Newsmakers | May-June 2017

Walter Isaacson, president and chief executive officer of the Aspen Institute, will step down from his position at the end of the year. Isaacson has led the institute for 14 years, growing the organization’s capacity and programs. He presided over what the Chairman of the Board, James S. Crown, has called the Aspen Institute’s “second golden age.” Isaacson left a successful career in journalism — including work as chairman, president and CEO of CNN for several years, to head the Washington, D.C.-based nonpartisan educational and policy studies organization. A native of New Orleans, Isaacson began his career as a writer at The Sunday Times of London before moving home to work at The New Orleans Times-Picayune. Not long after, in 1978, he took a job at Time Magazine, where worked his way up from political correspondent to become Time’s 14th managing editor. Isaacson graduated from Harvard University cum laude, earning a bachelor of arts in history and literature. He attended the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar at Pembroke College, earning a postgraduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics. A writer at heart, Isaacson has authored numerous books, including: “American Sketches, Einstein: His Life and Universe,” “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” and “Kissinger: A Biography,” and “Steve Jobs,” an authorized biography about the late co-founder, former chairman and CEO of Apple, Inc. “Jobs” quickly became an international best-seller upon its publication in October of 2011, breaking all sales records for a biography. In January, 2018, Isaacson will become a professor in the history department of Tulane University. A search committee has been commissioned by the board of the Aspen Institute to find a successor.


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation recently announced the appointment of Kent McGuire to head its education program as program director. A well-known figure in the education sector, McGuire is experienced in philanthropy, government and academia. He comes to the Hewlett Foundation from the Southern Education Foundation, serving as president and CEO since 2010. His experience in academia includes time as a tenured professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Temple University, where he also served as dean of the College of Education for more than seven years. Prior to that, McGuire served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education from 1998 to 2001. McGuire’s early career was in philanthropy; his first major job was program director at the Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based foundation focused on community development, education and religious causes. From there he moved to the Pew Charitable Trusts, where he worked as a program officer for three years. His own education includes a bachelor of arts in economics from the University of Michigan, a master of arts from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College and a Ph.D. in public administration from the University of Colorado. McGuire currently serves on the boards of the Wallace Foundation, the Institute for Education Leadership, the New Teacher Project and the Alliance for Excellent Education. He succeeds Barbara Chow, who completed an eight-year term as director in February.


Colleen A. Kelly has been appointed as the next chief executive officer of Concern Worldwide U.S., the American affiliate of the international aid and humanitarian agency. She joins Concern Worldwide from her position as managing director of SET Creative, a global innovative business marketing agency. Prior to SET Creative, Kelly served for five years as a partner and managing director of Triptent, an advertising agency, where she oversaw 200 percent growth during her two-years tenure. Kelly’s career is highlighted by 10 years at Deutsch LA, where she was a founding member, media director and director of business development. Kelly is also the former president of the Los Angeles Association of Advertising Agencies and the former executive vice president and an originating board member of ThinkLA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the Los Angeles creative community, providing education and training and holding social/philanthropic events. She is a current member of the “Kelly Gang,” a fund-raising and charitable organization that serves as a collaboration point for prominent figures from several different sectors that all have the surname “Kelly.” Kelly is a native of North Carolina who now resides in New York City. At New York-based Concern Worldwide U.S., she will help advance efforts in the areas of maternal and child health, nutrition and other humanitarian projects.


The LEGO Foundation’s board of directors has announced the appointment of John Goodwin as its new CEO. Goodwin first joined the LEGO Group in 2012 as chief financial officer and the head of the business enabling department. His predecessor, Hanne Rasmussen, decided to step down earlier this year, citing personal reasons and paving the way for Goodwin to step in, although he had previously announced his intention to leave the LEGO group. After Rasmussen’s departure, the board of directors initiated a dialogue with Goodwin, eventually convincing him to stay and take the job at the helm of LEGO Foundation. Goodwin has extensive executive experience, having been the CEO of Iams and president of both Global Snacks and Global Braun within Procter & Gamble. Goodwin gained first-hand knowledge of what the job entails as CFO and working closely with Rasmussen, to guide the Denmark-based foundation’s operations. A native of England, Goodwin earned a degree in mathematical engineering from Loughborough University in Leicestershire before beginning work in the industrial and food-supply sectors. Goodwin assumed the responsibilities of CEO of the LEGO Foundation on April 1.


Tonya Allen received the 2017 Nicholas P. Bollman Award, which recognizes an outstanding philanthropic sector leader in the area of community development, by The Funders’ Network (TFN) for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. A native of Detroit, Allen is president and CEO of the Detroit-based Skillman Foundation, which she joined in 2004 and has led in implementing projects that merge education, urban revitalization and public policy changes, including the 10-year, $100 million Good Neighborhoods Initiative. She also served as board member of the Southfield Community Foundation for eight years, and as a program officer for Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and Thompson-McCully Foundation. Allen founded the Detroit Parent Network in 2001, serving as executive director for three years, and served three years as director of rebuilding communities on the Warren Conner Development Coalition and one year as co-chair of Youth 2 Leader’s Detroit Committee. Allen received the award at TFN’s Annual Conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota.


Barbara Wong will be the Barnes Foundation’s first director of community engagement. In this newly-created position, Wong will oversee community and family outreach initiatives, and negotiate partnerships with other organizations seeking to help disadvantaged or troubled communities. She will also be charged with helping the Philadelphia-based foundation improve accessibility in programming and content delivery for people with disabilities. Wong joins the foundation from CityArts for Youth, a nationally recognized community-based arts organization, where she served as executive director for 16 years. She also brings experience from her roles as program officer at the Rhode Island Foundation, director of summer programs for the Rhode Island School of Design’s Continuing Education program and board member of Providence Public Schools. Wong earned a bachelor of fine arts from Cornell University and a master of arts in art education from the Rhode Island School of Design. She taught art education and nonprofit arts management courses at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the RISD Museum. Wong is a current member of the National Art Education Association, the National Guild for Community Youth Arts Education and a gubernatorial appointee to the Rhode Island Commission on Women. “I have shaped my career towards building a future where creativity and social change are drivers of how we engage and learn about one another in society,” Wong said in a statement. “I’m inspired by the Barnes Foundation’s social integrity, vision, and excellence in arts, and look forward to drawing on my spectrum of experience to help it succeed in building relationships with Philadelphia’s diverse communities and beyond.” Wong, already working part-time at the Barnes Foundation, assumes her full-time position as director of community engagement in July.


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