Leila Makarechi brings a background in edtech and over a decade and a half of experience working in social impact to Philanthropy U’s growing team.

“Finding a company whose user base is comprised of people at the frontlines of social impact is incredibly exciting,” says Leila. “I’m thrilled to merge my background in international development and my experience in edtech to help transform the global social sector. I can’t imagine a better time or place to take on that challenge.”

In her role, she will link Philanthropy University’s global network of social impact professionals with the top foundations, individuals and companies who invest in leaders that change the world. Collaborative investments will provide new opportunities for digital learning as we focus on upskilling frontline practitioners doing critical work in under-resourced communities.

Previously, she was head of government partnerships at Coursera, a billion-dollar online education company, where she managed the go-to-market strategy and millions in enterprise revenue from governments and organizations seeking to nurture a more competitive workforce.

“Leila drove much of Coursera’s early strategy focused on partnering with Government and Civil Society Organizations, now one of its largest business lines,” says Connor Diemand-Yauman, CEO of Philanthropy U and who previously led B2B business at Coursera. “The breadth of her leadership expertise, from startups and technology companies to the largest nonprofits and multilateral organizations, has given her a rare, cross-sector perspective well-aligned to Philanthropy U’s work. We’re thrilled to have her on board as we continue upskilling local mission-driven organizations at scale.”

Prior to Coursera, Leila was the chief operating officer at Microclinic International where she scaled from three people delivering one program to more than 1,000 people across four continents. She began her career as the youngest member of the United Nations Development Programme, where she helped manage a $46 million impact fund with investments across Latin America.

In recent years, capacity building has surfaced as a key enabler – and critical focus – for sustainable development. Philanthropy U is a player in the space that uses scalable technology to deliver free practical learning, peer-to-peer communities and funding opportunities to social impact organization via its online platform; nearly 130,000 users have registered with the initiative since its relaunch in March of last year.

Leila speaks Spanish, French and Persian and has worked with governments, for-profit and non-profit companies in more than 30 countries — ranging from Appalachia in the U.S. to refugee camps across the Middle East. She has a B.A. in political science and social welfare (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Master of Public Affairs from the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) Paris. She loves spending time with her two young sons who teach her how the world really works.

August 5, 2019


Paige is the lead of our Marketing and Communications department at Philanthropy U. She is passionate about projects that blend technology and social missions.


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