MEET MUHAMMED CHAUDHRY, PRESIDENT & CEO OF THE SILICON VALLEY EDUCATION FOUNDATION – MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN EDUCATION AND FOR OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE
SVT: What prompted you to go into education?
MC: I got tired of being a cheerleader for products (I previously worked in brand marketing) and wanted to be a cheerleader promoting causes & initiatives for children, which was always a passion of mine. I wanted to be in a job where I could make the greatest impact on future generations.
SVT: What inspires you to do what you do?
MC: Meeting so many people in this valley whose goals match what we are doing at the Silicon Valley Education Foundation – they deeply care about improving education and understand the need to do something dramatically different to make that happen if we are to successfully launch new generations of students into the 21st century economy.
SVT: What are education’s greatest challenges?
MC: Everyone thinks that ALL Silicon Valley kids are high achievers with plenty of access to the best in education because Silicon Valley IS, after all, the center of global innovation and an incubator for awesome technological success. But there’s a great dichotomy here – on one side of the Valley (west of H101) there is a very highly-educated population of mostly white & Asian students. But on the other side (east of H101) is a very poor, largely non-English-speaking population of students who go to underserved schools with lesser resources. These children do not have college-going role models. I’m in this job to work toward eliminating that gap.
SVT: How does your organization make a difference?
MC: We target those students on the “other side of Highway 101” (mentioned above) – the largely poor, non-English-speaking population of students who go to underserved schools – and we provide academic support programs to bolster their math and science skills to set them on a college path. In the last six years since our programs began, more than 6,000 students have successfully passed through our courses, which include tutors, outside business mentors and field trips to area universities to emphasize the value of college.
SVT: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
MC: Bill & Hillary Clinton, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Martin Luther King, Bono & Steve Jobs.
SVT: What is your favorite book?
MC: “How Children Succeed” by Paul Tough; “The Wrong Kind of Muslim” by Qasim Rashid.
SVT: Who’s the coolest/most inspiring person you’ve ever met?
MC: John York (Co-Chairman, SF 49ers), John W. Thompson (Microsoft Chairman), H. Raymond Bingham (Advisory Director, General Atlantic, a private equity firm)
SVT: What’s your favorite tech gadget?
MC: It changes…but I still love Google Docs; driverless car!
SVT: What’s your favorite mobile app?
MC: Waze, mobile banking apps, breaking news
SVT: What’s your go-to source of information for your business or news of the world around you?
MC: Biz Journal, Twitter, Breaking News
SVT: What’s your alternate-reality profession?
MC: Researcher for the best buffalo wings in the US
SVT: What’s your favorite sport?
MC: 49ers football
SVT: What’s your favorite music?
MC: U2, hands down.
SVT: When you’re not working, you’re…
MC: Hanging out with my 2-year-old twins, hitting the park and playground; reading to them; taking them on vacation. They are well traveled for their age, so far traveling with mom & dad to England, Canada, Hawaii, New York, Chicago and Washington, DC.
I hope soon to teach them quadratic equations, although they will probably beat me to the punch even sooner.