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.
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
Lisa-Nicolle (Nicky) Grist joined the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund in May 2014. As a grant maker and technical assistance provider, the CFE Fund helps local governments support the financial inclusion and stability of their residents. Nicky designs and conducts utilization-focused evaluations of the CFE Fund’s flagship and pilot financial empowerment programs. She also manages the CFE Fund’s $15 million budget, financial systems and compliance. Prior to joining the CFE Fund, Nicky served as Senior Director of Evaluation for the National Urban League, where she evaluated college readiness and entrepreneurship programs and built evaluation capacity among program officers and sub-grantees. She spent 14 years as a nonprofit executive director, first of a community-based housing counseling agency, then of a national social policy advocacy organization. In her early career, she managed housing development for survivors of domestic violence and launched a comprehensive community revitalization project. Nicky has a B.A. from Yale College, a Master’s in Public Affairs from Princeton’s School for Public and International Affairs and an Executive Certificate from Harvard’s Kennedy School.
Nick Johnson has over two decades experience leading efforts to advance equity, accountability, and economic opportunity through stronger state budget and tax policies. From 2012 to 2022 he served as Senior Vice President for State Fiscal Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C-based research and policy institute. In this role, he led a team of researchers, communicators, and advocates, and oversaw the work of the State Priorities Partnership, a network of independent state-based policy organizations that CBPP coordinates and supports. In his own research, Johnson has written extensively on a range of state fiscal policy issues, including tax issues affecting low-income families, the role of taxes in economic development, tax and spending limitations, and federal-state fiscal interactions. In 2004 Johnson was awarded an Ian Axford Fellowship in Public Policy and served as an advisor to the New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development, conducting analysis of that country’s programs of tax relief and cash assistance for low-income families. He started his career as a journalist in Chicago and in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. Johnson holds a graduate degree in public policy from Duke University and an undergraduate degree from Yale University.
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 recently executed a nationally representative survey of all employed adults that carefully measured the extent and consequences of non-standard work including contracting out. That survey was fielded just prior to the COVID crisis and he is currently launching a longitudinal follow up survey. 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.
Monique Stanton, President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, has dedicated her career to promoting social justice and advancing equity in Michigan. She is committed to addressing economic inequality, advancing racial equity, and promoting the health and well-being of Michiganders through public policy change. Previously, Monique served as President & CEO of CARE of Southeastern Michigan, one of Michigan’s largest peer recovery coaching programs. She has also served on the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network Substance Use Disorder Policy Oversight Board, Michigan Celebrate Recovery, Great Start Collaborative Macomb, Macomb County Prisoner Re-Entry Advisory Council, Greater Area Detroit Health Council, Michigan Community Health Association Provider Alliance, Metro Affairs Coalition Public Health Task Force, Macomb Children’s Healthcare Access Program. She is a Leadership Detroit XXXVIII and Leadership Macomb XVII graduate. Monique has received the following recognitions Macomb County Chamber of Commerce Foundation Athena Award Recipient 2020, Crain’s Detroit Business Notable Women in Healthcare 2020, Margrove College Distinguished Alumni 2018, Detroit Free Press and Metro Affairs Coalition Shining Light Award 2014, and dBusiness Magazine 30 in their 30’s Honoree 2013. Monique received her undergraduate degree from Aquinas College and a Master of Arts in Social Justice from Marygrove College."
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 CEO and President of the Seattle Foundation. With over $1 billion in charitable assets and committed bequests, the Seattle Foundation awards more than $100 million annually to nonprofit organizations in the greater Seattle area that are working for a stronger, more vibrant and inclusive community. Most recently, Alesha was Program Director for Vibrant Neighborhoods and Inclusive Economy at the George Gund Foundation. She has been the Vice President of Government Advocacy for the Greater Cleveland Partnership, one of the largest chambers of commerce in the country. Alesha has also held senior government relations roles with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and the Centers for Families and Children. Among her civic endeavors, she served on the boards of the Cleveland Public Library and the Center for Community Solutions.