Jon Budington is the CEO of Global Thinking, a manufacturing and marketing services firm based in Alexandria, VA. Jon joined Global Printing in 1991 after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Printing. He took on the position of CEO in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy and subsequent technology recession when the company was in crisis. Under Jon’s leadership Global Thinking has evolved from a traditional printing company to a provider of services including marketing consulting, web creation, design and data management. Since taking over the company, John has returned it to profitability and quadrupled revenue. Throughout Global’s financial crisis in 2001 through today, Jon has maintained a strong personal and company commitment to philanthropic activities. Jon continually authorizes pro bono printing for numerous worthy organizations such as Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, the Progeria Research Foundation and The Dwelling Place. His greatest area of commitment is to LIFT. In additional to providing all of LIFT’s printing at no cost, Jon and his staff have volunteered their time to work with LIFT’s local office and he serves on the Host Committee for LIFT’s annual fundraiser. Jon also retains close relationships with faculty at his alma mater, RIT, serving as a guest lecturer and advising the College on its printing curriculum. He and his wife Susannah live in Maryland with their five children.
Gina is Co-Founder of True North Acres, a sustainable greenhouse business focused on wellness and beauty markets, which aims to support economic revitalization in rural Northern New York. She is Senior Advisor to Global Philanthropy Group, a Los Angeles-based firm that offers a range of philanthropic advisory services to individuals, foundations and corporations. She was formerly Managing Director at Endeavor Group where she led strategic planning and managed philanthropic projects for individual and corporate foundation clients.
Gina serves on the Board of Capital Partners for Education, an organization that mentors low income students in the Washington, DC area. She also serves on the Governing Board of St. Albans School where she chairs the Governance Committee. As a fundraiser, Gina co-chaired the most recent capital campaign at St. Albans and a record breaking annual giving effort at Princeton University.
Gina was formerly Vice President of Equity Capital Markets for Deutsche Bank where she originated and executed public equity transactions for corporations in the media, technology and consumer sectors. Prior to that she was Director of Corporate Development at a startup focused on the self-improvement market. She began her media career in The Walt Disney Company’s Strategic Planning Group.
Gina received a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Economics from Princeton University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.
Heather Cox is the Chief Digital Health and Analytics Officer for Humana. In this role, Heather is accountable for building Humana’s digital care delivery operations and leading enterprise analytics. Integrating these critical capabilities across the organization will further accelerate Humana’s move toward differentiated health care experiences.
Prior to joining Humana, Heather served as Chief Technology and Digital Officer at USAA, where she led the teams responsible for designing and building personalized and digitally-enabled end-to-end experiences for USAA members. Heather has also held roles as the CEO of Citi FinTech at Citigroup, Inc., helping the company adapt to a future dominated by mobile technology, and she headed Card Operations, reshaping customer and digital experience for Capital One.
Heather was named #3 Woman to Watch in banking by American Banker Magazine in October 2017.
In addition to serving on the National Board for LIFT, Heather also serves as an Independent Director on the Board of Directors for NRG Energy.
Will Darman is the Managing Director of the U.S. Growth Capital and the U.S. Equity Opportunity funds with The Carlyle Group. Will is based in Washington, D.C. Since joining Carlyle in 2008, Will has been actively involved with the firm’s investments in Bonotel, DHS Technologies LLC, Dynamic Precision Group, Gemcom Software, Galaxy Brands (merged with Sequential Brands-SQBG), Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Talent Partners, Viator, Vubiquity and Worldstrides. Will currently serves on the board of Bonotel, Talent Partners, Vubiquity and WorldStrides and previously served on the board of Galaxy Brands and Viator.
Prior to joining Carlyle, Will was a Vice President with the leveraged finance group at Goldman Sachs & Co. Previously he was a Managing Director with Fairfax Partners focusing primarily on early stage venture opportunities. Will received his M.P.P. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He received his A.B from Harvard College with honors.
Emilio Diez Barroso is the Chairman and Founder of NALA Investments, LLC, a private investment holding company with operations across various industries. The company manages a portfolio comprised of multiple investment asset classes primarily in the United States and Latin America.
Emilio is an Innovation Board member at XPRIZE. He sits on the Client Council for U.S. Trust Bank of America, and is on the Board of Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences.
He chairs the Board of The World is Just a Book Away, which brings books and education to children in developing countries. He is on the Board of URWelcome, a mobile and digital technology platform connecting immigrant communities to the products and services they need. He is the cofounder of Contentment.org, an organization dedicated to eliminating “internal” poverty, and also serves on the Board of UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. He is a cofounder of Bold Capital Partners, a venture capital fund in partnership with Singularity University and Peter Diamandis, investing in world transforming technologies.
Emilio studied Economics and Finance at Harvard, I.T.A.M. and Boston University and has an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, with an emphasis on Consciousness Health and Healing. His main intention in life is to support others in realizing their inherent well-being.
Arlene Ford is the founder and CEO of the Equity Inquiry Project Inc. (EquIP), a project aimed at promoting educational equity and success for all students. She also works to support equity within the non-profit arena. Through EquIP, Arlene provides equity design consultations and related strategic planning. She facilitates equity, inclusion and diversity conversations and learning opportunities among education leaders, teachers and nonprofit organizations. Whether focusing on issues such as overall work or school culture, schools’ failure of students, or promoting effective discipline, she takes a systemic approach. Her work addresses change at the personal, interpersonal and organizational levels.
From her previous career as a lawyer, Arlene brings the capacity to manage large transactions with complex issues, a strong work ethic, and has successfully brought disparate parties to agreement and common understandings. She also brings experience with a broad range of people with differing cultural realities and critical thinking to her work. She believes transforming schools requires, among other things, a deep commitment, rigor, tenacity, complex understanding of systemic issues surrounding schools and students, compassion, empathy, humility, and above all, lots of courage.
Arlene worked as an education researcher at two of UCLA’s research institutes. At the Institute for
Democracy, Education & Access (IDEA) at UCLA, she worked on a variety of equity related issues including work with the Council of Youth Research (CYR). With CYR she helped high school students develop critical thinking, research and other academic skills, and the understanding of their power to achieve and change their world. At UCLA’s CHOICES, she worked under the direction of leading sociologist Dr. Walter Allen to analyze existing data sets to assess how diverse educators supported students particularly the most underserved. Arlene received her doctorate degree in urban schooling from UCLA. Prior to that she obtained a Masters from Teacher’s College Columbia University. She also has a law degree from Harvard Law School. Before joining the education field, Arlene had a successful career as a corporate attorney at a major New York law firm.
Arlene previously served on LIFT’s Los Angeles Board; the Board of Communities in Schools of Los Angeles (CIS-LA), a national education support non-profit, and was a Founding Member of Council of Urban Professionals-Los Angeles (CUP-LA), a national professional networking and mentoring organization. Arlene has presented several research papers at the annual AERA conference, the largest U. S. based education conference. She has also co-authored several education papers for publication.
Susan is a trustee of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a Board member of the O'Keeffe Circle. She serves on the board of the Alcove, a child care center for homeless children and on the Executive Committee of the Alcove Arts Performance Event. She is chairman of the Hirsch Family Foundation, which focuses primarily on poverty alleviation and medical research. Susan and her husband, Larry, founded the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C.-based policy research institute devoted to the study of U.S.-Central European relations.
Susan was co-chairman of the Mark Twain Prize, which is awarded each year by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and is a major fundraiser for the Kennedy Center. She is a trustee of the James Lewis Foundation.
Susan is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a major in Political Science.
As the Chief Policy Officer at ZERO TO THREE, Myra Jones-Taylor leads the development and implementation of ZERO TO THREE’s policy agenda, priorities and strategies; oversees the Policy Center, which includes federal and state policy, advocacy and federally-funded technical assistance units; and serves as the principal spokesperson and point of contact for the organization on public policy matters with policymakers, the media, funders, and partner organizations.
Prior to this role, Dr. Jones-Taylor served as the founding Commissioner of the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood. The cabinet-level state agency was responsible for early intervention programs, home visiting, early care and education and child care licensing programs across the state, serving more than 50,000 children each year. She received her doctorate in American studies and anthropology from Yale University. Dr. Jones-Taylor is an active board member of organizations committed to young children and ending racial and social inequality, including All Our Kin, Capita and Equity Partners. She is also a member of the Irving Harris Early Childhood and Reproductive Health Advisory Committee.
Dr. Jones-Taylor lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and two children.
Michelle joined LIFT in 2012 as the Founding LIFT-Los Angeles Executive Director. Under her leadership, LIFT-LA has become the organization’s largest and most financially successful operation. Michelle also seeded many of the program innovations that are now core to LIFT’s nationwide program model, most notably the focus on an intergenerational approach to breaking the cycle of poverty that targets parents and children in the formative early childhood years. In 2017, Michelle was promoted to Chief Cities Officer, overseeing all of LIFT’s regional operations and serving on the national Executive Team. In this capacity, Michelle was instrumental in developing LIFT’s current strategic plan, which offers a bold vision to extend LIFT’s direct services to 25,000 more parents and children and to launch a systems change strategy to reach the nearly 6 million families with young children living in poverty in the US. In January 2019, Michelle was promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer.
Michelle’s career has been defined by standing up for equity and access for disenfranchised individuals and communities. Prior to joining LIFT, Michelle spent nearly 20 years leading youth and community development efforts in New York and Los Angeles. She began her career working with homeless and runaway teens as part of the University Settlement House in NYC’s Lower East Side. From there, she served in senior leadership roles at the Citizens Committee for New York City and the Beacon Community Center. She then moved to Los Angeles and led the New Vision Partners Youth Institute and, later, The Children’s Nature Institute.
Michelle LIFTs because she believes in the transformative power of “hope, money and love” – her signature take on LIFT’s special sauce. Her own parents loved her fiercely and at a young age instilled in her the notion that she could do anything she wanted. She fully understands that this firm belief and investment in her possibility provided a buffer against socioeconomic inequity. It is an honor for her to pass on this transformative power of love, backed by rigor and dedication, to LIFT’s amazing member families – a population unjustly overburdened by stigma, isolation and disregard.
Marne is a shareholder and Director of Breakthru Beverage Group, wholesale distributors of wines and spirits throughout the United States. He had been Chairman of Beverage Distributors Company of Colorado before merging his business with Breakthru.
Marne was previously Vice Chairman and Director of Applied Graphics Technologies, Inc., a provider of outsourced digital imaging management and pre-press services. He had been Chairman and CEO of Devon Group, Inc. (NASDAQ) for almost two decades before the company merged with Applied Graphics. Prior to that he spent almost eight years as an Investment Officer with Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette and with First National City Bank (now Citibank).
Marne has held numerous leadership positions in the broader business community. He is a Founding Member of the American Business Conference and a Director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. He was a Trustee of the Trinity School in New York City for twelve years and is a past Treasurer and member of the Board of Governors of the Association of Yale Alumni. He also served as a Trustee of Congregation Emanu-El in New York City from 2007-2016 and as its Vice President from 2012-2016. He is also a Limited Partner in the ownership group of the Colorado Rockies Baseball Club.
Marne earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Harvard University and a Bachelors Degree from Yale University. He has two sons; Matthew, Yale 2000 (where he was an original volunteer for LIFT) and Michael, Yale 2002. Michael’s wife Kaitlin, Yale 2002, recently gave birth to their first child and Marne’s first grandchild, Henry, (Yale 2041?).
Dele Oladapo is Vice President & Chief Enterprise Architect and Technical Innovation Officer for Prudential Financial, Inc. In this role, he implements technology strategy and delivers technology services designed to advance the company’s U.S. business strategy. He oversees efforts within the Global Business and Technology Solutions department to drive governance, architecture, systems automation, relationship management and the development of enterprise applications and solutions. Oladapo also leads the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), a team focused on supporting the technology community through strategic planning, communications, engagement and talent management.
Oladapo is passionate about leveraging the unique skill sets of American military veterans in the technology arena, and oversees Prudential’s Office of Veterans Initiatives. He is an executive sponsor of Workforce Opportunity Services, a nonprofit training and hiring program that partners with Prudential to prepare military veterans and urban youth for careers in information technology and business operations.
He has served in several leadership roles within Prudential for more than 20 years, and was involved in the company’s demutualization, the Prudential of Japan/Gibraltar data center migration, and numerous business continuation technology planning efforts. In 2015, STEMconnector named him to its list of CIO/CTO Leaders of STEM.
Oladapo is a member and board member of CALIBR and was recently appointed to the national board of LIFT, a nonprofit organization that works to break the cycle of poverty for families. A proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, he holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Polytechnic University and an MBA from Columbia University.
As President of StoneCastle Partners, LLC, Steve Rotella has direct responsibility for the day to day management of the company, as well as setting strategy and direction with the partners of the firm. During his tenure at StoneCastle, Steve has been instrumental in building the company's cash management products and services. Under his leadership, StoneCastle Cash Management, LLC. a wholly owned subsidiary, has become an industry leader in cash management solutions for institutions and funding alternatives for community and regional banks.
Steve brings over 30 years of strategic and operating leadership in banking and financial services to StoneCastle, with deep experience in retail and internet banking, marketing, organizational development, product innovation and large scale operations management. He spent eighteen years at JP Morgan Chase where he was CEO of Chase Home Finance, the 4th largest home lender in the country and a member of the Executive Committee.
Steve has been active in community organizations throughout his career with a keen interest in serving the underprivileged, boosting home ownership and the arts. Steve is a member of the Board of LIFT and the Board of the Oysterponds Historical Society. He was previously on the Boards of The Seattle Foundation, ArtsFund, Youthcare and Ballet Met. Steve lives in New York City and holds a BA in Economics and an MBA in Information Systems/Finance from the State University of New York.
Deanna Singh, Founder/Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant, is known for giving audiences the tools and courage to imagine, activate, and impact the world as agents of change. She is a trailblazer and dynamic speaker who is at the forefront of social change. She is an accomplished author, educator, business leader, and champion for marginalized communities.
She has established and operated multiple social innovations, including the NYC office of LIFT which helps people find a way out of poverty for good and Milwaukee's Street Law Program, an interactive legal program that has taught over a thousand Milwaukee students basic legal knowledge.
She is currently serving as the Chief Change Agent and founder of Flying Elephant, which provides dynamic presentations; inspirational storytelling; and practical tools to companies looking to engage in social innovation.
While tackling complex social challenges, Deanna gives audiences the tools and courage to imagine, activate, and impact the world as agents of change. Deanna Singh is a trailblazer and dynamic speaker who is at the forefront of social change. Singh earned her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Fordham University, a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University, and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is also the author of two children’s books, I am a Boy of Color, and I am a Girl of Color and a business book, Purposeful Hustle.
Lee Foley has been a Washington lobbyist for nearly three decades. He is the managing partner of the firm of Capitol Hill Partners. Lee represents various interests before the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch of the Federal government in issue areas including education, employment and training, banking and financial services, community and economic development, asset building, job creation, rural and agricultural programs, small business development, appropriate technology and employment security. Lee also has extensive business and lobbying experience in banking and financial services policy, serving on the boards of directors of financial institutions in Boston, Miami, New Orleans and Los Angeles and as a bank board treasurer and as a chair of a board audit committee. Lee also advises several of the nation’s major foundations and financial institutions regarding their largest domestic charitable collaborative. In the award winning book Coyote Warrior, investigative journalist and author Paul VanDevelder writes that Lee is “the best in the city”.
Prior to his lobbying career, Lee served in a variety of positions in Washington including as a White House domestic policy advisor, chief of staff at a Federal agency and as a staffer for two U.S. Senate committees.
Michael is the Founding General Partner of Heritage Partners, a private equity firm formed in 1993 that focuses on family-owned and founder-backed businesses that are seeking a partner to provide transition capital and help their businesses grow and create value. He has served as lead director on the board of over a dozen companies, working with management teams on establishing and achieving strategic objectives, stewarding human and capital resources and creating shareholder value. Michael began his career with a fifteen year stint in commercial lending and private equity with Bank of Boston.
Michael is a Current Member of the Board of City Year’s flagship Boston operation; a Current Member of the Board, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and of the Development Committee of The Children’s Room, a grief counseling organization; Current Member of the Board of the USC School of Theatre; Current Co-Chair of Belmont Hill School’s Parents’ Annual Fund Campaign Committee; and most recently, Current Member of the Board, YouthBuild USA.
Previously he chaired the Capital Campaign for the Paulist Center Community, an intentional Roman Catholic community in Boston known for its commitment to social justice, and is a Former Board Trustee and Capital Campaign Committee Chair of the Belmont Foundation for Education, a privately funded enterprise designed to support Belmont’s public school system. Michael is a graduate of Boston College.
Ben Harper is a musician, artist and activist. Whether it’s through the soul of southern Gospel, 70s funk, blues, reggae or straightforward rock and roll, Ben and his trademark Weissenborn guitar have been stunning audiences with incendiary live performances and timeless songwriting.
Ben continues to innovate his craft as a songwriter, performer and producer. He has released ten acclaimed studio albums since 1994 and three live albums. These releases combined with an unceasing commitment to international touring has helped Ben grow a fan base that now spans several continents.
A collaborator by nature, Ben has recorded and performed with a long list of artists including Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Rickie Lee Jones, Taj Mahal, Jack Johnson and Vanessa De Matta. His album with the Blind Boys of Alabama, There Will Be A Light, earned two Grammy awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album.
Activism has also played an important role in both Ben’s life and music. Themes of social justice and empowerment can be found throughout his musical career in songs such as "Excuse Me Mr." and "With My Own Two Hands." Ben practices what he sings by working on a wide range of causes including poverty, pollution, human rights and causes for peace.
Ted Howard is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Democracy Collaborative. Previously, he served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Economic Alternatives. In July 2010, Ted was appointed the Steven Minter Senior Fellow for Social Justice at The Cleveland Foundation, a position he held for four years. Working with the Foundation, he was a member of a team that developed the comprehensive job creation and wealth building strategy that resulted in the Evergreen Cooperative Initiative.
He is the author of numerous articles appearing in popular and community development publications. His chapter "Owning Your Own Job Is a Beautiful Thing" is included in a book of readings (Investing in What Works for America’s Communities) published in 2012 by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He is also co-author of a chapter on “Economic Democracy” in Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles and Practices (Macmillan) and a chapter on “The Essential Connection: Environmental Sustainability, Community Stability and Equitable Development” in Ensuring a Sustainable Future: Making Progress on Environment and Equity (Oxford University Press). His most recent publications include The Anchor Mission: Leveraging the Power of Anchor Institutions to Build Community Wealth(co-authored with colleagues at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning) and The Anchor Dashboard: Aligning Institutional Practice to Meet Low-Income Community Needs (with Steve Dubb and Sarah McKinley).
In addition to serving on LIFT’s National Board of Directors, Ted serves on the National Steering Committee of the Anchor Institution Task Force, a consortium of universities, hospitals and community foundations engaged in community/economic development initiatives.
Michele Jolin is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner for Results for America, which is improving outcomes for young people, families and communities by driving public resources toward solutions that use data and evidence to get better results. Michele also is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Michele was appointed by President Barack Obama in December 2010 to be a member of the White House Council for Community Solutions.
Michele served as a Senior Advisor for Social Innovation at the White House during 2009-2010, where she designed and launched the first “Social Innovation Fund.” Michele also was a member of President Obama’s Presidential Transition Team, where she helped create the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation and the new Obama Administration’s social innovation policy agenda.
Prior to joining the White House, Michele was at the Center for American Progress, where she led the Presidential transition project and co-edited the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s presidential transition book titled Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President. She also authored a number of articles and reports on policy tools to promote innovation and impact in the nonprofit sector, including a piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review proposing the creation of a White House Office of Social Innovation.
Michele was a senior vice president at Ashoka, a global foundation that invests in social entrepreneurs in more than 50 countries around the world from 1999-2004. Michele served in the White House from 1995–1999 as the Chief of Staff for President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, for CEA Chairs Joseph Stiglitz and Janet Yellen. She also worked for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Michele has a BA from University of Wisconsin, an MSc from the London School of Economics and a JD from the University of Virginia. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and their 3 children.
Brian Kreiter Co-Founded LIFT with Kirsten Lodal in 1998 while undergraduates. Since that time Brian has led and been involved with a broad array of endeavors across the social and private sectors.
Currently, Brian is the Head of the Core Management Team and Member of the Management Committee at Bridgewater Associates, a globally recognized investment manager overseeing $160 billion for clients including governments, central banks, corporate and public pension funds, endowments and charitable foundations. In his current role, Brian is focused on supporting the company’s transition from a founder-led boutique to an enduring institution. Previously, Brian held both the positions of the Head of Research and Head of Client Service & Marketing. In those roles he was responsible for overseeing the people, processes, and technologies that drive Bridgewater’s core business through its industry-leading investment process and its relationships with the institutional investors across the world. In addition, Brian serves as the Lead Director of Elemental Cognition, a groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence firm he helped launch as a partnership between Bridgewater and Dr. David Ferrucci (inventor/principal investigator of IBM Watson).
Prior to joining Bridgewater Brian was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, where he worked to launch the Firm’s Social Sector Office. Brian currently serves as an Advisor to Renovo Financial, a Board Member of the Connecticut Council on Education Reform, and is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Finance Leadership Fellowship of the Aspen Institute. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Marne Levine is the Chief Operating Officer of Instagram. Prior to her role at Instagram, Marne was the Vice President, Global Public Policy at Facebook. Here she oversaw the company’s efforts to educate governments and non-governmental organizations on its plans, products and policies to foster understanding and support for innovative technologies like Facebook.
Marne has substantial government experience working on international issues and particular sensitivity to navigating policy challenges in an Internet company. She joined Facebook from the Obama Administration, where she served as Chief of Staff at the White House National Economic Council. In that role, she helped coordinate the development of domestic and international economic policy along with the strategies for communicating these policies to stakeholders.
Previously, Marne helped launch an online peer-to-peer payment platform, and helped develop privacy and compliance issues. She also served as Chief of Staff for Larry Summers when he was President of Harvard University. She began her career at the United States Department of Treasury, where she served in the Office of Legislative Affairs and Public Liaison.
Marne has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Communications from Miami University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Marne recently joined the Board of the Urban Institute.
Sheila Ohlsson Walker is a Faculty Associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health & the Johns Hopkins School of Education; Faculty Affiliate at the University of California, Irvine, and an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at George Washington University / Children’s National Medical Center. Her research interests focus on how information from the fields of neurobiology, genetics, epigenetics, psychoneuroimmunology and human development can be translated and applied to promote healthy multi-generational relationships and lifestyle habits, reduce rates of chronic disease, enhance school performance, and optimize health and learning throughout life. Her primary focus is on the biological embedding of chronic stress, and how environmental factors can significantly enhance or degrade health and educational outcomes, with an emphasis on highly vulnerable populations. Her research interests include the preconception, prenatal and early childhood origins of health and neurodevelopment, and understanding how biosocial research on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and toxic stress can be effectively leveraged towards early intervention, prevention, resilience and enhanced quality of life within family systems.
Dr. Walker’s most recent work builds upon her doctoral research at the intersection of biology and behavior on the Twins Early Development Study – the largest longitudinal twin study to date on children’s cognitive abilities, behavior and language development. The study, which is ongoing, began following 15,000 twin pairs at the age of one and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Dr. Walker’s research examined the relative influence of “nature” and “nurture” on characteristics relevant for education. She subsequently developed and taught an undergraduate course at Georgetown University on how health and human development are shaped by the dynamic interaction between genetics and the environment. She later co-instructed a course at Hopkins that frames school for all children - particularly for our most vulnerable - within a public health context using the Centers for Disease Control and American Society for Curriculum Development’s “Whole Child, Whole School, Whole Community” model. Most recently, Dr. Walker served as the Interim Vice President of Applied & Translational Science at the Center for Youth Wellness, a Bay Area-based nonprofit focused on ameliorating toxic stress via changing pediatric screening practices around ACEs. Specifically, her role entailed managing the Clinical and Research teams, co-creating print and web-based content for parents, pediatricians, educators and policymakers, and collaborating to develop the organization’s strategic vision.
Prior to entering academia, Dr. Walker was a mutual fund Portfolio Manager in Denver, Colorado. She attended the University of Colorado on a tennis scholarship, played professional tennis in Europe after graduation, and continues to compete at a national level. Dr. Walker received her doctorate in Behavioral Genetics from Kings College London in 2005. In addition to being engaged with a variety of local and national organizations focused on improving education and health outcomes for at-risk children, she serves on the national boards of LIFT, a nonprofit dedicated to multi-generational poverty alleviation, and is also a trustee of Turnaround for Children, an education-focused nonprofit focused on harnessing science to design positive learning environments for children in high-poverty schools. Dr. Walker is a former trustee of The Beauvoir School in Washington, DC, and Advisory Board Member of Outward Bound USA. She is married, has three sons, and lives in Washington, DC.