Chief Academic Officer and Pedago (Quantic’s parent company) Co-Founder, Alexie Harper, is a trailblazer in the digital education space. Before Quantic, she was previously the director of R&D and a senior researcher at Rosetta Stone. She was also a travel writer and editor for Let’s Go Inc. after earning an M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies from NYU and an A.B. in English Literature and Language from Harvard University.
Finding creative solutions to difficult problems has always inspired Alexie to become the industry leader that she is today. “I’ve always enjoyed creating something new,” says Alexie. “From my school days in Odyssey of the Mind, through my time creating educational software at Rosetta Stone, to now, I’m at my happiest when I can tackle a difficult problem by brainstorming creative solutions, and then do the hard work of testing and implementing those solutions. I don’t mind when those experiments don’t work out; I find it invigorating to keep trying to improve whatever it is I’m working on, and there’s ample opportunity to do that!”
Creating solutions to unsolved problems, like making the digital learning experience even better than traditional classroom learning, is at the heart of Quantic and Pedago’s strategy. “Rather than virtualize the typical classroom experience, I’m more interested in what is required to reinvent the core mechanisms that drive student learning, particularly for the adult student, and to do so in a way that’s more effective and more engaging than what you would encounter in person,” explains Alexie. “I feel like Pedago has made great strides in this arena, and there is so much more that we would like to try to create a flexible learning environment that accommodates learners around the globe.”
But in order to find great solutions and success, one must go through some hiccups and growing pains. Even failure itself is a constant motivation for the Co-Founder. Throughout her career, Alexie realized the power of resilience and courage. “I haven’t always succeeded,” notes Alexie. “Along the way, I’ve had a lot of failures and setbacks, as most entrepreneurs have, and it can be crushing in the moment. I’ve tried to respond with resilience and have refused to give up, and I think that’s why I’m still doing this!”
Courage and resilience are often qualities that are associated with a trailblazer or maverick in an entrepreneurial field. However, a big key to success that Alexie stands by is support. “It’s extremely difficult to succeed without the help and support of others,” says Alexie. “I’m very grateful for the mentors and colleagues of all genders who have provided advice and support throughout my career, particularly when I was first starting out. I believe it’s important to cultivate connections with others, share advice, and support one another in whatever field or endeavor you choose.”
Alexie’s advice for the next generation of trailblazers? Have conviction in your own ideas and don’t be afraid to take a few risks along the way. “Try lots of things and find what you love,” says Alexie. “You’ll always be more motivated to work at something that you find interesting, meaningful, and important. Don’t be overly influenced by career advice that others might give you, as only you can decide what field, industry, or discipline is right for you. And take risks; life is more interesting when you jump in feet first.”