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Meet the Staff: Room to Read's COO, Nicole Sayres

July 29, 2019


Get to Know Nicole
“More important than size is impact and Room to Read has a stellar reputation for punching above its weight.” Nicole Sayres Chief Operating Officer, Room to Read

In January 2019, Room to Read welcomed a Chief Operating Officer to the team, Nicole Sayres. 

Not only does Nicole come with extensive experience in international development but her love for travel and passion for dancing makes her a natural fit with our global team.  Nicole oversees Room to Read’s program operations, people operations, and information technology, playing a key role in ensuring the efficacy and evolution of the organization’s global programs and projects. Nicole’s leadership is a crucial part of Room to Read’s efforts to develop a sustainable and scalable vision for operational excellence as it prepares for its next phase of organizational growth.

With more than twenty years of experience in the public and private sector, Nicole joins Room to Read after 12 years at The Asia Foundation, where she most recently served as the Senior Director, Asia Operations Coordination, overseeing operations in 18 country offices. In that role, Nicole led the strategy, vision, and execution on new initiatives around recruitment, in-country security, compliance, and policy, as well as the design for their 2020 global strategic Implementation Plan. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Country Representative in Cambodia for The Asia Foundation, taught students in Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, and has contributed to multiple publications on South and Southeast Asia including a meta-survey on the use of technologies in education published by UNESCO Bangkok.

Nicole has immense experience working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including serving as International Project Manager at the U.S. Department of Labor, where she oversaw a portfolio of projects in Vietnam, Cambodia, and El Salvador. She also worked with the Asia Education Team at the United States Agency for International Development and co-designed an education project for Cambodia focused on teacher training, curriculum reform, and life skills. For the International Labor Organization, she conducted research that helped improve labor standards of house helpers in the Philippines. She has overseen a range of programs focused on topics including girls’ education, local governance, anti-human trafficking, economic development, and women’s empowerment, funded by donors such as the European Union, the World Bank, Australia, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Nicole is an Activator with SheEO Inc, a women-funding-women initiative that supports female entrepreneurs launching socially-impactful ventures. She is a council member at NationSwell and was a judge at the 2016 World Savvy Bay Area Festival. Nicole received a Global Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) with honors from IE Business School, a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She speaks English, conversational Japanese, and basic Spanish and Khmer.

Learn more about our leadership team here.