We had the good fortune of connecting with Tessa Zimmerman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tessa, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I believe the success of ASSET is rooted in the relationships myself and my team has built with our community. We’ve been really intentional about how we treat the people we work with and see them as thought partners. Our program is a compilation of student feedback, teacher ideas, funder thought partnership, parent concern; each and every one of the individuals we serve and work with are part of our ASSET team. I 100% believe people notice that when they get to know our organization.
What should our readers know about your business?
ASSET Education trains and equips educators with concrete tools to help their students reduce stress and build resilience for future success. We envision an education system where students’ mental health is just as important as their academics. We impact 37,500 students each week across eight states. ASSET has gotten to be where it is today because I haven’t given up. I’ve built ASSET from this place of “the ship is sailing even if we’re building the ship as we sail.” I think what has helped me overcome challenges is the practice of returning to my “why.” I grew up with severe anxiety in the classroom and it wasn’t until I received a full scholarship to a private school that I learned the tools to cope. I started ASSET to ensure all students had access to these stress-reducing tools. When things get difficult, I have to remind myself that this for students and then I can lean into the challenging moments. This year, I am most-excited for the social media series we’ve started called #tessatools. Every Tuesday, I share a new, bite-sized tool to support your mental health. It was a lot of fun to make the series and now I am thrilled to share it with our community.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver Botanical Gardens for sure would be on the itinerary. I brought my mom there and she loved it so much that we’ve re-visited it several times. Prodigy Coffeehouse would be another stop on the itinerary. It is a social enterprise run by the talent of young adults from Northeast Denver who have previously been disconnected from school and/or work. I love meeting their apprentices and the coffee is superb. I lived in Chautauqua Park in Boulder for several years (yes, you can live in Chautauqua!) so I usually try to bring visitors there to hike or get brunch at the Dining Hall.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
ASSET would not be where it is today without our Director of Programs, Gina Leach. Our curriculum is intuitive, non-burdensome and easy for educators to use because she formerly served as a teacher and brings her lived experience to our work. It is an absolute honor and privilege to have her on our team.
Christoper Austin of austinstudioofdenver.com Nathan Kennedy Alexander Heller