The WISE Awards


Ms Carolyn Acker

Position: Founder, Pathways to Education
Country: Canada
Carolyn Acker was the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education.  Acker began her professional career in the health-care industry, working her way up the ranks of executive leadership through a combination of world-class education, practical experience and, above all, a desire to give back.  Acker used the experience she gained providing health services to disadvantaged people living in a troubled, despairing community to drive her entrepreneurial spirit. In 2001 the innovative Pathways to Education, (Pathways),was born out of her passion for helping young people to break the cycle of poverty, continue their education and find success in a career.  Five years later, the drop-out rate fell from 56% to 13% and post-secondary attendance increased from 20% to 83%.  In 2006, Carolyn became the founding CEO of Pathways to Education Canada, a public foundation dedicated to helping youth in low-income communities across Canada graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education.  Pathways has grown serving over 8,000 students and alumni in 17 communities across Canada  successfully decreasing secondary school drop-out rates by 70% and increasing post secondary participation by 300%!