About 12 months ago our co-founders read, “Leaving Microsoft To Change The World” to learn how one of the fastest growing and most well-respected charities in the world, Room to Read, started. The author of the book, John Wood, is the Founder of Room to Read and is one of the most inspirational and passionate leaders on the planet.

We were fascinated by how John took his skillset, rigor, and standard of excellence as an executive at Microsoft and applied it to Room to Read. This deeply resonated with us as we always envisioned New Story having the same mindset and spirit of a top technology startup. One of our core values is to “improve through learning,” so we soaked up all we could from John’s entrepreneurial stories about tenacity, dreaming big, building a world-class team and executing to create a results-driven culture.


Through the introduction of a close New Story supporter, MR Rangaswami of the Sand Hill Group, we connected with John on a Skype call, and then recently met him at our office in San Francisco. We thought he saw a similar spark in us that he had when starting Room to Read, so Brett (knowing that John is all about making the ask) asked him to join our Advisory Board.

We’re proud and honored to say that John immediately agreed! We’re now even more inspired to go make big things happen and (as John would say…) GSD!

Why it’s a fit:

Because of our ambitious growth goals, we’re seeking advice, strategy, and guidance from the leader who built one of the fastest growing and most operationally efficient organizations launched in this century. John Wood built/led/co-led a global fundraising movement that, from a standing start, has raised >$450 million of capital and built out a network of over 15,000 volunteers in 50 cities.

That is where we envision New Story over the next decade. It’s like getting Michael Jordan to coach a basketball team that is obsessed with learning and can’t wait to play the next game with new plays and improved skill sets. John will specifically help coach our CEO, work on our sales and growth strategy, and make strategic introductions.


A little bit about the legend, John Wood:

John Wood is the Founder of Room to Read, an award-winning international education organization serving over 10.7 million children. John started Room to Read after a fast-paced global career w/ Microsoft. Today, over 37,000 girls have benefitted from the long-term Girls Education program. Room to Read has constructed over 2,500 school projects and opened over 18,700 libraries — 6x what Andrew Carnegie did in his lifetime.  The organization has also provided professional development to over  >50,000 teachers in literacy and library management. Over 16 million books have been put into circulation for children in ten countries across Africa, South Asia and SE Asia. Room to Read plans to reach over 15 million students by EOY2020.


John was named as one of Goldman Sachs 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, and was selected for the inaugural class of Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum. At the invitation of Bill Clinton he served three terms on the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Advisory Board, and is a four-time speaker at CGI. He was awarded the inaugural Microsoft Alumnus of the Year award by Bill and Melinda Gates, and appeared with Nick Kristof in the award-winning film Half the Sky. John is also a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and is a former Board Member of One Acre Fund and Net Impact.  He also serves on the Advisory Boards of Global Citizen Year and Possible Health.

John is the author of two books: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, and Creating Room to Read: A Story of Hope in the Battle for Global Literacy. The former was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, was a BookSense Book of the Month, and was named by Amazon as one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006. John is a “Top 4,000 Tweeter”,  join his 388,000 followers who track his globe-trotting adventures via: @johnwoodRTR

Get John Wood’s Book Here: Leaving Microsoft To Change The World. 

Onwards and upwards!

—The New Story team