Vice President, Annenberg Foundation
Wallis Annenberg is the Vice President of the Annenberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States.
Based in Los Angeles, Wallis is a visionary who strives to improve the well being of people and communities throughout the world. She has spent much of her life focused on philanthropy and is dedicated to education; communications; arts and culture; medical research; animal welfare; social justice and environmental stewardship.
Wallis serves on the Foundation's Board of Trustees along with Mrs. Leonore Annenberg, Lauren Bon, Charles Weingarten and Gregory Weingarten. Her keen vision for philanthropy furthers the core values of the Foundation – openness, accessibility, fairness and relationship building.
Under Wallis' leadership, the Los Angeles office of the Foundation has given more than a quarter billion dollars to over 500 organizations. Complementing this wide and high impact grantmaking are special projects and initiatives, which are pushing the boundaries of traditional philanthropy while serving the Los Angeles community.
Trustee, Annenberg Foundation and Creative Director, Farmlab
Lauren Bon has produced large-scale art works in challenging sites around the world for over twenty years. Her current work, Farmlab, is an initiative of and collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation. Farmlab, located in a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, is a "social sculpture," a human-scale, interactive, interdisciplinary, research- and presentation-based art object, the mission of which is to investigate ways and means to support people and living things. Farmlab's collaboratively developed projects are studies into the nature of public space; they operate at the intersection of urban ecology, civic engagement, contemporary visual art and proactive philanthropy. Founded and led by Ms. Bon in 2006, Farmlab emerged from Not A Cornfield, a metabolic sculpture that dramatically transformed 32 acres of brown field just north of downtown Los Angeles to a green field over a single agricultural cycle.
Ms. Bon's art projects and her role as an Annenberg Foundation trustee make her uniquely poised to build the capacity of the Foundation in site-based philanthropy and to make historic contributions to the field of contemporary art. Ms. Bon resides in Los Angeles and holds a Masters of Architecture degree from MIT and a B.A. from Princeton.
Columnist, Bloomberg News
Washington Editor, The Week magazine
Margaret Carlson is a columnist for Bloomberg News and Washington editor of The Week magazine. From 1994 to 2005, she wrote the "Public Eye" column for Time Magazine, becoming the magazineís first female columnist in its history.
Previously at Time, Carlson served as the magazine's deputy Washington bureau chief, after serving as a White House correspondent. She has also served as a panelist on CNN's political programs "Inside Politics" and "The Capital Gang." Her journalism career has also included stints as managing editor at The New Republic, Washington bureau chief for Esquire magazine, editor of Washington Weekly and editor of the Legal Times of Washington.
Carlson earned a law degree from George Washington University Law School and completed her undergraduate work at Penn State University, where she majored in English. She has one daughter and lives in Washington, D.C.
Washington Bureau Chief, Time Magazine
Jay Carney was named Time Magazine's Washington bureau chief in September 2005. He oversees the magazine's political and national coverage, writes stories on politics and policy and contributes regularly to TIME.com's political blog, "Swampland."
Carney joined Time's Washington bureau in 1993 and has twice served as White House correspondent, extensively covering the Clinton and Bush presidencies. On September 11, 2001, he was one of a handful of reporters who were aboard Air Force One with President Bush. Since then, he has written comprehensively about the administration on a wide array of topics, including the economy, the war in Iraq and the United States' position in the U.N. From 2003 to 2005, he served as deputy bureau chief of the Washington Bureau.
Previously, Carney was a correspondent in Time's Moscow Bureau for three years, covering the collapse of the Soviet Union. He began his career at TIME as Miami bureau chief.
In 2003, Carney won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for distinguished reporting on the presidency.
A native Virginian, Carney earned a B.A. in Russian and Eastern European Studies from Yale University in 1987. He and his wife, Claire Shipman, a senior correspondent for ABC News, live in Washington, D.C., with their son and daughter.
Dean and Director, Center on Communication Leadership
USC Annenberg School for Communication
For the past decade, Geoffrey Cowan has served as dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, where he teaches courses and conducts research in media, law and society, and in public diplomacy. He is professor of journalism and law, holds a joint appointment in USC's Gould School of Law, and was elected in 2007 to be the Walter Lippman Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Prior to becoming dean, Cowan served under President Clinton as director of the Voice of America and director of the International Broadcasting Bureau. In other public service roles, Cowan served on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, chaired the Los Angeles commission that drafted the city's ethics and campaign finance law, and chaired the California Bipartisan Commission on Internet Political Practices.
He is an award-winning and best selling author whose books include See No Evil: The Backstage Battle Over Sex and Violence on Television and The People v. Clarence Darrow: The Bribery Trial of America's Greatest Lawyer. With Leroy Aarons, he co-wrote "Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers," a play about the tension between a free press and government secrecy.
Previously, Cowan taught at UCLA for more than 20 years and founded the university's Center for Communication Policy which is now based at USC Annenberg, where it is known as the Center for the Digital Future. While at UCLA, he won a primetime Emmy for his work as an executive producer of the Disney Channel movie "Mark Twain & Me." He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School and is married to Aileen Adams, USC's director of arts and culture outreach. They have two children, Gabriel and Mandy.
||Governor Gray Davis|
Throughout his tenure, Governor Davis made education his top priority, signing legislation to strengthen California's K-12 education system and expanding access to higher education. These reforms led to improvements in student SAT scores and student achievement scores for six consecutive years.
Davis presided over California during a massive economic expansion that took California's economy from the seventh to the fifth largest economy worldwide. He made record investments in California's infrastructure, created four Centers of Science and Innovation on UC campuses, and expanded the state's Healthy Families program to provide health insurance for an additional 1 million children.
Davis served as Lieutenant Governor (1995-1998), State Controller (1987-95), State Assemblyman (1982-86) and Chief of Staff to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. (1975-1981).
Today, Davis is Of Counsel in the Los Angeles office of Loeb & Loeb LLP, a 250-attorney multi-service law firm.
During the past 25 years, Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and campaigns for CEOs, corporations, foundations, governments, candidates and presidents. He is a founding partner of ViaNovo, an international brand positioning firm.
Dowd's recent political work includes serving as the chief strategist on two winning reelection efforts – for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 and for President George W. Bush in 2004. His innovative approach on the 2004 and 2000 campaigns led the bipartisan American Association of Political Consultants to name him Strategist of the Year.
In the 1990s, Dowd was president and founding partner of Public Strategies, Inc, an international public affairs firm. While at PSI, Dowd advised a wide variety of corporate clients and helped former Democrat Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock win election and re-election. He began his career as a member of Democrat U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen's staff.
A contributor to many news outlets, Dowd teaches at the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs.
He is co-author of the New York Times bestseller Applebee's America: How Successful Political, Business and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community.
||Harold Ford, Jr.|
Vice Chairman, Merrill Lynch
Chairman, Democratic Leadership Council
Harold Ford Jr. served Tennessee in the United States Congress for 10 years. Described by President Bill Clinton as "the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century," Ford is now chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council and vice chairman of Merrill Lynch.
First elected in 1996 at the age of 26, Ford represented the Memphis-based ninth district of Tennessee for 10 years. During his time in Congress, he served on the House Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Education and the Workforce, and was a member of both the New Democrat Coalition and the Congressional Black Caucus. Earning a reputation as a fiscal watchdog conservative, he played an active role as a member of the moderate and fiscally conservative Democrats' Blue Dog Coalition.
In January, following his narrow loss for the open Tennessee senate seat, he was selected as the chair of the Democratic Leadership Council, a network of elected officials and community leaders whose goal is to proffer innovative ideas to modernize progressive politics for the 21st century. He also recently was appointed as a visiting professor of public policy at Vanderbilt University.
Prior to his election to Congress, he served as a staff aide to the Senate Committee on the Budget as a special assistant at the Department of Commerce. The keynote speaker of the 2000 Democratic National Convention and author of Tomorrow's Patriots, Ford received a bachelor's degree in American History from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1996.
Ford lives in Memphis and Nashville and has offices in New York and Nashville.
||Charles E. Jones|
Former Arizona Supreme Court Justice
Charles E. Jones served as a justice on the Supreme Court of Arizona from 1996 to 2005. He was named chief justice of Arizona and served in that office from 2002 until 2005, when he retired from the court. Chief Justice Jones received his bachelorís degree from Brigham Young University in 1959 and his doctor of jurisprudence degree from the Stanford University School of Law in 1962. He is a member of the state bars of California (1963) and Arizona (1964).
Following completion of his legal education, Jones served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, and from 1963 until his Supreme Court appointment in 1996 he was an associate and partner with the Phoenix law firm of Jennings, Strouss & Salmon.
Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
When Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger selected Democrat Susan Kennedy as his chief of staff in November 2005, it touched off a firestorm of protest on both sides of the partisan divide. Kennedy, a former Democratic Party operative and top level staffer to Democratic Governor Gray Davis and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, shocked the political establishment by agreeing to work for a Republican Governor. After Kennedy took the office, Governor Schwarzenegger began what political observers called the greatest political comeback in history by advancing a "post-partisan" agenda that defied party labels and redefined the center in American politics.
Before joining Governor Schwarzenegger's administration, Kennedy served as cabinet secretary in the administration of Governor Davis, communications director for U.S. Senator Feinstein and executive director of the California Democratic Party. She managed two of the most successful get-out-the-vote campaigns in California history, in 1998 for Davis and in 1992 for the Clinton/Gore presidential campaign. She graduated from Saint Mary's College with a degree in management and lives with her partner in Marin County, California.
Columnist, Time Magazine and Founding Editor of Slate
Michael Kinsley is a columnist for Time Magazine. He founded Slate (now owned by The Washington Post) for the Microsoft Corporation and was its first editor. Other previous editorial positions include The New Republic (twice) and Harper's, American Department editor of The Economist, managing editor of The Washington Monthly, and editorial and opinion editor of the Los Angeles Times.
Kinsley writes the "TRB From Washington" column for The New Republic and was a contributing writer for Time Magazine. He has also written regular columns for The Wall Street Journal and The Times of London. He has written articles for The New Yorker, Conde Nast Traveler, Readers Digest and other publications. His third book of collected writings will be published next year.
From 1989 to 1995, Kinsley served as co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." He is also a regular interlocutor on William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" and moderator of the "Firing Line" debates on PBS.
Kinsley was born in Detroit in 1951, and attended Harvard College, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Screen Actors Guild. He and his wife, Patty Stonesifer, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, live in Seattle.
CEO and Founder of The Sherry Lansing Foundation
Sherry Lansing is the founder and current chair of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on cancer research, health and education. Ms. Lansing was the chair of the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures from 1992 to 2005. A pioneering studio executive, Lansing was the first woman in the film industry to oversee all aspects of a studio's motion picture production. Currently, Lansing serves on the boards of Friends of Cancer Research, The Lasker Foundation, Civic Ventures, The Carter Center and Stop Cancer, a non-profit philanthropic group she founded in partnership with Dr. Armand Hammer. Lansing is also a Regent of the University of California and a board member of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Lansing graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University in 1966.
MSNBC Senior Political Analyst
Lawrence O'Donnell Jr. is an Emmy-winning executive producer of NBC's "The West Wing." The "West Wing" episode he co-wrote on the death penalty won the 2000 Humanitas Prize for writing that "communicate(s) those values which most enrich the human person." Mr. O'Donnell was also the creator and executive producer of "Mister Sterling," NBC's Washington-based drama set in the U.S. Senate.
Mr. O'Donnell is also MSNBC's senior political analyst and a panelist on "The McLaughlin Group." During the election year 2000, Mr. O'Donnell was a contributing editor of New York Magazine with a column on national politics.
From 1993 through 1995, Mr. O'Donnell was the Democratic chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance. In 1992, Mr. O'Donnell was chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. From 1989 until 1992, Mr. O'Donnell served as senior advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He began his professional association with Senator Moynihan as director of communications in the Senator's 1988 re-election campaign.
A writer prior to entering politics and government, Mr. O'Donnell published the book Deadly Force (1983), which was adapted as a CBS movie in 1986. He has written essays and articles for several publications including The New York Times, New York Magazine, People, Spy, and Boston Magazine. Mr. O'Donnell has also appeared on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "Charlie Rose" and several other programs.
Suffolk University awarded Mr. O'Donnell an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2001. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Mr. O'Donnell is a graduate of Harvard College. He lives in Los Angeles.
President and CEO, Center for American Progress
John Podesta is the CEO of the Center for American Progress and visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Podesta served as chief of staff to President William J. Clinton from October 1998 until January 2001, where he was responsible for directing, managing, and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, Congressional relations and staff activities of the White House. He coordinated the work of cabinet agencies with a particular emphasis on the development of federal budget and tax policy, and served in the President's Cabinet and as a principal on the National Security Council. From 1997 to 1998 he served as assistant to the President and deputy chief of staff. Podesta previously held a number of positions on Capitol Hill.
Podesta is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Knox College.
||Richard J. Riordan|
Of Counsel, Bingham McCutchen; Former Los Angeles mayor
A well-established and highly respected attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Richard J. Riordan served two terms as the Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993 to 2001 and California Secretary for Education from December 2003 to June 2005.
His appointment as California's Secretary for Education in 2003 marked Governor Schwarzenegger's first cabinet appointment. A strong believer in the need for meaningful education reform, Riordan created legislation that demanded accountability and ensured that every California student benefited from a quality education.
As mayor, Mr. Riordan worked to improve public safety, create quality jobs and reform Los Angeles' public schools. While in office, Riordan called for the creation of a citywide system of neighborhood councils, giving community organizations a greater voice in city government. He also led an effort to elect seven reform candidates to the LAUSD School Board, each one dedicated to improving Los Angeles' ailing public schools.
In 1981, Riordan created the charitable foundation that bears his name with one goal in mind: to teach children how to read and write. He also co-founded The Riordan Programs at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, creating mentorship programs for high school and college students.
Born in Flushing, New York, Riordan graduated from Princeton University and Michigan Law School. He and his wife, Nancy Daly Riordan, have six children and six grandchildren. He is an ardent reader and an avid bicyclist.
||Governor Kathleen Sebelius|
Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as the 44th Governor of Kansas in January 2003, and just under three years later, Time magazine named her one of the nation's top five governors, citing her work to cut waste in government and bridge the partisan divide. Governor Sebelius was reelected to a second term in 2006.
A hallmark of Sebelius' first term was the historic commitment made to Kansas schoolchildren, as well as audits to ensure those resources were being spent effectively. She also led efforts to create jobs and improve the safety and security of Kansans. These initiatives continue in her second term, with helping more families afford health insurance and taking advantage of Kansas' opportunities in renewable energy being key priorities as well.
In 2006, Governor Sebelius was elected chair of the Democratic Governors Association. She also chairs the Education Commission of the States, as well as serving on the National Governors Association's Executive Committee.
Sebelius served four terms in the Kansas House of Representatives, two terms as the state's insurance commissioner, and is the first daughter of a U.S. governor to serve in that same position.
Kathleen has been married to her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge, for 32 years, and they have two sons: Ned and John, both college graduates.
Executive Producer of "Live Earth" and CEO of Control Room
Kevin Wall founded Control Room in 2005 as a vehicle to deliver his vision for a network of the future – live entertainment accessible to anyone, anywhere at anytime. As founder and CEO, Wall drives the company's strategy, programming, distribution and business development, making the vision a reality.
Most recently, Wall founded Live Earth, the 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on July 7, 2007. Inspired by the documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," Wall dreamed up a worldwide music event that could deliver Gore's urgent and hopeful global warming message to billions of people across all media platforms. In less than a year, Wall has put in place a global media architecture, enlisted over 150 headlining artists to perform, and has formed a strong partnership with Gore and his organization, the Alliance for Climate Protection, all to inspire a mass movement to solve the climate crisis.
Kevin's legacy as an innovator is well known in the entertainment community and demonstrated throughout his 30-year career discovering, developing and promoting live music content across new entertainment mediums. His extensive career in music promotion and production, live television, the Internet and venture capitalist investments in convergence technologies positioned him for such achievements as Emmy award-winning architect of "Live 8," one the largest live broadcasts in history, and executive producer of "Live Earth." Beyond "Live 8," which reached hundreds of millions of people around the globe and awakened a social consciousness surrounding African poverty, Wall has delivered more than 350 live events across multiple entertainment platforms.
Early in his career, he established the first portable staging company, Stage One Inc., to accommodate the staging, lighting, and outdoor production needs of large stadium and arena concert tours by The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who, to name a few.
Wall was also the former Vice-Chairman of iXL, a global Internet consulting firm, where he led the strategic acquisition and organization of 42 Internet design and consulting companies to build a venture with 3,000 employees, 38 offices and annual revenues of over $400 million. He is a co-founder of Shelter Capital Partners, a $175 million VC fund, currently invested in 12 companies in the semiconductor, software and convergence sectors.
Senior Correspondent, NPR
Political Analyst, Fox News
Author of "Enough" and "Eyes on the Prize"
Juan Williams is the author of seven books, including the 2006 New York Times bestseller Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America: What We Can Do About It. He also wrote Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary, and the nonfiction bestseller Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965, companion volume to the critically acclaimed television series.
Williams is senior correspondent for National Public Radio and political analyst for Fox News Channel, appearing regularly as a panelist on the weekly program "Fox News Sunday." He began his professional journalism career at The Washington Post, spending 23 years as an editorial writer, op-ed columnist and White House correspondent and national correspondent. He has won several awards for investigative journalism and his opinion columns, and an Emmy Award for TV documentary writing. Articles by Williams have appeared in magazines ranging from Newsweek, Fortune and The Atlantic Monthly to Ebony, Gentlemen's Quarterly and The New Republic.
Williams spent 18 highly successful months as host of NPR's afternoon talk show "Talk of the Nation," earning the show its highest ratings in its history. For nine years, he was the host for the syndicated TV news show "America's Black Forum." He has appeared on numerous television programs, including "Nightline," "Washington Week in Review," "Inside Washington," "Arsenio," "Oprah," CNN's "Crossfire" (where he frequently served as co-host) and "Capitol Gang Sunday." He was also featured as a commentator on "Sports Century," ESPN's award-winning series on top athletes of the last 100 years.
Williams' inspirational and informative speaking style has earned him praise from corporations, trade associations, colleges, civil rights groups and citizens associations. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.
Senior Correspondent, "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"
Broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff has covered politics and other news for more than three decades at CNN, NBC and PBS. Most recently, she signed on as a senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.
In early 2007, Woodruff concluded initial reporting and production, along with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, on Generation Next: Speak Up. Be Heard. Generation Next is a project to interview American young people and report on their views, and included an hour-long documentary aired on many PBS stations in January, 2007; a series of reports on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"; reports on NPR and in USA Today; and partnerships with Yahoo! and Film Your Issue. A second hour-long Generation Next documentary is schedule to air on PBS stations in late 2007.
For 12 years, Woodruff served as anchor and senior correspondent for CNN, anchoring the weekday political program, "Inside Politics." At PBS from 1983 to 1993, she was the chief Washington correspondent for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, and from 1984 to 1990, she anchored PBS' award-winning weekly documentary series, "Frontline with Judy Woodruff."
At NBC News, Woodruff served as White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982. For one year after that she served as NBC's "Today Show" chief Washington correspondent.
Mike Bloomberg, Mayor of New York
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California
Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles
Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona
Wallis Annenberg, Annenberg Foundation
Lauren Bon, Annenberg Foundation
Margaret Carlson, Columnist, Bloomberg News; Washington Editor, The Week magazine
Jay Carney, Time
Geoffrey Cowan, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and director, Center on Communication Leadership
Gray Davis, former Governor of California
Matthew Dowd, brand strategist and former advisor to President George W. Bush
Harold Ford, Jr., DLC chairman and former Congressman
Charles E. Jones, Sherry Lansing Foundation
Susan Kennedy, Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Michael Kinsley, columnist
Sherry Lansing, Sherry Lansing Foundation
Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC
John Podesta, Center for American Progress
Richard J. Riordan, Of Counsel, Bingham McCutchen; former Los Angeles mayor
Kathleen Sebelius, Governor of Kansas
Kevin Wall, Live Earth
Juan Williams, NPR and Fox News
Judy Woodruff, PBS's NewsHour