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Joey Gutierrez

2007
Joey Gutierrez '07 joined the WFS community in 3rd Grade. After graduation, he attended Bucknell University, where he majored in Comparative Humanities and founded a student group focused on philanthropy education. After college, Joey moved to the Bay Area where he has held various roles in education technology and impact investing. He most recently completed an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business and started working at an edtech startup in San Francisco.

How did you get drawn to and what is your role in educational technology?
I have been passionate about education for a long time, but exploring how technology can complement and enhance it is relatively new. My interest in education originated while I was at Friends, where my parents and various teachers made me acutely aware of how privileged and unique the education was that we were all receiving. I also saw through the experience of my younger brother Steven, who has Autism, that powerful, differentiated schooling experiences can have lasting impacts on children from all ages and backgrounds. The technology component of my interests came into play when I moved to the Bay Area. There I witnessed a lot of opportunities being created because of technology, but also that various educational structures were not keeping pace with such unprecedented changes to the workforce and the needs of our economy.

Given this realization, when I was in business school I spent a lot of time evaluating opportunities for impact within education and workforce training that leveraged technology. In service of this mission, I recently joined an early-stage workforce development company called Strive. Our goal is to help people realize their full potential by learning as much as possible while on the job. We do this with a mixture of technology and coaching to provide an educational experience that is applied, personalized and reinforced through a person's day-to-day work.

What are your current interests and passions?
My interests and passions are very aligned with my current work at the moment. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about how to help people learn skills to participate in the economy, and figuring out how we can give more people access to high-quality education. Beyond that, I love to watch movies, try out new restaurants, and spend way too much time on Twitter.

How has WFS impacted you since graduation?
I draw from my WFS education every day. Academically, Friends made me a strong writer and critical thinker, as well as gave me a lifelong love of learning. More broadly, Friends taught me about the importance of building an inclusive culture, investing deeply in the people around me, and creating the time and space to reflect. I think my desire to explicitly pursue social impact in my career--especially at this early stage--is because of the emphasis on service-learning and giving back that permeated the culture of Friends.

What are your favorite WFS memories?
My favorite WFS memories are, of course, centered on the people—incredible friendships with classmates, and feeling part of a larger Quaker community. I have a lengthy list of favorite teachers and staff too: Javier Ergueta, Kathleen Martin, Micheline McManus, Helen Thompson, Ildikó Miller (who will always be "Ms. H" in my mind) and many more who patiently helped me wrangle my short attention span and push myself academically even when I lacked intrinsic motivation.

As an adult, I have been surprised by how much I miss Meeting For Worship. As life seems to accelerate, having time to be introspective is immensely valuable and I wish I did a better job of carving out that time on my own. I definitely didn't appreciate how centered I felt at Friends and I think Meeting for Worship and the closeness of the community were the driving forces behind that sense of calm and belonging.
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