Who We Are

Founder and Principal                                                      
For 14 years, Vanessa Shadoian-Gersing has designed, managed, and evaluated education and youth projects across the world. Her experience includes a combined 7+ years with the UN and OECD and a senior leadership role at the social investment arm of a multibillion dollar organization. With projects and assignments spanning 23 countries, Vanessa has advised public and private organizations, governments and NGOs, and donors and funders.

We draw on specialist expertise from consultants and associate collaborators in our global network, as needed.


Click to see Vanessa's full bio

Previous Experience:

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development From 2005 to 2012, Vanessa worked at the OECD. In education, she spearheaded research and evaluations, crafted policy advice, and created evidence-based tools on innovations and reforms in teaching and learning (including teacher preparation, 21st-century learning models, and PISA) as well as career and technical education. At the local economic and employment development (LEED) program, Vanessa focused on skills development and social innovation. She conducted the inaugural review of female entrepreneurship in Romania and investigated promising workforce development models in Central and Eastern Europe.

Private sector and social enterprise After the OECD, Vanessa served as assistant vice president of education at the Singapore-based Chandler Corporation’s social investment arm. Responsible for measurement and teacher training, she worked with social enterprises in South and Southeast Asia to design, deliver, and determine the impact of innovative P-20 education programs. Most recently, Vanessa consulted with Education First, where she managed strategy and research projects for clients—such as the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, Southern Regional Education Board, and Understanding Language at Stanford University—and provided a range of subject matter expertise and technical assistance to philanthropic clients around the US.

United Nations Vanessa has also worked at UN agencies, both in basic education across the Asia-Pacific region at UNESCO and in youth employment across West Africa at the sub-regional office in Dakar.

Additional Vanessa has shepherded advocacy efforts for various global literacy and gender equality initiatives, including Room to Read. Previously, Vanessa worked in legal knowledge management with Shearman & Sterling in New York and Paris.


  • University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Sciences Po Paris, MA: political science, sociology of education
  • State University of New York Geneseo, BA: global political economy, French


  • French (full professional proficiency)
  • Spanish (working proficiency)