When she was fresh out of high school, Sharndre Kushor set up Crimson Education, in a bid to help students re-imagine what’s possible, and help them achieve their full potential.
“Our mission is to help students to unlock their potential through personalised learning. We work with a global network of more than 2,000 tutors and mentors to help students to understand what exists on a global scale for them personally based on their interests and to gain access to the world’s top universities for their interest area,” Sharndre said.
Sharndre grew up in New Zealand and she’s always been passionate about learning both inside and outside the classroom, spending time doing extracurricular and leadership activities to extend and develop herself. She was a UNICEF New Zealand Youth Ambassador and was very involved in her school community.
“I was told to go to medical school at a local university from a very young age, not for many other reasons other than the fact that I was interested in the science subjects. There was a lack of visibility around how to make important personal decisions around what you study, where and why,” Sharndre said.
“Starting Crimson was a very personal decision for me. Reflecting on my journey through school, I see that if I had access to the type of information and support that I have now, I’d have made more informed decisions for myself around what I studied.”
“I was inspired when I heard of the story of my co-founder, Jamie Beaton, who navigated the pathways to universities in the US and the UK by himself over a period of three years leading up to making his decision about where he would go and why. Starting Crimson was a very personal decision for me. Reflecting on my journey through school, I see that if I had access to the type of information and support that I have now, I’d have made more informed decisions for myself around what I studied.”
At 22, Sharndre now has a staff of 185 at Crimson Education. She said, as a young boss, she has to be aware of the challenges that her age may raise.
“You have to make sure that you can show people that there is value in what you are offering very quickly. As soon as you’re able to show results it becomes easier to build rapport and have people understand the value in what you’re doing. I’ve built a team of people who have this youthful passion, who think big, take risks and are not afraid of failing and learning as they go.”
Sharndre believes women in the start-up industry must be very bold with their actions.
“If you’re ever stuck or don’t know what to do, ask yourself ‘What would I do if I wasn’t afraid of failing?’ Remember that young women around you are watching you, be the role-model that you wish you had growing up.”
“Back yourself. Know that what you bring is unique and your perspective is important. If you are a founder, believe in your vision and set yourself and your business ambitious goals. If you work in a start-up, realise how lucky you are to be in an environment where you can shape and create something and use this motivation as a platform to inspire you to make an impact on your organisation.”
Sharndre sees visibility and mentorship by women as being critically important in the start-up world; with less women in entrepreneurship, it’s important that women use their platform well.
“I use my platform to share my story and really demonstrate how important diversity is. I’m a woman from a minority background, so I bring a new perspective. It’s important to show women that their voice is vital, because they have their own story that shapes their perspective and to create impactful change, we need new and innovative ideas.
“It’s really important to champion diversity, and it’s something that the whole Crimson team is passionate about.
“It’s really important to champion diversity, and it’s something that the whole Crimson team is passionate about. I’m proud to be in environment that has diverse representation. Fifty percent of our board is female. I’m also inspired by another woman in our executive team who encourages females to be excited by entrepreneurship. Our Chief People Officer, Penelope Barton, manages People and Culture for our company of 185 staff, while owning and running two successful restaurants in Auckland.”
What makes Sharndre proud is being able to support younger students in the process of discovering who they are, what they can achieve and why their voice and contribution in their field of interest is important and valuable.
“Building Crimson was about addressing these roadblocks and helping talented students from outside the US and UK access these global education and career opportunities so that we can help to shape a generation of leaders who are inspired by what they do and are excited to make a big impact on the world around them.”