Leila Makarechi

Chief Business Officer

Leila is Merit America’s Chief Business Officer. She is responsible for the organization’s revenue generation and ensuring learner placement. She has nearly two decades of social entrepreneurship experience tackling inequity with scalable technologies and real humans.

Prior to Merit America, Leila was the Vice President of Enterprise at Philanthropy U (PhilU), the world’s largest trainer of adults working in the social sector. At PhilU, she built and managed the B2B business line, bringing high quality training to foundations and NGOs around the world. Prior to her time at PhilU, she was Global Head of Government Partnerships at Coursera, a billion-dollar online education company. Leila managed the go-to-market strategy and millions in enterprise revenue from governments and organizations who sought to upskill their countries’ workforce for a more competitive economy.

She learned the complexities of growing an organization as the Chief Operating Officer at a health start-up that she scaled from 3 people delivering one program to more than 1,000 people across four continents. She began her career as the youngest member of the United Nations Development Programme, where she helped manage a $46 million impact fund with investments across Latin America.

Leila speaks 4 languages fluently and has worked with governments, for-profit and non-profit companies in more than 30 countries — ranging from Appalachia in the US to refugee camps across the Middle East. She has a B.A. in political science and social welfare from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Master of Public Affairs from the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) Paris.

She loves spending time with her two young sons who teach her how the world really works.

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