Life lessons: Education for Employment’s Ron Bruder

Philanthropists and industry insiders share their advice on intelligent giving, and the experience they’ve gained along the way

When starting a new venture, envision your ultimate goal and then look at the worst-case scenario.  Based on the latter, be realistic in assessing if you have the time, resources and capability to achieve your objectives

Don’t rush. A slower pace gives you the chance to learn the pitfalls while they’re still small and you’re still nimble. I started EFE wanting to build schools. But years of research showed us that demand-driven job training and placement fit a more critical need.

"It's critical that all parties – including your beneficiaries – have skin in the game"When going into an unfamiliar area, local insight is indispensable. Without the 70-plus national leaders serving as EFE affiliate board members in the Middle East and North Africa, we would have pursued many dead ends and missed key opportunities.

Collaborate wisely. A partner with integrity can turn a challenging situation into a success. But a dishonest partner can derail a dream venture and turn it into a nightmare.

It’s critical that all parties – including your beneficiaries – have skin in the game. Requiring that all stakeholders invest within their capacity produces more earnest and sustainable engagement.

Listen to your failures: sometimes they will teach you more than your successes.  We would not be operating in eight countries today if we hadn’t failed in our first.

About the writer
Ron Bruder is the founder of Education For Employment (EFE), the leading nonprofit network linking unemployed youth to skills and job opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa. A serial entrepreneur, Bruder in 1977 founded The Brookhill Group, which owns and manages properties throughout the US.