Amee Joshi | COO of United to Learn

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This week we spend time with Amee Joshi, a passionate advocate for education and issues impacting children and equity.

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Amee Joshi with shoulder length brown hair and a green top

Amee is a passionate advocate for education and issues impacting children and equity. She joined United to Learn in 2019 as the Chief Operations Officer, where she combines this passion with her knowledge of finance and HR. Prior to working at United to Learn, Amee founded and ran Jalsa Foods, a successful salsa company, which she continues to support. Before launching Jalsa, Amee worked in the field of expatriate taxation and global human resources, supporting Fortune 500 companies to manage their international workforces. Amee graduated with a BS degree in Management/Finance from the State University of NY at Binghamton. Amee is an alumni of Leadership ISD, a member of the St. Mark’s School Texas Board of Trustees, former board member of the Southwest Regional Board for the US Fund for UNICEF and a volunteer at various children-focused nonprofits around Dallas. When not working, you can find Amee in the kitchen, on a walk or traveling (when once again permitted!).

 

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] – Amee Joshi
We will lose an entire generation of young learners if they are not given that opportunity, if they’re not given safe schools, if they’re not given the social emotional support they need to get through the trauma they’ve faced.

[00:00:22] – Doug Foulkes
Welcome to The Future of Work, the podcast that looks at, you guessed it, the future of work. It’s brought to you by WNDYR for their blog, Chaos & Rocket Fuel. WNDYR are productivity and human behavior specialists who use technology to help us humans on our digital journey from disruption to transformation. Visit them at WNDYR.com. That’s WNDYR.com. I’m Doug Foulkes. And along with WNDYR CEO, Claire Haidar, we regularly meet up with industry experts and mavericks to get their take on work in the future.

[00:00:56]
This week we look at the future of work and education with passionate advocate for child and equity issues, Amee Joshi. Amee currently is CEO of United to Learn and a past board member of the Southwest Regional Board of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Prior to this, she started a successful salsa company—that’s the food, not the dance—as well as a corporate career in global human resources. Her spare time is spent in her kitchen or on a long walk. Claire, please educate us.

[00:01:28] – Claire Haidar
Amee, it’s so good to have you here with us today. Thank you for taking this hour out of your very, very busy schedule to come and spend time with us. What I’m passionate about chatting to you about and what I’m very much going to be focusing the conversation on with Doug today is around your involvement in education. Why is this something that consumes a lot of your waking hours? And what is it about education that drives you to pour so much into it?

[00:01:56] – Amee Joshi
You know, I truly view education not only as a necessity. I think it’s a basic necessity, as is nutrition and shelter. I think that education is every person’s way to achieve their fullest capacity and to bridge themselves to be their best person. It was certainly true in my family and I can go into a tangent, but my parents were first generation immigrants to this country. And my dad came here on a scholarship to receive a master’s degree. And that one action on his part changed the trajectory of our entire family. So I firmly believe that education can change your trajectory and is a basic necessity for all children.

[00:02:42] – Doug Foulkes
That’s my cue. Amee, nice to meet you.

[00:02:44] – Amee Joshi
You too.

[00:02:46] – Doug Foulkes
Amee, I’m going to ask you to be a bit more specific around education. What initiatives are you currently involved in?

[00:02:52] – Amee Joshi
I have been part of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s regional board in this region for almost a decade now. And obviously a core priority of UNICEF is the health and wellbeing of the world’s children. And education is a primary priority there. Education of all our youth and especially our young girls, who in many cultures aren’t given that opportunity. In addition to my work with UNICEF, I’m a mom. I have two boys. I’m on the board of a private school in Dallas. And I’m also, as of the last year, the Chief Operating Officer at a local non-profit in Dallas called United to Learn.

[00:03:33]
Our mission is really to create relationships between the community and our Dallas Independent School District elementary schools to bridge those opportunity gaps that our youngest learners face in our city. And I take that mission really seriously, especially in Dallas, where 90 percent of our students use the Dallas schools. And of those students, somewhere between 85 and 90 percent live under the poverty line. So there’s a lot of need and there’s a lot that needs to be done in our schools.

[00:04:05] – Claire Haidar
Amee, you said something very significant there. Can you share those stats again? Did you say more than 80 percent live under the poverty line?

[00:04:14] – Amee Joshi
Yes, we have a huge percentage of our Dallas independent schools, are children who are living beneath the poverty line, which is incredible.

[00:04:27] – Claire Haidar
I just got goosebumps. That is a frightening statistic.

[00:04:32] – Amee Joshi
It is a very frightening statistic. And it is a statistic that most people don’t know about in this city. Economically disadvantaged student enrollment. And we have about one hundred and fifty seven thousand students in the Dallas ISD. And of those, between 85 and 90 percent come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. These are pretty high percentages for a city that is wealthy, for a city that is growing and is attracting so much wonderful corporate relocation, to still have a school district that’s struggling with those numbers.

[00:05:09] – Claire Haidar
Wow, wow, wow. Having been born and raised in South Africa, naturally, Doug and his wife Tracy, are still living there. That’s a stat you hear in Africa.

[00:05:21] – Doug Foulkes
I was going to say exactly the same thing, actually. It sounds very much like something we get on the news over here in South Africa

[00:05:28] – Amee Joshi
It goes back to the history. It goes back to equity. It goes back to, you know, the flight that people talk about, suburban flight. Our urban, large urban districts tend to be populated by our most economically disadvantaged student body. And those districts tend to be where we invest the least resources. And that is a problem, obviously, and that’s something I’m so passionate about and I feel like whatever we can do as citizens to help our schools improve, to help our students have an equal opportunity for success. Like your family and mine did.

[00:06:08] – Claire Haidar
Do you mind, for the sake of the non-US audience to just explain how the school system is structured? For example, what is an independent school district and how is that different from a private school, for example?

[00:06:21] – Amee Joshi
In the US, a public school is a school that is government funded. You do not pay to attend. Every student in the United States has the right to a free education, and that is your public school district. So depending on where you live, your district may be large, like Dallas, where there is, I believe, two hundred and fifty schools within our district housing these hundred and fifty seven thousand students. Then you have your parochial schools and then you have your private or independent schools.

[00:06:54]
So a city like Dallas, when you look at our history, we have some of the best independent schools in the state and in the country, in Dallas. We also have Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD), and that, as I said, I mean, it’s one of the largest in the country. We struggle because our students are not reading at grade level in the third grade, which is a North Star metric at United to Learn. So, if a child is reading at grade level in the third grade, they are much more likely to proceed through high school and continue on to college.

[00:07:30]
So it is a metric that we look at every year and that we take very seriously. And when you’re setting our youngest learners up without the opportunity, without bridging that opportunity gap, giving them the building, giving them the safety. And then you weave into that conversation social and emotional learning and the trauma that so many of our youngest learners have experienced and how that impacts their ability to learn and what we need to do better to allow them to learn in a safe environment.

[00:08:02] – Doug Foulkes
I am going to move the conversation forward a little bit. Amee, WNDYR, as you know, is a future of work company and we’re talking about the future workforce. It’s a whole generation. Considering what you’ve just spoken to us about, what does excite you about the generation that’s about to enter into the workforce? Is there anything?

[00:08:25] – Amee Joshi
There is. I’m always optimistic and I’d like to feel optimistic about our youth today. I think that when I look at the vast majority of our students today in high school—so, through United to Learn, we have a fellows program and we do a lot of tutoring from high school students down to the youngest learners. And the impact that those high school students want to make is remarkable. They really do understand the world in a different way than I think older generations did. We’re in such a global world. Social media has its negative sides. But in this instance, I think that it’s easier for them to see and understand what’s going on in the world around them. They can recognize inequities. And I really, truly feel that they want to make a difference. And by seeing the change and wanting to be part of that change, I see a bright future.

[00:09:19] – Claire Haidar
Amee, flipping the question to the other side of the coin on this one. You’ve shared the positive. Is there anything about this young upcoming working generation that you’re really concerned about?

[00:09:31] – Amee Joshi
I would say my biggest concern is the opportunity gap. It’s those inequities. It’s finding a way to bridge those students who don’t have the resources to be in a place where they get an education of value and where they can start to give back. I think it’s core critical that we start to address the baseline issues at all levels of education. And that means starting to talk about inequities. And it’s interesting. I know, Doug, you’re in South Africa and a lot of what’s happening in our society right now probably seems reflective to you. But I think that we do we need to start to address what has transpired in our nation through the lens of education to ensure that we’re creating equity. Because if we don’t, we will lose an entire generation of young learners if they are not given that opportunity, if they’re not given safe schools, if they’re not given the social emotional support they need to get through the trauma they’ve faced.

[00:10:37]
If we can’t get them reading by third grade, there’s key markers, scientifically. Research has proven that there’s key markers that we need to meet. And if there’s one concern I have is that, as a nation, I don’t think we’re addressing those markers and seeing the changes that we need to see as quickly as we need to see them.

[00:10:57] – Claire Haidar
I want to dig into this a little bit to get it as practical as possible to the actual impact on the future of work. If we’re looking at a generation, like a group of people just in the Dallas area, 80 percent living below the poverty line, of that 80 percent, because of their home environments, how many of them are not meeting that critical metric of being able to read at grade level by grade three?

[00:11:27] – Amee Joshi
I believe that as a district right now, if I look at our economically disadvantaged student body, only thirty percent—thirty-seven percent or so are reading at grade level.

[00:11:37] – Claire Haidar
OK, so my next question then again, another frightening stat that you’ve shared there with us, is that remaining six-odd-plus percent: what becomes of these children, what happens? So, you’re saying that they most likely drop out of high school and don’t end up going to college? What happens to them then? Where are they eventually finding work in the most meager form, if that is the trajectory?

[00:12:05] – Amee Joshi
I think that what you’ll often see—and listen, not everybody should be going to college. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s the only path to success. One of the things that Texas has done, and this is a little bit on a tangent, but I think it’s important, in I believe it was in the last congressional session, Texas passed something called “House Bill Three”. And what that bill did was start to put funding in the schools with the highest needs. They’re starting to provide opportunity to schools financially when their students are more successful.

[00:12:38]
So one of the initiatives through there was something called career and college and military readiness. So Dallas, as a district, and I believe most districts throughout the state at this point are working towards maintaining these goals so that every student who graduates from a Dallas high school will be either career or college or military readiness. And on the career path, they’re hoping that they can, during high school, have these students start to prepare for the electrician exams or the plumbing exams, get a true trade or skill that will earn them a living wage. And I think that’s something that we haven’t done enough of. I think that we’ve let those learners go and say, you’re not college ready. But there’s a whole world out there for people who can earn a living wage if they’re given the technical skills to succeed.

[00:13:33]
I think the future of work is saying there is work for everybody. It is not always college. Our military is always in need of qualified young men and women. I think that there’s a path for everybody. I think that our role in education is to allow a student, allow a child to find their path.

[00:13:52] – Claire Haidar
I’m going to ask where where is the reality that we know the working world is becoming increasingly automated? Where is that conversation factoring into the education conversation, if at all?

[00:14:08] – Amee Joshi
I think that depending on the school that you look at, I think that some are far more highly performing. Schools are doing that amazingly well. You’re seeing collaborative space. You’re seeing maker spaces. You’re seeing students be allowed to be more collaborative and creative than they ever have been. And that then yields, in my mind, to these amazing, innovative solutions that we need for the future. So I think that’s one route. I think that when you’re talking about the learners who are in these schools, in these environments where we need to we need to really shore up what we’re doing with them when they’re little. I don’t know if they’ll be ready to tackle that technology by 15 if they’re not supported from three to 15.

[00:14:58] – Claire Haidar
It’s one thing to be like teaching this generation skills to have them career, military, or college ready. But are they the right skills? Because we can’t deny anymore that work is becoming automated. And it’s not just some ethereal concept out there that you see in Sci-Fi movies anymore. It’s real. It’s happening. And we know this because we’re the company that’s working with companies to do this, you know? And so I just I think that’s where our two nerves actually meet each other, is that, yes, they need to be taught skills, but are they the right ones?

[00:15:36] – Amee Joshi
I one hundred percent agree. And are they ready? Are we creating a workforce that’s ready to tackle those challenges of technology?

[00:15:45] – Doug Foulkes
My question to you, Claire, is will you always need a plumber? Because Amee’s comment earlier about tradesmen. I’m originally from the UK, and when I left school, I went into the military for 11 years and had a technical trade. But then carpenters, bricklayers, painters, and decorators, all those trades that the UK slowly closed down at the end of last century, they’re trying to bring them back, a lot of them. And also in South Africa, there’s very few trade apprenticeships. You know, the traditional old apprenticeship really hasn’t existed for a long time here. And the government, again, is saying, well, we’ve got all these people that aren’t going to college. How can we utilize them? It’s almost like that still has to exist for a certain amount of time until everything is automated.

[00:16:34] – Claire Haidar
This is actually a question that I’m perpetually researching because I’m so interested in seeing where automation is happening. So right now, if you were to look at the spectrum of automation where the highest level of automation—and this is not new, this has been happening for the past thirty, forty years already—is it started in manufacturing and that was where the biggest level of automation was replacing human jobs.

[00:17:05]
You can see the shift actually moving away from that now. And what I would call knowledge work is actually starting to be the largest area where automation is happening now. Those trade areas are actually almost untouched at this point in time. Automation is coming in in certain areas there, but it’s definitely not prolific in any shape or form at this point in time. So if I answer your question through a 2020-2025 lens, I would say that yes, plumbers are critical. They actually—you know what you’ve mentioned about the shortages in the UK and South Africa, it’s actually a global issue. Asia is facing very similar issues. The broader Australasia is facing very similar issues. If you just look at how Australia has recently had to change their immigration policies, they’re pretty much only allowing tradespeople in at this point in time.

[00:18:03]
Will that still be the case post-2025? I’m not so sure. I think as we’ve seen automation move from manufacturing into knowledge work, so people sitting at a desk every day, I think we’re going to see it shifting into those areas. And that’s why it hits such a deep nerve on me, because we can’t pretend that it’s not happening. It is happening and it’s happening at a frightening rate. And in many cases, people don’t even realize that it’s happening. They’re going into work and they don’t realize how much automation they’re actually surrounded by.

[00:18:33] – Doug Foulkes
Amee, we’re going to go back into the education system. If you had a magic wand, that old one, what would you like to change in the system to enhance the world of work in the future?

[00:18:43] – Amee Joshi
I think I would really want to see, globally that every child is being given an opportunity for a safe, healthy learning environment, where they know that they’re cared for, where they’re told that they can achieve, and where they see a future.

[00:19:04] – Claire Haidar
Can you get more specific, like what is the picture in your mind of that? Is it a traditional school? Is it more than that? Is it less than that?

[00:19:17] – Amee Joshi
I think it really depends on where you’re looking in the world. I think that if I look at it very microscopically for Dallas, I think it’s a school. I think it’s enhancing relationships in school. I think it’s having our community invest in our schools. I think that could work in an urban district like this, where it’s surrounded by wealth, and surrounded by corporations who have the means and the heart to give. I think it could work. I think if I take that lens and I broaden it and I look at us as a world and I look at the inequities in education—there’s inequities in the United States that we’ve talked about, but we didn’t even touch upon what girls in Madagascar go through to go to school. What I would love to see is globally that there’s an initiative. And I know it’s easy to say with a magic wand, I guess, but that there would be an initiative to ensure that every every child has the opportunity to have a place to go.

[00:20:18]
And I do view it as a physical building. And that’s funny to say, in the world of covid, when most of our world is not in a building. I unfortunately think that we’ll see a price for this isolation in the mental health of our population of our youngest kids. School is as much about academics as it is interaction, as it is about learning how to be with as it is about being emotionally ready to be there. So I would love to see a world where every child has an opportunity to attend a school, to be in a building. To learn novel skills, yes. I don’t think that the way we teach today is the way we need to teach, I agree. I think the world is changing too quickly. I think we need to be able to be nimble. We need to shift our focus. We need to train our students on what they need to know to be successful in this new world. You think about Generation Unlimited that UNICEF is working through. It’s so necessary, right? We want our youngest learners to survive to the point that they can be successful in a career path and earn a fair wage.

[00:21:30]
Generation Unlimited is a global initiative being run through various world leaders, through corporational support. And UNICEF is just a piece of this initiative that is really providing opportunities for our teenagers to find a skill set that will help them survive in this global world, to really allow them employment opportunities, to train them in skills that are needed today. To your point, Claire, where things are being automated. We need to use technology and for people, especially coming out of the environments where they have not had access to technology before. It’s core critical.

[00:22:21] – Claire Haidar
Yeah, I think the one thing that I’d like to specifically highlight about that program, which I just love and I love the way all the amazing minds behind this program are actually pushing it forward is the fact that they’ve made it so accessible. So, if you look at the way it’s bundled and packaged in that, what they call, that field learning pack, they’ve essentially brought those what we call design thinking skills, which is, again, one of those critical skills for the future. And they’re literally going into places that potentially don’t even have water in them, you know, running water in them, places that are really, really isolated. And they’re taking these learning kits into those environments and teaching those kids that you don’t have to get yourself to America or to any one of these other so-called first world countries to be able to get anywhere in the world. Like, there is so much opportunity right where you are and just equipping them with that, because I think that specific program within the Greater Generation Unlimited program is such a game changer because as you say, it’s leveling the playing field because it’s teaching somebody in their environment to solve problems right then and there.

[00:23:45]
Amee, moving on, I want to turn slightly to academia, but at the same time make it practical. I’d love to hear from you because naturally, in your role at United to Learn, you really have to be delving into the research. What are you reading that is not necessarily public knowledge at this point in time, but that’s definitely emerging as very strong research evidence? And how should educational frameworks be adapting based on the research that’s coming out?

[00:24:17] – Amee Joshi
I’ve mentioned a few times already: trauma and social emotional learning. Campus learning environments are key. This is all data driven. To understand how a student learns, you need to know what they’re going through. You need to put yourselves in their shoes and really provide that emotional support. I think that’s something that historically schools haven’t done, and I think we’re starting to understand the importance of that.

[00:24:46]
Another area that unfortunately—I guess, or fortunately. I would say it’s a silver lining of COVID, has been that inequities such as technology have become glaring. And when we look at just broadband, the opportunity to access Wi-Fi, it’s so spotty. Not every student can even learn from home because they don’t have the opportunity to have a computer or have connectivity to do that.

[00:25:14]
I think that these opportunity gaps and addressing these issues and using technology as a supplemental resource will be a game changer to level the playing field.

[00:25:24] – Amee Joshi
One thing I would say is I think that as important as technology is, I think that especially for our youngest learners, there’s no substitute for a teacher–student relationship. I think that technology is a great add on. I think that during COVID, we’ve had to rely on it a lot more. But there’s something about a student and a teacher being together that I think is invaluable.

[00:25:48]
I couldn’t agree more. And I always go back into my own childhood. I was eleven years old and my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The location that it was in her brain, they genuinely couldn’t tell us what the outcome of the operation would be. It was like, it has to come out, but because of where we’re going to be working in the brain, we don’t know what the after effects of the operation will be. And that entire period of our lives, which spanned about eighteen months from just prior to when they discovered it to the point that she had the operation, came out, and was rehabilitated, was an extremely traumatic period in my life. And it genuinely impacted my work because I was so stressed about my mom and whether she was going to live and survive and things like that.

[00:26:40]
And one of the most memorable days in my entire school history was I was looking at the maths on the page and I just couldn’t do it. I literally could do it. My brain could not engage with the numbers no matter how hard I tried. And my teacher actually came and she knelt next to my desk. And she said, let’s take this one sum at a time. And because of that, I got through it.

[00:27:09]
But I genuinely believe if she didn’t do that with me, if she didn’t treat me like with so much gentleness and so much tenderness in that moment, and she did it multiple times over multiple days and weeks in that year when she saw me hitting that wall, I would have failed and I most probably would have become one of those kids that just go on to believe that they can’t do maths and didn’t ever take it further. And I think to myself, like yes, I was going through a family trauma, but I was in a loving family and I was in a loving school. And then you looking at the kids that we’re talking about and I’m so far on the other end of the spectrum there, because theirs is just consistent, persistent trauma over and over and over again.

[00:27:59] – Amee Joshi
Absolutely right. And a loving family is so important. And it’s not that families without means aren’t loving, but it’s just harder. It’s harder when you’re working night and day. One of my favorite questions that’s asked often when I’m on meetings is “recall your favorite memory from your primary school years.” And inevitably people remember the names of their teachers from pre-K and Kinder all the way through third, fourth grade. And if you ask me my high school teachers names, I probably wouldn’t know them, but those teachers you have when you’re at that developmental age of six, seven, eight, they mean so much to you and they can really shape you and make a difference in your future trajectory.

[00:28:49] – Claire Haidar
Amee, I’m going to throw a wildcard question in here, which isn’t in the planned questions. JALSA tell us about that. It’s so, so completely opposite and different to education. How did that come about?

[00:29:05] – Amee Joshi
I needed to mix things up, I guess. Prior to even my engagement with education, I had a corporate career that worked in the international space. And I took a break from that for a while when my boys were about eight years old and I decided I wanted to do something different. So my mother-in-law actually had this recipe for salsa that she would make all the time. And it was a favorite with families and friends and everyone just loved it. And for years everyone said you should sell this stuff. I thought they were crazy because I had a real job and I wasn’t going to do that.

[00:29:46]
And then as I was sitting idle and my boys were in school, I thought, well, how hard is it? What does it take to start a business? And, you know, Texas is one of those states in the US where entrepreneurship is easier. They really encourage us to start businesses. So I lined myself up with a copacker, who’s somebody who takes your family recipes and makes it into a formula and manufacturers for you in twelve hundred gallon containers.

[00:30:14]
And, it was really quite the learning experience. I enjoyed every moment of it. I’ve learned so much about the food industry, about manufacturing, about retail, about sales. Developing my own website really did everything. We grew to be in eighty-five retail outlets over the course of a few years and, unfortunately, hit a road bump primarily when Whole Foods was bought out. And they really started inspecting their shelves and not keeping all these small local brands out there. And that really interrupted our distribution and one thing led to another. And obviously the pandemic has not helped. So we really went from eighty-five stores down to a retail presence of none and are now selling online only.

[00:31:04]
We’re at getjalsa.com and we do manufacture smaller batches now. But it really is such a fun business model and something so as you said, so different than where my interests and passions have always lied that I really appreciated the opportunity. And as a mom, I thought it was probably one of the best things I could do to teach my boys about perseverance and working hard. And when things don’t work, that’s OK. Not everyone’s going to be one hundred percent successful with what they try, but you have to try. And I thought that was a great message for them too.

[00:31:41] – Claire Haidar
One of the biggest myths out there is that entrepreneurship is a talent that some people have and some people don’t. And it absolutely is not. It is a skill that can be taught. And research proves that. You know, if you go into the research around people who are taught entrepreneurial skills, they go on to build very successful businesses if they choose to apply those skills. And again, it’s one of those things that I’m really passionate about. I think it’s something that we need to be teaching school children more of.

[00:32:10] – Doug Foulkes
Now, this is interesting Amee, because as a mother, how are you guiding your children to navigate this new world of work? And please, if you want to bring in the salsa again, you can do that.

[00:32:22] – Amee Joshi
I have one who is already in university and he is studying engineering, which to me is, not only for him as a person, exactly where he should be, that is his skill, that is his talent. I think that he is a problem solver. But when you look at the future of work, I think he is aligning himself with not only his skills, but also with what I think he will be tasked to do in the future. So as a family unit, my husband and I have always encouraged our boys to follow their passion, follow their skill, and if that’s becoming a teacher and following a skill in education, because you’re really good at that.

[00:33:07]
And my younger son spends actually a lot of time in the education space. He teaches mixed martial arts karate to special needs adults and children. He spends a lot of time in inner-city schools supporting teachers there. So he really has a gift with the youth, with working with kids. For me as a mom, more than navigating them to the new world, I’ve always said I want to navigate them to fulfillments, to happiness. I think that their world will be best if they are whole and happy and healthy. Mentally, physically. And doing something that they enjoy.

[00:33:47]
I recognize that that statement also comes from a place of privilege. They have been afforded some of the finest schools. They come from a very stable, loving, fulfilled household. So it’s easier for me to make those kinds of aspirational statements about their future. As a mom to millions of children in the world, if I put that hat on, which I often feel, my heart is just as strong for every every child in this world. I think that they all deserve a chance and even for them, I want mental and physical health and happiness first and foremost, and then to navigate the world of work.

[00:34:30]
I think a primary term for me is it’s confidence and skill. It’s ensuring that you’re confident with your abilities I think so often, especially women, feel that they can’t do. Claire, you were saying you would have thought you were always bad at math. That, to me, is so hard to stomach. I think every student is capable of whatever they want to be capable of if they’re given that nurturing, that teaching and that confidence.

[00:35:00] – Claire Haidar
Amee, we’re coming to the end of our conversation. And I’ve always sad when these conversations end because they’re just so good. My closing question is very much a practical one. What do you feel are some of the blind spots where people actually getting involved right now could really make a difference and could really shift things?

[00:35:21] – Amee Joshi
I think that if I look at blind spots, I would say it’s the statistic we started with. That 90 percent of students attending our public schools are coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the lack of resources for that disproportionate number of students that are living in poverty has created cohort after cohort of students that are not prepared for their studies and are not prepared for the future of work. Just that statement, I think, speaks to the blindspots. I think that in terms of the listening community getting involved in Dallas specifically and very imminent, there is a bond that needs to be passed with this vote. So please vote. The bond is significant and it will go towards helping the Dallas school buildings. So that’s my very immediate ask of people here.

[00:36:20]
If I take that conversation to a global level, there are so many blind spots, I think, because it’s even Claire, you and I who have such in-depth knowledge through UNICEF of what happens around the globe, there’s so much we don’t know. I encourage everybody to read and to learn and to listen. There are ways to make an impact. And it’s not always financial. You know, there’s tutoring needs. And in this world of technology, you can tutor a student anywhere. You can be a mentor to a student anywhere. We actually, during the summer through United to Learn, did a career and college video series, which was so well received. And we have a YouTube channel now of all of these amazing videos that are meant to encourage students to go into various fields as career options. So to me, that would be my ask, is get involved, understand what’s happening in your local district, understand what’s happening where you are, and make an impact on a student’s life because it could truly change their trajectory.

[00:37:25] – Claire Haidar
Amee, I love that video idea.

[00:37:27] – Doug Foulkes
Sorry, Amee, what is the YouTube channel?

[00:37:29] – Amee Joshi
United to Learn. And we have amazing videos out there. And if you’d like to submit a video, just reach out and we will let you know how to get it loaded up there. But, yeah, we’re just really, you know, it’s a great way during quarantine to get people engaged. And the fun part about that was actually the entire effort was coordinated by a high school student.

[00:37:47] – Claire Haidar
Amee, thank you so much for your time today. This has genuinely been a very rich and good conversation.

[00:37:54] – Amee Joshi
I have so enjoyed it. Thank you. Thank you for letting me talk about what I’m so passionate about. I really enjoyed chatting with both of you.

[00:38:01] – Doug Foulkes
Thank you, Amee. Thank you from my side, from the tip of Africa. So nice to connect with you and to hear your thoughts on the subject of education.

[00:38:10] – Amee Joshi
Thank you.

[00:38:11] – Doug Foulkes
Amee Joshi, a passionate advocate for education locally in Texas as well as worldwide. Just a reminder, for more information about WNDYR and the integration services they supply, you can visit their website. That’s WNDYR.com. And so from me Doug Foulkes and Chaos & Rocket Fuel, stay safe and we’ll see you soon.