Frances Valintine is a champion of diversity and the empowerment of women and minority groups.
Throughout her career she has supported her staff and external groups to encourage and build confidence in those around her, and when she launched The Mind Lab by Unitec, she provided a commitment to support real diversity in the workplace.
Frances set up The Mind Lab, in 2013. As she watched new digital technologies infiltrating every aspect of our lives, she realised education was on the cusp of a fundamental reshape. She wanted to ensure children and educators were not left behind.
The Mind Lab was to offer digital and creative learning for students as well as a postgraduate programme in digital and collaborative learning for educators. To date the organisation has taught more than 40,000 students and 1,400 educators.
Frances’ initial team of five staff comprised of two Brits, one German, one French and a Kiwi. Including herself, 50 per cent of staff were female and there was no hierarchy of role or responsibility. Today the team includes staff from 15 different counties including the UK, South Africa, Serbia, Vietnam, Finland, Ireland and China to name just a few.
The make-up of these teams is deliberate and contributes to a working culture that is dynamic, open and diverse. Frances is known to take on staff who on-paper do not hold the experience or qualifications, but where she has identified passion, capability and potential.