Afua Bruca is a leading public interest technologist who has spent her career working at the intersection of technology, policy, and society. Her work has spanned the government, non-profit, private, and academic sectors, as she has held senior science and technology positions at DataKind, the White House, the FBI, and IBM. Afua is currently a strategy consultant and advisor to organizations developing and expanding public interest tech projects in both the corporate, government, and nonprofit spaces. She is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a Technology and Public Purpose Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center. As an If/Then Ambassador, Afua engages in efforts to excite girls to consider STEM careers; she has partnered with GoldieBlox, appeared on CBS’s Mission Unstoppable TV show, and is featured in a number of museums around the country. Afua has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Michigan. Her newest book, The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Technologists, and Philanthropists can Build an Equitable World, describes how technology can advance equity.
Aimee Allison is the founder and president of She the People, a national organization that elevates the voice and power of women of color as leaders of a new political and cultural era. She organized and moderated the nation’s first presidential forum for women of color in 2019. Allison’s expert political insight has been featured across national and international media outlets from Politico to the New York Times and PBS to MSNBC. Allison holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University.
Position: Principal at Black Futures Lab and Author of The Purpose of Power
Alicia believes that Black communities deserve what all communities deserve – to be powerful in every aspect of their lives. An author, political strategist, organizer, and cheeseburger enthusiast, Alicia founded the Black Futures Lab to make Black communities powerful in politics. She is the co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, serves as the Strategy & Partnerships Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and is a co-founder of Supermajority, a new home for women’s activism. Alicia has become a powerful voice in the media and frequently contributes thoughtful opinion pieces and expert commentary on politics, race, and more to outlets such as MSNBC and The New York Times. She has received numerous
accolades and recognitions, including being on the cover of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World issue and being named to Bloomberg’s 50 and Politico’s 50 lists. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart (One World Penguin Random House), and she warns you – hashtags don’t start movements. People do.
Alicia Menendez anchors MSNBC’s “American Voices with Alicia Menendez” Saturday and Sunday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. ET. She is also the author of The Likeability Trap and host of the “Latina to Latina” podcast.
Menendez joined MSNBC in October 2019. Prior to joining the network, Menendez served as a correspondent on “Amanpour & Company” on PBS and formerly hosted a nightly news and pop culture show on Fusion called “Alicia Menendez Tonight.” Her reporting and interviews have appeared on ABC News, Bustle, FusionTV, PBS and Vice News.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Menendez has been called “Ms. Millennial” by the Washington Post, “journalism’s new gladiator” by Elle, and a “content queen” by Marie Claire.
Cecile Richards is a co-founder of Supermajority, an organization fighting for gender equity. She was president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund from 2006 to 2018 and before that, served as deputy chief of staff to Nancy Pelosi. In 2004, Richards founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of national grassroots organizations working to maximize registration, education, and voter participation. Author of the New York Times best-seller Make Trouble and a frequent speaker and commentator on politics and progressive issues, she was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2011 and 2012.
Position: 4-Time Olympian Gold Medalist and Head Coach, South Carolina Gamecocks
Catapulting South Carolina into the national spotlight, Dawn Staley has made the Gamecocks a mainstay in the battle for SEC and national championships. Under her leadership, the Gamecocks have reached many firsts—National Championship, NCAA Final Fours, No. 1 rankings, SEC regular-season and tournament titles, SEC Player of the Year, National Player of the Year, WNBA No. 1 Draft Pick and No. 1 recruiting classes—to name the most notable.
While her coaching career is in full bloom, Staley is still recognized for her body of work as a one of the most decorated participants in United States women’s basketball history. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame solidified that legacy with her enshrinement as part of the Class of 2013. The Phoenix Club of Philadelphia established the Dawn Staley Award recognizing the nation’s top guard in women’s Division I basketball in 2013 as well. Staley was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012 and was one of the final nominees for induction to the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame the same year. In the summer of 2011, the WNBA recognized her as one of the league’s “Top 15,” honoring the most influential players in the league’s history.
Don McPherson is the author of You Throw Like a Girl: The Blind Spot of Masculinity, which chronicles 37 years of harnessing the power and appeal of sport to address complex social issues and focuses on a quarter century of work on gender-based violence prevention.
McPherson was an All-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. As captain of the undefeated 1987 Syracuse football team, McPherson set 22 school records and won more than 18 national Player of the Year awards. In 2008, McPherson was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Upon retiring from football in 1994, McPherson turned his focus to the issue of men’s violence against women. McPherson emerged as a national leader and advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence. He has conducted workshops and lectures for more than 350 college campuses, community organizations, and national sports and violence prevention organizations. His programs and lectures have reached millions.
Don McPherson has served as a board member, consultant, and advisor for the Ms. Foundation for Women, the US National Committee for UN Women, and the National Football Foundation. Currently, he is a member of the advisory board of Press Forward and the Vital Voices Solidarity Council.
Eleanor Mueller is a reporter on POLITICO’s economics team covering labor politics and policy. She’s written extensively about the pandemic-warped job market, as well as paid leave, child care, organized labor, unemployment insurance, and other issues. She first joined POLITICO as a copy editor in 2018; prior to that, she reported out of D.C. newsrooms including CNN, McClatchy, USA TODAY, and others.
Elizabeth Barajas-Román is the President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to gender equity and justice. As CEO, Elizabeth harnesses the collective power of the network to leverage a powerful platform for change, aligning funding in support of network members and initiatives critical to the well-being and economic security of women and girls worldwide.
Previously, she was CEO of the Solidago Foundation. For more than 20 years she has been a leader in progressive movements, including advocating at the national level for the health and rights of immigrant women and their families. She has also served as the CEO of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. Under her leadership, the Women’s Fund was part of several strategic initiatives that resulted in systems-level change impacting millions of women and their families. She was previously a manager at The Pew Charitable Trusts, and before that, the Director of Policy at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health where she opened and directed the organization’s Washington, D.C. office.
Elizabeth serves on the national Board of Directors for Emerge and is on the steering committee for the New England Women’s Policy Initiative. She is a member of the External Advisory Board for the University of Massachusetts-Boston Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, and the Massachusetts Treasurer appointed Elizabeth to serve on the state’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board, and the statewide Advisory Board on Wage Equality.
Elizabeth is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP), a graduate of Oberlin College, and she received her master’s degree in international policy from Harvard University.
Position: New York Times bestselling author of Fair Play
Eve Rodsky transformed a “blueberries breakdown” into a catalyst for social change when she applied her Harvard-trained background in organizational management to ask the simple yet profound question: What would happen if we treated our homes as our most important organizations? Her New York Times bestselling book and Reese’s Book Club Pick, Fair Play, a gamified life-management system that helps partners rebalance their domestic workload and reimagine their relationship, has elevated the cultural conversation about the value of unpaid labor and care. In her highly anticipated follow-up, Find Your Unicorn Space: Reclaim Your Creative Life in a Too-Busy World, Rodsky explores the cross-section between the science of creativity, productivity, and resilience. Described as the ‘antidote to physical, mental, and emotional burnout,’ Rodsky aims to inspire a new narrative around the equality of time and the individual right to personal time choice that influences sustainable and lasting change on a policy level. Rodsky’s work is backed by Hello Sunshine—Reese Witherspoon’s media company whose mission is to change the narrative for women through storytelling. Rodsky was born and raised by a single mom in New York City and now lives in Los Angeles with her husband Seth and their three children.
Position: President/CEO, National Women’s Law Center
Fatima Goss Graves is the President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC). Ms. Goss Graves has spent her career fighting to advance opportunities for women and girls. She has a distinguished track record working across a broad set of issues central to women’s lives, including income security, health and reproductive rights, education access, and workplace fairness. Ms. Goss Graves is among the co-founders of the TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund.
Prior to becoming President of NWLC, Ms. Goss Graves served as the Center’s Senior Vice President for Program, where she led the organization’s broad program agenda to advance progress and eliminate barriers in employment, education, health and reproductive rights and lift women and families out of poverty. Prior to that, as the Center’s Vice President for Education and Employment, she led the Center’s anti-discrimination initiatives, including work to promote equal pay, combat harassment and sexual assault at work and at school, and advance equal access to education programs, with a particular focus on outcomes for women and girls of color.
Ms. Goss Graves has authored many articles, including A Victory for Women’s Health Advocates, National Law Journal (2016) and We Must Deal with K-12 Sexual Assault, National Law Journal (2015), and reports, including Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity (2014), Reality Check: Seventeen Million Reasons Low-Wage Workers Need Strong Protections from Harassment (2014), and 50 Years and Counting: The Unfinished Business of Achieving Fair Pay (2013).
Ms. Goss Graves received her B.A. from UCLA in 1998 and her J.D. from Yale Law School in 2001. She began her career as a litigator at the law firm of Mayer Brown LLP after clerking for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She currently serves as an advisor on the American Law Institute Project on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct on Campus and was on the EEOC Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace and a Ford Foundation Public Voices Fellow.
She is widely recognized for her effectiveness in the complex public policy arena at both the state and federal levels, regularly testifies before Congress and federal agencies, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and other public education forums. Ms. Goss Graves appears often in print and on air as a legal expert on issues core to women’s lives, including in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AP, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. Follow Ms. Goss Graves on Twitter at @fgossgraves.
Gary Barker, PhD, is a leading global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality and positive masculinities. He is the CEO and co-founder of Promundo-US, which has worked more than 10 years in nearly 40 countries. He is also co-founder of Instituto Promundo in Brazil, which began work on healthy masculinities and male allyship more than 20 years ago. Gary is co-founder of MenCare, a global campaign working in more than 50 countries to promote men’s involvement as caregivers, and co-founder of MenEngage, a global alliance of more than 700 NGOs. He co-created and leads the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), the largest-ever survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors related to violence, fatherhood, and gender equality. He is a co-author of the 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 State of the World’s Fathers reports. He has advised the UN, the World Bank, numerous national governments, and key international foundations and corporations on strategies to engage men and boys in promoting gender equality. In 2017 he was named by Apolitical as one of the 20 most influential people in gender policy around the world. He is an Ashoka Fellow and received the Voices of Solidarity Award from Vital Voices for his work to engage men for gender equality. He holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology and a Research Affiliate position at the Center for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
Position: President, CEO, Co-Founder, Higher Heights for America
As president, CEO, and co-founder of Higher Heights for America, Glynda C. Carr is at the center of the national movement to grow Black women’s political power from the voting booth to elected office.
In 2011, Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen co-founded Higher Heights to address the dearth of organizing resources for politically active Black women and the lack of support for those who were considering seeking elected office. Through her leadership, the organization has developed several innovative programs and efforts that have quickly solidified its reputation as the political home and go-to resource for progressive Black women.
Carr is the co-creator of #BlackWomenLead—a powerful coalition movement that is creating an environment for Black women to run, win and lead—and the Higher Heights-powered #BlackWomenVote, a nonpartisan voter-activism campaign that serves as an independent and trusted voice for Black women’s political concerns. Her work to date has helped to elect 11 Black women to the U.S. Congress, including one to the Senate, and to increase the number of Black women holding statewide executive office, including helping to elect the first Black woman to serve as New York State Attorney General.
Carr has appeared on the 2018 Essence magazine Woke 100 list. She has contributed to CNN.com, TheRoot.com, Ebony.com, HuffPost.com and BET.com; appeared on Cheddar, FOX News Live, and MSNBC; and been interviewed and quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, US News, BuzzFeed, and numerous other outlets.
Position: Executive Director, White House Gender Policy Council
Jennifer Klein is a Co-Chair and the Executive Director of the White House Gender Policy Council. She was previously the Chief Strategy and Policy Officer at TIME’S UP. She has written and taught extensively about domestic and global gender policy, including as an Adjunct Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. She worked with former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to develop No Ceilings, an initiative to evaluate progress for women and girls since the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women and to advance gender equality around the world. From 2009 to 2012, Ms. Klein was a Deputy and Senior Advisor in the Office of Global Women’s Issues within the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of State. From February 1993 through January 1999, she worked at The White House in a dual appointment as First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s senior domestic policy advisor and a Special Assistant to the President on the Domestic Policy Council. She holds a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom is the First Partner of California, an award-winning filmmaker, and an influential advocate and thought leader on gender equality. As First Partner, Jennifer is a voice and partner to working moms and families throughout the state and committed to creating a California for ALL Women and California for ALL Kids.
Through her California for ALL Kids campaign, she champions initiatives to support children’s mental and physical health, as well as provide families with the tools to build a solid learning foundation. And through her California for ALL Women campaign she’s making strides to build economic equity, equal representation, and advance a family-first agenda.
Jennifer serves as honorary chair of the California Volunteers Commission, co-chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being, and co-chair of the California Farm to School Working Group. She graduated with honors from Stanford University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Jennifer is married to Governor Gavin Newsom and the mother of their four young children.
In 2004, Jessica founded the award winning blog Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review called “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” Jessica’s articles have topped the most-read lists at the New York Times, Atlantic, Guardian, and Washington Post. She’s also written for Salon, Bitch, Ms. Magazine, and The Toast. Jessica has been interviewed on the Colbert Report, profiled in the New York Times magazine, and is a widely-sought after speaker. She has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Position: President, National Partnership for Women & Families
As of Dec. 1, 2021, Jocelyn Frye is the current president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, an organization that works to improve the lives of women and families by achieving equality for all women.
Prior to taking the helm at the National Partnership, Jocelyn served as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP) where she shaped and advocated for policies focused on women’s economic security, women’s employment, and women’s rights.
Before her time at CAP, Jocelyn spent four years working in the White House under President Obama — serving as deputy assistant to the president and director of policy and special projects for Michelle Obama.
Jocelyn first worked for the National Partnership as a staff attorney, and eventually was named general counsel. She also served on the National Partnership’s board.
Position: Executive Director, United States of Women
Jordan Brooks is the Executive Director of The United State of Women (USoW). (USoW). USoW is an initiative dedicated to being the megaphone for the women’s equality movement. In June, the United State of Women partnered with The White House Council on Women and Girls, The Aspen Institute, The Department of Labor, and the State Department to convene the first ever United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC. Jordan has worked with the Obama administration since the beginning as an organizer and then rose to become the Deputy Executive Director, White House Council on Women and Girls.
Position: Celebrity Portrait Curators and Photographers
Katherine and Mariel Tyler (aka The Tyler Twins) are professional photographers specializing in celebrity portraits, concerts, and event photography. With experience as the National Photo Director for iHeartRadio (Katherine) and the Senior Photo Editor of ELLE.COM (Mariel), the twins have covered various celebs and events in a multitude of environments. Whether they’re backstage or in the studio, their genuine affinity for people, music, and storytelling are apparent in their work.
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner is the co-founder and Executive Director of MomsRising, an organization with over a million members across the nation working to increase economic security security, decrease discrimination, and to build a nation where everyone can thrive. She is also a frequent public speaker, radio host, and an award-winning author. She has also been published and featured in numerous outlets, including: Politico, USA Today, TIME, The Guardian, CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post, and HuffPost.
Laphonza Butler is the president at EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, whose mission is to elect Democratic pro-choice at every level of government.
As a leader in Democratic politics, campaign strategy, and the labor movement for two decades, Butler has dedicated her life to empowering women and supporting them in finding their voice.
Prior to joining EMILY’s List, she served as Director of Public Policy and Campaigns in North America for Airbnb. She was also a partner at SCRB Strategies, a political consulting firm where she worked with candidates up and down the ballot, and was a senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris’s presidential campaign.
Butler spent 10 years as the president of the biggest union in California, and the nation’s largest homecare workers union, SEIU Local 2015. She was elected to this position at just 30 years old, one of the youngest to take on this role.
As president, Butler was the leading voice and architect of efforts to address pay inequity for women in California, and a top advocate for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour – the first state in the nation to do so. That effort also gave hundreds of thousands of home workers access to paid time off.
She is a member of the University of California Board of Regents and a board member for the Children’s Defense Fund and BLACK PAC.
Butler grew up in Magnolia, MS, and attended one of the country’s premier HBCUs, Jackson State University. She lives in Maryland with her partner Neneki Lee and their daughter Nylah.
Letitia “Tish” James is the 67th Attorney General for the State of New York. With decades of work, she is an experienced attorney and public servant with a long record of accomplishments. She is the first woman of color to hold statewide office in New York and the first woman to be elected Attorney General.
In 2013, Ms. James was elected Public Advocate for the City of New York and became the first woman of color to hold citywide office. As Public Advocate, Ms. James served as a watchdog over New York City government agencies and as an advocate for the City’s most vulnerable communities. She transformed the Public Advocate’s office to be a formidable engine for change.
Prior to serving as Public Advocate, Tish James represented the 35th Council District in Brooklyn in the New York City Council for ten years. As a Council Member, she passed the Safe Housing Act, legislation that forced landlords to improve living conditions for tenants in New York City’s worst buildings. She helped uncover the corruption behind the Office of Payroll Administration’s CityTime contract, a scheme that cost New York City over $600 million.
Before her election to the City Council, Tish James served as head of the Brooklyn Regional Office of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. She resolved hundreds of consumer complaints and investigated predatory lenders who preyed on first-time homebuyers. She assisted the Civil Rights Bureau in its investigation of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy and cracked down on firms engaged in deceptive business practices including violations of human rights, environmental laws, and scams targeting immigrants.
Tish James began her career as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society. A proud Brooklynite, she is a graduate of Lehman College and Howard University School of Law.
For 10 years, Lilly Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.
Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than $3 million after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. Despite her defeat, Ledbetter continued her fight until the Supreme Court decision was nullified when President Barack Obama, on January 29, 2009, signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Lindsay Crouse is a writer and producer in the Opinion section of The New York Times. Drawing on her own experiences as a competitive marathoner, she has spearheaded coverage of women athletes at The Times; the Emmy-nominated video series she produced in 2019, Equal Play, broke news by centering female athletes’ untold experiences and led to widespread reform in women’s sports. Now the Co-Executive Producer of Op-Docs, The Times’s series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers, she has produced more than 300 films, winning four Emmy awards (15 nominations), five Oscar nominations, and two Peabody awards — including the 2022 Oscar nominee “The Queen of Basketball.” She is the author of the forthcoming book, The Case for Quitting.
Elizabeth H. Shuler is president of the AFL-CIO, a federation of 57 unions, 12.5 million working people across all sectors of the U.S. economy. She is the first woman to hold the office of president in the history of the labor federation. A visionary leader and longtime trade unionist, Shuler believes the labor movement is a powerful vehicle for progress and that unions are a central force in leading lasting societal transformations. Her leadership has focused on the future of work, clean energy economy, workforce development, and empowering women and young workers. She is committed to leveraging the labor movement’s diversity and power to advance social and economic justice, and to making the benefits of a union voice on the job available to working people everywhere.
Michaela angela Davis is a writer, producer, and image activist. Her work is focused on gender, race, fashion, culture, beauty, and identity. Most recently, Davis collaborated with Mariah Carey on the Instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Meaning of Mariah Carey, a memoir of her identity. Davis is the creator of the Hair Tales, a multi-platform, multi-discipline project exploring the identity and humanity of Black women through the culture of hair. She’s spoken globally and has been a respected cultural commentator on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, and several other networks. Davis has been the creative lead for select global beauty campaigns and the award-winning redesign for Viacom’s Centric TV “The First Network Designed for Black Women.” She has been an Editor-in-Chief, a Fashion, Beauty, and Culture Editor at several national publications and was a noted fashion stylist working with Beyonce, Diana Ross, Prince, Maya Angelou, and many others. She currently has several projects in production including the Hair Tales docu-series serving as creator, EP, and co-host with Tracee Ellis Ros coming to ONYX Collective/Hulu/OWN networks; Oprah Winfrey is also serving as Executive producer premiering fall ’22. Davis is a member of the Gucci Change Makers Council.
Nathalie Molina Niño is Managing Director at Known Holdings. She is an investor (Builder Capitalist), author, educator and retired global tech entrepreneur. As part of her work as a champion of women, communities of color and the planet, she co-founded the trade organization for Builder Capitalism, a long-view, alternative asset class to Venture Capital. In 2018, her book LEAPFROG, The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs (Penguin Random House, Tarcher Perigee) was named one of Book Authority’s “Best CEO Books of All Time.” Molina Niño launched her first tech startup at the age of twenty and is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies of Barnard College at Columbia University. She invests out of her family office, O³, and prior to that via BRAVA Investments, where she served as CEO. In 2015 she stepped in as CRO of PowerToFly, to help grow what is now the fastest growing online hiring platform for women in tech. She has advised organizations such as Disney, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, MTV, Mattel and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During her career in tech, Molina Niño was involved in launching and growing a multinational business (with Lionbridge, NASDAQ: LIOX) into a $100M operation in 30+ countries within six years, including the inception of their strategic relationship with Microsoft Bing.
Today, Molina Niño serves as a Venture Partner at Connectivity Capital Partners, as an advisor for Goldman Sachs’ Launch with GS Black and Latinx Cohort, WOCstar Fund, FullCycle, Accion Opportunity Fund, Vote Run Lead, WE NYC (Women Entrepreneurs NYC) and HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality). In support of her efforts to make reproductive healthcare more accessible and affordable, she serves on the board of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and The American Medical Association’s Center for Health Equity. In 2019, she was honored with Schneps’ inaugural Women of Wall Street Awards for her influence in banking and finance and was named among People Magazine’s most powerful Latinas.
Dr. Nicole Bates is an executive leader and impact-driven strategist with 20 years of experience designing original portfolios; building cross-sectoral partnerships; and activating public and political networks to generate support, policies and financing for health and development priorities – in the US and abroad.
Nicole currently serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives at Pivotal Ventures, a company founded by Melinda French Gates working to accelerate progress in the US by removing barriers that hold people back. Here, she leads the company’s efforts to build a well-resourced and active philanthropic ecosystem of individuals and organizations working together to advance social progress through collective action. Nicole has played a central role in articulating strategic frameworks for the company and was the architect of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge – a $40 million philanthropic competition to advance gender equality in the U.S.
Nicole joined Pivotal Ventures after more than a decade at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she led the foundation’s global advocacy and communications strategy for child health, including immunization and polio eradication. Nicole has served as senior advisor in the Office of the Executive Director at UNICEF as well as the Director for Government Relations at the Global Health Council and Deputy Director for Public Policy at the Center for Community Change. Nicole began her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a Presidential Management Fellow and worked for Senator Edward Kennedy on domestic social policy.
Nicole earned her doctorate and master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed undergraduate studies with high honors at the University of Virginia.
Nonny de la Peña is regarded as one of the most influential pioneers in virtual and augmented reality and was recently named WSJ Technology Innovator of the Year. A Wired Magazine #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change, she has been called “The Godmother of Virtual Reality” by Engadget and The Guardian. Additionally, Fast Company named her “One of the People Who Made the World More Creative” and CNET’s 20 Most Influential Latinos in Tech for her pioneering work in immersive storytelling. As CEO of Emblematic Group, she leads the company in creating cutting edge technologies to not only tell stories that create intense, empathic engagement. Her latest endeavor, REACH.Love, is a no-code WebXR platform that intends to empower anyone to create and distribute AR/VR stories straight in the browser.
A New America Fellow, Yale Poynter Media Fellow, and winner of the Knight Innovation Award, de la Peña is widely credited with creating the genre of immersive journalism. Currently a member of the BAFTA virtual reality board, she is a former correspondent for Newsweek and her virtual reality work has been featured by the New York Times, BBC, Mashable, Vice, Wired and many others. Showcases around the globe include the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals, The World Economic Forum in Davos, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and Games For Change. She has more than 20 years of award-winning experience in print, film and TV and has used her broad knowledge to innovate in this burgeoning field. Her spatial narratives are consistently met with critical acclaim.
Position: Emmy-Winning Documentary Filmmaker, Journalist, Public Health Advocate
Perri Peltz is a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and public health advocate. She is co-director and producer of the HBO docu-news series, “Axios,” which premiered November 2018, and hosts a radio show on SiriusXM. Peltz directed the HBO documentaries, Warning: This Drug May Kill You, about the opioid addiction epidemic, and Risky Drinking. She directed and produced the network’s Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr. and The Education of Dee Dee Ricks. A contributing director to the “Conversation” series for the New York Times OpDocs, Peltz executive produced A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers. Prior to documentaries, she was a television journalist with NBC, ABC, and CNN.
Rachel Feldman is a film and television director and writer in pre-production on LILLY, a political drama based on the life of fair pay icon Lilly Ledbetter, starring Patricia Clarkson, Josh Lucas, and Thomas Sadoski. Feldman has written and directed pilots and movies for Lifetime, Freeform, Entertainment One, and the SYFY Channel.
An accomplished television director with over 75 credits in broadcast or streaming drama, her most recent series credits include multiple episodes of BLUE BLOODS, THE ROOKIE and CRIMINAL MINDS.) Her script DR. NOVAK won the ScreenCraft Best Pilot and was selected for Breaking Through the Lens at Cannes.
Feldman is also an advocate for women directors and the former chair of the DGA Women’s Steering Committee, interviewed in docs: This Changes Everything produced by Geena Davis, Amy Adrion’s Half the Picture, and Bloomberg TV’s Celluloid Ceilings.
Feldman has been a recipient of the AFI Filmmakers Grant, The Kodak Filmmaker Award, a NY State Council of the Arts grant, and funding from The Jerome Foundation. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA in directing from NYU.
You can follow her on Twitter @WomenCallAction, see her full bio, watch her work, and read her articles at www.rachelfeldman.com.
A former Washington State Senator and a lifelong organizer for immigrant, civil, and human rights, Representative Pramila Jayapal was recently re-elected to Congress for a third term with more votes than any Member of the House of Representatives. In 2016, she became the first South Asian American woman ever elected to the House. She came to the United States alone at the age of 16, and went on to start the largest immigrant rights organization in Washington state before becoming one of only 14 immigrants serving in Congress today. As the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Jayapal is the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All Act, the College for All Act, the Housing is a Human Right Act, the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act, and the Roadmap to Freedom immigration resolution. She currently serves on the Judiciary, Budget, and Education and Labor committees. Congresswoman Jayapal lives in West Seattle with her husband Steve.
Reshma Saujani is a leading activist and the founder of Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plan for Moms. She is the author of the forthcoming book, PAY UP. Reshma has spent more than a decade building movements to fight for women and girls’ economic empowerment, working to close the gender gap in the tech sector, and most recently advocating for policies to support moms impacted by the pandemic. Reshma is also the author of the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect, and her influential TED talk, “Teach girls, bravery not perfection,” has more than 5 million views globally. Reshma began her career as an attorney and Democratic organizer. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. Reshma lives in New York City with her husband, Nihal, their sons, Shaan and Sai, and their bulldog, Stanley.
Roxane Gay is an author and cultural critic whose writing is unmatched and widely revered. Her work garners international acclaim for its reflective, no-holds-barred exploration of feminism and social criticism. With a deft eye on modern culture, she brilliantly critiques its ebb and flow with both wit and ferocity.
Words like “courage,” “humor,” and “smart” are frequently deployed when describing Roxane. Her collection of essays, Bad Feminist, is universally considered the quintessential exploration of modern feminism. NPR named it one of the best books of the year and Salon declared the book “trailblazing.” Her powerful debut novel, An Untamed State, was long listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize. In 2017, Roxane released her bestselling memoir, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, which was called “Luminous…intellectually rigorous and deeply moving” by the New York Times.
She also released her collection of short stories, Difficult Women. The Los Angeles Times says of the collection, “There’s a distinct echo of Angela Carter or Helen Oyeyemi at play; dark fables and twisted morality tales sit alongside the contemporary and the realistic…”
In 2018, she released Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, a valuable and searing anthology; it has been described as “essential reading” and a “call to arms” by its readers. In 2020, Roxane released Graceful Burdens, an incisive collection of funny, enraging, and hopeful stories of women’s empowerment and escape, as well as a graphic novel called The Sacrifice of Darkness. Roxane was the first black woman to ever write for Marvel, writing a comic series in the Black Panther universe called World of Wakanda.
Roxane co-hosts Hear to Slay with Tressie McMillan Cottom – a podcast with an
intersectional perspective on celebrity, culture, politics, art, life, love, and more. She also pens the “work friend” advice column for the New York Times, and in 2021 she began her own publishing imprint with Grove Atlantic, “Roxane Gay Books.” She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.
Roxane fronts a small army of avid fans on social media and when she finds the time, she dominates the occasional Scrabble tournament.
Saru Jayaraman is the President of One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11/01, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), which grew into a national movement of restaurant workers, employers and consumers. In 2013, she launched One Fair Wage as a national campaign to end all subminimum wages in the United States. The story of Saru and her colleagues’ work has been chronicled in the book The Accidental American, and the story of the One Fair Wage campaign has been profiled in the documentary films Waging Change and The Great American Lie, by CA First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, was 1010 Wins’ “Newsmaker of the Year” and New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. She was listed in CNN’s “Top10 Visionary Women” and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015, and the SF Chronicle ‘Visionary of the Year’ in 2019. Saru authored Behind the Kitchen Door (Cornell University Press, 2013), a national bestseller, Forked: A New Standard for American Dining (Oxford University Press, 2016), Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning (UC Press, 2020); and One Fair Wage: Ending Subminimum Pay in America (New Press, 2021). She has appeared on CNN with Soledad O’Brien, Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Melissa Harris Perry and UP with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, the Today Show, and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. She attended the Golden Globes in January 2018 with Amy Poehler as part of the Times Up action to address sexual harassment.
Shelley Zalis is CEO of The Female Quotient. She is an internationally renowned thought leader, movement maker, and champion of equality. She is a pioneer for online research, becoming the first female chief executive ranked in the research industry’s top 25. Today, as CEO of The Female Quotient, Zalis works with Fortune 500 companies and impact organizations to advance equality in the workplace. Through its signature pop-up experience, the Equality Lounge®, along with the Global Exchange and advisory services, The Female Quotient has created an international community of women rising up to catalyze change. A firm believer in giving back with generosity, Zalis is a proud mentor to women around the world.
Zalis authors a Forbes column that provides virtual mentorship for women in middle management. She is co-founder of #SeeHer, a movement led by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) to increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in advertising and media. She is on the board of directors for MAKERS.
Subha V. Barry is president of Seramount, now part of EAB. Seramount (formerly known as Working Mother Media) is a strategic professional services firm dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Here, she oversees four key divisions—Insights, Solutions, Events, and Digital—and drives the firm’s vision, strategy, and business development.
Subha’s career spans 30 years of experience in front-line business, operational, and leadership roles where she has built cohesive and productive teams to be agents of change. She has shown how strong and inclusive leadership can drive business results and profitability. During her 21 years at Merrill Lynch, Subha was a wealth advisor, a branch manager, the leader of the Multicultural Business Development Group, and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion. At Freddie Mac, she was the Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer with oversight of Diversity & Inclusion, Supplier Diversity, Community Engagement, and the Freddie Mac Foundation.
She has taught Gender Policy at Columbia University and speaks passionately about the ability to drive innovation by embracing diversity and creating a culture of inclusion. She serves on a number of boards aligned with her passions—education, cancer research, and women’s advancement.
A native of India, Subha holds a BA from Bombay University and an MBA and MS in Accounting from Rice University. She has two grown children and lives in Naples, Florida, and New Hope, PA, with her husband.
Thanh Nguyen is CEO and Co-Founder of OpenComp, a compensation intelligence company that empowers modern employers to confidently make the best business and career decisions.
Thanh is a leading compensation and HR strategies expert with 20+ years of experience – a trusted advisor to Airbnb, a16z, ChanZuckerburg foundation, Figma, LiveNation, Lyft, Uber and many more. He created the OpenComp platform to scale this knowledge and empower companies to pay employees fairly.
Prior to OpenComp, Thanh co-scaled the most credible name in compensation advisory, Connery Consulting, overseeing operations, a team of management and delivery consultants, and business development. Thanh was the second People Operations hire at Salesforce, leading the Total Rewards team for eight years, and later, establishing operations in Asia Pacific.
Position: Co-Executive Director, New Virginia Majority
Tram joined New Virginia Majority in 2008. Following the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, she helped fight for federal funding for a health treatment program to address the unmet physical and mental needs of rescue and recovery workers at Ground Zero. In 2005, Tram traveled to the Gulf Coast to organize the 30,000+ Vietnamese immigrants whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. For over two years, she directed a recovery program that assisted over 3,000 families by providing cultural- and language-appropriate services, and she advocated for the sustainable redevelopment of immigrant communities and businesses in New Orleans, LA; Biloxi, MS; and Bayou La Batre, AL. Tram is an alumna of Barnard College, Columbia University and was a 2010 Lead the Way Fellow at the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.