I’m Carine Marette, co-founder of Kritik. If this is your first time learning about the platform – welcome. If you’ve been here before – welcome back.
Kritik is deeply personal to me. It’s the accumulation of years of learning: about people, about myself, and about the educational experience of students seeking to better themselves, open up new windows of opportunity and to connect with others on a deeper level.
To understand Kritik, I’ll take you a little further back in my life. These learnings, adversities and challenges have led me to build Kritik with Mohsen Shahini as a way to help students engage in their learning while developing skills essential for their success in school and in life; to help professors manage their workload, spend more time coaching and teaching students, and get more out of each assessment they introduce.
Where Kritik started
I was born in Auray, Brittany, France. I had a deep respect for my parents, who both rose to become CEOs in their own right, and they did so without higher education. With great reverence for my parents, the two hardest working individuals I knew, I also lived in fear and stress.
Aggression, violence and alcoholism, accompanied their drive. There were dark spots that found their way through my parents’ redeeming qualities. As a young girl, it was confusing for me to admire the same people who caused pain in my life. I did not know how to recognize and address my feelings, and I paid the price in my learning, and in my relationships.
I made a decision early in life to become stronger, to become independent, and to not define myself by my challenges and by the mistakes and vices of the two people who raised me.
I made a decision early in life to become stronger, to become independent, and to not define myself by my challenges and by the mistakes and vices of the two people who raised me. The decision was not without its challenges as I found ways to deviate in my younger life through patterns, or choices that pushed me away from where I wanted to go. It wasn’t until 2018, when I decided I needed to correct my course. I realized that I had to change my environment to learn to become a better person. I left France and came to Canada.
Education was my key
I knew deep down that education was the key to unlock my future – the future I wanted and I deserved.
I’m an academic at heart. It did not come easy, but I knew deep down that education was the key to unlock my future – the future I wanted and I deserved.
I started my journey of academia with post-secondary education in engineering. I was introduced to the arts and technology field through the study of mechanical engineering, and industrial production engineering. I learned new software and deepened my technical knowledge, but most importantly, I learned how to see things in different ways. I was curious and sought ways to optimize and do things differently – better. I optimized the garment production at luxury fashion brands and found ways to integrate technology in outdated and inefficient systems. What I didn’t know, I learned.
I needed to build an information system and develop a website and design a user interface, so I went back to school.
I was offered a position as a project manager, but coming from a mechanical engineering background, I had to increase my knowledge in the information system. I pursued further learning.
Later, in Canada, after a late-night discussion with my husband, co-founder of TopHat and later, my partner at Kritik, Mohsen Shahini, I realized I needed to learn about how to handle stress in the workplace and how to manage people in a corporate environment. I went back to school.
Why Kritik formed
It was while I was working towards a bachelor’s degree through online learning when I experienced critical gaps in our education system. I felt disconnected from my peers. I didn’t have the motivation to reach my full potential in the course, and I wasn’t receiving the feedback to help me understand my growth and impact in the course.
I saw a need to help professors and students alike to build a supportive and connected learning environment whether online or in-person learning.
I saw a need to help professors and students alike to build a supportive and connected learning environment whether online, or in-person learning.
How Kritik started
In early 2019, I sat down with Mohsen and shared my vision for a peer-to-peer learning platform that could address the gaps I saw in my educational experience. We wanted to make sure that the platform would be easily accessible to professors, with a simple and clean interface to enhance the student experience and not complicate it. I was grateful to step forward in this endeavour with Mohsen, who as a partner, and co-founder of TopHat, provided the support to put our vision into motion. Kritik in June 2019.
Since January 2020, Kritik has supported over 160 educators at 70 unique Higher Education institutions. Building Kritik has been a dream for me; I’ve always been passionate about education and innovation, and here was my opportunity to improve a system – even one aspect of it – for the benefit of future generations of students and professors.