Michael Gecan is the national co-director of the Industrial Areas Foundation (which has affiliates in 23 states, the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand). Gecan began his work in New York in 1980 as the founding organizer of East Brooklyn Congregations (EBC) and its well-known Nehemiah affordable housing strategy. He has written two books – Going Public: An Organizer’s Guide to Citizen Action (Beacon Press and Anchorbooks, 2002) and After America’s Midlife Crisis (MIT Press, 2009) — and numerous articles, essays, and opinion pieces in the New York Daily News, New York Times, Chicago Sun Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Review.
Howard B. Glaser
Howard Glaser has three decades of experience leading public and private sector organizations. He was a senior advisor to two New York Governors, included serving as Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor, and Director of State Operations – where he was the state’s chief operating officer. He led the recovery plan after Superstorm Sandy; steered the complex process for the approval and design of the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge; oversaw the effort to create the first unified transportation capital plan for New York State; and served as the Executive Chamber point person for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the NYS Department of Transportation, and other agencies critical to the state’s transportation and infrastructure operations and development.
At the federal level, Mr. Glaser served in multiple posts at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC, including Counselor to the Secretary, Deputy General Counsel, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations. He was a recipient of the John F. Kennedy School of Government “Innovations in Government” Award for his role in reinventing the federal approach to comprehensive community development planning.
In the private sector Mr. Glaser has led organizations that are pushing the envelope of change in transportation sectors. He was the Executive Vice President of AM General, a global vehicle solutions provider; President of Mobility Ventures, an accessible transportation manufacturer; and Executive Vice President of OTG Management, an airport development and technology company.
In 2018, Mr. Glaser was appointed as the Kheel Fellow for transportation policy at Roosevelt House at Hunter College.
Carol Jenkins is Co-President and CEO of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality, sister organizations dedicated to the passage and enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment. A board member since the beginning in 2014 and an active participant in all of its initiatives, she joined the leadership team in 2018, becoming Co-President with ERA Coalition founder Jessica Neuwirth.
Carol is an American women’s rights activist, author and filmmaker. She was founding president of The Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit created in 2004 by Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, and Jane Fonda to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country. At FCC hearings in 2007, she testified on the “crisis in representation” in mainstream media.
As past chair and current board member of Amref Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, she is engaged in efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. Amref has a goal to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by the year 2030. Her other board work includes the Feminist Press, the Veteran Feminists of America, The Steering Committee of the Gloria Steinem Chair at Rutgers University, the Anne O’Hare McCormick Journalism Scholarship Committee, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and Certified Humane.
As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, Straight Talk on WOR-TV; and co-hosted Positively Black for WNBC TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States.
An Emmy Award-winning former television journalist, she hosts the Emmy-nominated interview show, Black America, on CUNY TV. She is also executive producer, writer and correspondent of its documentaries, including the PBS-aired “More Than a Building, A Dream Come True,” an award-winning film detailing the creation of the new African American Museum in Washington, DC and “Conscience of America: Birmingham’s Fight for Civil Rights, a special on the Birmingham National Civil Rights Monument. Carol is the co-author of Black Titan: AG Gaston and the Making of an African American Millionaire, a biography of her uncle and winner of Best Non-Fiction Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She is currently writing a book on her family’s long experience in journalism as a window on gender and racial bias in media.
Karen Hunter is an award-winning radio talk-show host and coauthor of New York Times bestsellers. She was the first African-American female news columnist at the New York Daily News and a member of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize- and Polk Award-winning teams. In June 2015, Karen Hunter authored a petition calling for the removal of the Confederate flag from the statehouse of South Carolina in the wake of the massacre of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Within three days, more than 500,000 people signed that petition. Within a week, Gov. Nikki Haley vowed to take down the flag. Within two weeks, the flag was removed.
In 2015, Karen was named one of the “Heavy Hundred” (The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts In America) by Talkers Magazine for her work on The Karen Hunter Show on SiriusXM’s channel 126 (3 pm-6 pm EST Monday-Friday).
Dorchen Leidholdt has served as Director of Sanctuary’s Legal Center since 1994. The largest legal services program for domestic violence victims in the country, the Center provides legal representation to battered women and advocates for policy and legislative changes that further the rights of abused women. Dorchen is on the Board of Directors of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), which she helped found in 1988. An umbrella of grassroots organizations around the world, CATW has regional networks in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Dorchen has lectured internationally on violence against women and is the co-editor of the Lawyers Manual on Domestic Violence (2006) and the Lawyers Manual on Human Trafficking (2011).
Gara LaMarche is President of the Democracy Alliance (DA), the largest network of donors dedicated to building the progressive movement in the United States. Prior to joining the Alliance, he served as Senior Fellow at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and previously, as President and CEO of the Atlantic Philanthropies. At Atlantic, he led the foundation’s efforts to embrace a social justice framework for grantmaking, and spearheaded the largest-ever grant made by a foundation for an advocacy campaign – over $25 million to press for comprehensive health care reform in the U.S. Before joining Atlantic in 2007, he served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations (OSF), launching the organization’s pivotal work on challenges to social justice and democracy in the United States. A longtime advocate for human rights at home and abroad, he has held various positions with Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
LaMarche is a frequent commentator on progressive issues in the news, and is the author of numerous articles on human rights and social justice issues, which have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Nation, and American Prospect, among many others.