Female Founders Speakers Series: Education Technology

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

The final event of Season 5 of the Female Founders Speaker Series wraps up with one of the most relevant topics of our time: Education Technology. Join us Monday, March 15th at 5pm to hear what it takes to start and scale an EdTech company in the Green Mountain State. We are thrilled to welcome Josie Jordan, cofounder of LiFT Learning, Kelly Scannell, cofounder and COO Upright Education, and Stephanie Zak Jerome, President of Visual Learning Systems who will share their personal stories and lessons learned. This virtual, not-to-miss event is hosted by VCET and Hotel Vermont, and brought to you by the Vermont Small Business Development Center.

This series features entrepreneurs and leaders who identify as women, and celebrates gender fluidity. We welcome and encourage all gender identities, ethnicities, ages, races, abilities, sexual orientations, and perspectives to attend. Thanks to the VtSBDC, we are proud to offer this event at the most accessible price possible… free!


  • When: Monday, March 15th, 5-6:30pm EST
  • Where: CrowdCast 
  • Cost: FREE 
  • The first 30 people to RSVP (and ATTEND!) the event will get a LIMITED EDITION Female Founders tote to haul all of your hopes, dreams, and feminist literature around with you. 


Meet the Speakers:

Josie Jordan, Cofounder, LiFT Learning

Josie Jordan is an educator and advocate for youth voice and learner choice in educational systems. She co-founded two nationally recognized personalized learning programs, the Futures Academy and the Pathways Program. Spurred by her learners’ success, Josie co-founded LiFT Learning in 2013. LiFT’s software empowers youth and supports educators with a day-to-day learning platform built around voice and choice, real-world experiences, and authentic assessment of essential skills. After national work with districts and organizations, Josie returned to her own learning community and co-founded the Learning Emporium in 2019. The nonprofit offered immersive experiences for elementary-age learners to discover and pursue their passions and purpose with local professionals and experts. Currently, COVID-19 limitations have given Josie the opportunity to “walk the talk” as she co-designs learning experiences with her three young children at home.

Kelly Scannell, Cofounder, Upright Education

Kelly is the former COO of Reading Plus, whose adaptive literacy platform for students in grades 3-College is used by millions of students in the US and abroad. She co-created the infrastructure, culture, and strategy that accelerated and sustained the company’s significant growth over the past decade and led to an acquisition by Avathon Capital in 2019. In her previous roles, while Kelly lived in the Bay Area during the first “Dot Com boom”, she served on the leadership teams for high-profile, high-growth e-commerce companies Reel.com, Pets.com & Art.com. She has just started a new venture, Upright Education. She loves building up companies, cultures, and people that work on things that matter. 

Stephanie Zak Jerome, President, Visual Learning Systems

Stephanie Zak Jerome of Brandon, was born in Burlington and grew up in Mendon. She received a BA in History from University of Vermont and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship. Jerome served as a Policy Analyst at NASA Headquarters, prior to returning to Vermont. She is the co-owner of Visual Learning Systems, publisher of a video based K-12 science curriculum. Married to Brian Jerome, PhD, they have three children. Stephanie serves in the VT House of Representatives and is a current member of the Brandon Planning Commission, Brandon Revolving Loan Fund, and UVM Cancer Advisory Board. She has been a resident of Brandon since 1997.


Where it all started:

VCET (Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies) and Hotel Vermont co-founded the Female Founders Speaker Series in 2016. Celebrating female entrepreneurs from around the state, the series aims to share what it takes to start a company from the ground up. Each speaker shares the story of their business, including what it took to get started, lessons they’ve learned, and where they hope to go in the future. This series features entrepreneurs and leaders who identify as women and celebrates gender fluidity. We welcome all gender identities, ethnicities, ages, races, abilities, sexual orientations, and perspectives to attend. 


About our Sponsor:

This event is sponsored by Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC), expert advisors providing guidance to Vermont’s small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Learn more at vtsbdc.org, home of the Recovery Roadmap and a host of resources for recovery, reinvention, and resilience.