Speaker Date Topic
David Ballard Aug 23, 2017

Joining the US Foreign Service in 1985, Mr. Ballard’s 30-year career included field posts in Angola, Egypt, Morocco, Mozambique, Portugal, Rwanda and Tunisia as well as positions such as Director of the US Department of State’s Office of Foreign Press and US Army Foreign Policy Advisor. In January 2016, a few months after formally retiring from the Foreign Service, he became a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Reviewer for the State Department. He is responsible for reviewing documents for release under FOIA in response to litigation and/or court orders. His selection for this position reflects his expertise and extensive experience in US foreign policy, diplomatic history and protocol as well as his knowledge of the classification system and of laws and practice related to release of information. Mr. Ballard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service and an African Studies Certificate from Georgetown University and a Certificat d’Études Africaines from the National University of the Ivory Coast.  

Adam Zarazinski Aug 30, 2017
Marching Forward: Addressing Waste and Fraud by Veteran-focused Charities
Marching Forward: Addressing Waste and Fraud by Veteran-focused Charities

Adam Zarazinski currently serves as an active duty judge advocate in the United States Air Force. He is stationed at Joint Base Andrews. As an Air Force JAG, Adam acts as a prosecutor with worldwide jurisdiction over Air Force members. He has prosecuted cases involving sexual assault and rape, international drug trafficking, and aggravated assault and battery.  He also recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan where he was a legal adviser to NATO and United States commanders on international law and operational law. Adam worked in international development for three years prior to attending the University of Michigan Law School and joining the Air Force.  During that time, he represented the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights at the United Nations while studying as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, was an assistant to the Director of the Specialized Crime and Analysis Unit at INTERPOL in Lyon, France, and designed and implemented a $2 million program to curtail the spread of venereal disease in the Amazon Jungle as a project manager with the World Health Organization. Adam recently co-founded Marching Forward, a non-profit organization that addresses waste and fraud in fundraising and program implementation of veteran-focused charitable organizations through building a collaborative online platform that is built specifically for military members, veterans, and their families. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Paula. 

 

Malcolm Young Sep 06, 2017
Project New Opportunity: Prisoner Reentry into Society
Project New Opportunity: Prisoner Reentry into Society

An attorney who earned his JD at The Catholic University of America, Mr. Young is the Director of Project New Opportunity, providing assistance and counsel to people released from federal prisons in advance of the duration of their original sentences due to: (1) judicially-approved sentence modifications authorized when the US Sentencing Commission revised federal sentencing guideline for those convicted of drug trafficking offenses; (2) commutations issued by President Obama; and (3) the 2015 US Supreme Court case Johnson v. United States, finding a specific sentence enhancement unconstitutional. Prior to joining Project New Opportunity, he was the Interim Executive Director at the Campaign for Youth Justice and the Director of the Program for Prison Reentry Strategies at the Northwestern University Law School’s Bluhm Legal Clinic. Among his other positions, Mr. Young was the Founding Executive Director of The Sentencing Project, serving in that role from 1986 to 2005. He is one of the country’s leading voices on sentencing reform and prisoner reentry into society.

Norman Brown Sep 06, 2017
Project New Opportunity: Prisoner Reentry into Society
Project New Opportunity: Prisoner Reentry into Society

Norman Brown is a returning citizen who just finished serving 24 ½ years in the BOP. He was commuted by President Obama after being sentenced to three life sentences for a non-violent drug offense.

He is now employed as the Deputy Project Director, Project New Opportunity, where he assists people coming home from prison. He also goes to Juvenile Detention Centers five days a week. Under the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Center, he is working with youth, guiding them on how to avoid a life of crime and the pipeline to prison. He completes this work under the organization, Grow-Up Grow Out. While he was incarcerated, he designed classes for BOP in self-improvement, anger management, and coping skills, etc.

Even today, Norman Brown continues to work with others to encourage them to realize the power of thought and transformation. He has participated in numerous panels at the White House, Google, Innovation Lab, and reentry conferences and forums discussing mass incarceration as well as how to rebuild your life after being incarcerated.

Brandon Todd Sep 13, 2017
Ward 4 DC Councilmember
Ward 4 DC Councilmember

A native Washingtonian and alumnus of Eastern Senior High School on Capitol Hill, Mr. Todd was elected in April 2015 as the fifth Councilmember representing Ward 4 for the District of Columbia, succeeding Muriel Bowser who assumed the office of mayor. He was re-elected in November 2016 to a full four-year term. Councilmember Todd seeks to advance an agenda focused on expanding services for seniors, improving education in DC schools, supporting the growth of small businesses, and making the city safer. He is the Chairman of the Committee on Government Operations and sits on the Committees on Health, Human Services, and Transportation & the Environment. He is also Vice-Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee and a member of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board. Mr. Todd holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Bowie State University and a Master of Business Administration from Trinity Washington University. He attends St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and lives in Ward 4’s Petworth neighborhood. 

Rick Lofgren Sep 20, 2017
The Children’s Organ Transplant Association
The Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Named President of the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) in August 1998, Mr. Lofgren has worked to build the charity into a highly respected national fundraising entity that saves kids’ lives while sparing their families from financial ruin. During his tenure, COTA has increased patient campaign dollars raised from less than $750,000 to more than $5 million. Besides offering hands-on fundraising assistance to families and patients awaiting life-saving transplants, COTA has partnered to register thousands of organ donors and held dozens of bone marrow registration drives under Mr. Lofgren’s leadership. Since 1986, COTA has helped thousands of transplant-needy children and young adults, and has raised more than $100 million for transplant-related expenses. At Indiana-based COTA, Mr. Lofgren administers strategic operations and policy formulation for the $30 million health care-related and fundraising charity. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Non-profit and Public Organizational Management from the University of Illinois in Springfield and a Master of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University.  

Emily Esfahani Smith Sep 27, 2017
The Power of Meaning
The Power of Meaning

A journalist and writer, Ms. Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, in which she identifies “four pillars of meaning”—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. She was inspired to write this book at least in part by her parents who ran a Sufi meeting house out of their Montreal home when she was a child. Growing up surrounded by people who believed in Sufism—the mystical interpretation of Islam, practiced loving kindness and service to all, and whose lives were so rich with meaning left an impression on her. Ms. Esfahani Smith draws on psychology, philosophy, literature, and her own reporting to consider the human experience. Her articles “There’s More to Life than Being Happy” and “Masters of Love,” originally published in The Atlantic, have been read over 30 million times. She is a columnist for The New Criterion and an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles Project. A collaboration between the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University, the Circles bring people together to enjoy deep, meaningful conversations about what it means to live well. Ms. Esfahani Smith is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Master’s degree. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. 

Bob Cusack, Managing Editor, The Hill Oct 04, 2017
Politics during the Trump Era
Politics during the Trump Era

Bob Cusack has been reporting on policy and politics in the nation’s capital since 1995. He joined The Hill as Business and Lobbying editor in 2003 and became the newspaper’s managing editor a year later. Mr. Cusack has won five awards from the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative articles on a range of issues, including national security, healthcare and 2008 presidential politics surrounding Hurricane Katrina. He regularly appears on MSNBC, Fox, ABC and CNN as a political analyst. Before joining The Hill, Cusack was a chief editor at Inside Washington Publishers. He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in commercials, television shows and feature films. A native of New York City, Mr. Cusack received his Bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola College in Maryland. 

Kenneth Feinberg Oct 11, 2017
Putting a Price on Life
Putting a Price on Life

Kenneth Feinberg is an attorney who specializes in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He founded his own law firm, The Feinberg Group, in Washington, DC. He is widely known for his work in deciding who gets what for losses suffered in high profile catastrophes, accidents and terrorism. He has disbursed billions of dollars for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the Virginia Tech Shooting Disaster Foundation, the BP oil spill, the Sandy Hook School shooting, the Sandusky Penn State victims' fund, the VW Emissions scandal and the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Much of his work is pro bono. Mr. Feinberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a law degree from the New York University School of Law.

Khari Brown Oct 18, 2017
Mentoring to College and Career
Mentoring to College and Career

Khari Brown has served as the Executive Director at Capital Partners for Education (CPE) since 2001 and in November 2015 was renamed as its Chief Executive Officer. Beginning as its only employee, he has built CPE from a niche program that reached only 100 students and mentors per year to a burgeoning organization with multiple program lines that is currently serving more than 700 students and mentors, growing more than 30 percent annually since 2012. By developing CPE’s program offerings to make it the DC region’s most holistic and comprehensive mentoring program, CPE has been remarkably successful in helping its students overcome the barriers that limit most low-income students. Under Mr. Brown’s leadership, CPE has seen 97 percent of its graduates enroll in college and nearly 75 percent complete college on time. He received both a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a Master’s degree in Education from Tufts University. A two-time captain of the Tufts basketball team, he played professional basketball in Helsinki, Finland upon graduating from college. After his playing career ended in 1995, Mr. Brown spent six years coaching high school and college basketball in the Boston area. He also owned and operated a fitness and sports performance business serving individual clients and offering clinics and camps for high school and college athletes. Mr. Brown’s involvement working with urban teens through his various coaching experiences led him to pursue a career in expanding educational opportunities for low-income youth. He and his wife are the proud parents of two children who attend DC Public Schools.