Pearson has decided to use their platform to address the issue of education inequality. By following the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, Pearson has instituted the following pillars to address this issue: being a trusted partner, reaching more learners, and shaping the future of education.
St. John's University
Joseph and I spoke a little about Pearson's sustainability innovation. He mentioned that "As Pearson becomes increasingly global, digital, and data-driven, and interacts more directly than ever before with consumers, we believe that we can make a unique, long-term contribution to the world and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A more sustainable planet depends on providing everyone with the tools to progress in their lives. Yet millions of people worldwide cannot access quality education, and millions more do not learn the skills they need to be successful in life and work."
As amazing as Pearson's innovation has been, there is always room for improvement. Joseph mentioned that Pearson is having difficulty with the speed the innovation is moving at. "We have not moved fast enough. We need to accelerate our digital transformation, simplify our portfolio, control our costs, and focus our investment on the biggest growth opportunities in education. We also need to continue to address affordability. We recently cut e-book rental prices up to 50% on 2,000 titles and are rolling out a print rental pilot this fall, which will rent books at around 40% of traditional list."
Pearson has done so much to help others. When speaking with Joseph I was interested in learning what inspired this specific innovation. "This sustainability innovation is tied to our mission to help people make progress through access to better living. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives."
Joseph couldn't say enough about the positive impact this innovation has had on the work environment. "To come to work every day knowing that your efforts have a global impact and are influencing the accessibility and affordability of education is inspiring."
In order to better understand the context of this interview, I felt it important to find out what Pearson does as a company and more specifically what Joseph's role is.
"Pearson is the world's learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. I am currently the Vice President of Finance for Pearson North America. My responsibilities include providing business decision support to the CFO and several Senior Vice Presidents of Sales. I lead the planning, forecasting, and analysis of North America revenue and related expenses; drive new selling and pricing strategies; design and administer sales compensation plans; negotiate strategic partnerships; and consistently challenge the status quo in order to improve profitability, operating efficiency and effectiveness. I also ensure that behaviors are ethical and comply with GAAP/IFRS accounting standards and corporate financial policies and procedures. Finally, I serve as a mentor to the Finance team members."
Being in sales, Joseph was put in a difficult situation when asked about whether Pearson is a company that cares about more than just sales. "This is hard. Pearson is a public, for-profit business with obligations to shareholders operating in a space that is primarily funded by state taxes, federal and consumer dollars. Pearson needs sales and related profits in order to reward shareholders with dividends and to reinvest in research and development for new products and services. Profits do not define us, but they do sustain Pearson's ability to improve global education efforts."
Joseph spoke about his favorite part of working for Pearson. "The ability to work for a company in an industry that is under constant transformation has its challenges. To know that the daily collective efforts of Pearson employees are impacting the daily effectiveness of teachers on students and that the interactive digital courseware Pearson develops, delivers personalized learning based on the specific needs of the individual learner is what makes it all worth it."
Pearson's mission is: "Learning isn't a destination, starting and stopping at the classroom door. It's a never-ending road of discovery and wonder that has the power to transform lives." Joseph felt as though Pearson truly allows its employees to bring this mission to actuality. "There are many times that I have been in classrooms where I have heard testimonials of how Pearson's products have made positive impacts on a student's ability, grasp of a subject or a concept. If we can help open up and improve learning for people of any age, we can help transform lives".
Joseph Marinaro, Vice President of Finance, Pearson North America
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Business Website: http://www.pearsoned.com
Year Founded: 1844
Number of Employees: 10000+