Anu Bidani is the CEO of STEM MINDS and Co-CEO of EdTech Hive, both companies that focus on empowering youth to become fearless leaders by developing agility and a love of learning through STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). STEM MINDS’ mission is to bring the best in learning experiences to youth to create #FearlessLearners. Bidani believes in creating future leaders, game changers, and problem solvers to build a better, more agile society for future generations. She is a passionate innovator, leader, revenue generator, and an entrepreneur with solid experience as a corporate executive where she witnessed the evolution and impact of accelerated technology changes on business processes. She is also a SHEEO activator and supports other women entrepreneurs as they follow their passions. Bidani has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, an MBA from Dalhousie University, and has completed the High Potential Leadership program from Harvard Business School. She is also an external reviewer of funding proposals for the Ontario Centre of Excellence. She is a mentor for Summer Company 2018 York Region and frequently speaks at career events at schools to inspire youth to be their best. She is also a winning coach for her First Lego League Robotics competition team.
How did your education and previous professional experience shape your current work at STEM Minds?
My children were my motivation to put my knowledge and skills to use so that they would be ready for the jobs of tomorrow! My education and corporate experience both impacted my understanding of the digital competencies that are required to thrive in a working economy that is highly dependent on STEM in many ways. I have witnessed the evolution and impact of accelerated technology changes on business processes through a corporate lens. This deep understanding and my passion for innovation have allowed me to build Stem Minds with a mission to transform the education system by empowering K-12 students and teachers to explore the world of STEM.
Working in the field of technology and in large teams gave me a really good appreciation of how new technologies allow us to solve problems, of the critical skills that are required to succeed, and of how to collaborate and leverage the strengths of everyone on a team through inclusion. At STEM Minds, my knowledge is complemented by that of equally passionate certified teachers, and together we’ve curated and created STEM programming to inspire youth, develop their skills, and prepare them to become the next generation of leaders, game changers, and problem solvers.
What has been the response to STEM Minds from learners?
Within three years we have seen our business grow to levels we never anticipated, starting from a small desk in a coworking space to now running programs for thousands of students in our own 3,500-square-foot facility. Starting this year we are launching an online academy so that students around the country (and world) can access our programs. We’re also launching our joint venture with EdTech Hive to have STEM Minds embedded right inside public schools.
Along the way, our learners continue to self-discover and explore their passions as we give them a safe place to learn, make mistakes, and build resilience as they become fearless learners. The testimonials provided by our students continue to highlight that our programs are the right fit for the students of today and are helping them discover their potential.
What broad trends do you think will have the most impact on learning in the years ahead?
- Agility: the need to evolve our teaching content and methodologies to meet the needs of modern learners will be increasingly important.
- Technology adoption: given the evolution of new technologies, we will need to build resilience in adopting new technology both as consumers and creators.
- Student empowerment: the voices of youth will continue to play an important role in shaping the future of education and allowing students to really own their learning.
What, if any, are future plans for STEM Minds?
We plan to continue to grow our impact through the ongoing development of new content for our in-class programming and online academy while investing in research and development to integrate new technology and tools for our students.
We will continue to evolve our courses to include topics like cryptocurrencies, blockchain, AI, AR/VR development, and more. All these new courses will enrich our offerings and allow students to continue to build skills. Especially at the high school level, this kind of education and programming is critical to ensure our students are prepared for post-secondary education and are innovative digital citizens. We will continue to expand our reach through our scale-up plan; Online Academy and EdTech Hive, our joint venture that will replicate our footprint and more in underutilized spaces in public schools. Stay tuned!
Who are the most interesting people you are following on Twitter?
Some interesting people we follow are:
Image: Courtesy Anu Bidani