A trailblazer in female leadership, Lieutenant General (ret) Nadja West is the 44th Army Surgeon General and the former Commanding General of US Army Medical Command. She is the first African American woman 3-star General in the Army’s history, and currently the highest-ranking woman to ever graduate from West Point.
As Commanding General of MEDCOM, West managed an $11 billion budget and led an organization of more than 130,000 healthcare professionals. She supported more than 4 million people around the globe – responsible for medical centers, community hospitals, and clinics; dental, veterinary, and public health facilities; research, education and training platforms. Known for her decisive leadership, West led the Army Medical Department through the most comprehensive transformation that military medicine has seen in more than three decades, and throughout this transition, ensured that the medical readiness of the force remained high, medical support was timely, and that the quality of healthcare provided to move than 4 million lives remained outstanding. A graduate of George Washington School of Medicine, she completed residencies in Family Medicine and Dermatology, and has held various clinical, operational, and leadership positions throughout her 30+ year career as a soldier.
West gratefully acknowledges the trailblazers who helped clear the path for her to follow and is continuing to blaze the path for others to follow. Among many Army firsts, she was the first woman selected to be the Division Surgeon for 1st Armored Division and the first woman selected as the Joint Staff Surgeon – advising the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on all things medical. West was also the first African American – man or woman – confirmed by the Senate to be the Army’s Surgeon General.
In addition to West’s many military accolades, she was named as one of Washington’s Most Powerful Women in Washingtonian Magazine, the recipient of the Daughters of the American Revolution Margaret Cochran Corbin Award, and awarded the Armed Forces Medical Advocate Award by Essence Magazine. West has also been honored by George Washington University with the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award and holds an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Service from the George Washington University and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Methodist University.
West is currently a Hauser Leader at Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership and serves on the boards of directors for Americares, Nucor Corporation, and Tenet Healthcare Corporation. She is also a trustee of the National Recreation Foundation, dedicated to enhancing the role of recreation as a positive force in improving the quality of life of youth.
Katie Lightfoot trained as an actor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, having first graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Drama & Theatre Arts. After graduating with an MSc in Gender from the London School of Economics, she worked as a freelance diversity consultant across schools and organisations. This led her into the tech start up world, finding solutions to increase gender parity in FTSE 250 companies. As an actor, she has performed widely on stage for the National Theatre, Theatre Royal Bath, Peter Hall Company and Shared Experience, and on television, including The Turn of the Screw (BBC) and Code of a Killer (ITV). She has also written for the RADA Festival. As a tutor for RADA Business, Lightfoot co-develops and delivers on its leadership programmes. She enjoys bringing creativity and spontaneity to a business context, particularly through improvisation.
Kate Walker Miles
Kate Walker Miles trained at RADA and has a degree in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University. Her training work allows her to combine two of her fascinations – performance and psychology. In addition to her core communications and presentations offerings, she also specializes in 'Off The Cuff' speaking and on-camera presentations. Clients include: Morgan Stanley, Discovery Channel, Channel 4, Ten UK, Oxentia, PA Consulting, Leeds University, and UCL. She offers large masterclasses, group training, and one-to-one personal coaching. Walker Miles is an experienced actor, appearing at the RSC and the Young Vic, in movies, and extensively on TV. She played the lead in Channel 4’s improvised comedy series The Work Experience. She finds humour a very useful tool in her training work. Prior to becoming an actor, Walker Miles was a Hollywood reporter, and produced the TV shows The Big Breakfast and The Word. She has trained many TV presenters who are now household names.
Ana Mari Cauce
Ana Mari Cauce is the 33rd president of the University of Washington where she has been a member of the faculty since 1986. A graduate of the University of Miami and Yale University, she is a noted scholar on risk and resilience among adolescents and has received numerous awards for her research as well as the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Before becoming president in 2015, she served as chair of the Departments of American Ethnic Studies and Psychology, as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and as provost, the University’s chief academic officer. In 2008, she played a key role in establishing the Husky Promise, a program that has helped more than 40,000 low-income students attend the UW. Since becoming president, Cauce has put a spotlight on the UW’s work in Population Health across the University, launched the University’s Race & Equity Initiative and been a champion for ensuring the UW and public higher education across the country remain accessible and affordable for all students. As president, and throughout her tenure, she has worked to advance the University’s mission of serving the public good by focusing on the UW’s impact on the lives of the people in Washington and throughout the world.
Sue Cunningham is president and CEO of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which supports more than 3,600 schools, colleges and universities worldwide in developing their alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing operations in order to advance their institutions. As CASE president and CEO, she provides strategic and operational leadership for one of the largest associations of education-related institutions in the world with members in more than 80 countries. She became president of CASE in March, 2015.
Cunningham engaged CASE and thousands of its volunteers in a comprehensive strategic planning process resulting in Reimagining CASE: 2017- 2021, an ambitious and comprehensive framework for serving CASE’s members and championing education worldwide. This volunteer and member engagement extends into a comprehensive effort to refine CASE’s governance structure to more effectively support CASE’s global reach and service to members.
Under her leadership CASE acquired the Voluntary Support of Education survey and created AMAtlas. CASE has reinvigorated its global advocacy agenda and is engaged in reviews of the curriculum across all advancement disciplines and an update of CASE’s management and reporting standards and guidelines, which operate as the industry-leading set of standards. She is most proud of CASE’s efforts to diversify the advancement professions and CASE’s commitment to talent management, within the organization and across CASE’s membership.
Cunningham serves on the steering committee of the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, is a member of the Council of Higher Education Management Associations, the International Women’s Foundation, and serves on the fundraising committee for the Aurora Foundation.
Prior to CASE, she served as vice-principal for advancement at the University of Melbourne and as the director of development for the University of Oxford. She served as director of development at Christ Church, Oxford, and as director of external relations at St. Andrews University.
She is an honorary fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a recipient of the CASE Europe Distinguished Service Award, and is a CASE Crystal Apple Award recipient. She holds a master’s degree from Oxford University and a bachelor’s degree in performing arts from Middlesex University.
An economist by training, Dame Minouche Shafik has spent most of her career straddling the worlds of public policy and academia. After completing her BSc in economics and politics at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she took an MSc in economics at LSE before completing a DPhil in economics at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford.
Minouche’s early research focused on the determinants of investment, the environment and economic growth, the economies of the Middle East and North Africa, trade and migration.
She taught at both Georgetown University and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. During her 15 years at the World Bank, Minouche worked on its first ever World Development Report on the environment, designed reform programmes for transition countries in Eastern Europe, and developed proposals for economic integration in support of the Oslo peace process in the Middle East.
She became the youngest vice-president in the history of the World Bank at the age of 36. Minouche returned to the UK in 2004 and rose to become the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development where she was responsible for the UK’s development assistance efforts around the world.
She joined the IMF in 2011 as Deputy Managing Director with responsibility for many of the crisis countries in the Eurozone and the Arab countries in transition. She also oversaw the IMF’s university which trains thousands of government officials each year, and was responsible for human resources and an administrative budget of $1 billion.
From 2014-2017 she was Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, responsible for a balance sheet of almost £475 billion, and sat on all of the Bank’s major policy committees (the Monetary Policy Committee, Financial Policy Committee, and Prudential Policy Committee). She also led the Fair and Effective Markets Review which put in place a set of reforms to tackle misconduct in financial markets.
Minouche currently serves as a Trustee of the British Museum, the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research, and is Honorary Fellow of St. Antony’s College Oxford.
She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Warwick, the University of Reading, and Glasgow University. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2015. In 2020 the UK Government has announced that she will be made a Life Peer in the House of Lords.
Brian C. Rosenberg
Brian C. Rosenberg is President-in-Residence at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and President Emeritus of Macalester College. Rosenberg served as Macalester’s sixteenth president from 2003-2020.
During Rosenberg’s 17-year tenure at Macalester, enrollment of U.S. students of color at the college increased significantly. Under his leadership, the college prospered during a challenging economic period, delivering balanced budgets, expanded student counts, and several major additions to the campus infrastructure. Rosenberg led Macalester in two significant and successful fundraising campaigns; the first concluded in December 2011, and the second concluded in May 2020.
Rosenberg champions the liberal arts college in the United States: “The liberal arts model rests on a belief in the transformative power of ideas, the necessity of collaborative action for the common good, and the importance of individual self-determination.” He has been quoted in the press on a variety of issues and authored many articles on higher education topics including higher education access and quality, tuition costs, and college rankings.
Prior to becoming President at Macalester, Rosenberg was dean of the faculty and an English professor at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also served as an English professor and chair of the English department at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania.
A Charles Dickens scholar, he has written numerous articles on the Victorian author and other subjects as well as two books: Mary Lee Settle’s Beulah Quintet: The Price of Freedom and Little Dorrit’s Shadows: Character and Contradiction in Dickens. Rosenberg served as a trustee of the Dickens Society from 2000 to 2004.
Fred Swaniker is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, he has co-founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University. Collectively, these institutions aim to groom 3 million leaders for Africa over a 50-year period. A passionate entrepreneur, Swaniker also served as founder and CEO of Terra Education, a global education company that today provides leadership training to about 4,000 people annually at 46 sites in 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Prior to his work in education, Swaniker co-founded Synexa Life Sciences, a biotechnology company with operations in Cape Town, Berlin, London, and Dublin. Prior to launching his entrepreneurial pursuits, Swaniker worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in South Africa. Swaniker has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa. TIME magazine named him one of the most influential people of 2019.
Swaniker has an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class. He holds a BA in economics with a minor in mathematical statistics from Macalester College (magna cum laude). He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about ten different African countries.
Kerrien Suarez is executive director of Equity in the Center (EiC), a field-wide initiative to influence social sector leaders to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to achieve race equity. EiC envisions a future where nonprofit and philanthropic organizations advance race equity internally while centering it in their work externally. In 2018, it published Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture, which details management and operational levers organizations utilize to transform culture.
Her focus on diversity, inclusion and equity developed through work with Surge Institute, Camelback Ventures, EdFuel and National Black Child Development Institute, where she supported emerging and established leaders and social entrepreneurs of color.
A management consultant with over 20 years of experience, Suarez led engagements to refine programs and scale impact for national nonprofits, including The First Tee and AARP ExperienceCorps, while at Community Wealth Partners, where she also coached grantees of the Annie E. Casey, Wells Fargo and Robert Wood Johnson foundations on issues ranging from organizational capacity and sustainability to place-based collective impact.
Suarez is a graduate of Harvard College and London School of Economics. You can follow her on Twitter at @klrs98 and @equityinthectr.