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  • Kristi DePaul

These amazing clients and projects made 2022 our most impactful year yet



The promise of a new year is energizing. So much to accomplish! Endless potential. It's hard not to get swept up in what feels like momentum.


Before looking too far ahead, though, I want to take a moment to nod at 2022, a year that propelled our small-but-mighty agency forward.


It is with great pride that I reflect on the projects and clients that made our year.


In the seven years since our rather humble launch, Founders has served a variety of organizations impacting the future of work and learning. Our client roster has included career-focused mobile apps, HR tech startups with 9-figure exits, companies that grew fast with the shift to online instruction and remote work, and nationally renowned associations, nonprofits and philanthropies supporting K-20 students and educators, among others.


We're fully distributed, as you may know. In 2022, our team worked remotely from France, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Portugal, Seychelles and the U.S.


Whew—as the kids say, that’s a lot. Who are we, anyway?


Here's a single sentence: We are a multinational remote team with deep expertise in engaging future of learning and work stakeholders across cultures, contexts and time zones.


But if I had more? Our experiences as immigrants, language learners, people of color, religious minorities and/or military veterans enable us to bring a uniquely global view and perceptive sensitivity to our communications work. Founders has actively sought to partner with organizations working to close equity gaps, and our team has invested both time and personal funds into anti-racism education and gender parity initiatives. We value candor, empathy and good humor in ourselves and look for those qualities in our clients, too.


The prospect of brighter futures for learners and earners of any background helps us get up every morning. We believe that greater social and economic mobility doesn’t just sound like a good idea on paper; in principle, it benefits us all.


What'd we do, exactly? Here’s a bird’s-eye view of work completed in 2022.


Instructional Content: Academic and Professional Development Courses, Behavioral Change Messaging


Getting Smart: This longtime partner engaged us to collaborate on a digital project-based learning curriculum for middle through high school students. The added challenge: All projects across 8 modules had to be accessible online and be adaptable to work in synchronous and asynchronous environments. For this engagement, the Founders team enlisted the expertise of our friends (and past clients!) at Thrive, who adeptly supported the in-depth pedagogical design of each project, creating or curating needed resources along the way. Our team crafted compelling, grade-level appropriate content to resonate with and guide students through topics with a sustainability lens, including modules on climate change, journalism, social entrepreneurship and cybersecurity, among others.


A Leading Higher Education Organization: We interviewed subject matter experts to develop a self-paced online program for college and university leaders from the ground up. Our team collaborated with this national organization’s internal content leaders on the creation of three dozen modules, where we crafted video scripts and course content organized around specific learning objectives, concepts, skills, and relevant resources. In the process, we interviewed nationally renowned subject matter experts from academia and industry. Additionally, our team used its in-depth knowledge of the program to produce a comprehensive marketing strategy and accompanying marketing plan for effective promotion to target audiences.


Humu: We collaborated with internal content stakeholders and behavioral scientists on this work, which involved reviewing research and evidence-based recommendations to create bite-sized content (nudges) for delivery via Humu’s custom mobile app. Each nudge was thoughtfully designed so to encourage reflection and proactive change across an array of personas such as leaders, managers, individual contributors and frontline employees from a variety of industries and Fortune 500 companies. Topics included cross-cultural teams, ethical leadership, common decision biases and employee recognition.


In-Depth Documents: Research Reports and a Resource Guide


Digital Promise and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy: Founders collaborated with teams from both of these prominent national organizations on both the content and design of Promoting Digital Literacy for Adults: A Research Guide. Intended for use by tutors and mentors as well as professional educators, the guide covers strategies and best practices for supporting and mentoring adult learners and aims to help users understand the specific skills and competencies of digital literacy.


Inside Higher Ed: Our founder and CEO Kristi DePaul authored special reports for this leading media outlet on two very timely topics: The Evolving Conversation Around Quality in Online Learning and The Engaged (and Supported) Professor, which focused on faculty burnout and mitigation strategies for leaders. This involved an in-depth literature review and nearly two dozen subject matter expert interviews. She worked directly with Inside Higher Ed’s editor-in-chief, with whom she presented webinars on each topic to hundreds of participants from around the globe.


Ongoing Marketing Strategy & Support


rpk GROUP: 2022 marked the third year that we had the pleasure of partnering in an ongoing capacity with rpk GROUP, a remote firm building higher education organizations that last. Founders teammates across four continents provided a diverse array of expertise and support in the form of blog editing and management, social media content creation and listening services, website management and maintenance, marketing asset design and development, webinar and podcast editing and promotion, and strategic marketing counsel.


CybeReady: Since 2016, the Founders team has worked with the CTO, product leads and instructional designers of this international cyber security company to enhance informational presentations and marketing assets for CISOs and other executives of multinational organizations. We’ve also been tapped to edit industry-specific email campaigns and training sequences designed to improve employees’ ability to spot and avoid sophisticated phishing attempts.


Livv.ai: We support this growing multinational team of machine learning and AI entrepreneurs with website content creation, social media management and executive communications review. The focus on proptech (AI real estate personalization) was new for us, but the challenge of reaching audiences with varying needs in a rapidly changing landscape greatly appealed to our team.


SimpliFly: From marketing strategy and executive communications to social media and blog management, Founders developed engaging content and brand assets that set this training start-up apart from others seeking to conquer the fear of flying market. Our work involved both public-facing and internal communications, with website, mobile app and social channel content, investor relations messaging, prospect outreach and partner engagement all landing (pun intended J) within our purview.


Association for Education and Communications Technology (AECT): Our team served as editors for this international organization’s flagship blog, Interactions, which engaged a diverse group of contributors. We created editorial guidelines, shepherded writers through the editing process, presented webinars to the association’s global membership about participating, and advised the interim executive director and past president on best practices in editorial strategy, blog management and promotion.


So, what’s on tap for 2023? More of the same (in a good way!) and an extension into more strategic communications and pitching services. Watch this space as we unveil our work and the impact our partners are making as a result.


*For some engagements, our team works solely in the background to support our clients. We take discretion seriously and adhere to preferences around authorship and public acknowledgement of our work.

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