Q&A 4Her – Anindita Basu Sempere, Executive Director of TheWritingFaculty.com
Woman business owner and entrepreneur Anindita Basu Sempere says that her passion is writing. She wanted to help students of any age become better writers and receive the best writing instructions and with this idea, TheWritingFaculty.com, an online tutoring company offering expert, live-online writing instruction, was born.
Anindita took time out of her busy day to talk with MyCity4Her about her business evolving over time, what she’s learned from other business owners and more. Continue reading for her full interview.
Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?
If you had told me ten years ago that I would start a business, I wouldn’t have believed you. My background is in education, writing, and technology, and I never saw myself as a business person. However, having worked in education research and in a classroom, I love the speed and flexibility of industry. Being able to respond immediately to meet an individual student’s needs is a luxury for an educator.
What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?
We work with individual families and have a highly customized approach to our tutoring programs, but as a business it’s helpful to take a step back in order to identify broader trends — which programs are most popular at each grade level? Does this vary by season? How are people finding us?
At first I underestimated the breadth of information I’d want to analyze. Having information at the micro and macro levels (qualitative and quantitative feedback) has helped me better understand the types of tutoring programs that are most helpful to our students.
What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?
Keep an open mind. Your initial plan isn’t the only possible path to your goal, so while you want to stay true to your core idea, you may find surprising new avenues to reach it.
For example, The Writing Faculty initially focused on middle and high school students, but from the beginning, we received inquiries from many adults. Our tutors had experience and expertise in the areas these adults wanted to study, so we added several new programs to our roster that were geared toward this population. Now at least a third of our programs are with adult learners, and we also work with college and graduate students. Our goal is to provide access to exceptional writing instruction, so the age of the student doesn’t matter, just what’s being taught and how.
What do you love most about what you do and why?
Writing is my passion, and I love having the opportunity to share that. We have an incredibly diverse group of students, both in terms of age and ability. Some of our students struggle with writing and others love to write and want to stretch their skills by working with an experienced editor or author. I like that we can accommodate the entire spectrum and help such a wide range of students find their voices as writers.
If you knew then what you know now what would you do differently and why?
I would have worried less about making mistakes at the outset and experimented more.
When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?
I spend a good deal of time both writing and reading, of course. I also love to bake, travel, and spend time outdoors exploring, whether hiking in the woods or checking out a neighborhood I’ve never visited.
How do you define success?
Success for me is finding a place of constant learning and growth. I want everyone at The Writing Faculty to have the opportunity to create, grow, contribute, and improve, so that we, along with our students, have the chance to learn and to develop.
If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business – what would it be?
Talk to your colleagues — they serve as excellent sounding boards and can give you reality checks as needed, and you can return the favor. I’ve learned a great deal from other men and women who’ve started businesses about everything from strengthening an initial business plan to managing stress to taking time to celebrate milestones.
About Anindita Basu Sempere: Anindita Basu Sempere is the Executive Director of TheWritingFaculty.com. Prior to this, she was the Director of Education at a test prep & tutoring company, a founding faculty member of a charter school, and a researcher at the MIT Media Lab. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science and English from Wellesley College, an S.M. from the MIT Media Lab’s Future of Learning Group, an M.A. in Poetry from Boston University’s Creative Writing Program, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.