What is in a brand?

How does a brand take you forward and how does it affect your audience and your ability to succeed? As an entrepreneur your brand is everything. It determines your success or failure in business and it takes time to build. For some, it can be an overnight phenomenon; for others, it can be an ongoing struggle. Part of the creative aspect of being an entrepreneur is building a brand with out-of-the-box thinking and by seeking ways to differentiate yourself from the “pack.”

Our beginnings

When Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC (LCC) was founded just over four years ago, there was not a lot of initial thought about the brand, as we started with a simple focus: Sustainability for our nonprofit organization, We Connect the Dots (WCTD). The nonprofit had already built a valuable brand by the time LCC was established. WCTD built a global brand within the first three years.

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At LCC, we knew what the focus of our work would be, but the name was an afterthought. Everyone to whom we spoke said, “Keep it simple, wait until you have a better sense of who you are just in case you pivot.” And pivot we did. Where we began is very far from where we are today, yet we circled around again and pivoted once more. This is common among startups, shifting as a result of an expanded opportunity, or a failure that opens a new opportunity. Startups sometimes throw darts to see what sticks.

We were founded to create social impact to support educators in teaching the skills necessary for today’s modern workforce. A workforce continuously disrupted by technology innovation. LCC works within schools and businesses, providing professional development that incorporates coaching training, 21st Century Learning Design, Project-Based Learning, Computer Science, and the integration of technology skills. Our efforts have enabled funding to provide the resources necessary to support and sustain WCTD. Impacting thousands of students each year, and helping educators build sustainable skills to lead their students to successful careers.

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Our new name is born

Today, our organization is taking a leap into a new brand that we are excited to share with you. Nebula Academy is our new DBA for LCC. Creating a brand for the organization is no easy undertaking. We wanted to ensure that the brand made sense to our team and to the customers we serve. It had to have a look and feel that those engaging with us would be just as excited about seeing as we are to share it with them.

As we thought about the brand and the name that we had selected, it was unanimous that the emotion we felt for “Nebula Academy” was exciting. It represents a beautiful, majestic site to see—one that allows everyone the opportunity to be in awe of its colors and what it stands for, “Where stars are made”. The more we began to speak with others about the new brand, the more energized we became as a company, ready for the next push forward.

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Our logo designer Nic Leask, our own in-house STEAM Coach instructor, and AWS Instructor, wanted to make sure we incorporated an Icon logo. Icon logos are key to gaining quick brand recognition and familiarity. When people recognize your brand, you have accomplished deepening it for visual recognition. Our design turned out so amazing that we can’t wait to begin creating marketing ideas about how to leverage the new logo and icon to continue to build brand awareness and the impact our organization is making to support positive education transformation.

 Please share with us your thoughts, and comments, what do you think of our new brand “Nebula Academy”?

Our new mission statement:

Nebula Academy’s mission is to reignite the passion for learning and for teaching in today’s continually disruptive education and workforce development industries. We achieve these objectives by leveraging tools and resources that support today’s modern learner. Founded in 2015 and based in Syosset, New York, Nebula Academy, which is a DBA of Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC, specializes in STEAM and Computer Science education through Coaching, Professional Development, Team Building and Collaboration, both in person and online. With our nonprofit We Connect the Dots (WCTD), we select, by way of research and application, technology platforms for workforce development that are used worldwide by nearly all 21st century businesses. Nebula Academy (Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC) is a New York state-approved provider of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE). For more information, please call 631-468-7477 or visit https://lauriecarey.com

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Young Women in STEAM: How Experiential Learning Opens Doors for Young Women in STEAM Careers.

I recently had the pleasure of delivering a youth Robotics program, and I was inspired by two young female participants in particular.  A 14 year-old middle school student and a college student, whom is aspiring to become a math teacher, worked together as a team for five days to learn about Robotics.  What I observed during their time together was a strong interest in learning and their ability to overcome obstacles to reach their goals.  They came each day looking forward to one project in particular, which involved building a Robotic Arm using servos, brackets, an Arduino board, and lots of inputs/outputs and wires.  The task at hand involved following a detailed instruction set and later testing their finished product by using Arduino IDE software with the Robotic Arm to engage the servos and maneuver the Arm.

What I observed brought me back to a time in my career when I worked on a manufacturing assembly line - building printed circuit boards and electronic components.  I was 18 years old, and the assembly line crew of over 60 people was predominately female.  I was the youngest and least experienced on the line, but I loved working with schematics and building the assembly kits that I was tasked with.  That job is what created my interest in the technology industry and is what spiraled me into my career of over 30 years. As I watched these two young women, I saw and felt what I had experienced on the assembly line…the energy and excitement of building something with your own hands and then watching it come to life. The feeling of accomplishment expressed by both young women could be seen and felt by everyone in the room.

The science behind all of the energy created lies in the neurochemicals that were generated and how that impacts the brain over time. Those neurochemicals are what motivate a student to learn more and build the confidence in their own abilities to stretch outside of their comfort zone and build on that learning.  This one program, and how it enabled a 14 year-old young woman to foresee what might be possible for her future and how much fun being challenged can be is powerful. Even after multiple failures, she persevered in order to experience the sense of accomplishment in shaping something with her own hands.  With each of her failures, I watched the frustration on her face, the anxiety of realizing where she went wrong, and the emotion of what it felt like to repeat her mistakes.  The realization of how those mistakes created a stronger understanding of what she was creating and how it all worked was her “ah ha” moment.  Without each of those failures, the entire project would have had a very different end result. 

Having this opportunity to be “in the moment” with this small group of students, it helped me validate what I already knew.  When we create learning experiences, we need to engage all of our senses and allow for the ability to fail again and again.  However, we need to be sure we explain the value of failure and that we also create the motivation to continue towards success.

When students engage in learning experiences where there is autonomy to explore and where the learning process is facilitated, what you see and feel not only energizes the students but the facilitator as well. Facilitating, as opposed to traditional teaching models, can run counter to what we are accustomed to and feel comfortable with in a classroom. That bias is extremely difficult to change; not until we experience the difference between teaching and facilitating and understand the science behind when it is more appropriate to facilitate versus teach can we develop new approaches that create greater value long term.  This transformation in our own thinking is called neuroplasticity, and in todays' disruptive world where knowledge is expanding at such a rapid rate the teacher becomes a student and in many cases the student becomes the teacher. Embracing this new world requires everyone to learn together and to allow students to be a part of the learning process.

It is important for educators to have a basic understanding of how and why people learn, and knowledge of brain-based learning can help us more effectively facilitate student learning. By creating active learning experiences for our students, we create classroom environments with the right recipe for learning and long-term retention and growth.

With the right recipe for learning through the understanding of neuroscience, we can inspire many young women to engage in STEAM careers. Through that effort we need to ensure that our future teachers have the same opportunities to experience the possibilities, and to bring that energy into our classrooms.

You can be a part of shaping the next generation of women in STEAM, creating that "ah ha" moment for more students by supporting We Connect The Dots. Our programs place students at the center of the learning experience, driving their own outcomes and learning together. To learn more about the Robotics program and how you can help be a part of the change visit http://we-connect-the-dots.org

To learn how Laurie Carey Consulting, LLC supports We Connect The Dots, Inc. through Robotics training programs for schools and STEAM Learning Kits visit http://LaurieCarey.com/STEAM-Learning-Kits

References:

Doyle, T. (2011b, November). The one who does the work does the learning. Symposium conducted at the Lilly Conference on College Teaching, Oxford, OH.

Flagel, S. B., Clark, J. J., Robinson, T. E., Mayo, L., Czuj, A., Willuhn, I.,… Akil, H. (2011). A selective role for dopamine in stimulus-reward learning. Nature, 6, 469 (7328), 53-7.

 

 

Disruption, Bias, and Diversity: Where Do You Fit In?

Laurie Carey Consulting CEO, Laurie Carey, recently joined journalist and innovative problem solver, Devin Thorpe, to discuss how we can be better communicators, thinkers, and professionals in a fast-paced, technology-dependent world. By disrupting the status quo and diversifying - not only in our professional workplace but also in our personal relationships - we can benefit from differing perspectives, fostering innovation, and positive change. 

In her endeavors in both the for-profit and nonprofit arenas, Laurie has taught students, teachers, administrators, and other working professionals strategies to work and communicate in brain-friendly ways that benefit their relationships, education, and businesses. 

 

Some of the methods for brain-friendly communications which Laurie shares in her interview are the foundations for her consulting practice and the pedagogical framework for We Connect The Dots' educational programs. 

Overcoming Brain Bias: Brain bias occurs without conscious thought and affects the decisions you make every day. It can be a blockage preventing you from making more positive relationships in your professional or personal life, or it can prevent you from learning something new. Laurie can often be heard using the words "getting uncomfortable to get comfortable" or encouraging people to stretch themselves. Though it can be difficult or uncomfortable at first, setting goals outside your comfort zone is a way to develop new skills and advance further than was previously thought possible. Though we create our biases over a long period of time, conscious thinking and actions can reshape the way we execute decisions and eliminate brain bias from our daily lives.

Diversity and Innovation: We live in a diverse world, where people of differing ethnicities, religions, and values shape our society. Companies and other professional workplaces spend huge sums of money in order to teach people how to work in a diverse environment because leaders have begun to realize that a blending of different perspectives, diverse mindsets, and ideas is a direct path to innovation. We can promote diversity by simply being open to the idea and creating a space in which to allow for the sharing of different values and ideas. 

Disruption is an Engine of Positive Change: Technology continues to disrupt our workplaces, schools, and communities in a myriad of ways, and the trend of late is that it happens more and more rapidly. Industries that cannot navigate or mitigate disruption to their systems are doomed, but the ones that can are the ones that create positive change. As Laurie likes to say, "You can either be disruptive, or be disrupted." What you choose can determine your future.