Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and an author of ten books of nonfiction, including The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, which won the 2017 National Book Award.
Megan Smith is an award-winning entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist. She recently co-founded a company, shift7, focusing on tech-forward networked innovation for impact and economic inclusion. Smith served as the third U.S. chief technology officer from 2014-2017 and spent over eleven years as vice president at Google leading new business development. She is a member of the MIT board and the National Academy of Engineering.
Mehdi Hasan is an award-winning British broadcaster, writer, and author based in D.C. He is a columnist and senior contributor with the Intercept, host of the ‘Deconstructed’ podcast, and presenter of ‘UpFront’ and ‘Head to Head’ on Al Jazeera English. Mehdi is the author of two books and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.
Co-founder of Axios, the next great media company; co-founder of Politico.
Mitch Landrieu was the 61st Mayor of New Orleans (2010-2018). He is the New York Times bestselling author of In the Shadow of Statues: A White Southerner Confronts History that recounts his personal journey confronting racism, and tackles the broader history of slavery, race relations, and institutional inequalities that still plague America.
Nikole Hannah-Jonesis an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. Nikole investigates the way racial segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy. She is a 2017 MacArthur Fellow and her reporting has won several national awards, including the Peabody Award, George Polk Award, National Magazine Award, Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service. In 2016, Nikole co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, a training organization aimed at increasing the numbers of investigative reporters of color. Nikole is writing a book on school segregation entitled, "The Problem We All Live With," to be published on the One World imprint of Penguin/Random House
Pancho Argüelles Paz y Puente was born in Mexico City and has lived in the U.S. since 1997. For more than thirty years he has worked for human rights and social justice in Mexico, Central America, and the United States. In Houston he co-founded Fe y Justicia Worker Center and currently serves as executive director of Living Hope Wheelchair Association a community based organization of immigrants with spinal cord injuries.
Rashad Robinson is President of Color Of Change, a leading racial justice organization with more than 1.4 million members building power for Black communities. He is a sought-after thought leader and collaborator for designing winning social change strategies: corporate accountability, criminal justice reform, changing media representations, building narrative infrastructure and building political power. You can follow Rashad on Twitter with the following hashtags: @ColorOfChange @rashadrobinson
Scott Budnick is a film producer, Founder of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), a non-profit organization that provides a support network for the formerly incarcerated, and currently serves as President and CEO of One Community, LLC. This venture uniquely merges Budnick’s background in storytelling and impact, as a film and TV production company that leverages the movies and shows it makes to effect positive social change.
Former Georgia House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams is an author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. In 2018, Abrams became the Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia. Following the election, Abrams founded Fair Fight to ensure every Georgia has a voice in our election system. She is the author of Lead from the Outside.
General Stanley A. McChrystal
A transformational leader with a remarkable record of achievement, General Stanley A. McChrystal was called “one of America’s greatest warriors” by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. A retired four-star general, he is the former commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) Afghanistan and the former commander of the premier military counter-terrorism force, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). He is best known for developing and implementing the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, and for creating a comprehensive counter-terrorism organization that revolutionized the interagency operating culture.
Stephanie Beatriz can currently be seen in the 6th season of BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, which was brought back by popular demand on NBC. This season will mark her directorial debut – the episode features a relevant #MeToo storyline. Beatriz’s standout performance as ‘Detective Rosa Diaz’ has earned rave reviews and numerous awards, including the 2018 Imagen Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series and a 2015 Screen Actors Guild Nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. In addition, the series has also garnered critical acclaim, including the 2018 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and the 2014 Golden Globe for Best Television Comedy.
Other notable film credits include: 2017 SXSW Audience Award winning film, THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, George C. Wolfe’s drama YOU’RE NOT YOU opposite Hilary Swank; Destin Daniel Cretton’s drama SHORT TERM 12 opposite Rami Malek and Brie Larson; Heather Graham’s romantic comedy HALF MAGIC; and John Lee’s PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY. She recently voiced ‘Sweet Mayhem’ in THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART.
As a bisexual Latina, Beatriz is known for her outspoken advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights and queer representation in the entertainment industry.
Steve Levine is a future editor at Axios. He is a Senior Fellow at The Atlantic Council and teaches energy security at Georgetown University. Before this, Steve was a foreign correspondent in the former Soviet Union, Pakistan and the Philippines.
Tanya Saracho is a playwright and television writer who serves as creator, showrunner, and executive producer of the critically-acclaimed series “Vida,” which earned 100% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Named one of “TV Scribes to Watch” by Variety in 2018, Saracho’s television credits include “How to Get Away with Murder,” HBO's “Looking” and “Girls,” and “Devious Maids.”
Tracee Ellis Ross
Tracee Ellis Ross is an award-winning actress, producer, director and activist, best known for her role as Dr. Rainbow Johnson on ABC’s comedy series black-ish. Ross uses her voice and social influence to advocate for a joyful culture of self-acceptance, inclusivity, and equity across all industries.
Valerie B. Jarrett is a senior advisor to the Obama Foundation and Attn, a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School, and President of the Board of When We All Vote. She also serves on the boards of Ariel Investments, 2U, Lyft, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Ms. Jarrett was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and Chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Ms. Jarrett worked throughout her tenure at the White House to mobilize elected officials, business and community leaders, and diverse groups of advocates. She led the Obama Administration’s efforts to expand and strengthen access to the middle class, and boost American businesses and our economy. She championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans, and economically and politically empowering women in the United States and around the world. She oversaw the Administration’s advocacy for workplace policies that empower working families, including equal pay, raising the minimum wage, paid leave, paid sick days, workplace flexibility, and affordable childcare, and led the campaigns to reform our criminal justice system, end sexual assault, and reduce gun violence.
Ms. Jarrett has a background in both the public and private sectors. She served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, and Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ms. Jarrett has also received numerous awards and honorary degrees, including TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” as well as the Abner J. Mikva Legal Legends Award.
Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.