Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey has become internationally recognized as an expert and thought leader on how parenting styles affect students’ motivation, learning and resilience. As a speaker, writer for The Atlantic, commentator for Vermont Public Radio and author of the popular New York Times “The Parent Teacher Conference” column that ran for three years, Jessica has covered topics ranging from education and parenting to addiction and child welfare. With each subject, she weaves in the latest research into her own vast experience as a teacher and parent. Jessica is also a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show, designed to model resilience and innovative thinking for preschoolers. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Still actively in the classroom, Jessica currently teaches English and writing to high school students in an inpatient drug and alcohol facility in Vermont.


Lahey believes that we should allow children to experience failure as an integral part of becoming successful, resilient and self-reliant adults. Her breakthrough manifesto, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, has become essential reading for parents, educators, and coaches and declared a “must-read” by magazines as varied as Working Mother, Fortune, and Education Week. In schools around the world, The Gift of Failure is being deployed as a community read that sparks dialog and improves cultures.

Jessica Lahey - The Gift Of Failure

Jessica addresses “overparenting” with the helpful authority of a seasoned teacher and the empathetic, often humorous, personal perspective of a mom who has truly been there. Her work simplifies complex cognitive neuroscience and pedagogy, making the case that children learn and develop best when they are given autonomy, allowed to feel competent and valued for the content of their character rather than the letters on their report card. She also provides actionable recommendations to help parents (and the educators that work with them) reframe children’s temporary setbacks as beneficial steps toward lasting, longer-term success.

Lahey’s Expertise and Frameworks:

Children need to learn the value of failure in order to know how to succeed. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) gives students the tools that they need to cope with failure and make the decisions necessary to achieve success. Jessica is a big supporter of SEL and it's role in education and we are grateful to have had her speak at our 2018 Head and Heart Awards Luncheon.

Additional Resources