What career path can lead to co-founder of Fullbridge Program?

Posted by Ronald | March 11, 2014  |  No Comment

Candice Olson is the founder and CEO of iVillage and co-founder and CEO of the Fullbridge Program.  Fullbridge is an intensive, collaborative learning experience that bridges the gap between education and employment, and equips the ambitious undergraduate or recent graduate with the skills and confidence essential to launch a brilliant career in any field of business or entrepreneurial endeavor. An excerpt of the interview with Olson follows:

What career path led to your profession of Co-Founder of the Fullbridge Program?

I took a circuitous path, which I find to be the best and most enjoyable. I went to business school and spent 10 years in the corporate world with American Express and Time Warner where I learned the importance of analytics, finance and marketing that have served me well ever since. After my corporate experience, I realized how much I wanted to become an entrepreneur. This was a much less trod path in those days. When we started iVillage, we were one of a small group of companies that created an entrepreneurial culture and community in New York. iVillage brought together a social mission i.e., connecting busy women and allowing them to pool their wisdom to solve the many problems that women solve each day with innovation (family, finance, health).  iVillage was one of the first advertising supported social networks that creates a lot of value for investors.

After taking iVillage public and with a masters in education from Columbia and teaching experience, I took eight years to engage in education as a founding board member of a charter school. I also spent seven years after Stanford as a leader in non-traditional but very effective education. This work was completely transformational at Outward Bound and the National Outdoor Leadership School. This planted the seed for creating Fullbridge.

What educational background and/or professional training are essential for this profession?

As a founder and CEO of a new company, it takes management skills, recruiting skills, financial, marketing and sales acumen. Leading an education company means understanding how people actually learn, and understanding the education eco-system.  My current company requires global experience, which my co-founder has, as well as our strong reputations that can lead to introductions at high levels around the world.  You must build trust in your ability to deliver.

What influenced you to pursue a career in your profession?

After taking iVillage public, I wanted to experience education on the front line. What I did experience got me mad. I knew we had to do a much better job of bringing style, engagement, media, and real world skills into education. I was also helping my own seven children navigate their careers, which planted the final seed. My husband and I wanted to do something global, and something that could change the experience of the next generation profoundly. And thus, Fullbridge was born.

What professional, civic or community organizations do you belong?

I am on the founding board of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School. I give all of my time outside work to this one organization, as I like to be very focused.

What advice do you give to students who desire to become an entrepreneur? 

Ask yourself honestly if you can live easily with risk, uncertainty, and lack of outside validation. You have to be relentless and resilient! If you’re not, just don’t go there. If you think you’ve got what it takes, go and work for a company first-hand, to get the feel of it before setting out on your own.

What is your typical work schedule? 

There is no typical. I travel at least once a week – I’m currently in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia! I often work all day on Sundays at home in my pajamas, and often send emails after midnight on weeknights. I sometimes take a couple of hours in the middle of the day to walk or read, as I know I’ll be working all night.  I have constant variety.

What has been the success of the Fullbridge Program?

Our team is completely dedicated to the mission and to quality in everything we do. We are completely dedicated to every participant and every client–school, ministry, etc. — almost to a fault. As a result, our reputation, net promoter scores, client renewal rates are all very strong.

Why should college students do an internship through the Fullbridge Program?

We believe that our program is ideal at two time points – after freshman and sophomore year, before the big junior internship. Once you land that internship, its all about how you perform. You only get one chance, and often only a couple of days to prove yourself. If you do Fullbridge first, we guarantee you will nail your internship.

A second point is toward the end of college or right after graduation, in preparation for a full-time job. Again, you only have a week or two to prove yourself these days in a new environment, so we help to make sure that you will stand out.  You will also have a clear sense of what you want to do, both for internships and jobs later, and a big edge getting these jobs. Real internships are very hit or miss. You might end up in a corner all summer, ignored, or just getting tea for someone. At Fullbridge, we make sure you build all of the skills you need, with the support of a challenging but friendly coach. And, you get to do Fullbridge with other people who are at the same career stage, so it’s like a very intense summer camp in a social sense. It’s very hard, but incredibly fun. Many graduates say it was life-changing, and the most helpful career-oriented experience they have ever had.

 Dr. Ronald Holmes is the author of five books, “Education Questions to be Answered,”  “Current Issues and Answers in Education,”  “How to Eradicate Hazing,” “Professional Career Paths” and “Your Answers to Education Questions.” He is publisher of “The Holmes Education Post,” an education focused Internet newspaper.  Holmes is a former teacher, school administrator and district superintendent. He can be reached at [email protected].

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