David, Thank you for being such a wonderful leader and friend during the 6 years I have been with Worldreader. You make me laugh, you inspire me and you challenge me. I have enjoyed every minute! Thanks for agreeing to still be my English muffin mule. I will never forget our trip to NYC last year and seeing your omnipotent face in the clouds! :)
David always goes 110%! My favorite memory of David is him dressing as a sad librarian clown (I think?) for Halloween and taking meetings with his face fully painted. Love the commitment.
I have many awesome memories of David during his time as the CEO of Worldreader.
One great memory is when David dedicated an entire 1.5 days to join me at the Microsoft Executive Retreat to talk about the importance of cultivating fans to achieve Worldreader's goals. He wowed the audience (Microsoft's top 200 executives) with his charisma, thoughtfulness, humor, and humility.
Another great memory is the trip we took to Nairobi for an important Worldreader conference as well as the opportunity to visit schools and partners who were benefitting from Worldreader's products and programs.
A third wonderful memory are the weekly phone calls that I did with David when I served as the President of Worldreader's Board while David was the CEO. It was wonderful to serve as a sounding board each week on whatever challenges David was tackling that particular week.
Worldreader has been lucky to have such a wonderful CEO/Founder and I know his contributions will continue as the President of the Board.
David, I remember when you and I went to the office of the editor of Business and Financial Times Ghana. As you spoke to the editor in his office, the editor paid no attention, he kept moving around and searching for whatever, I had no idea. I felt like he treated us with no importance. On our way out, I apologized to you and said that I was sorry for the editor's behaviour. You replied, "I don't think he was not listening. I believe he was and he is going to send his best journalist to do a story." I was really surprised by your humility and in the same conversation you said, "Sammy thank you for all your hard work. I think you are doing some great work here." I was about 26 years at the time and it made a great impression on me. Oh, and the editor did send one of his best journalists to do the story! Humility is an important attribute of a great leader.
I also remember when you were going on the biggest radio station in Ghana - and while in the waiting room, you stood up and started to rub your hands together, saying, "This is going to be exciting!" You were being vulnerable at the time and directing your nervous energy in a positive direction.
I count myself very fortunate to have joined Worldreader and to work with all the amazing people your leadership attracted and for the opportunity to learn directly from you.
Lyft is very lucky to have you.
My 2 favorite Risher policies of all time: "No Divorces" and "Pour gasoline on it."
David, My favorite memories include:
1. My first meeting with you when you visited Delhi in February 2019. You gifted me a small pocket size spiral book of photos from various Worldreader programs since 2010. I still cherish those moments captured in this small wonderful booklet.
2. A girl child welcoming you and Jen into her school by applying a Vermilion Tilak (ornamental mark on forehead). In a way, she is thanking you and Worldreader on behalf of all the children in India.
David, Here are some of my favorite photos
1. Photo Description: Multi-sector Partner meeting in Delhi that kicked off the Read2Kids Program, which led to the journey to BookSmart.
2. Photo Description: One of the first few mothers and grandmothers focus groups in Delhi Slums communities, discussing their opinions on the need to read to children and harvesting insights directly from the users that went into the design of Read2Kids WebApp in 2016.
3. Photo Description: User Journey Review with a Father from a Low-income home in 2016.
4. Photo Description: Celebrating Digital Reading Summit 2017
5. Photo Description: At the Amani Kibera Centre for Girls....
6. Photo Description: Fun times at Team Dinners in Spain..
7. Photo Description: Selfie time with Read2Kids Mothers....
None of us got to where we are alone and working with David taught me a lot about thinking big and about others. David’s guidance and patience in this last year helped me to develop into the person and professional I am today, thank you!
Traveling with David to India - watching him engage with children, making them laugh and in his smile celebrate them as individuals.
Rebecca Chandler Leege
My absolute favorite memory of an interaction with David is when on a call he asked me which book had made an impact on me and why?
A buried memory suddenly resurfaced in my mind - my dad and me reading to each other “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective people” by Stephen Covey.
David as a leader was able to personalize Worldreader’s mission at a deeper level for me - me as a child, my parent, the joint journey through a book, the impact on our lives and the lasting sweet memory.
Thank you David for being such an empathetic leader and listener. Wishing you all the best for the ride ahead!
David, You hired me and then barely 10 days later you were stolen away by Lyft. Clearly I must be extraordinarily intimidating. :)
Traveling with him in Ghana and seeing him in action in the field. Also discussing Batman, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk among other things during a 3hr road trip. And a visit to the 'Batcave' in Atlanta.
When David was talking like a smoker at our Halloween party in 2022. He had it down like a science ~ lol
I'll always remember and be grateful for your warm, kind, generous friendship and mentorship - especially during the wonderful early days of Worldreader. Standout memories include driving to a potential donor meeting and Miguel had just quit - I asked you, "Who's going to build our library?" and you said "I'm looking at her!" - wow, what a rush and how fun learning together how to do so many things! You trusted and empowered me and that was an amazing feeling and it's what enabled me to do great work for WR, building the library, the first app, the 'Worldreader in a box' program. You also made it fun to come to work each day - I remember a lot of laughter! Finally, you were a forgiving leader, evidenced by me keeping my job after the "Buns for All" Kindle Screensaver practical joke.... the infamous photo persists in my Kindle library, but out of respect I'll not share it here. :). A HUGE thank you, David for all that you taught me, for your time and patience, for the fun and laughter. And wishing you the very best of everything as you embark on your new adventure at Lyft! With love, "Woody"
The first is a picture of the reception held at the start of last year's global retreat and the second a short video demonstrating the passion, energy and fun that David puts into activities. Other photos capture his deep interest in people. More difficult to capture on camera is David's extraordinary vision and courage.
One of my favourite memories of David was in Barcelona during the coming-together event in 2022. I think I was trying to figure out the coffee vending machine when David walked up to me from behind and greeted me, asked after my well-being and expressed his pleasure at my participation in the event. That was my first in-person interaction with David. Perhaps in every other organisation, it'd be an employee walking up to the CEO for a greeting, but with David and Worldreader it was the other way around. Seldom have I seen such a down-to-earth executive. The entire interaction made me feel really valued and increased my respect for David, which was already massive to begin with.
I met David for the first time a week before our summer team get-together. We went to a San Francisco Giants baseball game on a warm August day. I knew that David was an intelligent, strong and visionary leader from the moment we met but didn't realize how down to earth he was too. Loud music projected during breaks and I still remember a sweet memory of us all dancing in the bleachers and singing the lyrics to the Spice Girls together. Yes, we knew the lyrics and somehow David knew them all.
My favorite WR story involving David is when we had the board meeting in Nairobi in 2019. We were having dinner at the hotel, and the server asked what we were all doing in Nairobi. I think it was David who said, "We are with Worldreader. We're helping children in Africa learn to read." The server said, "Oh, I know Worldreader! We used Kindles in my school and that's how I learned to read. In fact I credit Worldreader for actually getting this job." Anyway, this is how I recall this moment, and it made a huge impact on me, actually seeing the results of all the magnificent work David and Worldreader have accomplished.
David, Remember the secret room in the library!? You welcomed me into your home when I traveled to SF in 2022 and we spent a couple of hours catching up and chatting about my new venture and the past and future of Worldreader. David, it is a symbol of your achievements but also of your thoughtfulness in the attention to detail and your playfulness. Thank you for all you've done.
David below surrounded by some very happy Indian readers - Worldreader at its best, empowering women and bringing the joy of reading to kids on the streets of Delhi; and attached a video of David and some of us dancing with kids in the school in Kibera - can't believe I am sharing this... Truly embarrassing, but whether its Barcelona or Nairobi David always has everyone
Wishing you at least 13 more years as our Board Chair and really thankful for all you have done and will continue to do as a champion of reading! Read to Kids, Tuta Tuta, Keep Children Reading, And more recently GPE KIX and Raising Readers have all been such memorable parts of my professional journey. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this great organization and pushing for more reading to young children!
David, I'll always remember eating alligator with you in Africa! And watching you dance with the kids at the schools in Kenya – you always jump right in! I love your joy and enthusiasm.
David, I read once you started your early days with a ride across the US....on a bike! A few years later...millions of rides await now for you at Lyft! What a journey you've had, thanks for inviting us to join you for some years. Thank you for your leadership, trust and continuous support. It's been an honour to work for you and to help drive your vision.
David, while I did not get to work with you for a long time, I really want to say how much I admire your vision and tenacious focus on the key items that relate to the child and the parent. With everything else spinning around, you kept that forefront, and that is something hard to do. Thank you for that, and thank you for taking a chance with me coming in late in the game and helping to usher in a new evolution of the product. I do hope that you take up your pilot's certificate; if you ever need a pinch hitter instructor, I'll fly with you!
Fresh out of maternity, baby Greta joined me for a late afternoon gathering. David was the only one to ask if he could hold the baby. Greta was amused and had great fun. I felt so grateful that I was part of an organisation headed by an exceptionally empathetic leader. Thank you for building this great organisation and for giving me the opportunity to work on what I love, marketing and the importance of reading (to children).
Lynn Caroline Bröker
David - A leader who challenges himself, dreams big and believes in making those dreams come true. You did not fail to leave an impression on me about how easily you were able to spark innovation and excitement in everyone around hence creating such an AWESOME team at Worldreader! You are a true leader and I would like to place a quote by John Quincy Adams here: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." I wish you all the best in your future endeavours !
Dear David, Your leadership style, your work ethic, and your unwavering dedication to excellence have been a constant source of inspiration for me. I will miss you at Worldreader but I know you are going to spread your greatness at Lyft. Wishing you all the best in your new journey. Sincerely,
David has, first and foremost, been a consistent and supportive friend across all corners of the Atlantic, USA and Europe. Watching him grow in his leadership of Worldreader and other projects has been a pleasure and inspiration – along with Jennifer (who does not seem to age). We wish David the best in his future endeavors, where he will most certainly shine.
David - Extraordinary time we spent in an extraordinary place on top of Barcelona to celebrate the extraordinary potential of the Worldreader family. That was the last time we saw each other and it was an unforgettable experience. The energy you inject into everything you do - from a casual dinner conversation to leading promising organisations - is the fuel that drives any team to success. Best wishes on the next ride.
David, I want to convey my deepest gratitude on behalf of all the children in West Africa and throughout the world who have become readers as a result of your initiative to establish Worldreader. Your dedication to making digital books available to people all over the world has helped to empower many individuals and communities, and has definitely had an enormous impact on countless lives. Thank you for your bold and inspiring leadership, your passion, and everything you've helped us achieve through Worldreader. I wish you the best of luck at Lyft.
Thank you, David, for starting this initiative to get kids reading, especially those in underserved communities. I’m confident that many people who had the necessary resources in this world may have had the same concept but were unable to put it into practice. You deserve thanks for coming up with the concept and making it work for the kids who had the chance to read a book’s text using a Kindle and a mobile app. Those children say God bless you for impacting their life in any small way.
David, It's been a while since I left Worldreader but I must admit there are things that haven't changed much: I am still not great at the goodbyes and "public emotional moments". So with this lawyer disclaimer here we go:
Worldreader has given many of us the great opportunity to be passionate and proud about the work we were doing while having such a blast! Many shared adventures to the unknown that built long-lasting friendships. That in itself is the greatest success as a CEO! But for me, there was much more: I grew both professionally and personally.
Against all odds (I know you do not like lawyers that much) you encouraged me to explore many roles to later become your partner in crime. I am particularly thankful for your support in improving my communication skills (All those annual reviews did make a difference, I am much softer now), for your trust in my ability to lead and for the opportunity to learn how to create digital solutions from design to deployment. Thanks to that I am now working in a field that I love, so THANK YOU!
I hope you continue to make risky bets in your new role (I am sure you will)! Still once a Worldreader… always a Worldreader.
David, you are bold and a visionary!
David, you are and have always been inspirational! Every time you have spoken at an event I felt my commitment to Worldreader reaffirmed. Your enthusiasm and great positivity are unmatched. So glad you are not going further than Chair of the Board!
D, it's been the pleasure of a lifetime creating and nurturing and growing this enormous project with you. It really has. You have poured so much raw emotion, talent and insight into what we have achieved that I, from time to time, often in the presence of my girls for obvious reasons as you will appreciate, just stand back and take a deep breath and try to take it all in. Our conversations are always wide-ranging and often profound and never fail to lift me and I thank you for that energy that you selfishly give in abundance. Not just to me, but to all around you. And I know that that will never change!
Your friend always! C.