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ABOUT ISABELLE

I am innovating and building a bright and joyful future of learning for all children, starting at birth, and believe in empowering educators, families and communities in a child’s lifelong learning journey.

 

I immigrated to the US 20+ years ago, and education has been an enabler of my professional achievements.

 

I am passionate about education and learning - starting at birth - being one of the most powerful means in creating opportunities for each and every child, regardless of gender race, or zip code.

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THE EDUCATION IMPACT FUNDER

I am the Executive Director of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning. At Stanford University. I partner with scholars, students and external collaborators to leverage the latest advances in brain and learning sciences, data, and technology and create more effective and equitable solutions in learning for all.
 
Prior, I spent a decade with the Omidyar Group, the philanthropic investment group of Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, and his wife Pam. I founded and led the U.S. Education initiative at Omidyar Network and became a founding partner of its spinoff Imaginable Futures, the education venture of The Omidyar Group. There, I invested in organizations and projects that have reached millions of learners with impactful solutions. Behind these numbers are countless human stories of positive change, upward mobility, empowerment and hope.
 
I joined the “impact investing” field in the early 2010s when the concept was still being developed. Before joining Omidyar Network, I worked at ImpactAssets, one of the first nonprofit organizations dedicated to aligning capital with meaning and democratizing access to impact investing. I began my career as a global financier at Morgan Stanley, supporting the growth of organizations via financial capital tools.

Often described as a doer, I drive big, bold ideas through collaboration and incubation. I seeded ecosystem and systemic efforts to connect government, researchers, nonprofit, and for-profit entities on behalf of our littlest learners and families, including:

  • A new National Outcome Measure to assess young child well-being, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Trends and the University of Nebraska.

  • The founding of a new effort at Ascend at the Aspen Institute to improve student parent postsecondary success, in collaboration with 75 national experts, 23 college presidents and 24 student parent advisors.

  • The launch of five strategies to radically expand talent in the early childhood workforce, in partnership with the National Head Start Association.

  • The creation of Promise Venture Studio, a nonprofit to scale innovative solutions in early childhood education, in partnership with Harvard Center on the Developing Child.

  • The launch of Home Grown, a philanthropic collaborative focused on family child care.

  • The organization of “Early Futures,” a premier event in collaboration with Sesame Workshop and LEGO, to move the early childhood field from scarcity to possibility.

  • The coordination of AI+Education Summits and Accelerate Edtech Impact Summit at Stanford University.

  • The conceptualization and execution of the Rise Prize, a first-of-its-kind $1.5 million funding initiative to incentivize nonprofit and for-profit solutions for the 1 in 5 college students who are raising children, with student parents as members of the judging panel.

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THE MOVEMENT BUILDER

THE INNOVATOR

I have invested in innovative education organizations that are shaping the future of education and met hundreds of inspiring nonprofit and for-profit entrepreneurs. As a funder, I seeded promising ideas that grew into proven solutions that improved lives, such as Khan Academy Kids, Ellevation, or Handshake. I invested in high growth impact startups that have become “Unicorns (valued at $1 billion or more),” “Minicorns,” or “Soonicorns.”

 

I currently have the privilege to serve as a director on two boards: EDC, a global nonprofit that has advanced lasting solutions to improve education, health and economic opportunity for one billion children over the past 60 years, and  Sonen, an investment management firm focused exclusively on impact and sustainable investing and advice. I also serve on the steering committee of the EDSAFE AI Alliance.

 

Previously, I served in various governance roles on the most innovative organizations in education and impact investing, guiding their growth and strategy as a board member or advisor (d.light, dr.consulta, EdSurge, Ellevation, Handshake, Holberton School, Khan Academy Kids, ParentPowered, Reach Capital, Sonen, Tinkergarten, Think Equal, Wonderschool). 

 

I judged some of the most prestigious innovation competitions around the world, including AERDF Fellowship, XPrize, the LEGO Foundation’s $143 million early childhood challenge, MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million challenge, MIT Solve, MIT LEAP, MIT IDE Inclusive Innovation Challenge, and the WISE Education Prize.

I am a Forbes contributor. I also contribute by-lines in influential outlets, including The 74, Axios, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Diplomatic Courier, Early Learning Nation, EdSurge, Forbes, The Hechinger Report, Inside Philanthropy, and Quartz.

 

I write a popular newsletter, Small Talks, ​​about the future of (early) learning. I also authored Big Ideas, Little Learners, a landmark report on early childhood innovation published by Omidyar Network in 2019, which has become a go-to resource on thought leadership in early childhood innovations. 

 

I have spoken at well over 100 national and international events and conferences, including Aspen Institute convenings, ASU-GSV, Global MindED, Harvard University, Head Start, Hunt Institute, LEGO Foundation, SOCAP, SXSW EDU, Stanford University, US Senate, and WISE Summit. 

 

At Stanford University, I teach an experiential learning class called “Design to Prepare Learners in Underserved Communities,” and am a frequent guest speaker in other classes.

 

I was raised in rural Southern France, and graduated from Sciences-Po Paris, ESSEC and hold an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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THE EARLY-LEARNING ADVOCATE

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THE THOUGHT LEADER

I was recognized by ASU-GSV as one of the “Women Leading in AI Revolution in EDU” in 2024. 

 

I was also honored as one of the top 100 Inspiring Women from Harvard Business School. 

 

In November 2021, I received the prestigious GlobalMindED “Inclusive Leader Award – Early Childhood Education – 2021.” A replay of the award ceremony is available here, and you can access an excerpt here

 

My impact and story was also featured in the 2021 book “Superpowers for Good: The Skills You Can Master to Leave a Mark in the World” by Devin Thorpe.


One of my most proud moments is co-starring with Grover of Sesame Street on a segment on social entrepreneurship in early childhood.

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