The Making of a Social Impact Organization
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
Kimberly Schreiber is helping neurodiverse people like her brother reimagine their future.
By Hari Srinivasan
Kimberly Schreiber was working in Sub-Saharan Africa as Chief of Staff for a solar energy startup when she felt a tug to come back home. Kimberly’s heart was with her younger autistic brother who was entering the services-cliff of the adult world: he was facing a sharp and sudden drop in services just as his years of special education was about to end.
Growing up, Kimberly had witnessed how frustrating it was for him to get to do what he’d like to do in the world. Kimberly's brother wanted to become a social worker to help with mentally ill individuals, but the school system did not equip him well and his support services disappeared entering adulthood.
Today, Kimberly is the founder and CEO of NeuroNav, a public benefit corporation that helps people like her brother reimagine their future and access the support and services they need.
While in Tanzania, Kimberly unlocked a passion for building organizations for social good. As Kimberly learned more about the lack of options for her brother, she decided to come back home and put the social venture skills she had learned in Africa to use in helping neurodivergent individuals.
NeuroNav is a culmination of years of research, interviews, and prototyping different solutions while studying at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Through classes like Lean Launchpad, a course about customer discovery and scaling with technology, Kimberly and her classmates tested ideas like how assistive technology could help with executive functioning or emotional reasoning. Kimberly also spent time looking at communal neurodiverse housing solutions by living in four different neurodiverse houses to learn about the quality of life and diversity of the types of housing.
Through these experiences, Kimberly observed that the system did not stop to ask the individual what they wanted, how they wanted it, and why they wanted it.
Kimberly’s research indicated that services were a major pain point. People wanted to know how to get services, what services were out there and how to match up with the right supports. There was also a big shift in how funding is being allocated in self-determination and which made them realize that they could put these together with a new type of system and make that more accessible.
Kimberly relected on the ah-ha! moment:
“When I learned about self-determination I saw it as a beautiful continuation of the Disability Rights Movement. It is a new, flexible form of funding that creates an opportunity to really innovate on how we are delivering services.”
Today, NeuroNav is in an early phase of a market that is being created overnight. This new market needs skilled employees and new technology to fully explore what is possible with self determination. Experimentation is run through lean methodology to serve different types of customers and build common ways to connect them.
NeuroNav is gaining insight by providing high quality service for people enrolled in California’s self-determination program and creating a subscription model with an eye toward building technology to serve even more customers. Kimberly hopes to launch a series of tools and services that can respond to any type of funding situation whether its self-determination, private pay, or through insurance. In that process she hopes to help neurodiverse individuals find ways to build connections in their community so that they can leverage resources available close to home.
Kimberly highlighted that one of the major insights from this journey has been how much having the right support matters and how big an influence that has on quality of life. At the end of the day, Kimberly wants people to believe in what’s possible for their own future and to get out of bed excited about what they are going to do.