News and Views: The Next Big Thing

Newsletter – Thursday, December 1, 2022

I truly love the holidays. What’s not to like about eating too much, having a ton of family around, and drinking more bottles of wine than you would have thought possible?!? We had a really nice Thanksgiving. About 22 people across 3 generations convened at our house to celebrate. While food and wine were traditional and spectacular it was overshadowed by great conversation. I have a nephew from Philadelphia that came and he’s one of my heroes. Simon never stops impressing me with his desire to solve big problems and the fact that he continues to challenge himself to keep learning.

Simon graduated from UPenn with an Engineering degree and promptly went to work teaching in the west Philadelphia school district in the 90’s. In case you were wondering, it wasn’t for the pay! This is a story I have told before in this newsletter but, like most stories, it gets better with the re-telling so please keep reading. Simon worked up to be a principal in a specialty high school where they focused on “outcome-based learning,” a practical approach that shows kids how to apply what they are learning to real life issues. Before he started his next big venture, he knew he needed to make sure the right people were in place to carry on the work that he started. Attracting the right people and being clear on the vision is so important.

He is now off to the Next Big Thing which is to start a college: Workshop U. He has been dreaming this for years and now feels like he is very close to partnering and getting the college accredited.  Why start a new college? He cited a statistic that 50% of people that start college drop out before they graduate and incur significant debt. I am sure there are multiple reasons for this problem, but kids go to school directly out of high school because they think it’s the next logical step, even if they aren’t sure what vocation they want to pursue.

There is a huge amount of pressure placed on an 18-year-old kid to make what may be the biggest financial decision of their life based off (usually) a feeling that has little to do with the education they will be paying for. Simon believes that if they can attract kids that are a couple years out of high school, have had some real-life experiences (maybe work, maybe college), Workshop U can help them learn how to identify their talents and skills and align them with a career that will make them happy and successful. The target is to be able to provide a great education for $12,000 a year. For that amount they will not have any housing or the frills of a college campus, but if he can accomplish this, maybe he can impact the trajectory of secondary education for a large segment of society.

I am proud to be related to so many caring and impactful people. Not just Simon: they all inspire me. Take time to look around and find some of these people and be amazed. It really gives you hope for a better tomorrow. 

As we head for the home stretch of 2022, I’d be remiss if I did not remind you that our Professional Lines team is ready to help. Whether it’s Cyber Liability, or truly a professional liability exposure like Architects & Engineers (or Educators E&O!) that you need help with, we are here for you. It’s not too late to get a second opinion on that 1/1 renewal. Give Debbie or Sandy a call and tell them your story. We have access to great markets, and we never take for granted the opportunities you send our way. 

I'd love to receive feedback on how we are doing; call or drop me an email.


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