In first grade, Ryan was forced to sit in the back of the classroom. He was forced to sit there because Ryan moved from Utah to Pennsylvania and his teacher wasn't a fan of Utah. Whenever he raised his hand, his teacher would ignore him. At parent/teacher conferences, Ryan's teacher told his parents that Ryan had a hearing disability (which wasn't true) and that Ryan would be left behind in his schooling.
From this experience, Ryan learned firsthand that exclusion is one of the most isolating feelings a person could experience. Luckily, Ryan wasn't alone in the classroom. Other students who were deemed "unteachable" sat next to Ryan and helped him feel included in an otherwise excluded environment. According to Ryan, those friends helped him become who he is today and helped him form his drive to find those who are left out.
"When you are an entrepreneur, you just need to do it. Even if your idea isn't that good, you just need to start." - Ryan Westwood
In his career, Ryan made the priority to not only help individuals feel included, but also help those individuals grow. In Ryan's discussions with Clint Betts, CEO of Silicon Slopes, Ryan stressed the importance of "building the individual" rather than "building the organization." Ryan also stated, "everyone needs a mentor. We are so often caught up in our ego by saying, 'we can do it ourselves' that we miss out on so many opportunities to have others help us."
To watch the full conversation with Ryan Westwood, follow the YouTube link below.