Jillian Anderson is no stranger to hard work and dedication. A graduate of Albany State University with her Bachelor’s in computer science. She ran track and field, played volleyball and basketball, and was a resident assistant for two years while completing her degree. She began to play professional basketball after trying out for the Harlem Globetrotters. She trained for three years and even played overseas in Morocco. Upon her return to Atlanta, GA she walked into a career in IT and was inspired to create HERride. Letting confidence lead her, she secured the name HERide by trademarking it before she ever researched a team to develop the app. Now three years later and more than twenty-five thousand downloads later, HERide is officially in its beta round of testing and the response has been overwhelming.
What was the spark that led you to create HERide?
The spark that led me to create HERide was caused by an incident that occurred while I was driving for a different company. The male customer refused to leave my car because I did not want to stop at a restaurant that was not part of his trip. Once that happened, I focused on food and package deliveries and eventually decided to create a safer space for the other women that work full-time gig jobs like myself.
With so many instances of unsafe and sexual assault cases with industry competitors – what more can be done to bring awareness to this issue?
Calling out offenders publicly is a great first step. People that commit sexual crimes should be addressed publicly, INCLUDING individuals that lie about sexual assault. I believe each case should be handled seriously until the courts decide on a final verdict. If one of our drivers were suspected of such crimes, their account would be instantly banned. HERide will maintain a ZERO tolerance policy for all customers and drivers.
What other tips can you provide to bring awareness to preventing sexual assault?
In Georgia, we now have an open carry law. I encourage women drivers and passengers to begin taking firearm safety courses locally that will equip them with the knowledge, experiences, and resources that I truly believe are vital to becoming a responsible carriers. I am also an advocate for women learning self-defense techniques.
How can others create safe spaces and educate those who are unsure of the meaning of sexual assault?
Spaces like this already exist! I believe that more businesses should have pillars of their organization that focus on safety in the same way that we do customer service. Senior leadership at organizations should lead by example and then develop a plan to provide training to employees, contractors, and volunteers so that they understand what sexual assault/ harassment is and how to report it.
How does it feel to change so many lives with your dream?
Honestly, it feels surreal, to be honest, I just simply wanted someone to care about what women wanted and I’m glad we are being heard. What advice would you give to someone who is unsure about pursuing their dreams? When it’s all said and done when you leave this Earth, do you want to leave a legacy or simply a memory? Depending on your answer that should let you know if you should pursue it or not.
How do you want your app to be received? What impact are you looking to make?
I already love how it is being received by our users. The impact we are looking to make is to simply offer an alternative rideshare experience for women. We want women to see HERide as a brand and service that they can rely on if they have ever been made to feel uncomfortable while using rideshare services.
How have your life experiences played a part in your journey?
My life experiences have played a large part in my journey. Playing three sports in college, you learn how to become good at communication, leadership, and teamwork. I also forced myself to become an RA in college so that I could learn how to become a mentor to others.
What can we expect from you in the future?
In the near future, you can expect to see HERide in every major city in America. Our long-term goal is to expand HERide into other areas of the transportation industry.