A college professor once told me I wouldn’t make it through my freshman year. Determined to prove to myself he was wrong, I focused on succeeding—through college and career. From that day, I set my sights on collecting the knowledge, skills, emotional intelligence, and support system needed to reach my goals.
I now champion programs to help tomorrow’s generation do the same. In today’s dynamic global environment, it’s difficult for schools to keep up with which programs to add, how to structure them to meet changing needs, and implementation. They need our assistance.
We can help guide local school systems to focus on curriculum to help students better prepare for life and work roles. School administrators often don’t have the experiences in the business world, and they appreciate the insight. Recently I helped a local international school rethink their high school science classes to stimulate students’ creativity on how environment and industry coexist to better connect with what’s on students’ minds.
We can also help teach the importance of continuously learning. From sports to school and parenting to business, learning is like breathing. It’s automatic and necessary to survive starting at a young age. And it doesn’t stop on graduation day. With lightning speed technological advances, the capability to apply what’s learned and be open to others’ ideas is critical to success. Those of us in the industry need to show the way.
Join me in mentoring and supporting others in our organizations to do the same. By sharing knowledge and insight, we can help them build confidence and make a profound and direct impact on young people’s lives. I distinctly remember a shy young woman from a high school career day who barely raised her head but continuously asked questions. Now she is getting her chemical engineering degree with more confidence than ever. That confidence she had to go after what she wants sticks with me.
As organizational leaders, we can support and contribute to STEM in schools around the world to improve students’ skills at all ages. Junior Achievement, scholarship programs, and other national and regional programs have structures in place. Internship programs at our workplaces will also provide invaluable first-hand experience to high school and college students.
By helping build young men and women’s thirst for knowledge, we will set the path for motivated and innovative people who will continue to make the world a better place.