Making a Difference: NEWS REPORT
Parminder Kaur Jassal
Iowa City, Iowa, USA
ACT, Inc., has selected Parminder Kaur Jassal, Ph.D., to head the ACT (Formerly, 'American College Testing') Foundation as the founding Executive Director.
Parminder will provide leadership and strategic vision to launch the Foundation with the objective of improving underserved students’ success in both education and the workplace.
She previously served as a program officer supporting Postsecondary Success for low-income young adults at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2008, and in her previous work, she has demonstrated expertise in using innovation to create transformative change.
Most recently, she envisioned a new college operating model called Pathways to Credentials and Careers and led the “Learn and Earn” movement.
The ACT Foundation was formed and funded by the ACT Board of Directors in fall 2009 on the occasion of ACT’s 50th anniversary celebration.
The Foundation will solicit proposals for efforts aligned with its mission and strategic priorities. Initially, it intends to fund targeted efforts that focus on supporting both education and workplace success in the United States. In the future, the Foundation will have a broader reach, supporting global innovations in student education and workplace success.
“With the appointment of Dr. Jassal, our Foundation moves from the organizational phase to an operational status,” said ACT Chief Executive Officer Jon Whitmore. “We are very excited to welcome a founding executive director with a strong field presence and a proven track record.”
The Foundation’s initial grant focus will be specific to discovering
innovative next-generation practices that build credential assets and
career benefits for underrepresented student populations.
As Executive Director, Parminder will sit on the CEO's leadership team; have responsibility for creating, building and implementing the Foundation’s strategic vision; manage the organization’s staff, budget and resources; and cultivate innovative, strategic partnerships.
“I look forward to the challenges and the excitement inherent in launching a new foundation, but more importantly, in making a true difference for underserved populations,” said Parminder. “I am committed to ACT’s mission of helping students achieve both education and workplace success and am grateful for the opportunity to continue advancing this mission through the work of the Foundation.”
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Dr Parminder Kaur Jassal says: " I'm not motivated by money. What motivates me is impact and innovation. The greater good -- that's what motivates me."
The concept of the greater good is also one of the principles of her religion. She is a member of the Sikh faith, a belief system that centers on God, family and community.
It was taught to her by her father, Kirpal Singh Jassal, a psychiatrist who immigrated to the United States when she was a child.She was born in London, England.
Parminder calls her religious faith "the guiding force" in her life and her motivation for wanting to help others.
"What I want to do is make a difference in this world," she said.
When Parminder was very young, she told her father that she was weighing two ambitions in life.
She wanted to be either a race-car driver or a pilot. Concerned, he suggested a more tame pursuit. "What about accounting?" he asked.
But ledgers and tax forms weren't her style, and she turned her attention to computer science, market research and economic development.
Still, the thought of flying never left her.
She has now obtained a private pilot's license."She scares me when she drives," says her husband, laughing. "She drives like a maniac."
Parmider was 5 when her family, which included her parents, Kirpal Singh and Gurcharan Kaur, and two younger siblings, settled in Iowa, which she described as not being very diverse at that time.
Life was tough for the Jassal children, Parminder recalls. Because they were different, they weren't always made to feel welcome.
Today, her father is a semi-retired psychiatrist, living in Daytona Shores, Florida. Her siblings live in California. Her mother died in 2005.
[Courtesy: ACT. With input from John R. Karman III of "Business First." Edited for sikhchic.com]
October 5, 2012
Conversation about this article
1: Sarvjit (Millis, MA, USA), October 05, 2012, 10:31 AM.
Sat Sri Akaal, Parminder! Are you the same Parminder who used to live in Des Moines 15-20 years ago?
2: Pritam Singh Grewal (Canada), October 06, 2012, 12:41 AM.
Congratulations, Dr Parminder Kaur ji, on your selection to head the Act Foundation as its founding Executive Director. May you remain motivated by the greater good, not by earning more money! Hope the under-served but deserving students will benefit from your Sikhi thoughts and actions.
3: Manmohan Singh Luthra (Lower Burrell, PA, U.S.A.), October 06, 2012, 5:49 AM.
Great! Always has been a joy to have you around. Guru Fateh!
4: Daya Singh Sandhu (Louisville, Kentucky, USA), October 06, 2012, 11:39 PM.
Wow, a great accomplishment, Parminder! Congratulations! We are very proud of you. Keep up the great work! Please visit us again in Louisville. Wishing you all the best--
5: Parminder Jassal (Seattle, WA, USA), October 08, 2012, 4:06 PM.
GurFateh. Thank you for the blessings and good wishes. Rab raakha. PS: Yes, my father and mother (Dr. Kirpal Singh & Gurcharan Kaur) lived in Des Moines 15-20 years ago!
6: Karam (San Jose, California, USA), October 09, 2012, 6:31 PM.
Best wishes ...