Board Spotlight: Q&A with New Chairman and President Chuck Pol

Vodafone Americas Foundation sits down with newly appointed Chairman and President of the Board of Directors, Chuck Pol, to ask him about his new role and what excites him about mobile innovation for social impact.

What is your role within Vodafone?

Currently, I hold multiple roles at Vodafone Global Enterprise, acting both as the President of the Americas region and as the Director of the Global Transformation Team focused on €100M+ complex deals for Vodafone. I am also Vodafone’s Country Chairperson for all Vodafone companies in the Americas.

Chuck Pol

What is most exciting about leading the Vodafone Americas Foundation?

I’m excited that we’re able to make a direct impact in communities around the world through our foundation, like helping non-profits to utilize mobile technology to achieve their goals.

How do you see the work of the Vodafone Americas Foundation supporting your work for Vodafone in North America?

It will be a good balance, but it may be more the other way around. We’ll be able to support the efforts of the 500 people who work for us to engage with their communities. Also, we’ll be able to utilize our knowhow to spark innovation for social impact.

What does innovation mean to you?

It means to find something that we’ve never imagined before that has tremendous possibility for improving people’s lives. We’ve already discovered a range of technologies through our Wireless Innovation Project, such as utilizing digital cameras as mobile microscopes, or an SMS platform to provide banking access to the most marginalized.

What is the most important innovation (in your opinion) in the past 10 years?

If you’re referring to mobile innovation, I would say mPesa. Mobile money has been able to change whole economies by bringing money directly to the people who earn it.

What is philanthropy’s role in driving innovation?

Philanthropy has a big role in innovation. We can and should take risks there because that’s how we’re able to identify and advance innovations like mPesa , mobile microscopes and disaster relief technologies.

What is the world problem that you think could be solved with mobile technology?

Technology isn’t the end-all and be-all, but we’ve started making progress by harnessing mobile technology to tackle poverty by providing financial access, diagnosing disease and tracking delivery of medication.

On a personal note, how was the experience of serving on the board of Project Renewal? And what did that mean to you?

It was an honor to sit on the board of Project Renewal—they were exceptionally dedicated to rebuilding the lives of the homeless in New York City. Meeting the people whom Project Renewal helped along the way, and hearing their stories of extraordinary transformation was very fulfilling to me.