Erin Keown Ganju is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Room to Read, an organization that seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in the developing world by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.
Founded on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children¬, the organization works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
Prominently featured in John WoodÍs book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An EntrepreneurÍs Odyssey to Educate the WorldÍs Children, Erin has been instrumental in creating the scalable approach Room to Read employs to create flexible, adaptable programming to meet the diverse needs of each of its partner communities.
By working closely with nine in-country teams and two regional teams, Erin manages the design of Room to ReadÍs programs as well as its launches into new regions. She also oversees Room to ReadÍs more than 375 employees and operations worldwide.
Under her leadership, Room to Read has been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Draper Richards Fellowship, the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship and the American Library AssociationÍs Presidential Citation for International Innovation. In addition, Room to Read is one of the few organizations to have won the Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award every year since its inception and one of only 6% of charities to receive five consecutive 4-star ratings by Charity Navigator.
Prior to joining Room to Read in 2001, Erin held high ranking positions with Silicon Valley-based technology company Dejima, Inc., e-Commerce infrastructure provider Network Commerce, leading consumer products company Unilever N.V., and international investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Erin holds a combined bachelorÍs and masterÍs degree in International Relations and Economics from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.
Since its start in 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of more than four million children by providing increased access to high-quality educational opportunities through its network of libraries and schools, local language childrenÍs books and its girlsÍ education program. Room to Read is changing childrenÍs lives in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia and aims to reach 10 million children by 2015.