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Susan J. Colby is a partner in the Social Sector practice at McKinsey & Company where she works to make an impact in education and philanthropy. Susan is guided by an abiding passion to ensure that all students receive the education they need and deserve and to expand life options for youth of color and poverty. She brings extensive experience steering and guiding organizations focused on disadvantaged populations and is a nationally recognized thought leader in philanthropy-led innovations in education.
Before re-joining McKinsey & Company, Susan was the chief executive officer of the Stupski Foundation, a private operating foundation that worked nationwide to transform public education through student ownership of learning. Proir to Stupski, she was a partner at the Bridgespan Group and co-founded their San Francisco office. For more than a decade Susan led the group’s work in K–12 education and foundation strategy, providing a lens on disadvantaged populations. Her clients included large national organizations and foundations engaged in major strategic initiatives, as well as smaller, community-based organizations. She previously served as co-president of Monsanto’s Sustainable Development Sector, an initiative that developed economically, environmentally and socially viable businesses. She also co-founded and co-led the North American Environmental Practice of McKinsey & Company and served as a consultant with Bain & Company.
Susan has co-authored several major articles on philanthropy and education, including “Galvanizing Philanthropy” and “Zeroing in on Impact,” published in the Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation Review respectively. She also co-wrote “Going for the Gold” for Education Next and “The Strategic Value of a Shared Understanding of Costs,” which first appeared in the Nonprofit Director. She has co-authored numerous articles, reports and case studies, including an in-depth report on nonprofit management titled “Costs Are Cool” and the articles “Expanding the Supply of High Quality Public Schools” and “Reclaiming the American Dream.” She has also addressed the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, Grantmakers for Education and Stanford Nonprofit Institute.
She is a fellow in the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders in Public Education. Susan received her bachelor of arts degree, cum laude, from American University and a master’s in business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“The most fundamental, yet underutilized resource in our public schools is the energy, passion and creativity of students. We must tap that potential and change the way teaching and learning happens in our schools.” — Susan Colby