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About Kenzie

Disruption means changing people’s mindset or conventional wisdom by introducing new ways of doing things, new processes, or new ways of thinking - changing people’s lives for the better. Education is primed for change.
— Chok Ooi, Co-Founder & CEO

We founded Kenzie Academy to tackle a major opportunities gap in America. We discovered that fast-growing technology companies concentrated in expensive coastal cities were struggling to hire tech talent. Meanwhile, a large population of aspiring individuals across the country could help fuel these talent needs. Our mission is to equip this population with the necessary skills, experience, and access in order to build successful careers in tech.

Applying a new forward-thinking education model, including project-based learning, critical skills training and apprenticeship, our mission is to develop a new talent pool and attract more technology jobs and opportunities in communities across the nation.

 

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Our Story

Co-Founder & CEO Chok Ooi was a senior technologist at the financial industry. He was a lead engineer at Silicon Valley-based startup Loopt, and held various CTO and engineering management roles at tech companies. Chok had previously built a successful company developing tech talent in South East Asia. His company Agility.io hired fresh college graduates, took them through an intensive 7-month coding bootcamp, and placed them on projects with over 130 tech companies and startups. He was able to improve the speed of training through real-world project-based learning, reducing the costs for tech startups, and make a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of his employees. 

Co-Founder and COO Rehan Hasan was co-founder of Galvanize. Rehan helped launch Galvanize’s G-School in Denver, which today is a popular coding bootcamp operating in 7 cities. Rehan left Galvanize a few years ago, and was involved in launching various accelerators and incubators, including the first Cuban-American accelerator in Havana called Incubate. Rehan is a corporate tax attorney by training, worked at a major law firm, and was a consultant at Deloitte.

Co-Founder and CMO Courtney Spence founded Students of the World in 1999, where she rallied and inspired a generation of millennial story-tellers to produce purpose-based media stories for nonprofits working around the world. She mobilized students to partner with organizations like the Nature Conservancy, P&G Foundation, UNICEF, among others - and produced content in over 27 countries. Courtney also co-founded a purpose-driven creative agency, the CSpence Group. CSpence Group is committed to partnering with organizations driving change, and clients include the American Institute of Architects, Aurora Healthcare in Wisconsin, and Louisiana Calling - an organization dedicated to driving more young people into successful, lifelong careers. 

Head of Curriculum Mike Cammarano was pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at Stanford University before leaving to be employee number 1 at social-gaming company Playdom (acquired by Disney in 2010 for $763MM). Mike also worked at another tech startup that was acquired by Dropbox, where he joined as a Senior Engineer.