Conscious Entrepreneurship: May I introduce Maxine Anderson
A sophomore in high school, Maxine Anderson wanted to be an artist. Though she loved it, she quickly recognized it as a hobby. A couple months into her Junior year, she started tutoring children in Willamina, Oregon, USA — an impoverished rural community. She fell in love with learning about people, and understanding problems much larger than herself. She fell in love with seeing people light up with knowledge and not take it for granted. It saddened her that these children didn’t have stable at home lives, but amazed her that engaging them in learning that was fun and useful gave them a sense of their childhood mind — gave them the ability to dream and pursue their dreams. She decided that she wanted to do more, so she built some curriculum and would spend her afternoons teaching these kids about basic life skills, and helping them find and pursue their hobbies more seriously.
Maxine began to see that the act of creating, exploring, and confirming hypothesis about potential solutions to these large problems was exactly what she loved to do. Because her dad was a serial entrepreneur, she started to realize that although she never started a “business” she really was an entrepreneur at heart, and decided to go to Babson College, a school made for entrepreneurs. Here is where she met so many young people, just like her, on a mission to change the world — and some even halfway there. She moved into a living community — eTower — with 21 other ambitious entrepreneurs like herself. It was there that met Michael and Ryan, who had the idea to help people access knowledge by removing traditional learning barriers and deliver educational courses over text. She was sold on the idea immediately, and jumped right in to help. Since then, she’s been building Arist, the text message learning platform, with Michael, Ryan and a team of 8 employees. She’s also started an organization to help diverse college women bring their unique interests and skills together to build their passion projects into meaningful impact.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
This means building something with others in mind, always — not just your customers for the purpose of making money, but for your employees, those affected by your business, the environment, and all stakeholders involved.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
Ensuring that all can receive a quality education, and any vital knowledge needed to succeed in life, is my life goal. This started when I started tutoring young children in Rural Oregon (near my boarding high school) and saw how much was missing from their education. And by education, I don’t just mean Math, Science, and English classes, but I mean vital knowledge to living — like how to move forward in life, how to make friends, how to stay active, how to achieve great things — I mean things that parent’s or good siblings teach you, but that these children didn’t get a glimpse at ever because of their impoverished community and all the family difficulties that come with it (especially drug abuse).
Right now, I’m fulfilling that by removing barriers to learning by helping educators and content creators deliver course material over text message courses. Later, my means for achieving this goal might be different. Regardless of the method, I’ll always be actively ensuring that people of all ages and places have access to the knowledge they deserve, regardless of traditional barriers.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
Consumer demands, for everything from environmental sustainability to workplace culture, will only continue to become more closely tied to the potential growth of a company. Consumers have never been able to control the internal operations & policies of private and public companies as much as now, and I don’t think this movement will slow down.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
I’ve definitely felt that before. I think that since I was really young, I’ve never felt content with what I’ve had or done in life, and that I should always want more. Recently, I’ve tried to really enjoy the moments in my life a lot more and get the most out of them. This new mindset has helped me a lot with this struggle of always wanting more. My goal now is to always push myself to truly affect the people I work with and serve through my business in a positive, revolutionary way. Helping others succeed in life is my biggest motivation for pushing through the hard parts of entrepreneurship.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours? Can you share a story?
Mine is talking about the most random, unimportant subjects with friends for hours — like why some people’s tongues tingle from pineapples, while others tingle from peaches. I used to have an “obessive-planner’s” mindset, which means that I used to think if I could plan everything, I could control everything, and achieve all outcomes I desired in life. While this is partially true (planning is by all means necessary to achieve goals), letting randomness occur can be a wonderful thing. I’ve realized spontaneity and serendipity are such important parts of living, and when I can experience either, I feel so lucky. Both these aspects of my day help me cope with the “entrepreneur’s marathon”.
INSPIRATION — Is there an entrepreneurial book or podcast that inspires you that you would like to share with our readers?
‘How I built this’ is still the most recommended podcast for dreamers, but I still think it’s the most inspiring and fun podcast to listen to.
‘Zero to One’ by Peter Thiel is a fantastic book which clarifies why true entrepreneurship is so hard, but so valuable for yourself and others.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.