“5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO of TeachAids,” With Piya Sorcar

In the present day I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Piya Sorcar, the Founder and CEO of TeachAids, a Lecturer at Stanford’s Graduate College of Schooling, and an Adjunct Affiliate at Stanford’s College of Drugs. She leads a crew of world specialists in drugs, public well being, and training to develop software program that solves quite a few persistent issues in international well being training. She sits on the Government Board of The Tech Awards in Silicon Valley and has spoken at main universities together with Columbia, MIT, and Yale. She holds a Ph.D. in Studying Sciences and Know-how Design from Stanford College. In 2011, MIT Know-how Overview named her to its TR35 checklist of the highest 35 innovators on this planet beneath 35. In 2016, she turned the youngest recipient of Stanford’s Alumni Excellence in Schooling Award.

Thanks a lot for doing this with us! Are you able to inform us a narrative about what introduced you to this particular profession path?

I went into financial consulting after I graduated from faculty. I liked the work, however extra within the head than the guts. Throughout that point, I took a visit to India for 5 weeks with my sister to carry out as a part of my mother and father’ productions. We have been in 21 reveals over the course of these 5 weeks. Whereas I used to be there, I keep in mind noticing all of the totally different individuals. Their kindness and generosity jogged my memory simply how large the world is — a lot greater me. After I returned, I give up my job in in consulting and determined to enter education-related non-profit work.

I turned inquisitive about HIV training whereas in graduate college at Stanford. In 2005, I began studying reviews about India being recognized as the following sizzling zone for individuals residing with HIV. I used to be perplexed as to why HIV data ranges have been so low, regardless of tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} being spent on the issue. With additional investigation, we discovered that there have been many issues in offering HIV training not simply in India, however world wide.

After I completed my Ph.D. in 2009, we spun TeachAIDS out of Stanford, targeted intently on delivering high quality HIV training that might successfully attain the audiences who want it most. This required a multi-faceted method. We knew we would have liked to have the best specialists and partnerships to assist develop supplies that resonated AND labored. We ran large-scale research in these nations that in contrast our supplies to those who have been getting used to make sure we have been optimizing the educational and retention for our viewers. The primary studying from our HIV work is within the methodology of methods to create efficient well being training interventions. By figuring out the issues round why individuals aren’t studying necessary well being messages, we are able to create efficient supplies that clear up these key components, together with methods to finest analysis and consider them.

Are you able to share probably the most attention-grabbing story that occurred to you because you started main your organization?

After 5 years of HIV/AIDS work and having expanded to 82 nations, we have been in search of what subject to sort out subsequent. We had tons of of volunteers who wished to do one thing again dwelling within the US, so we had our analysts and researchers examine quite a lot of totally different matters that might have an answer associated to training. The highest three points we discovered have been cybersecurity, sexual harassment and concussions.

We discovered attention-grabbing comparisons between HIV and concussions, and the way they’re surprisingly comparable points. In addressing any concern we’re contemplating, we’ve got 4 main questions we ask to see how comparable they’re when getting began. The similarities we discovered have been that HIV and concussions are 1) each invisible 2) have excessive ranges of stigma and other people don’t need to report 3) they’re excessive profile matters with main politics concerned 4) we’d have to take science and talk it within the easiest approach to inform individuals and alter attitudes concerning the situation.

It will have been straightforward to maneuver into one other subject on infectious ailments, however we wished to have the ability to present the breadth of what our group might do. There are similarities between concussions and HIV, but in addition very totally different approaches to play to the viewers when contemplating human centric design.

It was very attention-grabbing to us how comparable and but totally different HIV and concussions are as a well being epidemic, but in addition how necessary they each are to handle.

Are you able to share a narrative concerning the funniest mistake you made whenever you have been first beginning? Are you able to inform us what lesson you discovered from that?

We are able to look again now and giggle but it surely wasn’t humorous then when it occurred. Our major takeaway from this error/story was to NEVER take something as a right as a result of something that may go flawed, will go flawed. Through the pilot filming of CrashCourse, our concussion training program, we bumped into many roadblocks and challenges. The three major challenges have been:

  1. Facility/Lights: Discovering a area that might enable lights at night time throughout off season was troublesome resulting from metropolis restrictions on the usage of shiny area lights

2. Tools: Helmets; shoulder pads for most colleges had been despatched away for annual cleansing and sterilization. We needed to hire uniforms/gear for one of many groups within the movie

3. Highschool sports activities restrictions (CIF guidelines): Myriad of restrictions on out-of-season apply, together with:

  1. No contact (limits filming any sort out scenes)
  2. Not more than 5 gamers from anybody HS might take part
  3. All of them needed to be VOLUNTEERS
  4. Personal coaches couldn’t be current concurrently athletes
  5. Every of 5 HS principals needed to signal an settlement of assist

We had such a easy plan that was chaos however we continued to work by means of it.

What do you suppose makes your organization stand out? Are you able to share a narrative?

This can be very onerous to do what we do, and our Group at TeachAids has constantly proven dedication and resilience.

We knew the concussion work was one thing we wished to enter and that fixing these troublesome points takes a village. We thought it will be troublesome to have interaction busy individuals, like student-athletes and docs, due to their demanding schedules. What we shortly realized was that these have been the individuals who ended up being over-invested within the mission.

College students-athletes are juggling their exercises, courses, extracurriculars and extra, but discovered each waking second they needed to present up and work on the mission. They’d apply their scripts collectively within the locker room, rush to our workplace straight after apply — — any probability they might get amidst their loopy schedules to assist work on the mission. Generally they might simply present up and begin working with out being requested and with out discover. These athletes constantly communicated that they have been passionate to work on one thing that might serve the youthful model of themselves. They felt invested in doing the whole lot they might to make sure our concussion training supplies reached as many younger athletes as potential.

We observed the same stage of funding from the superb docs we work with. Neurosurgeons would discover time in-between surgical procedures and medical visits, or within the automotive on their method dwelling from the ER to contribute to CrashCourse. They gave us any second they might squeeze into their days to contribute their experience to our trigger.

Our firm is filled with resilient, devoted individuals that actually care concerning the TeachAids mission.

Are you engaged on any thrilling new tasks now? How do you suppose that can assist individuals?

We’re at the moment engaged on a brand new Mind fly-through mission that can contribute to the CrashCourse training supplies. We’re fortunate sufficient to have been given entry to Stanford Drugs’s chopping edge-brain mapping expertise. This expertise is utilized by Stanford Neurosurgeons to discover and apply on actual renditions of the mind in Digital Actuality earlier than placing their plans into apply. With assist from just a few of Stanford’s prime neurosurgeons and neuropsych expertsDr. Gerry Grant, Jamshid GhajarDan DaneshvarMaya Yutis and Robert SiegalDonavan Yisrael; we’re growing an expertise that makes use of this expertise to show college students concerning the mind. This immersive expertise will enable younger individuals to discover an actual human mind and visualize it’s complexity, in order that it feels extra actual, and thus care extra about defending it.

What recommendation would you give to different feminine leaders to assist their crew to thrive?

.Variety breeds power. Completely different backgrounds present totally different views and that can strengthen something. Everybody can profit from various enter.

What recommendation would you give to different feminine leaders about the easiest way to handle a big crew?

With leaders typically, it’s all about understanding individuals’s strengths and weaknesses and understanding the place everybody in your crew desires to go in life. My recommendation can be to concentrate on investing within the people in your mission or firm and what they need to do sooner or later. Discover out what your teammates are keen about, attain their hearts and work out the place that may play a task of their a part of the task. Should you handle somebody by working with what they’re keen about doing, it helps the entire crew get on a path to a extra significant life.

It’s additionally necessary to search out work that energizes you rather than strains you, and aligns with your personal sense of objective. When you may flip what individuals name work right into a interest then there’s no stopping you.

None of us are in a position to obtain success with out some assist alongside the best way. Is there a specific one that you’re grateful in direction of who helped get you to the place you’re? Are you able to share a narrative about that?

We’re continually studying from all individuals round us. I be taught simply as a lot from working with a prime neurosurgeon as I do from my college students.

I’m grateful to everybody round me, and all of it started with my mother and father. My dad at all times advised me in the event you imagine you are able to do it, you may. My Dad is in manufacturing, and I discovered a lot from him concerning the business inside and outside. Actually, he did the unique storyboards for CrashCourse. My Mother additionally was concerned in our productions, serving to with the whole lot from the costumes to the setup.

After I was younger, my mother and father instilled in me the worth of training. I come from an inventive household and we had been doing non-profit work for a really, very very long time. Whereas my sister and I have been rising up within the US, my mother and father wished to show us about Indian tradition. My father began creating these culturally related animated productions for us to be taught from. He would write, compose and sing songs that taught us the place we got here from and about our household. It helped us admire the sacrifices our household had made to ensure that us to have the alternatives that we had, each on the time and later in life.

As part of my dad’s work, my sister and I turned very engrossed within the productions. Our household’s productions have received awards at prime worldwide movie festivals world wide and have been proven on tv networks, like PBS, for over 25 years. Collectively, we’ve got three Emmy nominations, a gold plaque at Chicago Worldwide Movie Competition for Greatest Youngsters’s Program, amongst others. My life appeared to come back full circle when creating these academic applications for HIV and concussions. Whereas rising up, I used to be performing in these animated productions made by my father. Then the analysis confirmed that animations — cartoons and pictures — are one of the best methods to show children about these taboo matters so we carried out them in our work at TeachAids.

How have you ever used your success to convey goodness to the world?

We’re a nonprofit, our mission is to convey good to the world 🙂

What are your “5 Management Classes I Discovered From My Expertise” and why.

It takes a village to unravel troublesome, persistent issues, particularly ones with stigma. I’ve discovered a lot from many alternative individuals world wide, however collectively all of it comes down to those 5 classes:

  1. Belief one another.
  2. Get artistic. Constraints convey out one of the best in us, we should get artistic to work inside them and attain our objectives.
  3. Divide and conquer. every particular person has a novel set of abilities to supply, cut up up duties to play to everybody’s strengths.
  4. High quality issues.
  5. Unite round a shared mission. The crew ought to have a united/shared mission that everybody is working in direction of, no matter their strengths.

You’re a particular person of nice affect. Should you might encourage a motion that might convey probably the most quantity of excellent to probably the most quantity of individuals, what would that be? You by no means know what your thought can set off. 🙂

Three issues that I’ve discovered and dwell by that have been impressed by somebody of Nice affect, the Dalai Lama:

  1. Serve the world, not simply our particular person teams
  2. Assist others for unselfish causes
  3. When anybody on this planet suffers, all of us endure

Are you able to please give us your favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Are you able to share how that was related to you in your life?

There are two quotes that my father at all times repeated to me that I dwell by:

“You have to be the change you need to see on this planet”- Gandhi

“If a person known as to be a road sweeper, he ought to sweep streets whilst Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He ought to sweep streets so nicely that each one the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, right here lived an excellent road sweeper who did his job nicely.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

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