Organization: Worldreader

Location: San Francisco, CA

Express Interest

About Worldreader:

Literacy is transformative: it increases earning potential, decreases inequality, improves health outcomes and breaks the cycle of poverty (UNESCO). Yet there are 740 million illiterate people in this world and 250 million children of primary school age who lack basic reading and writing skills (UNESCO). Books are necessary for the development of these skills, and still 40% of schools in Africa have few or no textbooks at all (SACMEQ II).

Worldreader is on a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader.

Where We Work

Worldreader partners with local governments, school systems, communities, and related businesses in over 50 countries, providing the digital library experience to readers ages 0-100+.

Worldreader programs and projects occur predominately in the global south and their main regional programmatic hubs are in East Africa (Kenya), West Africa (Ghana), and India (New Delhi. Their two primary “headquarters” are San Francisco and Barcelona, and a number of staff work remotely in the US and India, and many of our roles involve frequent travel to the countries where we have partners.

How We Work

The increasing ubiquity and diminishing costs of digital technology enables Worldreader to solve traditional problems related to literacy and books in a simple and straight-forward way. Wherever possible, Worldreader builds on digital platforms and mobile connectivity in the developing world to make books available to children and families; Worldreader provides e-readers to schools and libraries through sponsorships, and has created reading apps and a browser platform allowing anyone, anywhere to access the Worldreader digital library from a Worldreader mobile phone or tablet.

Worldreader actively curates books by local authors for our library. The more relevant and engaging a student’s first reads are, the more likely s/he is to continue learning and reading throughout their life. Worldreader also helps African and Indian authors and publishers translate and digitize their titles and expand their audiences. Worldreader rounds out the library with wonderful titles donated by the world’s top trade and textbook publishers. The organization reaches readers in 55 countries, providing them with 42,899 book titles in 43 languages.

Our Impact

Worldreader’s scaling capacity is effective and an inexpensive way to distribute books to those in limited and no-access areas. The organization has achieved impressive results: after less than 5 months in Worldreader’s program, children show significant improvements in fluency and comprehension.

Through team efforts and partnerships with the private sector, teachers, education experts, and other organizations, Worldreader continues to work towards a world in which every child and their family have the books they need to improve their lives, the practice of reading is commonplace, and where illiteracy is a thing of the past.

Position Summary:

The Chief Program Officer will bring deep experience in international education development, reading and/or literacy, and a passion for educational technology, particularly in  communities in the developing world.

The Chief Program Officer oversees Worldreader’s overall programming with the goal of increasing the impact of the organization in advancing literacy around the world. In partnership with a strong executive team, the CPO leads a cross-functional team that includes Worldreader’s four programs (pre-reading, school reading , libraries, and lifelong reading), as well as monitoring and evaluation, and content. Through close, creative partner relationships, the Chief Program Officer has the opportunity to innovate Worldreader’s current program pillars (early education, schools, libraries, and lifelong), as well as guide the organization’s pioneering efforts with key corporate partners, including with Amazon and Goodreads. In addition to these areas of administration, the Chief Program officer has oversight over the organization’s expanding content library and Monitoring & Evaluation group, and manages a global, cross-functional team.

The role is based in San Francisco, CA.

Core Competencies:

The Chief Program Officer is a bold thinker and a strategic, ‘hands-on’ executor, who will help Worldreader maximize the organization’s impact and reach through thoughtful strategic planning, strong partnerships and innovative, effective, data driven innovations. As a member of the leadership team, s/he will bring a genuine passion for Worldreader’s mission and a holistic view of Worldreader’s impact around the globe. S/he will have significant experience driving program success coupled with cross-cultural fluency.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree, with an advanced degree preferred. This role will require approximately 30% domestic and international travel, and may occasionally require more extensive travel.

To be successful in this role, the Chief Program Officer will possess the following key attributes:

Strategic Leadership

The Chief Program Officer is a strategic and results-oriented leader who will guide and articulate a complete vision for Worldreader’s programming, including overall strategy, execution, and evaluation. With a data driven philosophy, this leader will have had extensive experience partnering with international nonprofits, foundations, public institutions, and private sector organizations. With the collaboration of Worldreader’s senior leadership and the Board, this leader will set significant goals, and have deep successful experience managing a team towards realistic, ambitious, and aggressive goals. S/he will have a track record of implementing innovative strategies and initiatives and will adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing program successes.

Collaboration & Strong Relationship Management

With success as a high touch and collaborative leader, the Chief Program Officer will be a flexible self-motivated team player who serves as a thought partner to the CEO, Board of Trustees, and the Program staff. The Chief Program Officer will partner with the Chief Advancement Office and greater revenue team to inform and design fundraising strategies to expand and realize programmatic investment goals. With an approachable, direct style, the Chief Program Officer will be a natural relationship-builder with the ability to develop, sustain, and enhance excellent relationships with all stakeholders. S/he will embrace the organization’s culture while continually innovating to help expand the brand and reach. The Chief Program Officer will be an empathic leader and an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values, treating others with respect, who can be trusted without reservation.

Persuasive Communication

The Chief Program Officer will be a confident, influential and articulate communicator with the ability to work fluidly across all levels with a high degree of cross cultural competence. The Chief Program Officer will be a charismatic, high-energy leader who can talk with all constituents and successfully convey organizational, programmatic and mission-oriented objectives. S/he will be an exceptional presenter and communicator with strong interpersonal skills and a natural ability to convey Worldreader’s priorities in a way that builds trust and galvanizes support. With an inherent ability to listen, think, and respond effectively to a variety of inquiries and challenges, s/he will be able to remain firm and steady in delicate situations and in high-level strategic discussions.

Passion for the Mission

The Chief Program Officer will embrace and have a true passion for the mission of Worldreader and a commitment to literacy. Driven by the mission to transform education and create life-long learners and readers, this individual will be a thoughtful and engaged leader, cognizant of Worldreader’s history and its impact. The Chief Program Officer will have the character, dexterity, and pioneering mindset to lead all programmatic and innovation for Worldreader. S/he will be a solicitous team player, working closely alongside senior leaders to support the overall mission, and to position Worldreader to achieve the greatest possible impact.

Change Management and Innovation

The Chief Program Officer will be an experienced administrative leader with significant and demonstrated results in innovating, improving and expanding programmatic efforts. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of work streams, including programs, metrics and evaluation, strategic planning, external partnerships and community engagement. S/he will have a holistic understanding of the nuances and complexities comprising Worldreader’s business operations, multiple sites, overall programming and content strategy, and an ability to find efficiencies. Across the organization, the Chief Program Officer will be a project manager with an eye for detail, the ability to delegate, and proficiency to communicate changes to appropriate stakeholders. An innovative, strategic thinker, this leader will have the capacity and drive to elevate Worldreader’s functions and program, and will seek to collaborate with senior leaders on organizational innovations.


Worldreader has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Medelene Beasley. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

Equal Opportunity And Affirmative Action Policy
Worldreader provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran status.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit