Recently TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board (TAB) member Anissa Basu enjoyed the opportunity to interview the pioneering education technology leader Galicia Gordon, founder of the all-in-one learning software platform Leading Learners. She saw educational disparities — and a potential fix, so she launched Leading Learners before she turned twenty years old.
Today, Leading Learners has users from all over the globe and offers a unique educational experience for students, by providing the best, accessible student resources, all in one place. Get to know this inspiring entrepreneur!
What inspired you to start your platform?
Inching onto the last years of high school, I recognized the discrepancies in resources to support students’ learning experiences. I started Leading Learners with the mission of empowering students, specifically, to better discover themselves, through free and accessible resources. Now, the platform’s mission is to support the unheard stories of students with academic struggles and financial barriers. I also think we all have some personal motive for why we do the things we do, and for me, that was the efforts my parents took to ensure my family could reach our highest potential.
Where did you get the idea for Leading Learners?
Two things definitely sparked the idea: the uncertainty that comes with life in your post-academic years and the financial barriers in education. Growing up, my parents spent hundreds of dollars for me to adapt to the circumstances that came with growing up in a multicultural, diverse household. I noticed that it was not only languages that have a learning barrier, but education in itself. I remember distinctly the moment I began pitching the idea of an all-in-one platform for students on the bus to school, then recognizing there are millions of students like myself who are unsure of their post-academic lives, so I decided to launch it and see how much we could do.
What is your target market?
We have a large, diverse community with people of all ages and backgrounds who are trying to improve their learning experiences and outcomes. On a day-to-day basis, we work closely with the educational community — anywhere from students, parents, educators, counselors, and academic advisors.
What did you do before this?
Before launching, I was like the typical student — flipping through the few offerings at school, scouring community board resources, and making my way through school. Like many students today, it takes your own personal efforts to find those internships, programs, and opportunities to build credibility. Over time, I was able to find myself through those experiences.
What’s your background?
Haha, this is something I’m asked quite often. My father is from Galicia in Spain, which is how I got my name, and my mother is from Jamaica. They both grew up in smaller towns before coming to Canada around my age, later tending to my younger brother and I.
What did you study?
In high school, I did a dual immersion program, and now I’m taking a couple of courses on technology, sociology, and social entrepreneurship.
What was one challenge when working on this endeavor?
Initially, I was in my own way. I know this is how many entrepreneurs feel starting off as well. There are initial doubts we have to overcome, or even put to the side, to then propel in the right direction. The ‘what ifs’ was a habit I’ve slowly let go of overtime by reinforcing the necessary trials that come in business to reach that next level.
Where do you see this changing and growing?
I have been working with a mindset coach to focus on self-concept and belief. I believe that the beliefs we hold about ourselves do open up doors for opportunity, and I recommend to everyone I meet to spend time working on potential limiting beliefs that may be in your own way.
What are your goals personally and for the business?
Both for Leading Learners and myself, my two overarching goals will always be global expansion and supporting our community by listening to what they need. We focus on this by putting the tool in the hands of those who need it and continue taking in input on how we can build a better tool in itself.
How do you relax and destress?
It is easy to get engulfed by your work when you can access everything you need online. I relax by allowing myself to have the time to and doing things aside from work that are focused on either of these three things: how I feel about myself, how I’m taking care of my family and friends, and how much time I’m allocating to various areas in my life.
What is one unique thing about your venture?
At Leading Learners, we allow an opportunity for anyone and everyone to get involved. That is what we wanted to prioritize from the beginning — community. Building a community allows you to have a space where people can connect closer to your mission.
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in tech?
Love this — whether an entrepreneur or not, the fear of putting yourself “out there” as a woman is something I learned to get comfortable with. In a practical sense, it is easier to not take leaps of faith, network, or market your idea. The way I solve this is by honestly asking myself where my motives and intentions are. If I have the desire or passion to do something, I always try — no matter the circumstances. You always have a choice — you can take the leap and feel at ease, or not and sit thinking about ‘what could’ve been.’
If you could give high schoolers one bit of advice what would it be?
Though there is truth in the fact that you may not remember everything from your high school years, always try your own personal best. High school is a trial process and launchpad for you to discover where your interests lay, and it is right after high school that you get to dive deeper into them.
Thank you to TAB member Anissa Basu for this interview!
More About TAB
TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board Members take an active leadership role in implementing programs, promoting, and advocating for TechGirlz programs in their communities and nationally. Being only a couple of years older than the audience they serve, they will provide near-peer support and mentorship. TAB provides a supportive environment for members to continue their growth and experience in the technology field.