Amanda Kao

Founder, The Bad Academy

When was the last time you were bad at something — and fully enjoyed the experience of learning without trying to be perfect? Amanda Kao has made it her life’s mission to create a safe space for women to do just that.

After moving from New York to Vancouver, Amanda wanted to learn more about her new home and meet new people. She started attending workshops but found that most classes focused on topics like cooking and crafting. While Amanda appreciates those topics, she wanted to learn more offbeat skills in a judgment-free environment.

Knowing the magic that happens when women get together, Amanda launched The Bad Academy, an organization that hosts workshops to teach self-proclaimed “bad womxn” new skills and experiences. Some of the first workshops she organized taught male-dominated activities like car maintenance, skateboarding, and cannabis. Learning these skills helps women become more self-sufficient and empowers them to believe that they can do anything. Being “bad” at something is merely part of the journey to becoming badass.

Amanda loves connecting with people and building community. So when she’s not running workshops or planning events, she is a workplace consultant helping businesses with best practices, operations, and all things culture. She geeks out about pop culture and film and collects vintage ceramic mugs.

🤓 I geek out about…

Pop culture and film

🎒 I collect…

Vintage ceramic mugs

💬 My friends ask my advice about…

Everything… I used to work in HR and I’m a pro at navigating tough situations!

🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…

The workshops I create for Bad Academy all stem from my obsession to dabble in everything! I’m curious about all subjects and so now when I find something interesting/want to learn more, I run a workshop about it 🙂

🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your company?

I appreciate the “punk rock” aspect of Bad Academy, and although there are many avenues I can take when it comes to growth in terms of profits, I want to keep pushing the boundaries of subject matter and influence. I want to see growth of people’s minds! I’m not sure how that translates? Maybe Instagram followers? Kidding 😉

🌤️ A thing that makes me hopeful about the future of business:

More women in business, hopefully.

💭 I wish more companies would…

Pay women what they’re worth.

💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?

Oh boy, I could ramble about this for DAYS, but at the core of it, treat people with respect and try to meet them where they’re at. People are what propel any company forward. Pay people what they’re worth. Make sure they’re happy and can grow with your company, and recognize that they will grow your company. When we treat people with respect, integrity, and love, true community is built and as Audre Lorde said, without community, there is no liberation.

❓ A question I love:

What have you learned today?

🚶 I would walk/drive/travel 500 miles to…

Eat something I’ve never eaten before 😛

You can connect with Amanda on Instagram.