John Austin, (Emeritus) recently completed 16 years elected service on the Michigan State Board of Education, serving 6 years as President. Austin directs the Michigan Economic Center www.MECReports.org a center for ideas and network-building to advance Michigan’s economic transformation. He also serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and is a Research Fellow with the Upjohn Institute where he supports these organizations efforts to support economic transformation, particularly in the American Midwest. Mr. Austin also Lectures on the Economy at the University of Michigan. Austin received his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and a Bachelors from Swarthmore College in Economics & Political Science, with High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa.
John Bebow is president and CEO of the Center for Michigan. Prior to joining the Center in 2006, he worked for 16 years as a professional journalist, mainly as an investigative reporter for The Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Ann Arbor News, and Traverse City Record-Eagle. He covered the 2003 invasion of Iraq for the Detroit News and Gannett newspapers. He also served as editor-in-chief of MLive.com, Michigan’s largest online news and information service. He lives in Milan with his wife, Monica, and their daughter, Delaney. He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in English from Western Michigan University and an MBA with distinction from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business.
Jeff Chapman directs Pew's economic development work helping states shape economic strategies that are effective, accountable, and fiscally sound. Chapman oversees outreach to state leaders, including technical assistance to develop and adopt policy solutions, and manages a team of researchers who identify and analyze proven approaches that serve as models for other states. He is a frequent speaker and has testified before state legislative bodies as well as professional and academic associations. Chapman came to Pew in 2010 from the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, where he conducted analyses to evaluate and guide state fiscal policy development. He also advised Washington Governor Christine Gregoire as a member of her Council of Economic Advisors. Previously, as an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, Chapman performed research and provided technical assistance to state-based think tanks. Chapman earned a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Elizabeth Garlow is Deputy Director, New Practice Lab and Fellow, Faith & Finance at New America. She worked most recently as the Investment Impact Officer at Lumina Foundation. Prior to that, she served as a community solutions fellow and domestic policy advisor at The White House during the Obama Administration, where she managed the President's Promise Zones initiative, working closely with local leaders to create jobs, improve educational outcomes, reduce violent crime and support overall economic growth and vitality. Elizabeth has served as the executive director of Michigan Corps, where she launched the Pure Michigan Social Entrepreneurship Challenge to discover, develop and fund social enterprises across Michigan. She also served as a business development officer with ACCION USA, supporting the nation’s largest microloan program. Elizabeth was a nonresident fellow at the Council of Michigan Foundations and at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. She earned her Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and her B.A. in political science, Spanish and international economics from Kalamazoo College
Gilda Z. Jacobs has served as president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy since 2011, following a 30-year career in public service at the local, county and state levels. Gilda has won numerous awards for her work, including being named as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business in 2016 and receiving the Michigan Food Bank Council’s Hunger-Free Award in 2015. She served in the state Senate for eight years after serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives where she made history as the first woman floor leader in either chamber of the Legislature. In addition to her civic leadership, Jacobs served as Development Director for JARC, a Jewish association providing residential care for persons with developmental disabilities. She also worked as a special education teacher in the Madison School District. Jacobs received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.
Christopher T. King is a lecturer and senior research scientist at the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Ray Marshall Center, which he directed from 1991 to 2014. He has been researching workforce, education and social policy for more than four decades and received the prestigious Texas Exes Teaching Award in 2007. In 2012, he was selected as one of 20 national leaders in the Aspen Institute’s inaugural class of Ascend Two-Generation Fellows based in part on his work designing CareerAdvance®, Tulsa’s award-winning anti-poverty program, for which he is co-directing a rigorous evaluation with colleagues at Northwestern University. He co-chairs Austin’s Two-Generation Advisory Committee, serves on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Two-Generation Evidence-Building Advisory Group, and is conducting research for the International Labour Office in Geneva with academics and practitioners around the world. In addition to his two-generation work, he is best known for designing and evaluating leading-edge sectoral and career pathway programs. Dr. King held prior positions as assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah (1973-1976), as an economist with the U.S. Department of Labor (1976-1980) and as director of research and evaluation for job training programs in the Texas Governor’s Office (1983-1985).
Molly Martin is the director of New America Indianapolis—a National Network hub launched in 2017 to focus on the innovative grassroots solutions Hoosiers are developing to make the Circle City more livable, resilient, and equitable. Prior to joining New America, Martin spent ten years at Lumina Foundation—the nation's largest private foundation focused exclusively on postsecondary education. Her programmatic work included developing low-cost, public solutions for returning adult students and building philanthropic capacity to partner with vulnerable communities. She earned her BA in Political Science from University of Charleston.
Paul Osterman is the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor of Human Resources and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as a member of the Department of Urban Planning at MIT. From July 2003 to June 2007 he also served as Deputy Dean at the MIT Sloan School. His research concerns change in work organization within companies, career patterns and processes within firms, economic development, urban poverty, and public policy surrounding skills training and employment programs. Osterman has been a senior administrator of job training programs for Massachusetts and has consulted widely for government agencies, foundations, community groups, firms, and public interest organizations.
Luke Tate serves as Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of Opportunity Initiatives at Arizona State University (ASU), leveraging emerging scientific and technological innovations to expand economic opportunity for middle- and lower-income Americans. He is also Professor of Practice in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and a non-resident fellow at the Urban Institute. Luke most recently served as Special Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility on the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he ran a team working on economic mobility, urban policy, poverty, technology and access to opportunity, open data, housing, homelessness, and long-term disaster recovery. He previously served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as senior advisor for urban policy, and as special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Luke was a member of the Presidential Transition team. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, he did community development and educational work in Nicaragua, and worked on community policy in the Office of the Governor of Arizona. He grew up in central Phoenix, Arizona and is a graduate of Harvard University.
Yolanda Townsend is Chief Operating Officer and Legal Director at The Hub Project. The Hub manages multiple ongoing issue-based campaigns and supports several entities as a project of the New Venture Fund. Her most recent previous position was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Opportunity@Work, a social enterprise focused on expanding access to career opportunities so that all Americans can succeed in today’s dynamic and tech-driven labor market. Prior to joining Opportunity@Work, Yolanda held numerous leadership positions in both the private and public sector. She has served as Founder, President and CEO of YMT Real Estate Investment, a real estate investment and consulting firm, Chief Operating Officer of Wheat Government Relations, a consulting and strategic planning company, and a Commissioner of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the regulatory agency responsible for regulating over 10,000 federal and state-chartered credit unions. Yolanda was appointed as the first African American Chairwoman of the NCUA in 2001. She has also practiced corporate finance and real estate law in California, Missouri and Maryland. Yolanda received her BA in International Relations from Stanford University and her JD from Harvard Law School.
Alesha Washington is the program director for Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy. She also leads the collaborative efforts of the senior program team to strengthen democracy building and civic engagement strategies statewide. Prior to her role with the Foundation, Alesha was the Vice President of Government Advocacy for the Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. In her role, she served as the lead advocate on local, state and federal policy issues impacting the Northeast Ohio business community and economic development efforts. Alesha has also held senior government relations roles with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Centers for Families and Children. Among her civic endeavors, Alesha served on the boards of the Cleveland Public Library and the Center for Community Solutions. Alesha is a 2017 Crain’s Cleveland 40 Under 40 honoree and 2015 American Marshall Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Alesha received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin College and her Masters of Nonprofit Management from Case Western Reserve University.