16 and tells me she has no idea what to do with her life. I tell her: “whatever you do, try things out.” You are suppose to make mistakes. You are suppose to learn. Those mistakes are all learning opportunities.

hEr VOLUTION provides assistance, counselling and support to young women seeking employment in STEM-related fields who, because of their backgrounds, might not otherwise have access to such employment opportunities. The non-profit organization provides workshops, seminars, and education camps for for low income and marginalized youth with a focus on girls and young women. Visit for more information on how you can get involved.

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