Toi Hershman breaks down her incredible journey from feeling defeated by her obsessive mind to mastering the mind of an entrepreneurial thinker. Toi’s go-getter attitude really shines as she shares her story. A powerful narrative of perseverance, resilience, and the transformational impact of project-based social learning through the lens of entrepreneurial education.
Read on to learn about the experiences and the impactful moments that brought Toi Hershman here today. As the CEO of EntreEd, she has had this talent her whole life and went through quite a few interesting pivots along the way. This is how Toi went from a mechanical engineer to an entrepreneur.
From Engineer to Entrepreneur
Struggling with a debilitating lack of self-confidence growing up, driven by her OCD, she still had her future set on attending college. And attend college, she did! This is where she encountered a major pivot in her path. A college professor encouraged her not to pursue physics but instead explore mechanical engineering for a pay raise.
With sincere support from her family, she made her way to South Carolina to attend Clemson University. It didn’t take her long to settle in and become a hot hire, being a woman in the industry and all.
Discovering Her Entrepreneurial Mindset
Once Toi pushed through an intensive degree, she confidently graduated with honors.
Immediately being offered jobs left and right, Toi’s pivot took her down the path to Charlotte, where she worked as a mechanical engineer at a nuclear consulting firm. As exciting as her journey was going, there wasn’t good vibes. She took a few slight pivots and went through several consulting firms before she hit that ‘Aha!’ moment.
Quitting her engineering career wasn’t something Toi ever wanted to do, but it ended up being another major pivot in her path. This significant shift happened when she discovered her true calling as an entrepreneurial thinker.
Toi's next impactful pivot ultimately took her down the path that led her to EntreEd. Through her network of past colleagues, she stood hand-in-hand with the, at the time, CEO of EntreEd. Here, she found her tribe – people who valued perseverance, resilience, grit, self-efficacy, confidence, teamwork, and leadership.
EntreEd's mission is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that equip them with essential life skills. These students learn how to develop strategies and discover the possibilities within them.
The Full Circle Moment
Toi recounted a heartwarming story of a high school student’s transformation. A young female student who was initially seen as a troublemaker, flipping off the school principal and having no educational drive, was now put in Toi’s hands. The young student confided in Toi, expressing how she had no direction after high school, envisioning a future with no clear path and even the possibility of ending up in jail.
Empower Students Through Entrepreneurship
Taking this as a perfect opportunity, Toi put the student in charge of her own entrepreneurial project. In response, she formed a group and initiated extensive collaboration with schools throughout the entire county. Their joint effort led to the planning and execution of Market Day, which was an absolute sell-out event involving every school in the county. During Market Day, students showcased their entrepreneurial skills with great enthusiasm.
This success this student had and her participation in the project changed her trajectory. She ultimately enrolled in a community college and pursued a career in healthcare, a transformational journey that she attributes to the valuable experience gained from the entrepreneurial project.
Dr.Toi Hershman shows off her eagerness to inspire the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Toi believes that by instilling a culture of imagination, inquisitiveness, and perseverance, students' potential can be unleashed, leading to economic growth and prosperity. She aims to ignite an entrepreneurial spirit that will have a positive impact on the world. EntreEd continues to empower students, teachers, and communities, lighting up the path to a brighter future through entrepreneurial education.