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2023 SKILLS SUMMIT
SPEAKERS

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Alphabetized by last name.

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Bishara Addison

Director of Job Preparation at the Fund For Our Economic Future 

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Bishara Addison is the Director of Job Preparation at the Fund For Our Economic Future where she supports the Funds’ agenda to achieve equitable economic growth no matter race or place through talent development. The Fund For Our Economic Future is a public charity pooling funding from civic actors across Northeast Ohio to invest in economic growth strategies.  Bishara’s work is focused on supporting innovation solutions related to labor market participation and job quality. As the Director of Job Preparation, she works with regional and national partners to translate best practices and relevant data into local pilot projects that build evidence in the field of workforce for systems change. That portfolio includes the catalyzation of a hospitality recovery effort in Cuyahoga County, shaping a regional blueprint for increasing opportunities for black and brown workers in digital jobs, and testing interventions to strengthen workplaces. She previously managed the policy and advocacy agenda for Towards Employment, a workforce organization serving adults with barriers to employment in Greater Cleveland. At Towards Employment, she worked on policy that reduced barriers for adults who have criminal records to enter the labor market as well as served as a member of the Ohio Workforce Coalition supporting its members in DC for visits on the Hill around federal workforce policy. During the latter part of 2012 and the spring of 2013, Bishara was engaged in a statewide advocacy effort to shape policies around collateral sanctions resulting in the deployment of new tools to protect employers from negligent hiring. In 2016 she worked with national organizations, local philanthropy, and anchor hospitals to shift hiring practices for those with records leading to one hospital delaying background checks until later in the hiring process. In 2018 she took a leave of absence to join the Ohio ballot Issue 1 Campaign team educating 501c3 organizations of the potential impact of the amendment if passed on those with criminal records.

Most recently, served as a State Representative for Ohio House District 9 through appointment, finishing out the prior representatives’ term. This position allowed her to raise awareness and engage stakeholders on maternal health, education, workforce development, and economic development issues.  Bishara continues to leverage that experience and her relationships to connect decision makers at the state and national level with local and regional stakeholders to achieve local initiative goals. She thinks of herself as an intrapreneur within the workforce ecosystem and is committed to pursuing policies and practices that support economic mobility for residents in NE Ohio.  

 

Bishara’s civic engagement and volunteerism runs deep in her community since moving back to Cleveland in 2011. She is currently appointed to the Adult Drug and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, serves as a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s African American Philanthropy Committee, the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency Community Advisory Council and the new Cuyahoga County Executive Transition Team.  

 

Bishara earned her B.A. degree in Political Science from The George Washington University in 2010 and a Masters in Policy Management from Georgetown University in 2020 through the National Urban Fellowship.  

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Senator Tammy Baldwin

United States Senate

Senator Tammy Baldwin was first elected to the Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2018. Prior to her time in the Senate, Senator Baldwin served seven terms in the House of Representatives. Senator Baldwin shattered the state’s glass ceiling by becoming Wisconsin’s first female member of Congress and the nation’s first openly gay Senator. Since she was first elected, she has been committed to helping workers grow lasting careers by working in Congress to close the skills gap and expand access to inclusive, high-quality skills training. Senator Baldwin is proud to stand with the National Skills Coalition in leading our way forward!

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Nicole Barcliff

Senior Policy Director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)

With two decades of public policy experience, Nicole Elizabeth Barcliff joined LISC in November 2012. As a Senior Policy Director, she advocates for federal policies that support LISC’s mission to forge resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Nicole works closely with LISC national programs, LISC local offices, and a broad cross-sector of organizations to develop legislation and implement policy advocacy agendas that promote access to equitable opportunity in local communities. Her priority policy areas include safety and justice, health, and child care and early learning.

 

Prior to joining LISC, Nicole held various positions that helped shape her federal policy expertise, including serving as Legislative Director for a member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives, Vice President for Education Affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and Senior Associate for Government Relations at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Tameshia Bridges Mansfield 

Vice President of Workforce and Regional Economies at
Jobs for the Future (JFF)

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Tameshia Bridges Mansfield is vice president for workforce and regional economies at JFF. She oversees workforce development and future-of-work initiatives with an eye toward innovation and system transformation.

 

Her skills and areas of expertise include:

  • Strategy development

  • Fundraising

  • Systems change

  • Racial equity and justice analysis and practice

  • Collaboration and community engagement
     

Before joining JFF, Tameshia was a program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she led the workforce development and job access portfolio, addressing barriers that workers face in securing meaningful employment.

Earlier in her career, she spent 1O years at Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, where she engaged with legislators, employers, workforce organizations, and other stakeholders while advocating for changes to raise the visibility and improve the job quality of direct care workers.
 

Tameshia is a co-chair of the board of the Clean Slate Initiative and a member of the boards of the Detroit Justice Center and the Chicago Jobs Council. She previously served as co-chair of Workforce Matters, where she was instrumental in the creation of the Racial Equity Framework for Workforce Funders.
 

“I was drawn to this role because I recognize that this moment calls for innovative solutions that are equity-centered and serve the interests and needs of workers, employers, and communities to address the disparities and challenges that COVID-19 and the past year of racial reckoning have exposed,” Tameshia says. “I can’t wait to work with and learn from current partners, engage new ones, and collaborate with the talented and committed team at JFF in the transformative work ahead of us.”
 

Outside of work, she says, “I mostly spend time with my family: my husband, Joe, our daughter, Elise—a curious and energetic toddler—and my mother. When I get time to myself, I love listening to podcasts, reading, gardening, and sharing a good meal and adult conversation with girlfriends.”

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Jeffrey Connor-Naylor

Director of Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships

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Jeffrey Connor-Naylor began with National Skills Coalition in 2021 as the Director of Business Leaders United (BLU) for Workforce Partnerships. BLU is a national business network comprised of leaders from small and medium-sized enterprises representing a range of industry sectors who are concerned about our nation’s skills mismatch and promote public investments in skills training and education that prepare America’s workers for jobs in the 21st Century economy. Jeff provides overall direction to the BLU program as well as developing strategies to engage and expand the BLU network.

Before joining National Skills Coalition, Jeffrey worked as a Deputy Director at ReadyNation (an initiative of the national nonprofit Council for a Strong America), which supports business leaders to advocate for research-based policy solutions that help children and youth succeed in education and the workforce. In this role, he recruited and engaged leaders from Fortune 500 companies, small and medium-sized businesses, and business membership organizations. During his time with the organization, he also built the country’s largest privately-operated business initiative that helped companies of all sizes promote the 2020 Census with their employees and customers.

Jeff has also served as Director of the Northern Virginia Office at The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis, a Virginia-based policy think tank, where he oversaw the organization’s workforce development portfolio. As Lead Organizer with Homes for Families, Inc. in Massachusetts, he worked with non-profit leaders across the state in support of affordable housing policy.

Jeffrey has a Master of Social Work from Boston College and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Hiram College.

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Harin Contractor

Director of Labor Policy for the National Economic Council at the White House

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Harin Contractor is the Director of Labor Policy for the National Economic Council at the White House where he helps lead workforce policy for the NEC. Harin previously served as the Director of Workforce Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, in the Obama Labor Department as an Economic Policy Advisor to the Secretary, and on the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment as a digital skills SME. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and University of Chicago. 

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Allison Dembeck

Vice President of Education and Labor Advocacy at the
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

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Allison L. Dembeck joined the U.S Chamber of Commerce in 2012. She is the Vice President of Education and Labor Advocacy for the Government Affairs department, and the Executive Director for Women Taking the Lead. Dembeck focuses on education, labor, workforce development, retirement, and equity issues.

Before coming to the Chamber, Dembeck was the education, labor, pensions, and welfare policy analyst on the Senate Republican Policy Committee under the chairmanships of Senator John Thune (R-SD) and Senator John Barasso (R-WY). She also spent several years in the personal office of Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) handling education, labor, pensions, and child and family issues.

 

Dembeck did two stints with the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce—the first for former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and the second for Representative John Kline (R-MN). Dembeck was also Manager of Government Relations for Ceridian Corporation, focusing on pensions, health care, and payroll compliance.

In addition to her role at the Chamber, Dembeck is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Skills Coalition and for Women in Government Relations, as well as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the MANA Action Fund.

Dembeck is the education policy lecturer at the University of Texas System’s Graduate Archer Fellowship Program and a former adjunct faculty member of Montgomery College in Maryland. She has an M.A. from The George Washington University and a B.A. from Binghamton University-State University of New York (SUNY).

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Brooke DeRenzis

Chief Strategy Officer at NSC

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Brooke DeRenzis is the Chief Strategy Officer, where she advises the CEO on strategic opportunities and leads staff in the development, alignment, and implementation of National Skills Coalition’s network, policy, and communications strategies. Prior to her role as Chief Strategy Officer, Brooke was National Skills Coalition’s Managing Director of State Strategies, where she launched numerous multi-state initiatives, including the Skills State Policy Advocacy Network (SkillSPAN) — a first-ever nationwide network of state coalitions expanding skills training for thousands of people through state policy changes.


Brooke’s policy and organizing expertise, publications and partnerships with local community organizations, workforce practitioners, business leaders, and workforce advocates have helped educate policymakers and shaped workforce policy solutions that continue to make a meaningful impact for workers, businesses, and communities.


Prior to joining National Skills Coalition in 2014, Brooke was a Project Director at DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, where she led advocacy efforts on a range of public policy issues facing the District of Columbia, including workforce development and postsecondary education. She has also held research positions with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.


Brooke holds a master’s in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s from Sarah Lawrence College. She is based in Washington, DC.

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Prior to joining CLASP, Indivar “Indi” Dutta-Gupta was the co-executive director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality (GCPI), where he led work to develop and advance policy recommendations that alleviate poverty and inequality, advance racial and gender equity, and expand economic inclusion for all people in the United States. While at GCPI, he grew the organization’s staff from 1 to 19 and its budget from around $240,000 to $2.75 million. 

Indi serves as a board member for two nonpartisan groups, Indivisible Civics and the National Academy of Social Insurance, and as an advisor for the Aspen Institute’s Benefits 21 Initiative. Previously, he was a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Children and Families Research Advisory Group, the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Poverty Reduction (Canada), the Research Task Force for the Gates Foundation’s Post-Secondary Value Commission, and the Poverty, Employment, and Economic Self-Sufficiency Network (United States). Prior to joining GCPI, Indi led strategic initiatives for major philanthropies, children’s groups, and workers’ organizations as project director at Freedman Consulting, LLC. Before that role, he was senior policy advisor at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, focusing on budget and tax policies and cross-cutting low-income issues. 

Earlier in his career, Indi served as Ways and Means Committee Professional Staff in the U.S. House of Representatives for the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support. Indi was a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow and then a consultant to the Poverty Task Force at the Center for American Progress and a Food Stamp Outreach Specialist at D.C. Hunger Solutions. Indivar received his BA with honors from the University of Chicago in Law, Letters, and Society and in Political Science and was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar (2004). 

Indivar has been named a Champion for Children by the First Focus Campaign for Children and was awarded the Congressional Hunger Center Alumni Leadership Award (2016). He was named one of Washington Life magazine’s most Influential 40-And-Under Leaders (2013) and Rising Stars 40 And Under (2016, 2017). Indi has been quoted or published in a range of outlets, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, POLITICO, the Washington Post, and Univision. He has advised presidential and Congressional candidates and campaigns on various social and economic policies. View Indivar’s recent affiliations and external income

He lives in Washington, DC, with his partner, Shally, and their two children. 

Indivar Dutta-Gupta

President & Executive Director at
The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

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Paul Fain

Journalist at The Job

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Paul Fain writes The Job, a newsletter about connections between education and work. He also recently helped found a new weekly publication, Work Shift, which features in-depth reporting on workforce issues. For the last decade, Fain was a reporter and editor at Inside Higher Ed. He oversaw the news outlet's coverage of nontraditional students, policy, and more. Fain also was the founding host of the successful podcast, The Key with Inside Higher Ed, and managed IHE's coverage of the pandemic in 2020.  

Before IHE, Fain was a senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, where he covered leadership and finance for more than six years. A former staff writer for C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., Fain has written for The New York Times and contributed chapters for books on innovation in higher education, published by the Harvard University Press and the Stanford University Press. A graduate of the University of Delaware, he is a native of Dayton, Ohio, and currently lives in Takoma Park, Md. 

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Yasmin Fallahkhair

Senior State Network Manager at NSC

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Yasmin Fallahkhair manages a network of state coalitions working to advance skills policies that support an inclusive economy. She leads projects, cultivates relationships, and provides customized technical assistance around policy development, advocacy, and communications to local coalition leads in collaboration with NSC staff and national partners. Yasmin joined NSC in April 2020 as a state network manager. She is based in Washington DC.

Prior to joining NSC, Yasmin served as a Senior Associate at Whiteboard Advisors, a strategic consulting and communications firm. In this role, she worked closely with policymakers, innovative entrepreneurs, and visionary organizations to build and implement thoughtful government affairs and MarCom strategies. Yasmin also brings extensive experience and knowledge in education policy, having served the Data Quality Campaign for over 5 years in communications, development, and policy/advocacy roles.

Yasmin holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Public Administration from American University.

Carla Garrett

Management and Program Analyst with Economic Development Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce

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Carla Garrett currently serves as a Management & Program Analyst with Economic Development Administration, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this role, she works to provide oversight and technical assistance to the Good Jobs Challenge awardees to deliver workforce programming focused on equity and expanding career opportunities for Americans to obtain quality jobs. She began her service with a local workforce in TN and went on to continue her work in workforce development with the TN Department of Labor & Workforce Development as a Workforce Programs Director. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Memphis and resides in Nashville, TN.  

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Nathalie Gazzaneo

Associate Director at the Project on Workforce at Harvard University

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Nathalie Gazzaneo is an Associate Director at the Project on Workforce at Harvard University. The Project on Workforce is an interdisciplinary, collaborative project between the Harvard Kennedy School, the Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The Project aims to chart the course for a postsecondary system of the future that creates more and better pathways to economic mobility. We use research to catalyze action across leaders in business, education, and policy and create smoother transitions between education and good jobs.  

 

Nathalie worked her entire career at the nexus of the tech industry, academia, and public sector to ensure emerging technologies are vectors to shared prosperity and human thriving. For a half-decade, she was a Public Policy Manager at Facebook, where she actively participated in technology regulation public discussions and led the launch of social impact digital products used by millions of people. Nathalie joined the Project on Workforce after research and teaching roles at the Belfer Center’s Technology and Public Purpose Project and the Public Leadership Credential, Harvard Kennedy School’s flagship online learning initiative. 

 

She is a Harvard Kennedy School alumna and graduated from the Master in Public Policy program with a concentration on political and economic development. 

Celeste Granger 

Associate Vice President of Talent Development at Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

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Celeste Granger serves as the Associate Vice President of Talent and Program Officer for the Lowcountry Careers Collaborative at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. In this capacity, she has the opportunity to work towards fostering equitable economic prosperity through workforce, talent, and education initiatives. Celeste previously served as the Director of Talent Initiatives for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce to address member needs in talent and understanding the workforce ecosystem within the region.  Celeste has a background in adult education within Higher Education prior to coming to the Charleston Metro Chamber.  

 

Celeste currently serves on the Development Advisory Board for the Zucker Family School of Education at The Citadel and on the Teacher Education and Administrative Leadership Advisory Board for the Lowcountry Graduate Center; a public higher education consortium to expand graduate level education in the Charleston region; comprised of The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, The Citadel Graduate College and the Medical University of South Carolina. Celeste also serves on the Community Leaders Council for TriCounty Cradle to Career, serving to advise on strategic programming.  

She has expertise in curriculum development, campus recruiting, leadership, and professional development training. Celeste has over fifteen years of experience in higher education within the areas of academic advising, living-learning communities, leadership instruction, career services, both conduct and Title IX hearing officer, and Federal TRIO grant programs. In her time working with the Federal TRIO grant which supports college retention efforts for students who are either low-income, first-generation college students, or individuals with disabilities is where she found her passion for equity and access within education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications and a Master of Education in College Student Personnel Administration.

  

Celeste is certified in Talent Pipeline Management TM (TPM) and graduated from cohort XIX and now serves as a Mentor in the TPM National Learning Network advising the Global Cohort. 

Constance Green

WIOA Adult & Dislocated Worker Programs State Coordinator at Virginia's Community Colleges System

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Constance Green is the WIOA Adult & Dislocated Worker Programs State Coordinator at Virginia's Community Colleges System (VCCS), where she develops and delivers policies, guidance, technical assistance, and training to the Local Workforce Development Areas and their partners. She also serves as co-lead for Virginia’s WIOA Accessibility Taskforce. Constance has previously served as a LWDB staff member, Special Assistant to the Governor, and as a professor. Constance holds a BA in foreign languages and an MBA. She is a nationally certified workforce development professional (CWDP) and is currently Chair of the Executive Board of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP). In her spare time, Constance also enjoys volunteering and camping with her family. 

Robert Guzman

External Affairs Director at scaleLIT

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Robert Guzman is a solutions-focused External Affairs Director at scaleLIT (formerly Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition) with 10 years of success spanning workforce, adult education, digital literacy, and professional development.  

He is currently a member of the One-Stop Operator team which is tasked with the WIOA service integration of 10 American Job Centers in Cook County and Chicago. Simultaneously, he manages eight full time Career Pathways Navigators who assist job seekers with accessing the workforce system and services at these American Job Centers.

 

His broad areas of expertise include workforce development, relationship building across non-profits, state agencies, adult education providers and community organizations in an effort to create a unified and human centered design public workforce system. 

Robert had the honor to serve on the Governor's Workforce Commission on Equity and Access in IL in 2022, where he advocated the importance of digital literacy for job seekers. He has been part of the National Skills Coalition Illinois Delegation for years and received the 2020 "Firebrand Award" for his work in service integration through the implementation of the Career Pathways Navigator model. 

Learn more about ScaleLIT’s workforce and Navigator services here: https://www.scalelit.org/jobseeker

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Angela Hanks

Chief of Programs at Dēmos

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Angela Hanks is Chief of Programs at Dēmos, where she works with the Legal Strategies, Movement Building, and Policy & Research teams to build and advance towards achieving a just, inclusive, multiracial economy and democracy. Prior to joining Dēmos, Angela served in the Biden-Harris Administration as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor, where she worked to advance worker-centered policies that lead to quality jobs for all workers, particularly those who are marginalized. Her work has been cited in various publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic and was previously a regular contributor to Forbes.com.

Angela brings with her deep experience in advancing progressive policies in the nonprofit and government sectors. Prior to joining the Administration, Angela was Deputy Executive Director at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she worked to advance an equitable, people-centered vision for the economy. She has also held roles at think tanks and policy organizations where she has written extensively about how to make the labor market more inclusive of marginalized workers.

Angela began her career on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant to the Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, and later became a counsel on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.

Angela earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University and her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

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Broderick Johnson

Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Executive Vice President, Digital Equity at Comcast

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Broderick oversees the company’s Public Policy team and holds overall responsibility for Comcast’s role in the digital equity space. Comcast is a leader in solutions to bridge the digital divide, and Broderick works closely with our partners in government and other stakeholders to support our shared goal of connecting as many Americans as possible to the Internet, and to shape our corporate policies that allow our businesses to continue to grow and innovate.   

 

Broderick has more than three decades of experience as a lawyer, policy advisor, and political strategist, most recently with the international law firm of Covington & Burling. He has served under two U.S. Presidents, as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs under President Clinton, and as Assistant to the President and Secretary of the Cabinet under President Obama. Broderick also served as chief counsel for several committees in the U.S. House. 

 

Broderick is a highly respected and trusted leader in Washington D.C. and across the nation, and he has advised hundreds of clients on a wide array of policy issues, including telecommunications and tech matters.  He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross. He sits on numerous boards, including the boards of directors of the Obama Foundation, the Black Economic Alliance, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. He also chairs the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Advisory Council. 

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Dr. Anne Kress

President at Northern Virginia Community College

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Anne M. Kress is the sixth president of Northern Virginia Community College, a role she began in January 2020, after a career of almost three decades in higher education that includes serving as a tenured faculty member in English and in numerous academic administrative roles at community colleges in Florida and New York. At NOVA, Kress focuses on fulfilling the college’s commitment to equity in opportunity and its promise that every student succeeds, every program achieves, and every community prospers. 

Kress serves on the boards of higher education groups including the American Council on Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity. She serves on a program advisory board for the University of Maryland Global Campus and on the board of Generation Hope, which supports the success of student-parents. Kress co-chaired the most recent Virginia Community College System strategic plan, Opportunity 2027, for which she received the Dana B. Hamel Award, the highest honor the system bestows. She has also testified before Congress and served as a negotiator on federal regulations on higher education. 

Kress is active in the Northern Virginia region, serving on the boards of the Consortium of the Universities of the Washington Metro Area, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council. She sits on the steering committee of Connected DMV’s Regional Economic Development Strategy and is a member of the Economic Club of DC and the Greater Washington Board of Trade. Kress is a graduate of Leadership Greater Washington; was named by the Washington Business Journal as a 2021 “Women Who Means Business”; and has been named to the Virginia Business 500 and the Washington Business Journal Power 100 each year since joining NOVA. 

Kress earned two bachelor’s degrees, in Finance and English; a master’s degree in English; and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration, all from the University of Florida. She has been honored by her alma mater, Phi Theta Kappa, the New York State Senate, YWCA, and the American Association of University Women, among others. She is married to Ned Davis, and they have two children in college. 

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Jeannine LaPrad

Managing Director, Policy and Research at National Skills Coalition

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Jeannine LaPrad is the Managing Director of Policy and Research at National Skills Coalition, where she leads the organization’s policy research, development, and implementation activities. Jeannine oversees a team of senior workforce research, data, and policy experts who work closely with NSC’s partner networks to highlight what is working in states and communities, support policy advocacy, and provide strategic guidance to policymakers and practitioners.

For the past 20 plus years she has worked with leaders in the non-profit, government, education, and business sectors to reshape employment and education policy and practice in ways create more equitable outcomes for workers and communities. Jeannine is committed to working with partners to center worker voice and experience, improve job quality and economic mobility, and advance racial and gender equality.

 

Prior to joining NSC, Jeannine worked with the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce for 23 years where she held several positions including serving as a Senior Fellow from 2018-2021 and President and CEO from 2006-2017. Throughout her career Jeannine has led numerous workforce development policy research, development, and technical assistance projects and teams at the state and local levels.

Jeannine has a bachelor’s degree in organizational psychology and communications and a master’s degree in higher education policy from the University of Michigan. Jeannine is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Washington, DC.

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Rep. Andy Levin

Distinguished Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress

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The Hon. Andy Levin is a distinguished senior fellow with American Progress. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2019 to 2023, representing Michigan’s 9th District. Before serving in Congress, Levin created and ran a statewide market to help Michigan businesses and nonprofits obtain favorable financing to deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. From 2007 to 2011, Levin served as deputy director and acting director of Michigan’s Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, and as Michigan’s first chief workforce officer. Serving during the bankruptcy of major auto companies and the Great Recession, Levin created and ran Michigan’s breakthrough No Worker Left Behind program, which helped over 162,000 unemployed and underemployed Michiganders go back to school to obtain new credentials and launch new careers. 

 

In the Clinton administration, Levin worked in Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s office to fend off Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-GA) efforts to weaken worker protections and served as staff attorney for the president’s Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations. Around his stints in government, Levin spent many years helping workers organize and bargain for a better life, first for five years with the Service Employees International Union, then in the United Auto Workers Health and Safety department, and finally for 11 years as assistant director of organizing for the national AFL-CIO, where he created and ran programs such as Union Summer and the Voice@Work Campaign, which launched the Employee Free Choice Act in the 2000s.  

Levin is an honors graduate of Williams College and Harvard Law School, and he earned a master’s in Asian languages and cultures at the University of Michigan, where he was a Mellon Fellow in the humanities. 

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Robert Matthews

Associate Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development at Mott Community College

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Robert Matthews currently serves as Associate Vice President of Workforce & Economic Development at Mott Community College in Flint, MI. He is a Higher Education executive responsible for leading, and providing strategic direction for all Workforce & Economic Development functions and operations at a college with enrollment of more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students. 
 

Mr. Matthews is the college's senior Workforce Development Officer and a member of the president's executive cabinet. He also participates in the development and implementation of College policies and programs, and ensures compliance with federal and state requirements as well as other regulatory agencies, and is responsible for hiring, training, evaluation and development of personnel.
 

In this role, he identifies and leverages city, federal, state, philanthropic, and corporate resources to promote and advance community, economic and workforce development, and other strategic initiatives at the college. Mr. Matthews has over 25 years of experience in higher education which includes workforce development, student services, career development, grants development and management, supervision, and program/curriculum development. 
 

His previous experience includes enrollment management, career services and the development of tutoring and mentoring programs for youth. His current and past board and community service includes: Advisor for the Alpha Esquires Mentoring and Leadership program, National Council for Workforce Education, American Association of Community Colleges Commission on Research and Trends, McFarlan Charitable Corporation, Workforce Intelligence Network, Flint & Genesee Literacy Network, the Region 6 Career Education Advisory Council, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, and the Business, the Banking and Workforce Development Subcommittee of the Greater Flint Coronavirus Taskforce on Racial Disparities. Mr. Matthews holds a BA from The University of Michigan-Flint, a Master of Public Administration degree from the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at The University of Michigan, and is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership at The University of Michigan-Flint.

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Stephanie Martinez-Ruckman

Legislative Director for Human Development at National League of Cities

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As a member of the federal team, Stephanie leads NLC’s advocacy, regulatory, and policy efforts on issues including health care, workforce development, education, and poverty for over 19,000 cities, towns and villages across the United States. 

Prior to joining NLC, Stephanie served as associate director for government and community affairs at The New York Public Library, advocating at the local, state and federal level to secure critical funding and laws to support library programming and infrastructure. Formerly, Stephanie worked for the City of New York as the policy director for the NYC Workforce Investment Board as well as in both houses of the United States Congress. 

Stephanie received her master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and her bachelor of arts from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

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Nakeisha Ricks-Pettyjohn

Senior Fellow, Workforce Development at National Skills Coalition

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Nakeisha Ricks-Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow at National Skills Coalition, where she serves as the organization’s expert on federal and state workforce development policy and strategy implementation. In this role Nakeisha brings significant state policy expertise and relationships to inform NSC federal and state policy advocacy campaigns and provide technical assistance to state policy leaders and other workforce development stakeholders.

 

Prior to joining NSC, Nakeisha was the Senior Director of Workforce Programs for the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development where she managed the coordination of external partnerships for the statewide Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs and oversaw the operations and program implementation of Tennessee American Job Centers. Nakeisha is passionate about innovative program development, system alignment, and policy changes addressing equity, access, and economic mobility barriers for workers of color, workers with children, and justice involved individuals. She has a proven track record in furthering workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and implementing a wide variety of student services to meet the diverse needs of adult learners and workforce participants.

Nakeisha graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Biology. She is based in Tennessee.

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Eric Rodriguez

Senior Vice President, Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS

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Eric Rodriguez, UnidosUS Senior Vice President, oversees the Office of Policy and Advocacy which is charged with directing the organization’s legislative affairs, public policy research, policy analysis, and field advocacy work. He is responsible for the UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) federal and state legislative priorities and agenda.

Mr. Rodriguez has extensive experience overseeing the UnidosUS public policy and advocacy activities on a wide range of issues. His background includes work on such issues as tax policy, Social Security reform, welfare reform, workforce development, retirement security, as well as housing, and financial market regulations. He has authored, coauthored, and supervised the preparation of several dozen policy and research reports, journal articles, and editorials. He has also frequently testified at congressional hearings and has represented UnidosUS at research conferences, policy conferences, and symposia.

Mr. Rodriguez also currently serves on the boards of the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, Food Research & Action Center, and the NCLR Action Fund. Prior to UnidosUS, Mr. Rodriguez was a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Fellow and served in U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez’s (D–NY) office. Mr. Rodriguez holds a master’s degree in public administration from American University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Siena College. Mr. Rodriguez is originally from Red Hook, Brooklyn.

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Michelle Seibert

Economic Opportunity Officer at United Way of Central Iowa

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Michelle Seibert is Economic Opportunity Officer at United Way of Central Iowa. In this role, she serves as liaison between community and partners to ensure people have access to a living wage and have opportunities to build wealth. She oversees investments in the areas of workforce development, post-secondary education and training, asset building, and income tax assistance. She also supervises the direct-service department, Central Iowa Works, where programs connect people with barriers to employment to good jobs and supports to thrive. Born and raised in Des Moines, Michelle believes that everyone deserves a job that ensures they can afford the basics, have quality of life, and also have opportunities to build wealth. She lives in Des Moines with her spouse, Jeremy, and two daughters, Lena and Mara. 

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Katie Spiker

Managing Director of Government Affairs at NSC

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Katie Spiker is the Managing Director of Government Affairs at National Skills Coalition, where she works to advance NSC’s Washington-based policy efforts through federal legislation, agency regulation, and national funding initiatives. As a workforce policy expert, Katie works closely with members of Congress and their staff, as well as Cabinet agencies – like the Departments of Labor and Education – to develop and implement bipartisan workforce policy solutions to help workers and businesses succeed. Katie also partners with state and local workforce leaders to elevate their advocacy efforts to lawmakers in Washington.


Katie has authored numerous publications on workforce policy issues and her policy expertise, insights, and commentary have been cited and published in local and national media outlets, including CNN, The Hill, Bloomberg, Morning Consult, Inside Higher Ed, The Hechinger Report, IndustryWeek, San Diego Union-Tribune, and many other outlets.


Prior to joining NSC in 2015, Katie was the Associate Director of the National Center for Women’s Employment Equity at Wider Opportunities for Women where she managed the design and provision of on-site and virtual technical assistance and the creation of case studies and policy briefs related to nontraditional occupations and occupational segregation. Katie has also consulted with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the National Women’s Law Center. She served as policy counsel for Workplace Flexibility 2010 and the National Partnership for Women and Families as a Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow. Katie is a 2015 Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow.


She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami. She is based in Washington, DC.

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Abby Snay

Deputy Secretary for the Future of Work at California Labor and Workforce Development Agency

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Abby Snay joined the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency in January 2020 as Deputy Secretary for the Future of Work. She leads workforce strategy for the Labor Agency, driving programs, partnerships and initiatives for high impact, job quality and equity. She has worked to increase economic mobility for immigrants and refugees, to create a new healthcare workforce initiative in partnership with the California Health and Human Service Agency, to expand apprenticeships in California and to develop training and workforce opportunities through the state’s climate strategies.

Before joining the Labor Agency, Snay served as CEO of Jewish Vocational Service in San Francisco for over 35 years, building that organization from a $300,000 budget to over $13 million. Under her leadership, JVS built training and employment programs to help workers with barriers to employment build competitive skills and get jobs with family sustaining wages. JVS programs in health care, water utilities, financial services and youth employment have received national recognition for their innovation and impact. Snay also served on the Board of Directors of the National Skills Coalition from 2011 through 2022, in the role of Board Chair for four of those years.

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Jennifer Stiddard

Senior Fellow at NSC

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Jennifer Stiddard is a Senior Fellow at the National Skills Coalition, where she serves as an expert on higher education and workforce policy for the organization’s government affair’s team. In that role, Jennifer focuses particularly on federal policies to increase access and remove financial barriers and for individuals seeking skills training and postsecondary credentials.

  

For nearly two decades, Jennifer has worked in various roles on Capitol Hill and the non-profit sector to advance policies supporting access, success, and equity in higher education and workforce. Most recently she served as senior policy advisor to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions overseeing the workforce portfolio for Chair Patty Murray. As senior policy advisor, Jennifer worked on legislation addressing recovery efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the CARES Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, and the Build Back Better Act, as well as policies to reform the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the National Apprenticeship Act.

 

Prior to her work on the Senate HELP Committee, Jennifer was director of government relations for the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). During her time at ACCT, she played a key role in advancing legislation to provide students with year-round access to the Pell Grant program and increase federal funding for key community college priorities. She has worked closely on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) both during her time at ACCT, as well as her years serving as senior legislative assistant to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. For the 2008 reauthorization of the HEA, Jennifer worked to enact a provision into law that provided access to the Pell Grant program for children who lost a parent in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. She also served as a lead to the Congressional Black Caucus Education Taskforce while working for Congresswoman Johnson. 

 

Jennifer is a sought-after speaker on postsecondary and workforce policy, as well as federal advocacy. She has participated on numerous panels, including presenting on Capitol Hill. She has also served as a contributor to many publications, including as one of the main authors to The Trustee’s Role in Effective Advocacy (2019).  

 

Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, and a Master of Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in education policy with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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Caroline Treschitta

Policy Analyst at NSC

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As Policy Analyst, Caroline collaborates with federal and state policy staff and network organizers to support the advancement of NSC’s skills platform with Congress and the administration. As part of the government affairs team, Caroline provides in-depth policy analysis of new and proposed federal policies to our network, including partners across the country and national organizations/coalition partners. They originally joined NSC as a Communications Associate in April 2019 and is based in Washington, D.C.

Previously, Caroline interned and then worked for Women in Government, where they researched state-based economic policy. They also worked as a legislative intern for the office of Senator Murphy, where she conducted legislative research and attended briefings for staffers on a variety of policies; and then as a Support Specialist for RAINN, where she used crisis-intervention skills to assist those impacted by sexual assault.

Caroline graduated from American University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

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Marisol Tapia Hopper

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Funding at the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC)

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Marisol Tapia Hopper is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Funding at the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County (WDC). Her work focuses on leading the development of integrated outreach, community engagement, policy advocacy, and funding strategies to support workforce investments that center on racial equity and address structural barriers in the current workforce system. 
 
At the WDC, Marisol has led numerous digital equity initiatives in close collaboration with community partners, including: 

 

  • The planning and launch of the Digital Equity Asset Map Tool. 

  • The launch of the Digital Needs Assessment tool to assess the digital needs of workers seeking workforce development services.  

  • The launch of the Digital Navigator Cohort Grant to amplify community access to affordable internet, devices, and digital skills training.  

  • The deployment of digital navigators at American Job Centers in partnership with Washington Service Corps, the Washington State Library, and the Seattle Public Library.  

  • The launch of a statewide digital equity survey to better understand digital inclusion and skills in the workforce system.  

 
As an immigrant herself and driven by a deep commitment to advocating for system change, poverty reduction, and equitable access to opportunities, Marisol’s workforce career spans 20 years of collaborating directly with low-income communities, including immigrants and refugees in designing community-informed, multicultural programs that advance equity-driven outcomes in education and employment services. She is also a member of Governor Inslee’s Poverty Reduction Work Group. 

 
Marisol holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Central Washington University, a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in public policy from Evergreen State College, and a professional certification in community development from the University of Washington. 

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Rachel Unruh

Chief of External Affairs at NSC

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Rachel Unruh is the Chief of External Affairs at National Skills Coalition, where she develops initiatives that support strategic partnerships that advance the organization’s agenda and reach new audiences. Rachel leads NSC’s public opinion research efforts and was the chief strategist for Voices for Skills, a campaign to mobilize working people, students, teachers, and business leaders to educate policymakers and 2020 candidates about overwhelming public support for a new national investment in skills training. In 2021, she led the development of NSC’s Industry Recovery Panels, which advised the Biden administration and congressional leaders on skills policy to support an inclusive economic recovery. She currently leads NSC’s Digital Equity @Work campaign.

As a workforce policy and communications expert for two decades, Rachel has written on skills policy, politics, and public opinion and is a trusted, nonpartisan resource to local and national media, including The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, MSNBC, Morning Consult, and The Guardian.

Rachel served as NSC’s Chief of Staff for ten years, leading the development and implementation of NSC’s policy, organizing, advocacy, and communications strategies. She joined NSC in 2006 to develop and lead Skills2Compete, a national campaign endorsed by hundreds of organizations that made the case for a 21st-century skills guarantee to address the demand for U.S. workers with middle-skill credentials. Replicated in 13 states, the campaign brought jobs that fall between a high school degree and a college degree to the attention of the public, policymakers and the media, and helped inform policy changes at the state and national level.

Prior to joining National Skills Coalition in 2006, Rachel served as Director of Community Relations and Senior Policy Associate at Chicago-based Women Employed, a leading national advocate for women’s economic advancement. Rachel’s work included policy analysis and advocacy to increase access to and success in higher education for low-income women.

Rachel holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College. She is based in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

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Andy Van Kleunen

Chief Executive Officer at NSC

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Andy Van Kleunen is the Chief Executive Officer of National Skills Coalition, which he founded in 2000 in collaboration with leaders from the workforce development and philanthropic communities. As a nationally recognized expert on workforce and education policy issues for more than two decades, Andy serves as a trusted, nonpartisan resource to state governors, members of Congress, White House officials, and state and federal agencies – helping policymakers develop and implement workforce policy solutions that expand economic opportunity for every worker, every business, and every industry.


Andy has testified before Congress, spoken at White House policy forums, and his policy expertise, insight, and commentary have also been cited and published in national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CNN, CNBC, The Atlantic, Axios, The Hill, US News & World Report, and many other outlets.


Andy has led the National Skills Coalition to become a nationally recognized voice on behalf of a variety of stakeholders—including business leaders, labor leaders, community colleges, community-based organizations, and leaders from the public workforce system—who have come together to advocate for an America that grows its economy by investing in people.


Prior to founding the Coalition, Andy was Director of Workforce Policy for the national Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute, where he worked with employers, unions and client advocates to improve job quality and training for low-wage workers within the nation’s long-term care sector. Andy also spent over 14 years in community organizing and development efforts within several of New York City’s low-income and working-class neighborhoods.


He is a member of the Postsecondary Value Commission, formed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in partnership with the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP).


Andy holds a master’s degree in urban sociology from the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research, and a bachelor’s degree in political science and honors studies from Villanova University. He is based in Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

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Randi Weingarten

President of American Federation of Teachers

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Randi Weingarten is president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, a union of 1.7 million teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. The AFT is dedicated to the belief that every person in America deserves the freedom to thrive, fueled by opportunity, justice and a voice in our democracy. 

 

Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 11 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 2, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system, as well as home child care providers and other workers in health, law and education. Weingarten taught history at Clara Barton High School in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood from 1991 to 1997, and helped her students win several state and national awards debating constitutional issues.

 

Weingarten was included in Washingtonian’s 2021 Washington’s Most Influential People, and in 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years.


Weingarten holds degrees from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and the Cardozo School of Law. She worked as a lawyer for the Wall Street firm of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan from 1983 to 1986. She is an active member of the Democratic National Committee and numerous professional, civic, religious and philanthropic organizations.

 

Born in 1957 and raised in Rockland County, N.Y., Weingarten now resides in the Inwood neighborhood 
of New York City.

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Melissa Wells

Special Assistant to the President of North America's Building Trades Unions (NABTU)

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Melissa Wells serves as Special Assistant to the President of NABTU. Wells comes to NABTU with an extensive policy background. In her role, Wells works closely with international affiliates, state and local councils, as well as industry partners, with a particular focus on all matters related to workforce development and career pathway programs. She will also coordinate and advise on activities throughout the country to develop, integrate and articulate NABTU’s prioritization of diversity and inclusion through policy advancement and recruitment and retention strategies. 

Prior to joining NABTU, Wells served the Baltimore-DC Building Trades Council for 7 years as Baltimore Director, leading the growth of Apprenticeship Readiness Programs and community partnership development. 

She currently represents the 40th district in the Maryland House of Delegates and serves as Assistant Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Whip, and 1st Vice-Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.  

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Dr. Jermaine Williams

President of Montgomery College

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Dr. Jermaine F. Williams became the president of Montgomery College on February 28, 2022. The Montgomery College Board of Trustees has formed a Presidential Transition Advisory Committee (PTAC) to assist Dr. Williams in his role as the new College president. 

Dr. Williams’ work in higher education has focused his energies on improving access for students, as well as retention, graduation, and post-completion success. He has paid special attention to mitigating institutional societal and racial inequities, strategically creating programs and policies that support historically underrepresented and/or marginalized groups. He has years of experience designing, managing, and enhancing institutional and statewide programs and initiatives that have yielded positive student outcomes. 

 

Dr. Williams has been widely lauded for his inclusive leadership style and for building teams that create strategic programing and policies to improve student outcomes. His professional approach to student success is deeply rooted in equity-minded systems and data-informed analysis. Dr. Williams’ view of higher education as a public good informs his personal passion about enhancing access, completion, and post-completion success, goals that are shared across Montgomery College. Read more about Dr. Williams

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Tiffani Williams, Ph.D.

Senior Adviser for Community and Economic Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity

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Tiffani Williams is a senior adviser for community and economic development within the Atlanta Fed’s Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity. Leveraging expertise in research, policy, and practice, her work focuses on creating more robust pathways to economic mobility within our education and workforce systems. Williams brings over a decade of experience as a leader at impact-driven organizations including, most recently, Education Strategy Group (ESG), a national consulting firm, where she offered technical assistance for organizations–government agencies, philanthropies, and higher education institutions–looking to increase opportunities for learners to access and complete meaningful credentials. After starting her career as a counselor on a college campus, Williams went on to work for academic affairs at the University System of Maryland, providing guidance to local educators, practitioners, and other stakeholders on improving pathways to college and career. She also conducted evaluations and impact studies to address equity, affordability, and basic needs in higher education as a senior researcher at Temple University. She holds a PhD from New York University and a master's degree from the University of Maryland–College Park, both in higher education. 

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