Location: New York, NY
Founder and CEO
Laura Wilson, founder and CEO of WilsonPrep and Graph It Forward Today, spent 12 years as a high school English teacher. Just when she thought she was ready to take some time off with her newborn baby, her plans changed. As Wilson was leaving school and rushing to the delivery room, a student stopped her and asked her to tutor him in preparation for the SAT. “Although at that moment I was a bit busy being in labor, I began tutoring Jason a week later, and ‘Wham!’ my new career path was born,” says Wilson.
Fun Fact: During the local middle school’s career day, Wilson uses paper dolls to teach about the importance of building a career.
Today, Wilson Prep has multiple platforms that allow it to reach students as they strive to excel in education. Its proprietary curriculum, free vocabulary website and tutoring are significant differentiators in the market, but Wilson says her team’s genuine passion for helping students is what has spurred the company’s success.
While working with disadvantaged, inner-city students from the organization Take Stock in Students, Wilson stressed the importance of showing up to the SAT prepared. One student asked, “What should I do if I can’t afford a graphing calculator?” “Her words left me speechless. Why had I never realized this? I became outraged at the inequalities within our educational system,” says Wilson. That’s when she decided to found her nonprofit organization, Graph It Forward Today (GIFT) to help students from all backgrounds succeed.