Corrie Wiedmann: Inspiring the Next Generation of Change Makers
Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be talking to an entrepreneur working to inspire kids to follow their dreams and make the world a better place. Corrie Wiedmann is the co-founder and CEO of Wonder Crate, and is excited to share how she is impacting UN SDG 4 Quality Education. Are you ready to be inspired?
Spiffy: Welcome, Corrie! I’m excited to hear about your journey with Wonder Crate! Can you start by talking about the challenges you are addressing?
Corrie: Thanks for interviewing me, Spiffy! I want to inspire the next generation of change-makers by introducing kids to real people (both big and small) that have used their courage, perseverance, and passion to make the world a better place, and let them know that they can too! Each month Wonder Crate sends books and activities in the mail to inspire kids to dream big—one great role model at a time.
Spiffy: This sounds really interesting, Corrie! Can you tell me more about what motivated you to do this?
Corrie: When my own kids were feeling anxious and helpless about things that they saw on social media, I would show them all the amazing people that were using their courage, perseverance and passion to make the world a better place. I wanted them to see positive role models (not just social media influencers) and now I want to share these stories with the rest of the world. I want kids to know that they can make an impact. Each child has his or her own amazing gifts that they can contribute to the world. And together we can build a generation of well rounded contributors of social good. Like Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Spiffy: How would you say Wonder Crates is working to create a more equitable world?
Corrie: Each month we highlight innovators, activists, and artists from a variety of racial, gender, and economic backgrounds. We want kids to see that change-makers are diverse, just like them. And the traits that helped them to be successful (compassion, optimism, resilience, confidence, curiosity, and persistence) are things that everyone can develop with practice.
Spiffy: Have you reached any milestones that you’re excited about?
Corrie: We recently shipped our 10,000th box and have shipped to 10 different countries. Our farthest shipment was to Australia—we’re inspiring change-makers across the globe!
Spiffy: I always ask entrepreneurs about failure. Have you ever had an experience when you faced failure and didn't give up?
Corrie: Well, Spiffy, I think you learn a lot more from failure than success. And when you start your own company, you fail a lot (and learn a lot). Early on, there were a lot of naysayers and I had to really learn when to listen to others and when to trust my own instincts. My original idea for the box was not resonating with families so I had to be flexible and make some early changes based on feedback. There have also been some specific boxes that were failures, but I just tell myself that next month is a new opportunity to make an awesome box!
Spiffy: I believe you can learn from anyone. What about you? Have you learned anything unexpected from someone lately?
Corrie: Actually, Spiffy, I was anxious about something this week and my teenage son asked me if this was something that would still be a big deal in a few weeks which really put it into perspective.
Spiffy: Thanks for sharing that with me—that is a great reminder. And thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with me, Corrie. It’s been an honor!
Corrie Wiedmann is the co-founder and CEO of Wonder Crate, a subscription box that encourages kids to dream big. Corrie is a mom to two amazing teens, an educator, and entrepreneur. She has a degree in elementary education and worked in the school system for several years before catching the entrepreneurial bug. Corrie graduated from the Launch accelerator program at the University of North Carolina, which helped make Wonder Crate a reality! In her spare time, Corrie mentors kid entrepreneurs through the Young Founders Institute, runs, and travels. (First published on the Ladderworks website on May 24, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.