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In today’s episode of The Grow Ensemble Podcast, we are joined by Austin Buchan the CEO of College Forward, a non-profit based in Austin, Texas whose goal is to propel students from underserved backgrounds to collegiate success and remunerative careers. In our chat we cover a lot, but there are a few things specifically that we believe you’ll will get a lot of value from.

First and foremost, we talk about College Forward’s evolution and how they have and are innovating in response to customer, in their case, student feedback. We also talk about the challenges for both Austin and the organization in his transition to taking over as CEO for a founder. Finally, we talk about the inherent contradiction that College Forward is facing in attempting to solve the social problem and as well, creating a long-term sustainable business.

So don’t miss out and be sure to listen in to today’s episode!


Also, don’t forget we are hosting a giveaway! Click the image below to learn more:

Episode Links:

Grow Ensemble —

Austin Buchan —

Austin Buchan (Twitter) —

College Forward —

CoPilot —

Grow Ensemble Giveaway —

Show Topics:

• Austin’s background and how he came to be the CEO of College Forward.

• How Austin got started in education while working in Nicaragua.

• Early days experience and mindset when Austin joined College Forward.

• Lessons from learning how to be a leader at a young age.

• Importance of relationship building in business management.

• How College Forward uses human-centered design in their programming.

• Logistical challenges that students of College Forward face on a daily basis.

• How Austin’s approach has changed over the course of his time at College Forward.

• Navigating the transition from the frontline into a management position.

• Preparing to transition new leadership and a successors into a company.

• Understanding the emotional component of transitioning into new leadership roles.

• Austin’s 30,000 foot view for College Forward; mission and money.

• Why building a social enterprise is harder than building any other business model.

• More about CoPilot, the industry-leading student information system.

• Advice to other non-profits currently working on the frontlines.

• And much more!


“Sometimes our low income student populations and families are the most excited about their students getting off onto this hired path, because they can see that as the ticket out of some of the current economic distress that different families might be in.” — @Austin_Buchan [0:16:49.7]

“Taking over from a founder can often be very tumultuous and disruptive to the business, and there’s typically a lot of turnover after that first successor takes over.” — @Austin_Buchan [0:24:44.7]

“Building a social enterprise is infinitely harder than any other business model because just about every lever is pointed in the opposite direction as you.” — @Austin_Buchan [0:31:18.7]


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