Cecile Richards talks with The Post’s Jonathan Capehart during a live recording of the “Cape Up” podcast in Charleston, S.C., on June 18. ((Adam Schultz for Third Way))
Mayor Eric Adams has served the people of New York City as an NYPD officer, State Senator, Brooklyn Borough President, and now as the 110th Mayor of the City of New York. He gave voice to a diverse coalition of working families in all five boroughs and is leading the fight to bring back New York City’s economy, reduce inequality, improve public safety, and build a stronger, healthier city that delivers for all New Yorkers.
Margaret Anadu is a Senior Partner at The Vistria Group where she heads Real Estate. She is based in New York City.
Margaret has devoted her career to investing which not only generates strong economic returns, but importantly has a demonstrable positive impact on underserved individuals, families, and communities. Margaret is widely recognized as one of the foremost experts on equitable access to capital having invested over $10 billion across hundreds of transactions throughout the United States and was named one of the most influential figures in U.S. commercial real estate by Commercial Observer.
Margaret has been a trusted advisor to many senior government officials at the federal, state, and local levels on utilizing private capital to create more equitable communities. As an experienced investor and thought leader on public-private partnerships, Margaret is often asked to share her views including on CNN, Bloomberg, CNBC and Yahoo Finance. She was named to 40 Under 40 lists by Fortune, Black Enterprise and Crain’s.
Prior to joining Vistria, Margaret was a Partner at Goldman Sachs where she was the Global Head of Sustainability and Impact for Asset Management and Chair of the Urban Investment Group (GSUIG), the first impact investing platform at a major U.S. financial institution and Goldman Sachs’ primary impact investing business. Under her leadership, GSUIG’s portfolio was primarily comprised of real estate with a focus on workforce, affordable, and mixed-income housing, but also included investments in community facilities, educational space, industrial facilities, green infrastructure, student loans, and small businesses. Margaret ultimately grew the business to over $2 billion of investments annually.
While at Goldman Sachs, Margaret was the chief architect of the One Million Black Women investment strategy, the Firm’s $10 billion capital commitment to narrow opportunity gaps for Black women in the United States and by extension their families and broader communities. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she led a $2 billion relief effort for small businesses.
In April 2022, Margaret was appointed chair of the board of directors of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. She also serves on the boards of the Low-Income Investment Fund, the Center for an Urban Future, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Africa Center.
Shena Ashley, PhD became the head of programs within the Community Impact and Investment team at Capital One and President of the Insights Center and the Capital One Foundation in May 2022. In this role, she is focusing on accelerating an innovative and equity-enhancing national philanthropic strategy that is based on and integrated with the highest quality of data and evidence.
Prior to starting her leadership journey in philanthropy, Dr. Ashley launched the Office of Race and Equity Research at the Urban Institute to stand as a center of excellence toward empowering race and equity consciousness throughout the field of policy research. This followed the collaborative launch of the Racial Equity Analytics Lab (REAL), an effort that brought data science and structural racism colleagues together to create data tools and methods in response to the lack of racially disaggregated data at the start of the COVID pandemic.
An accomplished educator, consultant, and researcher, Dr. Ashley has been quoted as an expert thought leader on issues of philanthropy and charitable giving in several national media outlets including The Washington Post, NPR’s Marketplace, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among others.
As a nonprofit and philanthropy scholar, Dr. Ashley had the great fortune to lead the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy from 2016-2022. In that work, she led teams of researchers and strategists to build a research-in-action portfolio focused on community investing, equitable grantmaking, democratizing charitable giving, and nonprofit and philanthropic policy. Her passion for democratizing data led her to transform the National Center on Charitable Statistics to an open-data repository, which now makes decades of nonprofit data freely accessible to the public.
Dr. Ashley holds a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Georgia Tech and Georgia State University, a MPP from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University, a HBCU in Nashville, TN.
Per Scholas is led by President and CEO Plinio Ayala. Plinio was born and raised in the South Bronx, just as it grew into a national emblem for urban poverty and disinvestment. His experience instilled a lifelong passion for creating economic opportunity, and shortly after graduating from Wesleyan University with a degree in American Studies, he devoted his career to building “win-win” solutions to social and economic problems, first at Jobs for Youth and then at SoBro.
In 2003, Plinio became President and CEO of Per Scholas and has since been instrumental in all the organization’s achievements—from evolving its original mission, which was to bridge the digital divide by refurbishing end-of-life computer equipment, to leading its accelerating growth as a national best-in-class technical skills trainer. In the process, Plinio has incubated strong organizational capacities to respond to changing market conditions, pursue entrepreneurial opportunities and embrace rigorous measurements of impact. Under Plinio’s leadership, Per Scholas launched a customized training business, making the successful case for employers to fully invest in training for a workforce they can hire, which today supports 25 percent of Per Scholas operations. After proving the model in New York, Per Scholas launched tech training in Columbus, Ohio, in 2012. Growth has been continuous over the past decade, and Per Scholas now offers tech training, professional development, and employer connections in more than 20 cities nationwide. The Per Scholas model has been evaluated twice in Randomized Control Trials, the gold standard of evaluation, that has proven the efficacy and impact of the model twice over. Despite exponential growth, Per Scholas maintains stellar results and outcomes and has supported more than 20,000 diverse adults launch careers in technology. With Plinio at the helm, Per Scholas is one of the largest and most effective national workforce development organizations in America, with continued ambitions and growth goals for the future. Plinio often says that he can imagine no greater satisfaction than seeing overlooked people—many of whom have struggled with educational and public systems that seem designed to stymie rather than uplift them—finally channel all their passion and curiosity into transformative careers.
Mehrsa Baradaran is a Professor of Law at UCI Law. She writes about banking law, financial inclusion, and racial inequality, and is the author of How the Other Half Banks and The Color of Money.
Steve Benjamin was elected Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina in April of 2010 with a vision of transforming South Carolina's capital city into a talented, educated & entrepreneurial city of the New South. He served as Mayor until December of 2021.
In April, he will begin serving as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United States & Director of the Office of Public Engagement. He currently serves as President & CEO of The Benjamin Firm, LLC.
Prior to his service as mayor, Benjamin served in South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges' Cabinet as the Chief Executive of a $43 million, 950 employee state agency.
Benjamin has served as President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (2018-2019), as President of the African American Mayors Association, Vice Chairman of the Global Parliament of Mayors, Executive Chairman of Municipal Bonds for America, a Member of the Federal Communications Commission’s Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, Member of the Accelerator for America Advisory Council, a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta, Affordable Housing Advisory Council, as Co-Chair of the Sierra Club’s Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, Chair-Elect of the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2017 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official for his leadership during the October 2015 flood, the 2018 USGLC Leading Globally Matters Locally Award & the inaugural recipient of the AIPAC Ralph Bunche Leadership Award (2018). As President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Benjamin established the Mayors Leadership Institute on Smart Cities at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at NYU. This Institute allows Mayors to immerse themselves in smart cities work. Its curriculum is expert-facilitated and peer-driven and offers a framework for approaching smart city opportunities, providing Mayors with guiding principles, best practices and a clear path forward.
Mayor Benjamin also established the Mayors and Business Leaders Center for Inclusive and Compassionate Cities. The establishment of this Center supports mayors’ efforts to make cities across the nation more equitable, more inclusive and more compassionate.
Benjamin is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he served as President of Student Government and as President of the Student Bar Association.
Justin M. Bibb is the 58th Mayor of Cleveland working to improve public safety, invest in neighborhoods and modernize City Hall. On January 3, 2022, Mayor Bibb took the oath of office as the city’s first millennial mayor.
Mayor Bibb was born and raised on Cleveland’s southeast side in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. Over the past 15 years, Mayor Bibb has worked in government, business and the nonprofit sector as an executive and nonprofit leader. He started his career in public service working for President Obama when he was in the U.S. Senate and later at Cuyahoga County as a Special Assistant advising on education and economic development policies. He led the Global Cities Practice at global research firm Gallup, served as Vice President at KeyBank and most recently as Chief Strategy Officer at Urbanova, a startup focused on improving cities.
Mayor Bibb is a proud American University alumnus with an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies. He completed the General Course Programme with an emphasis in Social Policy and Economics from the London School of Economics and is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Doctor of Law (JD).
Mayor Bibb serves as an Advisory Board Member for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is the Vice Chair for Climate & Resilience on the Environment Committee.
Mayor Bibb’s vision for Cleveland is to become a national model for city management, police reform, and neighborhood revitalization.
Melissa L. Bradley is the Founder and Managing Partner of 1863 Ventures, a business development program that accelerates New Majority entrepreneurs from high potential to high growth and Co-founder of New Majority Ventures, a purpose-driven media brand featuring content that is entertaining, inspirational and actionable so that these entrepreneurs and their businesses survive and thrive. Melissa serves as General Partner of 1863 Venture Fund, Venture Partner at NextGen Ventures and as an advisor to Reign Ventures, New Voices Foundation, as well as the Halcyon Fund. She is a board member of Ureeka, a small business platform company she co-founded and sold, as well as Eat the Change, Motley Fool Foundation, and AEO. She is also a member of the Milken Institute Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Asset Management Initiative, Goldman Sachs’ One Million Black Women Advisory Council, Launch with GS Advisory Council, Fast Company Executive Board, Square & Forbes Small Business Advisory Team, as well as the Target Accelerators Entrepreneurs Advisory Council.
Melissa is the former Co-Chair of the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was named to the 2022 Forbes 50 Over 50 list for social entrepreneurship. Melissa is a professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University where she teaches impact investing, social entrepreneurship, P2P economies, and innovation. Over the last two years, she was commended with the Peter W. Gonzalez, Jr. Award for Excellence in Adjunct Faculty Teaching and The Ideas Worth Teaching Award which celebrates exceptional courses that are preparing future business leaders to tackle society’s largest challenges and create a more inclusive, just, and sustainable version of capitalism. Melissa's educational background includes graduation from Georgetown University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the School of Business and a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing from American University in 1993.
Geoffrey Canada is the president of Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a world-renowned education and poverty-fighting organization based in New York City, and founder of William Julius Wilson Institute (WJWI). An innovator in the field of education, author, and leading advocate for children, Canada has made it his life’s mission to help young people from under-resourced communities succeed through education.
To realize his vision, Mr. Canada launched HCZ, a comprehensive, cradle-to-career network of programs that The New York Times called “one of the most ambitious social-policy experiments of our time.” Starting as a one-block pilot project in the 1990s, HCZ today serves more than 34,000 students and families living in a 97-block area of Central Harlem in New York City.
Under Mr. Canada’s leadership, HCZ became a national model of place-based innovation for organizations across the country and the world. In 2010, President Barack Obama created the Promise Neighborhoods Initiative to replicate the HCZ model in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. Mr. Canada was subsequently named one of the world’s most influential people by Time in 2011 and as one of the 50 greatest leaders by Fortune in 2014.
Mr. Canada has also influenced a new generation of education leaders and reformers through his speeches and writings. Most notably, Mr. Canada authored two critically acclaimed books: Fist Stick Knife Gun (Beacon Press), in which he recounts his experience growing up in a single-parent household in one of the most devastated communities in the United States, the South Bronx; and Reaching Up for Manhood (Beacon Press), in which he draws on his years of work with inner-city youth and his own turbulent boyhood to offer a moving and revelatory look at the little-understood emotional lives of boys.
Jonathan Capehart is a Pulitzer Prize-winning Associate Editor of The Washington Post. Since 2007, he has been an opinion writer at The Post.
He was a member of The Post’s editorial board until 2022. He hosts a weekly Post podcast “Capehart” and the weekly Washington Post Live show “First Look,” which is also streamed on “The Choice MSNBC” on Comcast’s Peacock streaming service. At MSNBC, Capehart is the anchor of “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.” His MSNBC special “A Promised Land: A Conversation with Barack Obama” was nominated in 2021 for an Emmy for “Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis.” His MSNBC special “Pride of the White House” won a GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding TV Journalism Long Form” in 2022. At PBS, Capehart serves as a political analyst on “The PBS Newshour” and is featured on the popular Friday segment “Brooks and Capehart.”
Capehart is a regular moderator of panels at the Aspen Ideas Festival and for the Aspen Institute, the Center for American Progress and at the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund. He has also moderated sessions and conversations at the 92nd Street Y and for the Connecticut Forum. Capehart was a Spring 2019 Fellow at the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. In 2022, he received an honorary degree from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y.
From 2002 to 2004, Capehart was deputy editorial page editor of the New York Daily News and served on that paper's editorial board from 1993 to 2000. In 1999, his 16-month editorial campaign to save the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem earned him and the board the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. Capehart left the Daily News in July 2000 to become the national affairs columnist at Bloomberg News, and took a leave from this position in February 2001 to serve as a policy adviser to Michael Bloomberg in his first successful campaign for New York City mayor.
A fourth-generation Saint Paul resident, Mayor Carter leads with an unapologetic equity agenda. Since taking office in 2018, his accomplishments include raising the city’s minimum wage; tripling free program in rec centers; eliminating late fines in public libraries; reestablishing an Affordable Housing Trust Fund; expanding immigrant & refugee support resources; and launching an Office of Financial Empowerment. One signature initiative is CollegeBound Saint Paul, Mayor Carter’s plan to start every child born in the city with a $50 College Savings Account, starting January 1, 2020.
Passionate about helping others engage in civic processes, Mayor Carter has trained progressive activists and candidates in over 30 states, and commonly recites his administration’s mantra: “Building a city that works for us all means we all must do the work.”
Prior to his election in 2017, Mayor Carter has served as a Saint Paul City Council Member; Founding Board Chair of the Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood; Director of the Minnesota Office of Early Learning; and Executive Director of the Minnesota Children’s Cabinet.
A proud graduate of the Saint Paul public schools, Mayor Carter holds a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration from Florida A&M University and a Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. He resides in Saint Paul with his wife, Dr. Sakeena Futrell-Carter, and their children.
Tony Coles, M.D., has been Cerevel's Chief Executive Officer since September 2019 and has served as the Chairperson of the board of directors since December 2018. Prior to joining Cerevel, Dr. Coles co-founded and served as the chairperson and chief executive officer of Yumanity Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on transforming drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases. Before co-founding Yumanity Therapeutics, Dr. Coles served as the chairperson and chief executive officer of TRATE Enterprises, LLC, a privately-held company.
Previously, Dr. Coles served as president, chief executive officer and chairperson of the board of Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. until its acquisition by Amgen. Prior to joining Onyx Pharmaceuticals, he was president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Before joining NPS Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Coles was senior vice president of commercial operations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., and earlier, held several executive positions at Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and positions of increasing responsibility at Merck & Co., Inc. In addition to having previously served as a director of Onyx and NPS, Dr. Coles was formerly a director of CRISPR Therapeutics AG, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Campus Crest Communities, Inc. and McKesson Corporation. He also previously served as a member of the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows.
Dr. Coles currently serves on the board of directors of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and is a member of the Board of Trustees for Johns Hopkins University. He is also a member of the Council for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.; a member of the Board of Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, non-partisan membership organization, think tank and publisher. In 2022, Dr. Coles was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Coles earned his bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University, a medical degree from Duke University, and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. He completed his cardiology and internal medicine training at Massachusetts General Hospital and was a research fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Alphonso David, one of America’s foremost civil rights attorneys and a life-long advocate for social and economic justice, serves as the President & CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum. Alphonso brings more than two decades of experience in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors, where he has worked to advance the rights of marginalized communities through policy, legislation, litigation, and advocacy.
As a business leader, Alphonso was instrumental in creating one of the most sought-after addiction treatment centers in the United States. In public service, he helped to transform broken systems that impeded the lives of the most vulnerable, including restructuring the workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance systems in the State of New York to reduce inefficiencies and deficits that had plagued these vital social safety nets for decades. As a non-profit leader, he created and expanded groundbreaking programs for marginalized communities, including an impact litigation program to advance the rights of LGBTQ+ people and an HIV & Health Equity Program to address the disproportionately high rates of HIV among black and brown communities throughout the nation.
As an advocate, Alphonso has worked on a myriad of issues including racial and economic justice, immigrants’ rights and LGBTQ+ equality. Notably, he and his legal team secured more than $23 million for immigrants who had been defrauded by illegitimate legal service providers, stopped a racially discriminatory rating system in broadcast radio from being implemented in the United States, and compelled all large pharmacy chain stores to provide language access services to customers. Further, during his time in public service for the State of New York, Alphonso was instrumental in drafting and advancing landmark legislation that removed legal barriers allowing same-sex couples to marry, paving the way for the United States Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationally. His work helped actualize the Paid Family Leave Act, ensuring individuals receive paid leave to care for sick family members. His record of achievement also includes the Minority and Women Business Program, which tripled contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses throughout New York State.
Now, as President & CEO of the Global Black Economic Forum, Alphonso is focused on reimagining what diversity, equity, inclusion, and opportunity looks like in global workspaces and marketplaces.
Morgan DeBaun is the founder & CEO of Blavity Inc., a venture-backed company that builds product solutions and media for Black consumers and the enterprises who want to reach them. Blavity Media Group creates content for Black audiences and reaches over 250 million readers per month through a growing brand portfolio that includes: Blavity News, 21Ninety, Travel Noire, Shadow & Act, and the Blavity Culture Network. Blavity Inc.’s Business division, AFROTECH™, is a professional network and talent acquisition solution for the world's largest companies and hosts the largest tech conference for Black founders & innovators in the world. Since founding Blavity Inc., she has been recognized by Forbes in the 30 Under 30 and America’s Top 50 Women in Tech lists, and was named twice in Goldman Sachs’ 100 Most Influential Builders and Innovators. At just 27 years old, she completed her first M&A deal and has quickly risen to be one of the few female moguls in media. Her success is due, in part, to her passion for helping others reach their potential.
Morgan is also an angel investor and strategically advises influential global brands and companies, including American Airlines, Pepsi Co., and the Black Economic Alliance.
Debbie Dyson is a visionary transformational leader known for inspiring others to unleash their power and potential within to drive impact and sustainable results for great success.
Currently, Debbie is CEO for the OneTen organization, previously holding the COO role, which is focused on placing one million black individuals without 4-degrees into family sustaining wages over a period of 10 years. With over 30 years of experience in human capital management, Debbie is focused on scaling the operational infrastructures within OneTen with additional oversite over the strategic, marketing, financial and technology plans.
Formerly, Debbie was an executive senior leader reporting into the CEO as President of ADP’s National Account Services, driving large-scale human capital management strategy and transformation to create exceptional outcomes for ADP’s U.S.-based enterprise clients spanning across the globe. Under her leadership, this multi-billion-dollar organization evolved to implement and service rich technology solutions wrapped around quality excellence. By incorporating innovation with a discipline of business process optimization, it allowed the organization to flourish with year over year revenue, retention and operating expense improvements that effectively aligned with the strategic outlook of the future of work for enterprise clients.
Debbie has deep experience in other senior executive leadership roles from client quality delivery to business process operations to general management. Debbie was ADP’s Corporate Vice President of Client Experience and Business Transformation, under the CEO as well, where she had direct responsibility for optimization of business processes, global shoring footprints in Manila, India, and Romania, enterprise learning and performance, and company-wide communication. She also served as a Division Vice President and General Manager for the mid-market solutions leading those team to deliver above-plan accelerated revenue growth performance, while simultaneously maintaining high client retention levels and associate engagement.
Debbie has appeared in numerous interviews, publication media, and has garnered industry-wide respect and recognition for her art of impact, intention, and inspiration. She was featured on the cover of Black Enterprise magazine as part of a special Women of Power edition. Among her accolades, she was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business two years in a row.
Garnesha Ezediaro has over two decades of experience serving as a catalyst for individual, community and organizational transformation. With a passion for agility, Garnesha has worked across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to design, direct and scale mission-focused programs and content that inspire change and build brands. She currently leads Bloomberg Philanthropies' Greenwood Initiative — an effort to accelerate the pace of wealth accumulation for Black individuals and families and address systemic underinvestment in Black communities.
Since launching in September 2020, the portfolio has already invested more than $250 million to help ease the debt burden of Black medical students and equitable access of COVID-19 vaccines within Black communities. Investments also supported access to racial wealth equity data; historic underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields; and partnering on programs to help city leaders prioritize economic equity agendas for Black and Brown residents.
Prior to her current role, Garnesha led Global Leadership Development Programs at Verizon Media, as well as public service roles including serving as the Communications Director and spokesperson for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and as Director of Marketing at Brick City Development Corporation in Newark, NJ under the leadership of former Mayor Cory Booker.
Garnesha also has more than 15 years of experience as a trained facilitator and holds coaching certifications for the Leadership Circle Profile, Insights Discovery, and the Energy Leadership Index.
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., MPH, began serving as the 11th president of Spelman College on July 1, 2022. Dr. Gayle previously served as president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, from October 2017 to June 2022. Under her leadership, the Trust adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region. For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization.
A pediatrician and public health physician with expertise in economic development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues. Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America and the ONE Campaign. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, National Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics.
She was awarded the Chicago Mayor’s Medal of Honor for her work on COVID relief and recovery for the city. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” and one of Nonprofit Times’ "Power and Influence Top 50," she has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and wealth inequity. Dr. Gayle is from Buffalo, N.Y. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She is a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and has received 18 honorary degrees. She also holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University. Dr. Gayle is married to Stephen Keith, M.D., the First Gentleman of Spelman College and a proud Spelman dad.
Christina Greer is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University - Lincoln Center (Manhattan) campus. Her research and teaching focus on American politics, Black ethnic politics, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. Prof. Greer's book Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream (Oxford University Press) investigates the increasingly ethnically diverse black populations in the US from Africa and the Caribbean. She finds that both ethnicity and a shared racial identity matter and also affect the policy choices and preferences for black groups.
Professor Greer is currently working on a manuscript detailing the political contributions of Barbara Jordan, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Stacey Abrams. She recently co-edited Black Politics in Transition, which explores gentrification, suburbanization, and immigration of Blacks in America. She is a member of the board of The Tenement Museum in NYC, The Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, Community Change in Washington, DC, and serves on the Advisory Board at Tufts University.
She is a frequent political commentator on several media outlets, primarily MSNBC, WNYC, and NY1, and is often quoted in media outlets such as the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, and the AP. She is the co-host of the New York centered podcast FAQ-NYC, is a political analyst at thegrio.com and host of the podcast quiz show The Blackest Questions at thegrio.com, is a frequent author and narrator for the TedEd educational series, and also writes a weekly column for The Amsterdam News, one of the oldest black newspapers in the U.S.
Prof. Greer received her BA from Tufts University and her MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.
Darrick Hamilton is a university professor, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, and founding director of the Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy at The New School. Considered one of the nation’s foremost public intellectuals, Professor Hamilton has been profiled in the New York Times, Mother Jones, Bloomberg’s Business Week and the Wall Street Journal. Professor Hamilton was named a Freedom Scholar by the Marguerite Casey Foundation and the Group Health Foundation. Professor Hamilton has been involved in crafting policy proposals that have garnered media attention and inspired legislative proposals at the federal, state, and local levels, including baby bonds, guaranteed income, and a federal job guarantee. He has testified before several Senate and House committees, including the Joint Economic Committee and the Senate Banking Committee. Professor Hamilton was born and raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and received a PhD in Economics from the University of North Carolina.
Rodney Harrell is Vice President of Family, Home and Community at AARP. In that role, he is the enterprise lead on Housing issues, developing and leading the organization’s strategy to address them. He also leads AARP Public Policy Institute’s team of issue experts on Long-Term Services and Supports, Family Caregiving and Livable Communities. The Family, Home and Community team provides thought leadership through research, policy analysis, and creating innovative solutions to ensure that older adults and their families have access to the options and services that can help them to thrive at any age.
Dr. Harrell’s research on housing preferences, neighborhood choice, and community livability are integral to AARP’s groundbreaking Livability Index, which measures the livability of every neighborhood and community in the United States. He is also a speaker, writer and blogger on issues impacting communities and the diverse groups of people who live in them.
Dr. Harrell graduated summa cum laude from the honors program at Howard University; earned dual master’s degrees in public affairs and urban planning from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University; and received a PhD in urban planning from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, was named to the initial class of Top Influencers in Aging for his work, and holds several board and advisory positions.
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries has proudly represented New York’s Eighth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives since taking office on January 3, 2013. The incredibly vibrant and diverse Eighth Congressional District encompasses neighborhoods like East New York, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Canarsie, Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
Congressman Jeffries was unanimously elected House Democratic Leader by his colleagues in January of 2023. In that capacity, he is the highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives and the first person of color to lead a major party in the United States Congress. He is also the former Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus and Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, where he helped develop the winning For The People agenda for the successful 2018 midterm elections when Democrats reclaimed the House.
Congressman Jeffries served as an Impeachment Manager in the historic first impeachment of President Donald J. Trump, becoming the first African American man to hold that position. Paying homage to Brooklyn, Congressman Jeffries quoted The Notorious B.I.G. as he laid out the case against Trump.
In Congress, Congressman Jeffries has emerged as a tireless advocate for safer communities, affordable housing and lower costs. Recently, he helped guide communities in Central and South Brooklyn through the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic crisis. He played a leading role in the passage of measures that will create jobs and make life better for everyday families, like the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Before his election to the House, Congressman Jeffries served for six years in the New York State Assembly. Prior to his career in public service, he practiced law at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and served as litigation counsel for Viacom Inc. and CBS. Congressman Jeffries received his bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton, earned a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University and graduated magna cum laude at New York University School of Law. Congressman Jeffries was born in Brooklyn, is a product of New York City’s public school system and lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Shavar Jeffries has been an advocate for social justice and educational equity for more than two decades. He joined the KIPP Foundation as CEO in January 2023, a culmination of his many years as a champion for KIPP schools. Shavar was founding board chair of KIPP Newark in 2001; joined the KIPP Foundation Board in 2019; and is a proud KIPP parent, as his two children graduated from KIPP Spark Academy and KIPP Team Academy in Newark. His commitment to improving education stems directly from personal experience. As a first-generation college graduate, he understands implicitly the life-changing power of a high-quality education.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Shavar was President of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and its affiliate organization, Education Reform Now, where he led the organization in passing well over 100 policies at the federal and state level that expanded educational opportunities for low-income students of color. Throughout his career, Shavar has practiced law, worked as an assistant attorney general in New Jersey, and served as the elected president of the Newark school board. Among many career highlights, Shavar, as school-board president, led Newark Public Schools in implementing systemic changes that produced historic gains in student outcomes; as state assistant attorney general, executed a strategy shifting juveniles from detention centers to community-based programs that produced nation-leading reductions in recidivism; and, as a civil-rights lawyer, litigated numerous class-action cases that released hundreds of millions in education funding, rescinded racially discriminatory tracking of students of color to remedial classes, and provided special-education services to tens of thousands of children.
Shavar graduated from Duke University and Columbia Law School, where he concentrated on civil rights law and policy. He has been recognized broadly for his work—by the NAACP, the National Bar Association, and the Congressional Black Caucus, among others.
Broderick Johnson is the EVP, Public Policy & EVP, Digital Equity for Comcast Corporation. Broderick oversees the company’s Public Policy team and holds overall responsibility for Comcast’s role in the digital equity space. Comcast is a leader in solutions to bridge the digital divide, and Broderick works closely with our partners in government and other stakeholders to support our shared goal of connecting as many Americans as possible to the Internet, and to shape our corporate policies that allow our businesses to continue to grow and innovate.
Broderick has more than three decades of experience as a lawyer, policy advisor, and political strategist, most recently with the international law firm of Covington & Burling. He has served under two U.S. Presidents, as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President Clinton, and as Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Cabinet under President Obama. Broderick also served as chief counsel for several committees in the U.S. House.
Broderick is a highly respected and trusted leader in Washington D.C. and across the nation, and he has advised hundreds of clients on a wide array of policy issues, including telecommunications and tech matters. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross. He sits on numerous boards, including the boards of directors of the Obama Foundation and the Black Economic Alliance. He also chairs the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Advisory Council.
Heather designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Over her career in public policy, Heather has crafted legislation, testified before Congress and helped shape presidential campaign platforms. Her book The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together spent 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was longlisted for the National Book Award and Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. The New York Times called it, “The book that should change how progressives talk about race.” and the Chicago Tribune said, “Required reading to move the country forward…”. It is a Washington Post and TIME Magazine Must-Read Book of 2021. The paperback version will be out in February 2022. The Sum of Us will be adapted into a Spotify podcast by Higher Ground, the production company of Barack and Michelle Obama in June 2022, and into a young adult readers’ version by Random House Children’s in 2023.
Heather is an educator, serving currently as a Visiting Lecturer in Urban Studies at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. She has also held visiting positions at Yale University’s Brady-Johnson Grand Strategy Program and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. She is the recipient of honorary degrees from Muhlenberg College, Niagara University, and CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.
For nearly two decades, Heather helped build the non-partisan "think and do" tank Demos, serving four years as president. Under McGhee’s leadership, Demos moved their original idea for “debt-free college” into the center of the 2016 presidential debate, argued before the Supreme Court to protect voting rights in January 2018, helped win pro-voter reforms in five states over two years, provided expert testimony to Congressional committees, including a Supreme Court confirmation hearing in 2017, and led the research campaigns behind successful wage increases for low-paid workers on federal contracts, as well as at McDonalds, Walmart and other chain retailers.
Kwasi Mitchell is the chief purpose officer at Deloitte. He is responsible for leading the organization-wide strategy that powers Deloitte’s commitment to purpose and drives a broader impact for our clients, people and the communities in which we live and work. Kwasi built and oversees the organization’s first dedicated Purpose Office focused on addressing some of the world’s most complex societal issues including diversity, equity and inclusion, sustainability and climate change, education and workforce development, and technology trust ethics. In his role, Kwasi creates pathways of opportunity for our people and clients to find purpose in their work and harness their skills to drive a collective impact that addresses systemic societal issues. His belief in the power of a purpose-driven organization has led Deloitte to strategically invest $1.5 billion over 10 years to address equity for those facing the greatest barriers to prosperity and his passion for creating a more equitable society has earned him a board seat on several national and global nonprofits.
Kwasi’s leadership brings focus to the shared impact and lasting change we can have on society at large when we put our purpose into action and embrace the differences that unite us. Prior to being named Deloitte’s chief purpose officer, Kwasi was the diversity, equity and inclusion leader, the pro bono and social impact lead for Deloitte’s 50,000+ person Consulting practice and served as the Strategy Offering leader for Deloitte’s Government & Public Services practice where he advised clients within both the government and commercial sectors. His insights of building a purpose-driven organization have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Business Insider, Fortune and more.
Kwasi has a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Northwestern University, an MBA from Drexel University and sits on the board of several national and global nonprofits focused on building a more equitable society. He lives in Washington, D.C. where he spends time with his lovely wife, Kathleen.
Brian Moynihan leads a team of more than 210,000 employees dedicated to making financial lives better for people, companies of every size, and institutional investors across the United States and around the world. Bank of America was named World’s Best Bank by Euromoney magazine as well as America’s Most JUST Company by JUST Capital in 2022. The company has been recognized as a leader in financial services, including on Forbes magazine’s list for World’s Best Employers and World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies as well as Fortune magazine’s list of World’s Most Admired Companies and Best Companies to Work For.
Bank of America also was named on People’s Companies that Care list and is the top global bank on Fortune’s Change the World list. The company has been ranked three times on LinkedIn’s Top 50 Companies in the U.S. list, and also is recognized annually as a top employer by Working Mother, LATINA Style, Black Enterprise, Military Times and U.S Veterans Magazine.
Moynihan participates in several organizations that focus on economic and market trends, including the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics Initiative (chair), the Financial Services Forum, the Bank Policy Institute, the Business Roundtable, the Clearing House (chair), the American Heart Association CEO Roundtable (co-chair) and the Business Council. He also is a co-chair of the Steering Committee of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism and co-chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which was founded by His Majesty King Charles III in his former role of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Moynihan serves as chair of the company’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and is a member of the museum council for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. He is also a member of the Brown University Corporation's Board of Fellows, the Catalyst Board of Directors, the Council on Competitiveness Board (chair) and the Appeal of Conscience Board of Trustees. Moynihan works with public officials, businesses and civic leaders at the local level through his participation on the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (chair) and the Partnership for Rhode Island.
Mr. Patrick is Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership and a professor of practice at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also a Senior Advisor to Bain Capital and co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, a progressive political action committee. He is the founder and, from April 2015 to December 2019, was Managing Partner of Bain Capital Double Impact, a growth equity fund that invests in commercial businesses for both competitive financial returns and positive social impact. From January 2007 to January 2015, he served as Governor of Massachusetts. He has been a senior executive in two Fortune 50 companies, a partner in two Boston law firms, and by appointment of President Bill Clinton, the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the United States Justice Department. He is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and the author of two books. Mr. Patrick earned his AB cum laude from Harvard College and his JD from Harvard Law School.
Charles Phillips is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Recognize, a technology investment and operating firm focused on software engineering services with over $1 billion in assets. He is the former CEO and Chairman of Infor, the third largest business software applications company which realized a $13B enterprise value exit in 2020.
Prior to Infor, Phillips was President of Oracle Corporation and a member of its Board of Directors and the company tripled in market capitalization during his tenure.. Before Oracle, Phillips was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in the Technology Group and served on its Board of Directors.
Phillips served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune in a line of three generations of military service.
Phillips holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from New York Law School, and an MBA from Hampton University and is a member of the Georgia State Bar Association. Phillips serves on the Boards of Paramount Global, American Express, and the Council of Foreign Relations and is Chairman of The Apollo Theater. Phillips previously served on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Board and board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Duwain serves higher education institutions on strategy and operational topics, helping higher education institutions respond to a rapidly evolving landscape through bold, inclusive workforce development strategies and significant performance transformations. His expertise includes higher education strategy, racial equity, and the future of work. He also leads McKinsey’s research and client service on the topic of racial equity through the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility. Prior to joining McKinsey, he worked for the Teach For America as the Director of Growth, Development and Partnerships where he helped launch two Teach For America offices (one in Cleveland, one in Cincinnati).
Duwain has a B.S. in Finance from Case Western Reserve University and an M.P.P and M.B.A. from Harvard University.
Kedra Newsom Reeves is Managing Director and Partner based in BCG’s Chicago office. She is a core member of BCG’s Financial Services and Social Impact practice areas. She serves as a co-lead for BCG’s Center for Inclusion and Equity which partners with clients to help build inclusive cultures, deliver social impact, create business value, and drive systemic change. Her recent work has been focused on the intersection of social impact and financial services including work with foundations on closing the wealth gap and banks on building more socially inclusive strategies. In addition, she has deep expertise in asset and wealth management operations, data and technology. Internally, Kedra leads BCG’s North America Black and Latinx cadre and sits on the board of BCG’s Center for Illinois’ Future which guides pro-bono project investments locally. Outside of BCG, Kedra serves on the boards of Chicago Public Media, City Year Chicago and the Chicago Civic Consulting Alliance. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT.
Domestic Policy Advisor to the President
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Former National Security Advisor
Domestic Policy Advisor to the President Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Former National Security Advisor
Ambassador Susan E. Rice is the Domestic Policy Advisor in the Biden Administration. As Director of the Domestic Policy Council, she drives the formulation and implementation of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda, from economic mobility and racial equity to health care and immigration.
Ambassador Rice served President Barack Obama as National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council Staff and chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee. As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and a member of President Obama's Cabinet, Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world's security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights. Ambassador Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997 – 2001. From 1993-1997, she served as Special Assistant to President William J. Clinton and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, as well as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff. She began her career as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company.
Ambassador Rice received her Master's degree (M.Phil.) and Ph.D (D.Phil.) in International Relations from New College, Oxford University, England, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. She received her B.A. in History with honors from Stanford University in 1986, where she was awarded junior Phi Beta Kappa and was a Truman Scholar. A native of Washington DC, Ambassador Rice is married with two children.
John’s passion for investing began at age 12 when his father started buying him stocks as Christmas and birthday gifts. His interest in equities grew while in college and over the two-and-a-half years after graduation he worked as a stockbroker at William Blair & Company. In 1983, John founded Ariel to invest in undervalued small-and medium-sized companies. While our research capabilities have since expanded, his patient approach still anchors the firm today.
He received an AB in economics from Princeton University, where he was also captain of the varsity basketball team. John is active civically and professionally based on his belief that these engagements make him a better leader and a better investor. Beyond Ariel, he is a member of the board of directors of McDonald’s, NIKE, The New York Times Company, Ryan Specialty Group Holdings and the Obama Foundation. John also serves as Vice Chair of the board of trustees of The University of Chicago.
Bakari was born into an activist family. His father, civil rights leader Cleveland Sellers, instilled core values in him to continue in the tireless commitment to service. In 2005 Bakari earned a bachelor's degree in African-American Studies from Morehouse College. He continued his education at the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2008 earning a juris doctor.
Bakari currently practices law with the Strom Law Firm, LLC in Columbia, SC where he heads the firm’s Strategic Communication and Public Affairs team and has recently added Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consulting to the list of services offered.
Bakari made history in the 2006 South Carolina state legislature as the youngest African American elected official in the nation, at the age of 22. His political career did not stop there, in 2014 he was the Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor in the state of South Carolina. Bakari has also worked for United States Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
His accomplishments do not go unnoticed within the Democratic Party. In 2008 he served on President Obama’s South Carolina steering committee. His ability to “reach across the aisle to get things done” has led to numerous achievements including being named TIME Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans in 2015, and HBCU Top 30 Under 30 in July 2014.
Bakari has served as a featured speaker at various Political Events, Universities, and National Trade
As Chief Investment and Impact Officer at Blue Meridian Partners, Jim leads Blue Meridian’s efforts to continuously increase the impact, reach, and influence of our investees and investments. This includes driving the evolution, expansion, and ongoing implementation of Blue Meridian’s regional investment strategy — integrating the work of expanding effective solutions nationwide with developing regional and local strategies that capture the compounding benefits of continuums of services — to produce the strongest possible outcomes for children and families and achieve community-wide impact.
Jim also oversees Blue Meridian’s efforts to investigate new areas where significant focused capital can help solve problems at scale. Areas Jim will explore include new approaches to economic and social mobility and racial equity; supporting comprehensive place-based and regional strategies; the roles of for-profits, policy and advocacy; and the potential to leverage targeted universalism to have broad impacts. Before becoming Chief Investment and Impact Officer, he was Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the organization, bringing to Blue Meridian deep multi-sector experience and expertise on the intersection of innovation, entrepreneurship, and systems change.
Jim is currently a Senior Social Impact Advisor to KKR and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute. Prior to joining Blue Meridian, he founded Amandla Enterprises, an impact investment and advisory firm, and was President of Education for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, President and Chief Impact Officer at 2U, and Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Education. Jim holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Morehouse College as well as master’s degrees in both business administration and education from Stanford University.
Jewel Burks Solomon serves as Managing Partner at Collab Capital, a $50M venture capital fund she launched to close the funding gap for Black entrepreneurs. Jewel’s work and mission are about creating more access to the technology innovation ecosystem.
Prior to leading Google for Startups and Collab Capital, Jewel was the Founder/CEO of Partpic, a startup that was acquired by Amazon in 2016, which streamlined the purchase of maintenance and repair parts using computer vision technology. After the acquisition of Partpic, Jewel became a product leader at Amazon’s Visual Search and AR team. She led the integration of Partpic’s technology and launched it as Amazon PartFinder in 2018 to the over 150M users of Amazon’s Mobile Shopping App.
Before founding Partpic, Jewel held management and sales roles at McMaster-Carr and Google, Inc. Jewel was named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2016, one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 in 2018, and one of Atlanta’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020.
Jewel serves on the boards of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, where the mission is to lead and inspire philanthropy to increase the vitality of the region and the well-being of all residents, and Endeavor Atlanta, which helps the fastest-growing entrepreneurs create lasting enterprises by providing the resources they need to scale without dilution. She is a member of the 2019 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the Aspen Global Leadership Network at the Aspen Institute.
Jewel received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Howard University. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Zekarias, and their newborn son Mekai.
Samantha Tweedy is an accomplished executive, fundraiser, strategist and Yale Law-trained attorney who has spent two decades working to increase economic mobility and opportunity for Black people.
Prior to being named the first-ever Chief Executive Officer of BEA, Samantha served as the inaugural President of the Black Economic Alliance Foundation – leading the organization’s efforts to produce cutting-edge research, practical solutions, and programming to create better access to good paying jobs, livable wages, and wealth creation for Black people.
Before joining BEAF, Samantha was the first Chief Partnerships and Impact Officer at the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations. She developed and directed the Power Fund to invest in nonprofit leaders of color and the High-Quality Schools Fund to support innovative school models for New York City’s most under-resourced communities. She was instrumental in creating the NinetyToZero partnership among America’s leading companies and organizations, including Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, ACLU, and The Wharton School, to combat the racial wealth gap through increased investment in Black talent and Black businesses.
Samantha brings a unique mix of on-the-ground and executive experience to her leadership. She served as the first Chief Advancement Officer at Uncommon Schools, a network of over 50 public charter schools serving historically disadvantaged students of color who go on to graduate from four-year colleges at higher rates than students from the wealthiest American households. She also founded and directed an elementary school that won the National Blue Ribbon School Award for its success in closing racial and socioeconomic opportunity gaps.
After graduating from Yale Law School and Duke University magna cum laude, Samantha began her career as an attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she worked on landmark school equity litigation to close the public-school spending gaps that disproportionately impact students of color and practiced commercial litigation.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Samantha lives in Bed Stuy with her husband and two children, Stokely and Evers. She is a Pahara Fellow and serves as a board and advisory member for a number of organizations dedicated to racial and economic justice, including Amsale Aspire, Coney Island Prep, The Highland Project, and Next100.
In 2012, Sarah Rosen Wartell became the third president of the Urban Institute since its founding in 1968. A nonprofit research organization of more than 650 staff, Urban provides data and evidence to accelerate solutions and advance upward mobility and equity. Urban is a trusted source for changemakers who seek to strengthen decisionmaking, create inclusive economic growth, and improve the well-being of families and communities. Urban has delivered facts that inspire solutions—and this remains our charge today.
Before joining Urban, Wartell was the founding chief operating officer and then executive vice president of the Center for American Progress, where her work focused on the economy and housing markets. She also served as deputy assistant to the president for economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council at the White House. At the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1998, Wartell advised the federal housing commissioner on housing finance, mortgage markets, and consumer protection. She was later a consultant to the bipartisan Millennial Housing Commission.
Before her government service, Wartell practiced law with the Washington, DC firm Arnold & Porter.
Wartell serves on the board of Enterprise Community Partners and the Georgetown Day School. She is also a member of the executive board of the National Academy of Public Administration’s Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships, the Sadie Collective’s Advisory Council, Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council, and the Evidence and Equity Collaborative. Her areas of expertise include community development, consumer finance, asset building, and housing finance.
Wartell has an AB with honors in urban affairs from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, a JD from Yale Law School, and an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Alisha Johnson Wilder is the Director of external engagement for Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple, focusing on the company’s global environmental initiatives, community education programs, product accessibility efforts, community investment and government affairs. She also leads Apple’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, a long-term effort focused on dismantling systemic barriers for communities of color through education, economic empowerment, and criminal justice reform.
Prior to joining Apple, Alisha served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Communications Director for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Senior Advisor at the U.S. State Department.
Alisha serves on the advisory board of MIT’s Climate and Sustainability Consortium. She is also the inaugural recipient of AfroTech’s Corporate Catalyst Award.
She holds bachelor’s degrees in broadcast journalism and sociology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Barika X. Williams is the Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development Inc. (ANHD) a non-for-profit leading community development for nearly 50 years focused on creating housing and economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. Ms. Williams previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Housing for the State of New York under the Governor where she managed the NY’s major housing priorities including the $20 billion housing plan and expanding tenant protections statewide. While with NYU’s Metropolitan Center for Urban Education and the Urban Institute in Washington, DC; she worked on innovative initiatives and published on topics including affordable housing practices, foreclosures, urban mobility, disaster recovery, and the links between health, education, and housing on neighborhoods. Ms. Williams is the 2020 recipient of American Planning Association NY’s Robert W. Ponte Award for her commitment to a more just NYC build environment that understands systemic racism’s intersection to place and community. She serves on numerous Committees and Boards including the US Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, the Capital One Community Advisory Board, Webster Bank’s Community Advisory Board and Urban Design Forum's Board. Barika received a Master’s in City Planning from the MIT and a BA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Samer is the Interim Chief Executive Officer at BLCK VC, the national professional organization for Black venture investors working to close the racial wealth gap in venture capital. As Interim CEO, Samer leads the organization's strategy development and execution, fundraising, and partnerships and manages the team. Before that, Samer was the Chief Program Officer at BLCK VC, overseeing the strategy and execution of BLCK VC's programs and strategic initiatives to empower, educate, and connect Black existing and aspiring venture investors. Samer is BLCK VC's first employee and previously served as Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, Samer worked closely with the leadership team to develop the growth strategy, build organizational infrastructure, and expand the organization's capacity.