On June 1, 2022, Freedom Learning Group (FLG) welcomed a new CEO to the organization. Michele Baird brings a deep education-space background to the role. Michele has managed content development, instructional design, project management, and creative teams, serving customers in K12, Higher Education, ed-tech, corporate and non-profit channels for a number of learning and development companies.
We are thrilled to welcome Michele and support her vision and path forward for the company.
Michele, congratulations on the new position and welcome to the team! How has your first month gone?
The first month was all about getting to know the people at FLG. With every conversation, my admiration for the team has grown. Our staff are top notch content developers, but so many of our team members are also Military Spouses and Veterans. They juggle their work responsibilities with the demands of their service with resilience and grit. FLG’s mission, to provide remote work opportunities to underemployed military families, is a deep part of the culture.
Tell us about your leadership philosophy and how you plan on implementing it in your role as CEO.
My leadership philosophy is to hire great talent and provide them with the opportunity to shine. Content development is creative work. It can be messy and demanding. Our best work is done when we have firm specifications but allow room for creativity. I like to focus on finding ways to set project teams up for success, so they can focus on the content.
What do you believe to be FLG’s greatest differentiator?
The greatest differentiator is our talent pool. Military Spouses and Veterans represent 64% of our FLG’s workforce. No other content services firm can connect their clients to this talent pool. There are 1.2M Military Spouses and Veterans across the country, and 25% hold a bachelor’s degree while 10% have an advanced degree. Military affiliated SMEs are often available to work full time on our client’s projects. Other SMEs often have full time jobs and limited availability to offer clients. Not only that, but our teammates are passionate about putting Military Spouses and Veterans to work, and bring that commitment with them to their own work every day – which means FLG has a mission and culture that no one else in the education market has to offer.
FLG was founded by Nathan and Stacey Ecelbarger to impact the 30% unemployment rate (nearly six times the national average) Military Spouses face. What are your plans to ensure FLG remains the go-to employer for Military Spouses across the globe?
Fortunately, our departing CEO, Liz O’Brien, was promoted to Chairman of the Board. Her primary focus will be to keep FLG connected to the right partner organizations so our brand stays top of mind for Military Spouses seeking employment opportunities. Liz and I have already spent many hours together thinking about just this challenge – how do we become the #1 Military Spouse employer? This is a serious commitment, and Liz and I will continue to partner together over the next few years to ensure FLG always remains true to its vision of supporting the military families who support our country.
How does Achieve Partners (FLG’s investor) support your vision for the company?
Achieve Partners is also a mission driven organization. Achieve invests in companies that either support educational outcomes or create pathways to employment for underserved talent. FLG is in the unique position of serving both of these missions – we support top-quality education and we put our nation’s Military Spouses and Veterans to work! So our missions align perfectly.