Ask an Expert – Cary Drake
Jul 6, 2023
Interviewer: What is your name?
Marble: Cary Drake
Interviewer: What is your position at Six Red Marbles?
Marble: Vice President of Client Partnerships
Interviewer: What does that position entail?
Marble: The role of Client Partnerships is all about being the voice of the client and working to transform that typical vendor/customer relationship into a mutually beneficial partnership. That requires working directly with Six Red Marbles design, development, production, and finance teams to ensure we remain a customer-first organization. The position is responsible for working directly with publishers, education companies, and institutions to create custom solutions-oriented projects that help them succeed.
Interviewer: How did you become a part of Six Red Marbles?
Marble: I had been in the education industry for many years at other development companies. Over that time, I watched as Six Red Marbles rolled out new services and solutions ahead of other companies, including the ones I worked for, and always felt like I was playing catch-up as a competitor. They had a reputation in the industry as a forward-thinking organization and very high-quality development partner. Because of that, they always seemed to attract the best and brightest talent. I truly admired that about them, and I wanted to be a part of that team. And luckily for me, in 2015 I got that opportunity, and I’ve never had a moment’s regret.
Interviewer: What is the best part of your job?
Marble: I guess the fact that the learning experiences we help our clients design, develop, and deliver can have a real impact on the lives of students. Not just the fact that they provide the skills and knowledge for students to succeed academically but also that they can provide a foundation for lifelong learning. So, I guess the best part is knowing that we’re making a difference for society by providing students with the tools to be successful not just in school but also in their careers and ultimately their entire lives.
Interviewer: What do you wish people knew about your work at Six Red Marbles?
Marble: I think the most important part of my role is listening to our clients and truly understanding their needs and goals. If we just play the part of a traditional vendor, simply providing a service when it’s asked for, we miss the opportunity to really understand the underlying problem our clients are trying to address. We also miss the opportunity to offer an alternative approach to solving that problem. Having those deeper conversations gives us a chance to apply our expertise and often propose a better solution that can save our clients time or money and sometimes both. I try to put myself in their shoes and really consider what I would want out of the engagement with Six Red Marbles. We all succeed when we work as one team, with one shared goal.
Interviewer: What is a trend you see happening in the education space that you’re excited about?
Marble: Without question that has to be the emergence of AI in education. Obviously, there are still more questions than answers right now regarding how to incorporate this technology into the development of educational materials. But there can be no question it will have a significant impact on the way we develop content and media going forward. Some potential changes that AI could bring about in K–12 education include improved personalized learning experiences for students, increased use of data-driven decision-making by educators, and the increasing use of AI-powered educational tools and resources by both students and teachers. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we are seeing a paradigm shift not only for our edtech and educational publishing industry but also for the way people learn. Anyone who holds a stake in the future of teaching and learning should familiarize themselves with these tools. Now is the time for all of us in this business to contribute to shaping the future of how this technology can be used and putting guardrails around ways to keep it in check. Disruptive technologies like this always have the potential to be used in both positive and negative ways. AI will have a generational and global impact, and we all have a responsibility to ensure that it’s used responsibly.
Interviewer: What is one interesting fact about yourself that you would like to share?
Marble: I love science and in particular astronomy. I’ve read countless books on the physical universe, black holes, the big bang, dark matter, and space exploration. There’s always something new to learn, and I guess that’s part of the reason I’m passionate about education and engaging learning experiences.