President and CEO, Society for Science & the Public, and Publisher, Science News
Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News. Founded in 1921, the Society works to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. It is best known for its world-class science competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and Broadcom MASTERS. As an alumna of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, now sponsored by Regeneron, Maya has helped to transform the nearly 100-year-old Society into a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization. During her second year as President and CEO, Maya spearheaded a $100 million, 10-year sponsorship for the Science Talent Search with Regeneron. In addition, Maya has brought Science News Media Group from a decade long deficit into a bullish enterprise by developing a new education pillar and diversifying SN Media Group’s income stream. She has also founded a new series of outreach and equity programs to reach more underserved STEM students in the United States with an $11 million investment. In 2013-2014, Maya served as the inaugural Social Entrepreneur in Residence for Duke University and Visiting Professor for the Practice of Public Policy at The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. From 2011-2014, Maya was a Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. She continues to serve as an adjunct on the faculty of the International Development Program and teaches the course, “Social Innovations in International Development for Children and Youth.” In 1993, Maya founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a nonprofit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Under Maya’s 18 years of leadership, GFC grew from a vision into one of the largest networks of grassroots organizations working on behalf of vulnerable children. To date, GFC has awarded nearly $40 million to more than 700 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children. Maya is also an award-winning children’s book author of more than 20 titles, including Every Breath We Take, Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, and To Be a Kid, with more than 5 million readers worldwide. Maya is a recipient of numerous leadership awards, including the 2011 Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Echoing Green Fellowship, the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, and the Rotary International Graduate Fellowship. She is sought out nationally and internationally to address audiences on STEM education, local and global philanthropy, global children’s rights, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others. In addition to her board position for Kids in Need of Defense, Maya is co-chair of the board of Echoing Green and a recent trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. In 2008, she served as a member of the Innovation and Civil Society subgroup of the Obama presidential transition’s Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Policy Working Group. Maya holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.P.P. from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.
Partner, A.T. Kearney
The Honorable Rafael Borrás is broadly recognized as a leader who has created value for the American public as well as corporate shareholders, and has executed and implemented his strategic management vision at the intersection of the public and private sectors. He is currently a Partner with the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, specializing in homeland security, cybersecurity, and enterprise risk management. Mr. Borrás was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the Under Secretary for Management at the Department of Homeland Security. He was also appointed by the President to serve as Acting Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of DHS in September, 2013. Mr. Borrás oversaw DHS’s $60 billion budget and appropriations, and also administered control over the Department’s $19 billion in procurement as the DHS Chief Acquisition Officer. Prior to his appointment with DHS, Mr. Borrás served as a Vice President and corporate officer with URS Corporation, a global engineering services firm from 2000 – 2010, responsible for multiple P&L groups and major public and private infrastructure projects throughout the U.S. Prior to joining URS, Mr. Borrás served in senior executive positions with multiple federal agencies and local governments. He is also a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration. He received the lifetime distinguished service award from the Homeland Security and Defense Business Council for his transformation success at DHS.
Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP
Chair of the Advisory Board
An experienced trial attorney, Cassirer’s varied litigation practice has included many business, banking, insurance, real estate, employment and professional liability matters. She has had substantial experience in securities fraud class actions, breach of contract, qui tam, fraud, and valuation actions. She has counseled companies experiencing financial difficulties and has represented various financial institutions, including foreign and domestic banks, seeking to restructure debt. In the area of professional liability, she has defended professional liability claims against actuaries, attorneys and consultants. Cassirer served as Receiver for Starr & Co., LLC. and Starr Investment Advisors, LLC in the SEC v. Kenneth Ira Starr matter, and has served as the Chapter 11 Trustee in a complex bankruptcy case, The Estate of David Schick (1996—2004) which generated various litigations and reported decisions. She has also represented a number of creditors in a number of bankruptcy cases.
Claudia Romo Edelman
Founder, We Are All Human, Co-host, Global GoalsCast, and Editor in Chief, Thrive Hispanics
Claudia Romo Edelman is a recognized speaker, panelist and media contributor. With an extraordinary background in the most recognized global organizations such as the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, she has collaborated for more than 25 years in the communication, marketing & advocacy for humanitarian causes and the Sustainable Development Goals. It was through this experience that she recognized a lack of humanity and the need to raise her voice for inclusion, equity and representation for all humans. Claudia is the founder of We Are All Human, co-host of the Global GoalsCast, a podcast about stories that are changing the world, and Editor in Chief of Thrive Hispanics. Prior to this, the Mexican-Swiss diplomat was seconded to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to lead communications and advocacy for the Sustainable Development Goals. Claudia holds degrees in Communications, Philosophy and Photography as well as a Masters of Political Communications from the London School of Economics. Claudia is married and has two children. She enjoys sports and speaks six languages.
Author, If Only, and Clinical Social Worker
Carole Geithner has over 20 years of experience as a clinical social worker in schools, hospitals, counseling agencies, and private practice with children, teens, and adults, many of whom had childhoods shaped by significant loss. She was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University School of Medicine, where for many years she taught a class in listening skills to medical students. She is the author of the novel, If Only, published by Scholastic Press.
Kurt W. Hansson
Partner, Litigation Department, Paul Hastings LLP
Kurt Hansson is the global vice-chairman of the Paul Hastings Litigation department and leader of the GE relationship team. He is based in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Hansson has extensive first chair experience having handled multiple trials for GE and other clients, several of which lasted for over six months. His practice is concentrated in complex litigation matters and he has handled a wide variety of matters including breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims, securities, mass torts, class actions, trade secrets and tax matters. Mr. Hansson also has extensive knowledge and experience in various forms of alternative dispute resolution matters. He has successfully handled numerous domestic and international arbitrations, recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for clients in those proceedings. He was also instrumental in establishing GE’s Early Case Assessment program and has helped develop similar programs for other significant clients such as J.P. Morgan Chase. The ECA program is specifically designed to help reduce litigation costs and liability for the client, by identifying litigation risks and potential business solutions early in the dispute process. Mr. Hansson is known for his creative and practical approach to resolving complex legal disputes for some of the most important companies in the world. Representative clients, in addition to General Electric include ABC, Apple, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Plaza Realty, UBS and Wolters Kluwer. Mr. Hansson is a member of the state and federal bars in the states of Connecticut and New York, as well as, the District of Columbia. He is also a member of the bars of the New York Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
Senior Attorney, Office of the General Counsel, Microsoft
Beth Henderson is a Senior Attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at Microsoft, where she leads the company’s Pro Bono program. Prior to joining Microsoft in 2012, she practiced US immigration law in Philadelphia and proudly accepted her first pro bono case through KIND in 2009. From 2006-2007, she served as an Attorney Advisor for the New York City Immigration Court through the U.S. Attorney General’s Honors Program. In addition to leading Microsoft’s Pro Bono program, Beth is an active pro bono volunteer and has a passion for working with individuals in immigration proceedings who have complex cases. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Campaign for Equal Justice, which raises, manages, and distributes funds to provide civil justice to low-income individuals in the state of Washington.
Senior Fellow and Co-Founder, Migration Policy Institute
Kathleen Newland is co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute and directs MPI’s programs on migrants, migration, and development and comprehensive protection for refugees and internally displaced people. Her work focuses on the relationship between migration and development, governance of international migration, and refugee protection. Previously, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, she was a Senior Associate and then Co-director of the International Migration Policy Program (1994-2001). She sits on the Board of the International Rescue Committee, and is a Chair Emerita of the Women’s Refugee Commission. She is also on the Board of the Foundation for the Hague Process on Migrants and Refugees. Prior to joining the Migration Program at the Carnegie Endowment in 1994, Newland worked as an independent consultant for such clients as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Bank, and the office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. From 1988-1992, Newland was on the faculty of the London School of Economics. During that time, she also co-founded (with Lord David Owen) and directed Humanitas, an educational trust dedicated to increasing awareness of international humanitarian issues. From 1982 to 1988, she worked at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan. She began her career at the Worldwatch Institute in 1974. Newland is the author or editor of six books, including the first State of the World’s Refugees for UNHCR in 1993, and No Refuge: The Challenge of Internal Displacement for the United Nations in 2003. She has also written eleven shorter monographs as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Newland is a graduate of Harvard University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. She did additional graduate work at the London School of Economics.
Managing Partner, Brookfield Asset Management
Mark Srulowitz is a Managing Partner at Brookfield and Head of Legal in Brookfield’s Private Funds Group, where he is responsible for private fund formation and structuring for all private investment funds sponsored by Brookfield. Mr. Srulowitz’s role also includes both product development and regulatory matters. Prior to joining Brookfield in 2011, Mr. Srulowitz worked as an attorney in the Investment Management Group of Debevoise & Plimpton, where he advised private fund sponsors in connection with the formation, structuring and negotiation of their investment funds, as well as economic, governance and related issues. Mr. Srulowitz serves as a committee member of the Private Investment Funds Committee of the New York City Bar Association, which addresses issues, trends and regulations relating to private investment funds. Mr. Srulowitz also serves on the Advisory Board of Kids in Need of Defense. He holds a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Catalina Joos Vergara
Partner, O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Catalina Joos Vergara, a partner in the firm’s Financial Services practice group, specializes in crafting perceptive and responsive solutions to complex disputes. She believes that an effective litigator must first be a mindful listener—that clients are best served by individualized, cost-efficient strategies, not a one-size-fits-all playbook. Catalina is also a skilled trial lawyer and appellate advocate who recognizes that a successful representation calls for a comprehensive trial and appellate strategy, even at the earliest stages of a case. Her guidance has helped financial services, insurance, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods companies navigate high-stakes nationwide litigation. ERISA matters are a significant part of Catalina’s portfolio. She represents retirement plan sponsors and service providers in class actions brought by plan participants alleging the plan’s fiduciaries breached their fiduciary duties or committed “prohibited transactions” in selecting and monitoring plan investment options, or in causing the plan to pay excessive fees. At present, Catalina is representing a number of major financial, energy, and entertainment companies in ERISA fiduciary breach cases pertaining to the companies’ 401(k) plans. Outside of the ERISA context, Catalina represents financial institutions in a range of complex civil matters, including claims brought by borrowers against mortgage servicers and claims brought by account holders challenging bank overdraft fees. A native Spanish speaker and a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Catalina also brings a global perspective to her practice. She has counseled clients facing litigation and government investigations abroad, including in Latin America. She has also devoted significant time to representing Spanish-speaking immigrants pro bono, both before the Ninth Circuit and in the immigration courts. Catalina was O’Melveny’s 2012 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow, and she speaks regularly on diversity in the legal profession. Within O’Melveny, she serves on the Women’s Advisory Board and the Diversity Council, and co-founded both the Women Attorneys’ Network and the Community Involvement Committee in her office. For her contributions, Catalina was awarded a Warren Christopher Values Award, an honor bestowed on those who exemplify the Firm’s legacy of excellence, leadership, and citizenship.
Senior Vice President of Litigation, Allergan
Elpidio (“PD”) Villarreal is Senior Vice President of Litigation of Allergan. Prior to joining Allergan, PD was Senior Vice President, Head of Global Litigation at GlaxoSmithKline, where he had responsibility for all of the Company’s non-patent litigation. He was also Vice President of Litigation at Schering Plough from 2005 to 2009. From 1995 to 2005, PD was Senior Litigation Counsel for the General Electric Company. Before GE, PD was a partner at what is now the Dentons firm in Chicago. He is a 1982 graduate of Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a 1985 graduate of the Yale Law School. He clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago for the Late Honorable Luther M. Swygert. PD has been a quest lecturer at the Harvard Business School, Stanford Law School and Notre Dame Business School, and he is a frequent speaker on ADR, Litigation Management and Diversity topics. He has won numerous awards for his work in ADR, Litigation Management and Diversity. He is one of only two lawyers ever to be the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. In 2012, he was named one of the 10 Most Innovative Lawyers in America by Law360. He has served, in the past, on numerous non-profit boards including the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, the Latino Justice Fund and the Midwest Immigrant Rights Center. He is currently on the board of the National Book Foundation. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and a graduate of executive education courses at GE and Wharton.
Gary M. Wingens
Chairman and Managing Partner, Lowenstein Sandler LLP
Gary Wingens has served as Chairman and Managing Partner of Lowenstein Sandler since 2008, leading its continued expansion as a national firm with over 300 lawyers working from offices in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and California. Gary believes that what makes Lowenstein Sandler different from other leading law firms is the intensity of the firm’s commitment to its people, its clients and its communities. Under Gary’s leadership, and following his example, Lowenstein Sandler’s lawyers regularly invest their skills and passion to support their colleagues, advance their clients’ businesses and strengthen their communities. Gary successfully inspires this dedication among his firm’s lawyers because he lives each of these values. As a highly experienced and widely respected structured finance lawyer, Gary built Lowenstein Sandler’s mortgage finance practice; he is recognized by his peers as a highly effective dealmaker and negotiator. Focused primarily on a client base of participants in the mortgage finance market (many of which are owned or controlled by hedge funds and private equity funds), Gary’s transactional practice spans the areas of structured finance, mortgage finance and commercial real estate, overseeing acquisitions, dispositions and financings of properties, mortgage loans, and servicing rights valued in the billions of dollars. Early on in his practice Gary made the commitment to immerse himself in the mortgage finance industry and understand every step of the mortgage operations and investor reporting process, in order to provide his clients with service and advice distinguished by pinpoint accuracy and complete relevance to their business needs. Today, he teaches Lowenstein Sandler’s lawyers to make the same personal commitment to understanding their clients’ industries and business processes, in order to ensure they can deliver better and more relevant solutions. Gary is also passionate about the firm’s commitment to public interest and pro bono work. It was his vision that inspired the 2008 creation of the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest to strategically channel all of the firm’s public interest efforts. He is a member of the board of the Victoria Foundation, a leading foundation that funds programs to break the cycle of poverty, reform education, and revitalize families and neighborhoods. He chairs the strategic planning committee and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. He has previously served as a member of the Board of Public Media NJ (an affiliate of WNET New York), and the Brandeis University Alumni Association, and has served as Board President of Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, where he and his wife were honored for their volunteer activities. Gary ensures that Lowenstein Sandler makes the same kind of volunteer commitments in each community to which it expands, most recently in Palo Alto and Washington, DC.