Defector Academy Masterclass

green field with a fence traversing the middle, with the phrase "Defector Academy Masterclass" placed in the center - in black text, over a white offset square.

This one of a kind self-paced learning opportunity will give you the chance to answer some of the biggest and most nagging questions about the Defector lifestyle, such as:

  • will defection help fix the challenges I’m facing?
  • what else should I be doing?
  • does anyone else want what I have?
  •  where can I find help?
  • …and much more!

While this sequence is not designed to land you a job by its conclusion, it was developed to prepare you to confidently move forward with the process – aware of the challenge ahead, but also empowered by your strengths, preparedness, and inherent value to the marketplace.

Ready to make a change? Join the waitlist to get first access to the course!

Why “Defector” Academy?, Part 1:
What’s in a Name?

From my blog post that concluded the second series of The Defectors in October 2017:

I like the choice of “defection” as a means to describe this new world of work that many have chosen to enter, because so many look at it in that traditional way at first glance. The definition of “defect” as a verb is “to abandon a country or cause in favor of an opposing one” (emphasis added). It is my sincere and fervent hope that you’ve learned […] that these causes are not in opposition with one another.

It is an okay thing to want to leave the day-to-day work of traditional higher education and student affairs. To repeat (!): It is an okay thing to want. It often gets treated as a betrayal or an odd choice. But the way I see it, we should have the opportunity to use our values, skills, experiences, and talents in a way that aligns with who we are and what we want to be. And while that can be done on a campus, it can also be done in a number of other ways.

But it’s hard. And hard things become easier with help. Defector Academy is to provide that help in a measured and structured fashion, with experienced insight, from an individual who is always asking: “how can I help?” In this instance, this coaching sequence is how.

Why Defector “Academy”, Part 2:
The Cost of Going Solo

Defecting is something that can be done without assistance. The work of identifying desirable opportunities, crafting your application materials and personal networks to “make your case” for those opportunities, and staying motivated to do so – often while in a full-time role – is entirely possible to do alone. However, no one should have to go it alone. And I don’t want you to.

I liken the “defector journey” to moving to a new country where you don’t yet know the language. I took Spanish for several years and at one point was fluent…but years of disuse have weakened my skills. If I wanted to move to Argentina, I’d need to learn the language over again. Learning a language through a book or an app is okay, but learning a language through reading (field specific literature), immersion (networking), and a conversational partner – me – would be significantly more effective. Defecting requires a new language; call me your tutor.

Components of the Program

The Defector Academy Masterclass journey is $499 and includes:

  • The Roadmap: six online modules, featuring video lessons, reflection questions, and additional resources
  • The Co-Pilot: three hourlong calls with Defector Academy Headmaster Amma Marfo to ask questions, address specific concerns, and get counsel on the progress of your Defector journey
  • Roadside Assistance: lifetime priority email access (prompt responses) to Amma, should a question arise at any stage during – or even after – your defection.

Meet Your Headmaster


Amma Marfo, M.Ed is a speaker, facilitator and consultant represented in the college market by SPEAK Educators, a division of Fun Enterprises. After nearly a decade on college campuses like Hillsborough Community College, the University of South Florida, Brown University, Florida State University, and Emmanuel College (MA), she found her interests and energy called to another place – namely, speaking and facilitating, coaching, and freelance/longform writing. She stays curious about this process with others, and developed the Defectors blog series as a means to compile and share those stories with others considering using the skills, talents, and experiences cultivated in higher education, in other fields.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from the University of Rhode Island, and a Master’s in Education from the University of South Florida – with additional certification in Career Counseling. She is the author of three books: The I’s Have It: Reflections on Introversion in Student Affairs (2014), Light It Up: Engaging the Introverted Student Leader (2015), and Cultivating Creativity (2017).

Why she does this, in her own words:

I still remember the moment I realized it was time to defect. In a needed moment of escape, I had traveled to a concert with a group of friends in New York. A song I had always loved came on, but one lyric resonated more than it ever had, and more than any other line that night…

all we have is time.

I had been struggling with burnout, anxiety, and a touch of hopelessness. But in that moment, I realized I wanted to make the most of my time. And I hadn’t been. Separately, I’d been doing some exploring to learn what I might enjoy and where my skills, experiences, and talents would be valued. In November 2015, I bet on myself (with a good bit of money in the bank, I feel heavily compelled to share that tidbit!) and set myself up to start anew in 2016. I learned shortly after making the leap that this was not as uncommon an impulse as I had originally thought.

I turned that unlikely sense of community into a blog series, and now want to take the next step by offering my many lessons from the process to you…as a substantive, action-oriented, learning opportunity.

Defector Academy Syllabus

Module One: Introduction

In this opening module, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons people consider defecting, examine where your reasons align or diverge from these reasons, and start to look at some of the factors that might inform your defection, including:

  • Are your challenges individual or systemic?
  • What resources might you need on this journey?
  • What traits and competencies will serve you well as we begin?

Module Two: What Do You Value?

When executing a career pivot, I like to start people at square one: what are you about? Using a value sort model, you’ll learn what values guide your work and professional persona, why those values matter when seeking a new role, and how those values align with your goals and strengths (or Strengths, as the case may be).

Module Three: Inventory Your Strengths and Skills

You might not believe this just yet, but the knowledge, skills, and abilities you’ve developed in your years in higher education or student affairs have tremendous value in the wider job market.

This module will encourage you to explore your areas of skill and strength, encourage you to develop narratives that demonstrate your competence, and start fortifying your network with people who can “vouch” for your capability.

Module Four: Examine Your Utility

Looking closely at your skills, you’ll now have the opportunity to explore precisely who needs them. If you’ve decided on an alternative path, you’ll get to map your skills against the ones that are most in demand for that field or industry. Not sure yet? The exercises provided will familiarize you with roles and industries that could use you most.

Module Five: Assemble Your Crew

By now, it should be clear that I don’t believe in going at this process alone. This module will help you take a closer look at the people you know, and strategize on how to bring new people into the fold to achieve your goals.

In this module, we’ll explore:

  • how to mobilize your existing network in your favor;
  • how to find opportunities both “in person” and virtual to expand your network;
  • how to interact with your network in constructive and results-driven ways; and
  • how to talk with your existing network about your impending move

Module 6: Put it to Paper

The element of defection I get the most questions about, by far, is preparing application materials. Your resume or CV will need to change, as will the language you use to talk about your knowledge, skills, abilities, and expertise. Your cover letters will need to be highly illustrative; by the close, readers should have an idea of what you’d look like in that role and what your unique background can bring to the table. Here, we’ll talk at length about how to speak about your skills, traits, and experiences in a way that fits your chosen industry.

A new path forward is possible. And Defector Academy is designed to send you off with the tools you need to confidently traverse it.


Ready? Join the Waitlist!

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