Caroline Robert

“Even if you are on the right track, you will be run over if you just stand still.” Will Rogers, OMDenken.

Creating a sustainable movement so that learning, development and growth can arise organically from who you are and is attuned to the needs of society and the organisation.

The challenges in education are enormous, not only because of the rapid social evolutions but also because of the system in which education is often organised. No matter how driven school leaders and teachers are, they often feel stuck by rules, frameworks and convictions that stand in the way of the ‘natural flow’ of enthusiasm, passion, inquisitiveness, innovation, entrepreneurship, personal development, etc.

I struggled with this myself as a leader in higher education. If a system does not flow, we fold back on what is familiar, on what we know, and we do not sufficiently explore what is really needed. Then initiative and passion do not get enough room, with “burn-out” as a result in the worst case.

This has been the reason for me to start working on this, and to pursue professional training in organisational development and systemic leadership. From there, I would very much like to coach, guide and support schools and players in the broad field of education in creating and nurturing a learning context that makes change possible, that stimulates passion & entrepreneurship and embraces sustainable development creativity. I believe we can do this and that we must do it in an accelerated & radical way in order to face the complex social challenges we are confronted with in our society and to keep teachers and school teams motivated.

My dada’s

  • Facilitating movement. What are the driving and hindering forces in the system, the organisation and the team, and how can the driving forces be used as a lever to create what is needed? But also to understand why certain projects get stuck, block collaborations and bring new impetus and energy into them.
  • Giving hands and feet to complex themes. Concretising concepts such as mission, vision and strategy into a workable but above all recognisable framework for everyone.
  • Setting up and supporting sustainable collaborations both internally between teams and colleagues and externally with partners in the wider ecosystem.
  • Designing a school organisation where the energy flows and which gives you the desire to work and learn. The design of your organisation and its dynamics determine how students experience your school, how teachers fulfil their role and how leaders take up their responsibility. The extent to which your processes fit the chosen strategy, your core process and the stakeholders (students, teachers, support services, …) will determine to what extent you can realise your ambitions. How do you go about this? How do you translate your ambitions into coherent and workable processes that support this? How do you take your school teams along and how do they translate this into their curriculum and their daily practice, … These are questions I like to work on.

My favorite requests for support and guidance

  • How do I create an organisation that supports the core process and provides an incentive to work and learn? What are the workable elements in this? How can we create this from who we are and what our strengths are?
  • How do we shape the change, what are the basic principles and how do we put them into practice? How do we take our teams, staff and teachers with us? What are the levers so that change can occur almost organically?
  • Being a sounding board for change processes by setting up customised intervision and coaching processes.
  • What do we want to focus on as a school and make the difference? Who or what do we need to include in this process?
  • How do we give substance to our mission, vision and strategy based on who we are and our strengths?
  • How do we stimulate entrepreneurship with our teachers? Here the goal of entrepreneurship will be important, with what goal do you want to stimulate entrepreneurship? What is the desired effect?
  • I want to put the student at the centre of the learning process. Which organisation should I set up for this?

My career

More then 20 years ago, I started my career as a physicist in the research department of Philips. It was the start of a career where innovation, pioneering, change and transition were regular ingredients. I built up broad expertise in various domains and roles, both nationally and internationally, ranging from R&D, product development, marketing and business development. What I take away from that period is the importance of creating and recognising (added) value, result-oriented and goal-oriented focus, innovation as a driving force, the importance of giving and receiving feedback to grow as a professional, and many great & warm contacts worldwide.

In 2014 I made the step to higher education as a business developer for care innovations within practice-based research and later as unit manager/leader of the Life Sciences Programmes (4 programmes) at Thomas More University College. Currently, as Business Development Coordinator, I am responsible for shaping and guiding the process of knowledge valorisation.

Both from my role as manager and from my role as business developer, I have guided several teams through change and gained a deep insight into the dynamics, complexity and challenges of (higher) education. As a certified organisational coach, I want to continue using this experience and expertise to coach and support educational organisations from a holistic perspective.

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