Colin McElwee

Colin McElwee

Colin co-founded Worldreader along with David Risher in 2010. From the early days and “leg work” of visiting publishers, government offices, and remote schools across sub-Saharan Africa, Colin today focuses on developing and growing key strategic partnerships, which puts to good use his previous for-profit and non-profit experience across the globe.

Before starting Worldreader Colin was the first executive director of marketing at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, where he helped establish the school’s reputation as a world-class business education provider. But he started his career as an economist for several Brussels-based lobbies to the European Commission, and later led the global marketing of large brands of beer for the biggest brewer in the UK at that time, Scottish & Newcastle PLC. It was in fact this knowledge of the challenges of distributing products and services across the globe that helped lay the foundation for Worldreader.

Colin has a degree in Economics from the University of Manchester and an MBA from ESADE Business School. In 2014 he was invited to be a member of the Global Agenda Council on Africa for the World Economic Forum (WEF) and in 2016 he was recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Schwab Foundation of the WEF.

Most recently, in 2019 Colin was a founding member of Catalyst 2030, a network of social innovators that has grown to more than 2000 organizations, with a mission to change the way development is funded and thereby accelerate progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Colin has two daughters and like them is an avid reader of books (now there’s a surprise!). And as a child, it was the vivid and intriguingly layered story of Rumplestilskin that got Colin reading in the first place.

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Worldreader’s leadership

If you would like to interview someone from worldreader’s leadership team,
please contact us at

Rebecca Chandler Leege

Chief Executive Officer

Deborah Backus

Deborah Backus

Chief Design Officer

Wendi Yen Huestis

Chief Advancement Officer