I grew up on the notorious west side of Chicago where walking down the street exposes you to random violence and stray bullets. There seems to be a race to death. Between gang pressures, the lure of drug life, and police brutality, a child’s path to success is riddled with societal landmines. I appreciate the “safe places” I had growing up. Church, Vacation Bible School, Upward Bound, and Metro Achievement Center for Girls, were all safe havens where I could focus on learning and developing as a young woman. These educators chose to affect the future of children out of an internal desire to see excellence thrive in the next generation.
Zahn Patin is impacting the lives of students as a successful business woman and founder of the nonprofit Comprehensive Solutions, Inc. Zahn’s program provides a unique approach to addressing the gap in traditional education and the skills needed for personal success in college or the employment field. It is a pleasure to introduce her you.
- What is your business and what unique value do you provide to your customers?
My business is Comprehensive Solutions Inc. and we are a non-profit organization founded to develop unique academic and social enrichment programs that serve students, parents, and educators.
We fill a gap for middle-class families who need academic support services normally only accessible to wealthy families or households with low-incomes. Our programs are focused on engaging students to explore their purpose and allow that purpose to guide their academic career as they pursue personal success.
What are you passionate about? How does your passion help you with your current business?
I used to think I was passionate about education, because I love to teach and learn, but now I would say I am passionate about helping people find the light. The light to me is a game-changer. The light means; truth, knowledge, and information–a formal recognition of power over one’s circumstance—emancipation.
My passion motivates me to create an environment where the light it is the priority. I aim to encourage staff and volunteers to be the light to the students who we serve. To be an example of love, patience, and joy so even if the kids don’t experience that in their home lives, they can see it in us. In my direct work with families, I try to empower parents to get involved and explore their child’s interests and further assist him or her along the path to find the light. When I get frustrated, I remind myself that God created out of love but He destroyed out of frustration. I try to let that truth guide me in my decision-making and business activities and operate out of love / light.
2. What are some of the unique challenges you face? What will you need to combat these challenges?
One of our biggest challenges is that we sell something that most American parents don’t think they need–education. Parents assume by virtue of school attendance, their kids are learning. They are unaware of policies designed to mislead them into thinking their child’s school education is adequate. So even with scholarships and financial assistance, getting parents to actually sign up and show up is a hurdle.
In order to combat this challenge, we have to educate parents on the harsh realities of the school system and its effects on their child’s status as a key stakeholder. In addition to advertising about these facts, our podcast, scheduled to launch in August, will address some of these topics and raise awareness so that we can reach more kids in the future.
3. How do define fear? How do you deal with fear?
Fear is a device designed to delay execution of purpose–usually, based on a lie. Also masked as logic, risk aversion, or having too many advisors.
I have learned that sometimes I have to jump up and do things immediately, before I talk myself out of it. I deal with fear by praying and reminding myself of God’s track record in my life. ‘I cast down anything that rises itself up against truth’ (God’s Word). I try to think about why I am afraid, and then address that issue specifically with the Word. It’s a process, but it’s gotten me this far.
4. What would you do/try if you are guaranteed to succeed?
That’s an interesting question. There are a few ideas unrelated to this business that I would love to be successful financially. Oddly, in this particular venture, I believe I am guaranteed to succeed but by unconventional metrics. In this business success is that all men be saved/shown the truth. In 2016, I wanted to launch summer camp but it fell apart for several reasons. I was devastated, embarrassed, and angry with God etc. I prayed and said, I know YOU told me to do this. Why didn’t YOU make it work? He said, you prayed to have no stain on the organization and the rental agreement/insurance would have caused a stain. I accepted that and moved on. Then God allowed me to learn that folks who’d attended the staff training were motivated and excited about their role to be the light in their classrooms and schools. Co-workers who I’d invited to fast and pray with me were like I haven’t prayed that much in years or I’ve never fasted before. I was like, Ahhh I see it. I recognized ‘the light’ at work and realized that it was never about me being ‘successful’ by traditional metrics; this was about His purpose prevailing. If I aim for that, I will be successful every time.
5. What message would you give your 18-year-old self that would prepare you for what you are doing today?
You have a very real enemy, but you have already won as long as you choose to fight. Do not doubt–your purpose is worth fighting for.
6. What new things do you have on the horizon?
As I continue to grow the non-profit organization, I am working on building up my consulting business, as well as some family businesses, and a video game. In the non-profit world I am excited about piloting the Ally program in the fall of 2018. It’s really the brainchild on which the organization was founded, and I think it will prove to be highly effective in its out-of-the box approach to nurturing intrinsic learning behaviors in elementary school students.
7. How can interested parties get in contact with you?
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/zahn-patin-6993307/ and I’d be happy to exchange info there.
You can check out the foundation and summer camp at the links below: