To help prepare our youth for the coming era of innovation we need to think differently about education and learning. Instead of testing and measuring knowledge, we need to develop the skills and character traits that matter more tomorrow – creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. That’s the goal of Rethink Thinking Foundation – to be an incubator for creativity and innovation. To create resilience and bravery needed in youth that allows them to continuously rethink thinking.
Rethink Thinking was launched in 2016 by a passionate group of educators, parents and social entrepreneurs who share a vision of supporting young people to develop the skills needed for today’s era of rapid change and interconnection. Our philosophy and approach is designed to empower youth and support creativity, innovation and holistic well-being.
Rebecca Kirstein is a serial entrepreneur, the co-founder of 6 businesses, and 2 non-profits.
She is a speaker, educator, idea generator, team builder, collaborator, and connector — a conduit to the best knowledge and sponsorship resources for entrepreneurs. The Rethink Thinking Foundation is the culmination of the passions and expertise of its founding members who made the choice to connect, collaborate, and contribute their energy towards a common goal: rethinking how we learn, grow as individuals and come together to build a thriving community that supports its next generation.
Fueled by her passion to empower youth to become collaborative, critical thinkers and problem solvers to prepare them for today’s world, Rebecca founded Rethink Thinking based on the belief to “make what you wish existed”, this is what she wishes existed.
Founder of Gatherings Co., Caroline has set the stage for many visionary humans over her 20+ years managing events. Focusing on education, community development and the arts Caroline nurtures positive, productive relationships both within her event teams and with organizational partners.
As a seasoned event manager, Caroline has conceptualized, planned and overseen the onsite execution of events such as corporate conferences, non-profit fundraisers, university-continuing education programs, trade shows, and festivals.
Gathering with clear intention results in huge capacity for connection and shifts towards our shared visions. Caroline continues to be inspired by the possibilities when we bump into each other’s edges and find new growth in the spaces created between.
Jeff Hopkins has been an educator for 23 years. He been a teacher, counsellor, principal, and school district superintendent. Jeff was BC’s first Safe Schools Coordinator, working to address issues of intimidation, harassment, anxiety, and suicide through programs that promote equitable, engaging, and welcoming school environments.
Jeff founded the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry in 2013 – an independent high school in Victoria designed to provide a model for education system transformation. Inspired by the notion of “consilience,” – the unity of knowledge — PSII helps its learners transcend traditional high school subject silos through an interdisciplinary, inquiry-based approach. In 2013-14, Jeff was the University of Victoria’s first “Educator in Residence,” offering support and inspiration to education students and faculty in their contemplation of what an education system could be. Jeff is a husband and a father of two and supports the work of Rethink Thinking as both an educator and parent.
Sven Resch is a Software Development Manager at Bambora North America, President of Logicopolis Technology and he has been a professional geek since 1997. Sven has a proven record of identifying, and keeping on top of, tech trends in order to implement, optimize & improve software systems. He is very well experienced in the design & deployment of both Mobile and Full Stack based products & solutions.
Sven is passionate about creating enterprise class scalable & performant systems. He is actively leveraging his knowledge & experience to be a mentor to willing victims and to advise & lead technology teams with a coaching based approach.
Sven cares about making a difference and is the father of a son & daughter that have each battled through the primary and secondary public school systems. He currently lives in Victoria, BC, Canada where he downhill skis, jogs, paddle boards, golfs and often pontificates on how to build tastier tacos.
Robinson Smith operates Smith Consulting Group Ltd, out of Victoria, B.C, on Vancouver Island. Robinson has an extensive history in the investment space, both international and retail. Robinson has a double major in Chinese and Economics from the University of Victoria and an MBA in International Business from Simon Fraser University.
After taking his father’s wise advice to study mandarin Chinese at the University of Victoria, Robinson spent eight years studying and working in China in sectors as diverse as contracts with the Canadian Foreign Service in Beijing, project development in the energy space, and investment banking where he served as Vice President for The Balloch Group, a boutique international investment bank based in Beijing founded by the former Canadian Ambassador to China. Robinson joined his father, Fraser, at Smith Consulting Group Ltd. back in early 2006 when he returned to Canada from Asia in order to take over the family business and be closer to family (his mother missed him…) Robinson has since advised hundreds of families on financial strategies to improve their financial security.
As a father to two young sons, Robinson feels strongly about the quality of education available to our youth and is looking forward to watching young Canadians realize their full potential through the development of progressive organizations and programs like Rethink Thinking and the Youth Summit
Bob Warwick is the founder of Whole Punk Creators, a mobile app development company in Victoria, BC. He is aggressively entrepreneurial and likes big projects that have potential to change an industry. Bob has his B.Sc. in Computer Science from Bishop’s University, because nobody boring ever went to Bishop’s.
Bob takes a keen interest in education, having had one himself. He believes that technology is an incredible lever to help deliver human experiences, that effective education is a human experience at its core, and that we’re entering a new era where technology will enable richer education for everyone. He is thrilled to advise Rethink Thinking because he also believes what Margaret Mead said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.“
Gordon McDougall is a seasoned entrepreneur. He has been the driving force that founded or co-founded 15 companies in diverse industries. Many of the companies raised substantial funding and several became publicly traded.
Gord is a professionally trained coach for both individuals and teams, was a stockbroker and has been a trusted team member of several high-growth companies
Billie Carn is Founder and Chief Maverick at Maverick Wisdom where she uses her research of interviewing disruptive innovative Business Mavericks, to help the (business) world understand the different thinkers, and the different thinkers to better understand themselves.
Billie is one of 55 people globally holding a Masters in Innovation, Creativity, and Leadership (Cass Business School London). An ex-children’s nurse/lecturer/researcher, turned innovation thought leader, speaker, disruptor, original thinking creative dot connector and contributor to Huffington Post, Influencive and Entrepreneur. Generally, an all-out kick ass game-changer. Always incubating many ideas, one of which is the Kindness Business Model.
Billie believes that education needs to be disrupted if we’re going to equip the youth of today with the right mindset and skills to fully live and contribute to the world of tomorrow.
Alexandra is a certified K–12 teacher, journalist and bestselling author. She taught middle school for eight years, homeschooled her oldest child for two years, and now researches and writes about optimal human learning.
Alexandra helps leaders and businesses tell their story: to their employees, to their customers, to their stakeholders. She especially likes working with organizations who have a clear purpose and a commitment to driving human betterment.
She writes everything, from ads and fundraising material to manuals and scripts. She can write a mean article about hotel laundry. Or ice cubes. Or toilet paper. She’s also published 13 books for young readers, with a new book for 2019 about the upcoming Great Bear Rainforest IMAX film.
As a former classroom teacher, Alex support transforming the education system. Silos and prescribed curriculum content don’t work for children’s brains and needs. Inquiry does. Strong and constant relationships with caring adults does.
Chris O’Connor joined the Learning Department at the Royal BC Museum in 2011, most recently from Vancouver where he worked at the Vancouver Art Gallery. There, Chris was part of both the family programs and school programs development teams, while also teaching curriculum based creative movement in schools throughout the lower mainland. He received his MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Simon Fraser University, and still occasionally fancies himself a choreographer- now crafting ideas and activities within the galleries, not so much movement on a stage.
At the Royal BC Museum he runs the Wonder Sunday program, Spring Break program, the Museum Amplification Project, Night at the Museum, and is particularly interested in fostering an active environment for visitors to experience the museum exhibits and collections in innovative and surprising ways. He has brought this experience to Rethink Thinking and supported the Summit events with his expertise and resources.
An young woman with an overwhelming passion for entrepreneurship, Brianna has founded a cosmetics line, retail gift store, blogs, and YouTube channel. Her passions are fueled listening to Christmas music all year long.
Her first entrepreneurial venture was a pop-up store called YYJingle. She profited $10,000 in 3 weeks and donated the proceeds to a local charity that helped her family growing up. Brianna attributes her passion driven inquiries to her success in school, in business and describes her experiences uncovering her talents and strengths as her antidote to depression and anxiety.
A teenager with vision, Maddy is a singer/songwriter, self professed book worm, writer and social entrepreneur. She has been raising money for local charities since before she could read. Maddy is the creator and founder of the non-profit, The Alectoria School of Magic, a 2 night, 3 day immersive and interactive educational camp run by youth for youth
More on Rethink Thinking
There has been much talk in the education sector recently about the need to modernize the way schools structure teaching and learning. You can start here, with Sir Ken Robinson’s landmark TED Talk, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Many schools have already begun the process of rethinking their approach. Some schools are further along in this path than others, but it is clear that we are on the cusp of great change. However, transforming the education system will take time. Rethink Thinking is made up of leaders who are ready to take action now, who are passionate about supporting young people to fulfill their dreams, and who are skilled in the development and implementation of approaches which engage young people as active participants in their own learning.