Cynthia Morneweck – Co-Founder of GPALearn

Cynthia Morneweck  - Co-Founder of GPALearn

One strategy that has helped us grow is to stay nimble with our direction. The team will be focused to reach a targeted goal but also stays open to new information that might cause us to pivot or shift our path. This flexibility gives us the ability to grow easily.

Cynthia oversees the user experiences, creativity and functionality for GPALearn. She provides leadership and coordination to the senior management team and is on the Board of Directors keeping them abreast of strategies progress and challenges.

Prior to GPA Learn, Cynthia worked for PointClear Solutions, a consulting firm in the healthcare vertical. She was the Director of Operations for the UX practice. She also worked for Northrup Grumman as a Lead UX practitioner on a CDC contract. Before that she worked for the CTO of Georgia Institute of Technology as a UX practitioner promoting and helping the IT team produce a more user-centered approach to building applications.

Even though her roles have changed over the years, her love of User Experience stays with her. She applies the core principles of the discipline (HCI) to all aspects of her life. “I can’t turn it off. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t. I breathe it. It has served me well.”

Cynthia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Psychology from Smith College as well as a Masters of Science in Human Computer Interaction (Computer Science) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Along with her GPA Learn responsibilities, Cynthia is a wife and mother (daughter and son).

Where did the idea for GPALearn come from?

The idea came from Mark Buffington, my co-founder. He had been experiencing various challenges related to the education of his daughter. His journey working through those challenges lead him to meet me through a mutual friend. When he shared his idea with me, it was an instant connection for us since I was experiencing similar challenges.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day is all about wearing many hats and changing those hats appropriately to help every member of our team. A startup requires one person to do many different “jobs”. I think it is fun but it is not for everyone.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life by utilizing the talents of the team. Everyone brings something special to an idea. We have such a creative group of people. Sometimes the challenge is to coordinate all the innovative thoughts and put together something that is feasible. That is one of my favorite things to do.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

One trend in education that really excites me is gaming immersed learning. There are so many opportunities to make learning fun for children. I don’t mean Edutainment, I mean high quality skill acquisition that kids seek.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One habit that makes more productive is listening to my team. Taking advantage of the people you have takes listening to them actively.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

The worst job I ever had was working in a clothing store as a teenager where I did not like the clothes being sold. I learned very early that I could not be happy in my career unless my heart was in it.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

If I could start GPALearn all over again, I would spend more time on the system needed to produce quality content. It is a lot of work and we learned what not to do before we were doing it the most productive way.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

As an entrepreneur, I evaluate what talents I bring and make sure that the other members of the team bring something else that is a compliment not duplication.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

One strategy that has helped us grow is to stay nimble with our direction. The team will be focused to reach a targeted goal but also stays open to new information that might cause us to pivot or shift our path. This flexibility gives us the ability to grow easily.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I ran my own design company a long time ago, I did not make decisions that were scalable. I thought too small and I stayed small because of it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think someone should develop an entire line of products for parents of infants that require only one hand to use. All parents of infants lose one hand for about 18 months because you are holding a baby.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I really like to make jewelry for fun.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use Google services for email, file share, remote communications and collaboration. I still wish it was more usable but hopefully it will get there.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I recommend that people read “The Design of Everyday Things”. It is a great, lightweight book that introduces the idea of usefulness and usability of things around us. It help frame a different way of thinking about serving people’s needs. If companies had this frame of reference in general, more products would be used and serve people appropriately.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Many people have influenced my thinking in various ways.

Faye Crosby – She was my professor in psychology at Smith and taught me that you should not let social injustice get in the way of your destiny. You make your destiny. Own it and make it happen. Excuses be darned!! Love that http://crosby.socialpsychology.org/

Luke W – Luke Wroblewski is all about Mobile First thinking. So many of us live by our phones and tablets. He has been advocating this long before people really started doing it. http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?933

Ron Hutchins – Ron was my boss at Georgia Tech for 6 years. He always challenged me to think beyond what is possible at the moment. He also modeled as a leader how to pull people together to get at the potential of something. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz-shVKwULw

Kathy Schlag – She is my mother and a model of the career woman I hope to mature to be over time. She makes things happen. She moves talented people toward innovative solutions.

Jay Schlag – He is my father and a model of someone driven by his heart to make an impact on engineering. He loved electrical engineering and was not swayed by anyone to have another career. He did what he believed was important to move technology forward.

Connect:

http://www.gpalearn.com/
GPALearn on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GPALEARN
GPALearn on Twitter: @gpalearn
GPALearn on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/great-parents-academy