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Eilif Serck-Hanssen has served as the president and CEO of Laureate Education for four years.

Laureate Education works to expand access to higher education across the United States, Mexico and Peru, and mobilizing that team to fulfill the company’s mission and make sure graduates are prepared to succeed in the workplace is the most important part of Serck-Hanssen’s job, he said.

Before taking over as president and CEO, Serck-Hanssen held positions as Laureate’s president and chief administrative officer, and executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Who was your most significant mentor, and what did you learn from that person?

When I joined Laureate, our founder, Doug Becker, quickly became a mentor. I was particularly inspired by his commitment to expanding access to education and to creating a company that maintained a strong alignment with its purpose. Jim Lawrence and Neal Cohen are two other senior executives I’ve worked with, learned from, and maintained relationships with for several decades. These individuals taught me a great deal about analytical rigor, strategic thinking, risk management and leadership.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?

I am passionate about working with and for underserved members of our global community, therefore, I imagine I would be working in another environment where innovation was being leveraged to create broader access to opportunities for social upward mobility. This is at the core of who I am, was instilled in me when I was growing up in Norway.