Empowering People
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A Moment with our WBA Graduate- Barbara Beske

Posted on 1/24/2023 by Ray Lamboy in LAEDA News

Barbara Beske is the owner and operator of Coherent Math Consulting, LLC, which supports school districts and charter networks who want to make bold changes to improve math instruction in their classrooms. We had a chance to sit down with her to ask about her experience with entrepreneurship and LAEDA's training program.

(1) LAEDA: Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I started realizing when I was working for other people that I actually wanted to be my own boss, set my own hours, and avoid some of the bureaucracy of many traditional roles. I knew that would come with a lot of start-up challenges, but at this point of my life it seemed like a risk I was willing to take. I love the challenge of owning my own business, creating work and income for others, and being able to create a workplace that is supportive, flexible, and allows for growth and fulfillment.

(2) LAEDA: Why did you choose your industry?

Math education has been my lifetime passion and pursuit. I believe all students are capable of learning and loving mathematics, but right now, only some students are thriving in the math classroom–and that has a lot to do with how math has been taught in this country. My company personalizes mathematics curriculum to the needs of a district or state. Through doing this, I hope to play a small role in helping students see how mathematics makes sense and is a tool to better understand the world.

(3) LAEDA: Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-ha!” moments? How did the program help you?

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of EDTP. We had access to so many experts in the field and I particularly loved getting to know and learn from so many other women who were beginning their business journey. Taking time to explore finance, leadership, business planning, and business law was so powerful in ways that helped me get clearer on my goals and action steps. One of my “Ah-ha” moments was during a session on marketing. The team at LAEDA helped me to better understand the demographics of my ideal clients. It has made such a huge difference in my networking and where I put my time and energy!

(4) LAEDA: Tell me about your journey on the road to business start-up. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

I’d say if there is anything that keeps me up at night, it is the uncertainty involved in owning your own company. Will we get more projects? Will I find high quality consultants? What happens if we don’t? That being said, so far I’ve been incredibly blessed to have a journey that has felt really positive. Finding the right people to support the work we have done up to this point has been the company’s biggest success. I’m so thankful to the great team that works alongside me who care deeply about quality math education for all students and are just so good at what they do! But I also know that as we grow, finding educators and production teams who are a good fit will also be a challenge. We are always looking for new consultants who are curious, flexible, take initiative, and are committed to follow through.

Another success has been the incredible districts and organizations we’ve been fortunate to work with. One of the “ah-has” I mentioned was realizing our demographic– we’ve been lucky to work with education partners who share the same deeply held beliefs that we do and we now have a better understanding of what makes a partnership work well.

(5) LAEDA: Could you tell me a little about where your business is today?

Over the last year, since being in the EDTP course, Coherent Math has continued to grow! Our website has gone live; we went from working on one course to now working on five. We’ve also added additional clients and more consultants!

Getting a chance to visit classrooms where they are using our first published math textbook was a pretty surreal experience! Close to 20,000 students are using our curriculum this year alone! We are so excited to see where the next year takes us!

(6) LAEDA: Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?

Be thoughtful about your networking plan. Take time to understand the value you’re bringing to your field, and who needs your support–and then put your energy into finding those connections. Additionally, I have learned so much about running my own business from other entrepreneurs in my field. You don’t have to do this alone!

Some more information about Coherent Math Consulting, LLC:

Barbara Beske founded Coherent Math Consulting, LLC to support school districts and charter networks who want to make bold changes to improve math instruction in their classrooms. Coherent Math provides support for districts and networks that are looking for standards-aligned, culturally relevant personalized mathematics materials and coaching support that are grounded in equitable practices. The focus is on increasing student achievement, agency, and sense of belonging in mathematics by developing curriculum, resources, and professional learning opportunities that respond to current research and best practices.

About Barbara Beske:

Barbara is a lifelong math educator who brings twenty years of teaching and coaching experience, along with over eight years as a senior math specialist at Student Achievement Partners to her role as Founder and Lead Math Specialist of Coherent Math Consulting. She has supported, coached, and advised districts, publishers, and education nonprofits across the country to improve math education. She believes all students deserve a math learning experience that makes sense, is culturally relevant, and provides the skills and understandings students need post K-12, all while elevating their voice and sense of belonging in the math classroom.

Barbara Beske can be reached at:

Website: www.coherentmath.com
Email: barbarabeske@coherentmath.com
Twitter: @coherentmath
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/coherent-math/

About the Women's Business Academy:

The Women's Business Academy (WBA) is a free, nine-week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Winter each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals as well as business planning, business counseling, and continued technical assistance. Apply online at www.laedawbc.com or www.LAEDA.com.