Member Spotlight: Tricia Halsey of Big Idea Project
We interviewed Tricia Halsey of Big Idea Project to learn more about the organization we’ve been working with for years.
What is Big Idea Project?
Big Idea Project exists to unleash the potential of students.
Why does this matter? Colorado is twice the national average for teen suicide and suicide is the leading killer of people between the ages of 14-24. Spend time with the average high school student and you’ll immediately see stress, anxiety and chronic exhaustion. Students spend the vast majority of their time at school. Typical schooling over-focuses on teaching knowledge and meeting ever-increasing standards, but students are longing to be seen for more than just their ability to perform. Students are asking four questions that are largely left unanswered:
“Who am I?”
“Do I matter?”
“Does my schoolwork matter?”
“Will I be successful?”
Big Idea Project provides transformational experiences within high schools that form the whole-child—their self-concept, character, leadership, empathy, essential life skills, and personal well-being. We bridge the head and the heart so students know why they matter and why their work matters so that they graduate high school prepared to live out their potential as generous leaders in their families, communities and future companies.
Our program provides the space for teachers to “do school” differently. Big Idea Project is a full class integrated into course offerings that engages students in formative service-learning projects while providing positive adult relationships and real-world world experiences that moves their years of accumulated knowledge into wisdom and skills for life.
How would you describe the ideal candidate to serve as a mentor/coach?
Teachers teach the BIP curriculum while professionals from the business and leadership community coach teams of students through a semester-long project that produces real solutions to real problems that affect people in our communities. An ideal Big Idea Project coach is someone who is concerned about developing our nation’s next generation. Mentor/coaches are positive influences, encouraging storytellers, experienced advisors and are committed to the personal transformation of students. The best coaches know how to ask questions, listen, and remain flexible.
Mentoring/coaching for Big Idea Project is one of the easiest commitments for busy professionals to impact students in Denver. Over the course of a semester coaches attend six in person meetings in the classroom, communicate online between meetings and attend their team’s final presentation. The time commitment is minimal (about 10 hours total), but the prospective impact on students is massive.
If you are interested in becoming a Big Idea Project coach? Click here to apply!
How has service in the community changed you as a leader?
There was a time when I often said the words, “not enough.” I didn’t have enough time, resources, connections, help, talent… When I functioned from a place of “not enough,” I didn’t have anything to give. Moving from scarcity to a mindset of abundance took years of learning and healing. Paradigm shifting is hard and messy. But now I approach life open-handed. I’m often reaching out to people who come to mind to offer support or encouragement. I believe this sort of mindset is true service to others. I’m the leader I am today because I’ve had the courage to look up from my own work, really see the people around me, and loosen my grip of what’s “mine” so that I can give of myself for the sake of others. It takes courage to give. But it’s the hallmark of leaders people choose to follow.
What aspect of your team or company culture are you most proud of?
I know that what I’m going to write will elicit eye-rolls from some people, but it isn’t just “fluff”. Our organization and team is defined by the way we Love. I’m so proud of the way my team loves one another by overlooking faults, assuming the best about each other and going out of our way to support team members in need. I’ve come to learn that Love is a choice and it looks a lot like honoring others. Big Idea Project’s value of love and honor informs how we serve teachers, students, administrators, mentors and partners. And I believe it’s the reason why we’ve seen such unprecedented success in the education sector. Love really does break down walls.