Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with $975 billion Assets Under Management (as of December 31, 2022). Mr. Schwarzman has been involved in all phases of Blackstone’s development since its founding in 1985. The firm has established leading investing businesses across asset classes, including private equity, where it is a global leader in traditional buyout, growth equity, special situations and secondary investing; real estate, where it is currently the largest owner of property in the world; hedge fund solutions, where it is the world’s largest discretionary hedge fund investor; and credit, where it is a global leader and major provider of credit for small, middle-market and other companies. Blackstone has also recently launched major new businesses dedicated to infrastructure and life sciences investing, as well as delivering the firm’s investment management expertise and products to insurance companies.
Mr. Schwarzman is an active philanthropist with a history of supporting education, as well as culture and the arts, among other things. In 2020, he signed The Giving Pledge, committing to give the majority of his wealth to philanthropic causes. In both business and philanthropy, Mr. Schwarzman has dedicated himself to tackling big problems with transformative solutions. In June 2019, he donated £150 million to the University of Oxford to help redefine the study of the humanities for the 21st century. His gift – the largest single donation to Oxford since the renaissance – will create a new Centre for the Humanities which unites all humanities faculties under one roof for the first time in Oxford’s history, and will offer new performing arts and exhibition venues as well as a new Institute for Ethics in AI. In October 2018, he announced a foundational $350 million gift to establish the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, an interdisciplinary hub which will reorient MIT to address the opportunities and challenges presented by the rise of artificial intelligence, including critical ethical and policy considerations to ensure that the technologies are employed for the common good. In 2015, Mr. Schwarzman donated $150 million to Yale University to establish the Schwarzman Center, a first-of-its-kind campus center in Yale’s historic “Commons” building, and also gave a founding gift of $40 million to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition assistance to underprivileged children attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York. In 2013, he founded an international scholarship program, “Schwarzman Scholars,” at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China. At over $575 million, the program is modeled on the Rhodes Scholarship and is the single largest philanthropic effort in China’s history coming largely from international donors. Mr. Schwarzman is Co-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Schwarzman Scholars. In 2007, Mr. Schwarzman donated $100 million to the New York Public Library on whose board he serves.
In 2019, Schwarzman published his first book What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a New York Times Best Seller which draws from his experiences in business, philanthropy and public service.
For nearly a decade, The Right Honourable Stephen J. Harper led Canada through the world’s most complex geopolitical, economic and security challenges as the country’s 22nd Prime Minister. He created the modern Conservative Party of Canada, won three successive national elections, and was the longest serving Conservative Prime Minister since Canada's founding Prime Minister in 1891.
Since leaving office in 2016, Mr. Harper founded and is Chairman and CEO of Harper & Associates, a global consulting and investment advisory business, and a Director of Colliers International Group Inc. and Recover Inc. He is also the recent author of “Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption", and a frequent speaker on geopolitical trends, populism, and business.
Mr. Harper serves as Chairman of the International Democrat Union and the Friends of Israel Initiative. He has bachelor and master's degrees in economics from the University of Calgary, an honorary doctorate from Tel Aviv University and an honorary degree from the Jerusalem College of Technology. He is a Companion of the Order of the Canada and the recipient of numerous international recognitions, including the Order of Liberty, Ukraine’s highest civilian honour.
Paul Ryan was the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In office from October 2015 to January 2019, he was the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years. Prior to becoming Speaker of the House, Paul served as the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. He also served as Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 2011-2015.
In 2012, he was selected to serve as Governor Mitt Romney’s Vice-Presidential nominee. Paul was first elected to Congress at age 28 and represented Wisconsin’s First District for two decades. In 2019, he launched the American Idea Foundation, a non-partisan, not for profit organization that expands economic opportunity by partnering with local organizations and academics to advance evidence-based public policies. In 2020, Paul was named as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Executive Network Partnering Corporation and in 2021, he was named as a Partner at Solamere Capital. In 2022, he was named Vice Chairman of Teneo, a global management consulting company.
Paul is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fox Corporation, of SHINE Medical Technologies LLC, and of Xactus. He also serves on the Advisory Board of Robert Bosch GmbH.
Paul serves as a Professor of the Practice at the University of Notre Dame and a visiting fellow in the practice of public policy at the American Enterprise Institute. He is on the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute and on the Board of Directors for the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Paul and his wife Janna have three children: Liza, Charlie, and Sam. He holds a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio and was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University.
Sam Zell is a global, industry-agnostic entrepreneur and investor. He has a long track record of turning around troubled companies and assets, leading industry consolidations, and bringing companies to the public markets. His current investments are in logistics, health care, manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, and real estate.
Sam is the chairman of Equity Group Investments, the private investment firm he founded more than 50 years ago. He also chairs three companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange: Equity Residential, an apartment REIT; Equity LifeStyle Properties, a manufactured home community and resort REIT; and Equity Commonwealth, an office REIT.
Sam also founded and chaired Equity Office Properties Trust, which was the largest office REIT until its 2007 sale for $39 billion in the largest leveraged buyout before that time. In addition, he introduced both the first Brazilian and the first Mexican real estate companies to the New York Stock Exchange through Equity International, a private investment firm he founded to focus on real estate businesses in emerging markets.
Sam is an active philanthropist with a focus on entrepreneurial education. Through the Zell Family Foundation, he has led the sponsorship of several leading entrepreneurship programs, including the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, the Zell Fellows Program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the Zell Entrepreneurship Program at Reichman University in Israel. The Zell Global Entrepreneurship Network (ZGEN) unites the students and alumni of these programs, providing connections, opportunities, mentorship, and support. Sam also sponsors the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He holds a JD degree and a BA from the University of Michigan.
In 2017, Sam was recognized by Forbes as one of the 100 Greatest Living Business Minds. That same year, Sam debuted his book, Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel (Penguin Random House), in which he shares fundamentals and philosophies that made him a self-made billionaire.
Mohamed A. El-Erian is the President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, also serving as Chief Economic Advisor at Allianz, Chair of Gramercy Fund Management and Professor of Practice at The Wharton School. He formerly served as chief executive and co-chief investment officer of PIMCO (2007-14). A columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and a contributing editor at the Financial Times, he is a member of the boards of Barclays, UnderArmour and several non-profits. From December 2012 to January 2017, Dr. El-Erian chaired President Obama’s Global Development Council. Prior to PIMCO, he was an international civil servant at the IMF in Washington DC for 15 years and, for two years, president and CEO of Harvard Management Company, the entity that manages Harvard’s endowment.
He was named to Foreign Policy’s list of “Top 100 Global Thinkers” for four years in a row and has published widely on international economic and finance topics. His 2008 book, "When Markets Collide," was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller, won the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year and was named a book of the year by The Economist and one of the best business books of all time by the Independent (UK). His 2016 book, "The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability and Avoiding the Next Collapse," was also a New York Times bestseller, was listed by Inc.as one of the "25 of the Most Inspiring Books Everyone Should Read."
He holds a master's degree and doctorate in economics from Oxford University and received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Cambridge University. His recent article may be found on www.mohamedel-erian.com.
Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. Vista currently has over $86 billion in assets under management and oversees a portfolio of over 75 enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled companies that have more than 300 million users and employ over 75,000 people worldwide.
He serves on the Board of Directors for the Business Roundtable, the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, as a Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and is a founding member of the World Economic Forum EDISON Alliance, a cross-sector initiative to accelerate digital inclusion and eliminate connectivity deserts.
He is Chairman of Carnegie Hall, Chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco, and a Director of the REFORM Alliance, focused on criminal justice reform.
Smith is the Founding Director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the African American experience, human rights, environmental conservation, and a broad range of initiatives. In 2017, Smith signed the Giving Pledge, the only African American to do so.
In 2019, Smith announced he would cover the student loans of nearly 400 Morehouse College graduates in a commencement address. After his Morehouse pledge, Smith founded the Student Freedom Initiative in 2020 to help relieve student debt for STEM students at all HBCUs, and personally committed $50 million, in addition to Fund II Foundation’s commitment of $50 million.
Smith is a strong advocate for what he has named the 2% Solution – calling on corporations to commit 2% of their annual net income to empower minority communities. He also founded the Student Freedom Initiative, to alleviate the student debt burden placed on students, and leads the Southern Communities Initiative with Rich Lesser (Boston Consulting Group) and Dan Schulman (PayPal), to advance racial equity in six Southern communities that are home to half of all Black people in America.
Marc Cohodes, a former General Partner of Rocker Partners/Copper River, is a long-time stock market analyst, as well as one of the most globally recognized and accomplished short sellers. Marc’s 40-year career as an investor and hedge fund manager began at Northern Trust Company in 1982 after graduating Babson College with a BS in Finance. He has since exposed many publicly traded companies and individuals who were engaged in fraud, illegal conduct, questionable accounting, and stock manipulation, including Lernout & Hauspie, Media Vision Technology, NovaStar Financial, AremiSoft, California Micro Devices, Network Associates, TakeTwo Interactive, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Boston Chicken, MiMedx Group Inc., and others. For more than 30 years, he has provided valuable and timely information to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice about companies engaged in fraudulent business practices. Most recently, his work helped uncover the dark sides of FTX, Silvergate and Signature Bank. His investigations of fraud in financial markets have been reported in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Barron’s, Bloomberg, and Institutional Investor, on CNN, and in award-winning books about financial fraud, such as Selling America Short and The Most Dangerous Trade. Marc was also the subject of two Harvard Business School case studies -about his successful efforts to expose frauds. Marc is currently a private investor.
More than an MVP. During his career with San Francisco, he won three Super Bowl titles, two as a backup and one as a starter, including a record six touchdown performance in a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX that earned him the game’s Most Valuable Player award. When Young retired after the 1999 season, his resume included being the highest-rated quarterback in NFL history, two league MVP Awards (1992 and 1994), and the renown of being the only signal caller in league annals to win four consecutive passing titles. A testament to Steve’s success occurred when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2005. He has been seen recently co-hosting the Super Bowl pregame, half-time, and post-game shows on ABC. He is also a popular studio analyst on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown TV series.
In addition to his gridiron fame, he is also a licensed attorney, an acclaimed inspirational speaker, a sought-after spokesperson for major companies-Visa, PowerBar, and Sun Microsystems among them-and a supporter of numerous charities and foundations.
Young’s charitable contributions are vast. He founded and chairs the Forever Young Foundation, which is actively involved in children’s charities nationwide. Recently, FYF has focused on a project in two Children’s Hospitals. Both The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University and Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City are the recipients of new, state of the art, interactive recreational-therapy rooms called Forever Young Zones.
A new game plan. Currently, he is cofounder and a managing director for Sorenson Capital, a new private equity investment firm headquartered in Utah, aimed at making small to middle market buyouts and growth equity investments.He is also the author of “QB: My Life Behind the Spiral” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
Jeremy Grantham, a co-founder of GMO, a member of GMO’s Board of Directors, and the firm's Long-Term Investment Strategist, is recognized as a leading global advocate for climate change efforts and investment.
Jeremy was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2016, and received with his wife, Hannelore, the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy in 2017, all for leadership in climate change activities. He has been featured on Barron’s list of “The 20 Most Influential People in ESG Investing” and frequently speaks to activists and allocators at industry events, including delivering the keynote session at the Financial Times Live (FT Live) Investing for Good USA conference as well as the Economist “Investing for Impact” Conference in 2020, and many others.
Jeremy and Hannelore founded the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment in 1997 in support of a mission to protect and conserve the natural environment. They also helped establish the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial College in 2007 and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics in 2008. More recently, they assisted with launching the Divecha Centre for Climate Change at the Indian Institute of Science (along with Arjun Divecha, a Partner and Board member of GMO) and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield. Together they have committed to donating the vast majority of their net worth during their lifetimes to addressing the effects of climate change and toxicity.
Jeff Ubben is a Founder, Managing Partner and the Portfolio Manager of Inclusive Capital Partners. He has served on over 20 public company boards and is currently a director of The Exxon Mobil Corporation, Vistry Group Plc, and Enviva Inc., and serves on the Sustainability Council of Bayer AG. Jeff is a former Founder of ValueAct Capital. In addition, he serves on the boards of Duke University, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Redford Center, and formerly served as Chair of the National Board of the Posse Foundation. Jeff has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Jenny Johnson is president and chief executive officer of Franklin Resources, Inc. She is also a member of the company's board of directors. Ms. Johnson is responsible for developing the company's overall strategic direction, executing on its strategy, and advancing Franklin Templeton's client-centric culture.
Ms. Johnson joined the company in 1988 and previously held the role of president and chief operating officer. Over the past three decades, she has managed all major aspects of the business, including investment management, distribution, customer service, fund administration, technology, and the company's high-net-worth business. She serves as a director of Fiduciary Trust Company International and several other subsidiaries of Franklin Resources, Inc.
In 2020, Ms. Johnson was named to Barron's inaugural list of the 100 Most Influential Women in U.S. Finance. She has been named one of Money Management Executive's Top Women in Asset Management and was chosen by her peers as one of Ignites' Most Influential Women in Fund Management. Ms. Johnson is a recipient of the Robert L. Gould Award presented by global investment management association NICSA, which recognizes outstanding achievement in helping the mutual fund industry better serve investors through customer service, thought leadership and technology. She has also been recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business. Ms. Johnson is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, notably on the topics of leadership, technology and innovation.
Ms. Johnson earned her B.A. in economics from the University of California at Davis. She is a board member of the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, JMT Wilderness Conservancy, and the Carolands Foundation, and a trustee at Crystal Springs Uplands School. Ms. Johnson also serves as an advisor to Shatter Fund LLC, a venture capital firm focused on investing in technology companies led and founded by female entrepreneurs. In addition, she is a member of the NYSE Board Advisory Council, which identifies and connects diverse board candidates to NYSE-listed companies seeking new directors.
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