World Cafe: In Their Words

This year’s World Café was one of the most successful we’ve ever had.

More than 80 businesses and schools created new partnerships to further the impact of education in Wake County Public School System. Here are just a few stories from the participants in the event.

On January 5, 2016, World Café 2016 was held at Biogen- RTP to bring together leaders in business and schools to collaborate on school initiatives.  As the representatives for Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Assistant Principal Margaret Feldman and I met with leaders from several community programs and businesses.  First we met with “The Green Chair Project,” an organization that assists individuals to have the furniture and home goods needed to restart their lives after fire, natural disaster, or homelessness.  Our second pairing was with Marbles Kids Museum, an interactive museum centered on children and their learning. Both of these conversations led to volunteer opportunities and internships for our students, a requirement for our students.  Additionally, we had a very promising conversation with NC State’s “The Engineering Place,” which may lead to students attending engineering summer camps.  World Café was a terrific opportunity to share the student leaders of Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy with the community by creating partnerships, internships, and volunteer experiences. Our students and the community will be better because of the opportunities created at World Café 2016.

– Mary Clay Vick, Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy


Brooks Pierce aspires to help the community more broadly than ways typically associated with the legal profession.  World Café was an inspiring step toward that goal.  As participants at the event, we engaged with energetic people from different business and academic backgrounds who want to address challenges faced by Wake County schools.  WakeEd did a good job of matching our firm’s interests and resources with schools that may best benefit from what we have to offer – it is easy to foresee our collaboration helping students and their teachers.  Brooks Pierce has already begun direct efforts with two schools, and we are excited to see where the collaboration leads.

– Walt Tippett and Jessi Thaller-Moran, Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP

Stepping on the campus of Biogen and seeing a room full of educators and business partners eager to connect increased my excitement to experience a second year of World Café with WakeEd! The morning began with discussion from Root Elementary and East Cary Middle School, both looking to expose their students and teachers to science and engineering fields. Following one great connection was another with Aversboro Elementary and Hodge Road Elementary. We shared ideas on field trips to NCDOT, STEM Night “meet and greets” and computer club hangouts. NCDOT is not a company schools immediately think of when planning for partnerships, but after a successful day at World Café, we’re likely to see a long road of future engineers.

Ashley Goolsby, Office of Education Initiatives – NCDOT


The purpose driven agenda of WakeEd World Cafe 2016 wasted no time. PrecisionLender explored over a half dozen exciting collaboration possibilities with York Elementary and East Cary Middle Schools during this three hour event. The opportunities ranged from half day workshops at PrecisionLender to programs in the schools with varying time commitments.  The flexibility of the options presented will allow us to get more of our team involved in volunteering with Wake County schools. If your company is looking to increase volunteerism in STEM, but don’t know where to begin, the World Cafe should be your starting line.

Mike Finger, PrecisionLender

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