Vice President, Education and Career Operations
Bryan Maach has held marketing and corporate strategy positions at Fortune 500 companies on both domestic and international stages. He came to ACT from Cisco Systems, where he served as vice president of market research and analysis. Prior to that, Mr. Maach built high-performing research, analysis, and data mining teams at IBM in their corporate headquarters, Asia Pacific, and Sales divisions. Mr. Maach holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Iowa State University.
Q&A with Bryan Maach
What do you think is a key role of the ACT Foundation?
The Foundation can provide a unique focus on the intersection of education and the world of work. Independently these two themes get a lot of focus, but the intersection of both is much more compelling because there are natural tension points within each. It is hard to achieve academic progress when you have to work, and conversely, it is easier to work without the demands of advancing education. Reality is that often these things have to be balanced.
Our role is to be the credible, yet nimble, catalyst that focuses on key issues in this space. We can share best practices of what works and why. This is the DNA we bring to the table. We can define practices that actually make a difference and can communicate and disseminate these ideas.
How can we leverage this agenda to focus on empowering low-income working learners and other underserved populations?
Low-income working learners are not well-supported currently. However, it is an economic and social imperative to provide better opportunities for these populations. If we can raise learning outcomes and economic opportunities for these individuals, all individuals will benefit. This is where the importance of partnership comes into play.
There are many ways to tackle the issue, but no matter what we do, we cannot do it alone. We need to have thoughtful and strategic relationships with other stakeholders.
How do we make this work different from other Foundations and organizations?
Our differentiation will be our focus on action and execution. We are not as large as other foundations, so everything we do will need to count. I want us to be known for observing, engaging, and driving actions that are making a difference. Our stakeholders should say: “If you want to get something done, work with the ACT Foundation. They know how to move from idea to execution.”
What really excites you about this journey with the ACT Foundation?
I am excited to be a part of the public good and the collaborative approach of the Foundation. With dedicated leadership and focus, we can magnify the mission ACT, has as a corporation—to help people achieve workplace and academic success. However, we can do it in a way that is not encumbered by operational realities or constraints. The Foundation paves the way to accomplish this mission because our starting point is through collaboration.
What are some early insights you can share about the direction of programs and research?
The overarching premise for much of this work could be looking at the power of competency-based learning credentials. We are still living with vestiges of the Henry Ford model of education: time-based and routinized. This model is efficient, but not productive.
What sort of model for learning delivery do we need today?
The skills of the labor market are changing with great frequency. The initiatives that promote the value and power of competency-based learning credentials hold huge potential to unfetter us from the current constraints and limitations of traditional education.
What is the ACT Foundation’s role in reimagining the non-traditional approach to learning?
The ACT Foundation can help solidify the game plan. Over time, as we validate the combinations of learning delivery, people will be able to calibrate their goals and choices using good information and a firm awareness of the value of their learning to their career and life success.
Where do you hope we have the most impact?
Our power is in our voice. We want to have resonating impact and a reputation for ground breaking ideas and actions that are held to a high standard of quality. But, we also want to spark and cultivate those good ideas in others. This public-service approach will allow us to initiate more widespread action that supports working learners.