Posted in trends

Whatever it Takes – Read it

Those of you who have talked to me in the past month know that I am currently obsessed with the book Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough.  It’s about Geoffrey Canada, the Harlem Children’s Zone and the variety of projects the HCZ umbrellas.

I have been a huge advocate for innovation in public schools, both articulated in recent years and in my heart as I was growing up a product of them.  We moved a great deal while I was growing up and I had a chance to see many different school districts across the country.

I spent my post-undergrad years, both subconsciously and intentionally, working on projects and jobs that helped develop programs and spaces for kids to learn in non-school environments.  I care deeply about learning, love to do so myself and I want every kid to have the opportunity to love it as much as I do.

So Geoffrey Canada’s message of opportunity in face of adversity was very appealing to me.  I also really like how he focuses less on cherry picking the talented and driven individuals out of unsavory learning environments and helping them, and more on helping the whole community grow with the stars and the bad apples.  Very inspiring stuff.

But there is more than just that.  I think the book would appeals to:

  • Mothers – cool research on parenting pedagogy
  • Educators – tons of research on teaching to the test and historical sociology of education
  • Race/Class Studies fans – all kinds of research on history of race and poverty studies and how they intersect with education

Great book, plus super easy to read for the layman.  Tear jerker a couple times too with the NPR-esque anecdotes.  I guess that makes sense tho, as that’s where I was first introduced to it, in a “driveway moment” with This American Life.  You should read it.


I am a data & results driven Digital Media Influencer with over 15 years of experience in engagement, family marketing, scaling infrastructure and audience culture across a product’s lifetime from pre-launch to millions of users. Strategic Vision & Business Development: • Articulated corporate integrated digital marketing strategies for 10 children’s entertainment properties across multiple digital channels • Authored a comprehensive business plan for scalable online community infrastructure for internal and external partners and successfully participated in a thorough VC due diligence process • Increased sales revenue by 20% while managing 6 million dollars of annual revenue in existing business services. Production & Project Management: • Developed multiple 2D & 3D multi-player virtual worlds, online games & apps based on repurposed/original assets • Produced 12 animated 2-minute shorts for broadcast on television & developed animation production department workflows • Launched multiple major website redesigns to include more fan interaction • Led workflow & process optimization teams to improve operational effectiveness/productivity. Audience Engagement & Research: • Developed domestic and international audience research programs both on & offline for both parent and children audiences • Grew multiple audiences from pre-launch to tens of millions by using organic, as well as established marketing tactics. Team Management & Relationship Building: • Designed team management & organizational structures for multiple Web Content and Web Marketing departments including international remote teams of staff in North & South America, Europe and Asia. • Managed teams in multiple disciplines, including customer service, social media engagement, production, moderation, marketing, design, tech and content development. • Extensive client, vendor and partner management experience in television, licensing, digital, e-commerce & customer service industries

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