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#ChamberBreakers: 'Godmother of Silicon Valley' Esther Wojcicki on how to raise future leaders

Yahoo Finance Staff
·3-min read

Children and young people are growing up in a world of non-stop disruption. Faced with challenges like climate change and the global pandemic, they need the type of education that will set them up for successful careers by instilling resilience, creativity and a collaborative mindset.

The job of raising tomorrow’s leaders falls not only to parents and educators, but also to tech companies, who have the power to develop engaging new models of learning.

In its second season, the #ChamberBreakers podcast series is focusing on corporate social responsibility, education, and the workforce at a time of global crisis.

In the second episode of this season, Lianna Brinded, head of Yahoo Finance UK, and Xavier White, CSR and innovation marketing manager for Verizon Business, speak to Esther Wojcicki, a journalist and award-winning educator, who has honed her unique teaching methods over 40 years.

Wojcicki has been dubbed the ‘godmother of Silicon Valley’ due to the huge numbers of her students who went on to become successful entrepreneurs — including her daughters, Susan the CEO of YouTube (GOOGL) and Anne, founder of personal genomics company 23andMe.

From left to right: Anne Wojcicki, Janet Wojcicki, Esther Wojcicki and Susan Wojcicki attend the 8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center on 3 November 2019 in Mountain View, California, Us. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images
From left to right: Anne Wojcicki, Janet Wojcicki, Esther Wojcicki and Susan Wojcicki attend the 8th Annual Breakthrough Prize Ceremony at NASA Ames Research Center on 3 November 2019 in Mountain View, California, Us. Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images

Her book ‘How to Raise Successful People’ is based on her TRICK strategy, which stands for Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness.

“It's really important for you as parents to develop trust and respect for your children when they are young,” Wojcicki says. “Collaborate with them. Don't dictate and tell them what to do all the time — and treat them with kindness no matter what they do.”

“Through this method of mine, where you give them this opportunity to believe in themselves and do more and more things independently, they develop self-respect and self-love. And that is one of the most important things a person can have when they're an adult.”

She has observed how education models have been forced to change dramatically since the pandemic broke out this year. For one, kids are no longer in the classroom, which means teachers have to trust them more.

“I think we have an opportunity now because the whole system has been disrupted,” Wojcicki said. “Prior to the pandemic, people were moving in this direction… of giving kids more control. But now, they don't have a choice.”

WATCH: Global Change Agents – Esther Wojcicki on how to raise successful people

Tech companies’ potential to shape digital and online education can’t be underestimated — a topic she tackled in her first book ‘Moonshots in Education.’

“Moonshots are so important,” Wojcicki says. “It took a tremendous amount of community effort to get to the moon, and that’s what is required in every moonshot — you need to work together, you need to be collaborative.”

The eight-part video series is also a podcast and is out every Thursday. Next week’s episode features Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer for Google X, serial entrepreneur, and author of Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path To Joy.