Ali Abu Awwad

Palestinian activist

Ali Abu Awwad is a former prisoner of Israel from Palestine who now works for nonviolence as the only path forward to freedom for both Palestinians and Israelis. He currently leads the international nonviolent activist group, Taghyeer (or “Change”). In 2023, he was awarded both the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize and the Luxembourg Peace Prize.

David Boardman

Dean, Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University

David Boardman is Dean of the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has academic and financial responsibility for one of the largest and most comprehensive programs of its kind, with some 2,500 students and 200 faculty members.

Since joining the college in 2013, Boardman has led major strategic initiatives that have raised its profile, resources and standing. He was named the 2022 Administrator of the Year by the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

In 2018, the Klein College received the nation’s top Equity and Diversity Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. In 2018 and 2022, Temple University Television, an enterprise of the Klein College, was named the nation’s best college television station by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.

Previously, Boardman was Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of The Seattle Times, the largest news organization in the Pacific Northwest. Under his leadership, The Times won four Pulitzer Prizes and produced 10 Pulitzer finalists.

Boardman personally has been the recipient of numerous other major national awards, including the National Ethics Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Goldsmith Prize in Investigative Reporting from Harvard University, the Worth Bingham Prize in Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award and the Associated Press Managing Editors Public Service Award.

Boardman is founding chair of the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, the nonprofit that owns The Philadelphia Inquirer. He also chairs the nonprofit news site The Markup, which is focused on the nexus of technology and society, and Spotlight PA, which provides investigative journalism to nearly 100 news outlets in Pennsylvania. He is the immediate past chair of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and is a member of its Executive Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Solutions Journalism Network, the American Society of News Editors Foundation and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. He sits on the advisory boards of ProPublica, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and Investigative Reporting Denmark. Boardman serves on the Accrediting Council for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and is its immediate past president.

Boardman also is a past president and board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and of the American Society of News Editors, and served as chairman of the National Advisory Board of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. He is a Poynter Ethics Fellow. He is a former member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Board and has served six times as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes.

Boardman has conducted seminars for journalists in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, Israel, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa and Turkey.

Before joining The Times in 1983, Boardman was a reporter and editor at several papers in the Northwest, and worked on a construction project in Liberia, West Africa. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and has a graduate degree from the University of Washington. He is an inductee of both the Medill Alumni Hall of Achievement and the University of Washington Communications Hall of Fame.

He has volunteered as a youth basketball coach and has served on advisory boards supporting music and journalism programs in public schools. He enjoys kayaking, hiking, yoga, reading, cooking, wine, travel, music, his family, and cheering on the Phillies and 76ers.

Carroll Bogert

President, The Marshall Project

Carroll Bogert is president of The Marshall Project, a nonprofit media outlet covering criminal justice issues. The Marshall Project seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the criminal justice system, producing journalism that helps make the system more fair, effective, transparent, and humane. The Marshall Project has won two Pulitzer Prizes and a host of other top journalism awards.

Carroll previously spent 18 years as deputy director at Human Rights Watch, running global media operations including websites in seven languages and social media followers in the millions. For more than a decade in the 1980s and 90s, Carroll was a foreign correspondent for Newsweek magazine, based in Moscow, Hong Kong and Beijing, covering the fall of the Soviet Union, the Tiananmen Square protests, and the economic rise of Asia. She holds an MA in East Asian Studies and a BA magna cum laude from Harvard University, and has two grown daughters.

David Byrne

Founder, Reasons to be Cheerful 

David Byrne (b. 1952, Dumbarton, Scotland) was raised in Baltimore where he briefly attended the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 1971 after transferring from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. Byrne studied photography, performance, and video production at MICA. In 1975 Byrne co-founded the group Talking Heads, who in the 80s introduced an innovative visual approach to their performances.

Byrne has been involved with photography, drawing, installations, performance and design since college and has been publishing and exhibiting his work since the 1990s. Like his music, Byrne’s visual work has the capacity to elevate and transform ordinary elements into iconic ones and challenges our fundamental notions of what can be classified as art. Recent works include music for the immersive disco pop musical Here Lies Love (2023), Theater of the Mind (2022), an immersive journey co-created by Byrne & writer Mala Gaonkar at Denver Center for Performing Arts, SOCIAL! at The Park Avenue Armory (2021), the Broadway production of David Byrne’s American Utopia (2019) as well as the Spike Lee directed film version (2020), the launch of his Reasons to be Cheerful online magazine (2019), and the solo album American Utopia (2018). Byrne co-founded the band Talking Heads (1976), for which he was the guitarist and lead singer, and established the record labels Luaka Bop (1988) and Todo Mundo (2008). Other artistic achievements include the theatrical piece Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (2017); a series of interactive environments questioning human perception and bias, The Institute Presents: NEUROSOCIETY (2016); the theatrical production Here Lies Love (2013); the public installation Tight Spot (2011) at Pace Gallery; the audio installation Playing the Building (2005); the public installation Everything is Connected (2002) at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.

Byrne wrote, directed, and starred in True Stories, a musical collage of discordant Americana released in 1986. For his contribution to The Last Emperor’s soundtrack Byrne received an Academy Award for Best Original Score and in 2004, Byrne won the Wired Award for Art for his project Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (EEEI) that used the presentation software PowerPoint as an art medium. Most recently, Byrne joined forces with Mitski and Son Lux and released “This Is A Life” which was featured on the Everything Everywhere All At Once soundtrack and is nominated for Best Original Song at the 2023 Academy Awards. His book projects include True Stories (1986); Strange Ritual (1995); Your Action World (1998, 1999); The New Sins/Los Nuevos Pecados (2001); David Byrne Asks You: What Is It? (2002); Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (2003); Arboretum (2006) and How Music Works (2012).

Byrne lives and works in New York City.

Kristen Cambell

Chief Executive Officer, PACE

Kristen Cambell is CEO of Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE), a philanthropic laboratory for funders seeking to maximize their impact on democracy and civic life in America. Previously, Kristen ran her own consulting practice focused on civic engagement, education, and leadership. She served the National Conference on Citizenship as its Chief Program Officer, and has held philanthropic roles at the Case Foundation and Points of Light. Kristen is an AmeriCorps Alum and serves on the board of United Philanthropy Forum and Citizen University, as well as the advisory groups of several national groups, including the working group of the Philanthropy Initiative at the Smithsonian Institution.

Kevin Corcoran

Nonprofit Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation – Shaping Narrative through Independent Journalism and Communications

Kevin Corcoran leads communication strategy and outreach for Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis committed to making learning opportunities beyond high school available to all. Before taking this role in 2016, he directed a multi-state effort for the foundation to rethink higher education business and finance models and craft related public policy principles rooted in nonpartisan research and analysis.

Corcoran’s higher ed expertise includes competency-based learning, state authorization of online degree programs, and outcomes-based funding. The communications team he leads executes a cutting-edge strategy rooted in audience, narrative, and storytelling research to advance Lumina’s leadership in higher education and workforce training. He developed a grant portfolio that supports public and nonprofit newsrooms and training organizations, including PBS NewsHour, Washington Monthly, and GBH in Boston. His portfolio also includes Press Forward grants.

Before joining Lumina in 2007, Corcoran was a newspaper reporter for nearly 20 years, finishing his career as an investigative reporter for The Indianapolis Star. He has received local, state, and national awards, including the George Polk Award and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel. In addition, his work has been cited by groups such as Human Rights Watch and the National Mental Health Association.

Corcoran holds a bachelor of arts in journalism and master of business administration in corporate finance from Indiana University.


Ami Dar

Founder and Executive Director,

Ami Dar is the founder and Executive Director of, an organization that connects 150,000 nonprofits around the world with millions of people who want to work or volunteer with them. Ami was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Peru and Mexico, and lives in New York with his wife and two daughters.

Jin Ding

Chief Executive Officer, Intium Media

Jin Ding is the Chief Executive Officer of Intium Media, an independent Chinese language media outlet. Established in Hong Kong in 2015, Initium Media has emerged as one of the world’s most influential Chinese independent media organizations. Publishing in Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese, the newsroom’s achievements have been recognized with over 100 international journalism awards, including 48 Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Awards. In 2022, the company relocated its headquarters to Singapore and has since been operating globally.

Previously, Ding served as Chief of Staff and Operations at the Center for Public Integrity, one of the United States’ longest-standing nonprofit investigative news organizations, where she played a pivotal role in strengthening the organization’s fundraising and operations. Before that, Ding co-led fundraising efforts for global news gathering at the Associated Press, managed multi-million-dollar grant portfolios dedicated to supporting international reporting and journalists in distress at the International Women’s Media Foundation, and initiated diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Additionally, Ding was elected to the Asian American Journalists Association’s board of directors as Vice President of Finance in 2020, and won the AAJA Member of the Year Award in 2022.


Lotoya Francis

Masters Student, Columbia Journalism School

Lotoya Francis is a student at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University where she is President of the Columbia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Before Columbia, she received her Bachelor of Science with honors from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Her recent piece titled “Four Years Later, Canarsie is Keeping Pop Smoke’s Name Alive” was published in February in Rolling Stone.

Jodie Ginsberg

Chief Executive Officer, Committee to Protect Journalists

Jodie Ginsberg is the chief executive officer of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a non-profit organization that supports journalists at risk by documenting threats and attacks on the media, providing advice and assistance, and conducting advocacy.

A journalist by profession, Ginsberg joined CPJ in 2022 from media development organization Internews Europe, where she was the chief executive officer. She began her career at Reuters news agency where she held positions including Bureau Chief, London. In 2014, Ginsberg was appointed chief executive of London-based freedom of expression group Index on Censorship, which she led until 2020. An internationally respected campaigner on issues of media freedom and freedom of expression, Ginsberg is a regular speaker on journalist safety and issues involving access to information. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson 

Co-founder, Urban Ocean Lab

Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is a marine biologist, policy expert, writer, and Brooklyn native. She co-founded and leads Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for the future of coastal cities. Recently, Dr. Johnson co-edited the bestselling climate anthology All We Can Save, co-created and co-hosted the Spotify/Gimlet climate solutions podcast How to Save a Planet, and co-authored the Blue New Deal, a roadmap for including the ocean in climate policy. Previously, she was executive director of the Waitt Institute, developed policy at the EPA and NOAA, and taught as an adjunct professor at New York University. She is the Roux Distinguished Scholar at Bowdoin College.

Dr. Johnson earned a BA from Harvard University in environmental science and public policy, and a Ph.D. from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in marine biology. Her writing has been published widely, including in The New York Times, Washington Post, and Scientific American. She serves on the board of directors for Patagonia and GreenWave, on the advisory board of Environmental Voter Project, and on the steering committee for the Ocean Justice Forum. Recent recognitions include, the Schneider Award for climate communication, the Time 100 Next List, and appointment to the Secretary of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Dr. Johnson’s forthcoming book is What If We Get It Right?: Visions of Climate Futures. She is in love with climate solutions.

Photo by Marcus Branch.

Yukari Kane

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Prison Journalism Project

Yukari Kane is a founder and CEO of Prison Journalism Project. She is an author, educator and veteran journalist with 20 years of experience and was a staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.Her book Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs was a best-seller, translated into seven languages. She has taught at Northwestern University, UC Berkeley and San Quentin State Prison. She is a member of News Literacy Project’s advisory council and an advisor for San Quentin News and The Endeavor, a prison newspaper at Everglades Correctional Institution in Florida.

Erik Langner

Chief Executive Officer, Information Equity Initiative

Erik Langner leads the Information Equity Initiative (IEI), an international nonprofit organization that is working to bridge the digital divide for communities that lack access to the internet. IEI partners with public television stations to reimagine their spectrum to deliver locally-curated, digital resources to homes and facilities across public service use cases: disconnected K-12 and early childhood students; maternal and infant health, and programming to individuals experiencing incarceration.

Prior to co-founding IEI, Langner was President of Public Media Company (PMC), a boutique non-profit investment bank focused on enhancing the public service potential of NPR and PBS. During his fifteen years at PMC, Langner managed dozens of mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships to preserve and expand public media access for millions of Americans. While at PMC, Langner co-founded and sits on the board of VuHaus, public media’s first music network, bringing together over twenty public media music organizations to expose emerging artists to larger local and national audiences.

Earlier in his career, Erik was a corporate attorney at Latham & Watkins in San Francisco and Kirkland & Ellis in New York City, and also worked at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, and the United States Mission to the United Nations Refugee Program, also in Geneva. Erik graduated from the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elisa Lees Muñoz

Executive Director, International Women’s Media Foundation

Elisa Lees Muñoz is the Executive Director of the International Women’s Media Foundation, a role she has held since 2013. Elisa leads the organization to achieve its mission to support women journalists and develop their careers by providing training, tools and assistance.

Elisa’s two decades at the IWMF have made her a leading expert on the intersections between gender equity and press freedom. She is a relentless advocate for women journalists, striving to prioritize their voices in all press freedom conversations. Elisa knows progress stands still when gender diverse perspectives are excluded – and that often it takes a woman-led, woman-focused organization to drive the industry forward. Elisa also recognizes that gender equity cannot be achieved in a vacuum, reinforcing the IWMF’s commitment to uplifting journalists at all intersections of their identities.

Elisa has been a human rights activist since graduating from the University of Maryland with an MA degree in International Relations. With more than 25 years of nonprofit management experience, she is an expert in philanthropy, coalition building, fundraising and organizational development.

Nicholas Ma

Award-winning Director, Writer and Producer

Nicholas Ma is an award-winning director, writer and producer based in Brooklyn. He produced the documentary WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (Sundance, 2018) on the life of Fred Rogers and most recently UNFINISHED BUSINESS on the WNBA (Tribeca, 2022).

His feature directorial debut, MABEL, which he co-wrote with Joy Goodwin, was awarded the Sloan Prize and is premiering at the San Francisco International Film Festival (2024). He is currently in post-production on his documentary feature debut, LEAP OF FAITH, produced by Morgan Neville. Previously, he directed the award-winning short documentary SUITE NO. 1, PRELUDE (New York Film Festival, 2019).

Nicholas has been a DOC NYC fellow and Film Independent Fellow. Prior to his career in film, he covered global economic policy on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after working as a consultant in New York and Shanghai. He received his M.F.A. from Tisch Grad Film and is a graduate of Harvard College.

Yvette Miley

Executive Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, NBCU News Group

Yvette M. Miley serves as EVP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the NBCU News Group. Her responsibilities include recruiting and retention, training and development, employee engagement, strategic partnerships across all four networks. Miley has held several leadership roles within the news group including SVP for MSNBC and NBC News overseeing weekend, overnight, breaking news and special events programming on MSNBC as well as NBC News’ “Early Today” broadcasts; Head of Diversity and Inclusion for NBC News and MSNBC; VP for MSNBC; Executive Editor of MSNBC Dayside and; and Executive-in-Charge of the NBC News digital platform NBCOUT. Miley has worked for NBCUniversal for 33 years.

Graciela Mochkofsky

Dean, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Graciela Mochkofsky was appointed dean of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in June 2022. She is the third individual—and the first woman of color—to occupy this role since the school opened in 2006.

Dean Mochkofsky first joined the Newmark J-School in 2016 to launch the nation’s first bilingual master’s journalism program. Three years later, she began leading the school’s Center for Community Media, where she oversaw a groundbreaking project that in four years helped infuse nearly $50 million of city funds into NYC community media. In early 2024, a little more than a year into serving as dean, Mochkofsky secured a $10 million gift from Craig Newmark Philanthropies that will enable the school to begin offering free tuition to 50% of its students next year. She also launched a campaign to raise additional funds so the school can become tuition-free for all of its students, in perpetuity.

A native of Argentina, Dean Mochkofsky is also an active journalist. She is currently a contributing writer for The New Yorker, authoring a column on Latino and Latin American issues. She has worked as a political correspondent with La Nación in Argentina, as a columnist and blogger for El País in Spain, and as a contributor to publications in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S., including The California Sunday Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review.

Dean Mochkofsky is the author of seven books of nonfiction, most of them in Spanish, including, in English, The Prophet of the Andes: An Unlikely Journey to the Promised Land, published in 2022 by Knopf. She serves on the board of Radio Ambulante, Rebuild Local News, and the Committee to Protect Journalists. She is a winner of the 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize for outstanding reporting across Latin America and the Caribbean. In late 2023, City & State magazine named her one of the leaders making her mark on New York City.

Amna Nawaz

Co-anchor, PBS NewsHour

Prior to joining PBS NewsHour in April 2018, Nawaz was an anchor and correspondent at ABC News, anchoring breaking news coverage and leading the network’s livestream coverage of the 2016 presidential election. Before that, she served as foreign correspondent and Islamabad Bureau Chief at NBC News. She is also the founder and former managing editor of NBC’s Asian America platform, built in 2014, to elevate stories from America’s fastest-growing and most diverse population.

At the NewsHour, Nawaz has reported from the White House, across the country, and around the world on a range of topics including politics, immigration, foreign affairs, education, gun violence, criminal justice reform, the climate, culture, and sports.

She also serves as an NBC News and MSNBC contributor.

Throughout her career, she has covered major events such as the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol; the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas; the elections and inaugurations of President Joe Biden, President Donald J. Trump, and President Barack Obama; Hurricane Katrina; the 2010 Haiti earthquake; the U.S. war in Afghanistan; and the September 11th attacks.

Nawaz has interviewed multiple heads of state and international leaders including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. She has interviewed numerous lawmakers and administration officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. Nawaz has also interviewed newsmakers across industries, including acclaimed director Ava Duvernay, actor Riz Ahmed, WNBA star Sue Bird, and country singer Reba McEntire.

Nawaz was part of NewsHour’s team honored with a Peabody Award in 2023 for its coverage of the gun violence epidemic in America, including her on-the-ground coverage of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. She was also part of the team honored with a Peabody Award in 2022 for Newshour’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Nawaz previously won a Peabody for her documentary work on 2019’s “The Plastic Problem,” examining global plastic pollution and efforts to address it. Her other documentaries include “Raising the Future,” a 2021 documentary on America’s childcare crisis; and 2022’s “Life After Lockup,” which followed the lives of four formerly-incarcerated people to track the challenges of re-entry after prison.

In 2020, Nawaz hosted a criminal justice podcast, “Broken Justice,” which was named a finalist for the Silver Gavel Awards, honoring work that fosters the American public’s understanding of law and the legal system. She also hosted 2021’s “The Longest Year,” a pandemic-focused podcast series on the many ways Covid-19 changed Americans’ lives.

Nawaz has hosted three seasons of the primetime PBS series, “Beyond the Canvas,” featuring profiles and interviews of some of the world’s leading artists, musicians, and creators.

In 2019, Nawaz became the first Asian American and the first Muslim American to moderate a presidential debate.

While at ABC News, Nawaz hosted the documentary, “Roberts County: A Year in the Most Pro-Trump Town,” following four families’ lives over President Trump’s first year in office. She also hosted the podcast series, “Uncomfortable” for ABC News Radio, featuring in-depth, one-on-one conversations with thought leaders on the issues dividing America.

While at NBC News, she was the first foreign journalist to gain access to North Waziristan – then the global hub of Al Qaida and the Taliban – while pregnant with her first daughter.

Nawaz was a Fall 2021 Fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asian American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, and the Inter-American Dialogue.

In 2023, Nawaz was named an A100 honoree by Gold House. She was the recipient of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Vision Award and the Media Award from the Muslim Affairs Public Council’s Media Award in 2022. She has also been honored with the American Muslim Institution’s Excellence in Media Award in 2018 and an Emmy award as part the 2009 NBC News Special “Inside the Obama White House.”

She is the first-generation American daughter of Pakistani parents, born and raised in Virginia. Nawaz earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she captained the varsity field hockey team and studied abroad at the University of Zimbabwe. She later earned her master’s degree from the London School of Economics.

She lives with her husband, Paul, and their two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area.

Stanley Nelson

Filmmaker; Co-Founder, Firelight Media & Firelight Films

Stanley Nelson is today’s leading documentarian of the African American experience. His films combine compelling narratives with rich historical detail to shine new light on the under-explored American past. Awards received over the course of his career include a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and lifetime achievement awards from the Emmys and IDA. In 2013, Nelson received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Obama. In 2019, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool was nominated by the Grammys for Best Music Film and won two Emmy® Awards at the 42nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards.

Nelson’s 2021 documentary Attica, for SHOWTIME Documentary Films, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 94th Academy Awards® and earned him the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary. Also in 2021, Nelson directed the feature film Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy for Netflix, which was a 2022 duPont-Columbia Awards Finalist, and Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre, with co-director Marco Williams, for the HISTORY Channel, which was nominated for three Primetime Emmy® Awards. Nelson also executive produced After Jackie for the HISTORY Channel in 2022 about the generation of Black baseball players who came after Jackie Robinson. Nelson’s latest film, Sound of the Police, co-directed with Valerie Scoon and produced with ABC News Studios, is now streaming on Hulu.

In 2000, Mr. Nelson and his wife, Marcia Smith, co-founded Firelight Media, a non-profit organization that provides mentorship, funding, and artist development opportunities to emerging documentary filmmakers of color. In 2008, Nelson and Smith co-founded Firelight Films, a production company focused on making documentary films and developing strategies, partnerships, and materials to reach and engage diverse audiences.

Angela Patton

Chief Executive Officer, Girls For A Change; Co-Director, DAUGHTERS

Angela Patton, CEO of Girls For A Change, is dedicated to empowering “at-promise” girls, with a focus on Black girls. Angela has led the charge in redefining advocacy and support for young girls facing systemic challenges. Her leadership at Girls For A Change has been pivotal in redirecting the organization’s goals and methods to better serve its community through a unique, scalable program structure.

Her passion and commitment have also translated into her role as Co-Director of DAUGHTERS, a documentary highlighting the transformative power of a dance event for daughters and their incarcerated fathers. This work stems from a viral TEDWomen talk Angela gave, showcasing her innovative approach to addressing complex social issues through heartfelt, community-driven initiatives.

Beyond her organizational leadership, Angela is a prolific speaker, author, and advocate. She co-authored Finding Her Voice, a book aimed at empowering Black girls to navigate and thrive in diverse environments. Her community involvement extends to serving on boards, volunteering, and offering her expertise as a consultant to mentorship programs.

In her personal life, Angela enjoys quality time with her family, engaging in fitness activities, and exploring cultural events. Her commitment to social change, combined with her interests, underscores her holistic approach to leadership and empowerment.

Hilary Pennington

Executive Vice President for Program, Ford Foundation

Hilary Pennington is the Ford Foundation’s executive vice president for program. She oversees all of our programs globally, working closely across programs and offices to ensure strategic, meaningful, and well-aligned global grantmaking. She also oversees the foundation’s BUILD program, and the Office of Strategy and Learning. Before assuming her current role, she served as the foundation’s vice president for Education, Creativity, and Free Expression.

A national expert on postsecondary education and intergenerational change, Hilary joined the foundation in 2013. Earlier, she was an independent consultant whose clients included the Next American University project of the New America Foundation and Arizona State University. She also led the Generations Initiative, a project funded by national foundations to develop effective responses to the dramatic demographic shifts occurring in the United States.

Between 2006 and 2012, Hilary served as director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she guided grant programs across the country and worldwide. Before joining Gates, she was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and president and CEO of Jobs for the Future, a research and policy development organization she co-founded. In 22 years with JFF, Hilary helped the organization become one of the most influential in the country on issues of education, youth transitions, workforce development, and future work requirements. She also served on President Bill Clinton’s transition team and as co-chair of his administration’s presidential advisory committee on technology.

Hilary serves on the boards of Bard College, the Center for Effective Philanthropy, and Giving Tuesday, and she is a member of the Trinity Church Vestry. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Yale College, and she holds a graduate degree in social anthropology from Oxford University and a master’s degree in theological studies from the Episcopal Divinity School. In 2000, she was a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Anthony Richardson

President, The George Gund Foundation

Anthony Richardson became president of The George Gund Foundation in 2022. Prior to joining the Foundation, he served as executive director of The Nord Family Foundation in Amherst, OH, where he previously served as an associate director and program officer. Before working in philanthropy, Anthony held positions in the private sector, K-12 education, higher education, and government.

In 2011, he was elected as a councilmember-at-large in the City of Lorain, becoming one of the youngest people elected to a citywide seat. During his second term, Anthony served as chair of the police, fire, and legislative standing committee, and sponsored legislation to increase hiring goal percentages for racial minorities and women on city projects. In 2012, he served as the civic and political chair for the Lorain City Schools Levy Committee, which helped the school district pass its first new levy for operating dollars since 1992. Later that year, Anthony was invited by the Obama Administration to attend a “Working Meeting on Fiscal Cliff” at the White House.

In 2017, Anthony was appointed by Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction to serve as chair of the Lorain Academic Distress Commission, a joint local and state committee established to turnaround the Lorain City School District. He is a recipient of Philanthropy Ohio’s 2017 Emerging Philanthropist Award, and his work has been featured in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Anthony serves as a board member for Funders Together to End Homelessness, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Philanthropy Ohio, The Center for Effective Philanthropy, and The Corella & Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a juris doctorate from The Ohio State University’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law.

Haruka Sakaguchi

Japanese Documentary Photographer

Haruka Sakaguchi (b. 1990) is a Japanese documentary photographer based in New York City. She was born in Osaka, Japan and immigrated to the US with her parents when she was three months old. Haruka’s documentary work focuses on cultural identity and intergenerational trauma. Her clients include The New York Times, National Geographic, Time Magazine, ProPublica, The New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, BBC News, Bloomberg Businessweek, NPR, Newsweek and The Washington Post among other publications.

Liz Simons

Board Chair, Heising-Simons Foundation and The Marshall Project

Liz Simons is chair of the board of the Heising-Simons Foundation. A former teacher, Liz worked in Spanish-bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms, and subsequently founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a spring-summer early childhood education program. She currently serves as chair of the board of The Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S criminal justice system. She also serves on the boards of The Foundation for a Just Society, Math for America, and the Learning Policy Institute. She is a founding pledger of One for Justice, and an advisory board member of Smart Justice California. Additionally, she volunteers at The Beat Within, a magazine by and for incarcerated youth, and serves as a member of the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Liz earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s in education from Stanford University. Liz and her husband, Mark Heising, founded the Heising-Simons Foundation in 2007 and joined The Giving Pledge in 2016.

Henry Timms

President and CEO, Lincoln Center

Henry Timms is President and CEO of Lincoln Center – the world’s leading performing arts center, encompassing the Metropolitan Opera, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, Film at Lincoln Center, New York City Ballet, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Theater, the School of American Ballet, and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Under his leadership, Lincoln Center has been credited with a significant transformation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he created an entire outdoor performing arts center, with ten stages and performance spaces. This allowed over 70 NYC organizations to perform and rehearse safely. In all, over 300,000 people attended events during these challenging months. He has also significantly expanded the civic service of the organization. For example, he created crowd-sourced memorial concerts – featuring artists like Yo-Yo Ma – to allow people to recognize those they lost when regular funerals were not possible. He also turned Lincoln Center into a food bank, a blood drive, and a polling station: all efforts to serve the city during the pandemic. The Wall St Journal commented “If post-Covid urban tourism had an emblem, it might well be Lincoln Center…”

In the face of the crisis, he also has led the acceleration – by two years – and completed the fundraising for the $550M David Geffen Hall project, to create one of the world’s greatest performance spaces. By building through the pandemic forces, the project created over 6,000 jobs, and over half-a billion dollars of economic activity. Of particular note, 40% of contracts for the project were with minority and women-led business enterprises, and over 50% of the workforce are from diverse backgrounds.

A signature of his tenure has been a commitment to diversity and inclusion. His executive team, senior staff and board of directors now benefit significantly from greater representation of diverse leadership, and he has transformed programming to feature a much wider showcase of artists from different backgrounds and perspectives. As the New York Times has noted “Lincoln Center is one of the few arts organizations to show substantial progress in bringing more diversity to its upper ranks”.

He is the creator and co-founder of “Giving Tuesday”, a global philanthropic movement that engages people in close to 100 countries. Designed as a counterpoint to Black Friday, it has generated over $7 Billion for good causes in the US alone. By some estimates it is the largest and most diverse philanthropic movement in history. President Obama commented “The response to Giving Tuesday demonstrates the enormous potential we have to leave an enduring mark, not only in our communities but around the world”. The recent special Spring 2020 edition – supporting COVID-19 causes – catalyzed over $500M online.

Henry is the co-author of the international bestselling book New Power, described by David Brooks in the New York Times as “the best window I’ve seen into this new world” and as a “must-read…a gift to our movements” by Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. It was named as a Book of the Year by Bloomberg, Fortune, FT and CNBC. It was short-listed for the FT/McKinsey Book of the Year. Previously he was the President and CEO of 92NY, a leading NYC cultural and community center. Under his leadership, the 144-year-old institution was named to Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list.

In December 2022, Henry was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to the Arts and to Philanthropy. He is a Hauser Leader at Harvard Kennedy School, a Senior Fellow at both Stanford University and the United Nations Foundation, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and the co-chair of the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at 92NY. He acts as a senior advisor to leaders across sectors including the C-suite of the world’s largest companies, university and philanthropic presidents, and government ministers.

Lawrence Ukenye

Labor and Employment Reporter, POLITICO

Lawrence Ukenye is a labor and employment reporter at POLITICO. He graduated from Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communication in 2023 with a journalism degree. He served as editor-in-chief of Temple’s student-run newspaper, The Temple News, for two years and helped lead a fundraising campaign to endow the position. Lawrence also previously interned at The Daily Beast and Solitary Watch.


Kai Wright

Host and Managing Editor, Notes from America with Kai Wright

Kai Wright is host and managing editor of Notes from America with Kai Wright, a show about the unfinished business of our history and its grip on our future. It broadcasts live on Sunday evenings on more than 130 public radio stations across the country, including WNYC in New York, LAist in Los Angeles, WBEZ in Chicago and Houston Public Media.

Wright also served as the host for the third season of Blindspot: The Plague In The Shadows, a partnership production between The HISTORY Channel and WNYC Studios. In addition, Wright served as one of the hosts of Indivisible, a national live radio call-in show that WNYC convened during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration to invite Americans to come together across divides.

Wright was also the host of WNYC Studios’ other limited edition podcasts with social justice themes: Caught: The Lives of Juvenile Justice, which was honored with an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award; The Stakes; and There Goes the Neighborhood, a podcast about gentrification and development. After a first season focused on Brooklyn, There Goes the Neighborhood went on to partner with KCRW in Los Angeles and WLRN in Miami to produce seasons focused on the same issues in those cities.

Wright’s journalism has focused on social, racial, and economic justice throughout his career. As a fellow of Type Investigations, he covered economic inequality, access to healthcare, and racial inequity. Wright is the author of Drifting Toward Love: Black, Brown, Gay and Coming of Age on the Streets of New York, as well as two surveys of black American history. Most recently, he was a contributor to the New York Times bestselling collection 400 Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.

Chi-Hui Yang

Program Director, Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression (CFE) team

Chi-hui Yang is the Program Director of the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression (CFE) team. CFE makes grants in arts and culture, documentary filmmaking and journalism to address how inequality is interrupted through cultural expression. Its work explores how cultural narratives influence contemporary reality and how these expressive forms can contribute to more accurate, inclusive representations of society. Yang is a film curator and educator. He previously served as a Program Officer for Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative. From 2000-2010 he was director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival. Yang has been an instructor at Brooklyn’s UnionDocs and has served as an adjunct professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Hunter College. He earned a master’s degree in film studies from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University.

Kaitlin Yarnall

Chief Storytelling Officer, National Geographic Society

As chief storytelling officer at the National Geographic Society, Kaitlin Yarnall is responsible for expanding the organization’s impact through all forms of storytelling. Yarnall oversees a team that creates data visualization, identifies key partnership, grantmaking, and fellowship opportunities, and preserves materials that document the Society’s 130+ year history. Yarnall began her career at the Society in 2005 as a cartographer. She has assumed a variety of management roles including deputy director of National Geographic Labs, executive director at National Geographic magazine, and director of cartography. Yarnall has an M.A. in geography from The George Washington University. She specializes in storytelling, data visualization, information graphics, cartography, and visual narratives.