We’re super excited to introduce our new trustee, Sharan Jaswal.  She is Education Director at financial and enterprise education charity, MyBnk. As a founding staff member, she has played a prominent role in designing, developing and delivering MyBnk’s suite of award winning and globally renowned programmes.

We managed to sit down for a quick Q&A so that you could get to know her a little better.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do? 

I’ve been at MyBnk for eight years and it’s been great to see the organisation grow from small beginnings into what it has become today. My role is to lead on the design and delivery of their education programmes and partnerships. 

I’m really passionate about working with young people, helping them to increase their confidence, and empowering them to step out into the real world and take control of their own lives. When I was younger, education was really formal and didn’t inspire me.  My school was highly academic and strict, and there wasn’t an option to do anything interesting or creative. When I started designing programmes for MyBnk, I wanted them to be different from my own experience so we started talking to young people to find out what they wanted to learn, and how they wanted to learn it. From this, we created a unique methodology which ensures our education is fun, relevant and effective. 

How did you first become involved in AWF?

I met Founder & CEO, Jennie Cashman Wilson through mutual friends. When I found out what happened to Abram I wanted to reach out and get in touch, and we hit it off straight away! My involvement began with joining their Education Committee about a year ago and helping with the design of their first pilot schools project, Achieve Your Greatness. It was very satisfying to see how successful it was and it inspired me to get involved more. 

Why did you decide to become a trustee?

I’d already been involved in the Foundation and could see its potential to make a exceptional impact on people’s lives, especially young people.  Being invited to become a trustee meant that I could be an integral part of seeing the Foundation blossom and achieve its own greatness.

I love the fact that the Foundation works with artists throughout their careers, starting with opening young people’s eyes to different artistic disciplines – helping them to explore their creativity, understand who they are and discover what they care about. In my work with MyBnk I have found that young people are made to feel that the world is really competitive and that they should take ‘safe’ career routes.  This is particularly relevant to those children who come from a home where the arts or creativity isn’t encouraged.  It can be really hard to forge your own path if that’s what you’re passionate about. 

And when it comes to older artists, a recent statistic states that on average people have 10 different jobs before they’re 40! So it’s probably quite tempting for mid-career artists to give up if it’s not going that well or if they don’t have the support available to keep going. It’s amazing that the Foundation is also working with this older group and shining a light on what they have to offer the world.

What excites you about AWF?

I’m very excited to see The Philippa Project come to life. I found out about Philippa Schuyler through the Foundation and it’s such an inspiring story that needs to be told.  I am also really looking forward to seeing the Achieve Your Greatness schools programme lay down its roots for some super inspiring education work. I’ve seen first-hand how the arts can improve young people’s engagement, attainment and confidence. There is great potential and I can envisage us delivering a whole range of creative programmes working with young people across different ages and backgrounds.

What are your hopes for the Abram Wilson Foundation? 

I want the Foundation to be known for developing and showcasing the best talent to different kinds of audiences and not just traditional arts audiences.  When you attend an Abram Wilson Foundation event there’s always a really special feeling about it, like being part of an extended family.  My hopes for the Foundation are that we get bigger and better at delivering this unique experience for a whole range of new artists and audiences! 

We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Sharan on our board and can’t wait for 2016 to start. Have a great New Year’s Eve and see you on the other side.

Till soon!


Jennie x