Dear Xi Tribe,

What an enormous journey it’s been. After a 5 year journey (2 years running my digital agency and then 3 years launching and growing Academy Xi), it’s time for me to bid farewell to Academy Xi and move on from my role as Chief Experience Officer as the company is now in a great position to expand and flourish.

This has been the most agonising decision I’ve ever had to make. Moving on from a team, a community, and a company I love and care about so deeply has not been taken lightly. I’ve thought of every possible scenario but no matter what I arrive at, my future is back in the wilderness exploring a new direction.

Those of you who know me well know that my spirit is one that roams and creates. The exploration and the development of new models and concepts brings me to life and that’s the path that I’m returning to. I’m moving towards the unknown again, the space where I thrive. I plan to take some time off, travel, revive, and focus on health and my passion for creative, creation.

There are so many moments that I’m proud of. From the day of signing my first lease for my agency, starting my first UX class out of the agency to leasing a second premises for what was then to become Academy Xi — when joining forces with Ben.  Growing our team, expanding to Melbourne, working with great investors, to now, my journey has been one of accelerated personal and professional growth.

There are many highlights that have involved many people, too many to list. Some of these highlights include:

Student outcomes

We’ve consistently achieved 90%+ employment, of active job seekers within three months of students completing their full-time UX courses and starting the Outcomes program. With over 3500 students learning at Academy Xi, the outcomes for both full and part-time courses have been exceptional. Many students return to learn more, assist with teaching and often return as clients, bringing live projects in for new students to practice their skills.

Telstra Foundation

Working with Telstra Foundation brought the entire vision for Academy Xi into one program. The Tech4Good Challenge focused on digital inclusion for disadvantaged youth and we were grateful to be selected as Telstra Foundation’s education partner. Bringing 15 of their not-for-profits into Academy Xi for a 5-month digital transformation journey was powerful, meaningful, and left each organisation with a new way of seeing the world that they support. 5 months across 2 locations delivering the same program at the same time. Ambitious and it worked!

PWC

PWC invited Academy Xi in to teach new and emerging skills to their Experience Centre teams in Sydney and Melbourne. Conducted over their quieter summer period, we brought the teams in to teach them skills in User Experience Design, Service Design, Mixed Reality Design, Digital Growth Marketing, and Product Management.

Department of Jobs and Small Business

Two large programs in Canberra and Sydney proves that progressive Government Agencies are moving towards Citizen Centred Design. The first program was an intensive HCD training program. Over one month, team members learned the theory and practice of Service Design and User Experience Design. Bringing organisational challenges in, we used the training as a mechanism to create new skills and create greater service and digital models in the process.

Establishing a powerful Community

What we’ve achieved in 3 short years is fantastic. Between Sydney and Melbourne, we’ve interacted with thousands of people; you’ve all affected us and we hope we affected you in the same powerful, positive way.

After 5 years of work, why now?

With the recent Series B investment raise, I stepped back a little and assessed the future of Academy Xi without me. We have an exciting growing company led by my Co-Founder and CEO, Ben, a wonderful, passionate team across Sydney, Melbourne, and soon Singapore and a new Board who are helping shape the future of Academy Xi.

As strange as it felt to zoom out and take an objective view to reassess my future, the company is in great hands. Academy Xi has all the ingredients to live to the promise of changing the world through education that positively impacts the world around us. Being a continued shareholder in the company, I am committed to ensuring that Academy Xi succeeds in the future. I’ll continue to work in a non-operational role and supporting Xi on various projects.

The next few months will no doubt be personally challenging as Academy Xi has been a core part of who I am since running training out of my agency. Five years of hard work, walking into the unknown, then co-creating the known — only to thrust myself back into the unknown again will no doubt have its own challenges.

The success of Academy Xi didn’t happen in isolation nor did it happen with only our great team. There are many friends that I’ve known from my long involvement in the digital industries who’ve gone over and above to support us and then many more relationships formed as a result of working at Academy Xi.

You’ve all played a pivotal part in growing Academy Xi and with that, I am forever grateful. Thank you for your love, involvement, encouragement, care and enthusiasm for Academy Xi and what it means for the future of work.

With love,
Charbel

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