Ariella Salimpour ’09
Ariella Salimpour ’09 is taking the world by storm. At 23, she is an entrepreneur and frequently finds herself the youngest female executive in the boardroom.
Founder and CEO of Thumbroll, a startup that has created an innovative medical training app, Ariella is taking Sinai Akiba’s core value of academic excellence (Talmud torah) and transforming it into her passion for medical education. “Build, measure, learn, & repeat,” is her motto when approaching something new.
Ariella notes that she learned these scientific building blocks in Ms. Green’s science class, where hands-on experiments were a daily experience. “I remember my awe when first using a Bunsen burner, the creativity required for the egg-drop project, all the fun I’d have squeegeeing the table at the end of an experiment and the excitement to go to science class,” Ariella says. Such excitement is palpable at Sinai Akiba through programs such as JSTEAM, where students become inventors in science, technology, engineering, art and math, infusing Jewish values into everything they create.
Empowered by this training and her independent mindset, Ariella had the confidence to become an entrepreneur. The first of three sisters, Ariella attended Barnard College—majoring in psychology and graduating an Athena Scholar—Ariella paved her own path while befriending college classmates who shared her love of Shabbat and Jewish holidays. She thereby created a community with shared values and a desire to learn and help others. In fact, Ariella says, “it’s impossible to grow and build something alone. The secret to building something really interesting is doing it with others, with a team.”
Building a professional community for her business was much like her experience on sports teams at Sinai Akiba: basketball and volleyball, where she learned teambuilding and how to support those around her. “It was the values that stuck with me and guided me forward: feeling of community, respect, inclusivity and being a part of a group that really care for each other,” Ariella says. Today, Thumbroll is used by medical trainees and professionals in more than 90 countries, including China, India, Israel, Jordan, Russia and the United Kingdom. “It is incredible that visual images are a universal language—Thumbroll can communicate health information to all people around the world,” Ariella says.
Ariella’s message to girls who love science? “Keep building. You’ll find your passion and the path that works best for you. And most of all, never ever give up.”
“It was the values that stuck with me and guided me forward: the importance of family, the necessity of community and the desire to continue surrounding yourself with people who care for you.”