‘I Have Been Flabbergasted by Vendors Who Have No Idea How Education Works’

‘I have been flabbergasted by the vendors who have placed cold calls to me to offer products or services and have no idea how the educational institutions work and procure products.’

FUTURE FOCUSED | Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy 

EdTech Digest CEO Victor Rivero has assembled the top education leaders in the country to provide insightful, strategic advice and recommendations to companies so they are powerfully positioned to sell into today’s competitive K-12 markets.

Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy was recently selected to serve on EdTech Digest’s Future Future Focus Forums (F3) Advisory Board. Educators have been chosen to serve on the prestigious EdTech Digest Future Focus Forums (F3) Advisory Board based on talents, strengths and experiences.

‘Dr. Tracy’ is the Director of Technology for Gulfport School District in south Mississippi. With over 27 years of experience as an educator, Dr. Tracy has been a teacher, counselor, and instructional technology specialist. She is a Mississippi Department of Education K-12 Security Advisor, MS Ed Tech Leaders Association member, Future Ready Tech Leader Advisor, Innovation Directors Network member, Google North America K-12 Customer Advisor, Past President of MS Educational Computing Association and many community/civic organizations.  She is passionate about caregiving and champions causes within her affiliated organizations that promote and encourage equity for children, women, people of color, and others who are underrepresented, and marginalized. Dr. Tracy earned a B.S. and M.Ed. from Alcorn State University and an Ed.S. and Ph.D. in educational administration from The University of Southern Mississippi.

After being invited/selected based on your talents, strengths and experiences, what prompted you to want to really go for it and be a part of F3, and particularly F3—with its product-marketing focus?

“I am excited to be able to join the select group of talented individuals—many that I know—to help guide the future of edtech to ensure that the technology is designed for our students and teachers.

‘I am excited to be able to join the select group of talented individuals—many that I know—to help guide the future of edtech to ensure that the technology is designed for our students and teachers.’

In the course of your work and activities, what to you is the importance of staying up-to-date on products and innovations for learning and education? 

“It is imperative that those in my role in school districts stay abreast of the trends, challenges, and threats as well as products and innovations so that we are able to make sound and informed decisions.”

Why is it important for senior leadership in companies (founders, product leads, marketing leads) to not only really have a strong sense of what school district technology leaders like yourself are going through and needing, but to connect with them and their realities in the most effective way possible? 

“I have been flabbergasted by the vendors who have placed cold calls to me to offer products or services and have no idea how the educational institutions work and procure products. The companies who plan to market and sell to educational organizations have to know what we do, how we do it, what we need to simplify our work, our pain points, and the parameters that guide our work.”

There are other meetings resembling F3 in our edtech field – what makes Future Focus Forums (F3) particularly unique and vital? What sets these customized-agenda-driven product-and-marketing / issues and challenges- structured focus groups apart and makes them absolutely necessary for company leaders?  

“There indeed may be other organizations doing similar work, but who has gathered a group of diverse leaders and thinkers like this from all over the U.S. with the experience and talent this group has? This group will address not just product functionality, but will ensure that the companies have considered carefully how to market to schools with limited funding and to those with seemingly unlimited funding sources as well as address other challenges and opportunities school districts face.”

‘This group will address not just product functionality, but will ensure that the companies have considered carefully how to market to schools with limited funding and to those with seemingly unlimited funding sources as well as address other challenges and opportunities school districts face.’

As we look ahead to the future of learning, and considering what F3 can deliver to company leaders, what advice do you have for those leaders to help make them more effective in reaching their goals? Why are these forums so vital to the future? Anything else you want to add or emphasize? 

 “These forums are so important because they provide an opportunity to ensure the success of all stakeholders – students, teachers, the company selling products and services, colleges/universities, future employers, etc. If the company leaders listen to our challenges, opportunities, and suggestions, they can design and successfully market innovations to our districts that will allow students to benefit academically.”

Victor Rivero is the Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest and Executive Producer of EdTech Digest’s Future Focus Forums (F3 events). Write to: victor@edtechdigest.com

Michael M. Flood is F3 Corporate Advisor. If you are a founder, product lead, or marketing lead and would like to learn more, reach out to Michael at mflood@alpinefrog.net

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