If You Imagine It, It Will Come.

It was my love of a good story that led me into the world of book publishing as my first “real” job in the mid-nineties. Then, in 2001, after a year travelling back to Africa (I was born in and grew up in Zimbabwe) I pivoted from written word to spoken word, helping change makers get their ideas out to larger audiences at the LAVIN agency, a speakers agency dedicated to making the world a smarter place.

As a global soul and natural-born seeker, it was perhaps not surprising that I found myself entirely at home with the motley crew of colleagues that David Lavin of the LAVIN agency affectionately dubbed “brilliant misfits”. One of those brilliant misfits was colleague Meaghan Kappel, or Kappel as she was called since she was hired in a round of three, yes three, “Megans”. A couple of months ago, years after Kappel and I worked together, she flicked me the job posting for Managing Director at Grantbook saying, “I saw this and thought of you.”

I had became more and more captivated by the power and possibility of technology over the years at the Lavin Agency. I leaned in as some of our most inspiring speakers told stories about transforming the world through digital tools, speakers like Jessica Jackley of Kiva.org, Sarah Prevette, founder of Future Design School, and Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine and author of Mavericks at Work. I was eager, as I planned my next career chapter, to find a team innovating in tech, leveraging digital to do good.

That desire lead me, two years ago, to Actionable.co, a smart, scrappy tech start-up using transforming the world of work. Just as I was about to join Actionable I had this almost prescient meeting with a consultant also going through a moment of transition. He was passionate about the work of Douglas Rushkoff (a Lavin speaker) and wanted to explore ways to weave progressive ideas from Rushkoff’s book Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus into a mission--first firm that would help organizations adopt truly sustainable business models. Over the course of several meetings we blue-skied what such a consultancy might look like. I attribute those imaginative exchanges and my work at Actionable for priming me, opening me up to the email Kappel sent me back in February, the email putting Grantbook so firmly on my radar and opening me up to this truly unique mission-first tribe.

I am delighted to bring my storytelling chops and entrepreneurial maverick streak to Grantbook and look forward to collaborating with GB colleagues and clients in the coming months!

Nikki Barrett's headshot

Nikki Barrett

Chief Executive Officer

Strategy & Partnerships

Nikki comes to Grantbook after a decade of bringing game-changing ideas to audiences across North America, first in the world of publishing and then as Vice President of the LAVIN agency, a global speakers bureau. She has worked with thought leaders such as Naomi Klein, Steven Pinker, Salman Rushdie, and Jessica Jackley (Co-Founder of Kiva.org). 

Nikki is inspired by social innovators harnessing technology to do more good. As Managing Director, Nikki sets the vision and strategy for Grantbook, always asking, what does the world need from philanthropy and what does philanthropy need from Grantbook?