Everyday Visionary :: Karen Ezell – ZerModus

Everyday Visionary :: Karen Ezell

The Collaborative No. 8

Today we are featuring Everyday Visionary Karen Ezell, Regional Director of NFTE (The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship).

NFTE may be the best secret in our education system. It is a global non-profit whose mission is to inspire young people in under-served communities to not only stay in school, but to develop usable business skills.

As Regional Director, Karen works to transform young people's belief in their own abilities and give them tools to measure their success. She has a real desire to create economic empowerment in these student's lives.

The Pathway program takes students through the journey of creating and refining an original business concept. At the completion of the program, the students have viable business idea and a direction for implementation.

NFTE offers many opportunities for business people, entrepreneurs, and teachers. If you would like to become a mentor, please contact NFTE.

You can follow NFTE on social media by clicking these links:

 Twitter :: Facebook :: LinkedIn

The Questionnaire

  1. Where do you currently work?

NFTE (The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship)

  1. What is your current role?

Regional Director

  1. How would you describe to a child what you do for a living?

NFTE teaches young people business skills through the lens of entrepreneurship. Helping students make the connection between their core academics and business and helping to prepare students to be more workforce and college ready by activating the entrepreneurial mindset.

  1. What do you hope you have a reputation for as a professional?

Being mission driven to change the lives of young people in North Texas

  1. What is an accomplishment from your career that meant the world to you?

Having a young person who immigrated to the US not understanding English, taking one of our courses and advancing to the National finals and being nominated as the EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 and telling me "Mrs. Ezell someday you'll be sitting next to me when I'm on that stage as an adult entrepreneur." This young man will graduate from UT Austin with a degree in IT and Business. I do believe that one day he will be on that stage with other great entrepreneurs!

  1. What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve had to learn the hard way in your career?

That you can't save everyone. That sometimes you can provide people with the tools, what they do with the tools you've provided is up to them.

  1. What are some of your go-to sources of inspiration and staying on top of emerging trends that impact your field or industry?

All educational journals and thought leader platforms in education reform as well as interacting with business leaders so that I can learn from about industry trends and help better prepare our students. 

  1. What is something you need in your work environment in order to   thrive in your role?

Out of the box thinkers. As a provider in education I want to make sure that we are offering the best and most relevant opportunities for young people and that requires you to think different about the educational system as a whole. I love being around creative and motivated individuals willing to take risks for a new opportunity. And even if they fail they share their experience.

  1. What you envision for your customers/clients/stakeholders/ patients/citizens/students, etc.?

The ability for students to think differently about their future and know that their past does not determine their future and that while you may fail, it's about getting back up again and keep on trying. 

  1. What is one of the biggest challenges you are facing or trying to solve right now?

Finding qualified employees committed to our vision.

  1. When and where do you tend to get your ideas?

Books, magazines, kids

  1. What are three of your favorite books?
  • Gone With The Wind
  • For the White Folks Who Teach in the Hood...and the Rest of Y'all Too.
  • Mastering the Art of Success
  1. What’s one of your favorite non-profits?

NFTE and then Kyle's Place

  1. If you could collaborate with any group or individual in the world, who would be your top three picks?
  • Any EO member throughout the country/world
  • Sarah Breedlove (While deceased, would have loved to have spent time with the first successful African American woman entreprenuer.)
  • Bill Gates
  1. What would you want to collaborate on with the people/groups you just mentioned?

How to build a successful business, what makes you want to give to non-profits, and how to structure a productive employee culture.

  1. If you were invited to give a TED Talk (or have given one), what would you speak about?

The power of changing your future - regardless of your circumstances.

  1. How do you unwind at the end of a stressful day?

Read and take a 30 minute bath

  1. What do you think your 80-year-old self would tell you right now?

Spend more time with your family while they are still with you. Take more family vacations, spend more quiet time reflecting on how to be more efficient. Don't stay doing something you don't love. 

  1. What do you think your 10-year-old self would be most impressed with about your life right now?

That I help young people find their passion.

  1. What does your creative process entail when you're doing what you do best?

Organizing my thoughts, brainstorming with others, especially when looking for new ideas to create student centric activities. Jot things down, use a vision board. 

  1. If there were more hours in the days, what would you do with them?

Spend more time with my family

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