“Bold Goals attract Bold People”

“Bold Goals attract Bold People”

I was honoured to be invited by Volunteering Queensland (VQ) to attend a presentation yesterday by John Wood , best-selling author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World and Founder and Executive Chair of Room to Read, the fastest growing non-profit in history.

At age 35, John Wood left an international executive career track at Microsoft out of deep concern that nearly one billion people lack basic literacy and that over 200 million children in the developing world are not enrolled at school.

Room to Read has sponsored the opening of 1129 schools and established 10 000 multi-lingual libraries across the developing world. The event was organised by Volunteering Qld's Business Roundtable and Macquarie.

Opening the event VQs CEO Jelenko Dragisic spoke of the Business Roundtable as an opportunity for NFPs and Corporates to interact and work more efficiently together. I was very interested to hear of this roundtable. Here is a summary from VQs website:

“By bringing together a group of influential corporate and business players, we create an organic nucleus of thinkers and collaborators interested in creating innovative pathways to community involvement.
The Business Roundtable facilitates the emergence of corporate leaders who are willing and able to enter into partnerships based on passion and shared values. Corporate patrons can use their networks, influence and expertise to benefit community organisations – a valuable voluntary role.”

I found John Wood to be an inspirational speaker with an extraordinary story to tell. With the help of many volunteers around the globe his organization has had a huge impact on the lives of Millions.

His story of leadership also inspired me – “Our world is in need of leadership – our leadership!”

I learnt that Room to Read has opened 1, 442 schools

John asked “How do you go from success to significance?”

I learnt that Room to Read has opened 11,000 libraries.

John stated that “Bold goals attract bold people”

I learnt that because of this organisation, its leaders, volunteers and staff that 5 million kids now have access to libraries and schools!

There are good news stories in the world. We don’t hear enough about them.

We work in a sector where inspiring stories happen every day. We need to hear more of them and we need to ensure we are attracting more dynamic and inspiring leaders.

Room to read is linked by clicking on the title of this article.


  1. I too was inspired by John Wood who uses business acumen, no doubt developed while working at Microsoft, to utilize resources available within the business community. His clever use of leveraging Frequent Flyer miles donated by other business people is just one example of the way John Wood utilizes a resource which does not actually cost the donor anything.

    By using local, cheap, transportation, bicycles, rather than bringing in 4 wheel drives, also assists in cost cutting so that more funding can go towards paying for schools, books and teachers. Local communities are involved - parents actively assisting with the building of schools and encouraging their children to read and learn, local authors and artists who produce books in the childrens' native language and local teachers who encourage, inspire and lead the children to a better education and ultimately a better life.

    It was a privilege to hear first hand from the founder himself, about this amazing organization and how it has grown so much that it rivals such organizations as “Starbucks”. Room to Read is a truly amazing success story.


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