The Sister Schools Board of Directors is populated by a talented number of individuals from all walks of life. Sameer Sankaran joined our Board a little over a year ago, and has been a great asset to our community. Take a minute now to get to know him!
Sameer refers to himself as “tricoastal” - he grew up in Houston, and lived in DC for six years before landing in Seattle 11 years ago. “I'm also a double Longhorn,” he says, “I finished my undergrad and later my MBA at UT Austin - hook 'em Horns!” He’s a busy man juggling responsibilities both at work and at Sister Schools, but still finds plenty of time for fun. “Outside of work and Sister Schools, I enjoy playing rec sports (you'll find me on the softball field most Sundays for about 9 months a year) and taking my dog Shipley to local cocktail bars and coffee shops. You can even find my name on the menu at a local breakfast spot!”
Sameer works for Microsoft, and his connection to one of the region’s largest employers is invaluable. He’s recently stepped into a new role there, and shared with us a little about what he does and how his work actually ties in to the Sister Schools mission. “After spending the last 4.5 years leading Microsoft’s marketing early career rotation program, I began a new role this past December as Talent Director for Early in Profession across Microsoft Sales worldwide. I'm excited for this new challenge, as well as to continue to build my expertise in the early career talent world. My work definitely has some ties to Sister Schools when it comes to learning, development, and skill building for the next generation! In addition to the focus on helping others build successful careers, one of the things I love most in general about working at Microsoft is that my teammates and the employees across the company exude philanthropy. Microsoft's employees have donated an incredible amount of money (over $1.5B donated lifetime across tens of thousands of nonprofits) and time, and Microsoft matches both donations and volunteer time to support the organizations its employees care about.”
Having established himself in his career and his community, Sameer was looking for deeper ways to engage and give back, and that’s when he found Sister Schools. “In my last role at Microsoft, I found work that truly energized me and allowed me to thrive,” he explained. “I felt like I had time and energy to give back to the community -- not just with money, but with my time and expertise as well. And of course, I wanted to find a cause that I was truly connected to. I came across Sister Schools in late 2022 when they were seeking new board members, and it was immediately clear that this was where I should jump in!”
Sameer joined the Board during a time of unprecedented growth and reorganization. Some might have been intimidated by the work and decisions the Board took on in the last 12 months, but Sameer never lost sight of the vision.
“I love that Sister Schools focuses on children,” he says. “We are impacting their learning and development in a variety of ways. The methods used are both sustainable and far-reaching. Whether we're talking about enabling the fundamentals of education and literacy in Uganda, or instilling the importance of philanthropy and giving in Seattle, these are all ideas that will fundamentally improve children's lives now and in the future. Even better, the things they learn through Sister Schools will also allow them to have a greater impact on their surrounding communities. The long-term and scaled impact of our work today can truly stretch so much further than any of us might imagine right now, and that's what really excites me about the future.”
That vision of the long-term impact Sister Schools is making for students both in Seattle and in Uganda keeps Sameer excited about his role on the Board, but it’s the community itself that keeps him so deeply engaged in this work. “I love the diversity of experience and thought on our team. Our board members and staff come from a variety of different backgrounds and life experiences. Over the last year I've been able to witness how beneficial it is to have those varied perspectives when we're trying to work through challenges or collaborate on new ideas. I get a chance to see this effect in my day job at Microsoft as well, but it's a completely different world with Sister Schools — and I think we're all better for it.”
But it’s not just the Board – it's also our teachers, our donors, and most of all our kids. Sameer points to the Fernwood Benefit Concert last spring as one beautiful example of how this community comes together to make a difference. “It was amazing to see the Fernwood Benefit Concert last spring! The kids were incredibly talented and so happy to play and share their talent on stage. And at the same time, getting to meet and connect with parents of students who had seen the impact of Sister Schools on their children was yet another way to see and understand the impact of Sister Schools on the Puget Sound community.”
Thank you, Sameer for all your service to Sister Schools and the kids we serve both in Seattle and in Uganda!
If you, or someone you know is interested in joining the Board of Directors, we are always looking for talented people who are willing to serve. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.