Name: Leah Evans
How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?
We joined ten years ago and have been posted to Tbilisi, Georgia; Quito, Ecuador; Kyiv, Ukraine; and now Asuncion, Paraguay. We have also had the pleasure of spending time for job training in Falls Church, Virginia between each overseas assignment.
Briefly describe your career path:
I initially worked at Georgetown University in Alumni Relations before becoming an elementary and middle school teacher. Aside from teaching, I kept busy being making functional ceramics and selling my wares throughout Virginia and Washington D.C.’s Eastern Market. During those14 years as a potter, I taught pottery classes and was briefly an assistant teacher at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
I became a stay-at-home mom when my husband joined the Foreign Service but managed to do some pottery, tutoring, and teaching of American History at our different posts.
What is the name of your business? Do you have a website?
Afterschool Plans – find us at www.afterschoolplans.com
Briefly describe your business:
Afterschool Plans provides tutoring, educational plans, and American History courses. In working with a small group of teachers, we newly launched “American-History-in-a-Box” kits for children in grades K-8. Each kit selects the best books and games for learning history at each grade level. We also offer specifically-designed activity books that help children learn major concepts and skills identified by state and national standards.
The best part is that these learning boxes are fully reimbursable for those who do not have access to American History classes abroad! American History is taught at most grade levels in U.S. Public Schools and most children take standardized tests in this subject when at home. This is why the State Department has provided a way for parents to pay for American History courses and resources like what we offer at Afterschool Plans.
Why did you start this business? When?
I started this business a year and a half ago in 2013. I spent the first six months working on supplemental education plans and American History boxes. We officially launched and started marketing in the spring of 2014 so we are still very new and trying to get going!
I started the business because I love American History and have struggled to find resources to teach it to my four children while living overseas. In the U.S., children not only have regular U.S. history classes at school, but they are also exposed to many cultural resources such as museums, monuments, and holidays. When we are abroad, we have to work a bit harder to teach our children these major concepts and important parts of our history.
How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?
Since most of what I do is online, I can be flexible with where I work. I have a partner in New York who handles the shipping aspect so I don’t have to worry about mailing restrictions when I am abroad.
What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?
My biggest challenge has been marketing and advertising. I’m a teacher and an artist so this has been a steep learning curve. I’m still working on it!
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
I’d say my biggest accomplishment was just getting the business off the ground! I’m proud of the work I have done and I’m proud of the interest in my product!
Any advice for EFMs thinking about starting their own business?
My advice is to link in with the AAFSW EFM Business Group for great ideas, support, and cheerleading. I’m thrilled with the people I have met and how they have supported my efforts.