Teacher turned entrepreneur helps others manage the challenges of early childhood

27 May 2021

From early childhood classrooms to lecture theatres and now online Zoom sessions around the globe - Dr Kathryn Murray's background in education has taken her further than she could have ever imagined.

Over the last 5 years' the CQUniversity alumnus has utilised her extensive teaching experience to develop her business Future Strong Education' a global education consultancy that works with early childhood centres' schools' community organisations and parents in child development.

"When I was teaching in the classroom' I had visions of being a consultant and owning my own business one day'" Dr Murray explained.

"It wasn't until years later when I moved from tenured to a sessional lecturer at CQUniversity that I realised I had the flexibility' time and a side income to support myself as I built a business."

With over 40 years of experience' and achieving a Master of Learning Management and Doctor of Education from CQUniversity' Dr Murray felt sharing her knowledge could help others in the community.

"Through Future Strong Education' I get to share effective classroom management processes' explain my own Brain-SET framework that I've developed for classroom design and provide teachers with well-being strategies'" she said.

"This has evolved unexpectedly into parent coaching with clients in Australia and overseas. I coach parents who are struggling with their children and base my coaching on my knowledge of child development' brain science' intuition and behaviour support techniques."

"The greatest successes have been seeing the light bulb moments for people when I show them a different way to approach children. Having connections and collaborations with professionals and families all over the world continually blows me away."

Not only has Dr Murray provided inspiration and guidance to educators' and parents internationally' but closer to home she also made an impact on her son who has followed a similar career as a teacher.

"My son Rob grew up watching me come home from school and talking about the fun learning we did in our classroom'" she said.

"Whenever he had a day off school (sometimes faked being sick) he came to work with me' and I gave him little teaching jobs. Even from such a young age I could see the teacher in him.

"I didn't ever encourage Rob to be a teacher' but I did give him exposure to the job. I think he liked the idea of following in my footsteps."

Over the years Dr Murray's love for education has never stopped she has continued her studies by enrolling in CQUni's Graduate Certificate in Brain-Based Education. This has fueled her love of brain science on which she bases her professional development workshops.

"Recently Future Strong Education has expanded into the Emotional Intelligence arena to serve those who are self-aware enough to want to improve their professional and personal relationships and personal well-being. I am currently developing a range of courses for people from all walks of life."

While her journey has not always been an easy one' she encouraged others to take the leap and consider starting their own consultancy business.

"The biggest challenge has been having to learn a whole other language and way of life – the nuances of running a business. Having to figure out what a balance sheet means' how to manage sales and promote myself' doing the marketing' administration' and staying motivated working from a home office. Juggling multiple tasks while learning along the way is exhausting at times."

"The hardest thing has been learning how to generate business and a steady income. Coming from government and semi-government positions' I had never had to promote myself – now I do' and I still struggle with that."

But she said the benefits far outweighed the struggles.

"One of the highlights has been working in Beijing in 2019 as an 'expert in residence' to coach an early childhood team and early years elementary school team in an international school.

Being awarded 'Best Early Childhood Mentor (International)' by an Indian organization in 2020 was pretty special too. The Student Voice awards from the CQUniveristy units I teach amaze me and I feel very honoured to have made an impact with the students'" Dr Murray explained.

"Every day is different for me. Just recently I had two meetings with educational organisations in Asia' a presentation for a group in Africa and an education panel in Singapore… all in one day.

"Learning about other cultures and their needs in education is so interesting – and at the moment' it's the next best thing to travelling."