Mitchella Gilbert (’21)
Co-Founder and CEO, OYA FEMTECH Apparel
A family medical emergency delayed Mitchella Gilbert’s start to her second year at UCLA Anderson — but that has not derailed her academically or professionally. While her mother was sick, she counseled Gilbert on the importance of finding fulfillment in one’s journey — just as Coach John Wooden emphasized game practices as journeys of their own. “Success is something that you build to,” she decided. “Take pride and solace in the small steps.”
Gilbert’s personal journey entailed early interest in robotics. She’d always been avid about taking things apart and putting them back together, a talent she attributes to her father. She joined her high school robotics team under the tutelage of a mentor who pushed her not just to build well but to pitch well, too. When she later joined Teach for America in Detroit, she applied her robotics competitions success to start University Preparatory Academy’s first robotics team and advanced them to the championships.
While she was a human capital consultant at Deloitte, Gilbert counterbalanced her professional pursuits with creative impulses that led her to design women’s athletic wear. Soon after she enrolled at Anderson, she found herself incubating a business idea in the Anderson Venture Accelerator with classmates. This turned into a capstone project within Anderson’s Business Creation Option, and now their company, OYA, is competing in the $50 billion femtech industry.
Along with the resiliency and discipline instilled in her by her parents, Gilbert assumes a “give back” mindset. She has donated to scholarship funds that help inner city girls get into college and coaches young people on resume writing. With pitch competition prizes to its name and a Kickstarter campaign underway, OYA is poised to become the kind of company that embraces a philanthropic mission.