Hyatt Chief Talks Support for Khan Academy’s Learnstorm

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Chicago-based hotel and hospitality company Hyatt Hotels Corporation has partnered with online education provider Khan Academy to bring a free and innovative digital learning challenge to Chicago.

Called LearnStorm, the nine-week math challenge launched Jan. 29 and runs through April 1 in schools across the Chicago area. It seeks to engage students in various math challenges and  help unlock their potential and enable them to land good-paying jobs in the future.

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“We designed LearnStorm to not only teach math, but also to encourage a growth mindset, or the belief that anyone can build and grow intelligence through practice and perseverance,” says Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy.

Weekly leaderboards will show school and individual results, with rewards for both mastery and hustle.

Mark Hoplamazian, CEO and President of Hyatt, said he decided to enter into the educational partnership with Khan Academy because he wanted his company to extend its impact to help people in disadvantaged communities.

“We’re centered around caring for people so that they can be their best, and [Khan’s] purpose and his mission is very aligned with that – trying to make a difference in people’s lives by providing everyone with a free, world-class education to everyone everywhere,” Hoplamazian said.

Hoplamazian said Hyatt helped introduce the Khan Academy team to people in Chicago, like the library and public school systems, as well as City Hall. Currently there are more than 95,000 students taking part in the LearnStorm program in six counties. 

He hopes that this could become a multi-year commitment that would ultimately benefit the workforce.

“One of the things that we are thinking about and looking at is how we can capture this higher level of engagement and apply it more specifically to people … who are no longer in school or who have dropped out of school and try and re-enlist them both by exposing them to something that will help them build their perseverance and grit but also something that will also provide them other skills,” Hoplamazian said.


Mark Hoplamazian was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation in December 2006.

Prior to being appointed to his present position, Hoplamazian served as President of The Pritzker Organization, LLC (“TPO”), the principal financial and investment advisor for Pritzker family business interests.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly summarized the location of students participating in the LearnStorm program. The story has been updated.

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