2021 Expert Panel

About The Expert Panel

Alaina Harkness

Alaina Harkness

Current / Former MacArthur Foundation

As executive director for Current, Chicago’s water innovation hub, Alaina Harkness leads a team working to grow the blue economy, accelerate innovation, and solve pressing water challenges.

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She most recently served as managing director for the economic development firm RW Ventures, where she helped launch and lead the New Growth Innovation Network and developed inclusive growth strategies for cities and metropolitan regions. Previously she held a research fellowship in urban governance at the Brookings Institution, led urban development strategy for the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and staffed civic collaboratives: The Partnership for New Communities and 2016 Fund for Chicago Neighborhoods.


Harkness is a nonresident fellow in the Global Cities program at the Council and has published research and commentary for the Brookings Institution, Crain’s Chicago Business, the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, and CityLab. She holds a B.A. in political science and art history from the University of Rochester, and master’s degrees in Public Policy and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago. Harkness is a longtime resident of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and serves on the boards of Urban Initiatives and Margaret’s Village. She is a 2014 fellow of Leadership Greater Chicago.

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An Nguyen

The California Endowment

An Nguyen is a Program Manager for The California Endowment, managing the funding strategies, partner engagement and inter-organizational collaborative efforts in the Office of CEO Programs & Special Projects.

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In this role, she also facilitates the engagement of TCE’s President’s Youth Council, a statewide body of youth leaders and organizers that provide thought leadership, youth perspective and candid feedback on the California Endowment’s health justice campaigns and strategies.

Ms. Nguyen joined The California Endowment in 2015 as a Program Associate to support the management of the Youth Power Building & Development and the Sons & Brothers portfolios, which centers the leadership development of California’s young people to advance race and health equity through policy and systems change.

Prior to joining The California Endowment, Ms. Nguyen served as a Program Manager at the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI), where she oversaw national collaborative programs and projects around public health workforce and leadership development infrastructure, and health equity. She also worked for the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI) as a Policy Analyst, conducting research and policy analysis for post-Hurricane Katrina health systems redevelopment and stabilization efforts, and coordinating the Louisiana State Public Health Information Exchange.

Ms. Nguyen holds a Masters in Health Administration from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA and a Bachelors of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

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Josh Slusher

UN Foundation

Josh Slusher is the Director of Philanthropic Initiatives at the United Nations Foundation focusing on bringing together high-level champions from philanthropy, government, business, entertainment to advance gender equality.

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At the UN Foundation, Josh has held roles supporting the executive leadership team with strategic planning and implementation of organization-wide projects and led the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council, a council comprised of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists from around the world assembled to support public-private partnerships with the UN. Prior to joining the UN Foundation, Josh worked at the global communications firm, Burson-Marsteller, working with the Worldwide Chair & CEO and the company’s grassroots subsidiary, Direct Impact.

Josh is an LGBT Global Fellow at the Atlantic Council and a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum. In 2015, he served as head of the U.S. youth delegation to the G20 Summit held by the Turkish Presidency focusing on the challenges facing youth in entrepreneurship, education, and conflict zones.

Josh holds a M.Sc. in International Relations from the University of Edinburgh and a B.A. in Political Science from Butler University during which time he spent an exchange studying at the Audencia Ecole de Management in France.

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Kern Wildenthal

UT Southwestern Medical Center, Children’s Medical Center Foundation

Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., was the second President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, serving in that position from 1986–2008, and is now President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Medicine.

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He joined the UT Southwestern faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physiology in 1970 and became an Associate Professor in 1971 and full Professor in 1975. From 1976 to 1980, he served as Dean of the Graduate School, and from 1980 to 1986, he was Dean of the Medical School.

Following his retirement as President of UT Southwestern, he became President and Senior Consultant of Southwestern Medical Foundation from 2008–2013. From 2013 to 2016, he served as President of Children’s Medical Center Foundation and Executive Vice President of Children’s Health System of Texas. Since his retirement from those roles in September 2016, he holds appointments as Past President of the Foundation and Consultant for Children’s Health, as well as President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Wildenthal received his medical education at UT Southwestern and New York University Medical Center and his research training at UT Southwestern; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the University of Cambridge in England, where he earned a Ph.D. in cell physiology in 1970.

Dr. Wildenthal has been a visiting professor and conference organizer in 24 countries, and has authored over 120 scientific papers in basic research and clinical cardiology as well as numerous articles on health and education policy issues. In 2008, he was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the first leader of a nonprofit organization to be so recognized.

Ask Kern about the unique impact of extroverts and introverts in the world of fundraising!

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Kevin Crouch

The Bridgespan Group / Former Hewlett Foundation

Kevin Crouch is a consultant with The Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit organization that collaborates with mission-driven leaders, organizations, and philanthropists to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need.

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Prior to joining Bridgespan, Kevin completed a three-year term at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. At the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kevin led grant-making initiatives focused on equity-centered organizational development with grantees working in education policy, research, and practice.

Before joining the foundation, Kevin served as a fellow with the XQ Institute, a collaboration with the Emerson Collective, supporting the development of new models of learning with the Super School Project. He also worked for the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office as a site coordinator with its Gang Reduction and Youth Development initiative, directing programming in Watts, California. Prior to that, he served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Los Angeles, providing academic intervention and socioemotional instruction to fourth grade students in South Los Angeles. Kevin has a BA in education, Spanish and applied linguistics from Washington University in St. Louis, and a master’s degree in policy, organization, and leadership studies from Stanford University. Kevin is a recent transplant to Oakland, where he enjoys exploring the best spots to eat, hike, and people watch.

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Suzanne Stone

Livestrong Foundation

Suzanne Stone is a Chief Strategic Solutions & Programs Officer at the Livestrong Foundation.

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Suzanne is a graduate from Texas Christian University, a native of Louisiana and grew up in the shadow of Washington, D.C. Her career began in the television industry in Dallas, telling stories of the people and places which make Texas so unique. Earning a regional Emmy Award for her work, the production industry led her to Chicago, where she eventually traded producing television for teaching it in the non-profit and education sector in 1998. Public Access television was in its prime and a subsequent move to New York found her as Executive Director of an upstate station. After enjoying her four-year tenure as Head Coach of the local community college women’s basketball team while running the station, she headed back to Texas. Since arriving, she’s worked and led local non-profits around the state like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Children’s Miracle Network. Making the move to Austin, she took on the longest job title to date and served as the Executive Director of the Lake Travis Education Foundation and the Director of Corporate Development for LTISD. After leading the district in innovative ways to leverage partnerships and fundraising to provide support for students, she took on the role of leading Susan G. Komen Greater Central and East Texas. During her three-and half-year tenure she grew the local affiliate from serving 5 counties to 58 and impacting 5 million central and east Texans.

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Tony Shu


Tony Shu is a social entrepreneur and recent graduate of Harvard University, where he studied a special concentration in Urban Studies.

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In 2021, he was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and has been recognized as an OZY Genius Award Winner and as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

Tony is the co-founder of Breaktime, a non-profit social enterprise working to end young adult homelessness through purposeful transitional employment. Breaktime operates Boston’s first transitional employment program specifically for young adults experiencing homelessness. At Harvard, Tony was also a Cheng Social Innovation Fellow, a Roberts Family Technology Innovation Fellow, served as President of the Harvard College Real Estate Club, and danced with the Expressions Dance Company. He is passionate about meditation, housing, and urban innovation.

Tony is a featured speaker at the 2021 Ambassadors Conference and will serve as an expert panelist. As a former Ambassador, Tony will also present an Evaluation of a 2019 grantee.