Speakers’ Bios

Dr. Estela Mara BensimonDr. Estela Mara Bensimon is a professor of higher education and co-director of the Center for Urban Education (CUE) at the USC Rossier School of Education. Her current research is on issues of racial equity in higher education from the perspective of organizational learning and socio-cultural practice theories. She is particularly interested in practitioner-driven inquiry as a means of organizational change in higher education.

Bensimon’s publications about equity, organizational learning, practitioner inquiry and change include: Confronting Issues of Equity on College Campuses: The Equity Read more…

Alan Berube is senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, and co-author of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America (Brookings Press, 2013). He has authored numerous Brookings publications on topics including metropolitan demographic and economic trends, social policies affecting low-income families and communities, and cities in the global economy.

In addition to coordinating the Metro Program’s research agenda, Alan conducts research on the role and functions of U.S. metropolitan areas in a globalizing economy Read more…

Through her more than thirty years of experience, thought leader Angela Blanchard has reached an epiphany: A community should be defined by its strengths, resources, achievements and hopes – not its degree of “brokenness”. As a result of her unwavering and passionate efforts as president and CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc., Blanchard has extended this community development framework throughout the Houston region to impact over 404,000 people a year. Under Angela’s vision and leadership, Neighborhood Centers Read more…

Dr. Raphael Bostic is the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise and Director of the Bedrosian Center on Governance at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Bostic served for 3 years in the Obama Administration as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that Senate-confirmed position, Dr. Bostic was a principal advisor to the Secretary on policy and research, with the goal of helping the Secretary, and other principal staff, make Read more…

Sheldon H. Danziger is the President of the Russell Sage Foundation. Previously he was the Henry J. Meyer Distinguished University Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Research Professor at the Population Studies Center, and Director of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a John Kenneth Galbraith Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and has been a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation Read more…

Greg Duncan spent the first 25 years of his career at the University of Michigan working on and ultimately directing the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data collection project. Since 1968, the PSID has collected economic, demographic, health, behavior and attainment data from a representative sample of U.S. individuals and the households in which they reside. With these and other data he has studied the economic mobility of the U.S. population, both within and Read more…

Martin Friedman is the Director of Reentry and Family Services at the YWCA of Seattle, King and Snohomish Counties. His duties include managing the Passage Point Program: a transitional housing facility for people who have been incarcerated; are in need of reentry assistance; and are reuniting with their children or working to maintain custody of their children. Martin also manages a pre-k literacy home visit program. Both of these programs are geared towards women and their children but also serve males. Martin has Read more…

Matt Gainer is a documentary photographer whose work has explored social and political movements, religious identity and community, and tensions between people and the environments they occupy. He is currently working on a collaborative book about a cult in the Mojave desert. Mr. Gainer is Director of the USC Digital Library, Research Associate at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture, and adjunct faculty in the USC Price School of Public Policy. Read more…

GarrettElizabeth Garrett was appointed provost and senior vice president for academic affairs on October 28, 2010. As the university’s second-ranking officer, she oversees the USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences as well as the Keck School of Medicine of USC and 18 other professional schools, in addition to the divisions of student affairs, libraries, information technology services, research, student religious life and enrollment services. She also sits on USC Health System Board. Garrett previously served as USC’s vice president for academic planning and budget. Read more…

Robert Greenstein, is the founder and President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is considered an expert on the federal budget and a range of domestic policy issues, including programs and policies affecting low- and moderate-income families and individuals, and has written extensively on these issues. In 1996, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for making “the Center a model for a non-partisan research and policy organization.” In 2008, he received both the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his work to “improve the Read more…

Harry J. Holzer is a Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University and an Institute Fellow at the American Institute for Research in Washington DC. He is a former Chief Economist for the U.S. Department of Labor and a former Professor of Economics at Michigan State University. He received his A.B. from Harvard in 1978 and his Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard in 1983. He is also a Senior Affiliate of the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan, a Research Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the Read more…

Zachary Hoover is the Executive Director of LA Voice. He holds a Master of Divinity from Harvard and a ministry license in the American Baptist Churches of the USA. Zach has eight years of organizing experience, first as Lead Organizer for Inland Congregations United for Change, and then as Lead Organizer and now Executive Director for LA Voice. He has experience cultivating congregational leadership in diverse religious communities, is a fluent Spanish speaker and has Read more…

Carla Javits is the President and CEO of REDF which provides equity-like investments and business assistance to create and grow ‘double bottom line’, non-profit run social enterprises that create jobs as a means to ending cycles of unemployment, homelessness, and incarceration by employing young people and other adults who face high barriers. REDF portfolio companies have generated $140 million in earned income, while employing more than 8,000 people.

REDF, among the inaugural group of intermediaries participating in the federal Social Innovation Fund, continues Read more…

Francine Ratner Kaufman, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer and VP of Global Clinical, Medical and Health Affairs at Medtronic Diabetes and a Distinguished Professor Emerita of Pediatrics and Communications at University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. From 2001-2009, she was Head of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2012, she authored the Insulin Pump and Glucose Sensor Book and the Medical Management of Type 1 Diabetes for the American Diabetes Association. Read more…

Jack H. Knott took the reins of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy in August 2005 as the C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Chair and Professor. Before joining USC, Dean Knott served from 1997 until 2005 as professor of political science and director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago. From 1987 to 1997, Dean Knott was a professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, where he served as departmental chair and director of Michigan Read more…

LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, and the Director of the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative. Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 and she was selected Professor of the Year at SPPD in 1998 and 2001. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health disparities, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented Read more…

Terri Ludwig is president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a national nonprofit provider of development capital and expertise to create affordable homes and rebuild communities. Enterprise has pioneered neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships and invested more than $11 billion to create nearly 300,000 affordable homes. Terri is chair of the Enterprise Community Investment Board of Directors, chair of the Board of Directors of Enterprise Community Loan Fund and serves as a member of the Enterprise Community Partners Read more…

Patrick McCarthy is the President and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children in the United States. Prior to his becoming President and CEO, McCarthy was the Foundation’s senior vice president. In that capacity, he oversaw the Foundation’s work in the areas of health, reproductive health, mental health, substance abuse, juvenile justice, education, early childhood, youth development, child welfare and income security, as well as the Foundation’s Strategic Consulting Group and the direct services agency Read more…

Cynthia Miller is an economist whose current work focuses on policies and programs to increase the employment and earnings of low-wage workers and disadvantaged youth. She is the project director for the YouthBuild evaluation, which is studying the effects of YouthBuild on disadvantaged youth using data from nearly 80 programs around the country. She is also a lead investigator on the Family Rewards Opportunity NYC Project, the first test of a Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program in the United States, and research director for the CCT Read more…

Roy Nash is the President & CEO of NeighborWorks® Waco, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting low- and moderate-income families in purchasing their first home in Waco and McLennan County as well as the multi-county region composing the Heart of Texas Council of Governments’ service area. Under Nash’s leadership since 2002, NeighborWorks® Waco has helped hundreds of families become homeowners, provided thousands of hours in homebuyer and credit counseling to families, designed and built dozens of affordable homes in the Waco area, and in the past few years, has acquired Read more…

Ed Olsen is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Virginia, where he served as chairman of the economics department and was heavily involved in the creation of its new public policy school.  His research specialty is low-income housing policy.  Ed has published papers on housing markets and policies in professional journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, and Journal of Public Economics, and he wrote the chapter on empirical housing economics in the North-Holland Handbook of Urban Economics, the chapter on low-income Read more…

Daphna Oyserman is a Professor of Psychology, Education, and Communication at the University of Southern California. Her research examines how small changes in context can shift mindsets, and so the perceived meaning of behaviors and situations, with large downstream effects on important and consequential outcomes, including health and academic performance. Her theoretical and experimental work conceptualizes the underlying processes, which she then translates into real-world interventions. One line of work focuses on cultural differences in affect, behavior, and Read more…

Richard Parks serves as the executive director of the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation. He has helped establish and develop three urban research centers at USC including the Southern California Studies Center, the Urban Initiative, and the Provost Initiative on Immigrant Integration. He is the founding board chair of a community change effort in South Los Angeles where he has lived for more than 20 years. He has an MBA from the University of Southern California. Read more…

 

Dr. Manuel Pastor is Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Founding director of the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Pastor currently directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at USC and co-directs USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. He holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has received fellowships from the Danforth, Guggenheim, and Kellogg foundations and grants from the Irvine Read more…

Dr. LaDonna Pavetti is the Vice President for Family Income Support Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In this capacity, she oversees the Center’s work analyzing poverty trends and assessing the nation’s income support programs, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

Before joining the Center in 2009, Dr. Pavetti spent 12 years as a researcher at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., where she directed numerous research projects examining Read more…

Erika C. Poethig is Institute Fellow and Director of Urban Policy Initiatives at the Urban Institute. In this role, she assembles experts from throughout the Institute to tackle policy challenges facing urban America in the 21st century. She leads efforts to better use the Institute’s vast resources to inform mayors, county executives, and local civic leaders across regional economies who are working on the ground to spur growth, expand opportunities, and improve the lives of people in their communities. She is also developing new clusters of work that examine how specific populations are affected by Read more…

Heather Schwartz (Ph.D., Education Policy, Columbia University) is a Full Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Schwartz studies the effects of concentrated poverty in schools and neighborhoods on children. Much of her recent work focuses on the effects of economic integration via housing on children’s academic performance. She also researches education reforms such as preschool and expanded time for learning that are intended to narrow children’s income and racial achievement gaps. Prior to working at RAND, Dr. Schwartz consulted to HUD and to housing Read more…

Appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ron Sims served as the Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2009 to 2011. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims managed the day-to-day operations of an agency with 8,500 employees and an operating budget of nearly $40 billion.

Prior to his appointment at HUD, Sims served for 12 years as the elected Executive of Martin Luther King, Jr. County in Washington State, the 13th largest county in the nation with 1.8 million residents and 39 cities including the cities Read more…

As senior vice president and public policy and corporate affairs executive for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., Alazne (Ali) Solis oversees the areas of public policy, communications and marketing. In this position, she develops and advocates policies to advance the development of affordable housing and sustainable communities with the administration, Congress, state and local policy stakeholders and other national industry partners. In addition, she oversees the organization’s internal and external communications and marketing Read more…

Kabira Stokes is the founder and CEO of Isidore Electronics Recycling, a Los Angeles-based full service electronics recycling company whose mission is to hire and train previously incarcerated people. She holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Southern California with a focus in Prison Reentry Policy and Environmental Governance. She has consulted for the non-profit Green For All; worked for the City of Los Angeles as Senior Field Deputy for then-City Council President Eric Garcetti, and was the co-founder and vice-president of the non-profit group, the Young Progressive Majority (YPM) of Los Angeles. Kabira is a graduate of Read more…

Philip Tegeler is the Executive Director of Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC), a civil rights policy organization based in Washington, DC.  PRRAC promotes research-based advocacy on structural inequality issues, with a specific focus on the causes and consequences of housing and school segregation.  Mr. Tegeler has written extensively on federal housing policy, including “The Future of Race Read more…

Margery Turner is Senior Vice President for Program Planning and Management at the Urban Institute, where she leads efforts to frame and conduct a forward-looking agenda of policy research. A nationally recognized expert on urban policy and neighborhood issues, Ms. Turner has analyzed issues of residential location, racial and ethnic discrimination and its contribution to neighborhood segregation and inequality, and the role of housing policies in promoting residential mobility and location choice. Read more…

Sheryl Whitney is a Partner of Whitney Jennings, a management consulting firm dedicated to helping institutions be more effective and build stronger communities. She comes to this firm after building a record of leadership and creativity in public service. Sheryl served for seven years as Deputy County Executive in King County. In this role she supervised and managed the Departments of Adult and Juvenile Detention, Community and Human Services, Development and Environmental Services, Executive Services, Information Technology Read more…

Barbara Wolfe is the Richard A. Easterlin Professor of Economics, Population Health Sciences, and Public Affairs and Faculty Affiliate at the Institute for Research on Poverty, all at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses broadly on poverty and health issues. Current projects examine whether housing voucher programs lead to higher earnings, higher quality child care, less reliance on other public assistance programs and better school performance of children in the household; the adequacy of resources when individuals retire and during their first decade of retirement; how poverty influences Read more…

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