Donald Girskis

Don Girskis is the former head of Boost Mobile. Girskis had previously been Senior Vice President of World Wide Sales at ShoreTel, a publicly-traded global telecommunications company. During his four year tenure at ShoreTel, Girskis also served as interim CEO. Prior to ShoreTel, he spent 5 years at Boost Mobile, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nextel Communications. He joined Boost Mobile as Chief Operating Officer when it was just forming. He was promoted to run the entire operation as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Boost Mobile after one year and developed the business from an idea to $1.8 billion in revenue in just 5 years.


Congressman Adam Smith

First elected to public office at the age of 25, Smith serves as the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and represents Washington’s 9th district. With previous posts on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Intelligence Committee, Smith traveled throughout Africa, and visited Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In 2007, Representative Smith introduced the Global Poverty Act to the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill required that the United States create a plan to reduce global poverty and increase humanitarian aid to developing nations and was passed in the House and later adopted by President Obama as part of his foreign policy strategy.


Chris Borgen

Chris Borgen serves as a Western Regional Manager for the University of Florida’s College of Education Lastinger Center. He also advises, consults, coaches and facilitates various public agencies, nonprofits, legislators and private industry. He previously directed the University of Florida’s College of Education efforts in the Middle East. Borgen began his career as a High School English Teacher and Head Basketball Coach. He went on to serve as Principal of Fidalgo Elementary School and Superintendent of Anacortes School District. In 1999, Borgen received the National Distinguished Principal of the Year award by the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to that, he was named a Washington State Coach of the year. Borgen holds a M.A. Degree from Pacific Lutheran University in school administration and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Whitworth College. Borgen is the father of The Borgen Project’s Founder and joined the organization’s Board of Directors in January of 2016.


Chuck Cooper

Chuck Cooper is the Managing Director of Government Affairs at Vulcan Inc., where he oversees the Government and Community Relations (GCR) team and manages the development and implementation of government relations and public policy strategies for the company. Before coming to Vulcan, Cooper served as Assistant Administrator for Legislative and Public Affairs at the USAID, where he led the Agency’s government affairs, communications and media relations efforts, a portfolio that included work on global health, food security, humanitarian assistance, wildlife conservation, ocean health and climate. He also served as Vice President of Congressional and Public Affairs at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. Government agency that promotes economic growth in developing countries. Prior to joining the Executive Branch, Cooper worked as Director of the United States Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) from 2000 to 2010, where he managed the DPC staff and served as an advisor to the Democratic Leadership and Senators on domestic and foreign policy issues. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, a law degree from Case Western Reserve University, and a master’s degree from New York University.


Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor is the Corporate Privacy Officer for a multibillion-dollar financial services company in the Twin Cities area. Previously, he spent nearly a decade as a congressional staffer, most recently as the Chief Economic Advisor on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he covered international economic policy. During his tenure in Congress, Taylor was instrumental in passing several anti-poverty and financial inclusion measures into law. Such efforts include the BUILD Act, which established a $60 billion U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to mobilize private capital in emerging markets and advance U.S. foreign policy interests; and the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act, which provides financing to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises owned, managed and controlled by women in the developing world. Taylor is also the co-founder of Childcare Compare Inc., a startup company that empowers families to search for, compare and apply for childcare in the Washington, D.C. area. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Portland and is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


Jessica Kelch

Jessica Kelch is a senior public affairs professional with more than a decade of experience building consensus around commonsense solutions to complex problems. She previously served as Assistant Staff Director and Counsel for the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, where she helped to manage the Committee’s foreign policy agenda and oversaw the enactment into law of more than two dozen bipartisan legislative initiatives. Kelch also directed the Committee’s strategic initiative to examine the role of women and girls in U.S. foreign policy, advancing multiple pieces of related legislation, including bills to promote the role of women in conflict resolution, access to finance for female entrepreneurs and girls’ access to education. She is currently an independent consultant providing clients with strategic planning, public policy and public relations guidance. Kelch holds a J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Virginia. She is also licensed to practice law in Virginia.


Natalie Gill-Mensah

Natalie Gill-Mensah has led global teams in executing complex multi-year programs in twelve countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. She is currently the Director of Programming and Training for Peace Corps Ethiopia where she manages a team of program managers and training professionals and provides oversight for a volunteer population of 100-150 volunteers. Prior to the Peace Corps, Gill-Mensah was Senior Manager for Tuberculosis Access at the Clinton Health Access Initiative where she led a team focused on supporting ministries of health in translating policy to practice and increasing access to TB treatment and diagnostics in low and middle-income countries across Africa and Southeast Asia. She also has past management consulting experience advising hospitals, health systems, health insurance, pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies across the United States. Gill-Mensah jumpstarted her international career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia many years ago where she served for 3.5 years, working in a rural community for her first two years and a local NGO for a third-year extension. Gill-Mensah is from Boston, Massachusetts, and currently has a home base in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with her husband and son. She attained a Bachelor of Arts from Wellesley College in International Relations and Africana Studies and went on for graduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning a dual graduate degree, Master of Science and Public Health in Health Policy & Management and Master of Business Administration. Natalie enjoys international travel (38 countries visited and counting), dancing, singing and playing with her toddler.