2019 Program

Keynote: Benjamin Todd Jealous

Benjamin Todd Jealous is the former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and founder of 20x, a Baltimore-based social impact investing & advisory firm. He was the 2018 Democratic candidate for Maryland Governor.

During his term as the 17th president and CEO of the NAACP from 2008 to 2013, Jealous partnered with numerous government officials at both the state and national level to achieve policy reforms in the fields of education, immigration, voting rights, criminal justice and marriage equality. Prior to leading the NAACP, he was president of the Rosenberg Foundation, where he currently still serves as a member of the board of directors. From 2002-2005, Jealous was director of the U.S. Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA.

His career also has included positions as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association – a federation of more than 200 black community newspapers in 38 states – and managing editor of the Jackson Advocate, the oldest black-owned weekly newspaper in Mississippi.

Jealous was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2013 and received the 2012 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, which is given to an individual who has challenged the status quo through distinctive, courageous, imaginative and socially responsible work of significance.

Jealous is co-author of the book, Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding, named a bestseller by The New York Times and the Washington Post. Since 2016, he has been the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor and Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Columbia University and a Master of Science in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Panel 1: Aligning Mission with Action

Do the policies we promote match the policies we practice?

Across sectors, institutions champion meaningful policy change. Their mission statements include buzzwords like “equality” and “inclusion.” But are these values prevalent in their own practices? This panel will bring together leaders from the nonprofit, foundation, technology and government sectors to discuss whether institutions’ public messaging aligns with their internal practices. Speakers will reflect on sector-wide issues, discuss the effects on people of color in the workplace and examine best practices for fostering more equitable institutions.


Aerica Shimizu Banks
Co-founder, BEACON: The DC Founders Initiative
Sean Thomas-Breitfeld
Co-Director, Building Movement Project
Petra Gaskins
Director of Outreach & Programming for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman
Marissa Tirona
Program Officer, Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD), Ford Foundation

Panel 2: The Future of Work for People of Color

As the economy changes, what does the future for communities of color look like?

Automation, artificial intelligence, big data - the nature of work is changing. While technological innovation has the power to reshape entire industries and increase prosperity, too often it leaves communities of color of behind. This panel will explore the trends shaping the future of work and the economy as well as what it will take to ensure people of color have a seat at the table.


Harin Contractor
Director, Workforce Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Carmen Rojas, PhD
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Workers Lab
Simon Tafoya, MPA*07
Managing Director, PayIt; Former Director of Policy & Federal Relations for Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado

Sunday Panel: Technology, Work, and Political Resistance

What is the future of work we want to see?

How do we craft it? Technology is shaping the future of work, but so can we. This panel will discuss how digital technologies harm and help different types of workers in their daily lives, and the evolving role of labor movements to build an equitable future of work.


Kim Geron, PhD
Professor, California State University - East Bay
Julia Ticona, PhD
Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communications