Shifting Gears: Startup Quest® grad creates new jobs

Six months ago Kevin Spath left Cincinnati for sunnier skies to support his wife’s dream of graduating from the University of Florida. With a background in financial services, Kevin was well-qualified for positions with the area’s larger corporations, but the distance application process was fruitless.

“I’m just going to go to Gainesville and see what happens,” Kevin thought. “I never really thought to join a startup,” he added, but when he arrived in Gainesville he was surprised to find it thriving with startup opportunities. Kevin signed up for the Gainesville edition of Startup Digest, a weekly newsletter on startup events and educational content in more than 300 cities.

Around the same time Kevin arrived in Gainesville, recent Startup Quest® graduate Dr. Isabell Springer was ready to expand her business. Isabell is the founder of Drivers Ed for Love, a relationship education organization. After graduating from Startup Quest®, Isabell used the tools and training she received to secure additional investors and create new jobs – not just for herself, but for others as well.

Kevin received an alert from Startup Digest about a UF startup job fair, where he first connected with Isabell. Intrigued by her magnetic enthusiasm, Kevin attended a Drivers Ed for Love seminar and within a month Kevin was hired as Director of Operations, where he uses his financial acumen to support daily operations and strategize growth opportunities.

Drivers Ed for Love builds awareness about relationships and the varying stages of emotional maturity, he said. Curriculum uses the analogy of shifting gears to identify emotional intelligence and better equip people to choose a healthy partner, become their best selves and master communication to sustain fulfilling, long-term relationships.

Since Isabell founded Drivers Ed for Love in 2008, more than 1,800 Floridians have taken the course. Isabell’s journey to social entrepreneurship came through personal struggle, but her business success has come in large part thanks to skills she developed in Startup Quest®, the nationally-recognized experiential entrepreneurship training program.

“The Startup Quest® program gave me the confidence to take the next step in my career and with my business,” she said. Isabell is currently developing a train-the-trainer program for others to deliver “Getting the Keys” across the nation.

Drivers Ed for Love will launch “Fast & Curious” on Saturday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. as a fundraiser benefitting Hippodrome Theater. This unique social mixer is: 1-part relationship-education, 1-part competitive game (speed-dating format) and 1-part dance party, all geared toward like-minded Adult Single Professionals 30+.