Wendy Kopp was a senior at Princeton University when she realized her life purpose. She was a Public Policy major, and the more she learned about America’s educational system, the more concerned she became about educational inequality. She realized that this is a country that aspires to be a place of equal opportunity, and yet, where you’re born heavily determines your educational prospects and therefore your life prospects. Given American ideals, she saw this as a fundamental massive injustice within our education system, and felt like she could do something to help.
As this was brewing in the back of her mind, Kopp and her friends were being intensely recruited to go work on Wall Street for two years. There were so many students around her, including herself, searching for ways to assume a significant responsibility that would make a real difference in the world. This sparked an idea that intelligent and talented graduating seniors could be recruited to teach in our highest poverty communities for two years instead of working on Wall Street. She needed a thesis topic, so she proposed her idea and Teach For America was born. Kopp was only twenty-two years old at the time.
Kopp believes that the first step in strategy is really taking the time to do the research and develop your plan initially. Her biggest asset, she says, was her inexperience because she “didn’t know what wasn’t possible.” As Kopp continues to move forward with her non-profit organization, she takes time to advise future social entrepreneurs and encourages them to “constantly search for allies who can help you fulfill your mission.”
At Far West Capital, we support entrepreneurs who aren’t scared of their big dreams. Wendy Kopp was young and inexperienced, but determined to follow her passion of making education equality a reality. Just like Kopp, we are all about unleashing the potential in others. She inspires us, and we look forward to watching her continue giving students all over the world a brighter future.