Advisory Council

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David Bonior

David Bonior is a former member of Congress and currently a Professor of Labor Studies at Wayne State University. In 1972, he was elected to the Michigan State Legislature where he served for four years. He then won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, a career which lasted 26 years. He was elected by his Democratic Caucus as their Whip in 1991 and held this position for eleven years. Mr. Bonior is the author of three books: The Vietnam Veteran: A History of Neglect; Walking to Mackinac; and Eastside Kid: A Memoir of My Youth From Detroit to Congress. His fourth book, Whip, is awaiting publication. He graduated from the University of Iowa and earned an MA in history from Chapman College in California while serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1968-72. He and his wife Judy have a combined family of three children and eight grandchildren. They reside in Washington, D.C. and Port Republic, Maryland. 

Ron Christie

Ron Christie is founder and President of Christie Strategies LLC—an independent media and political strategy firm providing government relations, communications, and diversity consulting for a wide range of companies and organizations. A former special assistant to President George W. Bush and deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, he is the author of three books—Acting White: The Curious History of a Racial Slur (St. Martin's Press), Black in the White House: Life Inside George W. Bush's West Wing (Nelson Current), and his most recent book Blackwards: How Black Leadership is Returning America to the Days of Separate But Equal (Thomas Dunne Books). As a frequent commentator on current political events, he has appeared as a political/legal analyst on Fox News and MSNBC, as a political contributor on National Public Radio, and is a featured blogger on the Politico "In The Arena" site. He previously served as a resident fellow of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, an adjunct professor of strategic advocacy at The George Washington University School of Political Management, and visiting assistant professor of Political Science at Haverford College. Christie received his B.A. from Haverford College and his J.D. from The George Washington University National Law Center, and prior to joining Vice President Cheney's staff, he briefly served as counsel to former U.S. Senator George Allen, and as senior advisor to former House Budget Committee Chairman and current Ohio Governor, John Kasich.  

Betsy Davidson

Betsy Davidson is Deputy Director in the New York office of the Aspen Institute. She has a long history of work in various arts organizations including the Public Theater, The Shakespeare Society, The New York Studio School of Painting and Drawing, and the Pickering Associates literary agency. Ms. Davidson clerked for the Honorable Gus Solomon, U.S. Judge for District Court, 9th Circuit and worked for legal reform at Common Good, a legal advocacy organization founded by Philip K. Howard. She is a trustee of the JM Kaplan Fund, which has programs in the environment, social justice, and New York City. Ms. Davidson was raised in New York City, graduated cum laude from Barnard College, and with honors from Tulane School of Law. She has three children and lives in Brooklyn. 

Mickey Edwards

Mickey Edwards is Vice President of the Aspen Institute, where he directs a bipartisan fellowship for elected public officials.  Mr. Edwards, who grew up in Oklahoma City, was a newspaper editor and reporter before being elected to the House of Representatives in 1976.  He was a congressman for 16 years, serving on the House Budget and Appropriations Committees and as a chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.  After leaving Congress, he taught law and policy at Harvard and Princeton, was a weekly political columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, and broadcast a weekly commentary on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Mr. Edwards has written several books including Reclaiming Conservatism and The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans. Mr. Edwards is a frequent public speaker and has been a guest on many of the nation’s leading radio and television news and opinion broadcasts.  Mr. Edwards holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a JD from Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Jennifer Poulakidas

Jennifer Poulakidas serves as Vice President for Congressional and Governmental Affairs at the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU). In this role, she works closely with the leadership of APLU’s more than 230 member universities to promote public higher education’s positions to Congress and the Executive Branch on science and research, student affordability and access, innovation and competitiveness, and internationalization, among other issues. Before APLU, Ms. Poulakidas was legislative director for science at the University of California’s Washington, D.C. office. A San Francisco native, she served her hometown as an aide to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in D.C. Ms. Poulakidas received a BA from UCLA and an MPA from the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.  

Sruti Ramadugu

Sruti Ramadugu is the Communications Advisor for Let Girls Learn at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She previously worked at Jhpiego, an international health NGO, and at NYU in Washington, D.C. Ms. Ramadugu participated in the Brademas Center Internship Program during the summer of 2010, and interned for Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13). She holds a BA in History and Politics from NYU’s College of Arts and Science.

Cheryl Gibson Sullivan

Cheryl Gibson Sullivan is Chief Executive Officer for the American Academy of Nursing and serves as the chief spokesperson and liaison on behalf of the Academy with the executive and legislative branches of U.S. government, major policy organizations, the media, and foundations. Ms. Sullivan was previously the Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, the Chancellor for External Affairs for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the Cabinet Secretary for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and held the role of Issues Director during Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. She has served on the Children and Families Committee of the American Public Welfare Association, and the Executive Board of the National Council of Governors’ Policy Advisors. Ms. Sullivan received a BS from the University of Maryland, a MSES degree from Indiana State University, and completed the Local Program for Senior Executives at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. 

Ellyn Toscano

Ellyn Toscano is Executive Director of New York University Florence, one of NYU’s thirteen global sites. In addition to overseeing the 58-acre campus at Villa La Pietra, Ms. Toscano is the founder and director La Pietra Dialogues and the producer of The Season, a summer festival which assembles artists, writers, musicians and public intellectuals to produce new works or reinterpretations of classics. She previously served as Chief of Staff and Counsel to Congressman Jose Serrano of New York, acting as his chief policy advisor on legislative, political and media concerns, and directed his work on the Appropriations Committee. Ms. Toscano also served as counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Education, served on the boards of The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (delegate of the Brooklyn Borough President), and served on the board of trustees of the International School of Florence, Italy. Ms. Toscano earned an LLM in International Law from New York University School of Law.