Fireside Chat With The Founder Of PassTheNotes

March 23, 2016
Theresa Seiler
Comments Off

Fireside Chat With The Founder Of  PassTheNotes 

When: March 23, 2016 

Where: California State University 

Purpose: Talk about Entrepreneurship

Professor: Dr. Colleen C. Robb | follow Dr. Robb at 

It’s not everyday that I get to share a story that brings my goals, mission, and “why” full circle. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to experience that and felt it was amazing to share. 

Dr. Colleen C. Robb, currently serves as an assistant professor of entrepreneurship for California State University, Chico (CSUC). Dr. Robb kindly reached out to me to do a talk with the students in her “Entrepreneurship Business Plan” course at the university. Usually, I jump at opportunities to share our story, our struggle, and the reason “why” we push so hard 24/7/365. Not to impress anyone but rather to motivate and inspire the next generation to give their dreams “A-Go” no matter what! This request was special because of the significance of Dr. Colleen Robb on my entrepreneurship journey to PassTheNotes. 

I strongly believe that teachers are the real heroes and that every great success story starts with a great teacher. When I was a student at FIU, I had originally everything planned out. Biomedical engineering major on a five year plan on scholarship following in family footsteps. One day that path changed and I went undecided. I lost my scholarship and was on campus early to avoid conversations about what I was going to get my degree in. Early one humid morning, I found a business card on the ground that read “Got an Idea, Win $10,000 in the Business Plan Challenge”. I needed the money for school and figured this was my chance to take action. 

I went to Professor Colleen’s office at the entrepreneurship center at FIU and waited. Upon her arrival, I expressed my interest in the class and asked when I could join since the semester had already started. She did the standard protocol and asked if I had the required prerequisites for the class. My answer was “no”. She’s asked if I had my AA, my was answer was again “no”. Knowing that this conversation wasn’t about to end in my favor, I proclaimed “If you get me in, I’ll win the competition…because I have no choice but to.” Long story short, she took a chance on me, made some calls, and got permissions to allow me in. She took a chance! Our team came in 3rd place in the competition out of 57 teams. 

So, why is this story important? It’s important because of all the lessons she taught me. 

- Think outside the box

- If you don’t know something ask people, do what you have to, get out there 

- Always be ethical in your actions 

- If your idea doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough, always think bigger. 

- Take care of your team, people are everything 

- Be passionate and persistent 

- Know your mission

Just yesterday, it was ten years since I sat in her class and I was given the privilege to speak to young business minds about how those same principles still guide me today with PassTheNotes. Dr. Colleen C. Rob gave me my shot and shed light on my opportunity. An opportunity not in a business or team, but an opportunity to believe in myself to go out and make an idea a reality. That’s the power of a teacher. I am grateful for whatever reason she was my instructor ten years ago and that I was fortunate enough to be able to pay it forward with her students. Sharing our entrepreneurial journey and the lessons we have learned with the aim to hopefully inspire her class to pursue their newly budding ideas. If students want a success story, it is important to remember that it starts with the person standing up in-front of the class rooting for the best in them, their educators. 

At PassTheNotes, our team is everything. We grind out projects on 24-36 hour runs sometimes. The mission to fight for giving back time to those educators in the classroom by building an application that is easy to use. A solution that supports them in their quest to be the best teacher for those students looking for guidance to go after their goals and dreams. We may not always get it right, but we’ll never quit because the mission is too big. It’s the main reason why you’ll see our core administrative team show up for trainings and implementations because the direct feedback, good and ugly, is what we live for to build a solution that speeds up a teacher’s ability to reach students in the classroom. The faster a teacher is able to reach the students, the sooner the power of that teacher can influence a student’s direction and possibly their life. Teachers are the success stories and I’m grateful that we get to fight day-in and day-out to build something that plays a role in that mission.


Founder & CEO

About California State University 

California State University founded in 1887, Chico’s tradition of academic excellence goes back more than 125 years. Now, the University continues to help today’s students develop into tomorrow’s successful citizens. Its unique combination of scholarly pursuits, civic engagement, and a very real connection to the Chico community earns it national and international accolades.