Christy Flis on Zoom's vision for the future of remote learning.

Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike
Christy Flis on Zoom's vision for the future of remote learning.

What a start to the year at LearningLeaders HQ! After a busy first year of our online programs we kicked off 2023 with a Seasonal Learning Event - Debate Without Borders. The theme of this event was to focus on the growth of international debating and how students, parents, and teachers can prepare for the future of online remote learning. We were delighted to have prehaps THE most suitable & knowledgeable Keynote Speaker on the topic, Christy Flis, the Head of Global Education & Head of Women at Zoom! If you missed our event live, not to worry, you can dive into the dicussion we had below. Or if you'd rather watch along, check out our website here. Enjoy!

Zoom's Rise to a Household Name

Coach Mike: Can you explain what it's been like to be a part of Zoom on it's amazing growth story? How have you seen Zoom change in recent years?

Christy:  Absolutely. It's been wild. We always talk about and joke about being on a rocket ship ride, which we have been since day one. It felt like it's just only accelerated. But yes, it's very interesting because I worked with top universities in the world prior to the pandemic starting, but we would run through all sorts of end of world scenarios if the zombie apocalypse took over or what would be the backup contingency plan, how would the platform run? And never would have thought that we were really fully putting this to scale and a test to bring everybody online at once, but we did. We did also just have to scale really rapidly. So we had a very relatively small team, I would say probably still to today for the amount of clients that we support. But really our focus was just getting everyone online and trying to get information out as fast as possible. What's been always a guiding light throughout this entire process is that we've really based our company and our organization around the topic of care. So we care for each other, we care for our clients, we care for ourselves. And always grounding that in that place of integrity has really helped navigate this crazy growth trajectory that we've been on. Because I think if we didn't have that, goodness knows, I'm not sure I would be here and have survived that journey myself. But it is so incredibly rewarding to get to help make a big impact in the world. I like to say we're on mission make the world brighter, but I also absolutely mean that 100%. So what's exciting now as we've grown is that we get to move into a space of really starting to look at how we solve world problems in bigger ways. Yes, we helped everyone get online and connected during a global pandemic, which we never signed up for, but we did. I know it wasn't on my job resume, I know that wasn't on the job detail, but we did. But now we get to do the fun thing, which is really how this starts to help shift the world into more positive modalities, which we've already been seeing even before the pandemic. They’ve been happening in smaller capacities, but now, really, what does that look like at scale?

Zoom's Vision for full-stack Education

Coach Mike: Can you share more about how you see Zoom becoming more a part of everyone's day within the academic & education environment?

Christy: When I was growing up, I never thought that I would get to connect across the globe with so many individuals. And I've been doing that daily. Now I get to actually go in person, which is also really exciting, and get to be physically present. But in many cases I've been conducting this business and getting to connect with individuals all over the globe. It really is exciting because I think when we start to look at all of the capabilities and how it can help simplify your life and how it allows you to show up for your life as your whole human self, that starts to change the way the world works. It allows you to now not have to make the difficult decisions. Like if I need to hold a job that I can also still take classes and be connected in a closer way, or if I want to create a group across the globe that I get to participate in and expand my reach of networking beyond just my local community. That’s now a possibility. Most of traditional online education was very asynchronous. You had videos to watch, you didn’t get to participate face to face. You’re also still not on video or you don’t have that opportunity to connect in more meaningful ways. So I think what we're also starting to see is how this helps shift the way that we connect in more meaningful ways.

The Role of Experts in Learning

Coach Mike: Can you dive into the importance of being in touch with experts from all around the world, particularly in this world of education without borders?

Chiristy: Oh, it is hugely powerful. I remember when I was taking tap dance classes when I was younger and we had an expert physically come in and I struggled to get this one move down for I don't know how long. And it was like, oh, if you just shift your weight and do this and that and then all of a sudden I had it. And I was like, that's the power of getting to be connected with an expert. They can quickly help you because they’ve been through those challenges so that you don’t have to recreate that wheel. And so when we think of this in the context of borderless everything right, being able to connect across the globe in these capacities, that is so powerful. Because now, no matter where you live, no matter where you were born, no matter what restrictions that you think you may or may not have in life because quite frankly, it's usually all mostly mental but there are physical restrictions that can happen. This now starts to open doors wide and it opens up opportunity and possibility that you might not have necessarily had as easily accessible. And so what I love about it, I mean, I’ve used in the past being able to connect with experts at public speaking, being able to connect with amazing artists, being able to connect with amazing leaders across the globe that would never have happened because of the physical restrictions of actually having that happen. I can speak to that in a lot of different frameworks. But what I also think is extremely powerful is that when we think of being able to connect in this global way, virtually, we get to learn about other cultures, we get to learn about each other. We get to learn about how similar and I think really, at the end of the day, actually how similar we are than different, but also get to celebrate our uniqueness and share that with each other. And so what I see happen all the time as like challenges that you think only you have, somebody else is going through it over here or they've already started to solve. So you can start to now collaborate on bigger ideas which help the world in big ways. And that's what I think is really exciting when I look at this and where we’re headed, is because students are the future. You all are the future. Thank you for being here, thank you for being part of this journey on this to make the world brighter. But this is really how we start to get to overcome big challenges and also expand our community networks in ways that were never possible before.

Misunderstandings about Online Education

Coach Mike: What do you think most people are misunderstanding about the idea of connecting online, and online classes?

Christy: There's a lot of misunderstanding, I think, and again, thinking small and fear based modalities. What is exciting is that where we're headed is to really start to open doors to cultures and communities in a really beautiful way that has never been possible before. And I won't go into history across the board, but it hasn't always been the best way. Now we get to start to do this in a way that is positive for local communities, for the environment, for the world as a whole, and also open doors to inspiration and open minds, to inspiration to create. When we look at where we’re headed, there's functionalities. For example, I'll use this example we have in Zoom. We just launched out this past year with translated captions. So not only you could translate from one, like the language that's being spoken to another language, but it goes directionally. So if you wanted to switch it from Spanish to Japanese, you could do that, which now starts to alleviate borders that always would exist from a language standpoint, which is huge. So now people get to share from your cultural standpoint, from your language standpoint, but also get to be understood without, again, having to have somebody hired to help with translation. I mean, if you're a student, you probably don't have that resource. I don't have that resource and I'm adult. So that starts to help shift and really open things in big ways. It’s an incredibly exciting and exhilarating future to see what was painted in the 1970s and 1980s as live contemporaneous translation on video conferences or dare we even say, whenever it comes out in mixed reality as well, holograms, wherever we're going.

Access to Education for Young Women

Coach Mike: Could you speak for a moment about how remote learning can help young people, especially young women, around the world who may not have access to the same educational resources, find their voice and grow into leaders?

Christy:  Yeah, I think the big thing is that it starts with community and one knowing that you're not alone. So if you have an idea, you can make that happen. It’s a beautiful world in that sense, but it's helping to get you connected in to know that that is possible. But I'll also say it's a really beautiful time because how do I want to say this? The world has been askew a bit and now it is starting to level the playing fields a bit. And what I think when we look at language, for example, there are beautiful things that culture can share but haven't been able to share because there hasn’t been a modality to do so. So it doesn't mean that the ideas aren't there or the education isn't necessarily there, but there's not an external way to share that out into the greater world, which now platforms like Zoom can help be able to connect you in with communities, to be able to share those ideas and help bring them into reality. So when we look at women, I mean, goodness knows, across the globe, there has been such a push to kind of keep women small and to keep voices small that didn't always exist in the history of our time as a planet. It shifted at one point in time. But this is the beauty is that it's starting to also help create more awareness that you aren’t alone, that your experiences aren't just singular you, but that there are others that are experiencing similar things. So that you can also start to share in communities, which helps get over some of the fear and feeling and thinking that you need to stay small depending on, again, where and how you grew up. There’s a lot of different examples across the world where women have to wear all the different hats, raise a family, have children, or you have to forgo their career or forgo their studies to help make things work. And now with these types of platforms, it starts to open that door to be able to allow you to have that flexibility where you don't have to make those choices. And again, I think the power of connecting different cultures and communities across the globe also really does help to create awareness as you get to speak up, you get to have a voice, you get to be your whole human self. And that really starts to create more opportunities than ever existed before. In my work as Head of Women at Zoom, we talk a lot about this feeling of imposter syndrome or feeling small or whatnot. Whereas when you start to open the doors and when you start to have these conversations, you start to identify it for what it is, and you go, okay, that's not as scary anymore. And also now I have a network and I have resources and I know where to go or I know how to now get connected in with a community that I never would have because I was on an island. Somewhere in the middle of wherever. And now I get to connect in with somebody else that may also be on an island in the middle of wherever. But now we're connected. And now we get to really start to delve into opening opportunities for one another.

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Coach Mike
Post by Coach Mike