People | March 28, 2023

Worldreader Appoints Rebecca Chandler Leege as new CEO


April 17, 2023 – San Francisco, California. International nonprofit Worldreader is proud to announce the appointment of Rebecca Chandler Leege as Chief Executive Officer. Worldreader’s co-founder David Risher, who has been acting as Chief Executive Officer and Board President since 2010, will continue as Board Founding Chair as he joins Lyft as CEO.

Worldreader congratulates Mr. Risher on his new appointment, wishing him continued success and thanking him for 14 years of leadership and service in getting children around the world reading. Mr. Risher’s vision and guidance allowed the organization to reach over 21 million readers in more than 100 countries, empowering children to reach their potential through the transformative power of reading.

Rebecca is the perfect leader for Worldreader and I couldn’t be more excited to see her appointed as CEO. She has made a tremendous impact during her time as Chief Impact Officer, and I have no doubt she will get millions more children reading at the head of the organization. I am delighted to continue supporting Worldreader and its world-changing mission with the rest of its talented and passionate board.

David Risher, Worldreader co-founder and Board Founding Chair

With more than 25 years of leadership experience across education, child protection, and gender sectors, Ms. Chandler Leege has a proven track record of growing innovative organizations through creative collaborations, cross-sector partnerships, and strategic vision.

Ms. Chandler Leege first joined Worldreader in 2018. In her role as Chief Impact Officer, she has been driving the Worldreader’s strategy and its impact across the globe, helping the organization reach millions of readers. Ms. Leege’s new role commenced on April 17, 2023.

I am thrilled and honored to take on this new challenge. With 64% of children around the world currently in learning poverty, working with families and communities to get children reading has never been more crucial. And with Worldreader’s scalable technology and highly talented staff, I know we’ll be laser-focused on helping solve the learning crisis as we serve the families, children, and educators who use the BookSmart reading experience every day.

Rebecca Chandler Leege, CEO of Worldreader

The learning crisis doesn’t affect all children equally. Worldreader is deeply committed to providing equitable reading opportunities to all so that children worldwide can reach their potential and build a better world. Our mission is reflected in the makeup of our organization – Worldreader is led, advised, and supported by a newly appointed all-female Executive Team, which comprises accomplished leaders from diverse backgrounds, each bringing unique expertise and a shared passion for our mission.

We couldn’t be more proud to announce that newly appointed Chief Design Officer Deborah Backus and Chief Advancement Officer Wendi Yen Huestis are joining Rebecca and Shannon Atkinson, Worldreader’s Chief Financial and Human Resource Officer in driving our mission forward. Their collective vision, strategic acumen, and unwavering dedication to getting children reading will prove invaluable in tackling the global learning crisis.

About Worldreader

Worldreader gets children reading so they can reach their potential. The international nonprofit organization works with partners to get children reading at least 25 books a year with understanding, because regular reading leads to improved educational outcomes, stronger emotional intelligence, and higher earning potential. Worldreader achieves impact with BookSmart, a complete reading experience that improves reading comprehension, social-emotional, and digital literacy skills for children ages 3-12 years old.

Wendi Huestis
Chief Advancement Officer
Contact Wendi