"The path to success is never a straight line," Erica Peterson says. This Fairygodboss of the Week sampled several different career paths before finding her calling; then, the mother of two launched Moms Can: Code to support moms who want to learn how to code by providing opportunities for moms to connect, learning resources, and real-life inspiration.

Fairygodboss of the Week: Erica Peterson

Founder & CEO, Moms Can: Code

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?

It's been quite an incredible journey. There have been many ups and downs! When I went to WVU, I discovered I loved molecular biology. When I was 22, my biggest goal in life was to get my doctorate in Reproductive Physiology. That didn't work out the way I had planned!

I'm also a trained and certified Cytotechnologist (Cytology is the study of cells). I also studied Infant & Toddler Education after I had my oldest son. Before Moms Can: Code, I started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Science Tots, was pursuing a Master's in STEM Education, and thought I would be teaching high school biology this year. The path to success is never a straight line!

What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?

I'm really proud of myself for being selected as a finalist for the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch competition. I have been working extremely hard for the past six months, and I am just so honored to be a finalist.

Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? and Why?

I have so many! I've been really fortunate to know and learn from so many talented women I admire.

What do you do when you're not working?

When I'm not working I am spending time with my two sons, ages two and five. They love to ride their BMX bikes and it's impossible to run after them while answering emails or talking on the phone. We also like to have "Family Movie Nights" fairly often.

If you could have dinner with one famous person—dead or alive—who would it be?

I would have dinner with Mileva Marić. From what I've read, she was very smart. She was Albert Einstein's first wife, and I'd love to know if she coauthored his papers.

Lightning Round:

What is your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is Whiplash. Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) is my modern-day Rocky.

What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?

I would invest in other female-led startups!

What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?

If you feel like giving up, just keep going. Are things going to be easy? Don't count it. Take a minute or a day if you need to "reset" but it's your ability to persevere that sets you apart. You can do this!

Why do you love where you work?

I really love the #MomsCanCode community members. When I wake up, i look forward to posting and hearing from the other moms!

Fairygodboss is all about women helping other women - so each week, we celebrate a woman who made a difference in another woman’s career. Is there a woman who has made a difference in your career? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.