From social work to social entrepreneurship and starting an inner-city boarding school :: The Ryan Banks Academy story, with Valerie Groth
In this episode of Ventures, my guest Valerie Groth (https://www.ryanbanksacademy.org/) and I discuss the Ryan Banks Academy story, her background in social work and in Chicago Public Schools, resiliency when starting a school and nonprofit, and life for students in a pandemic. With social entrepreneurship gaining increased attention globally, we dive into a number of topics in this conversation to help founders think about relevant issues to address with new ventures.
In this episode we cover the following:
2:47 - Val intro, background, and journey into starting Ryan Banks Academy.
6:11 - What is social work? What career paths are available?
8:22 - What do social workers learn in school? What tracks are common?
12:08 - What is the work that Val was doing day in and day out during her time working with Chicago public schools?
16:40 - What started the kernel of the idea for Ryan Banks Academy?
20:43 - Comment about entrepreneurs who can’t stop thinking about an idea :)
21:18 - What steps did Val start taking initially to make RBA a reality?
23:33 - Comment about Madeleine Albright and what she’s had to go through in her career.
23:51 - How and when Val left her day job to start her new venture.
25:45 - What is Ryan Banks Academy? What stage is the school at in its growth?
28:09 - Fundraising, rallying a team, and establishing a board for a nonprofit.
32:29 - What has life been like during the pandemic for RBA?
35:38 - What kind of lessons is Val learning about entrepreneurship in general in this season?
37:09 - From Val’s perspective of inner city dynamics, what social problems can (and should) entrepreneurs be thinking about? What would be her call to action to fellow founders?
40:29 - What is Val learning about the conversation around race and racism? How does she think about the conversation?
44:18 - What are the ways in which people can help out with Ryan Banks Academy?
46:43 - What is Val’s vision for RBA in the next 5/10/15 years?
48:05 - Final words for the entrepreneurs, investors, and other listeners curious about RBA.