The Future of Work
& Its Foreign Policy Implications
From February 2013 until January 20, 2017, Denis McDonough served as White House chief of staff for President Obama. In that role, McDonough managed the 4,000 member White House staff, as well as Cabinet Secretaries and agency leaders. He provided strategic advice to the President on the most significant domestic policy, national security, and management issues facing the federal government. Prior to his role as chief of staff, from September 2010 until February 2013, McDonough served as assistant to the President and principal deputy national security advisor. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading a multiagency team to address complex national security challenges, including crisis management as well as policy decisions related to the Iran nuclear negotiations, strategic arms reductions talks with Russia, the United States re-balance to Asia, the Afghanistan surge, and the Iraq drawdown. Throughout the 2008 Presidential campaign, McDonough served as senior foreign policy advisor for Obama for America. Prior to his eight-year tenure in the White House, McDonough served in senior leadership and policy-making positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, as professional staff member on the International Relations Committee, and in the U.S. Senate, for the Senate Majority Leader and for Senator Ken Salazar (CO).
McDonough was appointed senior principal at the Markle Foundation in February 2017. In this role, he is working to address the skills gap, particularly in light of the looming artificial intelligence revolution. As part of this work, McDonough will chair the Rework America Task Force, which will consist of a panel of influential Americans who will advance work on enabling all Americans to develop the skills they need to grow their careers and find a new place in the new economy. Through the Task Force, McDonough will work to shape and lead a larger, longer-term national conversation about how the technological revolution can serve all stakeholders in the new economy. McDonough also serves as an executive fellow at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs, teaching a global policy seminar for its inaugural cohort of graduate students. McDonough received his Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from St. John’s University (MN) and his Master of Science degree from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He lives in Maryland with his wife and three children.
Robert Nolan – Moderator
Robert Nolan is Carnegie Corporation of New York’s director of communications and content strategy, overseeing the production of digital and print materials highlighting the work of the Carnegie Corporation and its grantees, as well as content dissemination, audience engagement and outreach. Previously he was editor-in-chief of new media at the Foreign Policy Association, and producer of the PBS television series Great Decisions in Foreign Policy. In this role, he interviewed heads of state, Nobel laureates, foreign ministers, and other key players on the global stage.
He produced the 2009 documentary From Pharaohs to Facebook: Egypt Today. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Zimbabwe, Robert is the author of The Quest for African Unity: 50 Years of Independence and Interdependence, a monograph about the African Union, and he’s written extensively on African politics, transatlantic relations, the United Nations, and public engagement on U.S. foreign policy. Robert is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the National Peace Corps Association. He is an alumnus of the European Union Visitors Program, served as a U.S. delegate to the Atlantic Council’s “Young Atlanticist” convening at the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, and was awarded a Democracy Fellowship by the Polish Foreign Ministry. Robert holds an MSJ from Northwestern University’s Medill School Journalism, and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College.
Global Leadership Award
CEO & Founder of Baxsta
Elizabeth Buchanan is the Founder & CEO of Baxsta, a new start-up. Previously, Elizabeth was President, Global Transformation for OMD, an Omnicom media agency with 11,000 staff in 100+ markets around the world & $43b in management. Elizabeth has had a distinguished career, 20+ years with marque brands including Yahoo! and Macquarie Bank. In addition, Elizabeth was the co-founder & CEO of a digital creative and media agency in Australia, which she built from startup into the hottest and most lauded digital business in the market. The agency won numerous awards including Australian Business of the Year, ranking in Top 10 Places to Work, and Elizabeth was recognized as one of the Top 20 Female Entrepreneurs in the country. Elizabeth sold the business to WPP and moved into the holding group as Division Director, responsible for 20+ P/Ls.
Elizabeth has expressed her strong social conscience throughout her career in many pro bono projects, active volunteering, and NGO board roles, including a current board position with Vital Voices. Vital Voices works with women leaders worldwide in economic empowerment, political participation, and human rights.
Ted Sorensen Award
President, Founder of Art of Hope
Presidential Innovation Fellow
Founder of HERA
Executive Director, USA
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Hatice U. Morrissey & Martin R. Trautmann