Preparing to Lead – January 2024


The Summer Symposium is a hybrid program. A Zoom link will be provided.  ALL times are stated in Eastern Standard Time (EST), so if you live in  another zone, please make the adjustment. All sessions are for one hour. The preview of the bios for the various speakers follows the daily schedule.

2:00 P.M. – 3:00 P.M. – Shelton Williams, Osgood Center, Program Orientation
3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. – Sofia DeMartino, Development Director for Washington DC, Boys Town

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. – Kenneth Feinberg, Event will be held in ZOOM
11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Marilyn Nevy Cruz, Federal Defenders Program, Rotary Club

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. – Kristin Saboe, Google
11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Rachel Goldsmith, COO San Antonio Methodist Hospital, Event will be held in ZOOM
2:15 P.M. – 4:15 P.M. – National Museum of African American History and Culture

10:00 A.M. – Shelly’s Famous Tour of Pennsylvania Avenue

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. Fanny Yayi, Results for Development, Program Associate
11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Becky Lee, Becky’s Fund
2:00 P.M – Congressional Visitor Center

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. – Monica Smith, Library of Congress
11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. – Lisa Cohen, entrepreneur, President of the Rotary Club of Washington
2:00 P.M. – 3:30 p.m. – Mount Zion Black Cemetery Walking Tour
4:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. – Greg Williams, Head of Arbitration, Wiley-Rein Law Firm
6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. – Reception, Watergate Apartments, Hosts: Mary Beth & Sheldon Ray

9:00 A.M. – 10:00 A.M. – TBA
10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. – Helen Lowman, Director, Research and Public Policy, Texas State University, former Peace Corps Executive
11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Lisa Fager Bediako, Executive Director
Georgetown Preservation Society, Mount Zion Cemetery
2:00 P.M. Donald Jensen, Senior Expert on Ukraine and Russia
Event will be held at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)

9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. – Jennifer Hara
11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. – Nicholas Bassey, Deputy VP Millennium Challenge
Corporation, Event will be held at Millennium Challenge Corporation
2:00 P.M. – Spencer Proffer, Emmy Award-winning Music and
Film Producer at Meteor 17

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M. – Dave Levinthal, Raw Story

Biographical Highlights

Sophia DeMartino

Sofia DeMartino is the Development Director at Boys Town team as Development Director. A University of Iowa and Mount Mercy University graduate, Sofia has nearly a decade of professional experience with social service organizations.

Prior to Boys Town, Sofia served as Community Relations and Grants  Director for Horizons, A Family Service Alliance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Her  passion for this work was inspired by her own experience as a person who was empowered by the social services network to make the arduous climb  out of poverty.

Kenneth R. Feinberg

Kenneth R. Feinberg has been key to resolving many of our nation’s
most challenging and widely known disputes. He is best known for serving as the Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001, in which he reached out to all who qualified to file a claim, evaluated applications, determined appropriate compensation, and
disseminated awards. Mr. Feinberg shared his extraordinary experience in his book What Is Life Worth?, published in 2005 by Public Affairs Press, and in his follow-up book Who Gets What, published by Public Affairs Press in 2012.

Mr. Feinberg has been appointed to two presidential-level commissions because of his experience and expertise and has had a distinguished teaching career as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, the University of Pennsylvania Law
School, Columbia University Law School, New York University Law School, and the University of Virginia Law School.

Marilyn Nevy Cruz

Marilyn was born and raised in Los Angeles.  She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Political Science and Criminal Justice and has an M.S. in Political Science from California State University Fullerton.  She also studied one year at Vaxjo University in Sweden.

Marilyn is doing a two-year temporary duty assignment in the Program Operations Division of the Defender Services Office of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. She is on leave from her job at the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia, where she has investigated hundreds of federal criminal cases ranging from white-collar crimes to international drug trafficking cases to espionage.  Before working at the Public Defender Service, Marilyn worked at the Consulate of Guatemala in Los Angeles, California, on immigration protection matters.  While in graduate school, Marilyn worked as a behavior therapist with children and young adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities.

Marilyn began her association with Rotary in Rotaract, holding various positions there including President.  She has been a member of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., for eight and a half years and is currently the Immediate Past President, Nominations Chair and Membership Co-Chair of the Club. She also has been a member of the Foundation Board, serving first as Sergeant-of-Arms and Secretary and now as President Elect and Board member.  She has twice been honored as Rotarian of the Year. She received a District Governor’s Citation Award for her work in Rotaract in 2017, a District Rising Star Award in 2018, a District Governor’s Citation Award in 2019 for her work in Interact and RYLA, and a District Governor’s Citation Award in 2023 for her work in Youth Services.  Marilyn is a Paul Harris Fellow +6 recipient and is a member of the Paul Harris, PolioPlus and Bequest Societies. She is the only Rotarian in the entire district to be a charter member of Rotary International’s Membership Society and was recently honored at the Service Above Self reception in Melbourne for sponsoring 76 Rotarians in her Rotary tenure.

In addition to all her work in Rotary, Marilyn has a long involvement with several community organizations.  Marilyn also serves as President of her condominium association, Board of Directors of the Columbia Heights Educational Campus-MCIP, Board of Directors of the Cal State DC Scholars Advisory Board, Board of Directors of the National Women’s Foundation, among others.  She is a proud Northern Virginia 40 Under 40 Honoree, serves as Vice Chair of one of her city’s commissions, and is currently a precinct election officer.  Marilyn is married to David Caballero and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.


Kristin N. Saboe, Ph.D., is an Army veteran, nationally recognized
leader, Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, public speaker, and
strategist. Her writing, research, and community involvement focus on
veteran and military spouse employment, human performance
optimization, leadership, and well- being in both military and civilian

She is the author of a recently published book, Military Veterans Employment: A Guide for the Data-Driven Leader, the recipient of early career psychologist awards in 2019 by the Society for Military Psychology and in 2020 by the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and a
2019 President George W Bush Institute Veterans Leadership Program Scholar. She currently is the global leader for Employee Listening & Research at Google. Before she joined Google, she held the same position in The Boeing Company, continues to serve in the Army Reserves, and is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University.


Rachel Goldsmith is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Methodist
Hospital Northeast in San Antonio, Texas.

Rachel has been embedded in the Methodist Healthcare culture with
her multiple leadership experience as the Methodist Hospital and Methodist Children’s Hospital Vice President of Operations, Business Development and Strategy. During her tenure, she advanced the cardiovascular service line through programmatic development, operational oversight, physician recruitment as well as quality and regulatory management. Specifically,
Rachel led the expansion of the nationally acclaimed adult extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) program, the development of a complex aortic program and the growth of the pediatric and adult congenital heart program. Prior to working at Methodist Healthcare, Rachel served in leadership roles at Houston Methodist Hospital and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas.


Fanny Yayi Bondje is an early career professional with experience
working in youth support and development, refugee assistance,
and community health support in Central America, South America
and Africa.

Ms. Yayi Bondje is a program associate on the Evaluation and Adaptive Learning team. She is currently working with the RF MERL project, co-creating and co-designing development solutions that innovate on traditional monitoring and evaluation approaches, in order to support
governance and accountability mechanisms for community health systems in Mali. She is also working with the Health Systems Strengthening Accelerator program to support community health workforces in Côte d’Ivoire. Prior to this role, Ms. Yayi Bondje interned with R4D’s Evaluation and Adaptive Learning (EAL) team and the Leveraging Transparency to Reduce Corruption (LTRC) project. Before joining R4D, Fanny was a fundraising and grant research assistant for a non-profit organization where she generated and implemented various fundraising strategies and cultivated donor relationships.

Ms. Yayi Bondje holds a master’s degree in humanitarianism, aid, and conflict from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) and a BA in politics, human rights, and development from New York University.

Becky Lee

As a young leader and catalyst for change in the fight against domestic violence, Ms. Becky Lee is the force behind Becky’s Fund, a cutting-edge source of social change and public service based in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Lee received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan and then continued on to receive her Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Interested in the prevention of domestic violence, Ms. Lee has been working on issues concerning domestic violence survivors over the last twelve years as an advocate, a policy associate and an attorney. She is also passionate about creating awareness on the specific needs of battered immigrant women, such as language access and cultural competency. Additionally, she has worked as a kickboxing instructor for over six years and has focused on helping battered women regain their confidence and self-esteem through her classes.

Ms. Lee brings her expertise of domestic violence not only to her role as Executive Director of Becky’s Fund, but also to the individuals and families with whom she works personally. Ms. Lee first became aware of the tragedies of domestic violence during a college lecture delivered by a criminal attorney who specialized in acquitting battered women who were imprisoned for killing their abusers in self defense. The impact of this lecture on Ms. Lee was so significant that she has dedicated her career to addressing the social, cultural and legal barriers that entrap domestic violence victims.

Domestic violence currently impacts one in three women in her lifetime and can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. In 2006, Ms. Lee agreed to compete on the acclaimed CBS prime-time television show “Survivor: Cook Islands”. The show’s premise was a competition to test the survival skills of 20 people for 39 days on an uninhabited island. Ms. Lee believed that the strength needed to successfully compete had strong parallels with what domestic violence victims need to

survive: individual inner strength combined with the ability to adapt to new obstacles. As second runner- up, she used the prize money to start Becky’s Fund.

The prevention-based mission of Becky’s Fund is to foster awareness of domestic violence, encourage advocacy among peers, promote activism through outreach programs and create support for victims. Domestic Violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, background, or socioeconomic status. Becky’s Fund openly confronts this issue and tackles it by finding ways to help those who are struggling with domestic violence to find safety for themselves and their children.

Becky’s Fund executes its outreach strategy through national awareness and media campaigns, using radio, print and television public service announcements. The non-profit leverages education, Web 2.0 technology and essential resources to enable critical one-to-one connections between victims and survivors. These crucial resources take aim at the heart of damaging social beliefs that perpetuate a cycle of struggle among so many people in our community. Through its website and programs, Becky’s Fund also connects donors with the specific needs of domestic violence victims. Currently, Ms. Lee is speaking on college campuses across the country to educate tens of thousands of students on how to recognize the warning signs of dating violence, how to get help, and how to help a friend in need.

Monica Smith

Monica M. Smith is part of the Library of Congress. Until recently, she was the Associate Director of the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History (NMAH). Since 1995, she played a lead role in museum exhibitions, public programs, and other invention research and educational initiatives.

Her major projects include serving as the project director, co-curator, and principal investigator for three National Science Foundation grant-funded exhibitions: Game Changers (in progress); Places of Invention, winner of the inaugural 2017 Smithsonian Excellence in Exhibitions Award; and Invention at Play, a traveling exhibition that won the prestigious American Alliance of Museum’s Excellence in Exhibition award. A selection of other Smithsonian exhibition projects she worked on include Picturing Women Inventors (on display at NMAH); Time and Navigation: The Untold Story of Getting from Here to There (on display at the National Air and Space Museum); and From Frying Pan to Flying V: The Rise of the Electric Guitar (closed). Monica wrote frequently for the Center’s blog, has published articles in journals and books, and was a featured expert in the Smithsonian Channel’s award- winning film “Electrified: The Guitar Revolution.” In addition, Monica served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Museum Education (2005-08) and is currently on the Foundation Board of the Rotary Club of Washington, DC.

She earned a BA in history from Pomona College and a non-profit management executive certificate from Georgetown University.

Lisa Cohen

Lisa Cohen was born and raised in Washington, DC and placed – along with her four older brothers – in the now-defunct Junior Village, followed by a slew of often traumatic foster-care placements. She was jockeyed among 13 different families. At the age of 17, she entered an independent-living program.

She began boxing in 1996, at the age of 28, and turned professional the next year, competing under the name of Lisa “Too Fierce” Foster. During her career, she won the IFBA (International Female Boxing Association) Junior Featherweight World Title. In 2002, while seeking the title, she established and ran Too Fierce Boxing & Fitness, a nonprofit Capitol City Champs for at- risk children ages 8-18, located in her hometown of Washington, DC. Lisa is a motivational speaker for women, children, young adults and government agencies engaged in foster care. She is the author of Being Too Fierce: One Woman’s Incredible Journey from Foster Care to World Championship Boxer (2015).

Greg WilliamsGreg Williams

Named by Benchmark Litigation as “International  Arbitration Litigator of the Year” in 2023, Greg  heads Wiley’s Global Disputes Practice. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and arbitration and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). His diverse experience includes serving as lead counsel in high-stakes litigation and  arbitration matters involving a wide range of claims cutting across several industries.

Greg’s matters are frequently multifaceted, with parallel or related  proceedings in multiple fora, or feature other unique characteristics. For example, Greg represents global defense contractor, BAE Systems, in a dispute with the South Korean Government relating to a $2.5 billion  program to upgrade Korea’s fleet of F16 fighter jets. Greg obtained summary judgment in a U.S. suit declaring that Korea’s claims  impermissibly undermined U.S. national security interests. In so doing, he obtained the first-ever foreign anti-suit injunction against a foreign sovereign in the history of U.S. jurisprudence. Further, he convinced the Fourth Circuit to affirm the District Court’s decision, despite an amicus brief by the Executive Branch challenging BAE’s national security arguments. Greg currently advises BAE with respect to the parallel Korean suit.

Greg successfully represented FuelCell Energy, a publicly traded, clean energy company, in a wide-ranging dispute with an international energy company concerning exclusive rights to FuelCell’s technology in Asia and over $1  billion in claims and counterclaims. The dispute featured parallel arbitrations seated in London and Singapore, three arbitrations seated in Korea, a books-and-records demand in Delaware Chancery Court, and a securities claim in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. After a bench trial, Greg obtained a  favorable ruling for FuelCell in the Delaware action. The landmark decision constitutes one of the very few  times in history that a Delaware Chancery Court denied a plaintiff’s books-and-records request on the grounds that the demand had been made for an improper purpose. Since then, the parties settled their disputes. The settlement agreement confirms FuelCell’s exclusive rights to market its technology in Asia and includes a multi-million dollar order for FuelCell’s modules. All the claims against FuelCell were dismissed with prejudice and without compensation.

Greg’s FCPA experience runs the gamut, including managing world-wide internal investigations; conducting due diligence on international agents, joint venture partners, and other third parties; and designing corporate anti-corruption compliance and training programs. Greg also serves as a
member of the Wiley Management Committee.

Helen Lowman

Dr. Helen Lowman is Senior Advisor to the Associate Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection at the Peace Corps. She also serves as the Director of the Center for Research, Public Policy, and Training and teaches in the Political Science Department, Public Administration Program, at Texas State University. Prior to her return to the Peace Corps in 2022, she was President and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. In this role for approximately five years, she ran the nonprofit, with more than 3 million volunteers and 650 affiliate organizations, that envisions every community to be a clean, green, and beautiful place to live.

Dr. Lowman is an innovative and experienced leader in international development, environmental sustainability, and organizational change. In July 2010, Dr. Lowman was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as Regional Director for the Europe, Mediterranean, and Asia region where she oversaw Peace Corps programs in 21 countries. During her tenure, Dr. Lowman chaired the working group that initiated and implemented the placement of same-sex couples as Peace Corps volunteers. She also led a significant shift in the region’s footprint, including the graduation and strategic phase-out of four countries, and the assessment, establishment, and launch of three additional countries.

In 2014, Dr. Lowman became Associate Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection, overseeing the largest department in the Peace Corps, with staff in eight US-based recruiting offices and Peace Corps Headquarters who were tasked with recruiting, assessing, and placing between 3,000 and 5,000 volunteers in more than 60 countries annually. Later, she was chosen by the White House to participate in the President’s Leadership Workshop, along with a group of select peers across the US Government. Additionally, she was awarded for distinguished service five times between 2012-2015. Dr. Lowman was then appointed by President Obama as Director of Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security, in October 2015.

During her career, Dr. Lowman has served as Country Director and Associate Director of the Peace Corps program in China, acting Country Director in Mongolia, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. She has also held senior leadership positions at AFS Intercultural Programs/USA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Dr. Lowman has served on numerous boards including, but not limited to, Pyxera Global, World Neighbors, Better World Leadership Council, Osgood Center for International Studies, and the Council on Standards for International Travel Education.

Dr. Lowman completed her undergraduate studies at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies and Spanish. She obtained a master’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Most recently she was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Austin College.

Lisa Fager Bediako

Lisa Fager Bediako is an expert in social marketing and independently consults on civic engagement and public health issues. She draws upon 18 years of experience in various marketing and public relations roles for major entertainment and broadcasting companies including Def Jam Records, CBS Radio, Capitol-EMI Records and Discovery Communications. She is currently the Executive Director @ Mount Zion serves as a senior advisor to the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation working with Black women and youth across the country to encourage full participation in democracy through educational programs and leadership training.

Prior to this, she worked with the Hip Hop Caucus as Director Public Policy and Solutions engaging youth leaders and developing tactics to increase youth engagement in civic education, voter registration, organizing, mobilizing and public policy. Ms. Bediako is also the co-founder of Industry Ears, a media watchdog group. She testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection on the FCC’s lax stance towards broadcast programming directed at communities of color.

Ms. Bediako has been featured as an expert on youth empowerment in USA Today, Billboard Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Crisis magazine, The Washington Post, Jon Stewart Daily Show and New York Daily. She served on the organizing committee for the 2013 Black Youth Project convening that launched the millennial Black activist group BYP100. Ms. Bediako received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University and resides in the Washington/Baltimore Metro area.

Donald Jensen

Dr. Donald N. Jensen is the director for Russia and Europe at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).

He joined USIP after four years with the Center for European Policy Analysis, where he was a senior fellow and editor-in-chief. Dr. Jensen writes extensively on Russian domestic politics and Russian foreign and security policies. He also specializes in the domestic and foreign policies of other post-Soviet states, especially Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic republics.

Dr. Jensen received his bachelor’s from Columbia University and his master’s and doctorate from Harvard University.

Jennifer HaraJennifer Hara

Jennifer has over twenty years of experience in the private sector, focusing on international and domestic project development, financial structuring, and training. Jennifer has an intimate knowledge of public-private partnerships (P3s), political decision-making, international project finance, and economic and strategic planning. She has served as President of the prestigious Washington, DC Rotary Club and is still an active Rotarian.

She has worked as the brand director for organizations which has infrastructure focused conferences in the United States focusing on innovative and alternative project delivery and P3s. She has a Master of Arts in International Economics from the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Politics from Seattle University.

Nicholas BasseyNicholas Bassey

Nicholas M. Bassey is Deputy Vice President for MCC’s Department of Congressional and Public Affairs, where he works to strengthen relationships with Congress, NGOs, businesses, government officials, and the U.S. public.

Mr. Bassey previously served as Division Chief for Private Sector Engagement (PSE) Institutional Capacity in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s PSE Hub. Mr. Bassey also served as Director of University Programs for the U.S. Peace Corps, establishing and nurturing partnerships with a range of higher education institutions involved in international development. He also served the Peace Corps as Director of Placement.

Mr. Bassey was also Director of the Institute for International Public Policy, where he administered a fellowship program designed to increase diversity in the international affairs workforce and provide support for international education programs at Minority Serving Institutions. His early career was in the nonprofit sector, where he served as Assistant Vice President for Program Development at the Council for Opportunity in Education, Deputy Director of Freedom Schools at the Children’s Defense Fund, and Assistant Program Manager for the Office of Community Service at Morehouse College.

Mr. Bassey earned a B.S. degree from Morehouse College and an M.A. from the George Washington University.

Spencer Proffer

He is the CEO of Meteor 17, a convergence media production company based in Los Angeles, California, United States. Proffer produced the first heavy metal record, Quiet Riot’s Metal Health, to reach the top of the pop charts, selling six million albums. His Children of the Sun collaboration with Billy Thorpe spawned a computer-animated laser choreography of an album in planetariums across North America. Proffer has produced and arranged over 200 albums, many of which have achieved gold and platinum-selling status, produced or executive-produced 17 films as well as supervised and produced music for 135 films and television.

Proffer co-produced a charitable concert and media event with Doc McGhee and Quincy Jones in 2005, for over 44,000 Marines and their families, headlined by Beyoncé Knowles, Destiny’s Child and Kiss, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. In 2012, he donated 25 scholarships to youth across North America to attend Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

In 2016, he completed production of Chasing Trane, The John Coltrane Documentary.

His productions and those Mr. Proffer have been integrally involved with have garnered Academy, Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy & Tony awards & nominations. As a music producer, he sold millions of records. He has a career-long commitment to issues of civil and human rights, amongst other civic and charitable causes to which he gives time and resources. Since 2022, he has been producing enterprises with social responsibility, diversity, and civil rights focus. He believes it is important to have multiple voices and current versions of iconic songs. He uses media to create positive change, to lead. In addition to having his projects speak to the power of songs which transcend decades for their musical inspiration and influence, he is engaged projects that show diversity in race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and economic background, with other factors when speaking to music’s reach. These considerations strengthen projects he produces, ensuring millions can see themselves represented on screen, portrayed with dignity and respect.

dave levinthal

Dave leads Raw Story’s newsroom as editor-in-chief and oversees its investigations and enterprise reporting.

Based in Washington, D.C., Dave previously worked as deputy editor and senior Washington correspondent for Insider. Dave has also worked as an editor or reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, Politico, OpenSecrets, the Dallas Morning News, and the Eagle-Tribune.

Dave’s work as an editor and reporter won numerous honors, including the Goldsmith Prize, Edward R. Murrow Award, National Headliner Award, National Press Club’s Arthur E. Rowse Award for excellence in news media reporting, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sunshine Award, EPPY Award and Radio Television Digital News Association Kaleidoscope Award.

His writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Atlantic, Time Magazine, the Daily Beast and Slate. Dave also regularly provides political analysis on news outlets such as NPR, MSNBC, the BBC, CBC and is a member of the Orato World Media Foundation board of directors.

A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Dave graduated with degrees in newspaper journalism and political philosophy from Syracuse University, where he was editor-in-chief of The Daily Orange.