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John Wood


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John Wood

Inspirational Leadership Speaker and Founder of Room to Read

At age 35, John Wood left an executive career track at Microsoft Corporation to form Room to Read, a non-profit organization that combines the heart of Mother Theresa with the scalability of Starbucks to help children across the developing world break the cycle of poverty through the power of education. Razor-sharp business acumen honed at Microsoft, combined with a passion for leadership and making change on an international scale make John Wood a unique, inspiring, popular speaker with universal appeal.

John founded Room to Read out of deep concern that nearly one billion people lack basic literacy and that over 200 million children in the developing world are not enrolled in school. Since its start in 2000, Room to Read has sponsored the opening of more than 1,400 schools and 11,000 multi-lingual libraries across the developing world. The organization has distributed over 9.4 million children-s books in multiple languages and supports nearly 11,000 girls with long-term scholarships. John describes these results as total tip of the iceberg as Room to Read plans to
increase this literacy network to 20,000 libraries and schools serving at least 10 million children by the year 2015.

In his award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, John tells the story of how he raised over $125 million of financial commitments from a standing start to develop one of the fastest-growing non-profits in history. The book was described by
Publishers- Weekly in a starred review as an infectiously inspiring read. Translated into 21 languages, it is popular with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, educators, and internationalists alike, and was selected by as one of the Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006 and voted by Hudson Booksellers as a Top Ten Nonfiction title of 2006. The book was also featured during John-s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the resulting Oprah-s Book Drive with Room to Read raised over $3 million from viewers.

John holds a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, a B.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from the University of San Francisco. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Clinton Global Initiative. He is currently working with Viking Penguin on his second book to be published in late 2012.

What John Wood Talks About:

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World
This presentation is Johns first-person account of following his passion, and the lessons learned in doing so. It is a popular inspiring close or bring people to their feet dinner speech at corporate, industry, and education conferences.

Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
John first delivered this speech at a Microsoft sales conference. With sales reps facing an increasingly competitive and ever-changing economy,
Microsofts sales leadership team requested that John speak about whats possible when a committed person dares to take risks and leave their comfort zone.

Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Social Change
Leadership is a subject on which John lectures at leading business schools, including University of Chicago, Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton and Stanford. In this presentation, John highlights the leadership lessons that can be learned from the front lines of social change. This is an increasingly popular topic
amongst corporations, universities, and membership organizations.

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