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Cherith's story on... staying close to the challenges we are solving

A highschool teacher by trade, five years in teaching, a masters degree underway, and a venture that is revolutionising teacher development, to say Cherith is 'all in', is an understatement!  Working as a teacher in a school with children from homes facing poverty, gangsterism, unemployment and the like, Cherith felt overwhelmed and massively under prepared as she entered the teaching fraternity. Despite the support teachers receive in terms of various training initiatives, Cherith felt there was a missing piece in addressing how teachers could feel more empowered in such circumstances.  She wanted to create something that would address this and her business was later born out of her very own story, and a story that many teachers could identify with.  She created a platform that redefines teacher community and support by offering teachers access to masterclasses, resources, peers, all at the click of a button. Think of a one stop solution for novice teachers.

“We talk so freely about many movements but very little about the impact of teachers and this greatly disturbs me.  I have every intention of not just forming a movement but making a very bold statement about the place of teachers in society.” 

With 30-50% of teachers leaving the profession within their first three years of work, Cherith is working hard to save these teachers. It is clear to us that her passion runs deep and that her entrepreneurial journey is a very personal one.  She is driven by the storytelling around her, using this as her inspiration to bring resolution, the stories shared have certainly not fallen on a deaf ears, and is testament to her character that she will not simply stand by and do nothing.  

Being a teacher herself, Cherith had the advantage of being very close to the challenges she was solving for, as well as close to her target market and the insights they freely share.  She continues to keep her users close to every step on the journey, from testing and enabling feedback loops to continuous product iteration.  She showcases a great way to guerilla test in an efficient, affordable manner that brings in those invaluable insights required to build a solution that is fit for purpose.  Wise enough to know she cannot sell something that hasn't been tried, tested and taken up with some good numbers to back its value, Cherith is determined to prove her solution really works.  She goes one step further to continuously draw on external industries as inspiration for how she can apply their learnings into what she is creating.  We are reminded how important it is to step outside of our own industry bubble to leverage learnings in more creative ways from others who may be worlds apart from our reality.

“There are many days when I am on top of the world, and then there are other days when I’m not really sure if I'm doing the right thing.  In my current season of entrepreneurship I am putting in all I have, taking and creating opportunities no matter what”. 

Juggling teaching, studies and her venture, how is it possible for Cherith to manage all on her plate?  She believes if you really want something, you are going to do it regardless of how difficult it may be.  For her it comes down to meticulous planning and focus, making sure she gives it her all for each hour she spends on the business, at work, and in her studies.  Perhaps it is her ability to work at all three in tandem which affords her the ability to build something truly remarkable as each plays a part in her solution.  She makes us reflect on what it really means to make the impossible possible.  She has a big vision and tackles it in smaller manageable chunks as she looks to scale.  

“I never knew failure could feel so good.  I failed ten times before I won a pitch for a previous business.  If it hadn't been for the failures, I would never have pitched as well as I did.  I keep reminding myself of this.  Be friends with failure.  You only get better at entrepreneurship the more you try.” 

Cherith advises us to stop sweating the small stuff, we will get to the things we really want to achieve in time if we are willing to put in the time and effort.  A realist who embraces failure, and one who is cognisant of the hard times, Cherith celebrates every win no matter how small, soaking up all the validation that comes her way to maintain the inspiration to keep going. We deeply admire Cherith for taking on a challenge that sits in the difficult and highly red taped space that is education.  We know teachers today and into the future will be grateful for her passion and perseverance in driving change in a sector that is crying for help.  

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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