Julia Pichler

Julia is the Project Lead of the Hub for Innovation Education Vienna.

How would you describe your professional journey so far? What is your background, and what sparked your interest in currently working to support political innovation?

My journey started with studying International Business and then working in financial advisory. I soon realized that I wanted to have a larger and more direct societal impact and positive contribution and that is why I joined Teach For Austria and its fellow program, where alumni from all fields are trained to become teachers/educators in schools and kindergartens with students with socio-economic disadvantages. I was teaching for four years and I loved the work and the time with my students but also realized that I wanted to gain more systemic insights into how education systems function and change (or don’t change) the way they do. Therefore, I joined a master’s program at Harvard University in Education Policy where I focused on “How the future of work changes the future of education”. After my time abroad and teaching adults “How People Learn”, I was leading EdTech Austria, a network of education-technology organizations in Austria, which eventually led me to the institute with my specialty on education innovation. My professional journey made me recognize the pivotal role of political innovation to drive systemic change, sparking my passion for actively engaging in initiatives aimed at fostering inclusive progress.

What is your first memory of politics?

My earliest encounters with politics (as I remember it) was shaped by my upbringing with both of my parents being deaf. Witnessing their struggles to access essential services such as interpreters and the barriers they faced, as a child I couldn’t grasp how political decisions in these areas are made and how equitable access can be guaranteed – for all groups, not only the support of the Deaf community. This personal experience sparked my passion for inclusive policies and drove my commitment to fostering accessibility for all.

Best advice you’ve ever received?

“If you don’t close any doors, you’ll spend your life in a corridor.” My best friend’s father mentioned this sentence when we started college and to this day we use it as a guide and reference point if we are uncertain or if we want to keep all doors open.

What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?

So many things – I’m too curious to not learn. One skill I’m diving into at the moment is to improve my photography. I have a great passion for traveling and spend lots of my free time exploring new places and I enjoy capturing moments with my phone camera – but I can do better.