Ms. Avendaño serves as Vice President for Labor Engagement at United Way Worldwide, where she oversees the historic partnership between the AFL-CIO and United Way. Prior to joining the United Way, Ms. Avendaño served as Assistant to the President and Director of Immigration and Community Action at the AFL-CIO, where she managed the groundbreaking partnership between the AFL-CIO and worker centers around the country, and handled domestic and international immigration policy and programs for the AFL-CIO. She also served as an Associate General Counsel at the AFL-CIO.
Before joining the AFL-CIO, Ms. Avendaño served as Assistant General Counsel to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union where she was actively involved in the development of the labor movement's historic call for legalization and immigration reform.
Ms. Avendaño is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and the University of California at Berkeley.
Vice President Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the first of four siblings. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Claymont, Delaware. He graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. Then, at age 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.
Now, as the 47th Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden has continued his leadership on important issues facing the nation. The Vice President was tasked with implementing and overseeing the $840 billion stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has helped to rebuild our economy and lay the foundation for a sustainable economic future. The Vice President also leads the Ready to Work Initiative, the Administration’s key effort to identify opportunities to improve our nation’s workforce skills and training systems to help better prepare American workers for the jobs of a 21st century economy.
Ray Boshara directs the St. Louis Fed's new Center for Household Financial Stability. The Center conducts research on family balance sheets and how they matter for strengthening families and the economy. Before joining the Fed in April 2011, Boshara was vice president of the New America Foundation, a D.C.-based think tank, where he launched and directed programs promoting asset development, college savings, financial inclusion and a new social contract.
Over the last 20 years, he has advised presidential candidates; the Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations; and leading policymakers worldwide. He has testified before the U.S. Congress several times, most recently before the Senate Banking Committee in October 2011. Boshara has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly and Democracy, and has appeared on National Public Radio, Marketplace and Bloomberg News. His book, The Next Progressive Era, co-authored with Phillip Longman, was published in 2009.
Boshara is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Yale Divinity School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Heather Boushey is Executive Director and Chief Economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her research focuses on economic inequality and public policy, specifically employment, social policy, and family economic well-being. The New York Times has called Boushey one of the "most vibrant voices in the field", and she testifies often before Congress on economic policy issues. Her research has been published in academic journals, she writes regularly for popular media, including the New York Times' "Room for Debate," The Atlantic, and Democracy, and she makes frequent television appearances on Bloomberg, MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS.
Boushey previously served as an economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and the Economic Policy Institute. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and her B.A. from Hampshire College.
Arthur C. Brooks is president of American Enterprise Institute, a public policy think tank in Washington, DC. At age 19, Brooks left college to become a professional musician and spent several seasons with the City Orchestra of Barcelona. He returned to school a decade later, earning advanced degrees in economics and public policy, and became a professor at Syracuse University. He is author of the New York Times best-seller The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise. His newest book, The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, will be released on July 14.
Amy Brown is a Program Officer at the Ford Foundation, where she manages grantmaking in financial justice and asset building. Her work focuses on two main goals: ensuring that the financial marketplace meets the transaction, savings and credit needs of low-income families and communities of color; and promoting public policies that build economic security from birth through retirement, including addressing the racial wealth gap. Before joining the Ford Foundation, Amy worked with the Aspen Institute's Economic Opportunities Program, launched New York City's EITC campaign, worked for the US Senate Agriculture Committee and ran community-based social services programs.
For more than three decades, Bill Bynum has worked to advance economic opportunity for disenfranchised populations. He began his professional career by helping to establish Self-Help, a pioneer in the development finance industry, and later built nationally recognized programs at the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center.
In 1994 Bill became the founding CEO of the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, and in 1995 organized Hope Community Credit Union. Since then, HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation/ Hope Credit Union) has generated more than $2 billion in financing that has benefited over 650,000 residents throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Today, HOPE is a highly regarded community development financial institution and policy center that advances economic inclusion across the Mid South, and influences related policies and practices nationwide.
Bill has advised Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on community development and financial service matters, including serving for ten years as Chairman of the Treasury Department's Community Development Advisory Board. He currently serves as Chairman of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Consumer Advisory Board. Other board/trustee service includes NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Corporation for Enterprise Development, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, Millsaps College, Mississippi Children's Museum, and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation.
Bynum has received several honors including the University of North Carolina Distinguished Alumnus Award. John P. McNulty Prize (Aspen Global Leadership Network), Ned Gramlich Award for Responsible Finance (Opportunity Finance Network), National Entrepreneur of the Year (Ernst & Young/Kauffman Foundation), Rural Hero Award (National Rural Assembly), and Annie Vamper Helping Hands Award (National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions).
Maureen Conway is a Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Institute's Economic Opportunities Program (EOP). Ms. Conway founded EOP's Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI) and has headed up workforce research at the Aspen Institute since 1999. She leads a team of researchers and consultants in a variety of initiatives to identify and advance strategies that help low-income Americans gain ground in today's labor market. A featured speaker at numerous national and regional conferences, she is a nationally recognized expert in sectoral, or industry-specific, workforce development and has been quoted in a variety of news media including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, National Journal and National Public Radio's Market Place. Under her leadership, EOP's Workforce Strategies Initiative has investigated the outcomes of sectoral workforce development, provided innovation seed grants to leading programs in order to illuminate promising practices and explored key operating features of programs in specific industry sectors. Maureen is the author of numerous publications including research reports, case studies and policy briefs, including co-editing, together with Robert P. Giloth, the book Connecting People to Work: Workforce Intermediaries and Sector Strategies, a collection that brings perspectives from philanthropy, policy, research, and practice, together to chart how sector-based workforce development has evolved and the implications for the future.
Recently, Maureen led the creation of the Working in America and Reinventing Low Wage Work speaker series at the Aspen Institute, bringing together voices from business, worker advocacy, media, academia and others to discuss the challenges experienced by many in today's labor markets and new ideas for addressing these challenges. In addition, her current work includes multi-year evaluations of several promising innovations in workforce development and a new project exploring an emerging practice of work that strives to create economic stability as a platform for economic mobility by engaging in strategies that seek to improve job quality while also helping workers improve their job skills.
Ms. Conway's previous experience includes consulting for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris and work for the U.S. Peace Corps, where she advised on the design, management, and evaluation of the organization's economic development programs in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Maureen has an M.B.A. from Columbia University, a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina, and a B.A. in economics and mathematics from Holy Cross College.
Dr. Elliott is a leading researcher in the field of children's savings and college matriculation and success. He has written extensively on the relationship between assets and children's educational outcomes. Numerous news and media outlets such as Time Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic Monthly, the National Journal, USA Today, US News, and others have featured his work. Recently, he co-authored the book, "The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream". Further, his research has served as the impetus for Children's Savings Account (CSA) programs and policies across the U.S., such as Kindergarten to College (K2C) in San Francisco and the American Dream Accounts Act recently introduced into Congress. He has received research funding from such sources as Ford Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Kellogg Foundation, Lumina Foundation, and Citi foundation.
With a commitment to increasing young people's access to life-changing opportunities, Chekemma Fulmore-Townsend joined the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) in 2005. As President and CEO, Chekemma is charged with overseeing the organization's vision, mission, and overall direction. Drawing on more than 15 years of experience, Chekemma has used her social work foundation in macro-practice with a concentration in research and non-profit administration to influence the way PYN views its work, strategies and decision-making processes.
Elliot Gerson is an executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, responsible for its Policy Programs, its Public Programs and its relations with international partners. The Institute's more than 30 Policy Programs focus on both domestic and international issues. They provide neutral venues, do nonpartisan analysis, foster candid dialogue among leaders, advocate new policy and promote best practices. The Institute's public programs - including the Aspen Ideas Festival and many smaller programs across the country - open the Institute's doors to a broader audience and further both its educational goals and its hopes that thought will lead to action. The Institute has international partners in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Romania, and Spain. Gerson also administers the US Rhodes Scholarships. He was a Rhodes Scholar, a US Supreme Court clerk, practiced law in government and privately, held executive positions in state and federal government and on a presidential campaign, and was president of start-ups in health care and education, and of two leading national insurance and health-care companies. He has served on many non-profit boards, especially in the arts.
Mark Hecker is a social worker and educator with extensive experience in secure and community-based settings, working primarily with teenagers facing significant academic and social challenges. Reach Incorporated, an organization Mark founded, hires and trains struggling teen readers to become elementary school reading tutors and children's book authors. He has been leading Reach Incorporated since its founding in 2009. Mark's work has been recognized by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Aspen Institute. He is a former DC Social Worker of the Year and holds a bachelor's degree from Duke University, a master's in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, and a master's in Education from Harvard University.
Samuel Hoi is president of Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an advocate for art and design education and creative professionals in social, economic, and cultural advancement. Formerly, he was president of Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where he launched the annual Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region and California. There, he also shepherded new academic initiatives involving innovative partnerships and community engagement, such as integrated learning courses that place art and design education in real life context. As dean of the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C., he created a visual arts program serving inner-city youth that received a National Multicultural Institute Award and a Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities.
Hoi has served on many boards, including those of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Arena Stage. He serves on and chaired the boards of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and United States Artists (USA). He also serves on the board of National Arts Strategies (NAS) and the National Advisory Board of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).
Born and raised in Hong Kong, he received his BA from Columbia College in New York City and earned his JD degree from Columbia Law School. He subsequently obtained an AAS degree in Illustration from Parsons School of Design. Hoi holds honorary doctorate degrees from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and Otis College of Art and Design, and was decorated in 2006 by the French government as an Officer of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques.
Gwen Ifill is moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and co-anchor and managing editor for "The PBS NEWSHOUR w/ Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff." The best-selling author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," (Doubleday, 2009), she also moderated the Vice Presidential debates during the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. Gwen has covered seven Presidential campaigns, and during the 2008 campaign season, won the George Foster Peabody Award after bringing Washington Week to live audiences around the country as part of a 10-city tour. Now in its 48th year, Washington Week is the longest-running prime-time news and public affairs program on television. Each week, Gwen brings together some of the best journalists in Washington to discuss the major stories of the week with the reporters who actually cover the news that emanates from the nation's capital and affects the nation and the world. Gwen joined both Washington Week and The NewsHour in 1999, interviewing newsmakers and reporting on issues ranging from foreign affairs to politics. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for The New York Times, and a local and national political reporter for The Washington Post. She also reported for the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American.
A native of New York City and a graduate of Simmons College in Boston, Ifill has received more than twenty honorary doctorates. In 2015 she was awarded with the National Press Club's highest honor, the Fourth Estate Award. She has also been honored for her work by the Radio and Television News Directors Association, Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center, The National Association of Black Journalists, and was included in Ebony Magazine's list of 150 Most Influential African Americans.
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.
Isaacson's most recent book, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution (2014) is a biographical tale of the people who invented the computer, Internet and the other great innovations of the digital age.
He is the author of Steve Jobs (2011), Einstein: His Life and Universe (2007), Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003), and Kissinger: A Biography (1992), and coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made (1986).
Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times-Picayune. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of digital media before becoming the magazine's 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. From 2005-2007 he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which runs Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other international broadcasts of the United States, a position he held from 2009 to 2012. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, the Overseers of Harvard University, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Society of American Historians, and My Brother's Keeper Alliance.
James Jacobs assumed the presidency of Macomb Community College on July 1, 2008. Prior to his appointment, he concurrently served as director for the Center for Workforce Development and Policy at the college, and as associate director, Community College Research Center (CCRC), Teachers College, Columbia University, where he currently serves as a member of its board of directors.
Jacobs earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University and has more than 40 years experience at Macomb. He has taught social science, political science and economics. He specializes in the areas of workforce skills and technology, economic development, worker retraining and community college workforce development, and is widely published in these areas of expertise. In addition, Jacobs has conducted research, developed programs and consulted on workforce development and community college issues at the national, state and local levels.
Jacobs is a past president of the National Council for Workforce Education, a national post-secondary organization of occupational education and workforce development specialists. He is also a member of the Community College Advisory Panel to the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, New Jersey, and on the board of the Global Corporate College, which provides consistent, just-in-time employee development to support business priorities across multiple time zones, locations and languages through a network of U.S. community colleges and universities.
Jacobs serves on a number of local boards, including the Center for Automotive Research, Metropolitan Affairs Council, Detroit Institute of Arts, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Advancing Macomb. He is widely known for the Macomb County Economic Forecast, which he has presented annually for more than 30 years for the coalition of county's chambers of commerce.
Stephanie Jones is the Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on the longitudinal effects of poverty and exposure to violence on social, emotional, and behavioral development from early childhood through adolescence. Much of her recent work has focused on exploring noncognitive factors across the developmental spectrum, with an emphasis on conducting rigorous scientific research while also creating translational and applied products for the early and middle childhood practitioner and policy communities. Jones holds a doctorate in developmental psychology from Yale University, where she trained with Edward Zigler. In 2008, Jones was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in Education for her work with Zigler and Walter Gilliam on A Vision for Universal Preschool Education, published by Cambridge University Press, and in 2013, Jones was awarded the Joseph E. Zins Early-Career Distinguished Contribution Award for Action Research in Social and Emotional Learning, from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
Jackie Judd is a special correspondent for "PBS NewsHour" and is involved in projects related to health care issues. She previously spent a decade at the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she managed its multimedia projects and trained foreign journalists in the coverage of HIV/AIDS. A journalist for most of her life who has covered a range of issues, Judd was formerly a correspondent for ABC News, where she reported for "World News Tonight" with Peter Jennings, "Nightline," "Good Morning America," and "Primetime." She has also reported for NPR and CBS Radio. Judd has won numerous awards, including several Emmys, a DuPont, and the first-ever David Bloom Award.
Max Kenner is the founder and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative. He conceived of and created the Bard Prison Initiative as a student volunteer organization when he was an undergraduate at Bard College in 1999. After gaining the support of the College and cooperation of the New York State Department of Correctional Services, he has overseen the growth of the program into a credit-bearing and, subsequently, degree-granting program in 2001. In addition to organization management and program design for BPI, Kenner is responsible for fundraising and management of relations with New York State and the Department of Correctional Services. Kenner has led the expansion of BPI from a pilot program with 15 students to a nationally recognized education initiative enrolling 300 students within six campuses in correctional facilities throughout New York State. Kenner has become a leading advocate for the national restoration of college-in-prison and frequently speaks publicly in a wide variety of forums about the BPI model in education and criminal justice policy.
He is a co-founder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, which is supporting other colleges and universities in establishing and maintaining ambitious college-in-prison projects. Wesleyan University and Grinnell and Goucher Colleges, in Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland, respectively, were the first partners in the national project. He also serves as Vice President for Institutional Initiatives and Advisor to the President on Public Policy & College Affairs at Bard College. Kenner was a 2013-'14 fellow-in-residence at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University. In July 2014 Kenner was appointed to serve on Governor Cuomo’s New York State Council on Community Re-Entry and Reintegration, Re-Entry Subcommittee. In October 2014 Kenner received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Education.
Andrea Levere has led the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) as its president since 2004. CFED is a private nonprofit organization with the mission of building assets and expanding economic opportunity for low-income people and disadvantaged communities through matched savings, entrepreneurship, and affordable housing. Prior to joining CFED in 1992, she was a director with the National Development Council. Currently, Levere serves as the Chair of ROC USA (Resident Owned Communities USA). She is a member of the FDIC's Committee on Economic Inclusion, Morgan Stanley's Community Development Advisory Board, Capital One's Community Advisory Council, and Chase Consumer Advisory Council. In 2013 President Obama appointed Ms. Levere to the National Cooperative Bank's (NCB) Board of Directors.
Ms. Levere holds a bachelor's degree from Brown University and an MBA from Yale University. In 2001, she received the Alumni Recognition Award from the Yale School of Management and in 2008 was named to the inaugural class of its Donaldson Fellows Program, which recognizes alumni who help educate business and society leaders.
Kirsten Lodal is the CEO and Co-Founder of LIFT, which began as an idea during her sophomore year of college in 1998 and has become one of the foremost anti-poverty organizations in the country. Under Kirsten's leadership, LIFT has created positive outcomes for more than 100,000 families and established itself as a national model for more effective and human-centered social services. Along the way, Kirsten has become a leading advocate for re-thinking and modernizing the design of America's anti-poverty programs, spreading LIFT's message from the White House and the Aspen Institute to the NBC Nightly News, the PBS Newshour and The New York Times.
Kirsten has received numerous honors for her work, chief among them the National Jefferson Award for Public Service, established in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as our nation's "Nobel Prize for community and public service." Most recently, she was named a 2015 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow. She is the Chairman of the Homeless Children's Playtime Project, a program working to restore childhood to children living in shelters, and she serves on the Board of Advisors of DC Greens, a non-profit focused on making healthy food more accessible to all children. She is also an Advisor to the Family Independence Initiative, a national nonprofit which leverages the power of information to illuminate and accelerate the initiative low-income families take to improve their lives.
Kirsten graduated from Yale University in 2001 and completed the Executive Management Program at the Columbia Business School's Institute for Not-for-Profit Management in 2005. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Jeff Himmelman, and their two young daughters.
Eric Liu is the executive director of the Aspen Institute Citizenship and American Identity Program, and the founder and CEO of Citizen University. His books include the national bestsellers The Gardens of Democracy and The True Patriot, both co-authored with Nick Hanauer; The Accidental Asian, a New York Times Notable Book; Guiding Lights, the Official Book of National Mentoring Month; Imagination First, co-authored with Scott Noppe- Brandon of the Lincoln Center Institute; and his most recent, A Chinaman's Chance. Eric served as a White House speechwriter for President Bill Clinton and later as the President's deputy domestic policy adviser. After the White House, he was an executive at the digital media company RealNetworks. A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Eric lives with his family in Seattle, where he teaches civic leadership at the University of Washington, and serves on numerous nonprofit and civic boards. A regular columnist for CNN.com and a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com, Eric can be found on Twitter @ericpliu.
David Madland is the Managing Director of the Economic Policy team and the Director of the American Worker Project at American Progress. He has written extensively about the economy and American politics on a range of topics, including the middle class, economic inequality, retirement policy, labor unions, and workplace standards such as the minimum wage. His forthcoming book, Hollowed Out: Why the Economy Doesn't Work without a Strong Middle Class, will be published by the University of California Press in July.
Madland has appeared frequently on television shows, including "PBS NewsHour" and CNN's "Crossfire"; has been cited in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker; and has been a guest on dozens of radio talk shows across the United States. He has testified before Congress on a number of occasions, as well as several state legislatures.
Madland has a doctorate in government from Georgetown University and received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation about the decline of the U.S. pension system was honored as the best dissertation of the year by the Labor and Employment Relations Association. Madland is the co-author of Interest Groups in American Campaigns, a book about the role and influence of interest groups in American democracy, and is the author of several academic articles. He has worked on economic policy for Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and has consulted for several labor unions.
Keith grew up on and off the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe. Keith is a graduate of Scarsdale High School in NY, where he spent his last two years in the STEP program, an intensive college preparatory program for talented youth. Keith is a senior at Villanova University, where he is a Presidential and a Gates Millennium Scholar. For several years Keith has been the Chair of the Youth Advisory Board for Lakota Children's Enrichment, a nonprofit that empowers youth in his home community on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Keith has received numerous awards for his service with LCE: he was named South Dakota's Youth Service Ambassador by Youth Service of America (2013-14); a Champion for Change by the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute (2014-15); the Harry S. Truman Scholarship (2015): and he is the recipient of a scholarship to the PPIA Summer Institute at Princeton University (2015). Keith frequently speaks about the power of education, hard work, seeking help, and perseverance. Keith made his international speaking debut in the summer of 2014 at the Nexus Global Youth Summit at the United Nations.
Aparna Mathur is a resident scholar in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2005. At AEI, her research has focused on income inequality and mobility, tax policy, labor markets and small businesses. She has published in highly esteemed scholarly journals, testified several times before Congress and published numerous articles in the popular press on issues of policy relevance. Her work has been cited in academic journals as well as in leading news magazines such as the Economist, the Wall Street journal, Financial Times and Business Week. She has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's School Of Public Policy. She is an opinion writer for Forbes.
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez
Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, the tenth president of Queens College of the City University of New York, has a career spanning academia and the public sector. A cum laude graduate in Latin American Studies from Yale University, Matos Rodríguez received his PhD in history from Columbia University. He taught at Yaxle, Northeastern University, Boston College, the Universidad Interamericana–Recinto Metro, City College, and Hunter College, where he also directed the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, one of the largest and most important Latino research centers in the United States. Subsequently, Matos Rodríguez was appointed senior social welfare and health advisor to the governor of Puerto Rico. From 2006 to 2008, Matos Rodríguez served as the Commonwealth's cabinet secretary of the Department of Family Services. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Matos Rodríguez is also an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow. He also serves on the boards of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), and Phipps Houses.Anne Stuhldreher is the Director is the Director of Financial Justice in the Office of the Treasurer for the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco will be the first city in the nation to launch a Financial Justice Project to assess and reform how fines, fees, and financial penalties impact the cities' most vulnerable residents.
Anne Mosle is Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute. Anne Mosle is a leading thinker, advocate, and voice in building pathways to opportunity for low-income families. With more than 20 years' experience in policy and philanthropy, Mosle has been recognized as Washingtonian of the Year, Ms. Magazine Woman to Watch, and Visionary Philanthropist. Currently, she directs Ascend, the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents towards educational success and economic security. Ascend is investing $1.5 million in promising two-generation programs and policy solutions, has launched a national network and fellowship, and is leveraging resources for better outcomes for families.
Cecilia Muñoz is the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House.
Prior to this role, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs where she oversaw the Obama Administration's relationships with state and local governments.
Before joining the Obama Administration, Cecilia served as Senior Vice President for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization. She supervised NCLR's policy staff covering a variety of issues of importance to Latinos, including civil rights, employment, poverty, farmworker issues, education, health, housing, and immigration. Her particular area of expertise is immigration policy, which she covered at NCLR for twenty years.
Ms. Muñoz has testified numerous times before Congress and appears regularly in the Spanish- and English-language media. Her media credits include the Today Show, Good Morning America, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Dateline NBC, O'Reilly Factor, CNN's Situation Room, and National Public Radio.
Vivian Nixon is Executive Director of College and Community Fellowship (CCF), an organization committed to removing individual and structural barriers to higher education for women with criminal record histories and their families. She identifies her most valued and life-changing experience as the time she spent as a peer educator in the adult basic education program at Albion State Correctional Facility in New York. Rev. Nixon is ordained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) and currently serves as an associate minister at Mt. Zion AMEC in New York City. She is currently a Columbia University Community Scholar and has received multiple honors and awards including the John Jay Medal for Justice, the Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Soros Justice Fellowship and the Petra Foundation Fellowship. Her leadership activities include co-founding the Education Inside Out Coalition (EIO), a collaborative effort to increase access to higher education for justice involved students and serving on the Advisory Board of JustLeadershipUSA. Rev. Nixon holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York Empire College.
Aisha Nyandoro is the Executive Director of Springboard To Opportunities. Springboard provides strategic, direct support to residents of affordable housing. The organization's service delivery model uses a "radically resident-driven" approach designed to improve quality of life and end the generational poverty trajectory. Nyandoro has more than a decade of experience developing, implementing, and evaluating programs aimed at improving the quality of life for individuals with limited resources. She has worked in various capacities-- as an academic, evaluator, philanthropist, and nonprofit executive. These varied experiences have allowed her to better understand systems and policies that impact vulnerable communities. Prior to serving with Springboard, Aisha served as a Program Officer with the Foundation for the Mid South. During her tenure, she strengthened the Foundation's community development portfolio by executing a plan focused on five specific strategies aimed at transforming communities. Additionally, she led the Foundation's place based initiative – Community of Opportunities. Under her leadership, community leaders were able to leverage more than $20 million in federal and private funding.
She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Tennessee State University, a M.A. in Community Psychology and Urban Affairs and a Ph.D. in Community Psychology from Michigan State University. Aisha shares her commitment to community with the various boards of directors and advisory councils to which she lends her expertise and service. She has received multiple honors, including recognition as a fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. Aisha's life mission is to holistically and compassionately lift families out of cycles of poverty. When not working to transform impoverished communities, she is mommy to the best little boy in the world.
Doug O'Brien is the Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs in the Domestic Policy Council. Prior to his appointment, O'Brien served as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Senior Advisor to Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.
Before joining the United States Department of Agriculture, O'Brien served as the Assistant Director at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. In this capacity, he assisted the Director in administering the day-to-day operations of that department in such areas as plant industries, animal health, and its laboratories. In addition, he was responsible for developing the department's biofuels, bioproducts and renewable energy policy.
O'Brien has also served as Senior Advisor to Iowa Governor Chet Culver, Interim Co-Director for the National Agricultural Law Center in Fayetteville, Ark., and Senior Staff Attorney at the Drake Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines, Iowa.
He is former counsel for the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, where he worked on the 2002 Farm Bill.
He also served as Legislative Assistant for Representative Leonard Boswell, focusing primarily on Rep. Boswell's work on the House Agriculture Committee, and as a Clerk for Justice Jerry Larson of the Iowa Supreme Court. O'Brien graduated from Loras College and earned a Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of Iowa. In addition, he holds a Master's Degree in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas.
O'Brien, who was raised on a diversified farm in Iowa, has dedicated his career to agriculture and rural policy.
Arohi Pathak is a Project Director on CFED's Field Engagement team. In this role, helps community-based organizations at the state, local and Tribal level advance public policy solutions that lead to long-term prosperity in low-income communities, Native American communities and communities of color. Ms. Pathak also helps these organizations build enduring policy and advocacy capacity through targeted coaching and technical assistance, strategic planning and peer learning.
Prior to CFED, Ms. Pathak worked on policy issues affecting working families, including welfare, early care and education, Medicaid and workforce supports. She spent several years at the Service Employees International Union doing state and federal policy analysis on issues impacting low-income, working Americans and union members. Prior to SEIU, Ms. Pathak focused on K-12 and early education policy at People for the American Way Foundation and Voices for America's Children.
Ms. Pathak has a background in civic participation and political engagement, and holds a B.A. and M.A. from American University in International Communications and Peace and Conflict Resolution
Kimberly Pham is a young leader representing the Philadelphia community and Aspen OYIF Young Leaders. She is one of the youth members that is a part of the Philadelphia Youth Network Project U-Turn Collaborative, which focuses on learning and implementing best practices and strategies for opportunity youth in the city of Philadelphia. Outside of her commitment with Philadelphia Youth Network, she is a junior student attending Temple University majoring in social work. When she is not working with PYN, she is spending her time working with high school students assisting with the post-secondary process, helping students prepare for opportunities after high school. Also, she is supporting her city on another collaborative effort called "Digital On-Ramps" focused on improving the system of training and workforce services in the city of Philadelphia.
Brian Pick currently serves as the Chief of Teaching and Learning at DC Public Schools. He is a member of the Chancellor's management team and leads the district's academic work. Brian's current efforts focus on ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality curriculum, engaging instruction, and aligned formative assessments. Over the past five years, Brian led the development and rollout of the DCPS Teaching and Learning Framework; served as the chairperson of the standards, assessments, data, and accountability working group for DC's successful Race to the Top application; and led the development, coordination, and implementation of the district's academic strategy. Brian was the 2012 recipient of the national Curriculum Leadership Award from the Council of Great City Schools. Prior to joining DC Public Schools, Brian worked as a teacher, an education consultant, and an education policy analyst. Brian is an alumnus of both Teach For America and Education Pioneers.
He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in public and international affairs, completed his teacher credentialing work at San Jose State University, and holds a masters degree in education policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ida Rademacher is Executive Director of the Financial Security Program (FSP) at the Aspen Institute. A nationally recognized program, Aspen FSP probes the most critical financial challenges facing America's families, and promotes evidence-based policy and product solutions that build a more inclusive and prosperous economy. Her career has been dedicated to researching how policy and regulatory changes in labor and financial markets influence household economic decision-making and opportunity.
Prior to assuming leadership of FSP in February of this year, she was the Chief Program Officer at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) where she led strategy-, partner-, and business development for the organization's policy, program, and research divisions. In that and earlier roles as Vice President for Policy and Research and Director of Research, Rademacher initiated many of the organization's most innovative projects including work with the CFPB on the Consumer Financial Well Being Metrics Project, and with the Department of Treasury on the Bank On and Financial Access and Integration projects. She also developed the Behavioral Economics Technical Assistance (BETA) Project, and led the creation of Upside Down, a project that examines the ways that the U.S. income tax code generates disparate wealth building opportunities for American taxpayers.
Rademacher has testified on numerous occasions before Congress and has been quoted in a variety of news media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and National Public Radio's Market Place. She currently serves as a principal with the Pew Charitable Trust's Financial Security and Economic Mobility Project, and on a number of other editorial and advisory boards. She worked previously as a senior researcher at the Center for Applied Behavioral and Evaluation Research at AED, and as Associate Director of Aspen's Workforce Strategies Initiative. Rademacher undertook post graduate studies in economic anthropology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, has an MPP from the University of Maryland and a BA in anthropology and economics from James Madison University.
Lata Reddy is Vice President and head of Corporate Social Responsibility and President of The Prudential Foundation for Prudential Financial, Inc. She is responsible for overseeing the company's philanthropy, impact investments, corporate giving and corporate engagement activities.
Reddy joined Prudential in 1997 to manage the Foundation's education grant-making activities. In 2002, she became vice president of The Prudential Foundation with responsibility for developing and leading the strategic direction of the Foundation's grant-making policy and programs. She left Prudential in 2008 to launch her own independent consulting practice, advising philanthropic and nonprofit clients on strategy and program development. She returned to Prudential to assume her current position in April 2012.
David Rolf, 46, has been called "the most successful union organizer of the last 15 years." He is the architect of the first successful campaigns for a $15 minimum wage, leading the historic fights to win a $15 living wage in SeaTac, Washington in 2013 and a citywide $15 minimum wage in Seattle in 2014. For his work with Mayor Ed Murray to formulate Seattle's historic $15 wage ordinance, Rolf was named one of Politico magazine's "50 most interesting thinkers, doers and visionaries" of 2014.
Rolf is the President of SEIU 775, the fastest growing union in the Northwest, representing 44,000 home care and nursing home workers. He serves as an International Vice President of the Service Employees International Union in Washington, DC. Rolf helped to organize 75,000 home care workers in Los Angeles in 1999 – the biggest union win in six decades – and led the fight to unionize 26,000 Washington State home care workers in 2001. The American Prospect said of Rolf's work that, "no American unionist has organized as many workers, or won them raises as substantial, as Rolf."
Known nationally as an innovative labor leader, Rolf has founded organizations including the Fair Work Center in Seattle, which enforces labor laws such as the $15 minimum wage, and Working Washington, which supports economic justice activism. In 2014 he founded the California-based Workers Lab, an 'accelerator' for new labor initiatives. The Workers Lab invests in projects that will create the next generation's labor movement, building economic power for working people at a large scale while developing self-sufficient organizational revenue models.
Rolf is also the founder and Chair of the SEIU Healthcare Training Partnership, the largest long-term care sector workforce development institution in the country, and was the founder and Chair of the SEIU 775 Health Benefits Trust, which provides health benefits to tens of thousands of home care aides in the Northwest.
For nearly 20 years, Kelly Ryan has led Incourage Community Foundation in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, as President & CEO. Incourage serves 46,000 residents in this rural central Wisconsin area.
She was named one of the 50 most influential leaders in the nonprofit sector by NonProfit Times, and was honored as Wisconsin Rapids' Citizen of the Year in 2012.
Ryan serves on the Hitachi Foundation Board of Directors, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Partners Council, and What's Next for Community Philanthropy Advisory Committee, is an Aspen Ideas Scholar, and participates in many national advisory committees and task forces focused on workforce development, leadership, community philanthropy, and civic engagement.
Ryan is a contributing author to Here for Good and has been featured at regional and national speaking engagements, including "Big Bets for the Future of Philanthropy" at Rockefeller Foundation's Centennial Celebration in Washington, D.C.
Ryan earned her bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University, and has led and participated in many professional groups and workshops over the years, including Aspen Ideas Festival, CF Leads National Advisory Work, BANFF Centre Leadership Development Initiative Design Workshop, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) Field Building Collaborative, MIT Sloan School Institute for Work and Employment Research, MIT/Hitachi Foundation Action Lab & Network Building Meeting, Wisconsin Donors Forum and Council on Foundations Strategic Planning, Retreats and National Conferences.
Clint Smith is a teacher, poet, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow with research interests centered on race, inequality, and incarceration. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and was a speaker at the 2015 TED Conference. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Guardian, Kinfolks, American Literary Review, Still: The Journal, Off the Coast, Mason's Road, and elsewhere. Before beginning his doctorate, he taught high school English in Prince George's County, Maryland, where he was named the 2013 Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Blair Taylor is Chief Community Officer for Starbucks Coffee Company and president of Starbucks Foundation Board of Directors. He joined Starbucks in 2012 as executive vice president of Starbucks Global Partner Resources (HR) and head of all CSR functions. Taylor was previously president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League and executive vice president of College Summit. His private-sector experience includes serving as president and CEO of a retail franchising company focused on low-income communities and leadership roles with PepsiCo and IBM. Fast Company recognized Taylor as one of the nation's most creative executives for 2014, and PR Week named him a Top 50 Innovator in 2013.
Rajiv Vinnakota is the Executive Vice President of the Youth & Engagement division at the Aspen Institute. This new venture will incorporate the use of the Institute's innovative leadership development model to foster youth leaders in underserved rural and urban communities along with other entrepreneurial approaches to engage youth in the issues of the day.
Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Raj was the co-founder and CEO of The SEED Foundation, a non-profit managing the nation's first network of public, college-preparatory boarding schools for underserved children.
Raj grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His parents, who had emigrated from India, were devoted to Raj receiving a quality education, and instilled in him their belief that a good education was the way up and out of poverty. Raj attended Princeton University, from which he received a degree in Molecular Biology, as well as certificate of studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. Raj's first job after college was as a management consultant with Mercer Management Consulting. However, Raj's training as a scientist continued to shape his world view. After a conversation with friends about the challenges of educating urban, at-risk students, Raj developed a scientific hypothesis: that underserved children, when provided with a 24-hour, supportive, academically-rigorous environment, could achieve scholastic success. Soon after, Raj met a management consultant from a competing company, Eric Adler, who also had visions of a college preparatory boarding school for urban youth. Together, they founded The SEED Foundation and opened The SEED School in Washington, D.C. in 1998, which now serves 330 students in grades 6-12.
Today, there are three SEED schools in the nation – the SEED school in D.C., now seventeen years old, The SEED School of Maryland, which opened in 2008 and graduated its first cohort of high school graduates going to college, and The SEED School of Miami, which opened in August 2014. To date, over 90 percent of SEED graduates have enrolled in college, and they earn bachelor's degrees at 4.5 times the rate of our nation's lowest income students. For their work at The SEED Foundation, Raj and Eric have been named Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine, are recipients of the Manhattan Institute's Social Entrepreneurship Award, and are recipients of Oprah Winfrey's "Use Your Life" Award.
In addition to his role at the Aspen Institute, Raj is a board director for a public company, Colfax Corporation (NYSE: CFX). He is a former trustee and executive committee member for Princeton University, former national chair of its annual giving committee, and former executive committee member for its Aspire capital campaign. In 2009, he received the Woodrow Wilson Award, the highest honor that Princeton bestows on an undergraduate alumnus. Raj is an Echoing Green fellow and an Ashoka fellow. Raj is married and has one daughter and two cats. He loves basketball, working out and learning from his daughter.
Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, the nation's second largest philanthropy. For more than two decades he has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, working on an array of social justice issues, including education, human rights, urban development, and free expression. Before joining Ford, he was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. Following a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS, he served as COO of Harlem's leading community development organization, the Abyssinian Development Corporation, where he oversaw development of more than 1,000 new units of low-income housing, among other achievements. He is a member of the boards of the Arcus Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the High Line, the New York City Ballet, and the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Darren received the "Distinguished Alumnus Award," the highest honor given by his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.
Gloria Walton is one of the country's most exciting "next generation" political leaders.
For the last six years she has been President and CEO of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), a South L.A.-based community organization widely recognized as a leader in the development of cutting-edge strategies to ensure that black and brown, poor and working-class communities have an equal voice in the democratic process. Ms. Walton succeeded SCOPE's founder, legendary community organizer Anthony Thigpenn.
Under Ms. Walton's leadership, SCOPE played a pivotal role in several significant recent campaigns including serving as an anchor organization in the winning statewide alliances to pass California's Prop 30 which generated $9 billion in revenue for education and social services and Prop 47 which reclassified certain nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors, reversing decades of investment in prisons and redirecting resources to treatment. These unlikely victories were won thanks to SCOPE's model of "integrated voter engagement" which combines sustained organizing that pushes for power from the outside and engagement of new and occasional low-income voters to build strong voting blocs.
Ms. Walton also led the organizing effort for SCOPE's green jobs programs. SCOPE pioneered a replicable model that couples entry level positions with job training to create career pathways into good, green jobs, targeted for workers in low-income neighborhoods.
Ms. Walton is a recent recipient of a James Irvine Foundation Fund for Leadership Advancement grant and was named one of Liberty Hill Foundation's Leaders to Watch in 2011.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of California Calls, the Coordinating Committee of the Black Worker Center, and is a Founding Advisory Board member of a national collaborative known as BOLD (Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity). Ms. Walton graduated cum laude with a B.A. in political science from UCLA.
Dorian T. Warren
Dorian T. Warren is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, an MSNBC Contributor, and Board Chair of the Center for Community Change. He is the Host and Executive Producer of "Nerding Out" on MSNBC's digital platform, shift.msnbc.com.
A scholar of inequality and American politics, he taught for over a decade at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was Co-Director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy, and serves as a Research Associate at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies.
As a commentator on public affairs, Warren has appeared regularly on television and radio including NBC Nightly News, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, BET, BBC, NPR, Bloomberg, & NY1, among other outlets. In 2013, he was included on the list of NBC's theGrio's 100 people making history today.
He is the author of the forthcoming The Three Faces of Unions: Inclusion & Democracy in the U.S. Labor Movement (Oxford University Press), and (with Virginia Parks) Boxing Out: Walmart & the Politics of Labor Market Regulation from Below (Russell Sage Foundation Press).
Mae Watson Grote
Mae Watson Grote is the founder and Executive Director of The Financial Clinic. She has been a member of New York City's public interest legal and social service communities for over a decade. Ms. Grote led a number of diverse initiatives for organizations such as the Legal Aid Society and FoodChange. As the Clinic's founding Executive Director, Ms. Grote created one of the nation's first nonprofit financial development organizations; its mission is to improve working-poor people's financial security. The Clinic does this by addressing their immediate financial challenges, and helping them create trajectories for long-term goals and financial mobility. A high-performing organization focused on results, the Clinic has put $42 million back in the pockets of more than 15,000 customers in new savings, canceled debt and accessed tax credits. The organization has empowered countless more low-income Americans by helping embed financial security actions into the program models of more than 320 organizations in 20 states. The Clinic transforms lessons learned on the ground into large-scale, system-level solutions and social innovations, including launching several policy campaigns. This fall, the Clinic will launch Change Machine, an online financial coaching platform that will revolutionize the way nonprofits serve America's working poor.
Prior to the Clinic, Ms. Grote was a senior labor market policy analyst with Public/Private Ventures, a national nonprofit research and policy organization. She has extensive experience in work supports and low-wage, low-skilled workers' self-sufficiency issues. Among her publications, Unrealized Gains: How Workforce Development Organizations Can Put Money In the Pocket of Low-Wage Workers examines how nonprofit organizations address their constituents' financial security within the fabric of their preexisting services. She received a B.A. from Rutgers University and a J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.
Dr. Leana Wen is the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. She leads the oldest health department in the United States, formed in 1793, with an annual budget of $130 million and over 1,000 employees. Her major initiatives include an ambitious heroin overdose prevention program—recently featured on NPR's All Things Considered—that aims to train every resident in the city to save lives and a citywide youth violence prevention strategy. In the wake of the civil unrest following Freddie Gray's death in April, Dr. Wen directed the city's public health recovery efforts, including ensuring prescription medication access to seniors after the closure of over a dozen pharmacies and developing the Mental Health/Trauma Recovery Plan, with 24/7 crisis counseling and healing circles in schools, community groups, and churches.
Dr. Wen received her medical degree at Washington University in St. Louis and her residency training in emergency medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. She was a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School, and a consultant with the World Health Organization and the Brookings Institution. She has been published dozens of articles including in The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, and British Medical Journal. Most recently, she was the Director of Patient-Centered Care Research and professor of emergency medicine and public health at George Washington University. The author of the critically-acclaimed book When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests, Dr. Wen has been featured on NPR, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, The Atlantic, New York Times, and the Washington Post. Her TED talk on transparency in medicine has been viewed over 1.4 million times.
Henry oversees Acelero Learning's direct Head Start operations, which serve 5,000 children, ages zero-to-five, in 44 centers around the country. He formerly served as the first Deputy Secretary of the Department of Children and Families for the State of Wisconsin, where he oversaw the Head Start State Collaboration Office, the child care subsidy program, child care licensing, and the creation of Youngstar, the Quality Rating and Improvement System. Henry began his career working as a Special Assistant to Marian Wright Edelman at the Children's Defense Fund, after graduating from Harvard University. Henry also earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and is an Ascend Fellow and a Pahara Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Damian Woetzel is director of the Aspen Institute Arts Program, artistic director of the Vail International Dance Festival, and founding director of the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Program. Active as a director and producer, his recent projects include the tributes to ballerinas Natalia Makarova and Patricia McBride for the 35th and 37th Kennedy Center Honors, and the multi-media performance "Lil Buck in Conversation with Keith Haring." Woetzel previously had a 20-year career as principal dancer with New York City Ballet and has taught as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. In 2009, he was appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities by President Obama. He was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal in April 2015.