Why go abroad?

As I have said, with almost as much boring redundancy as our Mission Statement, our Vision Statement is:

Transform education world-wide to ensure learning for all.

Here are the group of men I just spent three days with earlier this week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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There are an equal number of woman at the training, in an neighboring room. The Saudi culture divides the population into separate gender trainings.

Tom & Susan (in her Abaya) Many, are two world class presenters and educators, who kicked off the first of four workshops introducing the PLC process to Cohort #1.  They did a phenominal job of working with translators and dealing with cultural issues.  I can not imagine anyone working harder or being more successful in introducing this work.


At a my meetings outside of the workshop, I was presenting our plans for future professional development in the region, and one high ranking official asked me “Why do you want to expand to Saudi Arabia, isn’t the United States big enough for your company?”  Wow, that one took me off guard. The good news is the honest answer was easy.

“Because it is our vision, why we are doing what we do.  It would be easier to focus solely on the US, and probably more profitable.  But if what we have at Solution Tree truly works, and it does, then why would we keep the secret to ourselves.  Why would we not share what has been proven successful in our country with others, and give our Authors an international platform to help kids succeed all over the world?”

In reality, we could downsize the company and only focus on PLC work, making my life a lot less complicated and the company potentially more profitable.  But the other areas in which we publish and provide professional development are important to real school improvement too.  We truly offer the highest quality opportunities for authors to take their passions and put it into the hands of educators who are begging for tested, proven and implementable solutions. So why wouldn’t we go global?

International work is expensive, it is an investment, and most always takes a long time before we see any significant financial gains, but we do see immediate personal advancement in teachers, schools, and districts which leads to significant gains in student achievement. And THAT is why we do it.


2 thoughts on “Why go abroad?

  1. Jeff,
    It’s so exciting to hear about the success of the Saudi Arabia event (although with Tom and Susan on deck, I’m not surprised!). I’m proud and honored to be associated with Solution Tree, which, under your incredible leadership, is the flagship organization that walks the talk and is truly focused on doing the “right stuff” to support student learning, not merely the bottom line. Thanks for all you do– I look forward to seeing the impact of Solution Tree’s work as it expands internationally!

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