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We strive to inspire women leading the future of business here at I Want Her Job. This is why we were so excited to speak with Cecilia Foxworthy, co-founder of Torus Teens, an online tool for connecting teens with afterschool and summer programs with the leaders of our future – teens – in mind.
The idea for Torus Teens came about after Cecilia had the realization that the majority of the free afterschool programs for teenagers were available, and sometimes just around the block, but many of the teens she knew were not even aware of them. So, she made a move to fill the need. Now the idea has blossomed into an organization that is supported by Inc., ImpactLab, Urban Assembly, and A Better Chance, among other organizations.
And it’s this drive to help others that we admire so much. “I just don’t accept that all teenagers don’t get the chance to make themselves who they want to be … and explore those interests,” she says. We already have the resources today to change lives and open the doors for teenagers, but we just need to connect them with the opportunities, people and organizations that will make this happen.
“We have the real potential to move the needle on the achievement gap, which has been widening over the last 30 years,” she says. “We can close that by harnessing programs and methods that are already in existence … We don’t really need more resources, we just need to use them better.”
Learn more about what else drives Cecilia, why she really likes to wonder ‘why’ and more on episode 34 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast.
Topics Discussed In Today’s Show:
- On Our Future: While many of us are doing our best to make a living, build fulfilling lives and care for our communities, Cecilia says it’s also important we keep a keen eye on the next citizens of our world. “Teenagers are the next citizens, immediately, and we need to focus on them, and we will be better off from it,” she says.
- Case In Point: The story of how Cecilia met her technical co-founder, Althea Smith, is a perfect example of whey we all should get off the laptop and attend real world events that interest us.
- Her Early Influences: Although Cecilia was raised in Virginia, her mother was born in Peru, and so while Cecilia grew up, she traveled extensively in South America. Cecilia says it was her mother who taught her to value different cultures and to always ask ‘why’ questions to seek understanding.
- Her ‘Why’ Questions: Why are children required to take English, math and sciences classes? Why are schools structured the way they are? Cecilia has a practice to never take the first answer as the right one. Instead, she says she asks ‘why’ over and over again to truly understand a situation.
- Building For Expansion: During Cecilia’s last startup experience, she says she didn’t build for expansion, and so she faced difficulties when the business started growing. With Torus Teens, “Expansion is baked into the planning,” she says.
- On Living In Bolivia: Cecilia studied adult education in Bolivia for two years. She then finished an MBA in social entrepreneurship.
- Finding A Way: Cecilia could not afford to study in New York City, so, she says, she went to Bolivia for the experience, adventure and studies. By doing this, she was able to afford her education. It just goes to show that there are so many ways you can scrappily test and idea without getting yourself in a difficult financial situation.
- Learn More And Connect: Follow Torus Teens on Facebook and Twitter.
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