This CEO Was Anti-Technology. Now She Runs an Ed-Tech Company that Relies on Digital Tools.

Contributing Writer

As a CEO of a start-up, we often take on roles we never imagined before putting our ideas into the world or even starting the company. In 2010, when I founded Move This World to help students and educators understand, express and manage their emotions healthily, I primarily identified as an artist and an educator. I rarely use social media, and I don’t consider myself tech savvy. 

Never in a million years did I think I’d be running a tech company. If anything, I was on the hunt for a cure to the technological dependency that has ruined relationships, attention spans, and the ability to empathize. Only when we were pushed to the brink did we realize the full potential of technology to deliver our programming.

It seems obvious in retrospect, but at the time I was determined to make our model of delivering direct service to students and teachers work. That meant riding Amtrak through the night to cover extra sessions, managing logistics for trainings across the country, staying up late to debrief with trainers following their sessions, hounding friends and board members for more resources and connections to more trainers.

Photo Credit: Edlab, Teachers College Columbia University
CEO Sara Potler LaHayne

Everything changed when a particularly powerful session inspired a teacher to write us an email thanking us and asking if there was any way we could deliver programming on a daily basis. I thought about the options–training someone to deliver the work or hopping on another train myself–and realized this would be impossible. We didn’t have the funding and I didn’t have the capacity. So we whipped out a phone and recorded a video for the teacher to use with his students.

His response: Please send more.

The videos were a hit. The next week, we received a video of our own, this one showing the students engaged in the exercise we had sent over. It was like magic. Suddenly, we could reach 30 more people without leaving the office. We quickly realized this number could increase exponentially. Soon after, I became the CEO of a tech company.

As someone who uses their phone only for calls and emails, this was uncharted territory. Making this huge pivot was a risk. We could have easily failed. But we deeply believed in the work, so we went for it anyway.

That level of belief in social emotional learning kept us hunting for solutions instead of an exit. After a long and incredibly challenging year, getting a request for daily programming could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. Instead, it was the moment we needed to become who we were meant to become.

Through the mud, we found clarity. As it turns out, that recipe is often the secret to success.

When we try out new ideas, some fall flat and some take wing. But those truly great ideas live in the danger zone, the area where we often fail. Those are often our boldest innovations.

Fast forward to 2019, and what started as a cell phone video has transformed our organization. Move This World is currently working across twenty-six states and Washington DC. We’ve impacted over half a million students. We recently raised our first seed round–another opportunity to stare failure right in the face. Although I’d never raised a round of equity before, every morning I took a deep breath and went for it.

It’s not at all where I thought I would be 12 years ago. And yet, it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Photo Credit: Edlab, Teachers College Columbia University

Follow EdWeek Market Brief on Twitter @EdMarketBrief or connect with us on LinkedIn.

See also: 

89 thoughts on “This CEO Was Anti-Technology. Now She Runs an Ed-Tech Company that Relies on Digital Tools.

  1. I would also like an article on best apps and products for elementary classrooms. I teach kindergarten and find it diffcult finding resources which deal with the lower grades.

  2. Very life story. I know at least two of my friends who have turned everything in their life almost as much as in this article. One of his friends never went by taxi and did not have his car, because as a child he and his parents got into a small accident and had a psychological trauma. After university, he went to work as a logistical. After 2 years, he wanted to go work as a clerk, because he did not want to sit at the computer. After 6 months of work as a freight forwarder, he first tried to drive a car and liked it. After that, he got a driver’s license and now works as a truck driver. A second friend of mine was a poor student at university and constantly ordered essays and homework on the Internet, on sites like top essay writing reviews . After graduation, he went to work as a taxi driver. Once he brought up a university teacher and he told him how he daily communicates with students and how he likes it. After this conversation my friend went to study at this university and finished it with good results. He now has his own delivery service in England.

  3. We provide the chance to spice up up your career and confidence level by passing the test with the assistance of AZ-101 certification from on-line exam homework and simply AZ-101 certification.

  4. hello, this is a very interesting article actually I need this type of article because I also want to start a company I really appreciate your hard work keep sharing like this useful article

  5. Marketing is an important form for every business, especially in the time … Summary of Content … Marketing is the English term used to mean marketing, it refers to the … To accomplish this, marketers must go through market research, analysis and …

  6. The article provided me a lot of useful information. I am waiting for new news from you. I will be back. mapquest directions

  7. Austrans Logistics is the reputed company delivers highly flexible Air freight, sea freight, domestic freight, interstate road freight services throughout Australia. It has years of experience in offering integrated services in all the aspects of logistics planning, control and execution.

  8. Grab a huge discount and save more on Hemp Flower with CBD Flower Coupons. Check out the Hemp promo code to get a huge discount of up to 60% on all CBD related products at this season sale.

  9. The article provided me a lot of useful information. Newixfrancia I am waiting for new news from you. I will be back. mapquest directions

  10. Hurda hiç bir zaman çöp değil tam aksine dönüştürülerek yeniden kullanılabilir olan çok kıymetli geri dönüşüm ham maddeleridir.

  11. The article provided me a lot of useful information. Newixfrancia I am waiting for new news from you. I will be back. mapquest directions

  12. Your posts are very detailed and meticulous, hope that next time you will have more good articles to share with readers. If you have more time, please visit:

  13. I’m the Blogger and the owner of this: activatedlink avast-cleanup-premium-crack-serial-key iobit-uninstaller-crack-license-key fl-studio-crack-registration-key microsoft-office-2016-crack-product-key adobe-illustrator-crack

  14. cyberlink-powerdirector-crack youtube-by-click-crack little-snitch-crack xsplit-broadcaster-crack sound-booster-crack xmedia-recode-crack easy-file-renamer-crack-download sam-broadcaster-pro-crack-free cyberghost-vpn-crack-2021-free-download

  15. The videos were a hit. The next down or not week, we received a video of our own, this one showing the students engaged in the exercise we had sent over.

  16. Fantastic site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your sweat! Virtual DJ Pro Crack FL Studio Crack minitool partition wizard crack freemake video converter crack

  17. Great post. I really like and really very impressed by your hard work on this article. Keep it up bro inshallah one day you will get succeed. mount and blade activation code imindmap torrent letasoft sound booster torrent reflector free download full version slimcleaner plus product key

Leave a Reply