Meet Andrew Davis, Program Director at Sonderly
Tell us about Sonderly.
Sonderly is an online educational and training platform that provides autism and mental health resources to educators across Canada. Sonderly was born from a team of impassioned clinicians, educators, and consultants who have witnessed firsthand the massive development of skills and independence that kids with autism can achieve when the people around them are given the proper tools to understand and support these individuals. We recognized that in order to make the greatest impact possible, we needed to find a way to translate the evidence-based research into practical, relevant, and curated content that could be easily distributed to thousands of professionals and families worldwide. That’s what Sonderly does.
Why did you decide to get involved with Sonderly?
Sonderly is such an exciting place to work! I always tell people, “I couldn’t work at a job where I would be doing the same thing everyday.” Sonderly provides me the opportunity to innovate, create, problem solve, and try new things. Ultimately, I decided to get involved because Sonderly allows me to find new and exciting ways to engage learners, so that it’s easier for them to remember and use important information.
Tell us about your family!
I’m dad to two boys and one girl – 9, 7, and 5 years old, respectively – who are part time with me, and part time with their mom. Between the pandemic, virtual schooling, and two households, you can imagine what a year it’s been! But with that said, I’m so proud of how we’ve found our stride and a balance that works for all of us.
What was the hardest thing about becoming a dad?
Just one?! For me, it was probably being pulled in multiple directions – trying to balance having an active role in raising my kids, being a present and supportive spouse, providing a comfortable living for my family, attempting to maintain personal friendships, being an attentive leader and contributing team member at work, while still trying to carve out some time for self care.
Has being a dad impacted your career? If so, how?
Absolutely. Becoming a father has allowed me to shift my perspective and see the world through a different lens. Educators make up the largest group of learners on the Sonderly platform. As a parent of three kids in the public education system, I’ve gained a greater understanding and respect for the challenges and priorities that educators face in the classroom. I’ve also become much better at not sweating the little things, and keeping the long-term outcomes in mind.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from your children?
To slow down, and be more present in the moment. I’d often find myself impatiently wanting to finish the thing I’m doing, just so I could move onto the next thing, whereas my kids could spend three hours next to a pond and still not have done or seen everything they wanted to.
How has being a dad made you a better / different leader?
It’s taught me to focus on what’s important. That there are always two (well in my case, three!) sides to every story, and that I don’t know everything. The humility I’ve gained by becoming a dad has reminded me to hear people out and consider ideas that are different from my own, and that even though we all have goals we’re trying to achieve, it’s just as important that you take the time to enjoy yourself along the way.