Redefining and Realigning Our Values – The Second Act

We took the decision to review our culture to prepare for our second act – the next phase of our growth journey.

We want to build on what makes us strong and redefine our values and how we live them through our culture and behaviours.

Through understanding what makes us great and by listening to over 200 colleagues, showing that we care about our people and their input, we recognise that they are at the core of our business who will bring our culture to life.

By defining a common culture across the group we do not want to stifle creativity but instead reach a common understanding about what makes us one team and uniquely GEMS.

This is only achievable by dreaming big and striving for excellence to be the most valued education company in the world and knowing that we are always learning to be better than yesterday.

Here’s what our Culture Champions have to say about our culture journey so far… 


How do we measure our working culture and how do we act upon what we find out when we have the results? Measuring is the easy part, engage with the team, ask and you will get the results. The positive feedback is easy, keep doing what you do and do more of it. The negative feedback is sometimes hard to accept and can hurt but hard questions are the right questions and provide us with a starting point to improve. We must recognise that culture and engagement are never going to be perfect and we must constantly check the business pulse and always live by our values. We all want to become better versions of ourselves and work in a progressive, positive working culture that personifies great people and businesses. It also means that we are being managed and mentored in ways that help us achieve greater things, both personally and professionally. The GEMS Jams have been a great pulse check and as a team we can now build our own forcefield.
Steve Burnell, Managing Director – STS


GEMS Education continues to evolve. While we have grown into a global conglomerate, I am glad to see that the original values of the Founder and his family still provide much of the cultural context one experiences at GEMS Education. Scaling that and keeping it consistent with policies and making decisions based on what we value is what determines the path we travel and our future. I’m privileged to be a culture champion of a set of values I truly believe in, and I’m sure everyone is already on board!
Nargish Khambatta, Principal – GEMS Modern Academy






I believe the culture of an organisation is the life blood of who we are. It brings policies and practices to life and garners sustained growth and development. Those keystone behaviours, mindsets and widely shared beliefs, are the most powerful determinants of change. The work done to date through the GEMS Jams, with hundreds of colleagues, has been great to be part of. The culture of GEMS Education, embodied by my colleagues across the network, is one I am proud to be associated with, one we should all be proud to champion.
Glen Radojkovich, Head of School / CEO – GEMS International School – Al Khail



The output from the GEMS JAM sessions held in early 2019 from employees across our various businesses has shown us the enthusiasm, the passion, the drive and commitment to come together to enhance our working environment and define a set of values that are meaningful to everyone within the organisation. The sessions gave employees the opportunity to share stories where values in action have been witnessed, a great reminder as to why we are all here and why we love what we do! Clarifying those values can help us align them to our behaviours, our processes, and our policies going forward to ensure everyone understands what it means to work for GEMS. We are the culture that we create and I am positive that the new values will reinforce our drive, our heartbeat, and our culture and will allow us to realise our ambitious growth plans.
Michelle Brideau, Vice President – HR, Varkey Group & GEMS Global


GEMS culture journey so far…

Decision by Senior Leadership to review culture for its second act

External assessment on cultural attributes

Leadership Workshop Session

  • A common understanding and definition of culture
  • An agreement on the plan ahead

12 Culture JAM sessions engaging over 200 influencial employees from across the business to redefine our values and suggest how we can improve on our culture


  • Consult leadership team on GEMS JAMS output. Define and finalise chosen values and behaviours
  • Embedding values. Everybody lifting and living the behaviours