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Eric Glustrom: Helping the Youth Bridge the Gap between Learning and Real Impact

Eric Glustrom: Helping the Youth Bridge the Gap between Learning and Real Impact


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Eric Glustrom, founder and CEO of Watson Institute. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Eric, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Watson Institute addressing?

Eric: It’s great to be here, Spiffy! We're on a mission to support young leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide. Through Watson Institute's fellowships, we're tackling the challenge of giving young minds the essential tools, mentorship, and skills they need to lead impactful lives. Our free programs will help more than 2,400 young leaders this year, teaching them about starting businesses, leading, and being good global citizens. Our alumni have raised over USD 185 million, created 1,900 jobs, and helped ten million people worldwide.

Spiffy: That’s amazing! What motivates you to do it?

Eric: I started Watson Institute because I wanted to bridge the gap between what I learned in college and what's truly needed for a successful and impactful life. The struggle to connect my studies with Educate!, the organization I founded in school before Watson Institute, fueled my passion. Now, as I see students grow and achieve more than they thought possible, it keeps me going. My personal motivation is simple: to help young people find their path, make a difference, and overcome challenges.

Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?

Eric: I created Watson Institute to help students like you bridge the gap between learning and real impact. Our work empowers young minds to find their path, make a difference, and conquer challenges throughout their lives. Through mentorship and training, we inspire rising leaders, business creators, and changemakers, fostering growth and achievement beyond what they thought possible.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Eric—it’s been an honor!

Eric Glustrom is the founder and CEO of Watson Institute. Recognized as an Ashoka fellow, Echoing Green fellow, and one of Forbes 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs, Eric’s work is driven by a simple beliefto solve the toughest challenges facing humanity, the place to start is within the hearts and minds of the next generation. (Nominated by Josef Scarantino at Hubspot Ventures. First published on the Ladderworks website on February 15, 2024.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2024 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.