About

Vanessa Wilkins, Founder and Lead Innovator

Vanessa is an expert on sparking and scaling innovation in schools everywhere so that all kids can be prepared for their future.  She consults with funders and organizations focused on innovation in education and youth development.


Most recently, Vanessa served as North America Community Impact Director at Nike, leading a statewide education initiative in Oregon, managing key national and local partnerships, and engaging Nike leaders to innovate in education. Her work re(launching) and implementing the Nike School Innovation Fund was recently documented in a Harvard case used to teach shared value and scaling impact in a joint program between the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Harvard Business School.


Prior to Nike, Vanessa co-founded Partners in Scale, a consulting firm to mission-driven organizations, where she worked with innovative education models in developing countries, conducted a study on charter school funding in Oregon, and advised global NGO’s on organizational development.


Previously, she served as VP for Worldwide Human Resources at EF Education and Managing Director at Friends of the Children, where she now serves on the National Board of Directors. She also worked in Venezuela for Empresas Mendoza. Vanessa received a BS from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard.

Amy Madsen, Lead Researcher

Amy has 20 years of international non-profit, for-profit and public experience, working with top tier organizations such as the U.S. Department of State, Nike School Innovation Fund, Habitat for Humanity and the Gates Foundation.


Amy, as Co-Founder and Principal Research Officer of Partners in Scale, delivers comprehensive research and analysis to inform decision making. Whether it’s a complete industry-wide landscaping document, an internal or external stakeholder analysis, or specific market research: she engages in multi-year initiatives as well as quick, one-day projects. Her research experience is varied – covering sectors such as: education and literacy, agriculture, the economy, the entertainment industry, the environment, health care, hunger, technology and volunteer-tourism (to name a few).


Prior to her consulting practice, Amy was a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. Her specialty was business and economics. In this role, she was primarily tasked with analyzing business prospects for US companies and providing economic forecasts for the countries where she was stationed. 


Amy has worked in Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.  She speaks German, some French, Japanese and limited Arabic. She has a Master’s Degree in International Relations, with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication and Negotiation from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. 

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