We’re super excited to announce (Nay shout! Nay dance! Nay both!) that Nora Wessel is joining us at Thinkful! Today’s her first day, and she’s jumping right in as the lead on marketing and business development
We first met Nora through a mutual friend of Dan’s (Thanks Josh Gordon!) in November. Dan had already told me her basic resume by the time we all ate lunch at Markt: Yale B.A., then Teach for America, then Obama for America. But it wasn’t until she described her last three years that I knew this was a person we wanted to be around.
For two years, Nora taught high school math at low-income schools in Philadelphia and led her 9th and 11th grade students to improve their academic outcomes. Nora joined Obama’s re-election campaign as a field organizer in Aurora, Colorado and was first tasked with knocking on doors and making phone calls to find local volunteers. She was then asked to manage neighborhood teams through the summer and then through the election.
“What’s that like?” I asked. “Well, you have to make 150-200 calls a day, and then you have to convince people to volunteer countless hours because they want to be a part of something larger than themselves. Then, you have to manage relationships with them, your bosses and the HQ in Chicago.”
It took me a minute to put this story together: Here we had found someone deeply interested in education who has sold many, many people on working for free through sheer mission and tenacity. This is exactly the kind of promise we love: excited by education, open to crazy challenges and insanely curious. We like hiring for potential and we like hiring people that will empathize with our students. Nora embodies these perfectly.
I was sold and the rest of lunch was a blur. Dan and I got back to the office and had about the shortest discussion on record about how to proceed: “Did you like her?” “Are you kidding?” “Can we hire her?” “I hope so. I’m on it.”
And boy, was he. Moving to New York and beginning work at a startup aren’t easy moves to make. Dan answered questions, listened to her hesitations and connected Nora with people who would be great for her to know in New York.
The morning Nora accepted our offer she sounded tired on the phone. We asked how she was doing, and she replied with a certain casualness. “Sorry, I’m a bit tired today. I was working at the inauguration from 6am through late evening.” So awesome.