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Speaker Series

Innovations in the Public, Private and the Citizen Sectors Panel with Josh Cohen, Linda Gibbs, and Michael Jacobson

Moderated by Dean Ellen Schall

December 7, 2011

Managing Partner and Co-Founder, City Light Capital

Josh Cohen is the Managing Partner of City Light Capital, a firm that he co-founded in 2004. He is currently on the Boards of LicenseStream and City Light Carbon and is an Observer to the Boards of 2Tor and ShotSpotter. He was formerly an Observer to the Board of Arxceo before it was acquired by JCI Group. Josh had previous venture capital experience working with a family office in St. Louis and the SV Group, a private debt fund.

Prior to joining the venture community, Josh was the Director of Business Development for Mobility Electronics (NASDAQ: IGOI). While at Mobility, Josh closed several joint ventures, private investments and acquisitions on behalf of the company. He began his career as an investment banker in the technology group of Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown in San Francisco. As a banker, he contributed to several public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, including WebEx Communications, Mobility Electronics and the sale of to CMGI.

Josh has known for a long time that private enterprise and public good are intertwined. In 1999, he created Developing Minds, a nonprofit organization focused on building and donating business products and processes to the nonprofit sector. Developing Minds has created the Time Raiser™, a time-based auction model used to recruit and reward volunteers, and structured several partnerships between for-profit technology companies and nonprofit organizations. He is also an advisor to several other nonprofits including the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and QuestBridge.

Josh graduated as an Angell Scholar from the University of Michigan. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of impact investing. He is also a very proud father.

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, NYC

Linda I. Gibbs was appointed Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in January 2006. In this role she oversees nine city agencies with a combined budget of over $20 billion. Upon appointment, Linda created the Center for Economic Opportunity to design and implement evidence-based initiatives to reduce poverty. The Center was the first to develop an updated poverty measure that has been adopted by the Obama Administration and is the first in North America to create a conditional cash transfer program. Through her collaborative approach to management, Linda has made it easier and more cost-effective for non-profit organizations to work with the City through reforms in the contracting and procurement process. She is also known for developing HHS-Connect, a data integration and exchange system that links data from a dozen City agencies, easing the burden on the caseworkers and clients to collect information and informing better case practice.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Mayor, Linda served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Homeless Services and was the chief administrator of the Mayor’s ambitious strategy to end chronic homelessness. During the Giuliani Administration, she served as the Deputy Commissioner for Management and Planning for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. Since her graduation from SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Buffalo School of Law, Linda has also served in the New York City Council as Special Advisor to the Director of the Finance Division and at the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget as Deputy Director for Social Services.

President and Director,
Vera Institute of Justice

Michael P. Jacobson joined the Vera Institute of Justice as its fourth director in January 2005. He is the author of Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration (New York University Press, 2005). With a Ph.D. in sociology, he has an ongoing academic career, as well as over twenty years of government service.

Mr. Jacobson was the New York City Correction Commissioner from 1995 to 1998. From 1992 to 1996, he was New York City's Probation Commissioner, and he worked in the New York City Office of Management and Budget from 1984 to 1992, where he was the Deputy Budget Director.

In October 2010 he was appointed to the New York State Permanent Sentencing Commission, by the New York State Unified Court System.

Dean and Martin Cherkasky Professor
of Health Policy & Management,
NYU Wagner

From the days of her first career as a Legal Aid attorney, to her tenure as commissioner of a local government agency, and through her experiences leading the NYU Wagner faculty and administration, Ellen Schall's work has shifted commonly held notions of leadership from a focus on the attributes of an individual to an investment in the collective work of a group.

Schall joined the NYU Wagner faculty in 1992 as the Martin Cherkasky Professor of Health Policy and Management. She and her faculty colleague Sonia Ospina cultivated a partnership with the Ford Foundation which led to the establishment of the Research Center for Leadership in Action (RCLA), a permanent research center at Wagner. In 2002, the Wagner faculty unanimously recommended that NYU's President John Sexton appoint Schall Dean. Since taking up this role, Schall has led the school's trajectory from an institution with a strong local and regional reputation to one that is widely recognized in national and international arenas - and ranked #10 overall in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings of schools of public affairs, policy, administration, and management.

Dean Schall's achievements are not limited to city government and academic arenas. She has participated on the Selection Committee for the Innovations in American Government Awards run by the Kennedy School of Government completing a five year term in 2004, and beginning a new term in 2006. Dean Schall became a member of the Women's Forum, Inc - a community of New York women leaders - in 2007. In 2008, Dean Schall became a member of the newly-formed New York State Juvenile Justice Task Force. Dean Schall received a B.A. from Swarthmore College and J.D. (cum laude) from NYU School of Law.