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Room to Read appoints Michael Bowers as chief program implementation officer and Cynthia Orme as chief people and technology officer

September 28, 2022

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Sept. 28, 2022 (San Francisco, Calif.) — Room to Read, a leading global nonprofit organization focused on children’s literacy and girls’ education, announced the appointment of Michael Bowers as Chief Program Implementation Officer and Cynthia Orme as Chief People and Technology Officer. Bowers and Orme join the management team at Room to Read and 1600 staff worldwide as the organization implements against its 2021-2024 Strategic Plan and moves into a new phase of organizational growth and scale. They will guide the evolution of the organization’s global programs and projects, overseeing program operations, people operations and information technology.

“As we move towards our primary goal of benefiting 40 million children by 2025, we are creating two new leadership roles to better reflect Room to Read’s increased geographic scope, and our desire to provide strong support to our people located all over the world and accelerate their efforts with the use of technology,” said Geetha Murali, chief executive officer at Room to Read. “I’ve had the opportunity to see Cynthia and Michael shape and execute more efficient and effective practices and processes, and I look forward to their continued contributions as the leaders of major parts of our organization.” 

Bowers, who joined Room to Read in 2020 as the Vice President of Program Operations, is moving into this new management role and will be responsible for the overall guidance and management of Room to Read’s Program Operations, which oversees implementation of all programs and projects around the world. He will manage the strategy, planning and implementation of Room to Read’s operations worldwide as well as expansion into new geographies.

He has more than 25 years of experience in international development — encompassing management and implementation of complex community-based programs, donor relations, grant management — and knowledge of sectoral programming in health, shelter, agriculture and economic development. Over the last 20 years, Bowers has held a number of leadership positions at Mercy Corps, including the role of Country Director in Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Croatia and Afghanistan, as well as Regional Program Director and Senior Director of Strategic Response & Global Emergencies. Prior to joining Room to Read, he was the Vice President of the Humanitarian Leadership Team at Mercy Corps.

In her new executive leadership role, Orme will play a key part in the design, implementation and operations of Room to Read’s people practices and technology infrastructure, ensuring that these elements act as key enablers of the organization’s mission.

With more than 30 years of human resources and systems experience, she has worked in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors in a variety of progressive roles. Orme has a long history of managing complex People Operations and Human Relations functions, including experience in talent management, rewards, leadership and organization development, employee engagement, strategic leadership and inter-related technology management. Prior to joining Room to Read, Orme was in nonprofit consulting and has built people operations teams and processes for more than 15 nonprofit organizations, including social services, associations and NGOs. She has also previously held leadership roles in the for-profit corporate setting in global human resources and process improvement. She has a background in social work and financial management and has led employment and systems integration matters across 90+ countries.