Alumna returns to inspire students


Bradshaw, who started a lucrative business at age 10, meets with entrepreneurship students. photo by Kristen Blevins.

Maddie Stout, Arts and Life Co-Editor

By the time Maddie Bradshaw ‘14 was 10 years old, she had come up with a million-dollar business idea: Snap Caps, pendants made of bottle caps to go on necklaces and swap with friends.

By 16, she was leaving sports practices early and doing homework during lunch to run her business in the afternoons, managing a company with 30 employees all older than she was. On Sept. 17, Bradshaw returned to Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Economics and Social Entrepreneurship classes for the second year in a row to share her story.

Following her graduation from Hockaday six years ago, Bradshaw has worked with Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit run by the creators of Sesame Street and taught STEM to students K-5. She also recently started another business, EdTech Classroom, aimed at helping teachers figure out ways to embed technology in their curriculum, which was inspired by the rapid shift into distance learning in March. Kristen Blevins, Upper School history teacher, said Bradshaw’s background in entrepreneurship made her presentation a fitting start to the year.

“Maddie’s story gave an overview of what we want students to accomplish in our class this semester,” Blevins said. “She discussed business plans, making a social impact using the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a guide, as well as sharing her personal story and path to her current business, EdTech Classroom.”

The Economics and Social Entrepreneurship semester class, run by Blevins and the Director of the Institute for Social Impact Laura Day, uses the school’s alumnae network to provide a real-world perspective. The curriculum centers around preparing students for economic and entrepreneurial success beyond the classroom. This is Bradshaw’s first time talking to students about EdTech Classroom, which she created in April.

Bradshaw said she enjoys returning to Hockaday as an alumna speaker and finds the experiences extremely gratifying. She also appreciates the opportunities Hockaday provided her that she believes led her to success.

“When I was a student at Hockaday there were always alumnae who came to speak in classes and assemblies and I remember thinking that it would be so cool to do something like that one day,” Bradshaw said. “Hockaday has given me more opportunities than anything in my life has, so I feel very grateful as somebody who’s passionate about education to have had such a high-quality education.”

For seniors in the class, Bradshaw’s visit showed them that starting a successful business at a young age is achievable, especially since Bradshaw was once in the exact same position as an upper schooler at Hockaday. Senior Honor Wood said the visit was extremely motivating and appreciated getting to hear from somebody she remembered from Lower School.

“Maddie set a great example of social entrepreneurship and taught us how to start our businesses strongly and with a purpose,” Woodsaid. “I think that her lesson definitely set us up for success and I hope she comes back to speak again soon!”