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Staff Spotlight: Meet Whitney Wilson

Whitney Wilson is Curriculum Specialist at Youth Entrepreneurs. “YE has a way of helping kids realize that they are capable of so much more than they ever thought they were. YE helps students realize their potential.” Meet Whitney. 

Before YE: Whitney earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Missouri in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on Business Communication and Sociology. She continued on to earn her Master’s in Education from Lindenwood University. Upon graduating, Whitney began teaching business at Wichita Heights High School, Wichita, Kansas, in 2004. “I taught everything in the business department, including accounting, law, investing, marketing and computers,” Whitney says. She was also active outside the classroom, coaching the dance and softball teams and sponsoring the Leadership Advisory Council student group. She worked many high school events too, including keeping score at swim meets, volleyball games, soccer games and baseball games. “I even learned a lot about wrestling because I kept the scorebook!” she smiles.

What brought her to YE: Whitney initially became connected to Youth Entrepreneurs while teaching at Wichita Heights, when she taught YE to her high school students. While teaching the class, she interned at the YE office for a short-term digital curriculum project. In 2016, she left Wichita Heights to spend a year in Phoenix as a Youth Entrepreneurs Area Manager, leveraging her expertise in both the classroom side and office side of YE operations. In the summer of 2017, Whitney accepted her current role as YE Curriculum Specialist in Wichita.

Day in the life as Curriculum Specialist: Whitney is the hub of all things curriculum for YE, serving educators and staff members alike in taking curriculum to new heights. “On a daily basis, I’m working on curriculum in some aspect, including educational resources, assessments, classroom content and structure,” she says. Whitney also coordinates YE’s national Teacher Advisory Council. “It’s an opportunity for YE to get teachers’ honest feedback so we can constantly be improving and maintaining our educator focus.” In addition, Whitney works hands-on in planning YE’s digital platform for entrepreneurial education.

Why she is passionate about YE: “My passion for YE stems from my desire to work for students,” she says. “As a teacher, I knew I could make a positive difference in students’ lives. And I also knew that working for YE, I could impact even more lives. By helping our teachers, I can help even more students.” 

What entrepreneurship means to her: “Being entrepreneurial in your role, whether it’s as an employee or as a business owner, means doing something to improve or to create value for the organization,” Whitney says. She recalls an example she used in her own Youth Entrepreneurs classroom. “I asked students if in their own work experiences, even in fast food, they had ever noticed a process that could be improved or an aspect of their job that could be done faster. Just having that thought is entrepreneurial. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be Bill Gates or Elon Musk to be an entrepreneur — just considering how to improve something is entrepreneurial in itself.”

Family: Whitney is originally from Palmyra, Missouri, a smaller community in Northeast Missouri. She’s the middle of three girls — “and I definitely have middle child syndrome!” She and her husband Jeremy live in Wichita. 

Outside work: Although distance and schedules don’t allow as much time together as they would like, Whitney loves spending time with friends and family. When she’s with her family, it’s all about the board games. “We grew up playing checkers with Grandma and Grandpa, and even as a little kid, our aunts and uncles would play Trivial Pursuit. We like the traditional games, like Skip Bo, Yahtzee and Sorry!, but we’ll play whatever anyone brings to the table.”

YE equips students to overcome obstacles. The greatest obstacle she has overcome: Whitney was the first person in her immediate family to go away to college and pursue higher education. “That was a new experience for all of us, and being the first to do this was different,” she says.

Hidden talent: “It’s not exactly a hidden talent, but I do have something I really enjoy that most people think is strange — I get so much satisfaction from cleaning and organizing!” Whitney says. “My mom calls it my happy place, anytime I get to organize and clean.” So if your closet is in need of some de-cluttering, Whitney can help. 

An entrepreneur she admires: While Whitney can’t pinpoint one person in particular, she admires humble entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurs who always remember where they came from and don’t let success go to their heads have a tendency to better remember their employees and customers and take care of those people. Humble entrepreneurs don’t look down their noses at people. That humility makes for a better company, a better work environment and a better customer environment.”

Meet more of the professionals who are passionately driven to strengthen Youth Entrepreneurs in our Staff Spotlights