Our Leadership & Advisory Councils
Leadership Council Members
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
One of the pioneers of cloud computing, Benioff founded the company in 1999 with a vision to create an on-demand, information management service to replace traditional enterprise software technology. Under his leadership, salesforce.com has grown from a groundbreaking idea into the fastest growing top ten software company in the world and the largest customer relationship management (CRM) company. Salesforce.com’s mobile, social and connected cloud technologies help companies create deeper, more meaningful connections with their customers. For its revolutionary approach, salesforce.com has been named the World’s Most Innovative Company four years in a row by Forbes Magazine. Fortune Magazine named salesforce.com as the World’s Most Admired Company in the software industry two years in a row, and ranked the company #7 among the World’s Best Places to Work. Throughout his career, Benioff has evangelized a new model of integrated corporate philanthropy. In 2000, he launched the Salesforce.com Foundation and established the “1-1-1 model,” whereby the company contributes one percent of product, one percent of equity, and one percent of employee hours back to the communities it serves globally. Today, the Foundation has inspired other leading corporations to adopt the 1-1-1 model.
Susan A. Buffett, Chairman, The Sherwood Foundation, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, and the Buffett Childhood Fund
The Sherwood Foundation focuses on improving public education, alleviating poverty, and strengthening community in Omaha and across Nebraska. The Buffett Early Childhood Fund focuses on improving early childhood education, from birth to age five for children growing up in low-income families in Nebraska and nationally. The Fund supports the Educare Learning Network, the Alliance for Early Success (aimed at improving policies in states), and the First Five Years Fund (aimed at improving early childhood policies on the federal level) as well as the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska, the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and Dr. James Heckman at the University of Chicago.
Bill Frist, Professor of Business and Medicine, Vanderbilt University; former Majority Leader, United States Senate
Bill Frist is a nationally recognized heart and lung transplant surgeon and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Currently serving as an adjunct professor of Cardiac Surgery at Vanderbilt University and clinical professor of Surgery at Meharry Medical College, Frist is uniquely qualified to discuss the challenges and solutions in health care policy. Frist is consistently recognized among the most influential leaders in American healthcare. He is one of only two individuals to rank in the top ten of each of the five inaugural Modern Healthcare Magazine annual surveys of the most powerful people in healthcare in the United States. Today Frist is focused on domestic health reform, K-12 education reform, the basic science of heart transplantation, global health policy, economic development in low-income countries, maternal and child health around the world, health care disparities, medical mission work in Sudan, the health of the mountain gorilla, and HIV/AIDS. Frist currently serves on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America, which has directly linked better health to education. This along with other education research led him to create the Tennessee State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) in 2009, which is a statewide K-12 education initiative working to improve the level of education for Tennessee students. He is chair of Nashville-based Hope Through Healing Hands, and other current board service includes the Kaiser Family Foundation; Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of the Clinton Foundation and The Opportunity Institute; and the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows.
George B. Kaiser, President and CEO, GBK Corporation
George B. Kaiser is president, CEO and primary owner of GBK Corporation, parent of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, which he has managed for more than 45 years. He is chairman of the board and majority shareholder of BOK Financial Corporation and a major shareholder in more than two dozen energy, technology and manufacturing companies. As a lifelong Tulsan, Kaiser has been engaged in numerous civic activities, including establishing the Tulsa Community Foundation and Tulsa Educare. Additionally, he has chaired the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and was a trustee at The University of Tulsa and a national elected director of the Harvard Alumni Association. He also chaired the board of trustees of Hillcrest Medical Center and was a member of the boards of several other healthcare organizations. Kaiser attended Tulsa Public Schools and earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1964 and an MBA from Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration in 1966.
Carol S. Larson, President and CEO, David & Lucile Packard Foundation
Carol S. Larson is President and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, a position she has held since January 2004. She is responsible for the overall management of the Foundation and its grantmaking activities. In 2013, the Foundation awarded over $287 million in grants domestically and internationally in the program areas of Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; and Children, Families, and Communities. Larson currently serves on the boards of the ClimateWorks Foundation and the American Leadership Forum — Silicon Valley. Previously, she was a board member of the Council on Foundations where she served as board chair from 2010-1012. She is also a prior board member of Northern California Grantmakers and Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families. Carol received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her law degree from Yale Law School. Upon graduation, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Warren J. Ferguson, United States District Court, Central District of California.
Peter Long, President and CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation
Peter Long is the president and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation. He served in leadership roles at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and The California Endowment. He has extensive experience working on health policy issues at the state, national, and global levels, and has written numerous papers on a variety of health policy topics. Long also served as the director of development and programs and then executive director of the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley in San Jose. Previously, he served as a legislative analyst for the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network in Cape Town, South Africa, during the country’s transition to democracy.
Cindy Hensley McCain, Advisor, McCain Institute for International Leadership
Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. McCain is committed to improving circumstances and raising awareness of issues facing women and children. McCain is the Chairman of the board of Halo Trust USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide removal of landmines. McCain also served on the Board of Directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates, and other facial deformities for children around the world. McCain is a Founding Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative. She’s travelled to the region six times in the last three years and is committed to raising awareness on the travesties facing women and children in Eastern Congo. McCain serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor's Council on human trafficking. She is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in Arizona, throughout the United States and around the world as well as working to improve the lives of victims of human trafficking. She recently joined the board of the Special Olympics Los Angeles 2015 summer games. She holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master's in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors. McCain is the chairman of her family’s business, Hensley & Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation McCain resides in Phoenix with her husband, U.S. Senator John McCain. Together, they have four children.
J.B. Pritzker, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, The Pritzker Group
J.B. Pritzker is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. He is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Pritzker Group. He was a founding investor in the nation’s first Social Impact Bond in Utah. The Pritzker Family Foundation is a principal backer of the First Five Years Fund, a national organization committed to improving the lives of at-risk children by leveraging cost-effective investments in early learning. He also helped establish the Pritzker Consortium on Early Childhood Development at the University of Chicago, led by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman.
Lisa Stone Pritzker, President, Lisa & John Pritzker Family Fund
Lisa Stone Pritzker is President of the Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund and a lifelong advocate for children’s health and education. She is involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations and philanthropic ventures including: former Chair of Challenge Success, a program of Stanford University, Chair of Strictly Business Committee, Jewish Vocational Services, the Leadership Council of Peer Health Exchange, the National Advisory Council of Futures Without Violence, the Advisory Board of the Osher Center at UCSF, the Board of Directors of All Chicago and the Board of Trustees at SFMoMA. Her research for UCSF Child and Adolescent Services at San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center on funding barriers for victims of crimes led to beneficial new legislation. In 2004, Pritzker was appointed to the First Five Commission, which funds city programs for children in their first five years of life. She has a recent Master’s degree in nonprofit management from the University of San Francisco, and an honorary doctorate from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband John. They have three sons.
Liz Simons, President, Heising-Simons Foundation
Liz Simons is president of the Heising-Simons Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to sustainable, research-based solutions in early childhood education, climate/environment, and science. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master’s in Education from Stanford University, Simons taught high school English and, subsequently, Spanish-bilingual and English as a Second Language elementary school classes. She founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a summer early childhood education program designed to facilitate the transition to kindergarten for children with no or negligible prior preschool experience. Simons currently serves on the Leadership Council of Too Small to Fail, a joint initiative of The Opportunity Institute and the Clinton Foundation that aims to help parents, caregivers, educators, communities, and businesses improve the health and well-being of America’s youngest children. She also serves on a few boards, including the Foundation for a Just Society, a foundation committed to supporting women, girls, and LGBTI people who are marginalized throughout the world, and is a member of the advisory council for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. Liz currently volunteers in a high school journalism class at Eastside College Preparatory School. She and her husband, Mark Heising, have two children: Caitlin, 24, and Matthew, 21.
Sterling Speirn, Former President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Sterling Speirn is the immediate past President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he served for eight years from 2006 to 2013. Speirn also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Peninsula Community Foundation from 1992 to 2005. In his first 15 years at Peninsula Foundation, Speirn launched the Center for Venture Philanthropy in 1999, co-founded Peninsula Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. He serves as Chairman of the statewide League of California Community Foundations. Speirn served as Chairman of Northern California Grantmakers. He has been a Director of Kellogg Company since March 1, 2007 and serves as a Trustee of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Trust since January 2007. He serves on Board of Advisors of Silicon Valley Community Ventures and the Entrepreneurs' Foundation, and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley and the Northern California Grantmakers. Speirn is Co-Creator and served as Board Member of the Raising A Reader take-home book bag program, which earned a Fast Company Social Entrepreneurship Award for 2006.
Jim Steyer, Board Chair and CEO of Common Sense Media
Jim Steyer has been a national leader in children’s policy and media for more than 20 years and has developed some of the nation’s most innovative and effective nonprofits, including the East Palo Alto Community Law Project, Children Now, JP Kids, and Common Sense Media, which helps guide families through the mass of media their children consume. As a Stanford University professor, Jim teaches courses on civil rights, civil liberties and children’s issues. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford and received his JD from Stanford Law School. He is a frequent contributor to the national discussion on children’s issues and is the author of “The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on Our Children.
Tom Steyer, Founder and President, NextGen Climate
Tom Steyer is an active citizen. Before retiring from the private sector, he founded and was the senior managing member of Farallon Capital Management. He also was a managing director and member of the Investment Committee at Hellman & Friedman. An avid Californian, Steyer has worked to promote economic development and environmental protection in the state. In 2012, Steyer served as chairman for Yes on Proposition 39, which closed a tax loophole for out-of-state corporations and created jobs in California. In 2010, Steyer teamed with former Secretary of State George Shultz to defeat California’s Proposition 23, an effort by out-of-state oil companies to dismantle California’s groundbreaking clean energy law, AB 32. Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, joined Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and other high-wealth Americans in the “Giving Pledge,” a promise to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable and nonprofit activities during their lifetimes. He and Kat created and funded the Oakland-based One PacificCoast Bank and Foundation, which provides loans and banking services to underserved small businesses, communities, and individuals in California and along the west coast. At Stanford University, Steyer serves on the Board of Trustees as Vice-Chair, and three years ago he and Kat founded two renewable energy research institutions there: the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy and the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance. Tom founded Advanced Energy Economy to advance policy in the clean energy sector, Next Generation, which addresses climate and family policy, and NextGen Climate Action, which acts politically on climate issues. Steyer served as a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 2004 and 2008 and is a board member of the Center for American Progress. Steyer graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale and received his MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Advisory Council Members
Paula Braveman, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health, University of California, San Francisco
Paula Braveman is Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director of the Center on Social Disparities in Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). For more than 25 years, Dr. Braveman has studied and published extensively on health equity and the social determinants of health, and has actively engaged in bringing attention to these issues in the U.S. and internationally. Her research has focused on socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in health, particularly in maternal and infant health and health care. During the 1990s she worked with World Health Organization staff in Geneva to develop and implement a global initiative on equity in health and health care. Throughout her career, she has collaborated with local, state, national, and international health agencies to see rigorous research translated into practice with the goal of achieving greater equity in health. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.
Ellen Bravo, Executive Director, Family Values @ Work Consortium
Ellen Bravo directs the Family Values @ Work Consortium, a network of coalitions in 21 states working for policies such as paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance. Before helping start FV@W, Bravo was the director of 9to5. Her most recent book is Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation. Bravo has served on several state and federal commissions, including the bipartisan Commission on Leave appointed by Congress to study the impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act. She’s a member of the leadership team of Caring Across Generations, and on the boards of Working America and the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Among her commendations are a Ford Foundation Visionary award, the Francis Perkins “Intelligence and Courage” award, and the Families and Work Institute Work Life Legacy Award. Bravo lives in Milwaukee with her husband; they have two adult sons.
David Coleman, President, College Board
David Coleman became the ninth president of the College Board – the not-for-profit education membership organization – in October 2012. Prior joining the College Board, Coleman was CEO of Student Achievement Partners, the nonprofit he co-founded and which played a leading role the development of the Common Core State Standards in math and literacy. Coleman also co-founded the Grow Network – an organization committed to making assessment results truly useful for educators and families – which was acquired by McGraw-Hill Education in 2005. A native of New York City, Coleman is a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale, Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He was recognized as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” for 2013.
Christopher Edley, Jr., Professor and Dean, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
Christopher Edley, Jr. is The Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr. Distinguished Professor, and Dean, Berkeley Law School. Christopher Edley, Jr. assumed the deanship of the U.C. Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2004 after 23 years as a Harvard Law professor. His academic work is primarily in the areas of administrative law, civil rights, education policy, and domestic public policy generally. Dean Edley has moved between academia and public service, each enriching the other and together giving him broad familiarity with many areas of public policy. Edley served in White House policy and budget positions in the late 1970s under President Jimmy Carter and in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton. His Clinton service included time at the Office of Management and Budget, where he oversaw the budgets and legislative policy initiatives for five cabinet departments and over 40 independent agencies, with budget authority totaling in the hundreds of billions of dollars. He has held senior positions in five presidential campaigns, including his part time service during 2007-08 as a senior policy adviser for candidate Barack Obama, whom he taught at Harvard Law. From February 2011 until February 2013, Dean Edley served as co-chair of the congressionally chartered National Commission on Equity and Excellence in Education, appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The Commission was charged broadly with revisiting the 1983 report, A Nation at Risk, and recommending future directions for K-12 school reform. The report “For Each and Every Child” was released in February 2013.
Ronald Ferguson, Creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement, Faculty Co-Chair and Director of Achievement Gap Initiative, Harvard University
Ronald F. Ferguson, is the director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, a Research Fellow at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, and a faculty member at Harvard since 1983. His research and writing for more than thirty years have focused on economic and educational development with a special focus on understanding and reducing racial and socio-economic disparities, beginning from birth. He is the creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and a co-founder of Tripod Education Partners, Inc. His books include Toward Excellence with Equity: An emerging vision for closing the achievement gap, published by Harvard Education Press. His June 2014 report Creating Pathways to Prosperity: a Blueprint for Action concerns making sure all of America’s youth have viable school-to-career options. Ferguson earned an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and PhD from MIT, both in economics. He is the father of two and very happily married for thirty-six years to Helen Mont-Ferguson.
Sandra Gutierrez, National Program Director, Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, Families in Schools
Sandra Gutierrez is the Founder and National Director of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors. Ms. Gutierrez led the development of Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors-the nation’s first evidence-based, comprehensive training program for Latino parents with children 0 to 5. Prior to her work with Abriendo Puertas / Opening Doors, Gutierrez developed a series of training programs to support children and families involved in the child welfare system for Parents Action for Children. She brings over forty years of experience with legal, children’s advocacy and community service organizations. Gutierrez graduated from UCLA with Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and in Latina American Studies. Her multi-faceted career has included founding the first service organization to assist Central American Refugees, developing health education programs for the United Farm Workers of America and leading campaigns to promote the benefits of preschool to the Latino community. In addition, for seven years, she served as a founding member and State Commissioner for First 5 California where she established the Advisory Committee on Equity. Gutierrez serves as an Advisory Board member for the Too Small To Fail Initiative. In March 2014, Gutierrez was named by the White House as a César E. Chávez Champion of Change.
George Halvorson, Chairman, Kaiser Permanente, Chair, California’s First 5 Commision on Children and Families
George C. Halvorson served as chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente since from 2002. Halvorson is currently the chair of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding. The Institute works on issues of racism, disparities, and InterGroup conflict. Halvorson was recently appointed as new chair of the First 5 California Commission by Governor Jerry Brown. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Halvorson was president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners, headquartered in Minneapolis, for nearly 18 years. With more than 30 years of healthcare management experience, he has also held several senior management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and Health Accord International.
Nadine Burke Harris, Founder and CEO, Center for Youth Wellness
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is founder and CEO of Center for Youth Wellness (CYW). She has earned international attention for her innovative approach to addressing adverse childhood experiences as a risk factor for adult disease such as heart disease and cancer. Her work has demonstrated that it’s time to reassess the relationship between poverty, child development and health, and how the practical applications of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study can improve health outcomes. Dr. Burke Harris also serves as an adviser on Governor Jerry Brown’s “Let’s Get Healthy California Task Force,” and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a committee member for the AAP’s Medical Home for Children Exposed to Violence Committee. Her work has been profiled in Paul Tough’s best-selling book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character hailed by NY Times columnist, David Brooks, as “essential.” Dr. Burke Harris’ work has also earned her the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
James Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
James J. Heckman is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago. Heckman has devoted his professional life to understanding the origins of major social and economic problems related to inequality, social mobility, discrimination, skill formation, and regulation, and to devising and evaluating alternative strategies for addressing those problems. Heckman’s work is rooted in economics. He collaborates across disciplines to get to the heart of major problems. His recent interdisciplinary research on human development and skill formation over the life cycle draws on economics, psychology, genetics, epidemiology, and neuroscience to examine the origins of inequality, the determinants of social mobility, and the links among stages of the life cycle, starting in the womb. Heckman shares the 2000 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the microeconomics of diversity and heterogeneity and for establishing a casual basis for public policy evaluation. He has received numerous awards for his work and most recently the Frisch Medal in 2014. He is currently co-editor of the Journal of Political Economy. He has published over 300 articles and 9 books. His most recent book is The Myth of Achievement Tests: The GED and the Role of Character in American Life (University of Chicago Press, 2014). He is actively engaged in conducting and guiding empirical and theoretical research on skill development, inequality, and social mobility.
Matt James, Visiting Scholar, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Matt James is a nonprofit leader whose 30-year career has woven together public policy, communications, advocacy, and movement building. He is a nationally known expert on communications and public education, with broad expertise in the environment, climate change, child well being, and public health. James is currently a Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, where his work is focused on climate change and health. He is also a founding partner of a strategic communications firm, Vrge Strategies, where he is developing a practice in strategic philanthropy and communications. In 2011, James launched Next Generation, a start-up communications, research and policy non-profit that created major projects and programs in the areas of climate and sustainability, and investment in children and families. Prior to his time at Next Generation, James held leadership positions with the Kaiser Family Foundation, where he helped develop and launch Kaiser Health News, helped design and oversee the building of the Barbara Jordan Conference Center, developed a series of journalism fellowship programs, and created media partnerships with for-profit and non-profit media companies. James is on the board of the CDC Foundation and has served on the boards of the Udall Foundation, Grantmakers in Health, and the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health. Earlier in his career he served as a senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Dale Bumpers and Congressman Morris K. Udall.
Joan Lombardi, Director, Early Opportunities; Senior Advisor, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund; Senior Fellow, the Bernard van Leer Foundation
Joan Lombardi, Ph.D. is a leading international expert on child development and social policy. She currently serves as Director of Early Opportunities LLC, as a Senior Advisor to the Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and as a Senior Fellow at the Bernard van Leer Foundation. Over the past 40 years, Dr. Lombardi has made significant contributions in the areas of child and family policy, in both the Obama and Clinton administrations. Outside of public service, she served as the founding chair of the Birth to Five Policy Alliance and as the founder of Global Leaders for Young Children. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Save the Children.
H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop
As President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, H. Melvin Ming leads the nonprofit educational organization in its mission to create innovative, engaging content that maximizes the educational power of media to help children reach their highest potential. He directs the Workshop’s efforts around Sesame Street’s global presence as well as initiatives that address a wide range of issues for children and families including literacy, health, and military deployment. He was appointed President and CEO in October 2011. Previously, Ming served as Chief Operating Officer for 11 years and oversaw the content, product licensing, distribution, research, communications and business strategies of all of the Workshop’s properties. He also managed Sesame Workshop’s human resources, facilities, information services, and technical operations. Prior to joining the Workshop, Ming was the Chief Financial Officer of the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, Chief Operating Officer at WQED Pittsburgh, and Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer at Thirteen/WNET New York. Ming also served as Vice President, Finance and Administration at National Public Radio and worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Coopers and Lybrand) early in his career. He serves on the Board of Directors of First Children’s Finance, Public Prep, and ChildObesity180. Ming, a certified public accountant, received a B.S. degree from Temple University.
Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Founder, ideas42
Sendhil Mullainathan is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and a Cornell Tech Fellow. His real passion is behavioral economics. His work runs a wide gamut: the impact of poverty on mental bandwidth; whether CEO pay is excessive; using fictitious resumes to measure discrimination; showing that higher cigarette taxes make smokers happier; modeling how competition affects media bias; and a model of coarse thinking. His latest research focuses on using machine learning and data mining techniques to better understand human behavior. He helped co-found a non-profit to apply behavioral science (ideas42), co-founded a center to promote the use of randomized control trials in development (the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab), serves on the board of the MacArthur Foundation, and has worked in government in various roles, including most recently as Assistant Director of Research at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Sendhil is a recipient of the MacArthur “genius” Award, was designated a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum, labeled a “Top 100 Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine, and named to the “Smart List: 50 people who will change the world” by Wired Magazine (UK). His hobbies include basketball, board games, googling and fixing-up classic espresso machines. He also enjoys speaking about himself in the third person, which works well for bios but less well in daily life.
Ann O'Leary, Vice Chair of the Board and Co-Founder, The Opportunity Institute
Ann O’Leary just completed her service as the co-Executive Director of the Clinton-Kaine Transition and as a Senior Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton. In both 2015 and 2016, Politico Magazine named O’Leary to its list of top fifty “thinkers, doers, and visionaries” who are transforming American politics.
Prior to joining Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, O’Leary was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, where she wrote extensively about labor protections for working families; and, she served as the Senior Vice President of Next Generation and Director of Too Small to Fail, a public action campaign jointly launched by the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation to provide parents the information and tools they need to boost their young children’s vocabulary development and close the “word gap.”
O’Leary previously served as a lecturer in health law and social policy at UC Berkeley School of Law, executive director of the Berkeley Law Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, a deputy city attorney in San Francisco, legislative director to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and she led the children and family policy team on the White House Domestic Policy Council under President William J. Clinton. She also served as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team.
O’Leary currently serves on the Boards of KQED, the San Francisco Bay Area’s NPR and PBS affiliate; the East Bay Community Law Center, UC Berkeley Law’s poverty law clinic; and The Opportunity Institute, a non-profit think tank that she co-founded, which promotes social mobility and equity.
O’Leary earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, a Master’s in Education Policy from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Kris Perry, Executive Director, First Five Years Fund
Kris Perry has dedicated her career to bringing resources and support to parents, caregivers, and early learning workforce professionals to ensure children grow up healthy and ready to succeed in school and in life. Perry is a national thought leader on early childhood education, who has appeared in the New York Times, POLITICO, New Republic, Salon, Congressional Quarterly and many other new outlets across the country. Previously, Perry served as Executive Director of First 5 California, fostering their emergence as one of the most well-known and respected advocates for early childhood development on the state and national levels. Prior to that, Perry served as Executive Director of First 5 San Mateo County. Over the course of her career she has served in many state appointments, including co-chair of the California State Early Learning Advisory Council Areas of expertise include: ECE policy and advocacy strategies and tactics; State/federal early learning policy linkages; Communications strategies and effective messaging frameworks; Coalition building.
Delia Pompa, Vice President for Education, National Council of La Raza
In her role as Senior Vice-President for Programs, Delia Pompa oversees the work of several divisions, Community Development, Education, the Institute for Hispanic Health and Workforce Development. Throughout her career Pompa’s work has focused on creating new responses to the needs of Hispanic families and children within leading local, state and federal agencies and national and international organizations. As an educator, Pompa has been especially instrumental in helping academic institutions understand and respond to the needs of underserved children and their teachers. She is the former Director of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs in the U.S. Department of Education and the former Executive Director of the National Association for Bilingual Education. Pompa began her career as a kindergarten teacher in San Antonio. She went on to serve as a district administrator in Houston and as Assistant Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency. Pompa is also the former Director of Education, Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, and Youth Development for the Children’s Defense Fund. She serves on a number of national boards and committees for a wide range of institutions that address the needs of children. Pompa’s expertise makes her a frequently requested guest speaker and commentator on current education reform issues.
Ralph Smith, Senior Vice President, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Ralph R. Smith, Senior Vice President of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is the Managing Director of the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, (www.gradelevelreading.net) a nation-wide effort to reverse the unacceptably high rates of low-income children in the United States not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade. Smith was a member of the Law Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania for two decades teaching Corporations and Securities Law and Education Law and Policy. During those two decades, he also served as Special Counsel, Chief of Staff, Chief Operating Officer and Transition Director for the Philadelphia School District and as Senior Advisor to Philadelphia’s Mayor. Smith led the School District teams that designed and implemented the district’s landmark Voluntary Desegregation Plan, negotiated some of the nation's first education reform driven teacher contracts, and developed Children Achieving -- a district-wide blueprint supported by the Annenberg Challenge.
Deborah Stipek, Professor and Former Dean, Stanford Graduate School of Education
Deborah Stipek is the Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education and Professor of Education at Stanford University. Her scholarship concerns instructional effects on children's achievement motivation, early childhood education, elementary education and school reform. Currently she is completing a longitudinal study which follows children from kindergarten through fifth grade in three low-income communities in three different states.
Dana L. Suskind, Professor of Surgery, University of Chicago; Director, the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program; Founder and Director, the Thirty Million Words Initiative
Dana Suskind is Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program and Founder and Director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative. Based on scientific research that shows the critical importance of early language exposure on the developing child, Thirty Million Words helps parents enhance their home language environment in order to optimize their child's brain development and, therefore, his or her ability to learn. An evidence-based intervention, Thirty Million Words is supported by a broad coalition of public and private partnerships and is an extension of Suskind's Project ASPIRE, which she created to assure that her patients from disadvantaged backgrounds reached their full listening and spoken language potentials. Suskind's ultimate goal, and that of her dedicated team, is to help all children reach their full potentials and to close the ever-widening achievement gap.
Sara Martinez Tucker, CEO, National Math + Science Initiative; Former Undersecretary, U.S. Department of Education
Sara Martinez Tucker is the CEO of the National Math + Science Initiative. NMSI’s mission is to improve student performance in the critical subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Its programs transform teaching, transform schools and are transforming education in the U.S. She serves on the Boards of Directors of American Electric Power, Sprint, and Xerox, Wal-Mart’s External Advisory Council, the University of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees and Teach for America’s Board of Directors. She most recently served as the undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, the nation's top higher education official. Confirmed by the senate on December 9, 2006, she oversaw all policies, programs and activities related to postsecondary education, vocational and adult education, and federal student aid. Previously, Tucker worked for nine years as the CEO and president of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), where she raised $280 million for scholarships, and to launch community outreach programs to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees. Prior to this, she spent 16 years at AT&T where she became the first Latina to reach its executive level.
Fred Volkmar, Director, Yale Child Study Center
Fred R. Volkmar, M.D., is the director of the Yale Child Study Center and the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at Yale University. Four years after completing his residency at Stanford, Volkmar received a Fellowship in Child Psychiatry at the Yale University’s School of Medicine and has been there ever since. He has dedicated his career to understanding and treating children with developmental disorders and is a leader in the field of autism research. He has served as a teacher and mentor to others who are now leaders in the field. Volkmar’s grants and publications run just short of 100 pages in his CV. He is editor of the Journal of Autism and a gifted clinician and teacher and his contributions have greatly improved the lives of children suffering from developmental disorders and their families.
Jane Waldfogel, Director, Yale Child Study Center
Jane Waldfogel is the Compton Foundation Centennial Professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics. Waldfogel received her Ph.D. in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is currently completing a book on inequality in child outcomes in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Her other current research includes studies of child care, family leave, and other work-family policies, fragile families and child well-being, and improving the measurement of poverty. Her previous books include Britain’s War on Poverty (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2010), What Children Need (Harvard University Press, 2006), The Future of Child Protection (Harvard University Press, 1998), and Securing the Future: Investing in Children from Birth to Adulthood (Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2000). She is also the author of over 100 articles, in leading academic journals including the American Economic Review, American Educational Research Journal, American Sociological Review, Child Development, Demography, Economic Journal, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Population Economics, Monthly Labor Review, and Pediatrics.
Jim Wunderman, President and CEO, Bay Area Council
Since 2004 Jim Wunderman has served as President and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a CEO-led public policy organization focused on making the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley the most globally competitive and economically productive region in the world. Jim has honed the Bay Area Council’s regionalist approach to advocacy in the key areas that impact the Bay Area’s economy and competitiveness, including: Business Climate, Education, Transportation, Sustainability, Housing and Land Use, Water, and Cyber security. Jim has worked to support education improvement at all levels, with a particular focus on the use of data systems to inform decision making, as well as the early educational needs of young children. In 2006 Jim was appointed by California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols to the committee that developed the implementation standards that were adopted and now govern the regional “Sustainable Community Strategies.” During his career, Jim has served on numerous boards and commissions. Key among them, he served as Chairman of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Treasurer of the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, and as a member of the California Pacific Medical Center Board. He currently serves as Chair of the California Preschool Business Advisory Council and is on the University of California’s Business Executive Council. He is on the boards of the East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo), Bridge Housing Corporation, Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics, Sierra Energy, and TMG Partners. Jim is a graduate of San Francisco State University, majoring in political science, and received an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Kingsborough College, City University of New York. Jim resides in Contra Costa County with his wife, Kristina. He has four children.