“When We Inject Care Into Responsibility, That Responsibility Gives Us The Power To Change Things.” ; Interview with Riccarda Zezza, Founder at LIFEED
This is part of the EdTech Female Founder (#EFF) interview series brought to you by SuperCharger Ventures.
What inspired you to start your EdTech Founder journey?
I had been working for large companies for 15 years before I had my first child. When I became a mother, I felt that my employer saw it as being problematic for the company. After having my second child, I was demoted upon returning to work, so I decided to switch gears and find different solutions to this eternal challenge. With Life Based Value, I want to change the perception of parenthood and caregiving from being seen as an ‘illness’ or ‘problem’ to becoming a training ground for soft skills. When we see life and work together, rather than seeing them as in conflict, much more talent and resources can be used in business and in society.
Describe your company in one sentence.
Lifeed is a digital platform that transforms life events into skill development and professional growth.
What should an aspiring EdTech founder know before initiating their startup journey?
I think you have to be organized and set boundaries around your role so you can stay focused. When you’re launching a business, and especially one with innovative solutions, it’s easy to be pulled in lots of different directions. If you’re not careful, you can end up following 10 different threads at the same time, and this will burn you out. It’s important to be clear with yourself about what you want to do and achieve so you can follow your own path.
What has been the most difficult moment as a founder and how did you overcome it?
In order to reframe parenthood as an opportunity, we needed to talk to three groups simultaneously: new parents, companies and society as a whole. The innovative Life Based Value framework is creating and serving a market at the same time. It’s a challenge that we face everyday.
What can the EdTech industry do to improve the gender gap?
We need more diversity to have better outcomes for all. The EdTech industry has a huge opportunity because education carries along big stereotypes that frame our knowledge and can reduce our imagination. The EdTech industry should pay more attention on how much diverse is the approach to innovation it’s taking, how much it’s challenging the status quo: even more under a cultural perspective than under a technological one.
Can you tell us about a role model of yours?
The people who inspire me most are my children. They have their whole lives ahead of them and the world is filled with possibilities. It’s a shame that we lose sight of that as we grow up. So, I try to take inspiration from them. They remind me that they already have all the resources they need to be able to move forward. Instead of losing sight of those resources as we get older, we have the chance to conserve and apply them.
Can you tell us an example of when you had to pivot?
When the pandemic hit last year, the whole world entered into a collective transition. Here in Italy, there was a strong sense that we had to care for one another. So we created new learning pathways, bringing this concept of care to more companies and families that found themselves adapting to new ways of working and living during this evolution. As a business, we felt that it was time to grow and solidify our presence in an ecological way. We didn’t want to waste any resources or skills that we already had available to us. We hope that once this transition has ended, we will all feel the benefit of having honed our skills.
What will you consider as success in 5 years from now?
For the Life Based Learning methodology to be recognised as a more effective way to learn for everyone, and for people and the society to see the value emerging from having complex lives and from bringing more care into everything we do.
Looking back, what advice would you have liked to have received before starting your company?
When starting a business, I think it’s fundamental to choose the right business partners to share the journey with. You need to choose people that have a lot to give and that are willing to openly share their experience and contribute ideas to the business. I don’t think you can succeed in creating an innovative company if you are alone.
Anything else You’d like to share?
Many women leaders, when asked about the way they lead, mention motherhood as a metaphor for leadership. This goes to the essence of the human species: care is essential. We are familiar with leadership models that prize a fighter attitude — the fight or flight model. The caring model of leadership is on the other hand familiar only in private life. Yet, it’s a model the world needs.
Care is a superpower rooted in our DNA for our species to survive. When we inject care into responsibility, that responsibility gives us the power to change things. We can bring care into everything we do and so can children. That’s the way we can all be changemakers.To know more about Leila Walker or Persona Education, visit their company site:
To know more about Riccarda Zezza or LIFEED, visit their company site:
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