English Executive Team state operations
Nicole (Nikki) Sayres joins Stand for Children as its Chief Operating Officer, bringing over 20 years of experience in the education and social development sectors. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer for Room to Read, where she led the execution of its bold strategy to benefit 40 million children by 2025 through literacy and girls’ education. In leading the organization through the pandemic, she supported innovative ways to ensure education endured for children while also advancing staff safety and wellbeing. She managed the expansion of programs in new locations and delivery channels, the development of a Digital Transformation roadmap, and foundational work on the organizational commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Prior to Room to Read, Nikki oversaw the operations of 18 country offices for The Asia Foundation, where she effectively guided offices through a period of major change that involved adapting programs, navigating new local compliance requirements, and fostering greater collaboration among offices.
A passion for education has been a driving force throughout Nikki’s career. She served as a literacy tutor for refugees during college and afterwards as an English teacher in Japan. At USAID, she worked with the Education Team and co-designed a project for Cambodia focused on teacher training, curriculum reform, and life skills. Later, for The Asia Foundation in Cambodia, she developed and managed a tertiary education program that supported several hundred young women to secure college degrees and professional careers, with 94% of scholars securing employment before graduation. She also created a high school rural reading initiative to foster a culture of reading through festivals, essay contests, librarian training, and book distribution. In the Philippines, Nikki designed a project to provide a community center and internships for out-of-school youth. She also contributed to a meta-survey on the use of technology in education in Asia published by UNESCO. Nikki is based in San Francisco, CA. She has lived in several US states, as well as in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Japan, and the Philippines. She holds an MBA from IE Business School, an MA in international affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, and a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations and a Certificate in DEI from Cornell University.