About Us
Wayfinder Core Team

Patrick Cook-Deegan

Founder & CEO
Patrick Cook-Deegan

Patrick is a longtime adolescent educator. Over the last decade, he has launched and led a number of youth development organizations, including Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, the leading organization for teen mindfulness. He also helped launch Back to Earth, a wilderness rites of passage program.

Wayfinder was born out of Patrick’s experience teaching high school students at a small public school in Oakland, CA. During his time there, Patrick tried to find a curriculum that would help his students dive more deeply into their personal development and prepare them for a meaningful life. Not finding a curriculum that landed with his students, he decided to create one himself.

In the fall of 2015, Patrick was awarded an education innovation fellowship at the Stanford Institute of Design (or d.school). Over the next two years, he piloted, prototyped and developed Wayfinder’s first offering: a yearlong purpose learning curriculum for high school students.

Patrick’s interest in youth development and purpose finding was sparked by his own transformational mid-college gap year. He spent that time biking 5000 kilometers across Asia to raise money for the construction of an elementary school in Laos. Following this trip, Patrick began speaking at high schools about the importance of global service while launching a scholarship program to support low-income students to travel abroad.

Patrick has spoken at more than 300 schools and universities including Duke, Yale, and UCLA. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and NPR. His writing has appeared in Fast Company, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Edutopia, UC Berkeley’s Greater Good and in the anthology Purpose Rising. Patrick is a Fulbright Scholar, Brown University graduate, and former lecturer at Stanford University.

“My purpose is to catalyze purpose-based programs, organizations, and movements in order to protect our planet and inspire a wiser humanity.”

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