Founder & Principal, Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC
Lynn M. Ross is a recognized urbanist and the founder of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works across sectors with organizations on a mission to create the equitable policies and practices that sustain just places. Her practice is rooted in the deep belief that everyone deserves a place to thrive and that the most effective practices for creating and sustaining just places are co-created, centered in lived experience, and equitable by design.
The work of Spirit for Change takes many forms while leveraging Lynn’s expertise in housing, urban planning, community development, and civic infrastructure, as well as strategy development, coaching, organizational change, and policy making. Recent engagements include leading an initiative to reimagine the federal role in housing policy that resulted in the New Deal for Housing Justice; serving as a founding national steering committee member for Reimagining the Civic Commons—a national demonstration amplifying the transformative power of the public realm; and partnering with the City of Akron, Ohio to set a new course for equitable community development by establishing its Office of Integrated Development.
With 20 years of experience, Lynn has a rich history of multi-sector, mission-focused leadership as Vice President, Community and National Initiatives at the Knight Foundation; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing; Chief Operating Officer for the National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy; and Manager of the Planning Advisory Service at the American Planning Association.
Lynn is the current Chair of the KABOOM! Board of Directors and a member of the Next City Board of Directors. She previously served as a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program Advisory Board and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Civic Infrastructure Working Group. In 2019, Lynn was named one of 50 “Women of Influence” by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s The Planner magazine. She was honored with the 2009 Design Achievement Award from the Iowa State University College of Design and the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association. Lynn holds a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell University, where she has also served as a visiting lecturer, and a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.
Senior Advisor, Georgetown University’s Business for Impact Initiative
Ladan Manteghi is a champion of social good with business results. Driving social and economic bottom- lines is the guiding principle of her career in the private, public, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
Currently, she is Senior Advisor at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact Initiative where she previously served as the founding Executive Director. She also leads Manteghi Global, a private consulting practice.
Manteghi helps companies do good by advising executives on social investment strategies, and helps nonprofits generate revenue by teaching and advising on revenue models. Her experience spans start- up and well-established organizations with particular focus in corporate responsibility, economic development, cross-sector partnerships, social enterprise, politics and advocacy, stakeholder engagement, and nonprofit earned income models.
Manteghi’s prior executive roles include Global Director for Partner Networks at Social Progress Imperative; AARP Senior Vice President of International Affairs and President of the AARP Global Network, a former affiliate organization of AARP; and Advisor to the CEO of PowerUp, a nonprofit focused on addressing the digital divide. In public service, she served on various political campaigns and elections, and held positions in US government including working for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Interior.
Her current board service includes PYXERA Global, the University of California at Davis Regional Alumni Board, and is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Iranian American Council.
She holds a B.A. in political science/public service from the University of California, Davis.
President, HR&A Advisors
Eric Rothman is CEO of HR&A Advisors, Inc., a real estate, economic development, and policy consulting firm based in New York. He brings three decades of experience in providing economic development and public-private real estate development consulting, servicing governmental entities, and advising on transportation and public finance projects across North America and in the United Kingdom. He serves as Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s national Public-Private Partnership Council and is a nationally-recognized expert in transit-oriented development Eric has led the firm’s efforts to redevelop the Capitol Riverfront District and former Walter Reed Hospital sites in Washington DC, St. Paul, Minnesota’s historic Union Depot, and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. He has provided economic development strategies for the cities of New York, Newark, Austin, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Prior to joining HR&A, he served as Director of Business Planning for Transport for London and in the capital rebuilding program for the New York City Transit Authority. He serves as Board Treasurer for KaBOOM!, Trustee for the Citizens Budget Commission, member of the ULI-New York Advisory Board, and was previously Board Chair for the Design Trust for Public Space.
Eric earned an A.B. from Princeton University and a Masters degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He and his wife Jennie live in Maplewood, New Jersey with their two teenage sons.
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Consumer Reports
Eric Wayne has been an integral part of CR’s success for more than 20 years and serves as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer. He leads the oversight of CR’s financial affairs, providing insights to help make better decisions about formulating and executing strategy. Eric is directly responsible for the organization’s financial functions, including accounting, business planning and analysis, treasury, and the oversight of CR’s national headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y.
In his role as CFO, Eric has primary responsibility for developing CR’s long-term financial vision and operating plan, and he drives the exploration and development of new business models. He is also responsible for developing CR’s budgets, financial reports, and analysis of financial trends in order to assist the organization’s leadership team with developing solutions to business challenges and to drive resource allocation decisions.
Prior to becoming CFO, Eric served the organization as Senior Director, Treasurer. In that role, he was responsible for investments, debt, cash management, and risk management for the entire organization.
Before joining CR, Eric held various positions for a decade at Mutual of America, including contracts, marketing, and consulting services, serving as an employee benefits consultant to not-for-profit organizations.
Eric earned his B.S. in business administration from the State University of New York at Oswego and his MBA from Baruch College.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Sterling Drive Ventures
Michael Araten is the President and CEO of Sterling Drive Ventures, LP, a family office that owns, among other things, The Rodon Group founded in 1956.
Rodon is a highly automated plastics injection molder, with a focus on small parts, used in over 100 industries, including food, beverage, pharmaceutical diagnostic packaging, windows, consumer packaged goods, construction and toys.
Prior to Sterling Drive Ventures, Michael was the President and CEO of K’NEX Brands, whose K’NEX™ construction toy is distributed in 40 countries. Over 95% of the K’NEX component parts are made at Rodon in Hatfield, PA.
Mr. Araten joined K’NEX and the Rodon Group in May 2005 to serve as their Vice President and General Counsel. He became President & COO in January 2006 and President and CEO in January 2009.
Prior to joining K’NEX and Rodon, Mr. Araten served as Chief Litigation Counsel to Toll Brothers, Inc. as well as Senior Vice President and Corporate Counsel to O’Neill Properties Group. In those capacities, Mr. Araten was responsible for risk management, regulatory approvals, human resource issues and the management of over 100 law firms in 21 states. Mr. Araten also formed numerous joint ventures, led due diligence and acquisition teams, and obtained land development approvals that created over five billion in new home sales and land value.
As President and CEO, Mr. Araten is responsible for all strategic and day to day operations of the company, and is a member of The Rodon Group Board of Directors. He speaks regularly on topics including advanced manufacturing, the toy industry, re-shoring, global competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation. Mr. Araten has appeared on CNBC, CNN, ABC World News, Bloomberg News, Fox Business, and numerous local and regional television and radio shows.
Mr. Araten serves on several corporate and non-profit Boards, including KaBOOM!, American Made Matters, ALMO Corporation, 911Safety, LLC, the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Mr. Araten is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and the Chairman of the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce.
Residing in Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania with his wife, Ellen and their two children, Mr. Araten holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.
Managing Director and Head of Field Management, Morgan Stanley
Vincent J. Lumia is a Managing Director and Head of Field Management, with responsibility for the Firm’s network of ~16K Financial Advisors across ~600 branches, including Private & International Wealth Management, Strategic Client Management and National Sales. Vince most recently served as Head of Private Wealth Management, the division that serves ultra-high net worth individuals, families and their foundations both in the US and abroad. He was responsible for the Institutional Client Coverage group, which provides middle market institutions with research, sales coverage and execution capabilities across Equities and Fixed Income. He also ran Strategic Client Management, which oversees all cross-divisional business activities with a focus on identifying new business opportunities and providing clients with greater access to the broader capabilities of the firm.
Vince was previously Head of the Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Capital Markets business. He was responsible for sales, trading, content and risk management activities in the debt, equity and structured product markets.
Vince is a member of Morgan Stanley’s Firm Management Committee and the Wealth Management Operating Committee.
Vince joined Morgan Stanley in 1999 as a Financial Advisor before moving to the Fixed Income Division in 2004, where he held several sales management positions. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, he worked for Thomson Financial.
Vince currently serves as a member of the National Italian American Foundation Board of Directors.
Vince earned a B.S. from Fordham University. He and his wife Michelle live in Cold Spring Harbor with their children Gianna, Madalena, Vincent and Marco.
President and CEO, TheCaseMade
DrT (as she prefers to be called) is a dynamic speaker, best-selling author and the President and CEO of TheCaseMade, an organization dedicated to helping leaders powerfully and intentionally make the case for systems change. In her role at TheCaseMade, DrT works with hundreds of passionate social changemakers, innovators and adaptive leaders around the United States who are building better, stronger communities that are diverse, equitable and inclusive. By aligning their community stakeholders around the kind of deep systems changes that can improve population outcomes, these leaders are able to grow their impact, scale their programs, and harness the investments they need to improve their communities.
DrT grew up in Detroit, Michigan during one of the most turbulent times in the city’s history. It was because of the challenges of that experience that she champions better policy, programs, investments and services that can transform our cities and communities for the better. It is also the reason that DrT has worked to expand opportunity, equity and inclusion through 25+ years of professional and volunteer experience spanning the private and non-profit sectors, government and academia.
Trained as a social scientist in quantitative and qualitative methods, she is a self-professed “data, policy, and messaging wonk!” She is passionate about translating the insights harvested from her research and practice to improve our ability to build public will around the critical issues that matter most. She holds doctorate and master’s degrees in public policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a master’s degree in political science from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago. DrT has served on numerous nonprofit and social-impact boards and is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, an African American public service sorority.
Head of State and Local Government Relations, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jewel James Simmons is Head of State and Local Government Relations for JPMorgan Chase & Co. She is responsible for leading the firm’s political activities in states and municipalities and management of regional state and local government relations managers nationwide. Before joining JPMorgan Chase, Jewel started James & Co., a boutique consulting firm which counseled early stage enterprises on strategies for leveraging public/private partnerships to accelerate market access.
From 2011 – 2014, Jewel served U.S. President Barack Obama as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. She was later promoted to Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Jewel led the Federal-State Relations Office for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In her capacity as Director of Federal-State Relations, she advised Governor Deval Patrick and his Cabinet on strategies for engaging Congress and the federal government in support of key state initiatives. Jewel serves on the Board of Gibney, a leading performing arts and social justice organization based in New York City as well as InkPen, a non-profit based in Washington, DC focused on ensuring that readers of color have access to books from authors of color.
Jewel received her undergraduate degree from Howard University and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Jamal Simmons, and their two children.
President and CEO, Junior Achievement of Washington
Natalie Vega O’Neil is the President & CEO of Junior Achievement of WA, the largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their eco-
nomic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and financial choices. With 20 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and a commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty, Natalie is a relentless advocate for marginalized, underserved, and vulnerable communities. As a dynamic Latinx leader steeped in early childhood development and educational programs, Natalie is the first female and first person of color to lead Junior Achievement of WA in its 69-year history.
Natalie has a rich background in nonprofit leadership as the associate vice president of Save the Children, founding staff member at Thrive by Five Washington, and co-founder and director of early childhood education for a public charter school in Los Angeles, California. This background has charged her mission and resolve to provide access and equity to education for all families.
Natalie’s team of over 600 at Save the Children, a global humanitarian agency, executed domestic programs focused on early childhood education and grade-level reading across 38 states, reaching more than 300,000 children. While at Thrive by Five Washington, Natalie co-led the development of a statewide Quality Rating & Improvement System and the state’s work on developing kindergarten readiness indicators.
In addition to these programs, Natalie has a breadth and depth of experience rolling up her sleeves to help build and nurture a host of nonprofit programs, including the creation of bilingual, play-based birth to five programs, and an onsite health clinic, for children and families living in severe poverty; worked for other nonprofits, including Make-A-Wish Foundation and the YWCA; and organizing advocacy efforts to raise awareness and support for programs that promote children’s well-being and racial & geographic equity.
Natalie is a skilled fundraiser, securing tens of million of dollars in individual, foundation, corporate, state, and federal grants; and holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Child Development from the Erikson Institute. Natalie was named a Reign FC Legend in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the Seattle community and featured by Seattle ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America) as a Latina Trailblazer. Natalie serves as a board member for Leadership Tomorrow and is the President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Chief Executive Officer, KABOOM!
In early 2021, Lysa M. Ratliff became the newest CEO of KABOOM!, the national non-profit that works to end playspace inequity. For good.
Throughout her career, Ratliff has served as a champion for kids and their resilience, leading efforts to connect partners and make change for communities and kids across the country, and around the world. She was the Vice President of Partnership Development at KABOOM!, has held senior leadership roles at Habitat for Humanity International, Save the Children, and spent more than a decade in international marketing communications at several large corporations.
Lysa has led both public and private fundraising teams, cause marketing and communications campaigns with large global corporations. When not spending time with her own kids and husband, Lysa enjoys all things home, with most of her playtime being spent in the garden growing organic fruits and vegetables.