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Innovator Spotlight: Felicia Owo-Grant

Felicia Owo-Grant is Director of Strategic Development at Friendship Public Charter School and was a 2021 Design Fellowship participant.

What was the most impactful or meaningful part of participating in CityBridge Programming?
The ability to learn amongst a diverse cohort of leaders and innovators with the guidance and support of dedicated CityBridge coaches.

How has your experience with CityBridge influenced or helped you in your life and career?
The experience has shaped the way that I think about design and specifically how I think about developing my innovation. Underscoring the importance of pilot testing an idea and ensuring that the stakeholder voice remains highly tethered to throughout the development process.

What are you up to now?
I am currently working on developing a professional learning ecosystem—inclusive of structured workshops and also more holistic learning approaches—for school leaders within my current school district. The ultimate goal is to ensure that school leaders have a clear pathway to success with the necessary support as they navigate the maze of challenges associated with urban school leadership.

What piece of professional advice would you give CityBridge alumni and education entrepreneurs?
I would share four pieces of advice:

  1. Remember that innovation can be an enhancement to a preexisting idea and not only a new idea.
  2. Just keep swimming: if you are truly passionate about what you want to manifest, don’t give up. Remain steadfast to your vision.
  3. Keep your primary person or thing you want to serve at the core of your innovation. If your approach is going to help teachers, make sure you talk to teachers and keep their needs as the center throughout the entire process. Do not lose sight of the purpose.
  4. Embrace risk! Do not shy away from trying something new, leaning into flux, and staying flexible. Innovating requires you to be nimble. Be okay with that.

Fill in the blanks: “Before I participated in CityBridge programming I used to think ________________. After participating in CityBridge programming, I now think __________________.” Before I participated in CityBridge programming I used to think that an equity design approach was arbitrary and difficult to manifest within a tangible and structured approach. After participating in CityBridge programming, I now know that it is possible within all systems, structures, and designs!

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