2018 Conference Speakers

Wednesday, November 28th 


Conference Kickoff Dinner 


Senator Michael Bennet 

Michael Bennet has represented Colorado in the United States Senate since 2009. Recognized as a pragmatic and independent thinker, he is driven by an obligation to create more opportunity for the next generation. Michael has built a reputation of taking on Washington dysfunction and working with Republicans and Democrats to address our nation’s greatest challenges— including education, climate change, immigration, health care, and national security. Before serving in the Senate, Michael worked to restructure failing businesses and helped create the world’s largest movie theater chain. As superintendent of the Denver Public Schools, he led one of the most extensive reform efforts in the country, resulting in substantial, sustained academic improvement for Denver’s children. He lives in Denver with his wife and three daughters.


Congressman Conor Lamb 

Congressman Conor Lamb was sworn in to the United States House of Representatives on April 12, 2018 to represent Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, which includes parts of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Washington and Greene Counties in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Congressman Lamb previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Justice Department's Pittsburgh office. In this position, he prosecuted violent crimes and drug trafficking and helped establish the office as a national leader in the fight against the heroin epidemic. Congressman Lamb served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2009-2013 and continues to serve as a Major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. Congressman Lamb's priorities in Congress include protecting Social Security and Medicare as well as fighting for good jobs and strong unions.  Congressman Lamb is also determined to make health care more affordable and to take aggressive action to combat the heroin epidemic.

Conor Lamb is 33 years old and resides in his home town of Mt. Lebanon.  He is a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School (2002) and of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania Law School (2006, 2009).


Congressman-Elect Ben McAdams 

Ben McAdams was sworn into office as Salt Lake County Mayor on Jan. 7, 2013. Mayor McAdams pledged to work collaboratively, across party lines, to find efficiencies in County government and to be open and accountable to citizens.

During his tenure as County Mayor, he has championed education, helping the county become the first in the country to partner with the private sector to offer greater access to high-quality preschool for low-income children. Mayor McAdams has also emphasized economic development and job growth, partnering with cities to attract business while being a careful steward of taxpayer dollars. He has also supported greater access for businesses and residents to transit, trails, and open space.


Congresswoman-Elect Jennifer Wexton 

Congresswoman-elect Jennifer Wexton has been serving the people of Northern Virginia for nearly two decades as a prosecutor, advocate, state senator, and now a member of the US House of Representatives from Virginia’s 10th District.

In her five years in the state Senate, Jennifer passed over 40 pieces of legislation despite serving in the minority. She found bipartisan support for legislation that makes our children safer, combats the heroin and opioid epidemic, increases access to affordable healthcare, prepares our children for jobs of the future, eases traffic congestion, and brings more business to Northern Virginia.

In April 2017, Jennifer decided to take her passion for protecting others to the national level and announced her run for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. A popular legislator from the heart of the district, Jennifer won a six-way primary by nearly 20 points, and in November, she won her general election by over 12 points. As a Congresswoman-elect, Jennifer is looking forward to bringing her experience working across the aisle to Congress and hopes to create legislation that benefits the people of Northern Virginia and the United States.


Wisconsin Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes 

Mandela Barnes was a Wisconsin State Representative for the 11th Assembly District which includes the Northeast portion of the City of Milwaukee and part of the City of Glendale. Elected in 2012, Mandela was a community organizer focusing on issues of jobs & economic development, education, immigration, and criminal justice reform. A large part of his work involved addressing minority contracting and opportunity for the unemployed/under employed on a major public works project receiving millions in federal money. When the project did not meet certain inclusion goals, it became a key factor in his decision to run and a central part of his campaign.

As a member of the State Legislature, Mandela served on the Assembly committees on Corrections (ranking), Education, Small Business, and Jobs & the Economy in addition to the Speaker's Youth Workforce Readiness Task Force. Recently the state passed a bill to help fund the construction of a new sports arena for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was integral in bringing together the team's ownership with labor and community groups to craft a project labor agreement that would cover construction as well as end-use jobs on the project to create new jobs and providing training for Milwaukee residents. He also served on the advisory council for Newaukee, a social architecture firm that changes the way people connect and delivers workforce attraction, talent engagement and a better, brighter city for all to enjoy as a triple bottom line for their clients.


Image result for cyrus habibWashington Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib 

Cyrus Habib was elected Washington state’s 16th Lt. Governor in November 2016. A former legislator, Lt. Governor Habib represented east King County in both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate, where he served as Democratic Whip and a member of the Democratic leadership team.

As Lt. Governor, he is President of the State Senate, serves as acting-Governor whenever the Governor leaves the state, and maintains a portfolio of key issues including Economic Development, Trade, and Higher Education.

A three-time cancer survivor, Lieutenant Governor Habib has been fully blind since age eight. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Iran before he was born, and he is both the first and only Iranian-American official to hold statewide elected office in the United States. He is the youngest presiding officer in the country, and the first and only Iranian-American to hold statewide elected office in the United States. He is a graduate of Columbia University, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and Yale Law School.


Former Governor Jack Markell 

Jack Markell was sworn in as Delaware’s Governor on January 19, 2009, and was sworn in for his second term on January 15, 2013. Her served as Governor until 2017. During his term, Markell focused on growing the economy, creating jobs, strengthening schools and protecting taxpayers. He made education a top priority, with Delaware winning President Obama's Race to the Top competition to improve public schools, while also dramatically increasing access to quality early childhood programs. While the state was been recognized for job creation, Markell also focused on running state government efficiently and effectively, keeping the state’s AAA bond rating while reforming Delaware’s health and pension systems to make them more sustainable over time.

Markell also chaired the National Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association. He previously served as state treasurer for three consecutive terms, where he worked to improve the lives of Delawareans through innovative programs aimed at cutting spending and improving fiscal responsibility.

Markell began his career in the private sector helping lead the wireless technology revolution as the 13th employee at Nextel, where he served as senior vice president for corporate development. His other business experience includes a senior management position at Comcast Corporation, work as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and as a banker at First Chicago Corporation.


Thursday, November 29th


Opening Session: Preparing for the Future of Work 


Senator Mark Warner 

Mark Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008, and reelected in 2014. In his first term in the Senate, Senator Warner established himself as a national leader in efforts to find bipartisan consensus to create balanced solutions to reduce the federal debt and deficit. He also is a leader in Congress in efforts to promote private-sector innovation and to help our nation's small businesses and start-up companies succeed. From 2002 to 2006, Senator Warner served as Governor of Virginia, where he worked in a bipartisan way to turn record budget deficits into a surplus. Governor Warner also focused on improving public education and expanding economic opportunity in every region of the state. Before entering public office, Senator Warner was an early investor in the cellular telephone business. He co-founded the company that became Nextel, and ultimately made early investments in hundreds of start-up technology companies that have created tens-of-thousands of private sector jobs.


Senator Eric Lesser, MA

As the youngest member of the Massachusetts Senate, Senator Lesser champions civic engagement and greater participation in public affairs. He serves as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, and Senate Vice-Chair of the Committee on Financial Services.

Senator Lesser earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 2007. Upon graduating, he joined the Obama for America campaign, during which he traveled with then-Senator Obama across 47 states. Following President Obama’s historic victory, Senator Lesser served as Special Assistant to White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, and later as Director of Strategic Planning for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Senator Lesser is also a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was named a “Face of the Democratic Future” by American Prospect Magazine.


Senator Troy Singleton, NJ

Assemblyman Troy Singleton has devoted his life to public service in government, political, and policy posts at all levels. His rapid rise to the highest levels of management in the New Jersey Legislature and as an elected official is a testament to his widely praised talent for assessing, developing, and implementing progressive legislative responses to major public policy challenges.

Assemblyman Singleton was recognized as one of Burlington County's Top 40 Under 40 in 2013, and has been named the 2013 Legislator of the Year by New Jersey AMVETS for his commitment to protecting our Veterans and also by the North Jersey Arts and Science Charter School network for his commitment to furthering our children’s education. Additionally, he has been selected as the 2013 Legislator of the Year by the New Jersey ARC, the Constitutional Officers Association of NJ and as a recipient of a public service award by Building One New Jersey for his efforts to promote diversity and to protect New Jersey's middle class. He is also a past recipient of the New Jersey Association for Justice’s Presidential Award in 2012, the New Jersey Small Business Development Center's 2012 NJSBDC Advocate Award, and the NAACP Southern Burlington County Community Service Award in 2011.


Mayor Chris Cabaldon, West Sacramento, CA

For two decades, Christopher Cabaldon has been the mayor of what was the forgotten old-industrial small town on the other side of the tracks (in this case, the tracks are the Sacramento River), transformed under his leadership into the fast-growing, dynamic, entrepreneurial city at the forefront an emerging American metro. A small city punching way above its weight, West Sacramento has been named Most Livable City in America by the US Conference of Mayors, and as a leading LRNG digital badge city, Startups in Residence incubator, and 2015 Code for America city. Mayor Cabaldon’s innovations promoting progressive economic growth have been featured at the world expo, Federal Reserve, SXSW, White House, Governing, and other national and international forums. He is Jobs, Education & the Workforce chairman for the US Conference of Mayors. He might also be the country’s leading heretic on the topic of civic engagement.

Cabaldon served as vice chancellor of California’s 113-campus community college system and director of the state legislature’s higher education committee, and led high-impact statewide education startup organizations. He has been appointed to state government posts by four California governors from both political parties.


Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville, KY

Greg Fischer was elected Louisville’s Mayor in 2010 and has an extensive background in business. In 1980, he was a founder of SerVend International and co-invented the SerVend ice and beverage dispenser. Along with his brothers, he led the growth of SerVend into a worldwide corporation with more than 300 employees and $70 million in annual sales. In 1999, he founded Iceberg Ventures, a private investment firm, and later was a co-founder of bCatalyst, the first business accelerator in Louisville. Fischer has helped create more than 1,000 local jobs and has been an active investor and board member in numerous companies across multiple industries. Greg is also a co-founder of Louisville’s Center for Quality of Management.



Councilmember Amanda Edwards, Houston, TX 

Amanda K. Edwards serves as the Houston City Council Member in the At-Large Position 4. She is also a municipal finance attorney and native Houstonian with a passion for building communities through public service. Currently, Edwards serves as Vice Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee and as a member of the Economic Development and Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committees. She is committed to cultivating economic development opportunities in Houston that have the potential to responsibly revitalize underserved communities and encourage new industries to develop. Edwards strives to innovatively address Houston’s fiscal challenges and its urban core needs in order to move all of Houston forward so that it can be the place where the Gulf Coast and the world’s future meet.

Edwards maintains a strong commitment to community service. She has served as President of the Board of Directors for Project Row Houses in Houston’s Historical Third Ward community and on numerous other civic boards and committees, including Texas Lyceum, Crisis Intervention of Houston, Texas One Voice: A Health and Human Services Collaborative and the Houston Area Urban League Young Professionals. Edwards is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Amy Loyd, Associate Vice President of JFF

Amy Loyd, PhD, is associate vice president of Building Educational Pathways for Youth at JFF and leads the Pathways to Prosperity and college and career pathways work. In this role, she guides states and regions in developing and scaling effective policies, infrastructure, and practices to build sustainable systems of college and career pathways aligned with regional labor markets.

Prior to joining JFF, Amy led a public-private partnership network of K-12 schools providing culturally responsive education and wraparound services to Alaska Native and American Indian students and their families. She worked with the US Department of Education (ED) on policy and state capacity-building and as a peer reviewer consultant to ED. Additionally, she led the start-up of a prisoner reentry residential education and workforce development social enterprise and was a high school math teacher and family advocate.

Amy holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics from St. John’s College and a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she also teaches a class on using pathways to increase opportunity and equity in education.


Winston Fisher, Partner, Fisher Brothers

Winston C. Fisher directs the company’s financing/investing activities, property acquisitions and dispositions, and oversees all new development initiatives. With experience across a broad range of transactions, Mr. Fisher leads all financial analysis, due diligence, project capitalization efforts and joint-venture partnerships for new and distressed real estate projects. In addition to his active participation in the company’s development projects, he also manages the firm’s day-to-day stock and investment portfolio, including asset allocation, risk management and investment manager selection.

Mr. Fisher is the Co-Chair of the NYC Regional Economic Development Council, and serves as a Trustee on the Citizens Budget Commission. He is a member of the Real Estate and Construction Council of Lincoln Center, and is on the Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York. Mr. Fisher also serves on the Board of the Realty Foundation of New York, and is on the Board of Trustees at Syracuse University, and the Horace Mann School.

Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director of Future of Work Initiative, Aspen Institute

Alastair Fitzpayne serves as Executive Director of the Future of Work Initiative. Prior to his work at the Aspen Institute, he served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Secretary Sylvia Burwell. In addition to serving as Chief of Staff at HHS, Fitzpayne also held a number of senior roles at the Department of the Treasury during the Obama Administration, including Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs. He has also served on Capitol Hill, in both the Senate and the House, as an economic advisor to Sen. Evan Bayh and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, respectively. He has also worked at the Office of Management and Budget and Abt Associates, a public policy consulting firm.


Kristin Sharp, Executive Director of Shift: America's Initiative of Work, Workers, and Technology, New America 

Kristin Sharp directs New America's Initiative on Work, Workers, and Technology. In 2016, she co-founded and ran Shift: The Commission on Work, Workers, and Technology, a joint project of New America and Bloomberg.

Prior to launching Shift, she had an extensive career in technology, innovation, and national security policy in the U.S. Senate, most recently serving as deputy chief of staff to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). In the Senate, Sharp also held a variety of senior staff roles in the offices of Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (chaired by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-IN).

In addition to her work at New America, she is a frequent speaker on the future of work and advises a variety of private start-ups and venture capital firms. Sharp is a member of the advisory boards of the Herbert Scoville Peace Fellowship and Village Capital. She has an M.A. from Duke University in Political Science, and a B.A. from the University of Michigan. Go Blue!

Breakout Session 1


Innovations in Health Care Access and Affordability 


Representative Bryon Short, Wilmington, DE

Bryon Short began his career as a caseworker under then-Congressman Tom Carper. After years of working in the public sector, he took his proactive approach to service to the private sector.  Bryon created a successful small business from scratch, and currently works in Wilmington rejuvenating neighborhoods. Bryon has worked hard to improve his community by turning vacant parking lots and dilapidated abandoned buildings into working class homes that match the character of their community.

In 2007, Bryon returned to public service and was elected as a State Representative.  After his election, Bryon worked closely with Governor Jack Markell to pass a bold plan to make Delaware’s budget more sustainable, coupling smart investments in education, clean energy, and public safety with measures to reduce waste and fraud in government programs.  Bryon is also the Co-Chair of the Delaware House Small Business Caucus, which works to find new ways to support the efforts of small businesses to grow Delaware’s economy.


Rob Kowalski, US Head of Global Drug Development and Head of Regulatory Affairs, Novartis 

Rob Kowalski is currently the Head of Regulatory Affairs for Novartis and the US Head of Global Drug Development, based in East Hanover, New Jersey, USA.   

Under his leadership, Rob has successfully brought dozens of new products to the market, including many new chemical entities across a wide array of therapeutic areas in the small molecule, biologics, and Cell & Gene Therapy spaces.  In addition, he has been fortunate in his career to be able to work on innovative therapies and important access medicines in the areas of rare diseases, pediatrics, devices, companion diagnostics, digital medicine and new technologies (smart devices), and biosimilars.

Rob has 25 years of regulatory and drug development experience in the industry, including past regulatory leadership roles at Pharmacia (now Pfizer) and Schering-Plough (now Merck).   Rob has also previously served as the Global Head of Development Medical Affairs for Novartis.

In addition to being an active member in multiple professional organizations, Rob currently serves as the Chair of PhRMA’s Regulatory Affairs Committee and recently completed his term as the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for the R&D Council of New Jersey.  Rob was a member of the FDA Rare Disease Advisory Panel and an industry representative for both PDUFA V and VI reauthorization negotiations. He is also a member of the TOPRA and Industry Pharmacists Organization Advisory Boards.


Krista Drobac, Alliance for Connected Care

Krista Drobac has twenty years of experience in federal and state government, and in public affairs. She now provides strategic advice on a broad range of state and federal legislative and regulatory issues around Medicaid, Medicare, accountable care, commercial insurance, digital health, public health and other areas.

Krista serves as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Connected Care, a 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to ensuring that all patients are able to realize the benefits of connected care. She was previously the director of the Health Division at the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices where she directed technical assistance for governors’ health advisors in the areas of health IT, health insurance Exchanges, Medicaid, delivery system reform and public health programs.

Prior to NGA, she was a Senior Advisor at the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) working in Medicaid and private insurance regulation. She also served as Deputy Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services where she worked on policy related to Medicaid and state employee health benefits programs. Prior to NGA, Krista spent five years on Capitol Hill as a health advisor.

Krista holds a BA from the University of Michigan and an MPP from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

Urban Mobility 


Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg, FL

Rick Kriseman was elected Mayor of St. Petersburg in 2013. Before becoming Mayor, he served for 6 years in the Florida House of Representatives and 6 years on the St. Petersburg City Council. St. Petersburg experienced a renaissance during Rick’s service on city council and today is home to a bustling downtown waterfront, a vibrant arts scene, unique local shops and galleries, and revitalized neighborhoods. As Mayor, Rick is focused on growing St. Petersburg’s economy by avoiding high taxes, unreasonable regulations, and burdensome permitting as well as by having a top notch public education system, efficient mass transit, sound infrastructure, and a high quality of life.


Dan Gilman, Chief of Staff to Pittsburgh Mayor Pill Peduto

Dan Gilman is the chief of staff for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto. Previously, Dan Gilman served in the Pittsburgh City Council from 2013 to 2017, focusing on creating a more accountable city government, embracing Pittsburgh’s technological renaissance in order to improve City services, and making Pittsburgh a more family-friendly and progressive city. Councilman Gilman’s efforts to ensure a fairer and more accountable City government included staffing the City’s previously-defunct Ethics Board, strengthening the City’s campaign finance laws, and creating an easily navigable web portal for City information, all aimed at developing a more transparent government.

Gilman pursued a more progressive and family-friendly Pittsburgh. He sponsored legislation to create safe spaces for nursing parents in city government buildings. He also passed legislation banning the harmful practice of conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ minors in Pittsburgh and an ordinance to end the practice of inquiring into City of Pittsburgh job applicants’ salary history, which perpetuates the growing national wage gap for women and minority candidates, and encourage companies in the private sector to do the same. In addition, Gilman sponsored a City for All agenda, six pieces of legislation to enhance and expand City services for immigrants and refugees. Gilman has received many awards and accolades for his hard work. In addition to being selected for the NewDEAL, he was appointed as Vice Chair of the National League of Cities’ University Communities Council. He has also been recognized as one of Pittsburgh’s “40 Under 40” by Pittsburgh Magazine and Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project, as well as one of Pittsburgh’s “50 Finest” by Whirl Magazine.


Future of Work: Removing Barriers to Entrepreneurship 


Senator Kerry Donovan, Vail, Colorado 

Kerry Donovan was elected to the Colorado State Senate in November 2014 to represent Senate District 5, which includes seven counties on the Western Slope, the upper Arkansas Valley of Colorado, and her hometown of Vail. As Senator, Kerry has tackled a wide variety of issues to help build a Colorado that works for everyone -- including economic development in rural areas, access to quality public education, renewable energy, conservation of Colorado’s wildlife and landscape, and access to public lands. Kerry currently serves on the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee, and the Senate Local Government Committee.

Prior to being elected Senator, Kerry served on the Vail Town Council for four years, and served on a number of other town commissions. She also worked for worked for several community-focused nonprofits, and served as the Director of Academics for the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. When she's not at the Capitol or meeting with constituents in her district, Kerry runs her small family ranch where she raises cattle and grows vegetables for local restaurants.


John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority

John Arensmeyer has used his long experience as a business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized small business organization and the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s entrepreneurs—particularly healthcare, access to capital, taxes, retirement/asset building, and numerous workforce issues. The organization is focused on empowering America's entrepreneurs to build a thriving and inclusive economy. In the past few years John has spearheaded the growth of Small Business Majority’s Entrepreneurship Program, providing critical practical resources to our nation’s 28 million small businesses.

John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international interactive communications company. Information Week named ACI's signature product one of the nation's top 100 e-business innovations, and the company was cited by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. Earlier, John was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business and an attorney in New York.

John is a frequent speaker on small business policy issues and a regular guest on TV and radio, including MSNBC's Your Business, PBS NewsHour, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR's Marketplace, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he was an active participant at the White House summit on healthcare reform. He testifies regularly before congressional committees, and has briefed White House officials and congressional leadership on small business policy issues. He serves as Board Chair for California's Insure the Uninsured Project. He has led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics, and has served on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's Economic Impact Council and Micro Capital Task Force.


Justin Pearson, Senior Attorney at the Institute of Justice

Justin Pearson is a Senior Attorney at the Institute for Justice, where Justin serves as IJ’s Florida Office Managing Attorney and oversees IJ’s national economic liberty efforts. Justin has devoted his career to representing small-business owners, and he has argued in courts around the nation on their behalf over one-hundred times. Justin has also been invited to testify at state legislative committee meetings over a dozen times, with occupational licensing reform being the most common topic. Occupational licensing reform is often also the subject of the talks Justin gives at law schools and universities, which Justin does numerous times every year.

Prior to joining IJ in 2012, Justin founded a successful law practice dedicated to representing small-business owners. Justin owned and operated his firm for seven years and would still have it today if IJ had not offered to pay him to work full time on the same things he was already happily doing as pro bono work. Outside of IJ, Justin is on the Executive Board for the Federalist Society’s Miami Lawyers Chapter, is on the James Madison Institute’s Board of Advisors, and is a member of the American Enterprise Institute’s Leadership Network. Justin was recently honored by Law.com and the Daily Business Review for being one of South Florida’s most effective lawyers.


Investing in Distressed Communities 


Councilmember Lauren McLean, Boise, ID

Lauren has served on the Boise City Council since 2011 and is currently the President Pro Tempore. She’s focused her work on sustainability, community justice, and economic development.

Lauren co-sponsored the city’s ordinance protecting all residents from discrimination, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered. Her efforts in Boise led to ordinances being passed in cities around the state. She’s helped the city secure a grant to explore Pay for Success as part of a solution to homelessness and housing, and serves on the Mayor’s Housing and Homelessness Committee that convened providers, community organizations and concerned citizens and led to the city’s first plan to develop community-supportive housing through the Housing First program. During her five years as a commissioner on the city’s urban renewal organization, CCDC she helped oversee a period of intense development in Boise’s downtown core with numerous public-private partnerships helping to transform Boise’s downtown.

A committed conservationist and recreations, Lauren knows that Boise’s environment is key to its livability and long-term economic prosperity and growth. Known for her efforts to pass the city’s first levy for Open Space protection in 2011, she supported the most recent levy to grow the city’s open space and clean water programs and sponsors the city’s sustainability initiative. Since adopted, the city has established energy reduction goals, expanded its geothermal system as part of an EcoDistrict downtown, and continues to seek innovative solutions to today’s problems.


Dan Carol, Senior Advisor for Infrastructure and Energy to Gov. Jerry Brown

Dan Carol is the Senior Advisor for Infrastructure and Energy to Governor Jerry Brown of California where he focuses on accelerating innovative climate finance projects and partnerships inside California, regionally and nationally.  Dan also directs the state’s inter-agency Opportunity Zones work group.  He also serves on the Executive Committee of the US Climate Alliance, a 16-state, bi-partisan alliance of states moving forward to implement the goals of the Paris agreement.   Before that, Dan served the Obama Administration as a member of the U.S. DOE State Energy Advisory Board and led efforts to create the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange, a 2015 winner of the Harvard Ash Center award for government innovation.

 In addition to service in city and state government, Dan has also served as a U.S. Presidential Management Fellow, a member of the Clinton Global initiative, senior campaign advisor to the Clinton-Gore 1992 and Obama-Biden 2008 campaigns.  Most recently, he also researched, published and taught at Georgetown University on government innovation and infrastructure finance.

Outside of government, Dan co-founded two clean energy acceleration groups (The Apollo Alliance and the Clean Economy Network) and founded CTSG, a 70-person online civic engagement company and software company, which he sold in 2004 (BLKB: NASDAQ).


John Letteri, President and CEO, Economic Innovation Group

John Lettieri is responsible for the executive leadership of the Economic Innovation Group, where he oversees the organization’s efforts to study and address regional inequality and the decline of economic dynamism in the United States. Mr. Lettieri’s work and commentary have been featured in a wide range of outlets, including The Atlantic, Fox News, The Hill, NPR, The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others. He has a B.A. in political science from Wake Forest University and serves on the Board of Regents at The Fund for American Studies, the Board of Directors of Lincoln Network, and the Board of Directors for Friends of the National Zoo.



Lunch Keynote and Panel: The Midterms and What Comes Next 

Keynote Speaker

Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

Karen Tumulty is a columnist for The Washington Post. In her previous role as a national political correspondent for the newspaper, she

received the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. She joined The Post in 2010 from Time magazine, where she had held the same title. During her more than 15 years at Time, Tumulty wrote or co-wrote more than three dozen cover stories. She also held positions with Time as congressional correspondent and White House correspondent.

Before joining Time in 1994, Tumulty spent 14 years at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered a wide variety of beats. During her time there, she reported on Congress, business, energy and economics from Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. Tumulty is a native of San Antonio, where she began her career at the now-defunct San Antonio Light. Tumulty holds a bachelor of journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Harvard Business School.


Allison Abney, Communications Director, Emerge America

Allison Abney serves as communications director for Emerge America, the nation’s premier organization that recruits, trains and provides a powerful network to women who want to run for elected office. In this role, Allison leads Emerge America’s communications department, sets and executes the organization’s national communications strategy and promotes staff and state affiliates to the press, public and other message influencers. She formerly worked in the press shops of two Democratic congresswoman, as press secretary for the Chairman of the DC Council and as communications director on several campaigns. Allison is a graduate of the University of Memphis with a degree in journalism and holds two masters degrees from the University of Denver in Conflict Resolution and International and Intercultural Communication. She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband and dog.


Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, Social Policy and Politics Director, Third Way

Lanae Erickson Hatalsky leads the Social Policy & Politics team at Third Way, where she helps policymakers and advocates better understand the complexities of how voters in the middle approach topics that are often perceived politically as black and white. Working closely with leaders in the LGBT movement, Lanae spearheaded Third Way’s Commitment Campaign, which mobilized moderate Americans to support marriage for gay couples by changing the conversation from legal rights and benefits to the importance of making a lifetime commitment in front of family and friends. She also served as a member of President Obama's third White House Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Her commentary has been featured in a variety of news outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Politico, The New Yorker, and PBS News Hour.


Jamal Simmons, The Hill

Jamal Simmons is an American political analyst and television commentator seen on MSNBC, ABC News, CBS News and CNN. Simmons graduated from Detroit's Cass Technical High School, with a Bachelor of Arts from Morehouse College and a master's degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Simmons served as chief of staff to U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and as a political aide to U.S. Trade Representative and Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor.[3] Simmons was press secretary to Senator Bob Graham's and General Wesley K. Clark's presidential campaigns, and has worked in various capacities for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. He married Jewel James in 2016.


Steven Olikara, Founder and President of Millennial Action Project

Steven Olikara is the Founder & President of Millennial Action Project (MAP), the largest nonpartisan organization of young lawmakers in the U.S. Working with over 800 policymakers in Congress and state legislatures, MAP is building a new generation of leadership to transcend the partisan divide and strengthen our democracy. A nationally-recognized political commentator, Steven has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NBC News, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and other national outlets. He is also co-author of the new book, “JFK: The Last Speech,” published in 2018. Steven has been named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, a Forbes 30 Under 30, an Aspen Institute Ideas Scholar, and one of the Most Influential Leaders Under 40 by Washington Life magazine. Previously, Steven advised two multi-platinum recording artists on youth issues and sustainable energy efforts, and served as Truman Fellow at the World Bank where he focused on environmental protection. A proud Wisconsinite, Steven graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Truman and Udall Scholar.


Breakout Session 2 


Expanding Affordable Housing Options


Councilmember Chris Clark, Mountain View, CA 

Chris Clark is a City Council Member and former Mayor of Mountain View, California, which is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and home to Google, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and numerous startups. He was elected to Council in 2012 and became Mayor in 2014.

As Mayor, Chris led the city through a period of significant growth and forged consensus on several key issues including housing growth, permit streamlining, and environmental sustainability. He is the youngest person ever to serve as a Mayor and Council Member in Mountain View.

Chris grew up on a farm in rural Illinois and served as a Page for the US House of Representatives before moving to Silicon Valley to attend Stanford University. He studied International Relations and Economics and interned with the US State Department in Berlin and Munich.  In addition to City Council, Chris serves on several San Francisco Bay Area regional planning boards and leads operations at Y Combinator Research.


Debbie Beck, President of Beck Research

Deborah Beck is President of Beck Research LLC, a public opinion research firm. For almost two decades, she has provided research and strategic advice to political campaigns, issue organizations, and corporations. Her clients range from Fortune 500 companies and national advocacy campaigns to local efforts and stakeholder campaigns. An expert in education issues, Beck worked with numerous national education advocacy organizations and conducts the American Federation for Children’s annual national poll. Other recent projects have centered on housing, health care, and civic participation. Beck graduated from Vassar College and received her graduate degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. 


Leslie Pollner, Senior Policy Advisor, Holland & Knight

Leslie Pollner is a senior policy advisor in the firm's Public Policy & Regulation Group. Ms. Pollner focuses on several key industries, including transportation, economic development and housing. Her extensive experience in government at both the federal and local level allows her to help clients develop innovative solutions and advocacy strategies to achieve results.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Pollner was the deputy mayor for federal affairs in Los Angeles under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She led the city of Los Angeles' office in Washington, D.C., directed its federal advocacy efforts, and managed lobbying teams at the Los Angeles port, airport and public utilities commissions. Ms. Pollner was also the principal liaison with the U.S. Conference of Mayors while Mayor Villaraigosa was the president of the organization and worked with mayors across the country on key issues, including building a coalition to support the transportation reauthorization bill.

Prior to that, Ms. Pollner was a two-time chief of staff for U.S. Reps. Suzanne Kosmas and Tim Mahoney, both of Florida. She has also worked in public affairs consulting and crisis communications support for Fortune 500 companies and helped develop communications strategies for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, concentrating on the nonprofit's education investments.


Future of Work Policy Implementation: Creating Career Pathways for Students


Delegate Kathy Tran, Springfield, VA

Virginia State Delegate Kathy Tran’s path to being elected begins with her and her parents fleeing from Vietnam as boat refugees when she was just seven months old. Although several other countries offered them asylum, Tran and her family waited 13 months for the United States to accept their application because to them, America represented hope, opportunity, and freedom. Now, Delegate Tran fights for those values by supporting comprehensive immigration reform, investing in workforce and education programs that build strong talent pipelines, and expanding opportunity for veterans.

Since being elected in 2017, State Delegate Kathy Tran has been a powerful advocate for veterans, immigrants, educators, and women in Virginia. Tran has introduced legislation to make higher education in her state more accessible and affordable for those that have served the United States and legislation that gives members of the military stationed abroad the option to vote. The state delegate is also a strong proponent of investing in early childhood education and supporting Virginian educators. She has introduced legislation to leverage private-public partnerships to award grants to K-12 schools for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programming. The state delegate was endorsed by several women’s rights groups during her campaign, and she has followed through by introducing pieces of legislation that aim to eliminate the statute of limitations for misdemeanor sexual offenses and require state contractors to implement sexual harassment training. Kathy Tran shares the title of the first Asian-American woman to be elected to the House of Delegates, and as an immigrant herself, Kathy has expanded services for immigrants by sponsoring legislation to create an Office of Immigrant Assistance.


Kyle Hartung, Director of Pathways to Prosperity, JFF

Kyle Hartung, EdD, is director of Pathways to Prosperity at JFF. In this capacity, he leads bodies of work focused on the design, implementation, and innovation of grades 9–14+ pathways ecosystems and regional and state policies supporting the transition of credentialed young people into the labor market.

Kyle has 20 years of experience as a teacher, leader, consultant, and researcher in public K–12 and higher education settings, where he has worked to advance innovations in education. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, college and career readiness, performance- and competency-based assessment, workplace learning, project- and problem-based pedagogy, school design/redesign, adult learning, and mixed-methods research. Prior to joining JFF, Kyle most recently worked as a researcher with Learning Innovations Laboratory at Harvard’s Project Zero and as a consultant for Envision Learning Partners. 

Kyle holds a bachelor's degree in performance studies from the University of Illinois-Urbana, master's degrees in education from The New School and Harvard University, and a doctorate in educational leadership, policy, and practice from Harvard University.


Roger Curtis, Vice President of Public Affairs, Consumers Energy

Roger Curtis is vice president of public affairs of Consumers Energy. He was named to this position in October 2018.

Curtis leads the company’s community affairs, corporate communications and corporate giving functions.

Before joining Consumers Energy, Curtis served as director of talent and economic development for the State of Michigan. Appointed to the role by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2016, Curtis is credited with implementing Gov. Snyder’s Marshall Plan for Talent. Curtis’ other accomplishments include Project Rising Tide, a pilot program that provided struggling Michigan communities with planning, zoning and economic development programs; Experience Sooner, a statewide apprenticeship marketing campaign; Going Pro, a professional trades campaign; and Choose Michigan, a talent attraction campaign.


Future of Work Policy Implementation: Paid Family Leave and a Modern Safety Net


Senator Eric Lesser, MA

As the youngest member of the Massachusetts Senate, Senator Lesser champions civic engagement and greater participation in public affairs. He serves as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development, and Senate Vice-Chair of the Committee on Financial Services.

Senator Lesser earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 2007. Upon graduating, he joined the Obama for America campaign, during which he traveled with then-Senator Obama across 47 states. Following President Obama’s historic victory, Senator Lesser served as Special Assistant to White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, and later as Director of Strategic Planning for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Senator Lesser is also a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and was named a “Face of the Democratic Future” by American Prospect Magazine.


Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Director of Policy of the Policy to Prosperity Program, Center for American Progress

Katherine Gallagher Robbins is the director of policy for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress. Before joining American Progress, Robbins was the director of research and policy analysis at the National Women’s Law Center, where she worked on improving the economic security of women and their families, with a special focus on poor women and women of color. Prior to attending graduate school, Robbins spent two years as a campus organizer for the California Public Interest Research Group at the University of California, San Diego.

Robbins’ research has been cited by numerous media outlets, including CNN, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Huffington Post, and she is often quoted in both national and local media. She has authored several reports and analyses on poverty and the safety net, income security, wage inequality, and the low-wage workforce.


Criminal Justice Reform


Senator Lee Harris, Shelby County, TN

Elected at the age of 36, Lee Harris holds the distinction of being the youngest senator, and the first African American leader, in the state of Tennessee.

Senator Harris has championed the causes of Tennesseans. Among his legislative initiatives, he has pushed for treatment coverage for persons with sickle cell, a condition that plagues communities across the state; advocated for new laws to protect children from abuse; and for expansion of recycling and environmentally-friendly practices in state government.

Prior to the 2014 election, Harris served on the Memphis City Council, where he stood as an unwavering voice for neighborhoods, gun safety, environmental protections, broad anti-discrimination laws, respect for reproductive freedom and privacy, and a strong middle class. In addition to serving as Senate Minority Leader, Senator Harris works as a tenured full professor of law at the University of Memphis Law School. He is the only African-American to achieve that rank in the history of the Law School and the inaugural holder of the Federal Express Professorship in Law.


District Attorney, Charles Branson, Douglas County, KS

District Attorney Charles E. Branson, was first elected as District Attorney of the 7th Judicial District on November 2, 2004 and took office January 10, 2005. Since then Charles has been re-elected without opposition in 2008, 2012 and is unopposed in 2016.

Charles believes the prosecutor’s office must be more than just a mechanism to incarcerate offenders. He believes the office should support all facets of the community; from developing an active consumer protection division, starting a first of its kind property crimes compensation board to reimagining how victims of crime are addressed by the court system. Charles is an integral part of planning a local behavioral health court that will divert those with mental health problems away from the court system, sparing them criminal records that can jeopardize their support and housing. 

Charles is also leading the charge in finding fair justice. He is actively engaged in state and national efforts to determine the best practices for prosecutors’ offices across the country. These efforts are aimed at making sure the rights of individuals are protected while serving the interests of justice. Where defendants are held accountable for their actions and crime victims are afforded the respect and dignity they deserve.


Betsy Pearl, Campaign Manager for Criminal Justice Reform, Center for American Progress

Betsy Pearl is the campaign manager for Criminal Justice Reform at American Progress. Pearl came to American Progress from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she served as a policy adviser in the Office of Justice Programs. In that role, her work focused on advancing innovative public safety interventions in the field, including evidence-based strategies for reducing unnecessary confinement, expanding diversionary options, and improving public trust in the justice system. Pearl also served as an adviser to the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, a coalition of federal agencies focused on removing barriers and expanding opportunities for justice-involved individuals. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Pearl was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Pearl holds a Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts in American government from Georgetown University.


Discussion with the European Union: The Global Economy 


Tomas Baert, Head of Trade and Agriculture, European Union 

Tomas Baert joins the Delegation of the European Union to the United States on 20 August as the new head of the Trade and Agriculture section in Washington, DC.

Between 2016 and 2018, Tomas was the Head of Unit for Trade Strategy at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade). He lead the team responsible for the development and implementation of the 2015 Trade for All strategy and the 2017 Communication on A balanced and progressive trade policy to harness globalisation. In this capacity, he also coordinated DG Trade's work on questions relating to the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, including the preparatory discussions on the future EU-UK trade relationship.

Prior to becoming a Head of Unit, from 2014 to 2016, Tomas was an assistant to Director-General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty, advising on a number of trade priorities such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations in the run-up to the tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Between 2010 and 2014, Tomas was based in Geneva where he acted as a first secretary and spokesperson at the Permanent Mission of the EU to the WTO, handling multilateral negotiations on intellectual property rights, rules and competition policy. He was also the EU's coordinator in Geneva for the ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Tomas joined the European Commission in 2005 as a trade negotiator on services trade and investment, responsible for EU-China and EU-US trade files, including the setting-up of the EU-US investment dialogue under the Transatlantic Economic Council. From 2007 to 2010, he was responsible for the new EU investment policy, as exclusive competence was obtained in 2009.


Esther Nieto Hernandez, Deputy Head of Trade and Agriculture, European Union 

Esther Nieto Hernandez has been a Trade Counsellor for the European Union Delegation in Washington, DC since August 2016. She is the deputy head of the EU Delegation's section dealing with trade and agriculture issues. In this capacity she follows a wide range of topics related to trade and investment between the EU and the US.

Prior to that, she worked since 2008 on trade issues for the European Commission in Brussels. Before joining the North America unit in DG Trade, where she was part of the core EU coordination team for the TTIP negotiations, Esther was a negotiator for both bilateral (India, Canada, African Economic Partnerships) and plurilateral negotiations, with a particular focus on public procurement.

Before joining the European Commission, Esther worked for a Brussels-based leading public affairs and communications company as an advisor on social, environmental and broader EU policy issues.

Esther holds a Master Degree in Political Science – International Relations from the Catholic University of Louvain as well as a Master in Business Administration. She has also a degree on development management.


Orit Frenkel

Dr. Orit Frenkel is the Executive Director of The American Leadership Initiative, a think tank developing values-based policy initiatives to restore American global economic leadership in 2020 and beyond. She is also the President of Frenkel Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in Asia policy and trade issues and is a Senior Advisor to APCO Worldwide, and to Asia Group Advisors, an ASEAN based consulting firm.

From 1991 to 2018, Orit was the Senior Manager for GE Global Government Affairs, following a decade in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. Orit has worked on every major trade negotiation over the past 37 years, and has worked on government relations, trade, investment and CSR issues in ASEAN, North and Central Asia, and in the CIS countries. She has a Ph.D. in international economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, a Masters in International Public Policy from The University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Maryland.

Friday, November 30th 


Morning Session: Combating Climate Change


Mayor John Cranley, Cincinnati, OH

Growing up in a family filled with people who dedicated their lives to public service, Mayor John Cranley learned at an early age that putting the needs of others ahead of your own is how you lead a meaningful life. He learned to value social justice and care for those who are in need. Those are the values that John and his wife Dena are passing on to their son Joseph, and those are the values that guide John as mayor.

Since taking office in December 2013, Mayor Cranley has placed a renewed focus on building vibrant, thriving neighborhoods by getting the basics right and making strategic investments to spur growth. Mayor Cranley implemented a multi-year plan to dramatically increase the miles of city roads that are paved and repaired annually, expanded the City’s efforts to crack down on absentee landlords and reduce blight, and invested in economic development deals throughout the city.

Mayor Cranley has led efforts to invest in job training, make the City more inclusive, and reduce poverty all while getting the City’s credit upgraded, wiping out the $800 million unfunded liability that the City’s pension system was facing, and adding over 100 cops to the police force.

Prior to taking office, Mayor Cranley co-founded the Ohio Innocence Project, a organization that has exonerated and freed 23 wrongfully convicted people through the use of DNA technology. He also worked as a real estate developer and attorney.


Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld, Cincinnati, OH 

P.G. Sittenfeld was elected to Cincinnati’s City Council in 2011. P.G. is the Vice-Chair of the Job Growth Committee, and also serves on the Finance Committee and Strategic Growth Committee. P.G. is focused on making Cincinnati economically competitive, seeing that citizens receive high-quality basic services, and ensuring that local government lives within its means.

Following work experiences at Google and Time Magazine, P.G. returned to his hometown to become the Assistant Director of the Community Learning Center Institute. All across Cincinnati, P.G. works to help turn schools — otherwise unused in the afternoons and evenings — into hubs of neighborhood activity offering health, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for students, families and the surrounding community.


Councilmember Andria McClellan, Norfolk, VA

Andria McClellan is using her experience as an entrepreneur, civic leader and community activist, parent of three school-aged children, and former Planning Commissioner to make meaningful and progressive changes to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Unseating a 16-year incumbent in 2016, she was elected to serve a Superward City Council seat for the second largest city in Virginia because of her pro-growth, innovation platform which focused on improving public schools; diversifying the economy in a city home to the largest Naval Base in the world; finding innovative solutions and funding to address sea level rise; and, creating a more engaged, accessible and transparent city government.

Andria has served on numerous boards and commission throughout the city, the region and the state, including the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board, the Virginia Family & Children’s Trust Fund, and the Local Government Advisory Committee for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. She began her career working in sales and marketing for two Fortune 500 companies, after which she ran two start-up enterprises (one in manufacturing and one in tech). Andria earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and graduated from the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a proud graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute and U.Va’s Sorensen Political Leaders Program.


Brady Walkinshaw, CEO of Grist

Brady Piñero Walkinshaw is the Chief Executive Officer of Seattle-based Grist (Grist.org), a leading national media organization on issues of environment, justice, and sustainability, reaching 2.5 million readers a month and syndicating content through over 20 major national publications. Since joining Grist in 2017, Brady has led Grist toward a new strategy focused on making the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now. Through an award-winning Editorial program that explores solutions, exposes injustice, and emboldens readers to act, and a newly launched Networks program that fosters an unlikely network of leaders building a sustainable future that works for everyone, Grist is shining its “beacon in the smog” toward a better tomorrow.

Brady is a former State Legislator in Washington State, championing housing, environment, criminal justice, and mental health reforms. In 2016, Brady ran for U.S. Congress endorsed by groups from The Seattle Times to local columnist Dan Savage, who described him as “gutsy and effective.” Brady managed the publication of a 2016 special edition of Foreign Affairs launched at Davos authored by Kofi Annan, Sam Dryden, and Sir Gordon Conway on the future of African food systems and technology supported by the Gates family office. Prior to the Legislature, Brady spent five years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Brady is a Fulbright Scholar and a graduate of Princeton University, where he served on the Board of Trustees. Brady has served on many local and national Boards including the Progress Alliance, Latino Victory Project, United Way of King County, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, and previously chaired the Washington State advisory group for the Trust for Public Land.


Bob Perkowitz, Founder and President, ecoAmerica

Bob Perkowitz is founder and president of ecoAmerica, a non-profit that uses consumer research and strategic partnerships to build institutional leadership, public support, and political will for climate solutions in America. ecoAmerica supports its partners with robust programs, communications guidance, and peer learning events including the American Climate Leadership Summit. ecoAmerica is the catalyst behind the Climate for Health, Path to Positive: Communities, and Blessed Tomorrow programs that build national leadership, climate literacy, broad outreach, mitigation and advocacy on climate action.

Bob’s extensive board service includes World Bicycle Relief, Environmental Defense Fund, and Sierra Club Foundation.   In the for profit sector, Bob has served as President of Cornerstone Brands, Inc., Smith+Noble, LLC, VivaTerra, LLC, Joanna Western Mills, Inc. and Home Fashions, Inc. and service on the boards of a number of firms including SRAM, Inc and SNAP A/V.


Breakout Session 3 

Ranked Choice Voting


Delegate Brooke Lierman, Baltimore, MD

Brooke Elizabeth Lierman was elected to represent Maryland’s 46th Legislative District in the House of Delegates in 2014, and serves on the Appropriations Committee. The 46th District includes all the neighborhoods abutting or near the water in Baltimore City, and boasts one of the most diverse populations of any district in the State. In addition to serving in the General Assembly, Brooke is a civil rights lawyer at the firm of Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP. She has represented a diverse clientele, ranging from individuals facing housing discrimination to low-wage workers not being paid overtime to blind and deaf individuals facing discrimination. Brooke and her husband and son live in the neighborhood of Fell’s Point.

In her first three years in the Legislature, Brooke has passed legislation to promote better public transportation in the Baltimore region, encourage college savings, investigate and prosecute internet crimes against children, and help ensure no Maryland senior goes hungry. She has also championed legislation to pass earned sick leave, authorize automatic voter registration, and support entrepreneurs. Through her work on the state budget, she has promoted and required reporting from agencies to ensure enforcement of existing laws, long-term planning, and efficient use of resources.


Grace Ramsey, FairVote

Grace Ramsey coordinates outreach and advocacy for state and national reform efforts. Grace graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in political science. Before coming to FairVote, Grace was an organizer with FairVote Minnesota, serving as Deputy Field Director for FairVote Minnesota’s 2013 Rank Your Vote campaign which focused on educating voters, candidates, and the media about ranked choice voting in Minneapolis’ 2013 municipal elections. Through her work at FairVote Minnesota, Grace honed her passion for voter education and community building. Grace has also served on ranked choice voting campaigns in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Santa Fe, Memphis, and the state of Maine.



Election Security 


Country Recorder Adrian Fontes, Maricopa County, AZ

Elected to his first political office in November, 2016, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is responsible for the third largest voting jurisdiction in the U.S.
containing 2.5 million voters, nearly 2/3 of Arizona's total electorate. Recorder Fontes is an Arizona native born and raised on the border in Nogales, Arizona where billions of dollars of trade flow every year. He is a Marine Corps Veteran, Lawyer and small business owner with a deep love of family and our Constitution. 

Improving the voter's experience, system accountability and security are not just approaches to good government and better elections, they are good business. Within his first year in office Recorder Fontes led the development of the unique and award winning SiteBook technology for voters showing that his focus on developing his staff through listening leadership is a solid first step in growing ideas and generating efficiency from the experts already on the ground. Working to speed-up land recording transactions, Recorder Fontes also hopes to more quickly free monies suspended during traditional transaction wait times, and get those funds out into development projects more efficiently, through the use of Artificial Intelligence in the near future.


Representative Scott Holcomb, Atlanta, GA

Scott Holcomb serves in the Georgia House of Representatives where he serves on the Higher Education, Public Safety and Homeland Security, Juvenile Justice, and Defense and Veterans Affairs Committees. In 2016, he authored and helped to pass bipartisan, landmark legislation to ensure the timely processing of sexual assault kits in Georgia. He has also worked to reform government, promote employment for veterans, and increase entrepreneurship.

Scott is an experienced attorney who has practiced since 1998. He is a founding partner of Holcomb + Ward, LLP, a boutique law firm based in Atlanta. Scott began his career in public service as a lawyer with the U.S. Army JAG Corps, where he served as a prosecutor and international law attorney. He deployed overseas three times for the conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Fellow with the Truman National Security Project.


Battling Bots: Winning in a New Information Landscape


Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN/New Policy Institute

An experienced television news producer and highly regarded political strategist and thought-leader, Simon has spent three decades in national media and politics. He is a veteran of two Presidential campaigns, including a senior role in the famous 1992 Clinton War Room. In his current capacity as President of NDN/New Policy Institute, Simon advises leading politicians, Administration officials and policy makers on a wide range of issues here in the United States and abroad. He is a frequent commentator in the national media, appearing regularly in major newspapers and websites, political journals and on cable and network television. A few years ago GQ magazine named him one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington, and he currently writes a weekly column on American politics which can be found on the website Medium

Simon is a graduate of Tufts University and currently serves on the board of the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts, where he recently taught a semester-long seminar to undergraduates on American politics. He is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, a member of the U.S. State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Information and Communications Policy and an advisory board member of the Open Source Elections Technology Institute. Outside of his work with NDN, Simon has advised private corporate and political clients, including Univision, Nanomix, Discourse Intelligence, and this year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He and his wife, Caitlin Durkovich, and their three teenage children live in Washington, DC.


Karen Kornbluh

Ambassador Karen Kornbluh is senior fellow and director of GMF’s technology policy program which works to help shape a future in which technology strengthens rather than undermines democratic values. This program contends with the challenge of online disinformation as well as other technology policy issues including 21st century jobs and innovation, democratic implications of frontier technologies, and cyber dimensions of national security. In addition, it will develop a framework for global transatlantic leadership on technology policy.

A leading voice at the intersection of digital and economic policy, technology, and foreign affairs, Kornbluh comes to GMF from the Council on Foreign Relations, where she was senior fellow for digital policy. Kornbluh served as policy director to Barack Obama during his term in the United States Senate and was the Obama administration’s ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) from 2009 until 2012. In this role she spearheaded development of the first global Internet Policymaking Principle and launched both the OECD's Gender Initiative and the Middle East-North Africa Women's Business Forum.

Kornbluh earlier served in the Clinton Administration as deputy chief of staff at the Treasury Department and in a number of senior positions at the Federal Communications Commission. She was on the Senate staff of John F. Kerry. In these positions she coordinated policy processes that developed key components of the emerging Internet policy framework.

In addition to her extensive government service, Kornbluh served as executive vice president for external affairs at data company Nielsen. At strategy firm Telesis, she consulted to Fortune 500 manufacturing companies. She began her career as an economist at forecasting firm Townsend-Greenspan.


Closing Session


Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, IN 

Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. A Rhodes Scholar, he holds degrees from Oxford and Harvard Universities. Previously he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company where he worked in energy, retail, economic development, and logistics. He is president of the Indiana Urban Mayors Caucus, serves on the board of the Truman National Security Project and is a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He spent most of 2014 on leave from office while deployed in Afghanistan.

Buttigieg was named national Mayor of the Year in 2013 by GovFresh.com, sharing the honor with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and was called “the most interesting Mayor you’ve never heard of” by the Washington Post. Under Buttigieg, South Bend has transformed from what Newsweek called one of “America’s 10 Dying Cities” into a city experiencing its fastest growth in more than a quarter-century.


Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood

Dr. Leana Wen is the President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Before joining Planned Parenthood, Dr. Wen served as the Baltimore City Health Commissioner, where she oversaw more than 1,000 employees with an annual budget of $130 million; two clinics that provide more than 18,000 patients with reproductive health services; and medical programs in 180 Baltimore schools. Under her direction, the Baltimore City Health Department led the country in health innovation and was recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials as the Local Health Department of the Year.

A board-certified emergency physician, Dr. Wen was a Rhodes Scholar, Clinical Fellow at Harvard, consultant with the World Health Organization, and professor at George Washington University. She has published over 100 scientific articles and is the author of the book When Doctors Don’t Listen. In 2016, Dr. Wen was honored to be the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work. In 2018, Time Magazine named her one of the 50 most influential people in healthcare.


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