About Us
Wayfinder Core Team

Patrick Cook-Deegan

Founder & CEO
Patrick Cook-Deegan

Wayfinder was born out of Patrick’s experience teaching high school students at a 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 to lead meaningful lives. Unable to find a curriculum that landed with his students, he began developing his own.

In the fall of 2015, Patrick was awarded an education innovation fellowship at the Stanford Institute of Design’s K12 Lab (or d.school). Drawing on his experience as a teacher, Patrick spent the following two years at Stanford where he assembled and led a team that piloted, prototyped, and developed Wayfinder’s first offering: a yearlong purpose learning curriculum for high school students.

Since 2015, Patrick has guided Wayfinder from a small pilot program with one year of curriculum to becoming the fastest growing K-12 social emotional and life readiness solution on the market. 

Patrick’s interest in youth development and purpose education 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 schools about the importance of global service while launching a scholarship program to support low-income students to travel abroad.

Patrick’s interest in social entrepreneurship dates back to college, when he co-founded the Social Innovation Initiative at Brown University.  Since graduating, Patrick has launched and led a number of youth development organizations including Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, the leading organization for teen mindfulness and Back to Earth, a wilderness rites of passage program for young men. Patrick has over a decade of experience working with schools to bring innovative programming to students across the world. 

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

“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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