By Editorial Staff
The pandemic has taken a toll on mental health for many people, including children. And parenting certainly doesn’t come with a rulebook.
Exec Edge sat down with Cognition Builders Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ilana Kukoff, to find out how she built her company to use data in parenting and teach kids life skills to cope with challenges.
Exec Edge: Can you give us some further insight into what Cognition Builders does?
I created Cognition Builders after seeing a gap in the education and mental health space. I wanted to improve the way in which people overcome life’s real challenges. Cognition Builders is an educational innovator that uses a data-driven approach to help families, couples, and individuals live better lives. We focus on specialized, team-based support to resolve the behavioral, intellectual, social, emotional, cognitive, and academic needs. Essentially, we are professional fixers.
Exec Edge: What is the Cognition Builders business model?
We offer a variety of education-based programs designed to guide you or your children in gaining the necessary skills for a productive and successful life. Each program is tailor made for clients, addressing and supporting their unique seminal, social, emotional, and behavioral growth needs. Whether we’re living in or out of the home, we immerse ourselves in the lives of our clients to catch the minutiae that others miss and provide in the moment changes. Our intimate method combined with our ability to be ethically and clinically committed, allows us to build a foundation for future growth for our clients.
Exec Edge: What are each of your roles in the business?
We play a critical role in the Cognition Builders business, with each of us bringing a unique perspective and a diverse skill set. I am the CEO and the owner of the company but we are one Executive Team. Sarah is the Executive Clinical Director and COO, with a background in behavior analysis and education. She focuses on business development, behavioral trainings, and overseeing our clients with behavioral challenges. Jessica holds two masters in psychology and is the Chief Learning Officer, one of her main responsibilities is to develop the individualized programs and curricula that have been so successful thus far. Erica is the Executive Clinical Director and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In her role, she manages our clients with clinical diagnoses and complex family needs.
Exec Edge: What sets Cognition Builders apart from the standard routes that have traditionally been recommended to families?
We function in a very different way from the standard methods prescribed and often, families and individuals come to us after they hit a wall with traditional methods. With Cognition Builders, we created something that had never existed before. We offer curricular only programs that are either full time in person or we place family-authorized cameras during the approved period should you not want someone living in your home full-time. Our method gains us direct access to how our clients behave 24/7 therefore addressing a fundamental aspect that traditional methods are not able to. Once we have an understanding of the way that our clients function, we utilize past proven data in order to determine next steps, providing our clients with notes on a daily basis.
Exec Edge: What’s ahead for the company and what are some of your long-term goals?
Cognition Builders is always growing and innovating to meet clients’ needs. A few years ago, Cognition Builders began offering curricula-based bootcamps to increase the reach of our services. We currently offer them at Stetson University and, as a result of COVID-19, we added additional virtual Adulting Bootcamps at Stetson University to meet their students’ needs. Each of the new programs we offer is designed to address new needs in the market.
Over the years, established clinicians and those just coming to the field frequently turn to us for advice. It became increasingly apparent to our team at Cognition Builders that they needed management services to ultimately achieve success, so we decided to begin offering them guidance. This organic evolution of our business came to fruition after realizing that clinical graduate programs have so much to cover, thus leaving them with little time to educate clinicians on the work required to start a private business. With so many clinicians wanting to go into private practice, we wanted to fill this gap in the market by educating them on the business aspects such as billing, payroll, marketing, and acquiring as well as retaining clients. As an educational company, the Cognition Builders’ Executive Team will also advise clinicians as they embark on the journey of creating and growing their own private practices. Most individuals starting businesses aimed at guiding clients hold the belief that the main aspect is the help they are providing. However, it is imperative to take into account that they are also running a business, which requires a specific set of business skills. Through the provision of expert management services and access to our custom curricula, our support will ensure that their practices thrive.
Exec Edge: Why do you think Cognition Builders has been able to achieve the level of success it has?
The level of success that we have achieved thus far is 100% attributed to the quality of our work, which speaks for itself. From the outset, we have been very open with our clients in regards to how we work and manage expectations as well as progress through daily notes. Our team always delivers the most intricate data to set the efficacy of our work.
Exec Edge: What are some of the goals you set out to achieve with Cognition Builders?
We wanted to change the way people navigated life’s challenges and provide support in a unique way. I think perhaps the most important thing we’ve been able to prove to our clients is that our methods work and our clients are more successful as a result of Cognition Builders. Our business relies fully on referrals and it’s a testament to our model that we have been able to achieve such a high level of success.
Exec Edge: How are you hoping to provide some of the services you offer to families who aren’t able to afford the full experience?
It has been extremely important to us to find a way to offer our services to those who cannot have someone with them 24/7. We are proud to launch our bootcamps as a way to provide a broader group of individuals and families with the opportunity to improve their lives and build a new foundation for themselves. Our bootcamps utilize the tried and tested methods that we have embedded into our programs as well as the data we have been collecting, on a more accessible level.
Exec Edge: As a 100% women-owned and operated business, what are some of the challenges you’ve had to face and how have you overcome these?
As women, we have always been taught to be pleasers, but telling people what they want to hear will never result in achieving any productive objectives. We, as a team of strong and aspiring women, have broken away from the traditional ideals and antiquated expectations of women in order to affect real change within our families’ homes. At Cognition Builders, we are direct, assertive, and honest in our methods, and this shift within ourselves allows us to solve problems much more efficiently. We are immensely proud of being a 100% women-owned business and we are constantly innovating as a result of the unique perspective each member of our Executive Team brings to the table.