20 Reflections from 2020

DreamSpeaker and DreamEducator perspectives from a unique year

Each year as December draws to a close, we at DreamWakers reflect on the wise advice, inspiration, and encouragement our students received from incredible #DreamSpeakers over the past 12 months. In 2020, in spite of all the unanticipated hurdles we collectively faced, flashchats continued to be a source of positivity and empowerment. We showcase below some of our favorite pearls of wisdom from #DreamSpeakers, as well as #DreamEducator perspectives on the importance of career conversations in a year like no other. From the DreamWakers’ community to each of you — may these reflections serve as motivation that it’s always a good time to follow your dreams.

1. “When you don’t do as well as you might hope, just get up and try again. To me, that’s the most important thing about life. Keep trying, keep working hard, keep your head up.” — DreamSpeaker Alexander Maki, Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy

2. “No matter what you do, keep chasing your dreams. That means working hard, being consistent, and being respectful.” — DreamSpeaker Augustine Wiah, Core Experiences Program Manager at YouTube

Augustine Wiah, Core Experiences Program Manager at YouTube

3. “I think resiliency is one of the best kind of muscles you can hone.” — DreamSpeaker Caitlin Rush, Client Partner at Twitter

4. “ Our high school students right now are feeling ‘stuck.’ Having a DreamSpeaker alleviated that feeling for them, and students reported yesterday looking forward to future opportunities. So for that, thank you, DreamWakers.” — DreamEducator Maggie Wohltmann, Livingston High School in New Jersey

5. “Care less about what people think, and do what you find interesting. When we’re at school or work, there can be a lot of pressure to be someone we’re not, but at the end of the day you should feel comfortable being you.” — DreamSpeaker Daniel Barker, Director for Research and Knowledge at the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Daniel Barker of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

6. “Our DreamSpeaker had a lot of great advice and insight about her journey and how she impacts her community through the work that she does. The flashchat helped us achieve our overall goal of helping program participants formulate ideas of how they can improve their communities.” — Chicago Housing Authority Smart Art Summer Program Team

7. “Understand how talented you are, how wonderful you are, and stop comparing yourself to other people’s talents. We all have our place in life, and together that makes a community and that makes things work.” — DreamSpeaker Deesha Dyer, Founder & CEO of Hook & Fasten

Dr. Ferguson’s students had the opportunity to speak with Deesha Dyer, Founder & CEO of Hook & Fasten and former Social Secretary for the Obama White House, in February 2020.

8. “If there’s something that scares you, and you think you can’t do it, you’ve got to just try. You will surprise yourself with what you’re actually capable of achieving.” — DreamSpeaker Dyan deNapoli, Penguin Expert & Founder of The Penguin Lady

9. “The flashchat allowed my students to interact with an adult beyond their parents or teachers and to hear about the important part education plays in furthering career goals and aspirations.” — DreamEducator Thomas Rhodes, The Crossroads School in Maryland

10. “Make two buckets: your dream thing and the thing that you know you can do now, then try to connect those dots. That’s a really good outline for figuring out what you want, and it will take you really interesting places.” — DreamSpeaker Everdeen Mason, Senior Audience Editor at the Washington Post

11. “Go after your dreams, and go after what it is that you want. Do it for you. If it’s what you want to do and you’re passionate about it, the only person that’s going to sustain you is going to be you.” — DreamSpeaker Jamie White, Health Science Strategy Lead at the National Institutes of Health

12. “It was so valuable for students to meet a person who works in a career that has such a large impact and connects so well to what we’re learning in Social Studies. Especially with the election this fall, having a DreamSpeaker with campaigning experience was a treat!” — DreamEducator Breanna Holtz, Fifer Middle School in Delaware

DreamEducator Breanna Holtz of Fifer Middle School in Delaware shares why she partners with DreamWakers.

13. “Take pride in everything that you do. It could be asking a question, showing up for a workout, doing a homework assignment, or collaborating with your classmates. It’s something that’s carried me through my whole career.” — DreamSpeaker Kelvin Beachum, Professional Football Player with the Arizona Cardinals

14. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and apologize for them. Every mistake I’ve made, I’ve learned from. When you make a mistake, take a step back and reflect on it. Nobody talks about the shots Damian Lillard [of NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers] misses, only the ones he got in.” — DreamSpeaker Nadia Hasan, City Councilor-Elect of Beaverton, Oregon

DreamSpeaker Nadia Hasan, City Councilor-Elect of Beaverton, Oregon

15. “Kick butt. Fortune favors the bold. Be bold in whatever you want to do. Boldly proclaim what you’re going to do, then make moves.” — DreamSpeaker Precious Williams, Founder & CEO of Perfect Pitches by Precious

16. “Make a plan. It won’t always go the way you had envisioned it, but you make the adjustment and you keep working towards that goal.” — DreamSpeaker Ruth Ward, Assurance Manager at PwC

17. “Our DreamSpeaker was AMAZING! The students had some questions already prepared, but I’m pretty sure they would have spent all day with her if given the opportunity. I just wanted to say thank you again for what you do for students in helping them to believe in themselves and their futures.” — DreamEducator Cara Senger, Pittsburgh Public Schools in Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh Public Schools students connected with Sabrina Thompson of NASA in October 2020.

18. “Fail as much as you can. If everything came to you really easily, you’d think that just a certain way worked. But if you fail, you are forced to try new ways of doing the same thing.” — DreamSpeaker Shilpa Kumar, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Intuit

19. “Seeing a professional of color in the medical field is extremely valuable to students and their aspirations. It is so important that our students see examples of success that look similar to themselves.” — DreamEducator Joe Mettle, KIPP New Jersey

20. “When you make a mistake, either at work or at school, you need to see the big picture and think about all the times you have succeeded.” — DreamSpeaker Viviana Corella, Global Product Lead at YouTube for Small Businesses

Thank you to our #DreamSpeakers for teaching students about resilience in the face of adversity and encouraging them to chase their dreams. We are honored to partner with so many incredible #DreamEducators, who are always finding innovative ways to inspire their students.

Check out more highlights from this past year in our 2019–20 Annual Report, and keep up with us through 2020 and beyond on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

DreamWakers is a nonprofit that connects underserved classrooms to diverse + dynamic professionals using video chats. #Education #EdTech #Nonprofit #Careers