So one day four years ago I received a message to contact Karen Gillie at Anthis Career Center. She wondered if I’d be willing to let a student interested in entrepreneurship visit me for a job shadow. That student was Zach Zuber, who became one of the founding members of the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab. Zach is now in Bloomington, IN where he stays active in entrepreneurship and interns with Sproutbox.
Zach Zuber in his office at the Innovation Center
after winning a business plan competition
I had the opportunity to visit her entrepreneurship classes a few times to hear the pitches that student teams had prepared for regional competitions. Very impressive.
Karen’s graphics design class teaches skills with Photoshop. Illustrator, InDesign, and more. Their work is fantastic. The class – with some exceptional direction from Karen – took on the project of creating the entire art set for another Innovation Center student company, April Langschied’s Green ABC’s. Check out the fantastic artwork below – I challenge you to distinguish their work from that produced by any design agency! Then head to the iTunes stores for the free Green ABC’s iPad app!
The Green ABC’s is the property of April Langschied – all rights reserved.
Over the years Karen has helped hundreds of students understand – and practice – being entrepreneurial. Whether in entrepreneurship or other classes, her teaching style develops the skills of entrepreneurship – ownership, action, and responsibility.
This ends my series about entrepreneurial teachers, ending it where it started for me four years ago. Perhaps I’ll find more teachers to profile in the future, but for now I’ll just say, “Thanks Karen, for getting it all started! And, of course, for the great job you do every day!”
If only we had proof (or at least an example) that teaching entrepreneurial skills in Middle School leads to entrepreneurship careers later in life. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Well, read on!
I had the pleasure last year of being invited into Joyce Vogely’s Summit Middle School classroom. Summit students were going to be issued laptops. Joyce saw that as an opportunity to teach a little bit of innovation.
She set up a project where the students designed the procedures for how to store, care for, and keep track of the laptops. I came into the classroom to help the students do some brainstorming about their project.
I’m pretty sure they had brainstormed before. Check out how they papered the walls with ideas! They did a great job, and came up with a number of very clever and thoughtful concepts.
But that is just part of the story.
I got to know Joyce in the first place because she taught two students who just graduated from the Innovation Center’s Student Venture Lab program. Graham Bredemeyer and Scott BonAmi, co-founders of Roaring Mouse Innovations, were both taught by Joyce. They later worked together in a Project Lead the Way class, where they cemented a friendship that has resulted in a prospering business.
I say that Joyce helped fuel the fire that is Roaring Mouse. I know the relationship she has with these guys persists. Here she is with Scott at the February Jumpstart260 entrepreneur meetup, an event that Scott and Graham are co-hosting along with Ray Angel.
Thank you, Joyce, for inspiring a generation of young entrepreneurs! I can’t wait to see who else graduates from your classroom to the Fort Wayne startup scene!