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John Paul Goodwin: Helping B-Schools Prepare Students to Tackle the World’s Crises

John Paul Goodwin: Helping B-Schools Prepare Students to Tackle the World’s Crises


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Hi friends, it’s Spiffy, back again on Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs making the world a more equitable place! I have another interview for you this week. Today I’m excited to cruise around with John Paul Goodwin, special advisor and board member of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)—an initiative of the UN Global Compact. Are you ready to be inspired?

Spiffy: Welcome, John. Let’s jump right in. Can you tell me what challenge PRME is addressing?

John: Thanks for having me, Spiffy. In light of today’s global challenges, a different kind of business leader is needed. If we want to change the way business is managed, then we must change the way it is taught. PRME works to help business and management schools prepare students to address the world’s crises by transforming knowledge, practice, and skills. PRME provides various tools and spaces for integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across business and leadership education activities, such as curriculum development, research, work-based learning, etc.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

John: I am a strong believer in the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Having spent the majority of my career working within the corporate and organizational frameworks and seeing how their shortcomings have contributed to the world being in its current precarious situation, I am committed to working with the institutions that lay the foundation of future leadership to change the established order for the betterment of the planet and all that inhabit it.

Spiffy: That’s awesome! What would you say is the impact of your work?

John: PRME engages business and management schools to ensure they provide future leaders with the skills needed to balance economic and sustainability goals while drawing attention to the SDGs. As a result, graduates are better prepared to lead organizations with purpose, to understand the frameworks of identifying and solving global challenges with systems thinking, and to pursue holistic value creation that addresses inequities, inequality, prejudice, and environmental destruction.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organizational milestone or initiative. What impact does that make?

John: PRME has recently launched the Impactful Five (i5) project to empower future business leaders with a holistic skill set that includes cognitive, social, creative, emotional, and physical skills—so they can have a positive impact via invoking a new form of leadership that is more inclusive, collaborative, and innovative in its approach.

Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?

John: PRME is an initiative of the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact and PRME are working to address both current and future business leadership by building a complete view of the challenges faced by businesses and offering the tools needed for managers to balance financial responsibilities with creating value for people and the planet.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, John—it’s been an honor!

John Paul Goodwin is currently a special advisor and board member of PRME and executive chairman of The Learning Economy Foundation. Prior to this, John held a wide range of C-suite and board roles in philanthropy, commercial enterprises, and charities, including The LEGO Foundation, The LEGO Group, Procter & Gamble, Agrolimen, and Sinapis. John has domain expertise in finance, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), organizational development, and strategy. (First published on the Ladderworks website on November 28, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Sujit Kunte. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.