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Ron Brown Scholar Program Launches Salon Series
Ron Brown Scholar Program Salon Series - Candid and honest conversations about the impact race has on healthcare, access to education, safety, and security. The RBSP Salon Series will take place weekly covering an array of topics and hosting thought leaders across industries.
Please click on the titles (active links) below. Videos are available within 48 hours of the session airing.
August 6, 2020
Jack Leslie, Board of Trustees Ron Brown Scholar Program - Chairman, Weber Shandwick
Jack Leslie is Chairman of Weber Shandwick, a leading communications firm with more than 80 offices around the world. He has a long history as strategic counselor to corporate, government and philanthropic leaders faced with difficult communications challenges. Mr. Leslie is active in development and humanitarian causes, having chaired the boards of both USA for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and the Advisory Committee for Volunteer Foreign Assistance (USAID). He was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as Chairman of the US African Development Foundation. He serves on the boards of the Duke Global Health Institute, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Ron Brown Scholarship Fund and Water.org. Mr. Leslie worked as an aide to Senator Edward M. Kennedy and began his communications career as a political media consultant, becoming President of Sawyer Miller Group in 1986. Mr. Leslie graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Immanuel Foster, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2002 - Associate, Litigation, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Originally from Berkeley, CA, Immanuel Foster received a bachelor's degree in History from Harvard in 2008. He worked at Goodwin Procter, LLP in the Case Assistant Program, an employment program for recent college graduates to explore the legal profession before deciding to attend law school. Immanuel graduated with a JD from Harvard Law School in 2014. While at Harvard Law he served as a Student Attorney for the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Immanuel joined the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Affiliates in 2014. He is a Litigation Associate in the firm’s Boston office.
Adora Mora, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2006 - Director, Corporate & Business Development, Curriculum Associates (CA)
Adora has spent a decade focused on cross-sectional leadership in the for-profit and non-profit education and finance sectors. This past month, she joined an edtech software company, Curriculum Associates (CA), where she leads the M&A and strategic partnerships function for a mission-oriented business that serves 8.5 million students annually. Prior to joining CA, Adora was at Goldman Sachs where she and a Partner worked to relaunch its education coverage efforts within its banking division as a part of GS’s growth initiatives. In addition, Adora spent a few years leading college and career readiness initiatives at the Harlem Children's Zone, a non-profit focused on eradicating poverty, which serves over 26,000 children and adults and a few years at Barclays Capital. Adora is based in Union City, NJ and is a newlywed. She is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
July 30, 2020
Click Here: RBSP Salon Series #9 - Open Mic
Samuel Alemayehu, Board of Trustees Ron Brown Scholar Program, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2004, Executive Chairman, Cambridge Industries Ltd.
Samuel Z. Alemayehu is the Managing Director of Cambridge Group Companies and CEO of Cambridge Industries Energy. He currently leads CGC’s investment efforts in Africa and handles the operation of Cambridge’s renewable energy mission in the continent. Sam is based in the UK and East Africa as he leads CGC’s efforts to introduce innovative technology to address major challenges in emerging markets.
Prior to joining Cambridge, Sam was the founder of 4AFRI Media; a venture backed mobile software start up focused on the African Continent. 4AFRI was funded as the Africa version of 4INFO (www.4info.com) the leading SMS services provider in the US. 4AFRI had offices in both Ethiopia and Cameroon developing mobile-based solutions in entertainment, lottery, health, jobs and many other sectors. 4AFRI had reached over 5million customers in less than a year and produced over 100 applications. Sam also lead the creation of 4AFRI’s subsidiary, Lotophone S.A. in West and Central Africa based on exclusive license to run lottery services on the mobile phone. Samuel started his professional career in Silicon Valley as a serial entrepreneur as founder of three successful tech ventures before his 23rd birthday. Sam started creating companies while presuming his education at Stanford University to address various challenges. He was an Associate at Venrock Associates (Rockefeller Family Venture Firm) investing in consumer media and mobile applications. 4AFRI was initially incubated at Venrock but was funded independently by a consortium of investors including SpringHill Equity and leading angel investor Josh Mailman. Sam has worked in various countries in Africa including Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, Mali, Algeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and South Africa.
Sam is an expert on technology investments and development of renewable energy projects in emerging markets with emphasise in waste-to-energy and Biomass. Following the successful merger of Cambridge Industries Ltd with DP Cleantech; Sam is currently leading Cambridge’s development of large-scale wind farms in Africa as part of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative. Cambridge Industries Energy in partnership with General Electric Inc. and LAFTO Turbine Technologies is in the final stages of preparation to commence the construction of 310MW Wind Farm in Aysha, Ethiopia. The wind farm facility when completed will constitute over 10% of Power Africa’s stated goal for Africa and introduce a world-class wind facility in East Africa.
Sam is currently on the board of various companies and is co-chair of the Cambridge Investment committee with the former Director of Investment Banking for Africa at Credit Suisse. In this capacity Sam overseas the deal pipeline and manage the entire investment cycle of companies in the pipeline. The team has helped channel hundreds of millions of dollars in the past three year for innovative projects in Africa. Mr. Alemayehu was a Ron Brown Scholar in 2004 and alumni of Stanford’s School of Engineering.
Meredith Eggers, Board of Trustees Ron Brown Scholar Program, Co-Founder, Re-Source
Meredith graduated from Miami University with degrees in business and botany. She worked in human health, first in burn medicine then cardiac transplant. She started in pharmaceutical sales and stayed in the cardiac transplant space in many roles, including forming, training and managing sales organizations, developing international marketing programs, and creating physician and nursing education at a series of small cardiovascular device companies and genomics start-ups. After leaving healthcare she started a few small projects/companies but came to the realization that not having to find a way to monetize something you are excited about is much more fun, and now applies her time and enthusiasm to projects and causes that resonate with her. Meredith served on the board of Meals on Wheels of San Francisco for six years, and continues to work to improve their annual gala, specifically the wine program.
In response to the fires in the fall of 2017, she began a project called Re-Source -- committed to getting items to people who were impacted by the fires and moving household items, furniture and anything else needed from people who have it to people who need it. It was run 100% on volunteer effort and with zero overhead and served more than 200 families. In 2018 she joined the board of WildAid, an international conservation organization focused on ending the illegal wildlife trade by focusing on consumer demand in expanding economies and educating local populations on the value of keeping endemic and endangered species alive and safe. Together with her husband Barry, she avidly supports programs that provide mentoring and educational access, conservation of land and creatures, sustainability, and pragmatic, economically viable solutions to urgent difficult problems.
She loves animals and plants. She loves to cook and loves wine. She is obsessed with locally and sustainably grown food and supporting the farms and farmers that grow it. She loves seeing the spark of hope and drive that comes from giving a determined individual a chance to grow and learn. She loves to read and create. She loves to travel and discover the world.
July 28, 2020
John Thompson, Chairman, Microsoft, Venture Partner, Lightspeed
John’s illustrious career has taken him down many interesting paths. He is currently the Chairman of Microsoft, where he has guided the company through a CEO transition and helped them navigate the IT shift to the cloud.
Since joining Lightspeed as a Venture Partner in 2018, John lends his 40+ years of enterprise leadership and entrepreneurial experience to the Lightspeed team and portfolio companies. John’s history with Lightspeed goes back a decade, to when he had just joined a young startup called Virtual Instruments (VI) as CEO. Before VI, John had an incredible 10 year run as CEO of Symantec. Prior to Symantec, John spent 28 years at IBM, where he held multiple leadership roles. Since 2009, John has been an active investor in early-stage technology companies in the Silicon Valley. He currently serves as either an advisor or board member with Illumina, Illumio and Rubrik. John received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida A&M University, and a master’s degree in management science from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Peter Boyce II , Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2008, Partner, General Catalyst
Peter is a Partner at General Catalyst; a venture capital firm that invests in powerful, positive change that endures. Since joining General Catalyst in 2013 as one of the first two investment professionals based in their NYC office, he works closely with portfolio companies including: Cadre, Mark43, Outdoor Voices, Ro, Atom Finance, Great Jones, Summer, Macro, Jet.com (acquired by Walmart), Rebag, Major League Hacking, and Workflow (acquired by Apple). In addition to his work at GC, he also co-founded & manages Rough Draft Ventures: a program to support technology entrepreneurship on university campuses. Through this work, he supports a community of over 275 early stage startups founded by students & recent graduates.
Peter is a graduate of Harvard University, earning a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and a Secondary in Computer Science. He grew up in New York City, where he graduated from Stuyvesant High School. Outside of his time investing, Peter is proud to serve as a non-profit board member to support communities he is passionate about: The Shed, The Studio Museum in Harlem, NEW INC, Code Nation, and the Harvard College Fund - Executive Committee.
Frederik Groce, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2010, Principal, Storm Ventures
Frederik is a Principal at Storm Ventures, and early stage focused B2B investment firm, and the founder of BLCK VC, a non-profit that is focused on increasing the access for black community in both venture capital and tech more broadly. Frederik works closely with a handful of Storm portfolio companies which include Syte, Room8, Praisidio, Camino, NextRequest, Splashtop, Blind, and Sendoso.
He is based in Silicon Valley, where he lives with his wife and two dogs. Prior to Venture Capital, Frederik was the CEO of a non-profit at Stanford university that was focused on providing entrepreneur experiences for business minded undergraduates. He attended Stanford University, where he studied political science.
July 23, 2020
Jon Piper, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 1998, Chief Scientific Officer MIM Software , Ron Brown Scholar Program Advisory Board
Jon Piper has focused on innovative medical software and imaging solutions for more than fifteen years. He holds a BS in Chemistry in 2002 and a MS ABT in Computer Science from Wake Forest University. In 2005 he joined MIM Software as a Research Engineer where he is now the Chief Scientific Officer. Jon has played an integral role in the creation and implementation of dozens of novel solutions and algorithms in radiology, radiation oncology, and urology. While traveling extensively internationally, he has collaborated with leading physicians and researchers in both medicine and computer science. He has authored numerous scientific manuscripts, holds more than a dozen patents, and frequently presents his work at professional society meetings.
Alexandra Sailsman, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2009, Process Engineer, II-VI Incorporated
Alexandra Sailsman has spent seven years working with metal, ceramic, and composite materials. She received her BS in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in 2013. Her work has ranged from construction materials to cancer research to aerospace. She currently works as a Process Engineer for II-VI Incorporated, manufacturing composites for the semiconductor industry and defense products. She received an MIT Institute award for community outreach and serves the youth and young adults at her church. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, daughter, and cat.
Dr. William Tarpeh. Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2008, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Professor William Tarpeh received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in environmental engineering. He completed an MS in environmental engineering at Berkeley and a BS in chemical engineering from Stanford University. He is currently an assistant professor at Stanford University in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He leads the Tarpeh Lab, which develops and evaluates novel approaches to resource recovery from “waste” waters using novel materials and processes that incentivize wastewater collection and treatment. He has recently been featured on Forbes' Under 30 Science List, the Root's 100 Influential African-Americans, and an Early Career Award from the National Academies of Science.
July 16, 2020
Click Here: RBSP Salon Series #6 - Career & Career-ing
Donielle Buie, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2000 Manager of the BroadLife Office at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Chief Leader at WifeMotherLeader.com
After a career in biotech/pharma market research, Donielle took on the role of Work-Life Manager at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. In that capacity, she manages programs and events to support the mental, emotional, financial and physical wellness of Broad Employees. This includes providing 1:1 consultations, identifying resources, and bringing in experts to help Broad employees balance work and life. During COVID-19, Donielle was on the team that launched a pilot partnership with Bright Horizons for a high-testing childcare facility. She is a working mother who has successfully negotiated working from home with young children, climbed the corporate ladder and then left for 4 years to care for a child with health challenges. Donielle returned to her career and also started WifeMotherLeader to share her experiences as a working wife and mother. She now coaches other women who are trying to build a family and career at the same time. Donielle is married to Dr. Cullen Buie, a professor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT and together they have 3 children and serve as Associate Heads of House in Maseeh Hall, MIT's largest undergraduate dorm. Donielle graduated from Stanford with both a BS in Biomechanical Engineering and a MA in Education. She is a member of Citylife Presbyterian Church in Boston, MA. Donielle is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Meg Donovan, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 1997, Senior Director of Product Development and Sourcing, Modsy
Meg is a seasoned veteran of the retail space in both fashion and home with more than 15 years experience in brick and mortar stores and e-commerce. Her journey has taken her from traditional buying and merchandising roles to sourcing and product design across more than 7 countries for some of the top names in the industry including Saks 5th Avenue, Pottery Barn and ZGallerie. Currently Meg serves as Senior Director of Product Development and Sourcing at Modsy. She is incharge of the product direction, vendors and overall assortment for the on-line Interior Design Service. In just over 2 years, Meg created merchandising at Modsy and leveraged her expertise and broad connections in the furniture industry to set the vision and build the direct vendor marketplace from the ground-up. A true start-up within a start-up, the direct vendor marketplace has increased margin for the company 3x and now realizes nearly $24 million a year. Meg holds a BA in Economics from Harvard and spends her spare time cooking, hiking, practicing yoga and learning new languages.
Danielle Lovell Jones, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2002, Organizational Strategist, Black Fox Philanthropy and Co-Founder, Eat Sleep Play Go
Danielle Lovell Jones, a proud mommy of 2 awesome little humans, is an organizational strategist with Black Fox Philanthropy, a social impact consulting firm. She advises nonprofits and social enterprises on the matters of strategic outreach, messaging development, partner alignment, and engagement. She has always had an intense personal drive to fight for the world to be a more inclusive and equitable place. However, she never knew that becoming a mother would give that work a bolt of creativity, directionality, and purpose.
A polymath at her core, she also wears the title of entrepreneur and content creator. As an entrepreneur, she launched Eat Sleep Play Go to encourage families to get out and explore the world together. As a content creator with Go ‘Head Mama (relaunching soon), she encourages parents to continue to explore their most authentic self while guiding the next generation.
July 9, 2020
Ronnie Lott, Founder, HRJ Capital, Founder, All Stars Helping Kids, Four-time Super Bowl Champion
Ronnie Lott has been a champion and a leader his entire life. Lott's professional football career spanned 14 seasons, from 1981 to 1995, during which he won four Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers. Lott made more than 1,000 tackles as a cornerback and safety in the NFL. Ronnie’s interests and abilities have extended beyond athletics both in the boardroom and in the community. Together with former teammate Harris Barton, he founded HRJ Capital, a private equity firm and has gone on to sit on the boards of a number of public and private companies including OneMain, GSV Capital, The Jefferson Awards Foundation, and the National Football Foundation.
Lott is known as a tireless advocate for children. His nonprofit, All Stars Helping Kids, has raised more than 20 million dollars to improve the lives of at-risk young people in the Bay Area. He is a coach and catalyst for other athletes who strive to make their own communities better. Ronnie has four children and currently resides in Cupertino, California with his wife, Karen.
Jonathan Mariner is a private investor, entrepreneur, and independent board member with more than two decades of experience in major league sports. He’s currently Founder and President of TaxDay, LLC, a private software firm that helps users track their multi-state travel for tax purposes. Jonathan recently completed an appointment by The Walt Disney Company to the role of Interim Head of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), where he was responsible for overseeing the independent operation of RSNs, including programming, distribution, sales and operational functions until Disney successfully sold them in August 2019. Jonathan spent over 14 years with Major League Baseball, Office of the Commissioner, having served as EVP and CFO and, as CIO. Prior to this, 9 years as EVP and CFO of the Florida Marlins Baseball Club and VP and CFO of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club. Jonathan graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, received his MBA from Harvard Business School and is a former CPA. He has been featured on the cover of CFO Magazine and was included among the Top 10 in Sports Illustrated’s annual listing of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.”
Brandon Nicolson, Ph.D., Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2001, Founding Executive Director, The Hidden Genius Project
An Oakland native, Founding Executive Director Brandon Nicholson has always felt a deep sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, particularly in the education space. Previously, he was a Senior Associate at Social Policy Research Associates (SPRA) where he conducted research, evaluation, and analysis across a range of key social policy areas. Brandon has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development, with a particular focus on issues of equity and access in K-12 education for underserved populations. He has considerable experience investigating linkages among race, class, and youth development.
Brandon graduated from Princeton University with a major in Public Policy and a Ph.D. in Educational Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.
July 2, 2020
Click Here: RBSP Salon Series #4 - Open Mic (A Frank conversation about how to talk about race across races and within a race)
Errol C. Saunders, II is a doctoral student in the department of Curriculum and Teaching. Prior to coming to Teachers College, he taught middle school history for ten years at Hopkins School in New Haven, CT. His research interests include how students’ socialization to types of schooling affect their transitions into new schooling environments, how private schools and teachers conceive of their relationship to formal pedagogy, and public pedagogies of race in the United States. In addition to his educational interests, Errol serves on the boards of the New Haven Land Trust and Urban Resources Initiative because he firmly believes that wholesale engagement in civil society can strengthen communities by building community capacity. He is a Ron Brown Scholar and holds a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University.
Kani is a Vice President at TPG Capital, focused on private equity investments in the Industrials sector. Prior to TPG, Kani spent eight years at Goldman Sachs, six of which in their Principal Investing Area ("PIA") at Goldman Sachs in New York and over three of which in the London office. Kani attended Harvard College, graduating with honors with a major in Political Science, a minor in Economics, and a citation in French. Kani’s interests include history, philosophy, literature, travelling, skiing, and making fresh pastas. She grew up in Miami, Florida and has also spent 5+ years living in England, France, and Switzerland. [She is an enthusiastic member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program Advisory Board.]
June 25, 2020
Caleb Franklin, Ron Brown Scholar, Class of 2001
Caleb is a founder and Managing Partner at Matter Advisors. Caleb currently works in Matter’s Mumbai office representing the company’s clients across the global landscape of media, entertainment, technology and sports. Caleb co-founded Matter in 2017. Previous to this position, Caleb worked for the Creative Artists Agency as the Managing Director for its India operations, representing and packaging opportunities on behalf of leading global companies, brands, and artists for the SAARC region. Caleb graduated with a B.A. in Economics from Harvard University.
June 18, 2020
Hon. Chaz Beasley, State Representative | North Carolina House of Representative, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2004
Currently, Chaz is representative of the North Carolina House of Representatives (District 92). He cites the Ron Brown Scholar Program in his decision to run, as the Program is a personal example of how a supportive community can transform lives. Through public service, he hopes to put the Program’s values of building genuine relationships and supporting future generations into action. Chaz lives near Charlotte, NC. Strong communities are built upon the idea that the success of one is linked to the success of all. Without the thriving, supportive community of Ron Brown Scholars, Chaz Beasley would not be the person he is today. Born and raised in the foothills of North Carolina, Chaz grew up in a low-income, single-parent home. Facing the challenges of poverty, his family did not have the money to pay for an increasingly-expensive college education. The Ron Brown Scholar Program helped bridge that gap, supporting Chaz as he graduated from Harvard with honors. The Program honed Chaz’s desire to give back. After graduation, Chaz worked to reform the housing industry during the toughest days of the recent economic crisis. His desire to change the way our nation’s laws impact economic growth encouraged him to attend law school at Georgetown.
Ms. Amanda Bass, Federal Public Defender, Ron Brown Scholar Class of 2006
Amanda Bass is an attorney with the Federal Public Defender's Office for the District of Arizona where she represents death-sentenced prisoners in their federal appeals. Amanda served as a member of the two-part legal team working on Julius Jones' federal appeal. Julius Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death at 19-years old. Jones’ case was the focus of an ABC docu-series called “The Last Defense,” from Oscar-winning actress turned executive producer Viola Davis. https://abcnews.go.com/US/death-row-inmates-legal-team-hopes-dna-testing/story?id=56679140
Prior to joining the Federal Public Defender, Amanda worked on both capital and non-capital post-conviction cases in the South. Amanda graduated from Amherst College in 2010 and then went on to earn her JD from New York University School of Law in 2015.
June 11, 2020
Mr. Aaron S. Williams, Board of Trustees | Ron Brown Scholar Program, @Director of the U.S. Peace Corps (2009 - 2012)
Aaron Williams is senior adviser — emeritus, for international development and government relations at RTI International. Previously at RTI, he was executive vice president of the International Development Group. He served as the 18th director of the U.S. Peace Corps from 2009 to 2012 under former President Barack Obama. Before joining RTI, Williams served as a senior official at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Williams is also an adjunct professor of health policy and management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of global public health.
Mr. Jonathan Greenblatt, Board of Trustees | Ron Brown Scholar Program, @CEO | Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and sixth National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), is an accomplished entrepreneur and innovative leader with deep experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors. As chief executive of ADL, Jonathan leads all aspects of one of the most respected civil rights organizations in the country. After his first year at the helm of ADL he was recognized in the NonProfitTimes 2016 “Power & Influence Top 50” list.
Ms. Morgan Harper, 2001 Ron Brown Scholar Alumni
Morgan was born at The Ohio State University Hospital. For the first nine months of her life, she lived in a foster home before being adopted and raised on the east side of Columbus (Berwick) by a Columbus Public Schools teacher. Morgan received financial aid to attend Columbus Academy. She developed an intense commitment to fighting inequality after seeing how opportunities open up, no matter your upbringing, once you're equipped with resources. She later received financial aid with help from the Ron Brown Scholar Program to attend Tufts (BA), Princeton (MA), and Stanford (JD). She spent three years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) protecting consumers against predatory lenders and most recently at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) which invests in communities that have been systematically under-resourced. She cares about nothing more than ending economic segregation—which she believes is systemic. She recently run a campaign for congress in Ohio.
Mr. Damian Williams, 1998 Ron Brown Scholar Alumni
Damian Williams is an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York. Damian is a Ron Brown Scholar from the class of 1998. Damian graduated in 2002 from Harvard University, where he majored in economics and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an MPhil in international relations at Cambridge University and also holds a JD from Yale Law School At Harvard, Damian won the Detur Book Award, the John Harvard Scholarship, the Ron Brown Scholarship, the Harris Prize. He was named the Lionel de Jersey Harvard Scholar for 2002, under which he studied at Cambridge. At Yale, he was an editor of The Yale Law Journal. Damian has served on the Board of Directors of Human Rights First, the Council on African American Affairs, and Boys Speak Out. After law school, Damian clerked for Judge Merrick B. Garland on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, and for Justice John Paul Stevens on the US Supreme Court.