Experiences in our lives lead us on different paths. These paths often present new challenges, relationships and avenues of learning, each of which help to generate insights that bring awareness to new thinking. Throughout my career of more than 30 years, I have always had a strong interest in the technology industry; however it was not a path I had always planned to take. Instead, technology found me through a random opportunity that helped me find my passion.
As a teenager, I was a typical high school student struggling to find my way and my future. One day, I decided to join a friend who was applying for a job at a semiconductor company by riding with him to the company’s office. Little did I know that this random ride would change my life forever. Out of support for my friend, I decided to submit a job application to the company as well. Unfortunately, my friend was not hired for the position he was seeking, but my application was accepted, and my journey in technology began.
My years as a young assembly line worker on the floor of a large semiconductor manufacturing company introduced me to a new world, which brought new experiences and new knowledge every single day. Among the many lessons I learned, perhaps the most important was discovering how intrigued I was with building and problem solving. Working on a semiconductor assembly line, I had the opportunity to learn to read schematics and to build many different electronic components including various printed circuit boards. Soon I developed an addiction to both learning new material and mastering any and every challenge I encountered.
What I experienced on that assembly line ignited my career, but it also serves as an important reminder for me (both as a parent and technology instructor) of how critical it is to provide opportunities for young minds to be exposed to new and innovative career roles that can spark interests that lead to passions. Over time, I have leveraged my learning experience to develop a deeper understanding of myself, my personal learning style and patterns in my behavior, in order to continue to expand my own interests in my career and to feed my hunger for knowledge and mastery of new challenges.
By taking the time to understand my learning style and behavior patterns, I learned to quickly recognize when I am in need of a new learning environment or intellectual stimulation. Over the past 20 years, I have helped others deepen their understanding of their own learning styles and behavior patterns to support their career development. As part of this process, I teach the importance of stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone, in order to grow self-confidence and achieve goals. If we want our dreams to come true, we must learn to overcome the fears that limit us, like the feeling of uncertainty we encounter when we take risks in order to shift to a new level or path in our journey.
The more I engaged in the practice of helping others develop professionally, the stronger my interest in coaching and the coaching industry became. This culminated into an opportunity that presented itself a few years ago while I attended a conference focused on leadership development. As I looked through the conference topics, one subject in particular caught my attention. It was about breakthroughs in neuroscience research and the implications such research findings have on how we coach leaders. Essentially, a new wave of studies were (and still are) being generated that challenge conventional wisdom for how we navigate and overcome mental obstacles such as stress and change. These studies also introduce a new understanding for how we can think, learn, collaborate with and lead others more effectively.
As I listened to the speaker and learned more about the correlation between neuroscience and coaching, I realized the methods and models being utilized were very familiar to the approaches I had leveraged in my own life and with others I had coached. I could directly relate the stories of success and failure I heard to experiences I had undergone personally. Naturally, I wanted to learn even more, which lead me to invest in earning my certification in brain-based coaching.
I was captivated by the rapid growth in neuroscience research, and even more so by how it related to advancements in technology. I wanted to learn more about the new “brain-based” approaches and practice the methodology so that I could continue my own personal development and become a better leader and coach, thus helping others learn and benefit from this new research as well. I also wanted to connect with others who were applying this new knowledge and see how they were creating positive impact in professional development. I soon began integrating brain-based coaching into programs I was delivering for the professional development of women, in addition to student technology programs I had created.
This led me to embark on a new journey, a journey that would lead me to building a new organization called We Connect The Dots, Inc. (WCTD). WCTD is a not-for-profit organization that helps students uncover their passions while exposing them to new and exciting experiences in innovative careers, specifically within science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). As part of our methodology, we facilitate student learning in a way that encourages a deeper understanding of their individual learning styles, and explores how emotions impact the process of learning, both from a personal and professional level.
As our programs developed, we decided to take an approach to ensure that every session or program we created was built on the research results of brain-based coaching models. This led to the formation of our own brain-based learning model which we use to teach, apply, experience and reflect. In essence, we created a recipe for what we call “STEAM soup”, using brain-based learning as the “spoon” to feed information to very hungry students. This approach resulted in exciting experiential learning programs that teach 21st century workforce skills to adolescent students. Now, three years later, our organization is growing and we have impacted thousands of students across the nation.
As I engaged in building WCTD, my relationships in the coaching and neuroscience industries continued to develop. Through many conversations, I heard powerful stories of organic growth and positive change occurring in classrooms where teachers taught lessons to students using techniques based in brain-based learning. I realized that in order to scale and create the impact we hope to achieve, we would need to support and enable teachers to create the shift in the classroom.
The reality is students can learn more outside of school today than they can in the classroom, mainly due to rapid advancements in technology. This is a disruption to the education industry and it is escalating. The skills students need to sustain themselves in this fast evolving world are very different from what our schools are prepared to teach. Granted, the education system is shifting to meet these disruptions, but for many students it is not happening fast enough. We see the results of this through the number of students who are unemployed today coupled with the increasing rate of dropouts both at the high school and undergraduate levels.
As technology continues to advance opportunities for learning, understanding how to facilitate and empower students to be self-learners is a necessary evolution of our education methodology. It was this realization that led me to establish Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC (LCC). LCC was founded with a mission to use brain-based learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities, where technology is used as a tool for supporting more productive and engaging learning experiences. Understanding more about the brain allows us to facilitate more effective one-on-one and one-to-many interactions that help generate positive and empowering outcomes, supporting both teachers and students in classroom engagements.
This week we launched our website and registration for our first wave of professional development programs which we call "Connections". In this initial launch, we are releasing three programs: Connections Foundations, Connections Coach and finally, our STEAM Coach program.
(1) The core Connections Foundations program will provide participants with the foundation skills for brain based coaching conversations. Participants will come away with the skills and models to engage in more productive conversations and engagements that produce positive outcomes.
(2) Our Connections Coach program provides additional focus on building coaching competencies and includes an assessment to support those looking to build a coaching practice. This program enables participants to walk away with the skills to support goal setting, coaching skills that align with industry competencies and a coaching certificate. Learn more here.
(3) Finally, our STEAM Coach program is designed to support educators looking to build ICT skills incorporated with coaching facilitator skills for teaching in the classroom. Participants develop coaching competencies through the Connections Foundations program and then participate in four days of immersive ICT experiential learning. Participants will come away with the skills to deliver a flipped classroom, the knowledge of how to integrate coding into their classroom, the ability to leverage collaboration tools, and much more. Participates will receive all the tools needed to execute the learning experience when they return to the classroom and a STEAM Coach certificate. Learn more here.
*The STEAM Coach Program also includes a Windows Surface 3 device and Robotics kit.
Over the coming months and into 2016, we will continue to grow our programs for both the corporate and education markets. Stay connected with us through our website and newsletter, and watch for our Yammer community announcements later this year as that begins to unfold.