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Trailblazers Crazy Smart Asia: Natalie Chan—Creating An Education Revolution

Crazy Smart Asia: Natalie Chan—Creating An Education Revolution

Crazy Smart Asia: Natalie Chan—Creating An Education Revolution
By Lee Williamson
By Lee Williamson
August 12, 2020
In the sixth episode of Gen.T's Crazy Smart Asia podcast, Own Academy founder Natalie Chan shares her 30-year plan for an Asia-based education revolution

There’s no consensus on exactly how many Asian jobs technology will make redundant over the next decade, but there is one thing almost all experts can agree on—our antiquated education systems are failing to prepare our children for this seismic change.
Natalie Chan’s startup Own Academy is working to fix that problem. Her programmes for high school students help prepare children for the realities of the new economy. The platform offers what Chan describes as an “Airbnb for career experiences”, focusing on building skills that are relevant for the modern workplace.  
Not one for setting small goals, Own Academy is just the first part of Chan's 30-year plan for an Asia-based education revolution. She shares her plan with Gen.T editor Lee Williamson. Along the way, they discuss everything from privilege and the power of mindset, to why was the most memorable speaker at Davos. 

Here are a few excerpts from the conversation. Click the audio player below to listen to the episode or subscribe via Apple, Spotify, Google or wherever you get your podcasts

On Privilege 

"Being privileged is not a problem. But if you're not taking advantage of your privilege and not distributing that privilege to other people, then something's wrong."

On Lessons Learned

"The hardest lesson I've learnt is that change takes time—especially with education. [I've learned] that you have to have so much patience and so much grit to push anything forward. I didn't underestimate the toughness of entrepreneurship going into it, but I definitely didn't realise the deep-rooted problems that would require years and years in order to make change."

On Compromise

"The most important decision I've made is to never compromise on my values. I think working in corporate was very much compromising my values. Ever since I just told myself that I never want to be put in a position where I don't feel like I can be my true self."

Natalie Chan
Natalie Chan

On Empowerment

"I called my company Own because I wanted to help empower young people to take ownership of their lives. Because from my own personal experience, I just felt like I never really had control. I just let people tell me what to do. And that got me to a dead end where I was so unhappy. So I wanted to build this company to really empower that ownership. Because I think the moment that you take control, that's when things make sense to you."

On Training Students For The Jobs Of Tomorrow 

"Our mission is to connect the education world to the real world. We want to inspire students to understand there's so many more options and possibilities in the world than what your parents may tell you, what schools may tell you, what society may tell you."

Listen to all released episodes and subscribe using your preferred podcast platform on the Crazy Smart Asia hub page


Trailblazers Crazy Smart Asia Edtech Education Hong Kong Social Entrepreneurship Startup Entrepreneur woman entrepreneur


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