SelfDesign® is poised to grow and develop in new and interesting directions, says Amber Papou, President and CEO of SelfDesign Learning Foundation, the not-for-profit, charitable organization that operates SelfDesign Learning Community, our kindergarten to grade 12 school.
“We’re moving into the next phase of growth as an organization,” she says, “We’ve looked at the areas where our strengths lie in this organization, and we’ve determined a number of opportunities that we can reach for. I see many new programs that we can offer that align with our philosophy and approach to education.”
Growth at SelfDesign doesn’t necessarily mean becoming bigger. It means building on SelfDesign’s strengths, growing new programs from our strengths, and taking advantage of opportunities. Growth at SelfDesign also means sustainability and diversified resources.
Every new program and initiative being considered aligns with and supports SelfDesign’s vision to be the leading model for natural and personalized lifelong learning in North America. We support learners of all ages and abilities in authoring their own lives and designing their own learning. Although we have focussed our learning programs in B.C., thanks to technology and our distributed, flexible approach, our model for personalized and natural learning could expand to encompass other regions and other markets.
“I see us expanding our community so it branches out into being a national, even international, community,” Amber says. “And, through that, attracting more thought leaders in the field of personalized and remote learning that will contribute to SelfDesign as a successful social enterprise.”
Strong foundations for future growth
SelfDesign Learning Foundation, with Amber at the helm, has spent the last several years strategically consolidating and strengthening its foundations. Along with Chief Operating Officer Sandy Steward, Chief Information Officer Dave Conroy, Principal of Educational Programs Nikki Kenyon and the rest of our leadership team have streamlined SelfDesign’s systems and processes. Together with their teams, they have optimized the organization’s structural and operational efficiencies while supporting SelfDesign’s long-standing culture of community and collaboration.
“We’ve been laying the groundwork, ensuring that our program meets the expectations not only of our families and our learners but also of the BC Ministry of Education, because the school is currently B.C. focussed,” Amber says. “That groundwork has also been laid to ensure that our systems meet the needs of our contractors and the people who work with us. We’ve really worked hard these last few years to ensure that we really know ourselves, identifying areas where we can be stronger, and improving those.”
This process means, for example, that the technologies and learning management systems and technologies used by SelfDesign Learning Community, led by Nikki Kenyon, meet operational needs and Ministry of Education requirements. The process has also led to more integrated and optimized systems and processes for our Finance team, led by Debra Farquharson, Director of Finance, for our Human Relations team, led by Debra Sigfusson, Director of Human Relations, and for our Communications & Marketing team, led by Karen Zukas, Director of Communications & Marketing. Through it all, Director of Organizational Learning and Culture River Meyer has kept her finger on the pulse of the SelfDesign community and our culture of community and collaboration.
At the same time, Amber says, SelfDesign has created strong teams that have amazing, innovative thought patterns, that work well together under any kind of challenges, and are quick to identify opportunities as they emerge.
“Our foundation is laid and is strong,” Amber says. “We’re ready to move into the next stage of growth for SelfDesign Learning Foundation. We’re ready to move towards creating new opportunities – whether that’s developing new programs, new revenue sources or other opportunities.”
Learn more about the SelfDesign Leadership team here.