We Care About the Future of Education
Dr. Gary K. Michelson
Dr. Gary K. Michelson is one of the most prolific inventors in the history of medicine, and the sole named inventor of more than 950 issued patents throughout the world. He is one of very few people ever inducted into both the National Inventors Hall of Fame as well as the National Academy of Inventors. He is a distinguished board certified orthopedic and spinal surgeon turned inventor, investor, and philanthropist who has devoted his life to helping others. As a philanthropist he supports education, animal welfare, and medical research. At 17 years of age, he worked to put himself through college, and later, through medical school. Through his Michelson 20MM Foundation, he supports non-profits and startups that use technology to make education more affordable.
Phil comes from the entrepreneurial and venture capital worlds, and has led the development of the Michelson 20MM Foundation’s social impact investment platform to provide seed funding to mission aligned education technology startups. In addition to his work at 20MM, he helps oversee a number of early stage programs at Karlin Asset Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm with over $1.4 billion in unleveraged capital under management. Phil also serves as a mentor for the Kaufman Venture Fellows Program and is actively engaged in a number of entrepreneurship programs across the country, including those at Wharton, MIT, and Stanford.
Mayra leads strategic initiatives and operations for the Michelson 20MM Foundation. In her role she supports the development and implementation of new programs and projects, overseeing the deployment of $3.7M+ in philanthropic capital to help the foundation realize its vision of affording all learners the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education that leads to a meaningful career. Before joining 20MM she was a middle school teacher, co-founder of a dual language immersion program in Sacramento County, and led local canvassing efforts for the DNC. Mayra received her BA in Education, African American Studies, and Political Science from UC Berkeley, and holds a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from CSU, Northridge. Despite leaving the classroom, she remains committed to supporting at-risk populations and serves as a youth mentor and Cal Latinx Adviser for UCB’s California Latinx Alumni Association (CLAA).
Joe is a Co-Director at Runway Incubator and a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. Before joining Runway, Joe led data strategy at Enuma (formerly LocoMotive Labs), an education technology company that builds mobile math games for students with special needs serving over three million worldwide. Before joining the Enuma team, Joe worked in investment banking for Goldman Sachs and spent two years teaching bilingual mathematics with Teach For America. Joe was also an early co-founder of StartX, a startup accelerator based out of Stanford University that has supported over 300 companies. He is currently on the Board of 826 Valencia, a nationally recognized nonprofit supporting under-resourced students with their creative and expository writing skills and was recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his work in education. He was also named to the 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley list.
Jade works on investments and joins the Michelson team with an entrepreneurial background. She worked at early-stage education startups and has experience building out companies from the ground up and scaling their growth via business strategy, business operations, and/or business development roles. Before her work in startups Jade was an educator (teaching leadership to college students, serving as a founding writing teacher to grades 7-12, and teaching computer science to kids as young as 4) and a Financial & Management Consultant to NYC under the Bloomberg administration where she managed the allocation of $4.5B to over 50 city agencies for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. She is a Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar and earned her AB in Social & Cognitive Neuroscience from Harvard and her MA & EdM in Leadership, Policy and Politics from Columbia. Jade values learning and leaving a positive social impact in all that she does.
CHANCELLOR, BRANDMAN UNIVERSITY
Gary Brahm is Chancellor and CEO of Brandman University, a member of the Chapman University System. Brandman is a private, nonprofit institution serving more than 12,000 adult and military students across 26 locations throughout the states of California and Washington, and nationally through the university’s online campus. Over the past 56 years, Brandman has grown from a single-classroom Chapman program at the El Toro Marine base into a thriving university that is consistently recognized with prestigious industry awards and boasts some of the highest graduation rates in the country. Mr. Brahm was selected as the Founding Chancellor of Brandman, overseeing the transition from the Chapman program to a separate, accredited university with nearly 2,500 staff and faculty members, and an operating budget of $100 million.Read More
Prior to joining Chapman University in 1994, Brahm was vice president of finance and CFO at National University. He has also served as vice president and CFO at Anadite, Inc. as well as vice president and CFO at LAM Industries. He started his career as a manager with Ernst & Whitney (now Ernst & Young). Brahm received a bachelor’s degree in biology from California State University, Northridge and a master’s in business administration from the University of Southern California. Expertise: higher education, graduation rates, student loans, non-profit schools, financing college and the value of a college degree.
DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY INNOVATION ALLIANCE
Bridget Burns is the Executive Director of the University Innovation Alliance , a national consortium of 11 large public research universities working as an innovation cluster, improving outcomes for students through innovation, scale, and diffusion of best practices.
Most recently she served as an 2013 -14 American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Arizona State University under the mentorship of President Michael Crow. Where she facilitated and supported the development of the University Innovation Alliance.Read More
Bridget is the recipient of the 2013-14 Edwin Crawford Award for Innovation in Government Relations, a national award for innovation in a field encompassing advocacy and outreach efforts on behalf of colleges and universities to governors, state legislators and other key policymakers. Peer recognition spanning the landscape of higher education, the Crawford Award is presented annually by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of Community Colleges.
Previously a national associate for the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education , Burns was also an advisor to the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS.) Bridget has served on several statewide public boards including the Oregon State Commission on Children and Families, Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature, and the State Board of Higher Education, and served as the chair of the Oregon Student Assistance Commission.
CEO, DIGITAL PROMISE AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Karen Cator is President and CEO of Digital Promise and a leading voice for transforming American education through technology, innovation and research. From 2009-2013, Karen was Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, where she led the development of the 2010 National Education Technology Plan and focused the Office’s efforts on teacher and leader support.Read More
MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY VENTURES
Ryan Craig is a founding Managing Director of University Ventures. Prior to University Ventures, Ryan founded and built Wellspring, the largest and leading organization of treatment programs for overweight and obese children, adolescents and young adults, including boarding schools, summer camps and after-school programs. Ryan headed the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus from 2001-2004 where he was the founding Director of Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI), one of the largest online universities in the U.S. Ryan has advised the U.S. Department of Education and served as VP Strategic Development for Fathom, the Columbia University online education company, from 1999-2001.Read More
SENIOR PROGRAM OFFICER IN THE POSTSECONDARY SUCCESS STRATEGY AT THE BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION
Rahim S. Rajan is a Senior Program Officer in the Postsecondary Success strategy at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this capacity, Rahim leads grant making and investments in the development and adoption of high quality personalized learning technologies such as adaptive learning, blended MOOCs, and high quality interactive courseware to advance and improve undergraduate education in the United States. Exemplar projects within Rahim’s portfolio include the recent Adaptive Learning Market Acceleration Program and the current research of blended MOOCs by University of Maryland System and ITHAKA.
FOUNDER & CEO, CIVITAS LEARNING
Charles fell in love with education while attending Stanford University and considered becoming a teacher. However, he also truly enjoyed technology and business, so decided to explore new ways of affecting education in a more scalable way. Combining these passions, he bought an education business upon graduation and started three more education technology businesses, all with the expressed purpose of pursuing the use of data and technology to improve access and efficacy in education. His work caught the interest of Kaplan Education, who acquired one of his businesses and retained him as an in-house entrepreneur for nine years, during which time he launched many other successful start-ups and served on the executive team of Kaplan Higher Education.Read More
Charles started Civitas Learning with the idea that technology and data, used in the right way, can help address a growing problem in higher education, one that is costing the U.S. more than $4 Trillion. He recognized that the only way to address a need of that magnitude was to bring together a diverse, talented group of people from across industries (high-tech, healthcare, education, public safety, etc.), harnessing the transformative phenomena that is sweeping across industries in relation to data science combined with machine learning, and its use in improving outcomes.
By focusing on deep data science and creating a business model of partnering with higher education institutions to help create and test new ideas and build new solutions, Civitas Learning has become one of the fastest growing ed-tech startups of all time and is reaching over 2.5 million students. Based in Austin, TX, the company attracts talent from all over the world and is continuing to grow its partner base and product ecosystem.
After having two children of his own, Charles became even more convinced of the need to address educational issues in a data-driven practical manner, and not just in the U.S. Civitas Learning is now in the U.K., Ireland, and Mexico, helping even more students achieve success.
Charles is named one of the “16 People Changing the Landscape of Online Education Forever” by Find Education Online. He is a frequent speaker at education and business events around the country when he is not home in Austin, TX enjoying the outdoors with his wife and two young sons.