Beth Kojima and Anne-Cecilie Engell Speyer are on a mission to make lifelong learning more accessible. Inspired by intimate salon discussions, Beth and Anne-Cecilie founded Never Stop Learning (NSL) to ease the connection between experts and individuals interested in learning. We’re obsessed with their passion for approachable education – it’s just one of the reasons these women are our newest #AOBOSSBABES
What does the idea of ‘never stop learning’ mean to you?
Anne-Cecilie: It could also be called never stop growing or never stop living. We have to stay curious to remain compassionate, engaged and excited about the world.
Beth: Being constantly curious. Asking questions. Going deeper on topics of interest. Keeping your brain healthy!
If you could remove a hurdle that stops us from learning, what would it be?
AC: Boredom. Insecurity.
B: Close-mindedness. I think it’s important to take time to learn about the opposing perspectives from what you believe, rather than only consuming information that confirms your beliefs.
What’s the easiest way to learn something new? That is so individual.
AC: It depends as some people are auditory learners, some visual learners… But there is nothing better than heading to the source and being able to ask what you have been wondering about. That is why we strive to keep our talks small. Everyone that has a question should be able to ask it!
B: Read, listen, watch – there are so many exciting ways to digest information. Pick whichever model works best for your style of learning!
Whom do you admire?
AC: Anyone who maintains positivity in the face of adversity. My father has lived with Parkinson’s for 20 years and has not wasted a moment on self pity. It’s a useless emotion.
B: I generally admire people who are able to turn an adverse situation into a lesson learned or a cause for good.
How do you identify your NSL experts?
AC: Recommendations and research. We then meet live with potential experts. There is no better way to vet someone than to just sit down and have a conversation. If we have an ahah moment, we are sold.
B: NSL experts are varied in their topics and backgrounds. The one consistent thread across all of our experts is their charisma and dynamism in delivering a talk, and carrying a group conversation. We source experts from news articles we’ve read, TED talks we’ve watched, research we’ve done, recommendations we’ve received from other experts, and on and on!
Have you ever approached an expert that felt hesitant to self-identify as such? Perhaps because of imposter syndrome?
AC: Yes, and it is always equally surprising and endearing.
B: Absolutely. We have speakers who like to speak because they don’t consider themselves as expert presenters (so for them it is a growth opportunity), and yet they consistently receive the strongest feedback!
What are you an expert in?
AC: Experts! B: Finding experts?
Self-taught or instructor-lead?
AC: Both have their merits!
B: Through time and experience.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs?
AC: Be selfish. If you desire the product, chances are someone else will too. Oh, and find a great partner.
B: Follow your passions and enjoy every moment.
That was a lot of serious, what’s something silly about yourself?
AC: My family is confounded by how funny I think I am. Why wait for someone else to get the joke?
B: I once sang Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” half in English / half in French for a camp talent show. I am so thankful that iphones had not yet been invented.
How do you like to shut off your brain at the end of the day?
AC: Mindless browsing on Net-a-Porter, reading and crosswords. It used to be watching Downtown Abbey. We must all learn to adapt…
B: I love reading thrillers or watching a great TV series.
Documentary or non-fiction?
AC: Documentary. The Roosevelts was brilliant.
Dressed up or dressed down?
AC: I have range. Up, down and everything in between. Too much of either is exhausting.
Glossy or matte?
AC: Matte photos. Matte lips. Matte paint.
B: Both! Can you tell I like variety?