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Pipedrive’s top managers offer a 5-month internship to school leaders

Tallinn - 4 February 2020 - Sales CRM Pipedrive is taking part in a unique education initiative, ‘The Education Leaders' Internship Programme’, where the company’s CTO and HR manager are offering a five-month internship to school leaders.The program introduces them to innovative management approaches and best private sector practices they can later apply in school.

Natalja Vergun, who has been the head of Tallinn Mustamäe Science High School for the past seven years, is now internining in Pipedrive. She said that it is difficult to find training for educational personnel that have a strong practical side. “For me constant self-development is extremely important, and this program offers a unique opportunity to learn through experience and grow to become a better leader. My first weeks in Pipedrive can be summarised by three key phrases: great time management, valuing and contributing in employees, and belief in a strong product. These are all areas I can and will improve in my school.”

Nalalja has two mentors in Pipedrive - the company’s CTO Sergei Anikin and HR manager Leelia Rohumaa. “Pipedrive has always been looking for ways to give back to the community, especially here in Estonia, the birthplace of our company. At Pipedrive are bold enough to initiate and go along with programs that have wider impact and are not using the mainstream methods.” says Anikin. In his opinion, school is essentially the first workplace for every kid, and the experience that a person gets from school has a great impact on his or her values and future life. “Through mentoring Natalja we can reach all the kids in her school with our values and create culture that lasts for years, maybe even generations, and will in long-term change the value system in our society.” As the CTO, Anikin acknowledges that mentoring someone outside of engineering is very exciting and new for him. “I hope I can give Natalja a good overview of the system of self-managing teams that is a hallmark of Pipedrive, as well as leadership tools that she can later use in her work in school.”.

Leelia Rohumaa, HR manager and site lead for Pipedrive in Estonia is introducing Natalja to creative ways of strengthening organisational culture and values as well as growing and developing the team. “When reading Natalja’s list of interests and goals that she wanted to learn during the internship, I knew that Pipedrive is the right place for her. At first glance, a global software company and a school seem to have a little in common, but actually we are dealing with very similar issues - how to create organisational culture that supports recruitment of excellent people, where employees feel appreciated, don’t burn out, and feel that they have a common goal that they contribute to. I hope that experiencing the Pipedrive way of doing things, Natalja will get some innovative ideas on how to manage these things in school.”

The Education Leaders' Internship Programme initiated by the Good Deed Education Fund with Tallinn Education Department, is unique and the first of its kind. “Leaders in education have mostly been teachers themselves, and the priorities of their daily work are related to the organisation of studies. At the same time, a contemporary school requires its leader to have excellent change management, recruitment, strategy creation and long-term financial planning skills. The Education Leaders' Internship Programme is intense, and it takes into account each participating education leader`s needs, management practice for learning from the best private sector managers and best private sector practice,” explained Martin Villing, the co-founder of a global ridesharing company Bolt and initiator of the Good Deed Education Fund. Pipedrive is one of the largest supporters of the fund.

According to Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev, the Education Leaders' Internship Programme supports the objective of the altered study approach to bring learning and teaching out of the box and learn everywhere and from everyone. “Estonian education is currently the best in the world, but to keep it that way in the future, we need to maintain the professionalism of leaders of educational institutions and inspire them to be innovative,“ said Belobrovtsev. “Sometimes, this requires coming out of your comfort zone and taking an external look at your core work and routine activities. Participating in the internship programme gives heads of schools the opportunity to get inspired and come up with new ideas and the motivation to see them through, as well as providing support for change management.“

The participants in this program include school leaders from Tallinn Art High School, Tallinn Kuristiku High School, Tallinn Mustamäe Science High School, Tallinn Nõmme Basic School and Tallinn Südalinna School. The consultation company Fontes PMP has partnered with the initiative and mapped the education leaders' profiles and offers support both to mentors and school leaders during the project. Finding participants for the programme was organised through a competition.

Altogether, the programme lasts for five months: the education leader will spend the first three in an organisation with an influential mentorship culture, then, during the last two months, mentorship will continue after the school leader has returned to school. After the end of the pilot stage, the Fund aims to enhance the programme based on experience and needs, then develop it into a model which is available across Estonia. Besides Pipedrive, the other mentor organisations are Transferwise, Swedbank, SEB and Ericsson.

Estonian education system is known for its high quality, outperforming the major European economies, including the UK and the US, in influential global education tests. A global student performance study PISA 2018 by the OECD shows that Estonian students ranked first among European countries in all three domains of assessment - Reading, Science, and Math.

The Good Deed Education Fund is a philanthropy fund established by new generation technology entrepreneurs aimed at supporting initiatives that help solve the biggest challenges in Estonian education. During 2019-2021, the Fund supports 10-15 initiatives with a million euros, focusing on a Fund core area: increasing the number of next-generation teachers, raising the quality of school management, reducing drop-out rates, increasing acquisition of natural and exact sciences` skills combined with creativity and teamwork. The idea for the Education Fund came from Taavet Hinrikus from TransferWise and Martin Villig from Bolt. The Education Fund is managed by the Good Deed Foundation.