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Richard J. Berry
Albuquerque Mayor (R)

2017 Speaker & Performer Biographies


Learn more about each of our 2017 speakers and performers: 

John Bridgeland
 Former White House Domestic Policy Council Director (President G.W. Bush)

John Bridgeland is Founder & CEO of Civic Enterprises, Vice Chair of the Service Year Alliance at The Aspen Institute to make a service year a common expectation and opportunity for all 18-28 year olds, Co-Convener of Grad Nation to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020, and Vice Chairman of Malaria No More, a nonprofit working to end malaria deaths in Africa by the end of 2016.  

Previously, Bridgeland was appointed by President Obama to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions. He also served as Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Assistant to the President of the United States, and first Director of the USA Freedom Corps under President George W. Bush. He was a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform. He is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law.  He lives in McLean, Virginia with his wife and three children.  

G.T. Bynum
Tulsa Mayor (R)

G.T. Bynum was sworn in as the 40th Mayor of Tulsa on December 5, 2016.

Prior to his election as Mayor, Bynum served for 8 years on the Tulsa City Council. In that time, he was elected as the youngest City Council Chairman in Tulsa history.

Throughout his time in Tulsa city government, Mayor Bynum has focused on fiscal restraint, public safety, and infrastructure. He led the successful effort to enact the largest streets improvement package in the City's history, authored legislation creating the first municipal rainy day fund in Oklahoma, and coordinated efforts to establish the first municipal veterans treatment court in the United States.

Mayor Bynum and his wife, Susan, are the proud parents of Robert and Annabel - the sixth generation of Bynums to call Tulsa home. He previously worked in the United States Senate for Senators Don Nickles and Tom Coburn.

Mayor Bynum is the first mayor to have participated in Results for America’s Moneyball For Government Fellowship Program, which aims to assist local governments in achieving better results with limited budgets through increasing the use of data, evidence and evaluation when spending taxpayer money.

Melissa Chiu
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Director

Dr. Melissa Chiu is Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the national museum of modern and contemporary art, a Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. She is a leading authority on international art, with a specialization in the Asia-Pacific region, and has organized nearly 30 exhibitions including a retrospective by Zhang Huan, a survey of Yoshitomo Nara, and an exhibition of art from China’s Cultural Revolution.


Chiu earned a PhD (2005) in Art History and a M.A. in Arts Administration (1994) and is the author of numerous articles and books including Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China (2007), Chinese Contemporary Art: 7 Things You Should Know (2008), Asian Art Now (Monacelli Press, 2010, co-authored with Benjamin Genocchio) and an anthology Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2011, co-edited with Benjamin Genocchio). She has served on numerous panels including Pew, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and New York State Council on the Arts and has served on the board of Association of Art Museum Directors, American Association of Museums, and Museums Association of New York.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative President of Education and former U.S. Department of Education Deputy Secretary (President Obama) 
James "Jim" Shelton
John Bridgeland
G.T. Bynum
Melissa Chiu
James Jim Shelton
Pulitzer Prize Winning Author of Enrique's Journey
Sonia Nazario

Sonia Nazario is an award‐winning journalist whose stories have tackled some of this country’s most intractable problems -- hunger, drug addiction, immigration -­ and have won some of the most prestigious journalism and book awards.


She is best known for "Enrique's Journey," her story of a Honduran boy’s struggle to find his mother in the U.S. Published as a series in the Los Angeles Times, "Enrique's Journey" won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2003. It was turned into a book by Random House and became a national bestseller.


Her recent humanitarian efforts to get lawyers for unaccompanied migrant children led to her selection as the 2015 Don and Arvonne Fraser Human Rights Award recipient by the Advocates for Human Rights. She also was named a 2015 Champion of Children by First Focus and a 2015 Golden Door award winner by HIAS Pennsylvania. In 2016, the American Immigration Council gave her the American Heritage Award.


Nazario, who grew up in Kansas and in Argentina, has written extensively from Latin America and about Latinos in the United States. She has been named among the most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business Magazine and a “trendsetter” by Hispanic Magazine. In 2012 Columbia Journalism Review named Nazario among “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40.”


She is a graduate of Williams College and has a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She has honorary doctorates from Mount St. Mary’s College and Whittier College. She began her career at the Wall Street Journal, and later joined the Los Angeles Times. She is now at work on her second book.

Sonia Nazario

Laura E. Arnold is Co-Chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. LJAF’s core objective is to address our nation’s most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multi-disciplinary approaches. It strives to create functional solutions that target the root causes, not just the symptoms, of these problems. The solutions must be both scalable nationally and sustainable without permanent philanthropy. LJAF’s current areas of focus include criminal justice, evidence-based policy, research integrity and education. In addition, LJAF has significant investments in healthcare and is actively pursuing new ventures that fall outside of its core programmatic areas.


Until late 2006, Ms. Arnold was Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Cobalt International Energy, L.P. in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, she was a mergers and acquisitions attorney at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz in New York, New York.


Ms. Arnold is a member of the New York bar. She has a J.D. from the Yale Law School, an M.Phil in European Studies from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. from Harvard College. After law school, Ms. Arnold clerked for the Hon. Judith W. Rogers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ms. Arnold is a member of the Board of Directors of Robin Hood.

Laura Arnold
Laura and John Arnold Foundation Co-Chair
Laura Arnold

For the past seven years, Richard J. Berry has served as the Mayor of Albuquerque – the 32nd largest city in America and the largest city in New Mexico. 

Prior to serving as Mayor, Berry was elected twice as a State Representative to the New Mexico State Legislature and owned a successful Albuquerque construction company for decades that conducted business throughout the Southwest United States.   

On his watch, Albuquerque was ranked second Best Run City in the nation with a population of over 500,000. Mayor Berry has reduced the size of city government and held budget growth to below inflation each year – all while maintaining a high level of service to taxpayers and city residents. Also under the Mayor’s leadership, Albuquerque was recently named as the 6th most technologically advanced city in America. 

As part of an unprecedented $300 million investment in downtown Albuquerque since 2009, Mayor Berry launched Innovate ABQ in partnership with the University of New Mexico to make Albuquerque home to more economic innovation and start-up companies.  And throughout the city, nearly 300 quality-of-life projects have been completed – totaling roughly $400 million – including the state-of-the-art Paseo & I-25 interchange and the Convention Center renovation.  

Mayor Berry’s administration has also been recognized nationally for making city government more transparent and accessible, for launching an initiative called “Running Start for Careers” that better connects high-school students to real-world work opportunities, and for implementing innovative programs that have dramatically improved the lives of the homeless and led to a 39% reduction in homelessness over the past 7 years. 

Mayor Berry was recently recognized as one of the Most Inspirational People in America by the Washington Post, largely due to the success of a program called “There’s a Better Way,” which takes a new approach to addressing panhandling by providing the homeless with opportunities to work for the City and connect them to resources and help.

Mayor Berry has been married to his wife, Maria, for 26 years and they have one 20 year-old son, Jacob, who serves in the Army Corps of Cadets while studying at Texas A&M University.

Molly Baldwin

Ana Teresa Fernández was born in 1981 in Tampico, Mexico, and she lives and works in San Francisco.  Through her work, she explores the politics of intersectionality and the ways it shapes personal identity, culture, and social rhetoric through painting, performance, and video. Her work illuminates the psychological and physical barriers that define gender, race, and class in Western society and the global south. Fernández has exhibited at Humboldt State University, Eureka, California; the Tijuana Biennial in Mexico; Snite Museum at Notre Dame University, Indiana; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, and The Oakland Art Museum.


Her large-scale 5W public art project in San Francisco was awarded Best of the Bay by 7×7 Magazine in 2013. The Headlands Center for the Arts granted Fernández the Tournesol Award and her films have been screened at festivals internationally.  In 2015, Humboldt State University published a catalogue on her solo exhibition at the First Street Gallery titled All or Nothing. She will also exhibit in group exhibitions at the Arizona State University Art Museum, the Grunwald Gallery at Indiana University, the Denver Art Museum and the Nevada Museum of Art in 2016 and 2017.

Ana Teresa Fernández
Ana Teresa Fernandez
University of Chicago, Professor and Director, Crime Lab
Jens Ludwig

Jens Ludwig is the McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy at the University of Chicago and director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and co-director of the University of Chicago Urban Education Lab. He is also a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and co-director of the new crime initiative launched by the Jamal Abdul Lateef Poverty Action Lab at MIT.

In 2008, Ludwig helped found the Crime Lab to partner with policymakers in Chicago and around the country to carry out large-scale policy experiments to identify more effective (and humane) ways to help prevent crime and violence, and reduce the social harms associated with the administration of criminal justice. Crime Lab studies have led to new policy initiatives in a number of cities, have been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Science, and have received coverage in major news outlets such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The Crime Lab is a recipient of a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the organizational equivalent of the foundation’s “genius prize” for individuals.


Ludwig is a member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review. In 2006 he was awarded Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management’s
David N. Kershaw Prize for Contributions to Public Policy by Age 40 and in 2012 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science.

Jens Ludwig

Nancy Roob is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

She played a major role in developing and implementing EMCF’s grantmaking strategy of making large, long-term investments in building the organizational capacity and evidence base of nonprofits whose programs have the potential to lift the life prospects of greater numbers of America’s most disadvantaged youth. She also pioneered a form of coordinated, collaborative investment, called growth capital aggregation, that to date has engaged 45 co-investors and helped 16 grantees secure nearly $279 million in additional private and public funding. 

Before becoming president in 2005, Roob was the Foundation’s vice president and chief operating officer. Prior to that, she developed EMCF’s Program for New York Neighborhoods, which launched community-building and neighborhood-stabilization projects in the South Bronx and Central Harlem. One of the projects this program supported evolved into the Harlem Children’s Zone, whose success has inspired legislation to create “Promise Neighborhoods” throughout the nation. 

Before she joined the Foundation in 1994, Roob worked for the Boston Persistent Poverty Project, a program of the Rockefeller and Boston foundations; the Fund for the Homeless, a project of the Boston Foundation; and the Child Care Resource and Referral Center, also in Boston. 

Roob is a graduate and trustee of Hamilton College, and holds a master's degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

President and CEO, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation; and CEO, Blue Meridian Partners
Nancy Roob
Nancy Roob
Explorer and Environmental Advocate
Philippe Cousteau, Jr. 

Philippe Cousteau has established himself as a prominent leader in the environmental movement. An award-winning television host, producer, author, speaker, philanthropist and social entrepreneur Philippe is the son of Philippe Cousteau Sr. and grandson of Jacques Cousteau. His life-mission is to empower people to recognize their ability to change the world.

Philippe is the host and executive producer of Awesome Planet a new series that airs every Saturday morning syndicated on Fox and then Sunday free on Hulu. As a special correspondent for CNN he has hosted several award-winning shows including Going Green and Expedition Sumatra. Over the years he has hosted television series for the BBC, Animal Planet and Discovery Channel.

As an author, Philippe has co-written many books including Going Blue and Make a Splash both of which have won multiple awards including Learning Magazine’s 2011 Teachers’ Choice Award for the Family, a Gold Nautilus Award and a 2010 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Gold Award.

Philippe is also a successful social entrepreneur who believes in the power of commerce to do good.  In 2012 he partnered with AdvisorShares Investments to launch the Global Echo Exchange Traded Fund on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:GIVE).

His philanthropic efforts are focused on solving global social and environmental problems. In 2004 he founded EarthEcho International, a leading environmental education organization that is creating a whole new generation of environmental citizens; youth equipped with the knowledge to understand environmental challenges, the critical thinking skills to solve them, and the motivation to do so.  

In addition, Philippe founded the GlobalEcho Foundation, a sister organization to his investment fund which donates a percentage of the fund’s management fee to support projects around the world which support women, environmental education and micro-enterprise.  Most recently the foundation made a grant to support installment of solar panels at the Panzi Hospital in Eastern Congo, an award winning hospital focused on the treatment and empowerment of women as well as much needed maternity care for thousands of women and children each year.

Philippe serves on the National Environmental Education Foundation and on the National Council of the World Wildlife Fund.  Philippe has also testified to Congress on issues of ocean management and off-shore drilling.

Philippe and his wife, fellow adventurer and TV host, Ashlan Gorse-Cousteau reside in Los Angeles California.

James “Jim” Shelton is the President of Education of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and was most recently President & Chief Impact Officer of 2U, Inc. Previously, the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Program Director for Education at the Gates Foundation, he has held a broad range of management, policy, and programmatic roles, which have made a meaningful social impact. 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. He resides in Washington, D.C., with his wife Sonia and their two sons.

Molly Baldwin
Roca Founder and CEO

Molly Baldwin is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Roca, Inc. A graduate of UMass, Amherst, Molly began her professional life as a street worker and community organizer, and soon founded Roca in 1988.

For over twenty-eight years, she has been a tireless advocate, mentor, and community convener, reaching out to the highest-risk young people from Massachusetts’ most dangerous urban communities, and bringing together the major institutions, corporations, and agencies that affect these young people’s lives. With the help of engaged institutions and Roca’s committed staff, Molly’s efforts at Roca have helped thousands of young people make positive and profound changes in their lives.

Heather Booth is one of the leading strategists about progressive issue campaigns and driving issues in elections in the United States.


She has been an organizer starting in the civil rights and women's movements of the 1960s. She was the founding Director and is now President of the Midwest Academy, training social change leaders and organizers. She has been involved in and managed political campaigns and was the Training Director of the Democratic National Committee.


In 2000, she was the Director of the NAACP National Voter Fund, which helped to increase African American election turnout by nearly 2 million voters. She was the lead consultant, directing the founding of the Campaign for Comprehensive Immigration Reform in 2005 In 2008, she was the director of the Health Care Campaign for the AFL-CIO. In 2009, she directed the campaign passing President Obama’s first budget.


In 2010 she was the founding director of Americans for Financial Reform, fighting to regulate the financial industry. She was the national coordinator for the coalition around marriage equality and the 2013 Supreme Court decision. She was strategic advisor to the Alliance for Citizenship (the largest coalition of the immigration reform campaign) and is now consulting with the Voter Participation Center.

Heather Booth
Midwest Academy Founding Director and Current President
Richard Berry
Heather Booth
Philippe Cousteau Jr

Steve Ballmer is co-founder and co-CEO of the Ballmer Group and owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. Ballmer retired as CEO of Microsoft in 2014 after 34 years at the company. He remains a significant investor.

The Ballmer Group’s philanthropic arm focuses on bettering outcomes for children and families in need and helping reduce the cycle of intergenerational poverty in America. Steve also leads USAFacts, a civics project seeking to ground political discussion in facts through presenting comprehensive, comprehensible, nonpartisan data about government activities. In fall 2016, he co-taught a course at Stanford University on understanding government budgets and spending.

Steve became Microsoft’s CEO in 2000. During his tenure, the company pioneered personal computing and democratized enterprise computing, growing from a small start-up to a company that today employs more than 110,000 people. Microsoft grew to almost $80 billion in revenue and was the U.S.’s third most profitable company under his leadership.

He grew up near Detroit, where his father worked at Ford Motor Company. Ballmer earned an A.B. in mathematics and economics from Harvard, worked at Procter & Gamble, and attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business before joining Microsoft as its first business manager. He lives with his wife, Connie, and children in Washington.

Steve Ballmer
Ballmer Group Co-CEO and Co-Founder; Los Angeles Clippers Owner; and former Microsoft CEO
Steve Ballmer

Eric “Roscoe” Ambel is a music producer, recording artist, songwriter and guitarist, as well as a founding member of roots-rock pioneers The Del-Lords and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. He owns and operates his own state of the art recording studio, Cowboy Technical Recording Services in Brooklyn. He has produced and played with a broad range of artists from Steve Earle to Mojo Nixon to the Bottle Rockets. His most recent solo LP. Lakeside, produced by Jimbo Mathus and released by Last Chance Records, is garnering rave reviews.

Erik “Cletus McCoy” Huey is the DC-based lead singer and songwriter of Americana punk band The Surreal McCoys. The band’s most recent LP, The Howl &The Growl, produced by Eric Ambel and propelled by the single “Whole Lotta Folsom,” won critical praise when it was released in September 2015, and landed the band performance slots at AmericanaFest and SXSW 2016. Erik is also a government affairs executive specializing in entertainment and tech issues, and artistic free expression.

Eric Ambel and Erik Huey of the Surreal McCoys

Twenty20 is comprised of four 9th graders: vocalist Hugo Carney, guitarist Ben Froman, bassist Lucas Donovan, and drummer Joey Doyle. They hail from Washington, D.C. and like pizza, skateboarding, writing music, and girls — not necessarily in that order. Formed in 2010 when Froman moved to D.C. and began looking for friends to play music, the band dubbed itself Twenty20 for a variety of reasons — there's the obvious allusion to perfect vision, but 2020 also happens to be the year the bandmates will graduate from high school.

Musical Performers
Eric Ambel and Erik Huey
Eric Ambel and Erik Huey of the Surreal McCoys
Musical Performers
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