Updated: Nov 17, 2020
Given her name, Laurene Powell Jobs is probably most famously known as the widow of the late Steve Jobs, CEO and founder of Apple. However, she is making significant waves in her own right, working tirelessly to create equality in education so that all students have equal access to higher education, and that education in America moves in the direction of positive progress for a stronger, brighter future for all.
Laurene started making her mark in education in 1997 when she and a friend, Carlos Watson, were serving as advisors to high school seniors on the college admissions process and they realized that students whose family members had never attended college were not getting the information they needed to gain admission, and were also unaware of the classes and other steps they needed to take before even applying.
In response, they founded College Track, a nonprofit organization that provides a “10 year promise” to students - a promise that starts during the high school years, guiding students on a path that prepares them for college admissions. From there, the organization supports students financially, emotionally and academically through four years of college. The goal of the organization is to help students create bright futures for themselves, which is why their support continues past college graduation as they invite graduates into their network, host events and training, and provide support and advice in their job search.
Many students who succeed in college have families with college experience to guide them through. For students from disadvantaged backgrounds, having College Track in their corner helps get them on a more level playing field so that they have similar opportunities to succeed.
College Track does a huge amount of good for American students, which translates to a stronger, healthier society for all. But that wasn’t enough for Laurene. In 2004, Laurene also founded Emerson Collective, a nonprofit social change organization, this time with the goal to “create the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”
The collective looks at areas with the greatest need and the greatest potential to create positive change. They focus largely on education, with a special focus on supporting immigrant students and other new arrivals to succeed in their new home. The collective also supports environmental initiatives, advances in healthcare and patient empowerment, and has also launched XQ: The Super School Project, which is advocating for a rethinking of the American education system to better educate and support students, in order to create a stronger, brighter future for all Americans, and the world. The $50 million dollar projects works with teachers, students and community leaders to improve high schools through curriculum, schedules, technology and more.
The phrase “children are our future” has been thrown around so much that we often overlook the deep meaning. Children and students are, quite literally, our future. They are tomorrow’s adults, voters, business leaders, law makers, educators, healthcare practitioners, parents and so much more. When we work together to support all children, ensuring they grow strong and with the best possible opportunities to create solid futures for themselves, that work creates a solid future for us all.
We celebrate Laurene Powell Jobs for her ambition, compassion and incredible work to create a better America and a better world for everyone.
Do you know of a compassionate woman with the ambition to truly change the world? Challenge her today!