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Inspiring Conversations with Brynne Schroeder and Alyssa Loman of Empowered Pathways

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brynne Schroeder and Alyssa Loman.

Hi Brynne and Alyssa, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
The two of us met in 2013 when we started graduate school at Western Illinois University, where we studied Clinical/Community Mental Health. We quickly realized that we shared a lot in common when it came to our personal and professional passions.

After graduating from WIU, we remained close friends and supported each other through the next steps in our careers, and our lives in general. Alyssa went on to work in community mental health, college counseling, and group practices. Brynne pursued her passion for community outreach, and trauma-informed mental health, and eventually started teaching at the college level.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we spent a lot of time reevaluating our professional goals and navigating the changing landscape in mental health and education. We recognized a need for holistic training on high-need topics like neurodiversity, emerging adulthood, career development, and workplace mental health. We also saw an opportunity to expand on the scope of mental health training, since this topic is crucial in a wide variety of settings.

We realized we could provide valuable information to education professionals and business administrators in addition to mental health providers. From there, the idea for Empowered Pathways was born.

It was a learning curve for us to figure out the logistics of starting a business. Neither of us pictured ourselves as “businesspeople” earlier in our careers, but we discovered our entrepreneurial spirits together and jumped in with both feet! Once we defined our mission, a strategic plan followed and we officially started doing business as Empowered Pathways LLC in 2022.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
We have definitely encountered some challenges. While we are confident in our ability to create valuable educational content, we’ve had to learn a lot about the administrative side of starting a business. Along the way, we asked a ton of questions and did a lot of research. In some cases though, we just had to learn through trial and error.

When it comes to professional development in the mental health field, most of the offerings are provided through larger organizations that exist on the state or national level. That made it difficult for us to find clear instructions on how to get up and running as a smaller business.

It’s taken a lot of persistence to find the answers to our questions and we are constantly finding new ways to market ourselves and make connections with folks who can benefit from our services. Ultimately, these challenges have boosted our confidence. We’ve shown that we can be adaptable and we’re determined to keep learning and perfecting our programs.

As you know, we’re big fans of Empowered Pathways LLC. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Our mission is to empower professionals and the communities they serve through knowledge of mental health, developmental psychology, and adult learning theory.

With today’s technology, there is a ton of information available to anyone who wants to learn, and that’s a great thing. But there are still gaps in research on important topics. We are committed to addressing these gaps by synthesizing research on high-need topics including neurodiversity, emerging adulthood, holistic career development, and workplace mental health. Our training opportunities are designed to yield direct practical benefits that people can start using immediately to support their clients, students, or employees.

The structure of our training also sets us apart. Both of us have had hit-and-miss experiences when attending professional development training. Too many of these programs are “information dumps” without opportunities to engage in deep learning or see specific applications of the material being presented. Each Empowered Pathways program is structured based on evidence-based instructional design protocols. We believe that people get the most out of professional development when they are actively engaged and enjoying themselves.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
We’ve realized that we can’t predict everything that will impact our business as we continue to grow, but that’s okay.

We’ll navigate whatever unknowns come our way, whether they take the form of challenges or positive opportunities because we’re committed to the day-to-day work necessary to build a business and earn our customers’ trust.

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