My latest post:

bit.ly/MyCEOLetter

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MY BIO

I'm David Fu, but most people just call me Fu. After serving as an advisor and helping to start Streetlight Schools on the side, I moved from NYC to Joburg to lead Streetlight as Founding COO. Streetlight's vision is creating globally competitive schools in some of the most underserved communities in Africa. I lead Streetlight to develop innovative educational approaches for South Africa & the global south. In 2016, we launched our flagship primary school in inner-city Johannesburg that:

  • Enables marginalized children to feel safe & loved, and to reclaim joyful childhoods 

  • Empowers kids especially through creative project-based learning 

  • Trains teachers from scratch to become excellent, life-long educators 

  • Runs at cost comparable to the public sector 

On the side, I run workshops to empower youth changemakers, entrepreneurs & creatives who otherwise lack opportunity. I have coached dozens of entrepreneuers globally, and have helped organise or inspire events empowering hundreds more. I am also a musician who has played piano for over 25 years (you can find some evidence below).

MY BACKGROUND

I am motivated to deeply understand how the the world works at present, how people work, how people are organised into communities and groups, what kind of future we want for ourselves and the next generation, and how to build the bridge to that future. Because I believe in empowering people to unlock their potential, I've spent the past 5 years of my career focusing on one crucial pillar of this bridge: education.

A few key characteristics to give you a sense of who I am:

  • A first-generation Chinese-American and immigrant driven by the world's deep need for equity of opportunity and education in order to empower every individual to unlock their full potential.

  • A person with strong values and conviction, with the courage to uproot and move my entire life from New York City, USA, to Johannesburg, South Africa in pursuit of my drive.

  • A leader willing to share with vulnerability so that others may benefit from my experience (e.g., through writing, advising entrepreneurs, career coaching, and organizing & inspiring events for the community).

  • A hustler and someone who excels at creating and maximizing opportunities for funding, growth, talent, collaboration, etc. with financial, strategic, entrepreneurial, and operational experience.

  • A deep thinker on systemic change, and someone who looks at theory of change through a lens of deep understanding of the problem and people affected, as well as of the various stakeholders and their relative strengths and positions.

  • A person who strives to grow and be a better version of himself tomorrow than he was yesterday; currently, focused on better decision-making in all areas of my life (including my personal finances and investing). Toward this end, I am currently reading through and incorporating mental models into every aspect of my life, especially developing a regular habit and practice around reasoning from first principles.

An ever-evolving entrepreneur in the global education & innovation sectors:
• CEO @StreetlightSchools •
• ex-entrepreneur advisor + community builder @4pt0Schools •
• ex-investment banker @BarclaysCapital •
• Global Shaper, @JohannesburgHub •
(GS Community is an initiative @WEF)
 
MY WORK
  • Currently, my main hustle is working full-time as the COO for Streetlight Schools, whose mission is to revolutionize education in South Africa and underprivileged communities globally. Our first school is our flagship, Streetlight Jeppe Park Primary, which is achieving some incredible results in terms of student results, teacher development, and community change.

  • Previously, I worked as Manager of Community Development for education incubator 4.0 Schools.

  • Previous to that, I worked as an Investment Banking Analyst for Barclays Capital.

  • Previous to that, I managed a nonprofit organization called Promote Africa.

For more details:

MY MUSIC
 

One of my many hobbies and joys is playing music. I've been playing piano for over 20 years, and have gradually added new musical skills like vocals, keyboard, jazz, improvisation, and beat-making. Over time, I've posted music to Facebook, YouTube, Soundcloud and beyond. I've included a selection of some of my favorites below:

  1. An original jazz-infused track with touches of soul and swing | fu - 'take me away' (embedded above)

  2. An R&B cover (w vocals) | Tamia’s ‘So Into You’ (inspired by Donald Glover’s Like A Version cover) (embedded above)

  3. Improvisational jazz | ‘甜苦瓜’ 

  4. A piano cover | Jessie Ware’s ‘Say You Loved Me’

  5. A pop cover (w vocals) | Lukas Graham’s ‘7 Years’

  6. An improvisational score | ‘Hope Infinite’

  7. An improvised melody on an outdoor vibra-/xylo-phone

  8. A hip hop piano cover (for two hands) | Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ (second pair of hands belongs to my friend, Melanie)

  9. A blues cover (w vocals) | 'Marcus Marr + Chet Faker - The Trouble With Us'

  10. A classical piece | Maurice Ravel's 'Pavane pour une infante défunte'

  11. A rambling piano improvisation | 'Mystical Path through the (Piano) Mind of Fusuf'

MY WRITING
 

I enjoy sharing my lessons and experience via writing and other mediums.

On Leadership

  1. Evolving To Lead & Empower Others (author, Jul 2019) 

On Education & Community-Building:

  1. Innovative Approaches to Low-Cost Quality Education (conference speaker, Apr 2017)

  2. Education Innovation Ecosystems & Communities (author, Mar 2017)

  3. Next Gen Learning At Scale: Inspiration, Incubation, Intermediation (co-author, Feb 2016)

  4. Building & Mapping Your Community & Ecosystem (4.0 community summit workshop, Feb 2016)

  5. Redefining EdTech Innovation: NYC as Case Study (SXSWedu panel organizer and moderator, Mar 2015) 

On Personal & Professional Growth:

  1. Reflecting on the Emotional Journey of a Big Decision (author, Jul 2017)

  2. Reflecting on My Experience with 4.0 Schools (author, Mar 2017)

  3. On Becoming 4.0 School's NYC Chief Hustler (podcast guest, Jan 2016)

MY INSTAGRAM
 
 

Made lovingly in South Africa.

PS: If you are based or ever find yourself in Johannesburg and want to jam, hit me up:

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