Amy Coupal is the CEO of Learnography, a social enterprise focused on learning at any age and stage of life. A former teacher in Toronto and Japan, Amy followed an unconventional career path into the worlds of education innovation, international projects and corporate learning. Prior to her position at Learnography, she oversaw the development of multiple teacher training programs at the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario (LDAO). The mother of young twins and an avid cycling commuter, Amy not only leads a learning organization, she embraces lifelong learning, challenging herself in new ways professionally and personally.
My first job ever was… Working at a general store. I did a bit of everything — I pumped gas, made and cooked hamburgers, scooped ice cream, and worked the cash. It was a great job because I learned a lot — including what I didn’t want to do again!
I decided to be a social entrepreneur because… My passion is doing work that makes the world a better place, and working in a business driven by social purpose aligns with my values.
My proudest accomplishment is… Creating a social enterprise that impacts people’s lives and communities. I’m really proud of the brands we’ve created and the diverse work we do in Canada and around the world.
My boldest move to date was… Leaving the teaching profession. I had a full-time teaching position that some people call, “the golden handcuffs.” It was a tough choice but I’ve never regretted it. I have the best job in the world. I help people learn and I’m constantly learning myself.
I surprise people when I tell them… I speak Portuguese. I have lived in Brazil and worked in Portugal. At one time I could speak fluently, but those days are long gone.
My best advice to people starting out in business is… Tap in to trusted advisors whose only vested interest is your success. Talk honestly with them. Invite them to challenge you and tell you the truth.
My best advice from a mentor was… Always take on projects that will stretch you out of your comfort zone. You can’t learn from doing the same thing repeatedly, so challenge yourself continually to develop new skills with each new project, initiative or job.
I would tell my 20-year old self… Things have a way of working themselves out. You won’t always see the solution clearly at first but there’s always one available.
“Things have a way of working themselves out. You won’t always see the solution clearly at first but there’s always one available.”
My biggest setback was… Any time I gave credence to my inner critic.
I overcame it by… Investing in my own development, particularly through working with a coach. That process helped me understand my inner critic and not let it run the show.
Work/life balance is… An ongoing project. I start with being clear on non-negotiables in all the priority areas of my life and structuring time to make sure they happen, most of the time…
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I love to scuba dive. My favourite place to be is underwater. It’s like meditation. I am so conscious of my breath and of being transported to what feels like another world.
I stay inspired by… Learning new things. Whether it’s from colleagues at work, my family or on my own, learning is energizing for me.
The future excites me because… It’s unpredictable. There’s something invigorating about that ambiguity. Right now, it feels like we’re on the cusp of something far greater than the Industrial Revolution. We are finding new ways to work in a world disrupted by AI. We are shaping the future and it’s fun!
My next step is… Staying in a learner mindset. This allows me to be creative as new challenges and opportunities arise, making space for fresh ideas, connections and collaborations.