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From Adversity to Agent of Change: Jackie Kemp's Inspiring Journey and Lead The Way Learning Academy

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

In a recent episode of The Catalyst Podcast, host David Carter sat down with Jackie Kemp, founder of Lead The Way Learning Academy, to discuss her remarkable journey of overcoming adversity and becoming an agent of change in her own life and the lives of others.

Overcoming a Challenging Upbringing

Jackie Kemp grew up as the seventh of eight children and tragically lost her mother when she was just a year old. Raised by her grandmother alongside her siblings, Jackie learned early on the importance of discipline and resilience. After graduating from high school, she made a life-changing decision to join the military, an experience that she credits as the best thing that ever happened to her.

The Role of Discipline in Jackie’s Life

Jackie’s grandmother played a crucial role in her upbringing, instilling discipline and strong values in her. While Jackie once thought her grandmother was the meanest person in the world, she later realized that her grandmother’s tough love was meant to protect her and prepare her for life’s challenges. This discipline served Jackie well during her time in the military and has continued to influence her life and career.

Pursuing Higher Education and Raising a Family

While serving in the military, Jackie earned an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree, eventually going on to complete her master’s degree as well. As a single parent of two children, Jackie faced numerous challenges but remained determined to provide the best possible life for her family.

Spiritual Growth and Entrepreneurship

During her time in the military, Jackie experienced a profound spiritual conversion and began to develop a personal relationship with God. This faith guided her as she transitioned to life after the military, inspiring her to become a self-employed entrepreneur.

Founding Lead The Way Learning Academy

Jackie’s journey led her to establish Lead the Way Learning Academy, an organization that provides youth development, leadership, and workforce development opportunities through after-school programs, summer camps, internships, and job placements. Serving students from kindergarten to 12th grade, the academy’s mission is to offer purpose, direction, motivation, and opportunity to young people.

Jackie’s own children have gone on to achieve remarkable success, with her son becoming a judge at 35 and her daughter graduating from Ohio University. These accomplishments serve as a testament to the power of determination, discipline, and faith in overcoming life’s obstacles.


Jackie Kemp’s inspiring story is a powerful example of the resilience and strength that can be found in the face of adversity. Her work with Lead The Way Learning Academy has had a profound impact on countless young lives, empowering them to become the leaders of tomorrow. Jackie’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, discipline, and faith in shaping a life of purpose and positive change. Listen to her conversation with David Carter on The Catalyst Podcast to learn more about her incredible story and the transformative work she is doing through Lead The Way Learning Academy.

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