2019 Roddenberry Fellow
Heejae founded TalkingPoints based on her personal experience growing up as a Korean immigrant student and seeing her mother be able to make a difference in her education because she had the ‘voice’ to do so. Previously, Heejae worked on education reform to drive data-driven decision-making for public schools in the Middle East and served as chief of staff to a special advisor to the Secretary of Education in the UK. Heejae also worked on the development of Aspire Public Schools’ teacher training program, which is now Alder Education. In addition, as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, she advised the Gates Foundation and Teach First UK and led multiple due diligence processes for consumer and retail M&A clients. Heejae has earned a B.A. from Oxford University, an M.A. in International Development from the London School of Economics both with distinctive honors, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar. She has also been recognized as an Echoing Green Fellow, Stanford Social Innovation Fellow, Ashoka Changemaker, and Forbes 30 Under 30 for education.
TalkingPoints (talkingpts.org) is a non-profit with a mission to drive student success—especially in underserved, diverse immigrant communities—by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement in children’s education. Our multilingual tech platform connects and empowers family members and teachers using human- and AI-powered, two-way translated messages and personalized content—eliminating language, limited time, and mindsets/skills gap as barriers to school/family connection. Recent research by WestEd shows that TalkingPoints increases family engagement for 87% of families overall and 100% of non-English speaking families. Today TalkingPoints is on track to serve 3 million students by 2020, thanks to supporters such as AT&T Aspire Foundation, Carnegie Corporation, Google, Cisco and General Motors.