Reading and writing may seem like simple, everyday activities that happen for many without much thought.
What happens when it's not?
For those dealing with challenges in literacy, like dyslexia or learning new languages, it can be a battle in many ways. Everyone deserves to have someone in their corner rooting for them and helping to make challenges easier to overcome.
Martin McKay, a Singularity Executive Program alumni and a true leader is working on solving that problem.
Where are they now? is a new blog series where we highlight the impactful work of Singularity alumni. So what has McKay been up to since he last attended the Singularity Executive Program? Well, we sat down with him to find out. Our world is accelerating and changing day by day, and McKay knows this. He wanted to take advantage of this pace of change to positively alter the lives of a billion people through his work in making literacy more accessible through his company Texthelp.
"I've done executive development programs at MIT and at IMD in Switzerland. I do something every couple of years, but I always refer back to Singularity because it's so different. It's not like going to the classroom and learning."- Martin McKay, CEO of Texthelp
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Martin McKay is a Singularity alumnus and CEO of Texthelp, a social impact company leveraging advances in exponential technology to build software for people with literacy difficulties. After his father suffered a severe stroke that left him unable to speak, read and communicate, McKay decided to dedicate his life to literacy accessibility. This event played a pivotal role in McKay's life and became his purpose. He now builds software for those with dyslexia, low literacy and for those learning or working in a second language. The impact McKay hopes to have is to adequately support kids in school and, ultimately, in the workplace.
"Literacy is one of humankind's grand challenges. Education is a grand challenge."
McKay's mission for literacy accessibility is well-aligned with the United Nations sustainable development goal #4, focusing on quality education for all. After attending the Singularity Executive Program, he felt more ambitious and decided to change the trajectory of his work on a global scale by expanding Texthelp's offerings into Africa and Asia. McKay also plans to increase the awareness of literacy tools, find a way to encourage leadership teams to support those that need it and establish a "culture of normalcy" for literacy assistance in the workplace. His goals also include a holistic program to help kids of employees with literacy issues, as some challenges like dyslexia, for example, are hereditary conditions. The Singularity Executive Program helps attendees think bigger than they can imagine, and McKay has been well on his way to driving true global impact since attending Singularity's Executive Program.
"There was such a powerful call to action to be bold and try to do something to reach a billion people. But I was actually quite emotional as I left. I was sharing this experience with some of the other people who attended, and they were similarly impacted. But you've got to stick with it when you leave. You've got to take what you've learned and really go for it, and put it into practice and think big."- Martin McKay, CEO of Texthelp
With his transformative experience now behind him, an energized sense of the self and the confidence to move forward in an accelerating world, McKay's main takeaways from the program were to arrive with an open mind, be aware that the program is a mindset shift and to be prepared to feel comfortable with being overwhelmed. The Singularity experience was created to shake you and rewire your mindset to think exponentially. Being open-minded and prepared for discomfort is crucial to personal growth as you experience mindset shifts that will change your life for the better.
"I think it is the best professional development program I've ever done. And I'm a professional development junkie. Every year I do something, and I did say that I would go back to Singularity again."- Martin McKay, CEO of Texthelp
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We at Singularity take pride in the work that we do for those who want to make real changes in their lives. The success and impact that McKay is making with Texthelp is a prime example of what we envision and desire for all of our Executive Program attendees. We are excited for his vision, his plans and wherever else his journey may lead him. As a seasoned veteran in executive development programs across the globe, the Singularity experience was a life-changing experience for McKay that he could barely put into words.
"It's so good. I'm doing a really bad job of articulating the program, but it just made me think completely differently. It made me think on a different scale. It's not often that you go and do something, and it fundamentally changes how you think. And on the scale of your ambitions, it was like a switch."