iMAR Learning is a finalist…again!

“This year’s winners are the best yet and should attract investors.”
-Marc Hoit, Ph.D., Innovation Contest chair and vice chancellor
2019 has been a very busy year for us here at iMar Learning Solutions. In February TD Ameritrade awarded us the GRAND PRIZE of $50,000 to develop our financial literacy application PLAN-IT.

Yesterday it was announced that we are one of two finalists in the ASCE (American Society for Civil Engineers) Innovation Contest for our edtech program called iNgage-MeiMar Learning Solutions will once again be represented by our owner and founder, Derrick Wesley.  

What is the iNgage-Me program?

iNgage-Me is an educational program that combines current and future technology to change students’ learning experience and keeps them engaged in the learning process. A representative for Philips Technology shared his feedback about the iNgage-Me program and said, “It could potentially change the way schools are organized. The way of teaching would be severely changed…If the idea works like explained in the business plan, this would be of substantial value.”

Click here to read more about the competition!

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Let them fail often

“Plowing through one’s own problems and pushing through frustration are valuable life skills which help kids grow into resilient adults. It can be difficult for parents to let offspring pave their own way.”
Christina DesMaraisInc.com

In the movie Batman Begins, Alfred Pennyworth reminds Bruce about a very important lesson that his dad taught him. As a young child, Bruce fell into a dry well and was attacked by a swarm of bats. Bruce’s dad asked, “Why do we fall?” his dad answered his own question with, “so we can learn to pick ourselves up.” This is a very important lesson that all children should learn. Children have to know that it is okay to fail. Our “True Character” is built through the obstacles we face and how we respond to our successes and failures.

As a parent, teacher, and leader we have to allow those in our charge space and freedom to explore their capabilities so they can stretch pass their personal mental and physical limits to grab hold of their REAL potential. As a teacher when a student is FINALLY able to see the GREATNESS that is inside of him/herself those are the moments that remind us of WHY we do what we do.

For example, in my classroom, I like to share with my students what their final assignment will be so they are mentally prepared for what is to come. Those of us in education know this as “keeping the end in mind through backwards design.” I remember it like it was yesterday. I shared with my students the writing prompt that they would have to write a 3-5 page essay about and the class became as silent as a graveyard.

One brave student, Henry P., could not hold his fear inside. Henry raised a quiet hand and said, “Mr. Wesley, I cannot do that! That is too hard.” I already knew that this assignment was too difficult, but what Henry didn’t know is that I wanted them to STRUGGLE, not because I wanted them to fail, but because I wanted them to realize the potential that is inside of them. I said to Henry, “You are 100% correct! Yes, today you cannot write this essay. But in the next 2 weeks, I will give you every single tool you need to write this paper and prepare you for every other essay you will need to write in your life.” 

Henry made an A- on his essay, and he could not have been more proud. When the class received their essays back I reminded the class of how they thought this paper would be impossible. Yes, they struggled and failed with concepts along the way, but they did not give up. 

If you are not giving your students, children, or even your employees opportunities to FAIL, STRUGGLE, or GET FRUSTRATED then you are doing them a disservice. It is our job as leaders to give them the tools they need to reach their goals and if they fall we will be by their side to cheer them on as they learn to pick themselves up!

Contact us today to schedule a chat session to see if one of our Career Coaches have the answer you have been seeking!

Read More: Want to Raise Successful Kids?

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Schedule iMar’s Live Training

iMar Learning Announced Winner

Check out iMar Learning’s founder, Derrick Wesley’s, interview with Bill Winterberg of FPPAD. Derrick Wesley is the inaugural winner of the TD Ameritrade Innovation Quest contest.


Watch the finals of the inaugural Innovation Quest competition, where three companies each delivered a 15-minute pitch to an audience of some 2,000 independent registered investment advisors (RIAs) and panel of judges at the TD Ameritrade Institutional 2019 National LINC conference. Derrick Wesley of iMar Learning Solutions and his idea, Plan-It, are the grand prize winners of this year’s Innovation Quest.

Contact us today to schedule a chat session to see if one of our Career Coaches have the answer you have been seeking!

Read More: iMar Learning Solutions Announced as Winner

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Are You Preparing Your Kids for Success?

“Perseverance and passion for long-term goals is a better indicator of future earnings and happiness than either IQ or talent.”
Jenny Williams, What is Grit

Jeff Haden in his article, Want to Raise Successful Kids? Science Says Teach Them Any 1 of These 7 Things, mentions successful entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos and how they weren’t born successful. Haden mentions that they all learned to become leaders.

We have all heard the old saying that “leaders are not born, they are made” but we must take a second and ask ourselves, as parents and educators, if we are teaching the leadership skills that they will need to be leaders in 2019 and beyond.

Winfrey, Jobs, and Bezos are geniuses in their own way. They all were able to build billion-dollar enterprises that influence society today. We sometimes forget that it took more than their ‘book smarts’ to build their empires. They also had to have GRIT!

Jenny Williams in her article, What is Grit?, defines GRIT as “
a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades.” We have to teach our kids to develop their passion and in those moments when they want to give up, this is when the real learning begins!

We as parents and educators have to also practice what we teach. We have to share with our kids our moments of perseverance that challenged us and how we pushed through. We have to let them know that we have failed, but we learned from it and became better for it (
If you haven’t recognized the lessons in your failure, take a moment to reflect to see what it is

During our Youth Leadership Academy, I share with our students the many times that I failed in the process of creating iMar Learning. But, with every failure, we kept learning and moving forward. We are primed to have our most successful year in 2019 because of our GRIT!

I challenge you to share your moments of perseverance with your children or students and help them to begin to develop GRIT in 2019. You never know, you might be speaking to the next Oprah, Bezos, or Jobs!


Contact us today to schedule a chat session to see if one of our Career Coaches have the answer you have been seeking!

Read More: Want to Raise Successful Kids?

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Are You Hiring for the Future? Or Are You Stuck in the Past?

The Future is Here

We are still hiring as if work consists of repetitive tasks when the core competency most jobs require, whatever the skill level, is critical thinking.”
Rebecca Weicht, Hiring is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.

It is time that we face the truth. Our system of hiring employees is outdated and like the latest iPhone has new and improved software and apps to meet the needs of its users, we need the same update to our hiring system.

Rebecca Weicht, one of the co-founders of Bantani Education, had this to say about our current system, “This outdated model does not benefit those who don’t fare well in our test-based, rote-learning education system. The playing field is beyond uneven. It does not benefit learners in vocational education and training, it does not favour those increasing number of young people who have atypical careers, it does not help veterans, it does not help mothers. It doesn’t even help businesses.” 

We currently hire based on a candidate’s degrees and years of experience. Your human resources system filters out candidates that don’t meet the criteria based on the selected algorithm. The problem with this is that computer software cannot predict a candidate’s personal motivation or potential to become your next great employee. Googles former head of human resources, Laszlo Block, once called resumes “TERRIBLE” because they don’t capture the whole person.  

We also aren’t preparing our students in the classroom to prepare for the current and future needs of employers. Students are still over-tested, expected to make a certain grade to show they are worthy, and they aren’t learning the SKILLS they need to be able to think critically as Weicht mentioned in the quote above.

iMar Learning Solutions has been working with youth through our Leadership Academy to help give them the skills that employers. Weicht mentions in her article that “Employers are starting to demand skills-based education to enable skills-based hiring. ” and in Europe, they are adding, “transversal skills such as spotting opportunities, creativity, working with others, and mobilizing resources.”

If skills development is what you need for your employees or students then let’s talk so we can develop the right program to prepare them to become lifelong learners!

Contact us today to schedule a chat session to see if one of our Career Coaches have the answer you have been seeking!

Read More: Hiring is Broken. Here’s How to Fix It.

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Schedule iMar’s Live Training

Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

Alice Boyes writes in her article, “5 Ways Smart People Sabotage Their Success” that “very smart people sometimes see their success as inevitable because of their intellect, and don’t see other skills as important.” As I read Boye’s article I thought about the members of the iMar Community that I have spoken with. iMar Community members are innovative, intellectuals that see the future not as something to fear, but as an opportunity to create the things they dream about. But, with all of our intellect, we have to make sure that we aren’t allowing our raw intelligence to stop us from reaching our full potential. Continue reading Are You Sabotaging Your Own Success?

The System is Failing Our Students…But We Can Fix It

“Employers (are) reporting that high school graduates enter their roles missing the skills they need to do their jobs well.
The Opportunity Myth Study

Work hard in school, and you’ll be successful. That is something every kid in America hears, and believes. This mandate, though, leaves out an important side of the equation: Is school working for kids?” writes Eillie Anzilotti in her article, Kids aren’t Failing-Schools are Failing Kids, for Fast Company. As a child, I remember receiving that very same advice. So, that is exactly what I did. I am one of those weird kids that actually enjoyed school. I have always had a passion for learning new things and pushing my mind to its limit. I often reflect on my high school and college experience. It was truly the tale of two educations!

I struggled academically during my high school years. I made low B’s, and C’s and I wasn’t very interested in what was going on in the classroom. I worked really hard like everyone said to do, but no matter what I did my grades did not improve. My dream was to play college basketball, but my jump shot didn’t improve either, and I did not see any scholarship offers in my future, and with my grades, I wouldn’t have been able to accept any. At that point in my life, I decided to make the decision to quit basketball my senior year and focus on improving my grades so I could make sure that I was accepted into a university. My hard work actually paid off this time!

College was a totally different experience. I loved every moment of it! The fact that I was able to have a choice on which classes I would enroll in, decide when I would take these classes, and I didn’t have to go to class if I didn’t want too, made all the difference for me. The X-factor in my college versus high school experience was choice and the options that ‘choice’ gave me help me to fall in love with learning in a new way. James Bach in his book Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar focuses on keeping an open eye for new learning experiences and teaches you to ‘size-up’ every situation and decide if there is a learning opportunity there.

I believe that if schools want to stop failing our kids, then students need more choice. Students need a voice, and students need to fall in love with learning. This is a brand new generation in our classrooms, in our homes, and at our job sites. Students need to be able to explore different career choices so they can get a feel for what their future might be. My high school didn’t have opportunities like this. I believe that if I would have had a chance to explore my future, then I may have realized a lot sooner that I enjoy teaching, training, and helping others find their passion in life! Educators, the ball is in our court to help our students find their path to “learning to love learning” and not just learning to pass a test! Business leaders make sure you support your local educators because they are the ones preparing the next person that will walk through your doors for an interview.

Read More: Kids aren’t Failing School-Schools are Failing Kids

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Schedule iMar’s Live Training

What are Power Skills? Do I Need Them?

‘Soft Skills’ is a Major Misnomer

Critical thinking, persuasive writing, communications, and teamwork are not fluffy, nice-to-have value-adds. They’re hard-won and rigorously maintained abilities that are better referred to as “power skills.
-Anant Agarwal, Data Reveals Why The ‘Soft’ In ‘Soft Skills’ Is A Major Misnomer

Mark Cuban made a prediction that many people in the technical fields found shocking: in ten years, “a liberal arts degree in philosophy will be worth more than a traditional programming degree,” writes Agarwal in his article for Forbes Magazine. This news was shocking but as he stated in his article it does actually make sense.

To succeed in the near future will require employees and leaders that are capable to think outside of the box and solve problems creatively. The cookie cutter method of doing things is on its way out of the door. Automation will take care of a lot of the easy task. Employees of the future will need high levels of social and emotional intelligence to go along with their critical thinking and communication skills. The reason why social and emotional training is so important is that millennials and the next generation will continue to flood the job marketplace, and ‘old school’ managers will need to adapt to their needs.

The term ‘Soft Skills’ really is a misnomer because the people that have these so-called ‘Soft Skills’ have to be strong mentally to deal with the ever-changing attitudes of those that don’t have those same skills. I agree with Agarwal that the term soft skills should be changed to “Power Skills.” In order for this to be accomplished will also require a mindset shift. We have to start the process of looking at “Power Skills” as skills that require power to perform them at a high rate. These skills must be put at the top of our training sessions and asked about thoroughly in interviews. These are the skills that must be invested in financially because we find value in what they will bring to our teams and organizations.

Agarwal also shared the results of a Google study, he wrote, “Last year, Google announced the findings from an internal study…they found that their best teams weren’t the ones full of top scientists. Instead, their highest performing teams were interdisciplinary groups that benefited heavily from employees who brought strong soft skills to the collaborative process. Further research revealed that important predictors of success within Google were skills like good communication, insights about others, and empathetic leadership.” Today is the day to invest in your future and your organization or be left behind!

Read More: Data Reveals Why The ‘Soft’ In ‘Soft Skills’ Is A Major Misnomer

Enroll in iMar Learning Solutions’ Critical Thinking Academy Today for only $19.99

Schedule iMar’s Live Training

Can Asking Questions Help You Become a Better Innovator?

Question Everything

Innovation means change, so we have to learn that our students need more than the skills needed to pass the state assessments given every spring. We have to give them tools that will make them productive in their future careers.
-Kimberly, Innovation in Education: What Does it Mean, What Does it Look Like?

Albert Einstein said, “if I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask…for once I know the proper question to ask, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.” I love this quote because I love questions. I am not talking about simple questions that can be googled or can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” I am talking about questions that require you to analyze a situation, mentally test all outcomes in your mind or questions that leave you with more questions after you have discussed and debated the topic with your peers. Continue reading Can Asking Questions Help You Become a Better Innovator?

Can Humanity & Robots Build the Future Together?

The Robots Need Our Help

“The future world would be one where the focus will be on collaboration and one where AI will become the “chief of staff” allowing societies an equal access of technology and therefore flexible models of working. “
-Stuart Templeton, The Future is Exciting

I have some GREAT news to share! The robots and A.I. aren’t planning to take our jobs. Recent studies and reports are stating that our technological advancements will actually create more jobs, and the robots need our help to complete their task. Stuart Templeton, the head of Slack UK, said, “the future would be one where the future is focused on collaboration and one where AI will become the ‘chief of staff.” Continue reading Can Humanity & Robots Build the Future Together?