"I wanted my children to see that sometimes we need to step outside of what is comfortable and accepted if we want to solve problems in new and innovative ways. I want them to see that it is okay to take risks and experiment with new ways of solving problems." - Jessica Miklos, Owner/Founder, Thrive Academy
Moms at Work continues to share stories of inspiring business-owners from our network. In this article, we sit down with Jessica Miklos, Owner/Founder of Toronto-based Thrive Academy.
Please tell us about your business?
Thrive Academy offers brain training to help people achieve their full potential. We look for common obstacles to performance at school, in the workplace and on the home front, and design personalized programs to help people get the most out of the brain that they've got.
What exactly is brain training?
Every brain is different. In order to understand the world around us and learn efficiently, different parts of the brain need to work together and process information in a synchronized way. At Thrive Academy we don't focus on delivering content. Instead we seek to ensure that key brain areas are coordinating with each other and working smoothly. Where we see inefficiencies, we leverage the principles of neuroplasticity to achieve lasting improvements in function. We train key areas of your brain to do a better job so that you can do the tasks that are meaningful to you with less effort.
Who are your clients?
We work with school-aged children and adults both in the workforce and retired. Our clients are looking to improve their performance at school, at work, in athletics, or they are looking to stay mentally sharp and improve their balance and coordination if they have been experiencing any age-related decline.
What do you love most about your work?
Every client is different, so we are always learning and problem-solving. In the course of our work, we have a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. It is also very fulfilling to hear people reporting the improvements that they see in their lives as a result of brain training.
Please tell us about your decision to become an entrepreneur?
Becoming an entrepreneur came about due to a confluence of factors. I wanted to bring new solutions to struggling students. I was also looking for a schedule that would allow me to prioritize my family's needs. And I wanted my children to see that sometimes we need to step outside of what is comfortable and accepted if we want to solve problems in new and innovative ways. I want them to see that it is okay to take risks and experiment with new ways of solving problems.
What’s it like being a mother and a business owner?
It can be a challenge, but it also gives a measure of control over my own schedule. Because I do a lot of administrative work from home, my kids sometimes forget that I am working if I am not at the office with clients. Because they use screens for fun, they will often assume that I am "playing" on my computer rather than working.
I really appreciate being able to book clients around important sport and school events so that I can be present when my kids want me there. I know that won't last forever.
What impact do you hope your work will have?
I hope that I bring a measure of relief to the families that I work with. Many kids who struggle at school start to believe that they are not as smart or as good or as valuable as the kids who learn easily. Many parents wonder what they have done "wrong" to cause their kids to struggle. I love those moments when clients look at their progress and beam with pride when they see just how much they have progressed or when they report improvements in their marks or the time that it takes them to do their work. I firmly believe that we all have important things to contribute to the world, and for a long time our school system has praised one type of learner and has made the rest feel inadequate. I think about all the problems that we have not yet solved in the world and wonder which ones my clients will solve once they are able to navigate the world of learning.
Any advice you’d like to share with other entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. Having access to a network like the one in the Collective can be invaluable. Also, no matter how smart and capable you are, it is a fool's game to think that you can be good at every single task. Hiring someone to take on tasks outside your wheelhouse is often cheaper than trying to invest the time to figure out every single skill.
You’ve been a long-time member and supporter of Moms at Work. Why?
I joined The Collective because I want the world of employment to be different for my sister, and my daughters and I wanted to support Allison Venditti's work. The work that Allison does matters a lot. I didn't expect to benefit personally, but being surrounded by strong, powerful women affects how you think, how you advocate for yourself and how you grow. I have found the Collective to be hugely beneficial. And I now recommend Moms at Work to many female friends. We need women talking about pay transparency, negotiation skills and making the workplace more friendly to working moms!
Thrive Academy is located in midtown Toronto (near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton) and offers brain training tools including Interactive Metronome, Bal-A-Vis-X and rhythmic movement.
Thrive Academy also hosts a variety of professional development opportunities for educators and therapists including the upcoming Bal-A-Vis-X training (April 28-29, 2023). Bal-A-Vis-X is a joyful movement technique that uses movement patterns of increasing complexity to improve balance, attention, coordination, auditory and visual processing and mental sharpness.