How an Educator Connected with Her Passion and Launched a Business

Anne found her story and launched a business




Tell us what you do and what your work typically entails.

After 20 years of working in education, I founded TeachWell, a coaching organization dedicated to improving the social and emotional wellness of teachers, students, and school staff. I offer young people and the adults who support them an opportunity to increase individual agency in the areas of growth mindset, self efficacy, self management, and social awareness through one-on-one coaching and workshops. I pull from the principles of mindfulness and restorative practices to create a safe environment for my clients.


Why did you initially seek out this IDEO U course? How were you feeling before enrolling?

At the time I found the IDEO U course, I was in a transition out of a job that was very meaningful for me, but a job in which I was really struggling. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave the world of education, but I also was feeling ineffective in what I was doing. I went so far as to question whether or not I was still meant to be in the field of education. Because I’m so passionate about education, that was very unsettling and confusing for me. I had left the school district that I was working for and was beginning to do consulting work. I was looking for what meaningful way I could contribute to the world of education.


What were you hoping to change or achieve by completing this IDEO U course?

When I first learned about the course, I was in the process of deciding what I wanted to do next in my career. I was feeling some conflict around what I believed in, what I wanted to offer, and my confidence and my ability to offer that. At the moment that I began this course, I was looking for professional development opportunities for myself. I was taking a number of different classes and looking into data around teachers and teacher retention.

I was open to learning and exploring. I was also really looking for direction and to find a framework where I could begin thinking more strategically, because it had been an emotional experience for me to get to the place where I wanted to make a change. I was looking for ways to capture my personal experience and then look at it through a professional lens.


“I feel so much more confidence in what I can offer now, and I feel really connected with my passion around the work that I do.”


What questions did you have before starting the IDEO U course?

I wasn't sure if my experience would be right for this course. I was worried about whether my story was as professional, or as exciting, or as packaged as other learners’ stories might be. But then I realized that I was taking this course for myself, and what was most important was for me to really dive in to the courses and bring my own story forward.


How has IDEO U helped you make progress toward your goals?

My experience in the course helped me create my small business, TeachWell. The Storytelling for Influence course was a launching place that helped me articulate my business model, and the video I made ultimately became a tool I used to pitch my services and gain new clients. It allowed me to show up very personally connected to what I do, but also present myself very professionally.

It's a struggle to start a new business, and there are many days when I wonder if it's going to be successful, but I feel so much more confidence in what I can offer now, and I feel really connected with my passion around the work that I do. I’m able to deeply connect my business idea with the people that I care about within the education field. And that confidence and passion helps me ride the waves of the day to day of starting a new business.

When I'm in the room with the teachers that are part of the TeachWell series, I feel like I'm offering them something that no one else has thought to offer them.


What was your favorite part of learning with IDEO U?

The biggest benefits from the course have been being able to articulate my story, being able to think strategically about my story and my business, and the discipline that comes with the course work. Initially, I was really attracted to the concept of storytelling within a professional context. But the course also helped me transition from being very deep in my own experience, to being able to get my head above water and see my story in a much broader context.

There was one assignment where I had to make a voice recording. It was the first time I articulated my concerns in the education industry. It was empowering and inspiring for me to hear myself speaking with so much passion. When I was creating my final project, I remember looking at how other learners brought their stories to life and feeling inspired to think about how to evolve my story to have more impact.

Once I was able to clearly articulate my story, I went out and met with people who could help me advance what was becoming a business idea. I was able to show up with tools that I didn't have before and language that was much more concise and clear.


What advice would you give someone who is considering a course with IDEO U?

I would say, just go for it. If you can enter the course authentically and bring your full self, things will start to happen. I think this course is great for people who want to begin thinking about starting their own business—particularly people who have a true passion that’s motivating them.

More than once in the course of creating my business, I’ve had people ask me, "How is it that you got so clear on what it is that you want to do?" And while I've had different levels of coaching and support, I know that the time that I dedicated to unpacking and articulating my story in the IDEO U course was a very pivotal time for me in defining my story. 



Assignment From the Course

For her final project, Anne created a video to tell the story of her business, TeachWell.



Storytelling for Influence
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Prototype your story, craft a compelling narrative, and sculpt it into something beautiful that will inspire others to follow your lead.

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