Associate Director Recruitment Solutions / Executive Director, South Asia
Dylan Hoemsen, Grok’s Executive Director for South Asia, also serves as Associate Director for Recruitment Solutions. He provides operational oversight in India while supporting Grok’s wider portfolio of solution services, including Global Access which uses a combination of global technology platforms, relationships with education partners around the world, local marketing and best recruitment practices. With 12 years in the higher education sector, Dylan has also led sales and recruitment teams across South and South East Asia for Navitas’ North American portfolio and was recognized as the company’s Sales and Marketing Leader of the Year in 2019.
Get to know Dylan…
When did you join Grok?
Describe yourself in three words.
Adaptable. Enthusiastic. Dedicated.
What were you doing before working at Grok?
Before joining Grok I was with Navitas for almost nine years – most recently in the role of Recruitment Director, South and Southeast Asia for Navitas’ North American portfolio. In this role, I lead the in-market sales and recruitment team across the region while providing strategic guidance and recommendations to the divisional teams in Canada and the USA.
What was your first job in education?
My first job in education was in the development and delivery of service-learning programs across the local, provincial and international level with the University of Manitoba’s Office of Student Life.
What does international education mean for you?
It has the potential to truly transform an individual’s mindset and future livelihood, and not just for those who choose to go overseas, but for domestic students who as a result are exposed to other cultures, values, and thoughts from within their classroom. It facilitates a massive transfer of global knowledge while making the world feel more connected. My first international education experience was when I was thirteen and had the opportunity to go from Winnipeg, Canada to Japan through my school’s exchange program, billeted with a Japanese family. It sparked a strong desire to keep exploring, which led to many trips overseas and future university exchange programs to both Barcelona and Singapore, as well as participating in a summer service-learning program in rural Bangladesh. The opportunities I received were incredibly formative in terms of my own growth, and in turn, they unlocked further opportunities based on those experiences.
What is one of the most satisfying outcomes you’ve helped a client to achieve?
I’ve been able to help drive the growth in recruitment from Bangladesh to two Canadian institutions where they established a strong market share while building a good reputation in the market. Secondly, during my time as a recruiter, it was incredibly satisfying to see students who you met months ago arriving on campus excited (and nervous) find their way, be successful, and witness them going on to some truly great things. It is just one small example that exemplifies what many in our sector are doing: providing young people with the opportunity to study, to grow, and to be challenged.
Why is it important for institutions to have a presence in Asia?
Whether the presence is physical or digital (ideally a combination of both in key markets), maintaining and building awareness of an institution’s brand, program offerings and achievements is a crucial component of student recruitment. Competition from other institutions is increasing, new destination countries for students are gaining traction, and as 2020 has shown us, physical movement across countries borders can be restricted with little notice, hindering the recruitment process.
What is your favourite movie?
I really enjoy films but it is too hard to list one movie above all others. Friends have tried to compare my life to the movie Up in the Air – though I am really glad I do not fire people for a living.
What is your dream travel destination? Why?
I have been incredibly fortunate to travel to quite a few countries already but would love to thoroughly travel South America for an extended period of time. I have been to Colombia and Ecuador for quick work trips and have had the opportunity to spend a few days in Montevideo to meet up with some friends, but that leaves so much more to explore!
What is your favourite food to eat with friends?
Endless plates of Turkish mezes.
What is something you’ve learned from somebody inspirational?
I had the honour of organizing a series of speaking engagements with José Luis Inciarte and Gustavo Zerbino, who in 1972 were travelling to Chile with their rugby team when their plane crashed in the Andes. They were among the sixteen survivors of the crash and the subsequent 72 days of isolation before their rescue. They spoke to the events that unfolded, but more importantly on how they were able to build a strategy and plan to overcome it. The importance of unity, teamwork, and the devastating consequences if the team became fractured. “Leaders are everywhere. It is in the adversity when they seem to have stepped forward but what has happened is that somebody has stepped back. The leader is who gives examples by little gestures. At the mountain the leader was the one who laughed, the one who comforted you, it was somebody different each time.”