Edmentum partners with over 330 schools in Dallas-Fort Worth and has 170 employees based in its Richardson, TX co-headquarters alone. With Jamie Candee leading this education technology company, it’s easy to see why it’s making such an impact in Texas and beyond.
With a career ranging from education to financial services and then back to education, Candee has created her own path to success. Before Candee became the CEO, President, and Board Director of Edmentum, she though she’d be a teacher. She tried her hand at student-teaching, but soon realized that she was more interested in what was happening outside of the classroom — specifically, policy. So, she decided to change career paths altogether, went to graduate school, and pursued a career in finance.
“I’ve spent a number of years in financial services and banking, which tends to be a harder industry for women. And, I was surrounded by great men and women mentors during that time frame,” Candee says. “I was able to learn very quickly how to build a startup and how to run a company at a very young age.”
After working as a regional bank manager and at a financial services start up, Candee understood that she wanted to run companies, lead people, and get back to her roots in education. Education technology was the perfect fit.
Candee didn’t immediately land the role of CEO at Edmentum, an online learning company which serves 1,000,000 children in 40,000 schools in every state in the nation. She joined the company in 2005 (then known as PLATO Learning) and began her career in human resources before working her way through nearly every department within the organization including sales, marketing and product development.
She left Edmentum in 2014 only to return in 2017 — but this time, as its CEO. Along the way she started a family, and is now the mother of two young children. She wants other women to realize that with the right support system, they can have it all too.
“One of the most important lessons that I learned early on from the female executives that I have been surrounded by is that this isn’t about making tradeoffs — personally or professionally,” Candee says.
Even in 2018, Candee says the workforce isn’t always a welcoming environment for women, especially for those who want to be in charge. Candee offers advice to women who aspire to become CEOs — no matter the industry.
“Take risks, volunteer for absolutely everything that you can within your company, look to be seen as somebody that empowers others — supporting other women is very important.”
“Take risks, volunteer for absolutely everything that you can within your company, look to be seen as somebody that empowers others — supporting other women is very important,” Candee says.
Candee brings these words of wisdom into her own work in her leadership position at Edmentum. Additionally, she places a major emphasis on social impact.
“I just find that I am much more fulfilled as a human being if I feel like I’m helping other human beings and so, that’s why I chose education, that’s why I choose to be at Edmentum because of the work that we do for so many kids and teachers. I feel every day like we’re actually making a difference in the world,” Candee says.
Earlier this year, this high value in helping others kicked in after two back-to-back hurricanes hit the East Coast. When storm damage led to extended school closures in the Carolinas and Florida, Edmentum provided free access to its online education programs to schoolchildren in those communities.
Closer to home, the company also supports its employees’ efforts by giving them two paid volunteer days a year.
Edmentum’s goal is to continue to give back, while also moving forward. The company’s creating innovative augmented reality educational courses through a partnership with Boulevard Arts, one of the premier developers of virtual and augmented reality experiences. The integration intends to give students a fresh window into what they’re learning from the comfort of their own classroom. For example, it breaks down some of the traditional accessibility barriers by enabling all students to experience things like some of the great museums of the world.
Candee has been recognized as one of EdTech Digest‘s Top 100 Influencers in EdTech. She considers herself lucky in her career journey, but there’s no “luck” to it — Candee has made her way up in the workforce through her drive to constantly move forward and her relentless passion for helping others.
This story was updated on Nov. 12 for clarity.
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