Organization: Innovations for Learning

Location: Greater Chicago area, IL

Express Interest

About Innovations for Learning:

Innovations for Learning (“IFL”) is a national nonprofit that develops technology and innovative educational content and methods to improve early literacy skills in public schools nationwide. IFL focuses exclusively on early literacy for the primary grades, working with 10,000 students in the nation’s largest urban school districts.

Why is learning to read so pivotal? Repeated research shows that students who can’t read proficiently by third grade become highly susceptible to larger setbacks as they grow older. Without the basic skill of reading, they are more likely to struggle throughout their school years, drop out of school and become enmeshed in the criminal justice system.

Our nation’s promise of equal opportunity is substantially extinguished for millions of students who fail to read proficiently in these first years of school. For over 20 years, IFL has helped primary grade teachers be more effective in their pivotal task of teaching students to read.

Our Solution: TutorMate

Our flagship product, TutorMate, is the nation’s preeminent online reading tutoring/mentoring program. The TutorMate Online Tutoring program matches students with tutors who are volunteers from major corporations and organizations around the country.

Currently we have over 5,000 volunteers from 200 corporate partners including JP Morgan Chase, Northern Trust Bank, AT&T, Western Union, United Airlines, Microsoft, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Google and Expedia.

We serve 25 major urban school districts, including: Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, Detroit, New York City, Charlotte, Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Ft. Lauderdale.

IFL has also conducted pilot projects throughout the developing world, and hopes to expand its international efforts as it builds organizational capacity.

To learn more about TutorMate, click here for a short video.

Our Model

IFL recruits organizations with the potential of recruiting employees in teams of ten. Each team adopts a classroom in a low-income school. The classroom teacher then selects ten students who are emerging readers that, with additional weekly practice, may gain proficiency in reading. IFL provides the program to schools at reduced charges by subsidizing it with fees from our corporate partners.

Each tutor is paired with one student for the entire school year. They tutor for 30 minutes, once a week, right from their workplace. Teachers create an online schedule that allows tutors to select tutoring times that work for the classroom. Tutors choose a 30 minute time slot that can be changed at any time; thereby, allowing maximum flexibility for scheduling tutoring into their work day. Once connected for a tutoring session, tutors and students share an audio connection using Skype while sharing TutorMate content activity screens including flashcards, stories and word games.

IFL volunteers have formed meaningful relationships with, and made a critical impact on, the educational outcomes of, students in need. With the convenience of volunteering from their work or home, TutorMate enables busy professionals to meaningfully “give back” and improve children’s literacy.

In a national independent randomized research study conducted in 2015, of over 600 students, TutorMate students completed the first grade one reading level higher than peers in the control group. 

Future Growth and Direction

IFL is on an incredible growth trajectory. Having amassed an army of over 5,000 volunteer tutors from 200 major corporations over the last ten years, the organization is poised for significant growth in the number of tutors, corporations and cities in the decade ahead.

IFL now seeks to take TutorMate to another level by opening up the program to individuals not connected to an existing corporate partner.  IFL wants to leverage its committed user base of 5000 tutors to reach out to their millions of friends and colleagues in their professional and social networks to recruit additional tutors, as well as raise funds through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns.

IFL is uniquely positioned to make a positive and lasting impact on public education.  Not only does IFL have an in-house product and software development team that enables it to both research and develop all of its own technology solutions, but the company is also able to scale the implementation of its solutions nationwide.

For more information about Innovations for Learning, click here.

The Opportunity:

The possibilities are endless for TutorMate to go viral through social media and other marketing channels, increasing the number of volunteers and groups formed while creating a meaningful opportunity and volunteer experience for individuals to help students learn to read.

On a fundamental level, the Head of Marketing & Strategic Growth will have the following responsibilities:


  • Lead IFL’s effort to create and activate a nationwide community of volunteers and fundraisers;
  • Design, develop, launch, and optimize digital marketing strategies and campaigns including social media, SEO, email marketing, and partnership development;
  • Collect, analyze and report on metrics and analytics from marketing strategies and campaigns to refine marketing initiatives;
  • Develop marketing toolkits and communication materials;
  • Build partnership with potential partner organizations to develop, align and implement marketing strategies.

Strategic Growth

  • Drive overall growth strategy of IFL in partnership with the Executive Director and the Senior leadership team;
  • Provide strategic direction to IFL’s school district and corporate sales team;
  • Analyze, set and present growth analytics for TutorMate and IFL;
  • Work with the IFL team to develop strategies to deepen engagement from existing volunteers; and
  • Experiment constantly to identify and refine new volunteer acquisition channels and optimize conversion funnels, as well as identify and refine new opportunities for volunteers to give back to public schools.

This executive will need to work independently to execute on goals balancing both strategic planning and tactical responsibilities.

The position is based in Chicago and will require the ability to work virtually.

Candidate Profile:

The successful candidate will be an experienced, digitally savvy, marketer, with a passion for public education, who seeks to apply his or her skills to grow a preeminent education brand.

Marketing Expertise

The Head of Marketing & Strategic Growth is an experienced leader with demonstrated success in growing a business over time, acquiring new customers and engaging existing customers. S/he will have measurable experience in setting and implementing innovative marketing strategies, programs and campaigns through a variety of digital and traditional channels. Given the experimental nature of this work, s/he will have the aptitude for, and relentless devotion to, developing and refining campaigns and initiatives until the goal is achieved. Serving as a catalyst of ideas and a brand evangelist within organizations, this leader will understand the importance of brand consistency and messaging across multi-channels. S/he will have strong written and verbal communication skills and be skilled at presenting to a wide range of stakeholders.

Executing for Results

This executive will be a self-starter who can brainstorm an idea, figure out the best and most efficient ways to implement and jump into action to push forward both independently and with a team. With a strong product mindset and orientation, s/he will be skilled at collaborating with the Executive Director, product developers and designers to articulate and integrate feedback to the product and user experience to drive growth and engagement. Analytical and data-driven, s/he will possess the ability to identify, track and communicate key metrics from marketing strategies and campaigns to the team.

Strategic Leadership

The Head of Marketing & Strategic Growth is a strategic and results-oriented leader and team player who can translate business and operations plans into marketing and communications strategies.  Resourceful and organized, s/he will be adept at creating new systems and processes to set the organization on a path for growth.  With a demonstrated ability to work in an entrepreneurial environment, s/he will be a flexible and adaptable leader who is comfortable navigating through ambiguity to achieve results. S/he is a strong problem solver with the ability to step into an unfamiliar situation and add immediate value.

Passion for the Mission

The Head of Marketing & Strategic Growth will have a passion for IFL’s mission to improve early literacy skills in children and for building IFL and TutorMate’s brand through marketing. A lifelong learner, s/he will embrace IFL’s culture of collaboration, while relentlessly innovating to expand TutorMate and IFL’s brand and reach.

An advanced degree in Business Administration or Marketing is strongly preferred.  Experience in the private sector in running a marketing and business division is highly desirable as well a background in education and the nonprofit sector.


Koya Leadership Partners, a national retained executive search firm that works with mission-driven clients, has been exclusively retained for this search. To make recommendations on candidates or express interest in the opportunity, please email Alison P. Ranney and Anny K. Chou at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

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