April 07, 2023
DreamBox Learning is not only unique for our ability to support educators and drive student learning. We’re unique because our team includes diverse, passionate, and bright individuals who truly care about transforming the way the world learns.
For us, it’s important to capture their stories and share what makes them special. We celebrate the people at DreamBox who bring ideas to life, make the impossible possible, and empower their teams to do well to do good.
Please meet our colleague and friend, Lauren.
DreamBox Interviewer: We’re so excited to chat with you, Lauren! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lauren: I lead with kindness and wear my heart on my sleeve. This is what has made me a strong leader because my teams know I come from a fair and sincere place. I am a rolling stone because I don't stay put. I grew up in Atlanta, was raising my kids in New York City, and recently relocated to Ann Arbor for a change of pace. Fun fact: I've never lived in one location for longer than three years.
I am a single mom of two, 9-year-old Bronson, and 5-year-old Gatsby. Our hobbies include dancing in the kitchen, family game nights, bike riding, and backyard kickball. When I get a rare moment of alone time, I enjoy meditation, yoga, writing, and anything that gets me connected to myself and grounded in my purpose. I am a fourth-generation educator who left the classroom 15 years ago to be in the edtech world and I haven't looked back.
DreamBox Interviewer: How did you come to work for DreamBox, or what is your origin story?
Lauren: My origin story started in March 2020, when New York City was ground zero for the pandemic. I found myself stuck in a tiny NYC apartment with a kindergartener and a 2-year-old while I was trying to help teachers across the country set up virtual learning for their students. DreamBox became a bright spot. It was the only program where Bronson could log on independently (thank you, visual passwords!) and that he genuinely enjoyed doing. In fact, he would beg to do DreamBox over other programs. It was an “aha moment” for me around how essential it is for products to make learning fun. Seeing DreamBox spark that excitement for learning was a differentiator for me, not only as an edtech professional, but as a mom too.
My son loves to tell people I work at DreamBox because of him.
DreamBox Interviewer: I love that your son is a part of your DreamBox origin story! Was there something special about the organization that brought you here?
Lauren: Finding a culture that supports who I am, and leadership that stands behind what they said, meant the most to me. I joined a former boss at Dreambox because her leadership and commitment to a path of growth made me excited to be part of her team. I did extensive research on Jessie Woolley-Wilson and her background and messaging. I was excited to help execute the vision.
DreamBox Interviewer: How would you describe the DreamBox Difference?
Lauren: The DreamBox Difference is the culture. At DreamBox, you see a company wanting to celebrate the individuals, the differences, and everyone’s unique contributions. To be in a corporate setting where leaders are encouraging and fostering conversations that help us all gain perspective, empathy, and awareness, has been such a bright spot for me.
DreamBox Interviewer: Which DreamBox value resonates with you the most?
Lauren: Do well to do good resonates with me the most. Every day I am hyper-conscious of the good I put into the world. Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
In every interaction I have with people, whether personally or professionally, I want people to walk away feeling good about my intentions. I get excited seeing what I've been able to accomplish for DreamBox thus far, but also knowing how much “more good” is to come.
DreamBox Interviewer: I love that value, too. How best do you learn and how have you used that in your work?
Lauren: I have always been the person who asks why? Not only do I need to know the facts or information, but I need to process the reasoning behind it. I’ve always thrived in classrooms with teachers who allowed this curiosity and supported me diving deeper into my learning.
As an adult, I still take pause to understand the drivers behind decisions or information. And as a leader, I always try to give the same courtesy to my teams so they can have all the information. I believe that understanding the big picture allows people to have an investment in the outcome. And when you are invested in the outcome, you are driven by motivation. I always want to be someone who inspires others.
DreamBox Interviewer: That is such a great perspective. What skills do you think are most important to thrive in a career?
Lauren: I believe all people should have the ability to self-reflect. We live in a society that is quick to move on from one interaction to the next, and I don't think enough people take the minute to pause and assess what they learned. Self-reflection, in my opinion, is one of the most needed skills to be able to grow and evolve in any capacity. It's easy to place blame on others, but if you reflect on your role, your contribution (or lack thereof) then you can think about how to do better. If we looked at all interactions with each other as opportunities for learning, think about how much more we could collectively accomplish.
DreamBox Interviewer: Thank you so much for spending time with me today, Lauren – it’s been a great conversation! The last thing we’d like to ask is, what motivates you?
Lauren: Hope. Tiny glimpses of hope motivate me to keep going forward and to maintain my positive perspective. There is a quote from Fred Rogers (aka Mr. Rogers) that says, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Those people still fighting to make a difference create that hope. And seeing that fight still alive in so many, keeps me motivated to stay the course.