At a Glance
Angela Maiers, Founder & CEO, Choose2Matter
Focus Areas: EdTech, Innovation, Leadership
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Angela Maiers
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Angela Maiers, a world-renowned author, entrepreneur, international keynote speaker, and educator, whose transformative message of the importance of mattering has the power to unleash the genius in us all.
Angela is the Founder and CEO of Choose2Matter, a universal movement that challenges us to make “mattering” a way of life. When people accept that they matter and that their actions count, lives, learning, and our world change. Choose2Matter offers presentations, live and virtual workshops, and live innovation events to schools, organizations, businesses, and communities.
She has been creating and leading change in both education and enterprise for 31 years, teaching every level of school from grade school to graduate school and consulting with companies around the world. Her talk TEDxDesMoines has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
Angela earned a BS in Education with a minor in Neuroscience and a Master’s Degree in Literacy and Ed Leadership. She is the author of eight books, including Genius Matters, Classroom Habitudes, and The Passion-Driven Classroom.
Angela was a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and is widely recognized as one of the most influential voices on social media today, consistently ranking in the top 1%. Most recently, Angela has been featured in Thinkers360 Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Mental Health 2022, and 150 Women B2B Thought Leaders You Should Follow in 2022. as well.
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
AM: My background is actually in neuroscience and linguistics. I originally went to med school to be a doctor. In order to put myself through college, I worked four jobs. And every one of them involved working with children.
For as long as I can remember, my passion and my mission has always been to educate. So I decided to quit med school, and when I went back home and announced that I’d found my passion and wanted to be a teacher, it was met with a lot of resistance. But no matter how much resistance I was met with, I knew my passion was education because the act of not educating was akin to not breathing to me.
In June 2011 I gave a talk at TEDxDesMoines called “You Matter.” I talked about how those two words can change minds and change lives, if we understand them and leverage them in the right way. The talk was viewed half a million times and ignited a global movement. I founded Choose2Matter in response to this breathtaking reaction. It is a universal movement, a call to action that invites people to make “mattering” a way of life. When people accept that they matter and that their actions count, lives, learning, and worlds change.
Thinkers360: What are your current responsibilities, and what’s a typical day look like?
AM: While Choose2Matter was initially launched to challenge and inspire students, it has evolved into a movement that supports parents, educators, and employees around the world. Today I work with schools, organizations, and brands around the world to ignite change and spread hope through the science and practice of mattering.
As an author, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and educator, my “typical day” varies a lot. One day I might be flying into Dallas to speak in front of thousands of people, and another day I might be at home writing my next book. But no matter what my day looks like, I always take time to write in my Noticing Notebook. Every day, I find 5 people in my life and I tell them what I noticed about them, what I value about them, and why they matter.
Thinkers360: What’s the favorite part of your current role?
AM: Seeing the impact that the #YouMatter message has on people. No matter our age, title, job… we all need to know we matter.
Mattering is palpable and quantifiable. When people feel insignificant and don’t bring their best selves to the world, everyone suffers. It affects productivity, it affects processes, it affects how you interact with other people. But when people believe they’re wanted and that they have value, they show up in the world and they show up at work differently. They contribute their genius to the world fully and fiercely.
Thinkers360: How do you utilize Thinkers360?
AM: I love using Thinkers360 to connect with other thought leaders and learn from them. You cannot be of service to someone unless you listen to them and learn from them first.
Thinkers360: How do you like to work with brands that wish to engage you as a thought leader?
AM: Whether I’m working with a global giant like Microsoft or a small school district in a rural area, I like to create experiences that are customized for the specific needs of the community. That might mean a webinar, a workshop, a course, an in-person talk, or a mix, with topics and conversations that will resonate with that specific audience.
Editor’s Note: See Angela’s Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for upcoming thought leaders?
AM: One of the most underrated leadership traits is self-awareness. You have to be self-aware at every level and realize that you’re there to serve. Self-aware leaders carry a window and a mirror with them at all times. They hold themselves accountable for their own truth and life, but they are also hyper-aware of how they’re perceived by others.
And unfortunately, leadership for a lot of people is based on position and power. But true leadership has nothing to do with title or position. Leadership has to do with impact.
Visit Angela’s website: angelamaiers.com.
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