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Q&A with our 2020–2021 Advisory Council All-Star Volunteers

What exactly is DreamWakers Advisory Council (DWAC)? In a nutshell, DWAC is a diverse group of dynamic professionals who offer their unique talent and skills in support of DreamWakers’ mission. Each of these remarkable ambassadors goes above and beyond to help DreamWakers better serve students in under-resourced schools across the country.

As we wrap up the semester, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to hear directly from our current DWAC members about their favorite DreamWakers memories and advice on preparing for the future. We hope you enjoy this special DWAC Q&A!

“What is your favorite DreamWakers memory?”

Amy Laviers

Director at The Robotics, Automation, and Dance (RAD) Lab

Amy presents a robot from her lab

“After my very first flashchat students sent me drawings of robots they’d designed. There is nothing more empowering to me than to see students feel licensed to be creative with technology!”

Hafsatu Kamara

Marketing Strategist & Professional Athlete

Grovetown Middle Schoolers chat with Hafsatu

“My favorite experience thus far has been coming together for the annual DW fundraiser & being part of a virtual event that enabled us to exceed our goals while navigating a pandemic. It was an experience that truly highlights the DW mission: utilizing our communities in every way to provide an opportunity for others.”

“What advice do you have for your younger self?”

Brian Ford

Client Solutions Manager at Facebook & Co-Founder of Self-Kare

“Try everything! Be your biggest advocate. Be your biggest supporter, but also be your biggest critic. Be honest with yourself about what you like, what you’re curious about, what you want to learn about. Ask questions, be curious, task yourself with figuring yourself out.”

Alison Dooley

Program Manager at Google

Dundee-Crown High School student chatting with Alison

“Use all the resources you can to figure out what you’re interested in and what it is you are naturally talented at. Sometimes we aren’t our own best judge. I really doubted my own abilities. Listen to your teachers, counselors, coaches, or parents. Sometimes they are able to pick up on skills you have that you may not realize.”

JJ West

Director of Marketing at ESPN/Disney

JJ chats with McKinley Tech High School students

“Every closed door I had fueled me. On your journey to reach wherever you want to go, you can’t give up, you can’t stop. What encouraged me was hearing others say they wanted to give up at times, but they persevered. Then I saw others who looked like me in the positions I wanted to reach. That still inspires me today.”

“What goals do you have for DreamWakers?”

Ester Barbuto

Senior Program Manager at Microsoft

Ester Barbuto’s #WhyIDreamWake

“I want DreamWakers to be accessible to any classroom, teacher, or student who wants access. I would love to see us evolve flashchats to an on-demand library of stories & advice. I also love the concept of an alumni network of those who inspire people who then go on to inspire others.”

Anthony Conway

Booking Producer at ABC’s Windy City LIVE

Anthony gives advice to KIPP: STAR Middle Schoolers

“I want to see DreamWakers become a nationally recognized platform. My dream is that one day every major high school in the country works with us to host flashchats with their alumni network and with notable speakers from those areas.”

Barger Jeutter

CEO & Owner of Solution Consulting

Barger connects with BEAM Math students

“My goal is to help DreamWakers continue to grow and be incredibly successful in whatever ways I can do that. DreamWakers is one of the most important organizations that I support — which I do because I believe they provide opportunities that every child deserves.”

These reflections are a great reminder of the important work that our Advisory Council does to help every young person see what they can be.

Thank you to each of these DWAC all-stars for going above and beyond in service to our students!

Are you an educator looking to bring your lessons to life through conversation with career professionals? Join DreamWakers today!

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