Entrepreneurship has a way of leading you to your true purpose. For Kelsey Maloney, her purpose was found in West Farms, Bronx, New York City.
Before graduating from Miami University in 2017, Kelsey studied journalism, entrepreneurship, and anthropology. She held several leadership roles in the Miami community and served as a teaching assistant for the Institute for Entrepreneurship’s own Dr. Jim Friedman. It was her time as a TA that she first began to realize her purpose in life.
Kelsey soon became passionate about education and the student experience. She wanted to make a difference in the lives of students, and it wasn’t long until she discovered where she could do that, and more.
Teach for America is a non-profit organization that mobilizes promising and passionate educators to teach in low-income and disadvantaged schools for the mission of achieving educational equity. It was there Kelsey felt she truly belonged. In an organization that doesn’t just teach, it strives to change the status quo.
Now in her second year with Teach for America, Kelsey teaches in a low-income, West Farms preschool. But she isn’t just a teacher. She is an entrepreneur as well.
“As a teacher, especially in a school with limited staff and resources, you learn a lot about being scrappy, using creative problem solving, and understanding failure. The education system is not set up in a way where every student can thrive, so you need to learn how to be responsive and adaptive to each student who walks into the classroom to provide them with an equal opportunity to succeed.”
In an unpredictable learning environment, trial and error is a constant and never-ending process. Kelsey has had her share of failures as a result. But it is the occurrence of, and learning process from those failures that make the victories so sweet.
“In my first year of teaching, I had nine students who came in on the first day of school not knowing any English. As a teacher who did not know any Spanish, I thought to myself, ‘How am I going to get them ready for kindergarten?’ It was through a lot of creative problem-solving and a little bit of Spanish that I was able to help them get to a point where they could speak English. It was amazing to look back at the end of the year and see how far they had come.”
For the aspiring entrepreneurs at Miami University, she had one piece of advice:
“Whether you go into finance or fashion or consulting, the experiences, mindset, and goals you gain from your time with the entrepreneurship department can be transferred to your career.”
Just like it did for Kelsey, your journey through entrepreneurship could lead you to your true purpose. Take advantage of what you learn today because, you never know, those skills could help you change the world one day.