Thomas D. Dretler

CEO & Co-Founder, Shorelight Education

Thomas D. (Tom) Dretler is CEO and Co-founder at Shorelight Education, an organization that creates life-changing experiences for students worldwide. Shorelight helps top U.S. universities expand their reach far beyond the traditional campus and help talented international students thrive, graduate, and become successful, globally minded alumni.

Tom currently serves as Board Chair of U.S. News Global Education and was a board member of the National Research Center for College & University Admissions until its sale to ETS in August 2018. From 1998–2011, Tom was president and chief executive officer of Eduventures, Inc., where he built the leading information services company in the higher education sector. Previously, Tom was an executive in residence at Sterling Partners, a mission-driven private equity firm that invests in education, healthcare, and business services companies. Tom is the co-author of a 2012 Sterling Partners/Bain & Company white paper, The Financially Sustainable University. He also was a leadership fellow at his alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University from 2016-2017.

Throughout his career, Tom has taken a leadership role in supporting business involvement in public sector issues. In the mid-1990s, he managed a Harvard Business School program on business involvement in public education, welfare-to-work, and urban investment. In the early 1990s, he served as a consultant to former President Jimmy Carter and was responsible for developing public–private partnerships in association with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. From 2007–2011, Tom served as the founding president and Board Chair of the Alliance for Business Leadership (formerly known as the Progressive Business Leaders Network). In 2007, Tom was named one of the “40 Under 40” business leaders to watch by Boston Business Journal.

Tom is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate and a varsity athlete. He holds an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School, where he was awarded the Goldsmith Fellowship.