Meaning and fulfillment are the new wealth: A conversation with Joanne McEachen | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

In this episode, I speak with Joanne McEachen (Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu), CEO and Founder of The Learner First. Joanne has spent over 30 years working as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and education change leader in countries around the world. She is a celebrated author, speaker, change leader, and executive coach, a Fellow of Salzburg Global Seminar, an Edmund Hillary Fellow, on the Executive Team of Karanga: The Global Alliance for Social Emotional Learning and Life Skills, and cofounder of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL). She creates opportunities for learners, educators, and communities to learn who they are, how they fit into the world, and how they can contribute their gifts to humanity. We discuss:

  • How contribution to ourselves, others, and the planet is the only way to acquire the new wealth of meaning and fulfillment;
  • How we can move toward assessing collective rather than individual efforts;
  • How knowing “where we come from” is the starting point for forging new relationships;
  • How indigenous wisdoms remind us that we are interconnected with all life, which opens up a new (yet ancient) way of understanding learning and action.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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