Episode 42: Shayna Pond

From Teacher to Edtech Entrepreneur

Shayna Pond

Knowing firsthand what teachers are up against, Shayna Pond is taking her knowledge of teaching and applying it to helping educators in the classroom. She started with a side tutoring business, which was an unintentional pilot for the two nationwide businesses she runs today, Model Teaching and Action Potential Learning.

In this episode of SheVentures, Pond delves into many issues entrepreneurs face when they scale in their niche. Today, her businesses help with professional development for teachers, administrators, school districts, and tutors. Pond tells SheVentures just how she made it all happen. If you are an educator or are learning how to scale your business, this episode is for you.

Key Moments

2:33 — Women only make up 30 to 35 percent of people who undertake STEM degrees. Shayna Pond discusses her own experience as a woman studying the male-dominated field of physics.

7:28 —  An “existential crisis” pushed Pond away from her Ph.D. studies and into the world of high-school teaching in Texas.

12:13 — Once she landed her first teaching job, she laid out her career plan to the principal of the school. Pond speaks about how the Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Program challenged her to think big about business.

17:01 — What spurred Pond to start the tutoring business Action Potential Learning

20:52 — Find out how Model Teaching (the operating name of Action Potential Learning) started, and more importantly, how it grew in response to the needs in the education system.

25:05 — Find out how Pond navigates the complex path of dealing with differing state curricula and standards while her business expands nationwide.

31:20 — Despite the influx of free content on the internet, Pond says it hasn’t affected her paid-content model. Find out why.

38:50 — Pond and SheVentures host Doria Lavagnino discuss the importance of investing in your staff. “I  believe the people in your organization are your product,” says Pond.

41:55 — Pond gives us the lowdown on what working with your spouse is like, as well as how to avoid letting marital spats bleed into your professional lives. 

47:36 — What are Pond’s top tips for women looking to start their own businesses?