Nicole Birkner, Diamond Challenge 2016 Finalist

Founder, Fresquiticos


We caught up with Diamond Challenge 2016 finalist, Nicole Birkner, to hear about her latest goals, current successes, and how the Diamond Challenge has prepared her for the future.


Tell us about yourself?

I was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica and am currently a sophomore at Stanford University majoring in Symbolic Systems. In 2016, I launched Fresquiticos, a social business that creates natural, healthy sodas, made of Costa Rican fruit flavors. Up to this moment, the product has been successfully placed in 30+ retail sales outlets, as well as two major supermarket chains in Costa Rica. Besides tackling health issues, my business helps underprivileged communities in Costa Rica by providing employment and buying fruits from local farmers. On campus, I am involved as the Co-Director of Internships at Stanford Women in Business, the largest pre-profession organization; the VP of Cardinal Ventures, a 10-week accelerator program for Stanford entrepreneurs; and a Research Assistant for Pamela Hinds’ Research Lab (Center on Work, Technology, and Organization).


How has the Diamond Challenge experience impacted your future trajectory? 

I learned how to grow my business, from idea to launch! It was a really amazing experience, but the most important learning was that the people you keep in touch with or surround yourself with will shape who you are. I really started giving my mentors more importance in my life. Major advice: Take advantage of your mentors! I still keep in touch with mine, Zachary Jones; the last time we saw each other was at Stanford, where he was hosting a conference. It’s always nice to know you have someone that can help you with any major life decision, or who is just there to chat.


What is next for you?

Next quarter, I will be working for Citi Ventures as a Business Analyst. Next summer, I plan to work at McKinsey in their Sophomore Diversity Leadership Internship.


No matter where our Diamond Challenge alumni go, we are constantly amazed by how they continue to make an impact on the world for the better.

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