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2016 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars Announced

February 2, 2016 7 minute Read by Brittney Bain

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson,George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush, today announced the 61 scholars invited to participate in the program’s second class. The six-month executive-style program begins this week at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home.

These diverse leaders were chosen because of their desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country.  Over the course of several months, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

2016 program participants include:

  • Tracey Abbott, Founder/CEO of InsightFull Box and Founder/CEO of Culture Relay, San Diego, CA;
  • John Forest Ales, Director of Corporate Communications, Walmart, Fayetteville, AR;
  • Ime Archibong, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Facebook, San Francisco, CA;
  • John “Scott” Beale, Founder and CEO, Atlas Service Corps, Washington, DC;
  • Dr. Jay Bhatt, Chief Health Officer, Illinois Hospital Association, Chicago, IL;
  • Christopher Bhatti, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Vissero Partners, Plano, TX;
  • Amy Black, Vice President of Growth Strategy and Development, Teach For All, Washington, DC;
  • Nicholas Black, CEO and Founder, inKind & Stop Soldier Suicide, Durham, NC;
  • Simon Bland, Executive Director, Private Banking at JPMorgan Chase, New York, NY;
  • Rodney Bullard, Executive Director, Chick-fil-A Foundation, and Vice President of Community Affairs at Chick-fil-A, Lilburn, GA;
  • Rebecca Carpenter, CEO, Sprout, Inc. & Co-Founder, The Better Together Project, Arlington, VA;
  • Kevin Causey, President, Saint Francis Foundation, San Francisco, CA;
  • Katherine Jollon Colsher, National Director, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, New York, NY;
  • Maia Comeau, Senior Fellow, The Lugar Center, Washington, DC;
  • Todd Connor, CEO, The Bunker Labs, Chicago, IL;
  • Justin Constantine, Senior Advisor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring our Heroes Campaign, New York, NY;
  • Jacob Cusack, Co- Managing Partner, Cross Boundary and Cross Boundary Energy, Washington, DC;
  • Mark Dalsing, Chief of Police, Dubuque Police Department, Dubuque, IA;
  • David Eagles, Director of Presidential Transitions, Partnership for Public Service, Washington, DC;
  • John Gallagher, President and CEO, Institute for Global Engagement, Washington, DC;
  • Barbara Jo “BJ” Goergen, Executive Director, Radler Foundation, Fort Worth, TX;
  • Randel Gordon, Commander/ Director of the F-22 Combined Test Force, Edwards Air Force Base, CA;
  • Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Professor, New York University, Director, Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, New York, NY;
  • Shanan Guinn, Head of Strategy & Planning, Communications & External Affairs, BP America, Washington, DC;
  • Karen Harned, Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business: Small Business Legal Center, Arlington, VA;
  • Frank Hernandez, Dean of the College of Education, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, Midland, TX;
  • Nicole Isaac, Head of U.S. Public Policy, LinkedIn, San Francisco, CA;
  • Saif Ishoof, Vice President of Engagement, Florida International University, Miami, FL;
  • Sarah Jackson, Director of Public Affairs, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas, TX;
  • Kendra Johnson, State Director, Human Rights Campaign-Arkansas, Little Rock, AR;
  • Nona Jones, Chief External Affairs Officer, PACE Center for Girls, Inc., Jacksonville, FL;
  • Tim Karcher, Director of Outreach Development and Strategic Planning, No Greater Sacrifice, Harker Heights, TX;
  • Russell Kavalhuna, Executive Director of Flight Operations, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids, MI;
  • Brandon Kline, Energy Law Fellow, Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland, OR;
  • Mike Koprowski, Chief of Transformation and Innovation, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, TX;
  • Oliver Libby, Founding Partner and Managing Director, Hatzimemos/ Libby, Chair and Co-Founder, The Resolution Project, New York, NY;
  • Esteban López, President, San Antonio and Southwest Texas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, San Antonio, TX;
  • Dustin Marshall, CEO, Hazel’s Hot Shot, Dallas, TX;
  • Daniel Pedrotty, Director, Pensions & Capital Strategies, American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC;
  • Jinky Rosselli, Vice President of Global Business Analysis & Operations, BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Chapel Hill, NC;
  • Katherine Rumbaugh, Vice President, Government Relations, Coca-Cola North America, Wheaton, MD;
  • Julie Sandler, Principal, Madrona Venture Group, Seattle, WA;
  • Renée Sanjuán, American Politics Instructor, United States Military Academy, Richmond, VA;
  • Jason Schmitt, Vice President, Global Strategy - Banana Republic, Gap Inc., San Francisco, CA;
  • Keisha Senter, Senior Associate Director, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY;
  • Jeremy Smith, Vice President and Executive Director of Charitable Services, Rainwater Inc., Dallas, TX;
  • Grant Sparks, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, Austin, TX;
  • Ronald “Brent” Taylor, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church - Carrolton, TX, Lewisville, TX;
  • Ike Umunnah, Head of Global Strategic Partnerships, Target Corporation, Minneapolis, MN;
  • Shalini Unnikrishnan, Principal, Boston Consulting Group, Somerville, MA;
  • Graham Veysey, Neighborhood Developer, Hingetown, Principal, North Water Partners, Cleveland, OH;
  • Ana López Van Balen, Director of Community Development, Urban Strategies, Washington, DC;
  • Joshua Walker, Vice President of Global Programs, APCO Worldwide, Alexandria, VA;
  • Tim Ware, Executive Director, Achievement Schools, Achievement School District,  Memphis, TN;
  • Bing Wei, Senior Vice President of Global Initiatives, Bay Area Council, Palo Alto, CA;
  • Kathy Wever, Chief, NGA Support Team TRANSCOM, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Edwardsville, IL;
  • Barry Williams, Deputy Chief, Transition Team of the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency , Washington, DC;
  • Melva Williams, Executive Associate to the Chancellor, Southern University at Shreveport, Ruston, LA;
  • Andreas Xenachis, President, Center for Counterasymmetric Studies, Washington, DC;
  • Adam Zalisk, Chief of Staff, Amplify Education, New York, NY;
  • Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health, State of New York, Rensselaer, NY


The 61 scholars were selected during a rigorous process that began with more than 600 applications. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

The second cohort joins the alumni network of the first cohort of 60 scholars in the program. They include individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographies, coming from a variety of sectors, including private, public, non-profit, military, and academia.

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit www.presidentialleadershipscholars.org.


Brittney Bain
Brittney Bain

Brittney Bain serves as the Director of Communications for the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

Prior to joining the Bush Center, she worked on Capitol Hill where she served most recently as deputy press secretary for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.  Bain interned in the White House Office of Communications during the George W. Bush Administration.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Baylor University and her master’s degree from The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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