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Joanne Kellerman On Her Vision for Aflatoun International

Posted in News on April 26, 2019

Joanne, however, is no stranger to Aflatoun. In 2005, she was approached by founder Jeroo Billimoria who inspired Joanne with her personal vision. Joanne would go on to use her resources at the Netherlands Central Bank and dedicate office space and in-kind support to our young organisation.

Years later, Joanne has joined us again to serve as an expert on governance and legal matters on our Board. We sat down with her to discuss why she chose Aflatoun International and what she sees in the near future.

On Aflatoun International:

Joanne: “It was fantastic to return, in a way, and see where you were at and how professional the organisation has become. How stable and established a force Aflatoun is. The recognition it has won with all of its educational programmes. Generally, progress has been made and what I really like is the rigorous attitude towards measuring impact, looking at how we are doing, whether we are really doing the right things, and identifying the impact of what we do.”

On Her Focus:

J: “My role so far has been to familiarise myself with the organisation. I particularly looked at the governance and legal structure of Aflatoun. What we will do now is actually create a clearer, simpler structure in the Board. I don’t think we have distinct roles. Everybody brings their own expertise and their own ideas. We all look at the general financial situation and try to come up with ideas on how we can help Aflatoun increase funding. It’s also important that we look at Aflatoun’s new strategy, such as the business plan and new products. We support the [Aflatoun] team and help advance the goals.”

On Social and Financial Education:

J: “I think people’s lives are shaped by many things, and certainly not money alone. This is where I think the unique strength of Aflatoun comes into play. It’s not just about money or about saving; it’s also about dreams and thinking about your future, and about young people finding their own voice. I’m very happy that this whole social component embraces a much broader view of giving children and young people the idea that they too can be masters of their own destinies. For me, this is the most powerful thing of all.”

On the Future of Aflatoun:

J: “Aflatoun has done a fabulous job in being active all over the world and having all these partner organisations. It’s quite incredible how far we have come. Yet, what we see constantly is that no matter who I talk to about Aflatoun, everybody says, “Huh? What’s the organisation called?”. I think the idea was always that the branding [of Aflatoun] wasn’t important – it was about the work. But in today’s world, this isn’t a sustainable point of view. Aflatoun has all the potential to be a household name and I think it is essential to really build on that brand. I try to talk about Aflatoun wherever I can. I’m totally convinced that once we get the brand out there, this thing will go to the next level.”