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Mission

Imagine will empower every child, everywhere to build the literacy and numeracy skills they need to achieve their full potential.

How we will do it

Imagine will demonstrate that children, with personalized technology in their hands, can become literate and numerate with little to no adult instruction. More than 250 million children and youth worldwide do not have access to school. And hundreds of millions more go to school but never learn to read or write.

We are partnering with organizations across the globe to pilot autonomous learning programs. We will build an evidence base and identify what works – and why. We will use data to continuously improve the content, approach, and implementation. Then we will provide tools, expertise, capital, and a network to enhance our ability to scale elsewhere.

Enabling out-of-school children to learn through technology will dramatically increase access to education, free up resources, and create a high quality, cost-effective model that can scale globally. Similar to skipping the step of laying landlines and going directly to cellular, let's consider leap frogging the cost and time to build schools and go directly to autonomous learning. We will always count on adults, including teachers, to provide support, training and mentoring.

We envision a world where all children have access to opportunity. Proving the effectiveness of autonomous learning, beginning in places with no alternatives, can pave the way for limitless possibilities for all children.

Team

Board

Susan J Colby

CEO and Co-founder

Susan Colby is the CEO and Co-founder of Imagine Worldwide. Prior to founding Imagine, Susan was a partner in McKinsey & Company's San Francisco office leading the firm's North American Education Practice, where she worked with clients in the social, public, and private sectors. Previously, Susan was the Chief Executive Officer at Stupski Foundation. She was also a founding partner of the Bridgespan Group and led their work in K-12 education and philanthropic strategy for more than a decade. Susan also served as Co-President of the Sustainable Development Sector at Monsanto where she developed and led economically, environmentally and socially viable businesses in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Earlier in her career, in her first stint at McKinsey, Susan worked in a variety of industries and co-founded the North American Environment Practice. Susan is a co-author of several major articles on strategy, philanthropy and education, including "Galvanizing Philanthropy" (Harvard Business Review) and "Zeroing in on Impact" (Stanford Social Innovation Review). She has addressed major convenings on topics of strategy, philanthropy, gender, and education. Susan is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow (Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education). She is a Lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Education. Susan began her career at Bain & Company. She earned a BA from American University and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Karen Levesque

Senior Director for Measurement and Evaluation

Karen is Senior Director for Measurement and Evaluation at Imagine. As Director of the P-12 Education Center at RTI International and the K-12 School Improvement program at MPR Associates, she led research and technical assistance spanning early childhood through high school and transition to college. At RTI, Karen co-led a domestic-international education collaboration resulting in implementation of an early childhood study in East Africa and development of early grade reading and math training materials. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, she opened a village health clinic and co-founded a country-wide numeracy initiative focused on pre-literate women. Karen serves on the board of the African Library Project, which has created more than 2,000 libraries in sub-Saharan Africa. She earned her BA at Smith College, MPP at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and her PhD in Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley.

Jennifer Welsh

Partner

Jen leads pilot development strategy and partnerships at Imagine. Prior to joining Imagine, Jen consulted for leading education reform organizations ranging from foundations, universities and nonprofits to school districts and charter management organizations. Through this work, she developed deep expertise in program management, organizational strategy, talent recruitment, leadership development, and strategic partnerships. Jen also served as Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation at The Broad Foundation as well as Program Director for Education Pioneers. Earlier in her career, Jen obtained a Master in International and Intercultural Education during which time she conducted data collection and analysis for UNESCO related to the achievement of EFA (Education for All) goals. She also spent a year in Chile teaching elementary school and working with local community teachers to provide professional development in math instruction. Jen earned her BA at Dartmouth College and Master and Doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Reggie Hillmon

Partner

Reggie is a Partner at Imagine and leads organizational operations, communications, and effectiveness. Reggie brings 20 years of experience in education, policy, research, and program management. Most recently Reggie worked at IBM bringing Watson Classroom to school districts across the United States. Before joining IBM, Reggie was the Director of College Access and Preparation at University of California Office of the President. He provided strategic leadership, technical support, and policy guidance to the President's office and ten campus' community college and K-12 student preparation programs. Reggie holds a BA in social sciences from San Francisco State University and an MPA from Rutgers University.

Yesani Kepanda

Manager of Program Delivery

Yesani is the Manager of Program Delivery at Imagine. He is responsible for managing implementation of our sites in Malawi, including relationships with schools, teachers, and communities, to ensure high-quality execution of all aspects of the work. Previously, Yesani served as a project manager for Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), leading the implementation of the Unlocking Talent project. He has also served as a Program Manager for a USAID-funded program with Banja La Mtsogolo (Marie Stopes International Malawi) and as a Community Outreach Officer for Concern Worldwide within the health and nutrition program. He earned his BA in education at the University of Malawi.

Sarah Bardack

Research Analyst

Sarah is a Research Analyst at Imagine. Most recently, Sarah was a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University where her research focused on understanding how parents and teachers support children's social-emotional development. She also developed expertise in quantitative methods including experimental and quasi-experimental evaluation design and multilevel modeling. Earlier in her career, Sarah worked as an English teacher and a volunteer in Vietnam, supporting health and education programs for disadvantaged children. Sarah earned her BA at New York University, MPP at Georgetown University, and her PhD in Developmental and Psychological Sciences at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.

Emma Sakson

Associate

Emma is an Associate at Imagine. Most recently, Emma served as a Princeton in Africa fellow in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, where she supported the communications, advocacy, and client services work of Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT). Based at CCBRT's Disability Hospital, Emma assisted the Maternal and Newborn Health Capacity Building team with the implementation of a project designed to increase the capacity of healthcare workers and clinical staff in government facilities. Prior to joining Imagine, Emma conducted research on disability services and accessibility challenges in coordination with various NGOs in Kampala, Uganda, and served in a variety of roles at the ONE Campaign. She earned a BA in international affairs from The George Washington University.

Joe Wolf

Co-founder and Chairman of the Board

Joe Wolf is Chairman of the Board and Co-founder of Imagine. He also serves as an advisor to the TPG Rise Fund and NPX. Previously, Joe co-founded The Learning Accelerator and OpenUp Resources. Joe has also held board positions for Summer Search, the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Learning, New Classrooms, and the New Schools Venture Fund. He was formerly a Partner at RS Investments where he co-managed a team that grew $100 million in assets to over $12 billion. Prior to RS, he worked at Goldman Sachs & Company. Joe holds a BA from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Susan J Colby

CEO and Co-founder

Susan Colby is the CEO and Co-founder of Imagine Worldwide. Prior to founding Imagine, Susan was a partner in McKinsey & Company's San Francisco office leading the firm's North American Education Practice, where she worked with clients in the social, public, and private sectors. Previously, Susan was the Chief Executive Officer at Stupski Foundation. She was also a founding partner of the Bridgespan Group and led their work in K-12 education and philanthropic strategy for more than a decade. Susan also served as Co-President of the Sustainable Development Sector at Monsanto where she developed and led economically, environmentally and socially viable businesses in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Earlier in her career, in her first stint at McKinsey, Susan worked in a variety of industries and co-founded the North American Environment Practice. Susan is a co-author of several major articles on strategy, philanthropy and education, including "Galvanizing Philanthropy" (Harvard Business Review) and "Zeroing in on Impact" (Stanford Social Innovation Review). She has addressed major convenings on topics of strategy, philanthropy, gender, and education. Susan is a Pahara-Aspen Fellow (Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education). She is a Lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Graduate School of Education. Susan began her career at Bain & Company. She earned a BA from American University and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Chinezi Chijioke

Board Member

Chinezi Chijioke is the Co-founder and the CEO of Nova-Pioneer Education Group, a network of accessible 21st century private schools across Africa. Today Nova-Pioneer operates 4 schools in South Africa and Kenya, with a goal of operating 100 great schools over the next decade.

Prior to founding Nova-Pioneer, Chinezi led McKinsey & Company's African Education Practice, where he worked for 8 years gaining experience with over 25 countries' school systems across the world, including South Africa. He is the co-author of McKinsey's 2010 global education report, "How the World's Best School Systems Keep Getting Better." He has also founded youth leadership programmes in South Africa and Nigeria, and he currently serves on the Global Advisory Council of Teach For All. Chinezi started his career as a secondary school mathematics teacher, where he was nominated by his students to "Who's Who of American Teachers."

Chinezi holds a BA with honours from Harvard University, and an MBA and an M.Ed. from Stanford University. A Nigerian national, Chinezi lives in South Africa.

Aishetu Dozie

Board Member

Aishetu Dozie's passion for global finance began in the equities division of Goldman Sachs on the international desk in New York over 20 years ago. She went on to work for a USAID-funded project with the Nigerian government in its privatization program. She worked closely with President Olusegun Obasanjo and his economic team of cabinet ministers in crafting the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, which drove several successful reforms including the $18 billion Paris Club debt write-off. Her passion for demonstrable development impact and understanding the intersection of the public and private sectors ability to stimulate economic growth led her to the World Bank in Washington, DC, where she focused on financing businesses in the manufacturing, infrastructure, and service sectors in regions such as Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and Eastern Africa.

Aishetu has worked for Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Standard Chartered Bank, and Rand Merchant Bank as a senior investment banking executive, having closed $130 billion in M&A, financing, and capital markets transactions. Over the past two decades, she's lived in New York, Johannesburg, London, Chicago and Lagos. She founded a first-of-its-kind children's play and activity center in Lagos and authored a children's picture book entitled "Paloo & Friends in Imaginaria". She recently began filming ambitious and successful African women on the continent and in the diaspora to showcase their lives and amplify their voice. The project is called African HERstory (www.africanherstory.com). She currently lives in Palo Alto, CA with her husband and three superhero sons where she is a Fellow at the Distinguished Careers Institute at Stanford University. She holds a BA from Cornell University, an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and participated in the Leaders in Development Program at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.

Michael Horn

Board Member

Michael Horn speaks and writes about the future of education and works with a portfolio of education organizations to improve the life of each and every student. He serves as the Chief Strategy Officer for the Entangled Group, an education technology studio, and as a senior partner for Entangled Solutions, which offers innovation services to higher education institutions. He is also the co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, a non-profit think tank.

Michael is the author and coauthor of multiple books, white papers, and articles on education, including the award-winning book "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns" and the Amazon-bestseller "Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools." An expert on disruptive innovation, online learning, blended learning, competency-based learning, and how to transform the education system into a student-centered one, he serves on the board and advisory boards of a range of education organizations, including the Clayton Christensen Institute, the Robin Hood Learning+Tech Fund, and the LearnLaunch Institute. He also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is a venture partner at NextGen Venture Partners. Michael was selected as a 2014 Eisenhower Fellow to study innovation in education in Vietnam and Korea, and Tech&Learning magazine named him to its list of the 100 most important people in the creation and advancement of the use of technology in education. Michael holds a BA in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Amy Klement

Board Member

Amy Klement is a partner at Omidyar Network and leads their Education initiative globally. Amy was previously responsible for their work in the Financial Inclusion, Property Rights, and Consumer Internet & Mobile initiatives in key geographies. She has held board seats or observer roles with Kiva, Living Goods, Bridge International Academies, Social Finance US, Mimoni, Andela, and Off Grid Electric. Prior to Omidyar Network, Amy worked for eBay where she served as vice president of relationship marketing, leading email, on-site, and other retention marketing channels and as vice president of product strategy and operations, driving the development of the company's long-term product vision and leading user experience and design. Amy formerly worked for PayPal, joining as one of its earliest employees in 1999. As vice president of product for PayPal, she and her team developed the company's payments platform, facilitated the company's overseas expansion into Europe and Asia, and were instrumental in the launch of PayPal Mobile. Earlier in her career, Amy worked in corporate strategy and development at Gap Inc. and as an analyst at JPMorgan & Co. Amy holds a BS in mathematics from Bucknell University, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Rebecca Winthrop

Board Member

Rebecca Winthrop is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution. She is the former head of education for the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid NGO. Her research focuses on education in the developing world, with special attention to innovative education models, the skills children need to succeed in life, and improving quality learning for the most marginalized children and youth, including girls and children affected by extreme violence. Select recent publications include "Can We Leapfrog? The Potential of Education Innovations to Rapidly Accelerate Progress" with Eileen McGivney and Adam Barton; "Millions Learning: Scaling up Quality Education in Developing Countries" with Jenny Perlman Robinson; and "What Works in Girls' Education: Evidence for the World's Best Investment" with Gene B. Sperling. She holds a Ph.D from Columbia University, Teachers College; an MA from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and a BA from Swarthmore College.