Susan Colby

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Susan J. Colby
Partner & Leader of Education Practice. McKinsey & Company

Susan Colby is a partner in McKinsey & Company's San Francisco office and leads the firm’s North American Education Practice. She works with social and public sector clients on society’s most pressing problems with a special focus on education.

Prior to McKinsey, Susan was the Chief Executive Officer at Stupski Foundation. She was also a founding partner of the Bridgespan Group’s San Francisco office and led the group’s work in K-12 education and foundation strategy for more than a decade. 

Previously, Susan served as Co-President of the Sustainable Development Sector at Monsanto where she developed and led economically, environmentally and socially viable businesses in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Earlier in her career, in her first stint at McKinsey & Company, Susan worked in a variety of industries and co-founded the North American Environment Practice, serving clients in the areas of environmental management and strategy.

Susan is a co-author of several major articles on strategy, philanthropy and education, including: “Galvanizing Philanthropy,” (Harvard Business Review); “Zeroing in on Impact,” (Stanford Social Innovation Review); “The Strategic Value of a Shared Understanding of Costs,” (Strategy and Leadership); “Going for the Gold,” (Education Next); and “Reclaiming the American Dream”. She has addressed major convenings on topics of strategy, philanthropy, and education.

Susan also co-leads McKinsey’s Women’s Initiative and is involved in “Women in the Economy,” which provides insights on how companies can unlock the full potential of women’s talent in their organizations. Susan is a frequent speaker on this topic at leading forums.

Susan is a member of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute-NewSchools (now Pahara) Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education. She currently serves on the advisory boards for the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford and the Center for Reinventing Public Education. She began her career at Bain & Company after receiving her B.A. from American University cum laude. She then went on to earn her M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.