Nisha Smales is the Director of Strategy & Chief of Staff at InStride, which drives business and social impact by enabling employers to provide career-boosting education to their employees through partnerships with high-quality academic institutions.
Prior to InStride, Nisha was Senior Director of Strategy and Development at Ambition Institute, a national provider of teacher training in England. There, she led strategic planning and helped secure significant multi-year Department for Education contracts. Before Ambition Institute, Nisha was an Associate Partner at Bellwether Education Partners, where she advised PK-12 education organizations on key strategic decisions. She also worked across a broad array of industries and functions throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in the United Kingdom.
Nisha began her career as a science teacher and Teach for America corps member in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where her “intervention” students achieved record results on the annual district exam, surpassing the school’s Honors students. She later helped open and lead a school in St. Louis, Missouri, for KIPP Public Schools, a network of charter schools serving communities across the U.S. As Assistant Principal, her teachers led students to advance an average of 2.66 grade levels in a single year.
Nisha holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Washington University in St. Louis and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.