People of Ori Learning: Elizabeth Bruce

The People of Ori Learning series is dedicated to profiling the bright and inspiring minds of the Ori Learning team, highlighting the unique ways in which they contribute to the company’s mission to empower students to succeed in school and in life.


Elizabeth Bruce is the Administrative Services Manager at Ori Learning.

She talks to us about her unconventional pathway into education via textile chemistry and returning to the US after living abroad to apply her expertise in international education on home soil.

Elizabeth discusses her cross-functional role working with Customer Success and HR, the importance of real-life use cases as a measure of tangible success, and her ambitious goals for the expansion of Ori Learning in the future.

What is your role at Ori Learning?

My role as Administrative Services Manager is twofold: I do a lot of administrative work with a focus on accounting, subscriptions and human resources planning; and I am also responsible for building a pipeline of vendor registrations with districts across the country and responding to their requests for proposals (RFPs) so that we’re able to bring our products to their districts.

When you're not working, what do you like to do?

I love to spend time with my family. I have two children: my daughter is a high-schooler, so she’s not home very much (she has a driver’s license now), and my son’s a college student at Temple University. I also have a labradoodle that I love very much and a cat who you’ll find lying around the house. I’m currently learning to play disc golf with my husband in my spare time.

What is your professional background?

My first degree was in textile chemistry. After I got married and started a family, I decided to go back to school to refresh my skills so that I could be prepared for the next chapter of my professional career. I earned my Master’s degree in Comparative and International Educationat Lehigh University. Because of the international focus of my degree, a lot of the work I did as a researcher, writer and consultant was based outside of the US. I was living in Germany for a couple of years before my family and I decided to return to the US, right before the Covid pandemic. I saw an opportunity to shift my focus from international to national education and to try to make a difference within the education system here.

What attracted you to Ori Learning as a company?

I really appreciate the roots of the company and the way that Jon [Izak, the founder of Ori Learning] started the company wanting to make an app for his brother, and how it’s grown from there into the platform that it is today. I think that there’s a lot of heart and soul behind the mission and a real sense of wanting to make a difference and to keep improving: it makes it that much more exciting to join a new company.

What have you found to be most challenging?

I am someone who likes things to happen fast, and sometimes the timeline for progress is a little bit slower than feels rewarding. That said, I appreciate that we’re working with school districts with lots of people involved, and that we are a company with a lot of channels that things have to go through before a final decision is made. When you do finally get something through and you get recognition and appreciation from customers, it feels great.

What's been a big win for you?

One of the biggest wins has been the progress that we’ve made on getting a pipeline up and running for the RFP process and streamlining vendor registrations as much as possible. We now get automatic notifications for potential opportunities where we could submit an RFP, which speeds up the entire process. The wins come when we make proposals that tick the right boxes and answer the questions that the districts have: we just have to stay focused and keep doing the work.

What are some magical moments you've experienced while working at the company?

Personally, the best parts are when we are able to realize our full potential to work with districts. I’m a very data-driven person, so I like to see that we’re trying to expand our reach as much as possible. I love it when our Customer Success Managers are able to share real-life examples of the ways in which the product is actually being used in the classroom: I don’t get to see that as much, as I’m not involved with the training or the implementation planning. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that the product is making a difference and that teachers are really enjoying using it.

How do you see Ori Learning developing in the next five years?

I see us continuing to grow: I hope that we’ll soon be used by schools in all 50 states—that’s the goal I am aiming for when I am doing vendor registrations or writing up proposals. I want us to continue to listen to feedback from teachers, students and administrators as they use our products so that we can make them even better.

Last but not least, I want to make sure that the content stays interesting and relevant to the students. Kids are smart, and they know what they like and what they don’t like, so if the educational material isn’t interesting to them, then we lose. That’s why it’s important to remember to have them at the forefront of our decision-making.