Walter Morales is a Baton Rouge, Louisiana Entrepreneur and Educator who has launched many businesses in the Finance and Education fields. Walter is a former Professor of Finance for Louisiana State University, and is currently on the Board of Directors for several companies in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. Walter’s non-profit foundation, Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies, runs several charter schools in Baton Rouge, and he is passionate about improving education, in particular urban education. He is active in many different organizations that work on improving upon racial disparity and urban education. Walter also launched a scholarship, The Walter Morales Scholarship for Urban Education Improvement, which awards funds to a student while creating awareness and generating solutions to the issues that urban educators face on a daily basis.
Where did the idea for Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies come from?
I was a founding board member of Inspire Charter Academy so Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies was really a continuation of that effort. Ultimately, Charter Schools are about choice and empowerment to parents. We serve a population that is high need and traditionally underserved.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am amazed at the amount of resources society has poured into this problem and we haven’t solved it. I believe this is because we are engaged in a change process that isn’t really delivering anything new. It isn’t delivering change. Ultimately, these schools end up looking the same and doing the same thing. They teach the same way and deliver the same failing result.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Technology is changing how we teach. I wasn’t always sure technological innovation was helping but now I know it is making a positive contribution to what we do. I see more to come in this area. Teachers are equipped with better tools today.
Schools have to do a better job of meeting kids where they are. Technology is making this possible.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Write more. Keep a journal of your day or weeks activity and record what you have done and how it performed. In particularly, keep track of the people who you work with and make notes about what is going well and what isn’t. I find that when I take the time to write something I think about it differently than if I am not writing. Also, I find it valuable to think about the people with whom I am working and if their work is helping or hurting the effort. Often, we support the people around us because we like them or we feel they like us but are our objectives aligned. Do we have alignment in values and objectives? If not, can we better align the way we work to achieve a greater good.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can work with anyone. You can like and admire anyone. I work with people and I notice the conflicts that erupt. It is interesting how similar we are and at the same time we are very different. But we have things that unite us and I believe, actually I know, that you can work with anyone. You can find common ground with anyone. You don’t have to change to believe this. You just have to find that part of you that understands this is true.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
The Daily Examen. It is a reflection and prayer and a daily routine for me. I think it has value even for people who are not religious. This isn’t something I have always done but once I started I found it changed my life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have had some huge wins but also big defeats. You are told often to learn from your mistakes. Sometimes you are told to relish your mistakes because they mold you and make you better. I believe this. We’re told to not dwell on our mistakes. Here I disagree. You should dwell on them. Don’t beat yourself up over them but always keep them in your thoughts and take responsibility for them. That is what makes all the good things people say about failure true.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.