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School of Motion Has a New CEO

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Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane, shall we?

I recently found a folder of old School of Motion stuff that I’d copied over from an old laptop, and in it was a text document called ‘SchoolOfMotion.rtf.’ The date on that file is February 11, 2013… so I guess that’s the day School of Motion was born.

Cute, right?

The document laid out my (very) meager plans for the site. I wrote down that I wanted to “provide a creative outlet for my inner-teacher.” I said that I wanted to gain a better understanding of what I’m doing as a motion designer, and hopefully to earn a loyal following like my hero Nick from Greyscalegorilla. I hoped to one day run courses that would help artists learn to work professionally, and to talk about what I had learned freelancing and running a studio.

When you write down something like that, it seems like you’re playing a game of make-believe. I would never (and I mean never) have guessed that School of Motion would one day turn into the company that it is now. The team, reach, and impact we’ve achieved would make 2013-Joey faint headfirst into a snowbank on the streets of Boston.

Every team needs one of these!

Our team has always been the secret weapon.

What our team has been able to accomplish is truly mind-boggling to me… and the potential to help even more artists and to make a bigger impact is truly epic. We’ve grown a lot over the past 9+ years, and I’ve learned so much from my teammates and from the thousands of students who have made their way through our curriculum. I’ve been pondering the next stage of School of Motion and thinking about what we need to execute to keep up with our ambitious goals, and I’ve realized something: We need a different approach, and a new perspective on how we run things and grow.

I generally think of myself as “humble”  (though, is it humble to think you’re humble?), but I do understand that I have certain strengths… I’m a creator, I’m a motivator, I’m a teacher, and I’ve learned to be a CEO… but we’re about to enter a stage of growth that will require a much stronger operator to steer the ship. And that person is, to the surprise of nobody who has met her, Alaena VanderMost.

Alaena likes many vans… but she loves her VanderMost.

Alaena has been my partner-in-crime for the last 6 years. She is the reason we’ve been able to scale the way we have. She’s got the rare combination of vision, technical knowledge, and operational chops that have enabled us to build our own LMS software, re-invent our Teaching Assistant program, grow an international team, and run as a fully-remote company (before it was cool, too). There is nobody on earth better equipped to ensure the future success of School of Motion, and with her at the helm I know we will be even more impactful and helpful to our students and to the industry we love so much.

As for me, I’m now in the awkward position of being the “Chairman of the Board”, a title which feels as ridiculous as it sounds. I’ve started referring to myself as “Chair Dude,” just to see how that feels. I’ll be stepping out of the day-to-day operations of the company, taking some time this summer to rest my brain after the whirlwind of the last (almost) decade, and then doing all I can as a board member to assist Alaena in achieving the big, hairy goals she’s got in mind.

It’s a long story.

This is the beginning of a new chapter for School of Motion (and for Alaena, who is expecting her first baby in July!) and I could not be prouder or more confident in the amazing team who have built the best online school and alumni community in the world. 

Rock on, friends.

-joey