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Conference Overview

Welcome to the Truman Scholars Association 2013 National Conference Page! This summer’s conference will be full of opportunities for reunion, networking, professional development, collective learning, and collaboration within the Truman Community. We cannot wait to see you and your classmates there.

The Conference Details:


July 19th-21st, 2013


Downtown Washington, D.C., NW

  • July 19th: The National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW
  • July 20th: The Mount Vernon Place Conference Center, 900 Massachusetts Ave., NW
  • July 21st: Brunch with fellow Trumans at restaurants around the city


The conference will include keynote, plenary, and breakout sessions with Trumans who are experts in their field, as well as a service activity, networking, and catching up with old friends.

Conference Panels

The Conference Planning Committee has accepted proposals for breakout sessions about pertinent and interesting issues organized by members of our community.  Many thanks to all of those who submitted such outstanding proposals.  Sessions, descriptions, organizers and panelists are listed below:


1. Public Service & Social Entrepreneurship

Organizers: Ross Baird (VA ’06) and Jen Baird  (CT ’06)

Traditionally, “public service” has been defined in two ways: government service and work in the nonprofit sector. Over the past decade, however, leaders focused on social change have increasingly focused on the emerging sector of “social entrepreneurship” and “impact investing”–simply, business solutions to social problems. This panel will focus on enterprising solutions to major social problems worldwide; the strategies that non-profit, business, foundation, and government leaders are using to address them; and careers that Truman Scholars can pursue.

Moderator: Jen Baird, former Program Manager, IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise; former Associate, ShoreBank International


  • Lewis Hower, Director, Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing
  • Kate Ahern, Vice-President, Social Innovation, Case Foundation
  • Ross Baird, Executive Director, Village Capital
  • Rob Lalka, Senior Advisor for Global Partnerships, Howard G. Buffett Foundation; former Global Partnerships Liaison, U.S. Department of State.
  • Andrew Kassoy, Founder, B-Lab

2. Second Term, Second Chance: Revitalizing Obama’s Middle East Policy

Organizer: Dan Tavana (PA ’08)

Description: As President Obama’s second term takes shape and the Arab Spring enters its third year, the Administration faces daunting challenges throughout the Middle East. Arab states once viewed as having successfully initiated transitions to democracy have suffered significant setbacks. Syria’s once peaceful uprising has evolved into a full-blown, increasingly sectarian civil war. Iran’s nuclear program remains a glaring concern, as does the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions continue to simmer in the Arab monarchies, from Bahrain to Jordan, threatening the region’s stability. These challenges, however, call not for U.S. retrenchment in the region, but for renewed efforts at diplomacy and constructive assistance, using American leverage to urge our allies toward greater political. This panel brings together five experts on the Middle East and US foreign policy, each with decades of experience and distinct areas of expertise, to shed light on the challenges President Obama presently faces.


  • Steve McInerney, Executive Director, Project on Middle East Democracy
  • Leila Hilal,  Director, Middle East Democracy Task Force, New America Foundation
  • Blake Hounshell,  Deputy Editor at POLITICO.
  • Moderator: Amy Hawthorne, Senior Fellow, Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council

3. Local Government Innovation: Open Data, Lean Thinking, Hackathons… Oh My! 

Organizer: Bruce Haupt (FL ’06)

Description: Where the rubber meets the road (or potholes). Local governments must find ways to radically reinvent themselves to provide services that are better, faster, and cheaper… and without any additional resources. This panel will highlight local government innovations taking place both inside and outside the bureaucracy.


  • Andreas Addison, Civic Innovator and Internal Consultant, City of Richmond,VA
  • Jeff Reichman Principal, January Advisors and Houston Chair, Startup America
  • Vu Dan, Chief Service Officer, City of Baltimore
  • Omar El-Halwagi  (TX ’11), Lean Six Sigma Program, Manager, City of Houston, TX
  • Laurenellen McCann, National Policy Manager, Sunlight Foundation
  • Michelle Koeth,

    Co-Captain of Code for Northern Virginia, a Code for America Brigade

4. The American Dream: The Social and Policy Impact of Public Retirement Plans  

Organizer: V. Paul Chattergy  (HI ’88)

Description: The purpose of this panel is to inform conference attendees about the issues facing public pension plans such as benefits reform, funding ratio status, credit rating impact, and investment management.  The panel will draw on expertise from both state-specific and national perspectives.  The panel will explore possible solutions (including public/private partnerships) for addressing another aspect of the American Dream that seems to be slipping away, namely retirement security.


  • V. Paul Chattergy, Chief Investment Officer for the State of Hawaii Employees Retirement System (HIERS)
  • Lynnette Kelly, Executive Director of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB)
  • Hank H. Kim, Executive Director and Counsel for the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems

5. Hacking Change: A Discussion on Technology’s Impact in Improving Government and Non-Profits to Deliver Change

Organizer: Andrew Lee (CO ’06)

Description: Technology has had the power to re-shape governments both at home and abroad. Facebook’s mantra is the “hack” – the non-obvious solution to the obvious problem, which has had a powerful impact upon industries and culture.  What is the intersection between technology,
startups, and public service? Here from leaders in the private sector, the government, the public sector, and campaigns to describe how these trends can be harnessed for social good. This panel will give you
practical tips and provide you a theoretical framework to help you and your organizations succeed. As they say in the startup world, “You can’t be a good surfer without a good wave.” This panel will have door
prizes, snacks, the chance to play with Google Glass and will hopefully make everyone a better surfer.

Moderator: Andrew Lee, Entrepreneur-In-Residence, Senior Advisor – U.S. Small Business Administration


  • John Lee – CTO, NGP VAN
  • Cristin Dorgelo, Assistant Director for Grand Challenges, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
  • Jen Pahlka, White House Deputy CTO,  founder of Code for America

6. Next Generation of Education Reform

Organizers: Samuel Roe (NJ ’01) and Eric Tucker (IA ’01)

Description: Securing a quality education yields high and rising returns on investments for students and for our society. Yet despite significant spending increases in recent decades, the academic achievement of low-income students of color is dramatically lower than their more affluent peers, and the U.S. is falling behind our global competitors. Recent years have witnessed a sea change in education policy, driven by a desire to eliminate these dual achievement gaps. Key shifts to date include: next generation learning, (the new science and Common Core) standards and assessments, an upgrade in data infrastructure, a new-found focus on teacher and school leader effectiveness, and a commitment to turning around the persistently lowest-performing schools and expanding access to high-quality seats to those students who need them most. These shifts have the potential to generate a system of rewards and consequences that motivates improvement at the student, teacher, administrator, and system levels. Panelists will share their experiences with these shifts and reflect on emerging opportunities.


  • John King ( NY ’95), Commissioner of Education, New York State
  • Joe Ross (CT ’93), San Mateo County School Board Member, Full Circle Fund (Public Sector Member), Executive Director at Citizen Schools California (former)
  • Danielle Gonzalez ( NM ’00), Senior Program Officer (Education), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ravi Gupta (NY ’04), Superintendent and Founder, Nashville Prep
  • Pooja Argawal (MO ’05) Post-Doctoratal Associate at Washington University in Saint Louis, Former Illinois Director of K-12 Assessments

7. Women in Leadership

Organizer: Sarah Hammer Williams (MN  ’94)

Description: A critical topic of past, present and future interest. This panel will discuss and field questions on the following topics:  (1) career paths and trajectories for women, (2) challenges facing women in the workplace, (3) mentoring and sponsorship, (4) work/life balance.


  • Betsy Williams, Country Support Specialist, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • Caitie Whelan (ME ’07), Foreign Policy Advisor, United States Congress
  • Phoebe Kotlikoff (NY ’12), Ensign, US Navy
  • Stacy Aldinger (HI ’06), Associate, McKinsey & Company
  • Randi Frank (CT ’77) , Owner, Randi Frank Consulting
  • Jessica Grounds, Executive Director, Running Start
8. Being a Person of Color in Public Service: A Conversation

Organizer: Monica Bell (SC ’02)

Description: What does it mean to engage in a public service career as a person of color? How, if at all, does being a person of color affect the work we do? What are the challenges and strategies for success for people of color in public service? To what extent are they the same or different across groups? How can public servants of color draw upon resources and networks to do better work? Instead of using a panel format, this breakout session is a guided conversation on topics that may be particularly salient for people of color in various types of public service. In addition to discussion, this panel has an express purpose of building a Truman network for people of color and defining what that network would entail and how it would operate.

9. OUTREACH service project, packaging food for the hungry in D.C.

Featuring Rick McNary , Vice President of Strategic Partnerships,  Outreach

Keynote Speakers

We are thrilled to announce keynote speakers who are actively involved in the TSA Community and serving as change agents in a variety of fields. Their names and bios are below:

Madeleine K. Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group

albrightMadeleine K. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. Dr. Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 1997, she was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. She is a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Dr. Albright chairs both the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the Pew Global Attitudes Project. She is also the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation and a member of an advisory body, the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Policy Board.  In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.

Luis Antonio Ubiñas,
President, The Ford Foundation


Luis A. Ubiñas is president of the Ford Foundation, the second-largest philanthropy in the United States with more than $10.5 billion in assets and $500 million in annual giving. The foundation operates worldwide and has offices in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.

Since taking leadership at Ford in 2008, Luis has built a program strategy focused on increasing the participation of poor and marginalized individuals and communities in the economic, social and political opportunities afforded by their societies. He has focused on how new technology and social media can reshape the way nonprofits deliver results for those they serve. To maximize the resources available to grantees, Luis also led the restructuring of the foundation’s operations and endowment management.

Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Luis was a director at McKinsey & Company, leading the firm’s media practice on the West Coast. He served technology, telecommunications and media companies, working with them to develop and implement strategies and improve operations. Much of his work focused on the opportunities and challenges represented by the growth of Internet and wireless technologies.

Luis serves on several nonprofit, government and corporate boards and advisory committees, including the World Bank Advisory Council of Global Foundation Leaders, the Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Group for the President of ECOSOC, and the boards of the New York Public Library and the Collegiate School for Boys. He also serves on the boards of Electronic Arts, Valassis Communications and on the U.S. Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiation.

Luis is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was named a Truman Scholar, and Harvard Business School, where he graduated with highest honors. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Luis is married to Deborah L. Tolman, professor of social welfare and psychology at Hunter College School of Social Work and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. They have two sons.

Dr. John B. King, Jr.,
Commissioner of Education, New York


As New York State Education Commissioner, Dr. John B. King, Jr. oversees more than 7,000 public and independent elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), and hundreds of other educational institutions across New York State including higher education, libraries, and museums. Dr. King is a strong voice for education reform, and he was a driving force in New York’s successful Race to the Top application. A former high school teacher and middle school principal, Dr. King has earned a national reputation for his vision and commitment to education reform. Dr. King earned a B.A from Harvard University, an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University.


Conference Schedule

Tentative Conference Agenda:*

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 – Social Driver HQ, 406 7th St. NW, Washington

6PM Conference Kick-Off Happy Hour hosted by Anthony Shop

Friday, July 19th, 2013 – All events at the National Press Club

5PM Conference Check-in Begins for Registrants at the National Press Club
6PM Cocktail Hour
7PM Dinner, Seated by class
7:30PM Remarks by keynote speaker Luis Antonio Ubiñas and Truman Scholars Association President Kyle Gracey
9PM After-dinner Reception, with Harry S. Truman Drink Specials at the Press Club

Saturday, July 20th, 2013 – All events at the Mount Vernon Place Conference Center

9AM Breakfast Seated by Scholar State
10AM Remarks by the Honorable Madeline Albright and Harry S. Truman Foundation Executive Secretary Dr. Andrew Rich
11AM Speed Networking
12 noon Boxed Lunch, seated by policy issue
1PM Remarks by keynote speaker Commissioner John King, Jr. and Truman Scholars Association Board member Samuel Roe
2PM Breakout sessions Round 1

1  Women in Leadership Ground floor, Lounge
2  Education Reform Ground floor, Classroom B102
3 Hacking Change: A Discussion on Technology’s Impact in Improving Government and Non-Profits to Deliver Change Ground floor, Classroom B103 A
4 Second Term, Second Chance: Revitalizing Obama’s Middle East Policy Ground floor, Classroom B103 B
5 OUTREACH service project, packaging food for the hungry in D.C. First Floor, Fellowship Hall
3:30PM Coffee Break
4PM Breakout sessions Round 2

1  Public Service & Social Entrepreneurship Ground floor, Classroom B102
2  The American Dream: The Social and Policy Impact of Public Retirement Plans Ground floor, Classroom B103 A
3  Local Government Innovation: Open Data, Lean Thinking, Hackathons… Oh My! Ground floor, Classroom B103 B
4 Being a Person of Color in Public Service: A Conversation Ground floor, Lounge
5 OUTREACH service project, packaging food for the hungry in D.C. First Floor, Fellowship Hall
5:30PM Closing Plenary
6:30 PM Dinners around DC organized by Class Co-Chairs
9PM Drinks/Celebration for all Trumans in a private room at Boardroom, 1737 Connecticut Ave NW

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

10AM Pre-1995 Scholar Brunch
11AM Scholar community brunches in locations around Washington, D.C.

*All agenda items subject to change

Service Component

The 2013 Truman Scholars Association National Conference will include elements dedicated to service throughout the weekend’s events.

Saturday’s activities will include a conference room dedicated to a service project. We are currently looking into a food packaging activity with Outreach http://www.outreachprogram.org/projects/food-program/ to provide meals to the hungry in the Washington D.C. area.  To ensure that we can include this element of the conference, we ask that you consider contributing a bit more in your conference registration to cover the costs of these meals.  Any funds raised above and beyond the needed expenses for this project will be contributed directly to Outreach.  If you have ideas or requests about this service activity, please contact Katie Liberman: Kate.liberman@gmail.com.

Our caterer for Saturday is New Course Catering an organization with the mission to “train homeless and chronically unemployed men and women for a future in the food service industry by providing hands-on culinary arts training.” The company was voted one of the Best Charities in the Washington D.C. Catalogue for Philanthropy in 2005/2006. You can read more about them here:http://www.newcoursecatering.com/#/about-us

Lodging in D.C.

The 2013 Conference Planning Committee has arranged for reduced rates for conference members at the Grand Hyatt Hotel located at 1000 H Street NW, an easy walk directly between the two conference locations.  These rates are available for booking until June 25, 2013.

Our reduced rates per night are:

  • Standard Single Occupancy – $129.00
  • Standard Double Occupancy – $129.00
  • Standard Triple Occupancy – $154.00
  • Standard Quad Occupancy – $179.00

Individuals may make reservations by calling Hyatt Hotels central reservations at 1-888-421-1442. Each guest should let the reservationist know that they are members of the Truman Scholarship Association room block.