Key Session Speakers
Cecilia A. Conrad is CEO of Lever for Change and a Managing Director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation where she leads the MacArthur Fellows program and its 100&Change competition. Before joining the foundation in 2013, Conrad was Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Stedman Sumner Professor of Economics at Pomona College (2009-2012) and Interim Dean of the Faculty at Scripps College (2007-2009). Dr. Conrad is a member of the board of trustees of Bryn Mawr College, The Poetry Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance, IES Abroad, the Future Leaders Foundation, and the Sylvia Bozeman and Rhonda Hughes EDGE Foundation. She is a trustee emerita of Muhlenberg College. She received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. She is the recipient of National Economic Association’s 2018 Samuel V. Westerfield Award, the National Urban League’s 2008 Women of Power Award, and was 2005 CASE California Professor of the Year.
Dr. Suzi Iacono is the Head of the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). Since she joined NSF in 1998, she has served in many leadership roles, including Acting Assistant Director in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Deputy Assistant Director for CISE, Senior Science Advisor, Acting Division Director in Computer and Network Systems (CNS) and Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS), and Program Director in IIS.
Prior to coming to NSF, she held a faculty position at Boston University School of Management, was a visiting scholar at the Sloan School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a research associate at the Public Policy Research Office at the University of California, Irvine.
Over the years, she has written journal articles, book chapters and conference papers on social informatics, an area of interdisciplinary research and education that integrates aspects of computer and social sciences. Dr. Iacono received her PhD from the University of Arizona in information systems and her MA and BA from the University of California, Irvine in social ecology.
Tomeka Hart serves as a Senior Program Officer, US Policy, Advocacy and Communications for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading grant making to civil rights and equity organizations.
She previously served as the Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Institutional Advancement for the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), leading and supporting SEF’s work to improve student outcomes from early childhood to adulthood, helping the CEO and staff to implement a broad range of advocacy, research, and coalition building activities across the Southern region.
Prior to SEF, she served as the Vice President of African American Community Partnerships for Teach for America, where she was responsible for building alliances within the African American community, including civil rights groups, policy organizations, HBCUs, and media outlets. Prior to joining Teach For America, Hart served as the president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League. She is a former middle/high school teacher, and a former labor/employment lawyer.
Hart served two terms on the elected Memphis City Schools Board of Education, serving 2005-2013. She served as Board President 2008-2009. In 2010, Hart joined with a colleague and led the efforts to merge the Memphis City and Shelby County school systems.
In 2011 Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam appointed Hart as a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States, a national non-partisan organization that helps states develop education policies. Former Tennessee Governor, Phil Bredesen, selected her for Tennessee’s Race to the Top team, and he appointed her to the state’s Teacher Evaluation Advisory Committee, and the First to the Top Advisory Council.
Hart is an Aspen Institute Rodel-Fellowship in Public Leadership fellow and a Pahara-Aspen Institute Education Fellow, and has served on several non-profit boards.
Tomeka Hart holds a B.S. degree in Marketing Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; an M.B.A. from Kennesaw State University; and a J.D. from the University of Memphis.
John B. King Jr.
John B. King Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.
Before becoming education secretary, King carried out the duties of the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P-12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.
King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, Mass., and as a middle school principal.
King’s life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. Both of King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was 12 years old. He credits New York City public school teachers — particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island — for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.
King holds a Bachelor of Arts in government from Harvard University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, as well as a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies and a doctorate in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. King serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland’s College of Education and is a member of several boards, including those for The Century Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation, Teach Plus, and the American Museum of Natural History. He also serves on several advisory boards, including Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, the Rework America Task Force, the GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council, the National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement at the University of California, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
You can follow King on Twitter via @JohnBKing.
Maurizio Vecchione is the executive vice president of the Global Good & Research group at Intellectual Ventures where he oversees the integrated efforts of the Global Good Fund, the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory, and the Institute for Disease Modeling.
The Global Good Fund is IV’s collaboration with Bill Gates that invents and deploys technologies to improve life for the world’s neediest populations. The organization works in global health to improve the diagnosis and prevention of some of the world’s most menacing diseases—often applying data-driven analysis from the Institute for Disease Modeling—and also works in global development, seeking to increase farm productivity and food security for smallholder farm families in low-income nations. Research and development is provided by the multi-disciplinary IV Laboratory in cooperation with partner institutions worldwide.
With more than 30 years of industry experience in technology and life sciences, Mr. Vecchione has helped build nine startups and launch more than 50 commercial products spanning health technologies and therapeutics as well as telecommunications, information systems, and material sciences. He most recently served as CEO of Arrogene, commercializing a nanotechnology platform for cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, and was CEO of telemedicine pioneer CompuMed.
Mr. Vecchione is an editorial advisory board member for IEEE Spectrum magazine. He’s also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and the Leadership Council for UW Medicine/UW School of Public Health Department of Global Health. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Trustees of the Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation, which promotes collaboration between North American researchers and Italian Academic and Government institutions.
As an inventor himself, Mr. Vecchione is named on multiple U.S. patents and patent applications related to imaging, image processing, nano-bio-polymers, and telecommunications. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Computing Machinery Society, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Key Session Designers
Jill Bond serves as the associate vice president of foundation relations at the Rutgers University Foundation. In her role with the Foundation, she is responsible for Rutgers-wide engagement with private foundations. Jill and her team focus on identifying funding to support Rutgers faculty engaged in innovative and novel approaches to addressing societal needs. Before joining Rutgers in August 2017, Jill served as the Executive Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to moving to Austin, Texas, Jill lived in Washington, DC where she served in similar positions at both George Washington University and George Mason University. From 2015-2017, Jill served on the national board of the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers. Previous to her career in university fundraising, Jill spent nearly two-decade working in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill, in non-profit advocacy and public affairs consulting. She hold a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Carol Hobson, director of foundation relations, brings nearly twenty-five years of University of California insight and experience to her work focused on securing support for arts, humanities, social sciences, global policy and related inter-disciplinary research efforts. She is a UC San Diego Muir College ’84 alumna, completing a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts/Film & Video prior to working for several years in the regional San Diego arts community. Carol joined the university’s Advancement Operations and Campaign unit in 2008, after serving UC San Diego for thirteen years as a Business Officer and two years as a Research Development Officer at UCLA.
Jen Lawrence leads the Foundation Relations team in the Office of the Vice President for Research at Indiana University (IU), serving as Senior Executive Director of Foundation Relations. Before joining IU, she served in a similar role at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and prior to that worked in Foundation Relations and Communications at Northwestern University.
Earlier in her career, Lawrence worked as a communication strategist, helping corporations and organizations refine and optimize their institutional identities. She holds a master's degree in speech communication and a bachelor's degree in mass communication, both from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She completed coursework at the University of Iowa toward a doctorate in communication studies with a focus in technology, leaving ABD. In 2013, Lawrence earned a master of fine arts degree in fiction writing from Northwestern University. She has taught courses in grant writing, rhetoric and composition, creative writing, and public speaking.