Maggie Grout

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Take Your Time

Tell us about your mission.

Thinking Huts is on a mission to increase global access to education through humanitarian-driven technology solutions. 

What problem are you trying to solve in the world?  

Globally, over 220 million students do not have access to education. Our mission matters because students in many developing countries are being left behind. There are simply not enough schools and this is one of the largest problems in countries such as Madagascar that prevents students from attending. 

What is your vision for your work or cause? 

Our vision at Thinking Huts is to increase access to education by leveraging 3D printing to build more schools in less time where they are needed most. 3D printing allows us to drastically decrease construction time compared to traditional methods and reduce costs as we achieve economies of scale. In an ideal world, lack of infrastructure would no longer be a barrier to achieving education. We would scale our concept to build schools in partnership with communities around the world to build our schools and ensure that they are maintained with teachers.

What led you here? Tell us about your journey to this cause or mission.  

 My journey starts about 22 years ago in a rural village in Dawu, China. At 18 months I was adopted, and this largely shaped my “why” on the journey to start Thinking Huts. I knew firsthand what poverty looked like and knew that I needed to do something with my life to address the root of societal problems that seem to exist at every corner.  I understood that education changes lives and it results in generational impact that goes beyond one student. If we could combine innovation with humanitarian goals, then we could make an impact in addressing one of many problems that exist within the education crisis: there not being enough schools. 

What has been your greatest challenge? 

The greatest challenge has been finding my path and owning the confidence as a founder and CEO within the nonprofit and technology world.

Maggie's TEDx Talk is entitled " How we can tackle the global education crisis with 3D printing"

How does your work fulfill you?    

I wake up with the sense that I am fulfilling my life’s work. I know that each hour I put in has a real impact and matters as we work to achieve our vision where students are no longer prevented from attending schools due to long travel distances and overcrowding.

How do you stay grounded and organized with so much happening in your life? 

 To be frank, I do not have a routine, but I work to stay grounded by surrounding myself with a close circle of people I can rely upon. I remember reading a quote about being the average of the 5 people you spend the most time around and I strongly believe this to be true in supporting your aspirations in life.  I rely upon my notes app, calendar, and lists to stay organized – especially in the new normal with all the video meetings that pop up.

What refills you and how do you make time for it?  

 I try to take time in the evening to listen to podcasts to recharge. It is challenging at times to prioritize rest but do my best to make time for it. I consider empathy to be my superpower. I’ve found that often people will forget to treat each other like humans. We all are on a journey, some rockier than others, and a compliment or kind smile can turn someone’s whole day around. 

Do you think your mission and your life’s purpose are intertwined?  

I do think my life’s purpose is tied to Thinking Huts’ mission and is largely influenced by the drive to increase access to opportunities through education for students who share similar backgrounds of being born into poverty. Education is the key enabler for creating opportunities and building brighter futures.  

Do you have a philosophy or your own ideas about work? 

We are here for a limited time, we ought to work for something and someone you believe in. 

Tagged with: Rebels With a Cause

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