Ulrike Sommer

This is where I can share my experience in education management and thus make a contribution to social transformation.

Ulrike Sommer, Wider Sense Trafo gGmbH

Ulrike Sommer is the managing director of our non-profit subsidiary Wider Sense TraFo. As an educational scientist, former senior manager and head of department in the North Rhine-Westphalian state government and an experienced managing director of many years, she is now responsible for major network projects in the field of cultural education. And supports foundations, companies and the public sector in finding, disseminating and anchoring smart solutions – in education and beyond.

Before joining Wider Sense, Ulli Sommer built up RuhrFutur as managing director. She then headed this joint education initiative of Stiftung Mercator, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, local authorities and universities for the Ruhr valley region for six years. Before that, she worked for many years in various departments of the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia, most recently as head of a task force to recruit specialists for early childhood education. The historian also gained professional experience in German-American migration research, as a scientific editor and in political education.

Ulli Sommer studied history, geography, philosophy and education in Bochum and Braunschweig, graduating with a state and master’s degree. During her time in ministerial administration, she completed additional legal training and advanced training as a facilitator and as an organizational developer for non-profit organizations. She is also influenced by her experiences as a competitive athlete and her involvement in youth work and political education.

Together with Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Helbich and Prof. Dr. Walter Kamphoefner, Ulli Sommer has published a highly acclaimed edition of letters from German emigrants to the United States:  „Briefe aus Amerika. Deutsche Auswanderer schreiben aus der Neuen Welt, 1830-1930“. Since then, a wide variety of books and essays on educational topics have followed. Ulli Sommer is chairwoman of the board of trustees of Stiftung Mitarbeit and a member of the advisory board of the award-winning association Zweitzeugen e.V. (Second Witnesses), which retells the personal accounts of Shoah survivors in order to make them more comprehensible for future generations. Since 2018, she has also been a member of the University Council of the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences.

Why did you choose working for Wider Sense?

Sustainable solutions for complex societal challenges can only be developed in a good interplay of actors from government, business and civil society. At Wider Sense TraFo, I can contribute my knowledge of different sectors to the development, implementation and continuation of corresponding projects and, together with an inspiring team, make a contribution to social transformation - in the sense of more diversity, more participation and the development of new learning and creative potentials.

What is a random fact about you?

I am an enthusiastic mountain hiker and can hardly imagine a life without literature, film, theater and civic engagement.