Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister, Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Tony Blair served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1997 to 2007, the only Labour leader in the party’s 100 year history to win three consecutive elections. During his time in office, the UK economy enjoyed record growth. His government made major improvements in Britain’s public services, particularly healthcare and education, through a programme of investment and reform. Britain’s first statutory minimum wage was introduced. The Prime Minister led the successful London 2012 Olympics bid; and oversaw the peace process for Northern Ireland. He introduced the first elected Mayor for London, the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly. He was a staunch advocate of an interventionist foreign policy, in particular in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. He trebled the UK’s aid programme for Africa and introduced the first environmental programme in the UK to combat climate change. Since leaving office Blair has spent most of his time on work in the Middle East, in Africa and on the fight against religiously based extremism. In the Middle East, formerly the Quartet Representative, he is now specifically focusing on building relations between Arabs and Israelis. He works in eight African countries – Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mozambique – through his Foundation the Africa Governance Initiative, helping the Presidents of those countries to deliver change programmes. He has established the Tony Blair Faith Foundation to combat extremism– which works in over 20 countries with programmes on education and tracking extremism across the world. Blair founded and funds a Sports Foundation dedicated to boosting grassroots sport for young people in the North East of England, which includes the Sedgefield constituency he represented in Parliament. He also chairs The Climate Group International Leadership council.
Arne Duncan - Former Secretary of Education, US Government; Managing Partner, Emerson Collective
Arne Duncan is the ninth U.S. secretary of education. He served under President Barack Obama from January 20, 2009 through January 1, 2016. Arne’s tenure as secretary has been marked by a number of significant accomplishments on behalf of American students and teachers. He helped to secure congressional support for President Obama’s investments in education, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s $100 billion to fund 325,000 teaching jobs, increases in Pell grants, reform efforts such as Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation, and interventions in low-performing schools. Additionally, he has helped secure an additional $10 billion to avoid teacher layoffs; the elimination of student loan subsidies to banks; and a $500 million national competition for early learning programs.
Before becoming secretary of education, Duncan served as the chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a position he held from June 2001 through December 2008. In that time, he won praise for uniting education reformers, teachers, principals and business stakeholders behind an aggressive education reform agenda that included opening more than 100 new schools, expanding after-school and summer learning programs, closing down underperforming schools, increasing early childhood and college access, dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives Prior to joining the Chicago Public Schools, from 1992 to 1998, he ran the nonprofit education foundation Ariel Education Initiative, which helped fund a college education for a class of inner-city children under the I Have A Dream program. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, after majoring in sociology.
In 2016, Duncan opened a Chicago office for the Emerson Collective, a California-based philanthropy headed by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs. He plans to support entrepreneurs who can provide jobs in underprivileged neighborhoods, and to create and expand training programs that equip young people with the skills they need to get those jobs. @arneduncan
Ray Kurzweil - Inventor, Author, Futurist
Ray Kurzweil is one of the world’s leading inventors, thinkers, and futurists, with a thirty-year track record of accurate predictions. Called "the restless genius" by The Wall Street Journal and "the ultimate thinking machine" by Forbes magazine, Kurzweil was selected as one of the top entrepreneurs by Inc. magazine, which described him as the "rightful heir to Thomas Edison." PBS selected him as one of the "sixteen revolutionaries who made America." Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition.
Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he received the 2015 Technical Grammy Award for outstanding achievements in the field of music technology; he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology, was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, holds twenty-one honorary Doctorates, and honors from three U.S. presidents.
Kurzweil has written five national best-selling books, including New York Times best sellers The Singularity Is Near (2005) and How To Create A Mind (2012). He is co-founder and chancellor of Singularity University and a director of engineering at Google heading up a team developing machine intelligence and natural language understanding. @raykurzweil
Charles Best, Founder, DonorsChoose.org
Charles Best leads DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit organization that provides a simple way to address educational inequity. At DonorsChoose.org, public school teachers create classroom project requests and donors can choose the projects they want to support. He launched the organization in 2000 out of a Bronx public high school where he taught history. DonorsChoose.org is one of Oprah Winfrey's "ultimate favorite things" and was featured on the cover of Fast Company as one of the "50 Most Innovative Companies in the World." For three years, Fortune Magazine has named Best to its "40 under 40 hottest rising stars in business.”
Matthew Bishop - Senior Editor, The Economist Group
Matthew Bishop, senior editor, The Economist Group, is an award-winning journalist and social entrepreneur. His roles at The Economist have included Business Editor, Wall Street Editor, Globalisation Editor and New York Bureau Chief. He is the author of several books, including Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World (described as “important” by President Bill Clinton) and The Road From Ruin, which set out an agenda for the reform of capitalism after the 2008 crash. He is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Global Governance. He was the Official Report author of the G8 Taskforce on Social Impact Investment and a member of the Advisors Group of the UN International Year of Microcredit. He co-founded and advises the #givingtuesday campaign and the Social Progress Index. @mattbish
Michael Greene - Executive Director, Social Progress Imperative
Michael Green is executive director of the Social Progress Imperative. An economist by training, he is co-author (with Matthew Bishop of ‘The Economist’) of Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World and The Road from Ruin: A New Capitalism for a Big Society. Previously Green served as a senior official in the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development, where he managed British aid programs to Russia and Ukraine and headed the communications department. He taught Economics at Warsaw University in Poland in the early 1990s. His TED Talks have been viewed more than two million times, and his 2014 Talk was chosen by the TED organization as one of the ‘most powerful ideas’ of 2014 and by The Telegraph as one of the 10 best ever. In 2016, he was named one of “The 100 Most Connected Men in Britain” by GQ Magazine and one of the NonProfit Times‘s “Power & Influence Top 50.” @shepleygreen
Jeff Greene - Founder, The Greene Institute
Jeff Greene is an investor and philanthropist who manages a multibillion-dollar portfolio in financial investments and real estate. He has more than $2 billion in real estate development projects in South Florida, New York and Los Angeles. Greene is known for being among the first to recognize the housing bubble in 2006. His shorting of subprime mortgage-backed bonds has been described as the single most profitable trade by an individual in Wall Street history. He is the founder of the Greene Institute, which focuses on inequality, education and health. He also serves on the boards of numerous nonprofits and education institutions. He and his wife, Mei Sze, are signatories to the Giving Pledge, created by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Greene holds a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Harry Holzer, John LaFarge Jr. SJ Professor of Public Policy, Georgetown University
Harry J. Holzer is the John LaFarge Jr. SJ professor of public policy at Georgetown University and an institute fellow at the American Institute for Research in Washington DC. He is a former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and a former professor of economics at Michigan State University. He received his A.B. from Harvard in 1978 and his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1983. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings, a research affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an affiliated scholar with the Urban Institute, and a member of the editorial board at the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. He is a member of the board of directors for the Economic Mobility Corporation and the National Skills Coalition. Holzer has authored or edited 12 books and several dozen journal articles, mostly on disadvantaged American workers and their employers, as well as on education and workforce issues and labor market policy.
Jed Kolko - Chief Economist, Indeed
Jed Kolko is chief economist at Indeed, the world’s #1 job site, where he leads the research division, the Hiring Lab. Previously he was chief economist and vice president of analytics at Trulia, the online real estate marketplace. He has also led research teams at the Public Policy Institute of California and at Forrester Research. Kolko specializes in using large-scale proprietary and publicly available datasets to uncover insights about labor markets, the future of work, demographics, housing markets, and urban trends. He has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, FiveThirtyEight, Wonkblog, and Bloomberg View, and has authored a dozen academic articles. He earned his A.B. in Social Studies and his Ph.D. in economics at Harvard University. @jedkolko
Larry Kudlow, Senior Contributor, CNBC
Larry Kudlow is CNBC's Senior Contributor. He was previously host of CNBC's primetime "The Kudlow Report". He is also the host of "The Larry Kudlow Show", which broadcasts eachSaturday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on WABC Radio and is syndicated nationally by Cumulus Media. He is also the founder and CEO of Kudlow and Company, LLC, an economic research and consulting firm. Kudlow is a familiar face in Washington and on Wall Street -- a renowned free market, supply-side economist armed with knowledge, vision, and integrity acquired over a storied career spanning three decades. He offers a tremendous wealth of insight and expertise to help investors better navigate tomorrow's evolving economic and political terrain.
Will Marshall, President and Founder, PPI
Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), established in 1989 as a center for political innovation in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he has been one of the chief intellectual architects of the movement to modernize progressive politics for the global age. Called “Bill Clinton’s idea mill,” PPI’s policy analysis and proposals were the source for many of the “New Democrat” innovations that figured prominently in national politics over the past two decades. The Institute also has been integral to the spread of “Third Way” thinking to center-left parties in Europe and elsewhere. Marshall is an honorary vice-president of Policy Network, an international think tank launched by Tony Blair to promote progressive policy ideas throughout the democratic world. Marshall is editor or co-editor of many books, including Memos to the New President (PPI, January 2009); With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service (PPI, 2005). His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The American Interest, The American Prospect, Democracy, and other newspapers and journals.
In 1985, Marshall helped to found the Democratic Leadership Council, serving as its first policy director. He currently serves on the board of directors for the National Endowment for Democracy. Marshall’s previous campaign and political experience includes posts as press secretary, spokesman and speechwriter for the 1984 United States Senate campaign of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, speechwriter and policy analyst for the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and, spokesman and speechwriter in the 1982 U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Lt. Governor Dick Davis. Marshall is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History.
Dale Nirvani Pfeifer, Founder and CEO, GoodWorld
Dale Nirvani Pfeifer is changing the way we connect online by making social giving simple. Her company, GoodWorld, is the social fundraising platform fueling seamless, viral charitable payments made with just a hashtag: #donate. An award-winning researcher, Pfeifer applied the theory of Allophilia (like or love of others) to Maori leadership, demonstrating how the power of love and effective leadership can bring together big, diverse groups of people. She ran the Victoria University of Wellington’s Center for the Study of Leadership and later worked with organizations across the United States and New Zealand to help them understand their purpose and develop and implement programs and communications strategies. Pfeifer’s work in the nonprofit and foundation sector led her to recognize the power of business to drive large-scale impact, and she founded GoodWorld. Pfeifer was recently named one of Washington Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 business leaders in Washington and one of Trending 40’s New Power Women of DC Tech.
GoodWorld’s #donate technology makes it possible to give instantly to the causes people care most about, making it possible for anyone—individuals, businesses, influencers and more—to add a charitable component to their social network and turn giving into a fun, interactive experience. Launched in October 2014, GoodWorld was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies of 2016 and D.C.’s Best Technology Startup.
David Paterson, 55th Governor of New York
David A. Paterson was born May 20, 1954, in Brooklyn, NY to Portia and Basil Paterson. He earned his bachelor's degree in History from Columbia University in 1977, and completed his J.D. at Hofstra Law School in 1982. Paterson was the first non-white Secretary of State in New York and the first African-American Vice-Chair of the National Democratic Party. In 1985 he was elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate. And in 2002, he became the minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York's history. He made history again in 2004 when he became the first visually impaired person to address the Democratic National Convention, held in Boston, Massachusetts. Paterson was elected New York's first African-American Lieutenant Governor on November 7, 2006. On March 17, 2008, he became governor, completing the unexpired term of Governor Eliot Spitzer following Governor Spitzer's resignation. Paterson, who is legally blind, is nationally recognized as a leading active advocate for the visually and physically impaired.
Eric Rice, Managing Director and Multi Asset Portfolio Manager, Wellington Management
Eric Rice is the portfolio manager of Wellington Management’s Global Impact strategy. He is also a thought leader for the development of social impact and other thematic investment ideas that support the firm’s portfolio managers and analysts.
Rice has a long history as an analyst on multiple investment portfolios, conducting investment research that ranges across all geographies and macro level issues, and incorporating investment themes into portfolios at the security level.
Rice’s passion for social impact developed through his work as diplomat in Rwanda with the US Department of State, and deepened during his doctoral studies and his position as a country economist at the World Bank.
Rice received his PhD from Harvard University and his AB from the University of California at Berkeley, both in economics.
Jan Rivkin, Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Jan W. Rivkin is the Bruce V. Rauner professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, where he serves as senior associate dean for research and co-chair of the School’s project on the competitiveness of the United States. In leading the U.S. competitiveness project, he has worked with a group of about twenty HBS faculty to explore steps that leaders--especially business leaders--can take to help firms in the U.S. win in the global marketplace while lifting the living standards of the average American.
Scott Santens, Moderator, Basic Income Community, Reddit
Scott Santens is living the future of work today with a crowdfunded monthly basic income and has been a moderator of the basic income community on Reddit since 2013. As a writer and blogger, his pieces advocating the idea of a fully universal basic income have appeared in The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Politico, and TechCrunch. He has spoken about UBI at the first World Summit on Technological Unemployment, the Brookings Institute, and Rock the Vote's Truth to Power. He is an advisor to the Universal Income Project, a founding committee member of the nonprofit D.C.-based organization Basic Income Action, a coordinating committee member of the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network, and founder of the BIG Patreon Creator Pledge. He holds a B.S. in psychology.
Gillian Tett - US Managing Editor, Financial Times
Gillian Tett serves as US managing editor, leading the FT’s editorial operations in the region across all platforms. She writes weekly columns for the Financial Times, covering a range of economic, financial, political and social issues throughout the globe.
Tett’s past roles at the FT have included US managing editor (2010-2012), assistant editor, capital markets editor, deputy editor of the Lex column, Tokyo bureau chief, and a reporter in Russia and Brussels.
In 2015, Tett was given an honorary doctorate from Lancaster University in the UK, one of the top ten British universities. In 2014, she was named Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards and was the first recipient of the Royal Anthropological Institute Marsh Award. Her other honors include a SABEW Award for best feature article (2012), President’s Medal by the British Academy (2011), being recognized as Journalist of the Year (2009) and Business Journalist of the Year (2008) by the British Press Awards, and as Senior Financial Journalist of the Year (2007) by the Wincott Awards. In June 2009 her book Fool’s Gold won Financial Book of the Year at the inaugural Spear’s Book Awards.
Tett’s latest book The Silo Effect, published by Simon & Schuster in September 2015, looks at the global economy and financial system through the lens of cultural anthropology. @gilliantett
Deborah Wince-Smith, President and CEO, Council on Competitiveness
Deborah Wince-Smith is the president and CEO of the Council on Competitiveness, a coalition of CEOs, university presidents and labor leaders committed to driving U.S. competitiveness. She has more than 20 years of experience as a senior U.S. government official, as the first Senate-confirmed assistant secretary for technology policy in the Department of Commerce and assistant director for international affairs in the Regan White House.
Wince-Smith serves on the Smithsonian National Board and the boards of several other public and private organizations. She is the president of the newly formed Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, whose creation she led. Wince-Smith is the vice-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils and is a member of Japan’s Science & Technology in Society Forum Council. She is a member of the Commission on the Theft of Intellectual Property, co-chaired by former Governor John Huntsman and former U.S. Director of Naval Intelligence, Dennis Blair and she also serves on the Purdue Strategic Research Advisory Council (SRAC).
Wince-Smith earned a degree in classical archaeology and graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College. She earned her master’s degree from King’s College, Cambridge University and received an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Michigan State University, an Honorary Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Toledo and an Honorary Doctorate of Law honoris causa from The Queens University of Belfast.