Emilie Thomas – Visionary/Inspirational Founder
Of a Unique Social Enterprise: Marin Spanish School
Written by coWORKer Linda Jay
Emilie Thomas, who recently moved into her office-with-a-gorgeous-view at Uptown WORK, has quite a diverse background as an entrepreneur. For 7 years, she has been a mentor/coach/creator of customized Spanish language programs offered through Marin Spanish School to students who range from high schoolers to adults. “I love the fact that I am building meaningful, deep, and long-lasting relationships,” she observes. “Many of the high school students I work with say it was because of the time we spent together that they decided to major in Spanish, International Relations, International Business, or Latin American Studies in college.” Ultimately, these students will probably take their appreciation for Spanish culture and diversity into their professional lives as well.
Emilie spent two years of her undergrad time at San Francisco State University (where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, International Relations, and Latin American Studies) studying abroad – in Granada, Spain, and Santiago, Chile. That’s where the first spark of interest in creating a social enterprise appeared. After completing her undergraduate work, Emilie earned a certificate in Spanish/English Legal Interpretation at SF State. Currently, she is earning her MBA in Sustainability Management at Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, focusing on growing Marin Spanish School into her own unique vision.
“I am so excited for the next phase of Marin Spanish School to manifest here in Petaluma. I am inspired by the power and importance of taking the time to get to know the stories of our neighbors. My vision is to create a space where we come to know, respect and deeply value one another while cultivating a deep-rooted appreciation for culture and diversity. People may come initially to learn Spanish in this beautiful and immersive environment but the hope is that their lives will be profoundly impacted by their experience beyond learning Spanish. Students will have the opportunity to put their Spanish skills to use immediately and begin to make cross-cultural connections and exchange stories with people they may not have otherwise connected with. Our world needs more empathy, understanding and celebration of diversity. Let’s start with our community.”
Emilie offers free consultations for those interested in learning more about Marin Spanish School, and whether they might be a good fit for 1:1 lessons/ tutoring or small group classes. Private lessons are tailored to the student’s individual schedule, goals and interests.
About 2 ½ years ago, Emilie, her “wonderfully supportive” partner Jake, and their mini basenji dog Moyo (Swahili for heart, soul, and spirit – “Moyo never ceases to entertain us with his big personality and adventurousness ”) moved to Petaluma from Mill Valley. “We are very excited to be in this diverse and creative community.” Jake, also an entrepreneur, is an audio engineer, a professor at Santa Rosa Junior College, and is currently earning his master’s degree in Audio Engineering at San Francisco State.
Emilie’s impressions of WORK Petaluma? “A wonderful place to grow your business, and meet people in the community. Natasha does a fantastic job of supporting entrepreneurs. Also, the option to move into a month-to-month space is perfect for this moment in my business.”
Free consultations (either in-person at the Petaluma office or virtually) can be scheduled via phone call or text to Emilie at (415) 302-2933, as well as on the scheduling page: marinspanishschool.com/book-today.
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