Ambassadors

Ken Chenault

Chairman and a Managing Director of the venture capital firm, General Catalyst. Prior to General Catalyst, Ken was Chairman and CEO of American Express Company, from 2001 to 2018. Ken is recognized as one of the business world’s experts on leadership and brand management and was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders in its inaugural list in 2014.  Ken serves on the boards of Airbnb, Facebook, the Harvard Corporation and numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. He also serves on the board of trustees for NYU Langone Health.

 

Van Jones

CEO of REFORM, CNN political contributor, and host of The Van Jones Show. Jones has been a leader in the fight for criminal justice reform for more than 25 years. He has founded and led many thriving social enterprises, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Color of Change, and the Dream Corps – a social justice accelerator that houses #YesWeCode, #GreenForAll, and #cut50. Jones has authored three New York Times best-selling books, The Green Collar Economy (2008), Rebuild the Dream (2012), and Beyond the Messy Truth (2017). In 2009, Jones worked as the Green Jobs Advisor to the Obama White House, where he oversaw an $80 billion dollar investment in training and jobs development within the environmental and green energy sectors.

 

Loida Nicolas Lewis

Chair and CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, a family investment firm. She assumed leadership of the business after the death of her husband, Wall Street financier Reginald F. Lewis who, in 1987, engineered a leveraged buyout for $985 million of Beatrice International Food thus becoming the first African American to create a billion dollar company. Prior to her work with TLC Beatrice, Lewis became the first Asian woman to pass the New York Bar, making her eligible to practice in both the Philippines and in New York in 1974. She sued US Immigration and Naturalization Service,(INS)  now called Citizenship & Immigration Service (CIS) for discrimination and won three years of back pay. She worked as General Attorney at INS for 8 years. She co-authored “How to Get A Green Card,” now in its 12th edition and a bestseller in its genre and she currently Chairs the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation.

Robert F. Smith

Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners, an investment firm focused exclusively on investing in enterprise software. Vista currently manages equity capital commitments of over $46 billion and oversees a portfolio of over 50 software companies that employ over 60,000 people worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Smith has overseen over 380 completed transactions by the firm representing over $120 billion in transaction value. In 2017, Smith was named by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Chair of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation. In 2017, Smith signed on to The Giving Pledge, the only African American to do so.

 

 

 

Gerald Chertavian

Founder and CEO of Year Up, a national program that empowers underserved young adults to enter the economic mainstream. With an annual operating budget of $170M, Year Up is one of the fastest growing non-profits in the nation. In 2013, Gerald was appointed Chairman of the Roxbury Community College Board of Trustees by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and reappointed in 2016. Gerald earned a B.A. in Economics from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he serves on the Board of Advisors for the school’s Social Enterprise Initiative. He served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Youth Unemployment Council, and his book, A Year Up, is a New York Times bestseller.

 

Jessica Lessin

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Information, the publication known for original, in-depth reporting about the technology industry. Prior to founding the publication in 2013, Lessin covered Silicon Valley and tech for the Wall Street Journal covering breaking news, product launches, management changes, and strategy shifts. Lessin was named a “Media Disruptor” in 2014 by Vanity Fair and she was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for a series on digital privacy in 2011.

 

 

 

Sheila Lirio Marcelo

Founder, Chairwoman and CEO of Care.com, which launched in 2007. Today, Care.com is the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care. Marcelo drives innovation across Care.com’s platforms and services to enable families to find care and caregivers meaningful work and leverages the company’s expertise to drive systemic change across the global care economy. Prior to founding Care.com in 2006, Marcelo was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Matrix Partners and held executive positions at Upromise and TheLadders.com. She currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of Boston Children’s Hospital and the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership.

 

Darren Walker

President of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grantmaking. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and is co-founder and chair of the US Impact Investing Alliance. Before joining Ford, Walker was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation and served as COO of Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation, where he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy of the community. Earlier, Walker had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and at UBS.