10 Questions to Sandro Giuliani

Sandro Giuliani, former Managing Director of the Jacobs Foundation, has served as Delegate of the Board of Trustees since April 2015. He was appointed a Member of the Board in January 2020.

1. Why have you decided to join the Jacobs Foundation Board?
Having served as the Board’s Managing Director of Jacobs Foundation and Delegate, I found it fascinating to be part of the leadership transition and next strategy cycle from a Board perspective. It is an even bigger privilege and responsibility to be able to serve on the Board as its composition and functioning is outstanding.

2. How would you describe your work as a Jacobs Foundation Board Member to a school child?
As a board member it is my job to guide and support the Foundation’s team where needed, control and correct the work that is done if necessary, and open doors and connect people with each other whenever possible.

3. Which combination of skills, competencies, and experience do you bring to the Jacobs Foundation Board?
I have a good overview of the philanthropic and education sector and know the context in which Jacobs Foundation operates. I bring, in addition, strategic thinking and experience as a Board Member of like-minded organizations.

4. Why is variability in learning- the Jacobs Foundation’s theme of the Strategy2030 – relevant today?
Diversity in learning environments increase every year because of different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, different family support systems or varying degrees of access to educational infrastructure. In order to overcome significant differences within the classroom and turn diversity into an asset, learning systems need to embrace variability as guiding principle more than ever.

5. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the Jacobs Foundation’s direction of travel?
Opportunities and challenges are often two sides of the same coin. Our current ambitions of systemic change, public private partnerships and field building are impactful but complex approaches as any variables come into play which are outside our range of influence. We are on a steep learning curve but I feel the Jacobs Foundation is well positioned to fully exploit the opportunities within this new strategy cycle as we build on longstanding competence and a network in the field of learning sciences.

6. What are your key priorities as a Board Member and as part of a Board Working Group?
I feel it crucial that the Jacobs Foundation advances its coherent program approach where all projects mutually enrich each other. This is not rocket science in theory, however it can be difficult to achieve in practice. I will keep a special eye to see whether we are able to walk the talk.

I also would like to focus my attention on the effective implementation of our Scientific Capital strategy as it is an uncharted path.The strategy needs close scrutiny as it presents a steep learning curve for the Foundation given its innovativeness.

Finally I would like to be actively involved in the evolution of the Co- Leadership structure which was recently introduced with the creation of two Co-CEOs. I find this a fascinating development and would like to make sure that we are capturing and sharing lessons learned.

7. Please complete the sentence: Learning is…..
the future

8. What does learning mean to you personally?
Learning is the elixir of life. I love to learn from others and to broaden my horizon. I am rather a non-formal and socio-emotional learner as experience and skills are more important to me than sheer knowledge.

9. Who has inspired you throughout your career?
No one else has had a stronger influence on my career than my parents. I also always try to learn one key behavior, skill or competence from my closest companions such as supervisors, team members or friends. I actively pursue an individual learning and growth path.

10. Which book/s have you read you could recommend and for what reason?
The Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum has influenced me the most because it is an impressive book which underlines the critical importance of teachers on the personal development of youth. I have also made the book’s motto “carpe diem / seize the day”my personal mantra and try to apply it as often as possible.