COACH CLOSE-UP WITH TEEN ENTREPRENEUR CONNECTIONS SUCCESS COACH ASHA JOHN
Being an Actuarial Science major, you can do it two ways – you can do it through the Applied Math department, or you can do it through the business school. I had got accepted into the business school at Penn, which gave me an extensive background in terms of marketing, finance, business writing, entrepreneurship, business etiquette, all these goals that you won’t learn in another major.
When I had the opportunity to do the Entrepreneurship program [at Alfred E. Smith High School in the Bronx], for me it was more than just teaching the boys about creating a business, but how to be businessmen, and how to be young professionals. My experience on Wall Street afforded me that, because the things you learn from your managers, your supervisors, from business lunches, from conferences – those are the things that really make you and mold you.
I was also able to teach the students how to make a budget, and how to use Excel, which you don’t really get to learn that extensively in high school. I remember that was very hard for me in undergrad. I struggled at first, but then I got the hang of it, through practice, and something as simple as using the Help button. A lot of the students don’t even know they can do that, they just kind of sit there lost. So teaching them how to navigate, to problem-solve on their own, I was so glad I was able to bring those skills to them.
I loved the challenge of being an actuary and working in the field as a risk manager, and I was able to perform a service, but I also didn’t feel like I was making a difference. I knew I enjoyed working with youth because I had spent my time on the side tutoring. I have also spent most of my life doing dance and theatre. So I didn’t feel I was fulfilling my full potential, sitting at a desk every day. I knew I had so much more to offer.
When the recession hit, and my company downsized, I happened to be one of the ones they downsized. And it just gave me the opportunity to make that transition to being a teaching artist and Success Coach.