February 13, 2015 — The Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush, today announced the 60 scholars invited to participate in the program’s inaugural class.

These diverse leaders, selected from over 900 applicants, were chosen because of their desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher level in order to help their communities and our country. The program begins February 24th, 2015.

The six-month, executive-style program will begin at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Over the course of several months, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

The program is non-degree bearing, entails approximately 100 hours of informative sessions and case studies, and covers expansive approaches to leadership theory, drawing upon examples from recent presidents.

Scholars will visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in March, the George W. Bush Presidential Center in April, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in May, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library in June. The inaugural class will graduate at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas in July.

At each Presidential Center, sessions will focus on a specific core component of leadership and will include an in depth case study that is illustrative of the many competencies of that president. The curriculum draws from presidential center archives and other resources related to moments from each administration, and provides insight into how each president addressed pressing challenges. The curriculum also relies upon analyses of how leaders across all sectors address similar types of challenges.
Sessions and case studies include:

  • Vision and Communication (Welfare Reform, William J. Clinton Presidential Center)
  • Decision Making (The 2008 Financial Crisis, George W. Bush Presidential Center)
  • Influence and Persuasion (Voting Rights Act, Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library)
  • Coalition Building (German Reunification, George H. W. Bush Presidential Library)

In addition to interactive faculty-led sessions, scholars will hone their personal leadership development through executive coaching. Peer learning groups will offer support and partnership as they develop personal leadership projects designed to achieve positive social impact through the application of the skills they learn through the program.

The first cohort of 60 Presidential Leadership Scholars includes individuals from diverse backgrounds and geographies, coming from a variety of sectors, including private, public, non-profit, military, and academia. Each scholar was selected for their leadership growth potential.

Program participants include:

Daniel Anello, CEO, New Schools for Chicago, Chicago, IL; Irela Bagué, President/CEO, Bague Group, Coral Gables, FL; Yasmin Bhatia, CEO, Uplift Education, Dallas, TX; James-Christian Blockwood, Managing Director, Strategic Planning and External Liaison, Government Accountability Office, Alexandria, VA; Janelle Carter Brevard, President, The J Carter Group, Herndon, VA; Virginia Buckingham, Senior Director, US Public Affairs, Pfizer, Inc., Marblehead, MA; Russell Davis Carter III, Regional President, Centennial Bank – Home Bancshares, Inc., Jonesboro, AR; Rachael Chieza, President & CEO, Every Child Fed, Chantilly, VA; An-Me Chung, Chief of Partnerships, Mozilla Foundation, Chicago, IL; John Cogbill, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Fort Hood, TX; AnnMaura Connolly, Chief Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President, City Year and President, Voices for National Service, Chevy Chase, MD; Michelle McKechnie Cryan, Product Manager, CharityLogic, Inc., Fairfield, CT; Cassie Farrelly, Corporate Services Manager, The British Consulate General NY, Yonkers, NY; Dean Fealk, Partner and Chair of Global Equity Group, DLA Piper, LLP, San Francisco, CA; Sean Fellows, Director of Government Affairs, The Rogich Communications Group, Henderson, NV; Casey Gerald, Cofounder & CEO, MBAs Across America, Brooklyn, NY; Brian Goldsmith, Co-Head, Seedrs America, Burlingame, CA; Hunter Phillips Goodman, Executive Director of Development, The University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas; Holly Gordon, Co-Founder and CEO, Girl Rising, Bronxville, NY; Tim Greeff, CEO, National Security Technology Accelerator, Austin, TX; Ramsey Green, Real Estate Developer and Consultant, GCE Green Development LLC and Tulipan Solutions LLC, New Orleans, LA; Neil Grunberg, Professor, Military Medicine, Medical Psychology, Neuroscience Director, Leadership Programs, School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD; Jacob Harriman, Founder/CEO, Nuru International, San Clemente, CA; Terri Hasdorff, Vice President, Government Relations, Convoy of Hope, Falls Church, VA; Kevin Hooks, President and CEO, Las Vegas Urban League, Las Vegas, NV; Sarah Keh, Director, Corporate Giving, Prudential Financial Inc. and Program Office, The Prudential Foundation, Fort Lee, NJ; Neerav Kingsland, CEO, Kingsland, Consulting, New Orleans, LA; Sheril Kirshenbaum, Director, The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll, East Lansing, MI; Roy Carlos Lopez, Vice President, Community Development Banking , Capital One, Dallas, TX; James Lorraine, President, America’s Warrior Partnership, Aiken, SC; Diana Mao, President, Nomi Network, New York, NY; Michael Marascia, Fire Chief, United States Air Force, Belleville, IL; Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Deputy Vice President, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC; James Mauldin, Medical Support Assistant, Department of Veteran Affairs, Saint Helens, OR; Jennifer McCain, Attorney Shareholder, Maynard Cooper & Gale PC, Birmingham, AL; Micaela McMurrough, Attorney, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, New York, NY; William McNulty, Cofounder & CEO, Team Rubicon Global, Los Angeles, CA; Brian McPeek, Chief Conservation Office, The Nature Conservancy, Denver, CO; Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director, Conservation Lands Foundation, Durango, CO; Kavita Patel, Managing Director and Fellow, Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.; Patrick Payton, Senior Pastor, Stonegate Fellowship, Midland, TX; James Peterson, Independent Contractor, Taos Community Health Plan, Headwaters Management Solutions, The Solitary Angler, 4FRNT Skis, Taos, NM; Jay Readey, Executive Director, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc., Flossmoor, IL; Steve Ressler, Founder and President, GovLoop, Washington, DC; Daron K. Roberts, Founding Director, Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation, University of Texas, Austin, TX; Devdutta Sangvai, Associate Chief Medical Officer, Duke University Health Center, Durham, NC; Neill Sciarrone, Senior Director, Strategy and Planning, BAE Systems, Inc., Alexandria, VA; Traci Scott, Regional Liaison Officer, United States Army, Junction City, KS; Joseph Seliga, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP, Chicago, IL; William Simpson, Deputy Administrator for Administration, Mississippi Department of Human Services, Jackson, MS; Edward Smith, Co-Founder, Partner and President, Union Square Advisors, San Francisco, CA; Anne Sprute, Founder and CEO of RallyPoint/6, Lakewood, WA; Michael Toledo, Executive Director, Centro Hispano Daniel Torres Inc., Reading, PA; Miro Vassilev, Chief Investment Officer and Partner, Cryptos Global Investments, LLC, New York, NY; Tobler Voght, Lieutenant, United States Navy; Pensacola, FL; Gina Warner, President and CEO, National Afterschool Association, Oakton, VA; Robin Bruce, Chief Executive Officer, Acton School of Business, Austin, TX; Yinon Weiss, CEO, RallyPoint Networks, Inc., Belmont, MA; Dale White, Graduate Student, Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security & Resource Policy, National Defense Policy, Montclair, VA; and, Carlos Williams, U.S. Health Attaché, United States Department of State, Baltimore, MD.

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, please visit