Beth Schmidt

Beth Schmidt

Job Title
Founder and Executive Chairman
Company
Wishbone.org
University
Middlebury College
Loyola Marymount
Corps Year: 
2007
Corps Region: 
Los Angeles

Unrest at Beth’s placement school meant she needed to be innovative with her lessons to break through the distractions. When she asked students to research programs that matched their passions, they became incredibly engaged. That year she ran a marathon and raised money to send seven of her students to the programs they wrote about. The impact this had on her students was incredible, and she knew she wanted to do this on a larger scale. She founded Wishbone.org, which gives low-income students access to great summer programs that inspire them to redefine their future and pursue their passions. Beth is a Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellow, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a Bluhm/ Helfand Social Innovation Fellow, and was celebrated twice on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for her work in education. She was honored by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Shaper.” In 2014, she was honored on the GOOD 100 list of top "people pushing the world forward through doing."

Career Path

Middlebury College: Mentor Program
Beth first experienced educational inequity while mentoring in college. Her student was bright and eager to learn, but had few teachers who pushed her. She wasn’t getting the education she deserved.
Teach For America: Los Angeles Corps
Beth’s students excelled when researching programs they were passionate about. She raised money so some could attend. This sparked the idea for her future startup.
Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellowship
To help develop her idea, Beth participated in a year-long educational, networking, and leadership program dedicated to the cultivation of high-technology, high-growth, and high-impact companies.
Founder and Executive Chairman, Wishbone.org
Wishbone works to eliminate the opportunity gap by sending low-income students to high-quality summer programs, inspiring them to redefine their futures and follow their passions.
Education Portfolio Manager, Emerson Collective
Beth leads grant making efforts for a portfolio of partnerships with nonprofit entrepreneurs and organizations focused on improving outcomes for students and advancing broader social justice efforts.

Q & A

Q
What influenced you to pursue a career related to education?
A

Growing up, I benefited from attending great schools and was encouraged to pursue my personal passion: competitive figure skating. I realized how important a well-rounded education is, and once I became aware that so many students don’t have access to this, I wanted to get involved.

Q
How did your teaching experience lead you to become the founder of a start-up?
A

During the corps, my students became really engaged when they were able to research programs related to their passions. I raised money so that some students could attend these programs, and the outpouring of support made me realize that I could turn this into something that would benefit many more.

Q
What skills from the classroom have you used in leading your own organization?
A

In my classroom and in my organization, students come first. There are many similarities between teaching and building an organization. You must be bold, set ambitious goals, invest people, and help them develop. You must innovate and change your approach based on challenges and opportunities.

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