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  • Dan Pallotta

    Philanthropic Pioneer

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    Dan Pallotta is a philanthropic pioneer whose innovative fundraising concepts and methods are employed by dozens of high-impact charities throughout the world.

    Dan is best known as the inventor of the multi-day charitable event industry with the AIDS Rides and Breast Cancer 3-Days. In their first nine years, these events raised $582 million—more money raised more quickly for these causes than any private event in history. He also created the Out of the Darkness suicide prevention events.

    Dan is currently the founder and chief humanity officer of Advertising for Humanity, a full-service brand and inspiration agency for the humanitarian sector. He is also founder and president of the Charity Defense Council, which aims to transform how the donating public thinks about charity and change. He is a noted speaker, and his iconic TED Talk on the future of philanthropy has been viewed more than 3.4 million times, making it one of the top 100 most-viewed TED Talks of all time.

    Dan is the author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press, and is a featured weekly contributor to the Harvard Business Review online.
     

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  • The Honourable John Baird

    Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada

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    The Honorable John Baird served as Canada’s minister of foreign affairs from 2011 to 2015, during which time he championed freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. He is also an outspoken supporter of the State of Israel and of efforts to combat anti-Semitism around the world.

    Widely recognized as a diplomatic leader skilled at working across party lines, Baird began his career in government in 1995 in his hometown of Nepean, Ontario. Over the past two decades, he served six terms as an elected official and held ten cabinet portfolios in Canada and in the province of Ontario. His many domestic achievements include, as environment minister, overseeing the largest expansion of protected areas in Canada’s history, and, as transportation minister, spearheading some 12,000 infrastructure stimulus projects across the country.

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  • Ambassador Dennis Ross

    Counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

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    Ambassador Dennis Ross is counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Prior to returning to the Institute in 2011, he served two years as special assistant to President Obama and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region, and a year as special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    For more than 12 years, Ambassador Ross was the U.S. point man on the Middle East peace process in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. He was instrumental in assisting Israelis and Palestinians as they reached the 1995 Interim Agreement. He also successfully brokered the 1997 Hebron Accord, facilitated the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.

    Prior to his service as special Middle East coordinator under President Clinton, Ambassador Ross served as director of the State Department's policy planning staff in the first Bush administration. In that capacity, he played a prominent role in U.S. policy toward the former Soviet Union, the unification of Germany and its integration into NATO, arms control negotiations and the 1991 Gulf War coalition.

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  • Jeremy Heimans

    Co-Founder and CEO, Purpose.com

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    Jeremy Heimans is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, a home for building 21st-century movements and crowd-based social and economic models to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

    Since its launch in 2009, Purpose has launched several major new organizations, built the world's first open-source global activism platform, and advised institutions like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the ACLU and Google.

    Jeremy made a name for himself in the 2004 presidential election, when he used crowdfunding to create the “Chasing Cheney” tour. After building social movements in his native Australia, in 2007 he co-founded Avaaz, the world’s largest online citizens’ movement, now with more than 41 million members.

    In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation's 75th Anniversary Visionary Award, and the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader. He delivered one of 2014’s top TED talks, and CNN named his most recent thinking on “new power” as one of the top 10 ideas to change the world in 2015.

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  • David Gregory

    Former Moderator, NBC News

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    David Gregory is the former moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press. He previously served as chief White House correspondent for NBC News, where he was hailed by Washingtonian magazine as a “firebrand in the front row.” 

    A journalist since the age of 18, David’s career spans more than two decades  and has taken him across the country and around the world. As a correspondent, David covered the trials of OJ Simpson and Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh as well as other breaking news around the country. He contributed anchoring duties to all NBC’s major programs including Today and Nightly News. He also anchored a politics program on MSNBC called Race for the White House during the historic 2008 campaign.

    David is the author of the forthcoming book, How’s Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey. Raised by a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, he had a strong sense of Jewish cultural and ethnic identity. But it wasn’t until he married a Protestant woman of strong faith that he was inspired him to explore his spirituality. His book is a spiritual autobiography and a faith journal about lessons in belief.

    Sessions:
    Opening Plenary See full program
  • Jennifer Teege

    Author

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    Jennifer Teege was thrilled when, in 2008, she stumbled upon a book about her biological family in a Hamburg library. Born to a German mother and a Nigerian father and adopted by a German family at age seven, she was eager to discover any new information about her ancestry.

    But the book bore a chilling secret: Jennifer’s maternal grandfather was notorious Nazi leader Amon Goeth. Nicknamed “the butcher of Plaszow” for his cruelty, Goeth served as commandant of the Krakow-Plaszow concentration during World War II.

    This discovery sent Jennifer into a profound confrontation with her past, her family and her sense of self, topics she explores in her 2015 book, My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me:  A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past.

    Jennifer lives in Germany with her husband and two sons. She lived for four years in Israel, where she became fluent in Hebrew and earned a degree in Middle Eastern and African studies from Tel Aviv University. She has worked in advertising since 1999.

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  • Sandy Lenger

    Co-Chair, GA 2015

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    Sandy Lenger is the Women's Campaign chair of UJA-Federation of New York and an advisory member of The Jewish Federation of North America National Women's Philanthropy Board.

    An award-winning Young Leadership Cabinet alumna, Ms. Lenger co-chaired the 2011 Heart to Heart Mission, the 2013 National Mission and the 2014 Campaigners Mission, all to Israel.

    Locally, she has served as vice president and Campaign co-chair at the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County and has been chair and president of their women's division campaign.

    Ms. Lenger is a board member of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and has traveled around the world on numerous JDC missions. As members of JDC’s Ambassador Steering Committee, she and her husband have underwritten the Cuban children's milk program.

    A graduate of Skidmore College, Ms. Lenger is a registered nurse.

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  • Alan Solow

    Co-Chair, GA 2015

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    Alan Solow is a vice chair and member of the executive committee of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. He has held numerous leadership positions at his Federation and previously served as a trustee of The Jewish Federations of North America.

    Mr. Solow is also a dedicated lay leader at the JCC Association of North America, having served as board member, board chair and CEO search committee chair.

    From January 2009 to May 2011, Mr. Solow chaired the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and from 2005-2007, he chaired the Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago. 

    Mr. Solow is a partner in the law firm of DLA Piper LLP (US).

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  • David N. Saperstein

    Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom

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    David N. Saperstein is the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. He was confirmed by the Senate on December 12, 2014, and was sworn in and assumed his duties on January 6, 2015. The Ambassador at Large is, by law, a principal advisor to the President and Secretary of State and serves as the United States’ chief diplomat on issues of religious freedom worldwide. He also heads the Office of International Religious Freedom in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.

    Ambassador Saperstein previously served for 40 years as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), overseeing the national social justice programming for the largest segment of American Jewry. A rabbi and an attorney, for 35 years Saperstein taught seminars in First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

    During his tenure at the helm of the RAC, Ambassador Saperstein has headed several national religious coalitions, including the Coalition to Protect Religious Liberty. He has served on the boards of numerous national organizations including the NAACP, (and most recently chaired its national Religious Affairs Committee), the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the World Bank’s “World Faith Development Dialogue.”

    In 1999, Ambassador Saperstein served as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In 2009 he was appointed by President Obama as a member of the first White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. From 2011-2014, he served on the State Department’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society" as a member of its "Religion and Foreign Policy" working group.

    A prolific writer and speaker, Ambassador Saperstein has appeared on numerous television news and talk shows. His articles have been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the “Harvard Law Review.” His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.

    Sessions:
    Opening Plenary See full program
  • Justice Rosalie Abella

    Vice Chair, Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute

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    Justice Rosalie Abella was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 2004. She is the first Jewish woman appointed to the Court.

    A conservatory-trained pianist and a graduate of the University of Toronto, Justice Abella practiced civil and criminal litigation until 1976, when she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court. She was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992.

    Throughout her decades-long career, Justice Abella has been a staunch supporter of human rights. As the sole Commissioner of the 1984 federal Royal Commission on Equality in Employment, she created the term and concept of "employment equity". The theories of "equality" and "discrimination" she developed in her report were adopted by the Supreme Court of Canada in its first decision dealing with equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1989. 

    She has written more than 80 articles, written or co-edited four books, received several awards and 34 honorary degrees, and held several distinguished positions at top universities and organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Israel.

    Justice Abella has been active in Canadian judicial education, organizing the first judicial seminar in which all levels of the judiciary participated, the first judicial seminar in which persons outside the legal profession were invited to participate, the first national education program for administrative tribunals, and the first national conference for Canada's female judges. She is currently vice-chair of the Board of Governors of the National Judicial Institute.

    Born in a Displaced Persons camp in Stuttgart, Germany in 1946, Justice Abella’s family came to Canada as refugees in 1950. 

    Sessions:
    Opening Plenary See full program
  • Leslie Wexner

    Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, L Brands, Inc.

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    Leslie H. Wexner started L Brands in Columbus, Ohio, in 1963 with one store and first-year sales of $160,000. Today, total sales for L Brands, a global leader in lingerie, fragrance and beauty, exceed $12 billion.

    Wexner is currently chair and CEO of L Brands, whose businesses include Victoria’s Secret, PINK, Bath & Body Works, White Barn Candle Co., La Senza and Henri Bendel. The company’s products are available in nearly 4,000 stores in more than 60 countries around the world. 

    He has a profound interest in the development of tomorrow’s leaders through the works of Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership, The Wexner Foundation and The Ohio State University. His areas of community interest include the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University and the Wexner Institute for Pediatric Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus. 

    Wexner has received numerous international awards for his service, and holds several board positions at medical, commercial, education and artistic organizations. He was inaugurated by Harvard University into the Society of John Harvard Fellows and serves as a visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

    Sessions:
    AM Morning Plenary See full program
  • Jennifer Zwilling

    Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Hillel International

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    Jennifer Zwilling is the vice president for strategic initiatives at Hillel International, where she is responsible for planning and implementing key initiatives to advance Hillel’s strategic priorities and to develop a model for excellence in service delivery. She also oversees the Comprehensive Excellence pilot program, which seeks to rapidly improve the performance of local Hillels and leads Hillel’s measurement efforts. She co-authored The Drive to Excellence: The 2009-2014 Hillel International Strategic Plan with CEO Eric Fingerhut and led the related business planning process.  

    Since 2004, Jennifer has held a variety of roles in Hillel’s departments of human resources, education and campus services. Among her achievements was leading Hillel’s five-year, senior Jewish educator and peer engagement pilot, which pioneered innovative methods to engage more Jewish students. Before joining Hillel, she was a program director for the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston.

    Jennifer graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University with a BA in religious studies and earned a joint MA in Jewish communal service and Near Eastern and Judaic studies from Brandeis University.

    Sessions:
    How Do You Measure Jewish Experience? Assessment Model See full program
  • Debra Messing

    Actress

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    Debra Messing, a celebrated actress whose career spans stage and screen, is best known for her lead role on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning comedy series Will & Grace. She captivated television audiences worldwide for eight seasons as Grace Adler, an interior designer whose best friend and soul mate is gay. For her work, Messing won the 2003 Emmy Award, has earned a total of seven Golden Globe nominations, seven Screen Actors Guild nominations, winning the ensemble award in 2001, five additional Emmy nominations, two American Comedy Award nominations and two People’s Choice Award nominations. She also collected TV Guide’s Actress of the Year in a Comedy Series honor in 2001.

    Currently, she stars on the NBC series The Mysteries of Laura as the eponymous detective, and recently wrapped up production on the forthcoming feature fantasy film Albion: Rise of the Danann. In 2014, she made her Broadway debut 2014 in the Tony Award-nominated show Outside Mullingar.

    Debra is a longtime advocate for a number of organizations that support the LGBTQ community and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, including The Gay Men’s Health Crisis, AmFAR and Human Rights Campaign. GLAAD honored her several times for the social awareness and tolerance that her participation in Will & Grace helped establish, and she and her former TV co-star Megan Mullally received The Trevor Life Award as examples of acceptance and tolerance.

    For Population Services International (PSI), Debra recently narrated a documentary special titled ViewChange: HIV Prevention – Looking Back and Moving Forward.  In 2009, she traveled with PSI to Zimbabwe, where she visited their programs in HIV/AIDS prevention and education, safe water and malaria. The following year, she went to Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, where she highlighted successes from US investments in HIV/AIDS while urging members to consider more funding for HIV prevention and treatment in developing countries.

    Debra was the guest of honor and delivered a speech at the USAID annual Auxillia Chimuroso Awards celebrating community leadership and action on HIV/AIDS. She also launched a BBC and UKAID film on PSI’s Hair Salon network that promotes the correct and consistent use of care female condoms through a network of hair stylists and male barbers trained as peer educators. She currently lives in New York.

    Sessions:
    Opening Plenary See full program
  • Noam Gilboord

    Director of Community Strategy, JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network

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    Noam Gilboord, Israel Action Network’s director of community strategy, is responsible for strengthening the capacity of local community professionals in combating the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. In this role, he coordinates the activities of the field of Israel advocates throughout North America, leads mobilization programming and proactively builds partnerships with communities vulnerable to anti-Israel messaging. 

    During his time at IAN, Noam has been personally involved in combating anti-Israel resolutions in city councils, investment firms, academic associations, university campuses, and church movements. Prior to his current role, Noam was the coordinator for Israel and international affairs at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, where he was instrumental in successfully defeating the Park Slope Food Co-op’s motion to join the BDS movement and in collecting over 107,000 signatures opposing the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

    Noam holds a bachelor’s degree in archaeology from the University of Toronto and a dual master’s degree in near eastern & Judaic studies and Jewish professional leadership from Brandeis University.

    Sessions:
    Boycotting the Boycott: Strategies for Addressing BDS on Campus and Beyond See full program
  • Daniel B. Flax

    Daniel B. Flax, Director, Financial Resource Development Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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    Daniel Flax is director of financial resource development at the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York, where he manages both major gifts and Annual Campaign strategy and events. A versatile professional with more than four decades of Federation experience, Daniel also supervises Campaign personnel, organizes Israel missions, helps steward affinity groups and secures corporate sponsors. During his tenure, JFNA has honored the Federation with four Sapir Awards for Campaign Excellence.  

    Sessions:
    Corporate Connection: Finding Local Corporate Support See full program