Meet Our Advisory Board

John Seely Brown

Co-Chairman, Deloitte’s Center for the Edge

John Seely Brown is currently the Independent Co- Chairman of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge as well as a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at USC. He previously served as the Chief Scientist for Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center. A cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning, JSB’s research interests include arc-of-life learning, youth culture, digital media and institutional innovation. He is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education, a Fellow of both the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Trustee of the MacArthur Foundation.


Vint Cerf

Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

Dr. Vint Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies and applications on the Internet and other platforms for Google. Widely known as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/ IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. He has served in executive positions at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He currently serves as President of the Association for Computing Machinery, chairman of the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), and chairman of StopBadWare. Dr. Cerf is a recipient of numerous awards and commendations including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the US National Medal of Technology, among many others. ARTICLES: The Internet is for Everyone, Delay- Tolerant Networking Architecture (co-author)


Glenn Close

Actress, Activist

Glenn Close is an American film, television, and stage actress widely acclaimed for her versatility and considered by many to be one of the greatest actresses of all time. She began her career on Broadway, making her film debut in The World According to Garp (1982). Ms. Close’s first three film roles all earned her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, an award for which she has been nominated six times. Her work has since earned her three Tonys, an Obie, three Emmys, two Golden Globes and a Screen Actors Guild Award. As Founder and Chairwoman of the nonprofit BringChange2Mind, Ms. Close actively campaigns to eradicate the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness in the United States. She is a Trustee Emeritus of the Sundance Institute.


John DeGioia

President, Georgetown University

Dr. John J. DeGioia is the 48th President of Georgetown University. Under his leadership, the University has completed a $1-billion capital campaign, launched the largest expansion of campus facilities in the institution’s history, significantly increased student financial aid, and strengthened endowments for faculty research. He has placed special emphasis on sustaining and strengthening Georgetown’s Jesuit identity, expanding its global engagement, and deepening its relationship with the Washington, DC community. Dr. DeGioia remains a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and represents the university at the World Economic Forum and the Council on Foreign Relations.


Robbert Dijkgraaf

Director, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton

Dr. Robbert Dijkgraaf is a mathematical physicist and string theorist currently serving as the Director and Leon Levy Professor of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Prior to joining the Institute, Dr. Dijkgraaf served as president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; he also remains a distinguished professor of mathematical physics at the University of Amsterdam. In 2003, Dr. Dijkgraaf ’s mathematical contributions to string theory earned him the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research’s Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands. An advocate for engaging young people in the hard sciences, Dr. Dijkgraaf has helped to develop curriculum and study materials and has actively involved secondary school students in his research.


Bran Ferren

CEO and Cofounder, Applied Minds

Bran Ferren is a designer, technologist, inventor, and entrepreneur who currently serves as the Chief Creative Officer of Applied Minds, LLC, a company he cofounded with fellow Disney Imagineer Danny Hillis. Applied Minds is a technology, design, and consulting firm that Wired magazine described as a Willy Wonka factory where “all the candy plugs in.” Prior to establishing Applied Minds, Mr. Ferren served as the President of Research & Development for the Walt Disney Company as well as founder of Associates & Ferren, a multidisciplinary engineering and design firm acquired in 1993 by Disney. He is named as inventor on approximately 300 current and pending US patents. His work in theatre and film production and design have earned him numerous awards and nominations, and in 2011 Fast Company named him as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business.


Don Henley

Recording Artist, Co-Founder of the Eagles and Founder of the Walden Woods Project

Best known as Co-Founder of the legendary rock band, the Eagles, as well as an influential solo artist, Don Henley has maintained an extraordinary commitment to music and to various philanthropic efforts throughout his career, including a dedication to environmental issues and artists’ rights. As a solo artist and as a member of the Eagles, Don Henley has received countless accolades, including two Grammy Awards for Best Male Vocal Rock Performance, numerous gold and platinum records and performed sold-out concert tours worldwide. The Eagles have sold more than 120 million albums worldwide, earning five #1 U.S. singles and six Grammy Awards. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Henley’s career as a musician and activist continues to evolve. In 1990, he founded the Walden Woods Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the historic woods in Massachusetts where author/philosopher Henry David Thoreau first championed the concept of land conservation. Currently, Don Henley is touring with the Eagles following the release of the band’s acclaimed documentary, History of the Eagles. His forthcoming solo album, Cass County, is due to be released in fall of 2014.


Michio Kaku

Theoretical Physicist, CCNY

Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, NY Times best-selling author, and a prominent futurist who currently holds the Henry Semat Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the City College of New York. In 1974, Dr. Kaku co-authored the first papers describing string theory in field theory form. He has since authored numerous textbooks on string theory and quantum field theory. He is widely recognized for his efforts to popularize science, writing multiple books, appearing in films, and hosting numerous TV science specials and a national weekly science radio show heard in 130 cities. A science policy advocate, Dr. Kaku has publicly discussed issues related to the anthropogenic causes of global warming, nuclear proliferation, and the misuse of science. BOOKS: Physics of the Future, Parallel Worlds, Hyperspace.


Michael Keller

Chief University Librarian, Stanford

Michael A. Keller is the Ida M. Green University Librarian at Stanford, where he has been described as “part CEO, part technologist, part academic and all entrepreneur.” Mr. Keller also founded and continues to lead HighWire Press, an innovative, nonprofit, web publishing services enterprise serving scholarly publishers. Keller is the publisher of Stanford University Press, a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a guest professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has also served as a consultant for Newsweek Magazine, Princeton University, Indiana University, the British Library, the National Library of China, El Colegio de Mexico, and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.


William E. Kirwan

Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland

Dr. William E. Kirwan, chancellor emeritus and Regents Professor of Mathematics at the University System of Maryland, is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. In June 2015, he stepped down as chancellor of the University System of Maryland, a position he held for nearly 13 years. He also served as president of Ohio State University for four years (1998-2002) and president of the University of Maryland, College Park for 10 years (1988-1998). Prior to his presidency, he was a member of the University of Maryland mathematics faculty for 24 years. A respected academic leader, Dr. Kirwan is a sought-after speaker on a wide range of higher education and research topics. Currently, Dr. Kirwan chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, chairs the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center Advisory Committee, and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He also serves on the Business-Higher Education Forum.


Jack Leslie

Chairman and CEO, Weber Shandwick

Jack Leslie serves as Chairman of Weber Shandwick, the world’s leading public relations and public affairs firm. A seasoned global communications professional and political operative, Mr. Leslie specializes in helping corporations, public institutions, and prominent individuals to drive strategic campaigns. In 2009 President Obama appointed Mr. Leslie to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the U.S. African Development Foundation. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Advisors of the Duke Global Health Institute, and the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Previously, Mr. Leslie has served as Chairman of the Board of USA for UNHCR and participated in UNHCR Missions to Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Tanzania.


Wynton Marsalis

Artistic Director, Jazz at Lincoln Center

Wynton Marsalis, a New Orleans native, is an internationally acclaimed musician and composer who founded and currently serves as Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York. He has recorded more than 70 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine Grammy Awards and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Mr. Marsalis made history in 1997, when he became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. His accomplishments have earned him numerous national and international awards, including the National Medal of Arts. His lifetime commitment to inspiring and uplifting people though artistic excellence in jazz has had an unparalleled impact both in the United States and around the world.


Wayne Pacelle

President and CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

As president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle leads the nation’s largest animal protection organization—one of the 100 largest charities in the U.S., according to Forbes Magazine. During his tenure, Mr. Pacelle has more than doubled the size of the organization, and its impact is felt throughout the United States and increasingly throughout the world. The HSUS is the largest provider of direct care services to animals in the country, and it works to shape public and corporate animal rights policies nationwide. In the last 8 years, Mr. Pacelle and The HSUS have helped to pass more than 800 new state laws to help animals, and he has personally led more than 25 successful ballot measures. Mr. Pacelle is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.


Jim Phillips

Chairman, NanoMech

Jim Phillips, Chairman and CEO of NanoMech, is an entrepreneur and inventor whose innovations are used by millions worldwide. Internationally recognized as a telecommunications pioneer, Mr. Phillips has played key leadership and development roles at Nortel, Skytel, Motorola, and Mobilecomm. He is renowned for driving the invention and development of satellite paging, instant messaging, fixed cellular, M2M machine to machine wireless telemetry, smart phones (PDAs and PCS), immersive 360° imaging, the VeinViewer – a Time Magazine “Invention of the Year” – and the cable modem, which provided for the broadband expansion of the Internet worldwide. Mr. Phillips is the founding chairman of the FedEx Institute of Technology, which Wired Magazine described as “The MIT of the South.” In 2005, Information Week Magazine named him an “Innovator of the Year” for this successful, multi-disciplinary academic, science and technology project and his career in innovation.


Paul Saffo

Managing Director of Foresight, Discern Analytics

Paul Saffo is a forecaster with over two decades experience exploring the dynamics of large-scale, long-term change. He is a co-founder and Managing Director of Foresight at Discern Analytics. Mr. Saffo is also a Consulting Associate Professor at Stanford University, and leads the Forecasting/Future Studies Track at Singularity University. He is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. His essays have appeared in a wide range of publications including The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.


Rick Satava

Doctor, Professor of Surgery, Futurist

Dr. Richard Satava is a surgeon and researcher who is currently a Professor Emeritus of Surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center, a former Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) program manager, and former Senior Science Advisor at the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Ft. Detrick, Maryland. A two-time Smithsonian Laureate in Healthcare, Dr. Satava has participated in cutting-edge technological research and was the surgeon on the teams that developed the first surgical robot and the first virtual reality surgical simulators. He has also served on the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Committee on Health, Food and Safety and currently serves on a number of surgical and engineering societies, as well as the editorial boards of numerous surgical and scientific journals. Dr. Satava has contributed to over 200 publications relating to surgical technology.


David Shaw

Managing Partner, Black Point Group

David Shaw is an entrepreneur and managing partner of Black Point Group with a long career of public service. He has founded, directed, invested in, and led numerous science-based companies including IDEXX, Ikaria, Sapphire Energy, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Modern Meadow, Itaconix, Physion, Direct Vet Marketing, and others. Mr. Shaw has also served on the faculty of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Governent, the advisory board of the school’s Center for Public Leadership, as the Treasurer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as chair of The Jackson Laboratory, as founding chair of the Sargasso Sea Alliance, and as a director of the National Parks Foundation. Mr. Shaw has also served as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the US-Israel Science and Technology Commission. He was named International SeaKeeper of the year in 2013.


Rick Smolan

Founder, Against All Odds Production

Rick Smolan is a former Time, Life, and National Geographic photographer. Now, as CEO of Against All Odds Productions, Smolan produces large-scale global photography projects which combine story- telling with state of the art technology. Widely known as the creator of the best-selling “Day in the Life” series, every 18 months Smolan engages hundreds of international journalists to focus on emerging topics including Big Data, the global water crisis, and how the human race is learning to heal itself. Against All Odds Productions was named by Fortune Magazine as one of the “25 Coolest Companies in America,” and its projects have been featured on the covers of Fortune, Time, Newsweek, and US News & World Reports.


Jill Tarter

Astronomer and Co-founder of the SETI Institute

Dr. Jill Tarter is an astronomer and the co-founder of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, former Director of the Center for SETI Research and currently holding the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute. She is one of the few researchers to have devoted her career to hunting for signs of sentient beings elsewhere, and there are few aspects of this field that have not been affected by her work. Dr. Tarter’s work in astrobiology have earned her numerous awards, including two public service medals from NASA and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the California Academy of Sciences on whose Board she serves; in 2004, Time Magazine named Dr. Tarter as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.


Michael Weber

Founder, MindLab; Founder, Deceptive Practices

Michael Weber inhabits a unique position in the world of the professional wonder-worker. He holds Masters and Doctorate degrees yet he has never let his formal education interfere with his lifelong interest in mystery. Widely respected for both his problem-solving and story telling abilities, Weber’s work can be seen in dozens of plays and feature films including Forest Gump, Angels in America, The Fountain, Serpent and the Rainbow, The Affair of the Necklace, The Parent Trap, The Illusionist, Top Dog Underdog, The Prestige, A Year of Magical Thinking and Ocean’s 13. Weber and his co-conspirator Ricky Jay founded the consulting company Deceptive Practices, which provides “Arcane Knowledge On a Need-To-Know Basis” to film, theater and television. Weber has worked with writers and directors ranging from Errol Morris, Wes Craven and Martin Scorsese to George Wolfe, Christopher Nolan, and Robert Zemeckis.