Hispanic Lifestyle is pleased to recognize MIND Research Institute as a 2016 Great Organization for Women. Representatives for MIND Research Institute are invited to participate in a reception acknowledging their efforts for providing a Great Working Enviroment For Women on April 7, 2016 at the Ontario Airport Hotel, Ontario, California. The reception is the kickoff event for Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2016 Latina Conference to be held on April 8, 2016.
I am pleased to nominate the MIND Research Institute for Hispanic Lifestyle’s 2016 Great Places to Work for Women Award. I have worked at the social benefit organization MIND Research Institute for nearly 14 years, and am proud to share MIND’s commitment to women in the workplace. In fact, the organization was recently named a 100 Best Workplace for Women by Fortune Magazine, a wonderful, independent recognition that reflects my and my colleagues’ views.
MIND Research Institute is a neuroscience and social benefit organization with a bold mission: ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems. We strive to achieve this through our distinctive visual math and problem-solving instructional software program for schools, and by conducting basic neuroscience, mathematics and education research. To bring math to life outside of the classroom as well, MIND Research launched the MathMINDs Initiative which consists of family-friendly events, applied learning opportunities, student-centered activities and community events.
MIND Research was founded in 1998 by scientists from the University of California campuses of Berkeley, Irvine and Los Angeles. These researchers came together to apply neuroscience findings indicating that children interacting with software games using visual, language-independent animation to learn math concepts showed significant improvement in their ability to conduct spatial-temporal reasoning, or the ability to manipulate objects in space and time. This ability to hold visual representations in the mind and predict their evolution lies at the core of innovative thinking and sophisticated problem solving. These results prompted the scientists to found MIND Research and further develop the visual learning-based Spatial-Temporal (ST) Math® software for use in K-12 schools. Using interactive visual representations of mathematical concepts, ST Math improves spatial-temporal reasoning and math proficiency.
Schools using ST Math consistently experience double to almost triple the growth in percentage of students testing proficient or better on state standardized math tests, when compared to similar schools not using the program. MIND Research’s visual approach to teaching math has proven successful for a diverse range of students from many cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and is particularly ideal for English Language Learners and students with learning disabilities. MIND’s programs currently reach more than 800,000 students and 31,000 teachers in 2,500 schools in 40 states.
In the words of the late Dr. Gordon Shaw, MIND Research Institute co-founder and seminal researcher of spatial- temporal reasoning, “All kids are smarter than we think. We just need to give them the opportunity to develop their abilities.” MIND remains committed to creating this reality. To that end, our work is guided by the following values:
- Developing problem-solving skills that include multi-step reasoning, creativity, persistence and real-world applications of those skills.
- Encouraging a life-long love of learning through hands-on experiences that build deep conceptual understanding.
- Fostering and growing talented, diverse people who can collaborate to solve the world’s toughest problems.
In 2013, the CEO-led Business Roundtable (BRT) recognized ST Math for having “strong potential for helping prepare more U.S. K-12 students for college and the workforce.” ST Math was the only one of the five programs chosen focusing solely on mathematics. A complementary but separate initiative conducted by Change the Equation (CTEq) identified ST Math as one of four programs that met their standard of high-quality, immediately scalable programs. ST Math is the only program on both the BRT and CTEq’s short lists of recognized programs.
Why MIND Research Institute should receive this recognition:
MIND Research is a values and mission-driven organization, focusing on three Core Values – People, Problem Solving and Learning. These values are incorporated into all organization initiatives, in the hiring of our team members and reflected in the programs and services we provide to teachers and students across the country. We value People, and the nurturing and development of our talented colleagues is central to our ability to carry out our mission. It’s essential that we foster a problem-solving culture, a culture where we persevere in the face of challenges and find creative and innovative ways to solve them. Lastly, we place a strong emphasis on learning, and growing not just our knowledge in the many aspects of what we do, but in our people – having a workforce that is continually learning will help us meet new and even unforeseen challenges.
We seek colleagues who are intrinsically motivated and want to work for a social benefit organization. The nature of their work related to education and social benefit also lends to making a difference rather than performing a job. Our mission, “Ensure that all students are mathematically equipped to solve the world’s most challenging problems” reinforces this. Our organizational objectives distill this Mission to action focused on work to enable students to prepare for their future. Our Core Values enable colleagues to work above basic job expectations and contribute at a level where they can make a personal difference. Our colleagues demand collaboration, creativity, persistence, continuous improvement and autonomy in their work. We recognize their contributions on Yammer, an internal social and collaboration tool. Individual and team contributions, stories, direct feedback are all shared in this public internal forum. Our performance management process directly links individual objectives to organizational objectives, Core Values and mission to ensure we stay focused on what’s important.
Achievements around women in the workplace:
In addition to being recently recognized as a 100 Best Place to Work for Women by Fortune Magazine, key achievements include:
- Roughly half of MIND Research’s workforce is women, and 38% of our executive/management team is female.
- We offer a casual work environment with flexible hours. 45% of our colleagues work remotely, and the colleagues that do work at our headquarters are able to adjust their work day hours to accommodate family and personal time. Telecommuting is also an option and regularly used by colleagues.
- MIND colleagues spend up to 5% of their regular work hours dedicated to valuable learning opportunities through project or volunteer activities. Colleagues can design their own project or join an existing project of interest to them. Alternatively, they can volunteer with a charitable organization of their choice or join
a monthly hosted MIND volunteer event.
Our casual office space includes a combination of open spaces, cubicles, collaboration areas (with chalkboard walls) and outdoor space. We moved into this space two years ago so all of our furniture was specifically selected for comfort, mobility and collaboration. We are a creative organization so our colleagues have the ability to design their work spaces as they see fit. Colleagues have the ability to move around and work throughout the building or outside. Our outside space consists of patio tables and lounge chairs. We also support walking meetings so we have a vast extended outdoor space.
Our health benefits provide for affordable dental and medical care; vision care is also available, along with a 401K, with the organization matching up to 5%. Free flu shots, elder care resources, lactation rooms, mental health care, and prescription drug subsidy are additional benefits offered to colleagues.
We have many testimonials and anecdotes from our female and male employees, but I would like to draw your attention to this one from a female colleague: “My experience of being promoted and moving through different departments is not unique. MIND is focused on developing great people within positions that benefit the individual as well as the organization.”
My personal story is not unlike Dorene’s. I started at MIND Research 14 years ago as an office assistant. I moved through the ranks as my talent was recognized, and I still receive valuable mentorship from my colleagues today. I’ve been able to not just cultivate my career, but also pursue my own college education and personal goals. As a Latina, I have always felt the genuine support of my colleagues’ for my goals and my well-being.
Submitted by Maria Cervantes Community Partnerships Director MIND Research Institute