Learning Leaders: North Texans Empowering the Next Generation With Passion and Purpose

Education plays a pivotal role in shaping tomorrow’s leaders. Meet four North Texans who are spearheading a wave of innovative educational programs, entrepreneurial ventures, and creative initiatives to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators.

Founding Member, ReadyRosie 

“The last two years have really underscored the need for strong, meaningful collaboration between home and schools,” Roden says. Research has long documented the impact of parent engagement on a child’s education, and the pandemic changed the dynamic: Parents had to take on a new role–and become a real partner to their children’s teachers. When schools came back in person, that didn’t stop, she says. That’s why’s ReadyRosie focuses on evidence-based content for “seamless fluidity” between the classroom and home. Roden wants families to confidently reinforce classroom learning at home, and really operate as a team with their child’s educators and caregivers.

Director of Technology and STEM, Trinity Christian Academy

Wong, a former Raytheon engineer turned educator, is inspiring her students to use their engineering skills to make a difference in the world. Wong assigned her senior-level engineering class a final project to design, develop and test devices or tools to help a local child with special needs. The students focused on an 8-year-old boy named Jack, who was born with spina bifida, Chiari malformation, hydrocephalus, and clubbed feet. The students came up with three designs: a bathroom bench station, an activity station, and a portable catheterization station. The project solved real-world problems—and gave Jack useful devices that didn’t exist in the marketplace, she says.

CEO, Lyda Hill Philanthropies and If/Then

Small is a passionate STEM and foundation leader. As CEO of LH Capital Inc. and Lyda Hill Philanthropies, she oversees all its investments and philanthropic endeavors. Its IF/THEN Initiative has had a string of successes since its launch in 2018. The #IfThenSheCan – The Exhibit, the largest collection of statues of women ever, debuted at the Smithsonian Institute as part of #WomensFuturesMonth. And 90 of the 120 statues are on display at two Dallas destinations, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Its STEM-inspired Mission Unstoppable is an Emmy-winning TV show just renewed for a fourth season that reaches 1 million viewers weekly.

Head of Technology, Meritize

Ramirez takes a “unique approach” to technology to develop products that work for Meritize’s customers. Frisco-based Meritize, which works with students, educators, and employers, offers “merit-based funding” options and information on skills-based education and training opportunities. Uniquely, Meritize says, it looks at factors beyond a person’s credit, such as military service or other accomplishments. And, it says it only funds “programs that it can prove are ROI-positive investments for students/trainees.” Ramirez, as VP of technology, leads product management and marketing with her background in SaaS experience combined with a decade in edtech.

A version of this story was originally published in Dallas Innovates 2023.

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