Yolanda Watson Spiva

President and CEO, College Success Foundation

Yolanda L. Watson Spiva is the president and chief executive officer of the College Success Foundation (CSF).

Prior to joining CSF in September 2013, Yolanda served as CEO/executive director of Project GRAD Atlanta Inc., a nonprofit based in Atlanta, GA, with the mission to collaborate with the Atlanta Public Schools in order to increase the number of students graduating from high school and college.

Yolanda’s 20-year career spans a range of leadership, general management, public affairs, operations and academic officer positions. Prior to Project GRAD, she was assistant dean at Trinity College. In her extensive work as a consultant she provided services to higher education, education associations and nonprofit organizations related to leadership, strategic planning, fundraising, public affairs, communications, program management and business process reengineering. Yolanda has also held various positions with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, GA.

In addition to having authored numerous research articles, Yolanda also wrote the 2005 NAACP Image Award-nominated book, “Daring to Educate: The Legacy of the Early Spelman College Presidents (1881-1953).” In 2011, Yolanda was awarded the prestigious Turknett Leadership Character Award for outstanding leadership in the nonprofit sector.

Yolanda earned her undergraduate degree in economics from Spelman College, her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. degree in higher education from Georgia State University.