The Board of Advisors to the Institute of Politics includes a diverse group of leaders in civic life, politics, business and journalism. Board members offer their expertise and guidance to the Institute staff and meet annually in Chicago to review the Institute’s operation and programming.
Board of Advisors
David Brooks became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in September 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on PBS’ “Newshour.” He is the author of “Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense.” In March 2011 he came out with his third book, “The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.” David joined The Weekly Standard at its inception in September 1995, having worked at The Wall Street Journal for the previous nine years. Prior to that, he was posted in Brussels, covering Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs. He is also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio, CNN’s Late Edition and “The Diane Rehm Show.” David is the editor of the 1996 anthology “Backward and Upward: the New Conservative Writing.” Born in Toronto, Canada, David graduated a bachelor of history from the University of Chicago in 1983. Immediately afterwards, he became a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times.
Joaquín Castro represents Texas' 20th Congressional District and serves on both the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Elected to Congress in 2012, Castro was the 2013 co-president for the House freshman Democrats and named Assistant Whip for House Democrats, charged with assisting in rallying members around important legislation. Called "a rising star in his party" by The Texas Tribune and one of the top 50 politicos to watch by POLITICO, Castro hails from San Antonio. He graduated from Stanford University in 1996 and from Harvard Law School in 2000. At the age of 28, Castro was elected to the Texas Legislature. While a state representative, Castro created the Trailblazers College Tour, personally raising money to send underprivileged students on college visits, exposing them to some of the nation's best institutions of higher education. During his time in Congress, Castro has sought to build out what he calls "The Infrastructure of Opportunity" - good public schools, great universities and a sound healthcare system - to enable his fellow citizens to pursue the American Dream.
Stephanie Cutter is partner at Precision Strategies and co-host of CNN's “Crossfire.” Stephanie’s political and communications experience spans two decades in public service and the private sector. From the West Wing to the campaign trail and halls of Congress, Stephanie has crafted communications and crises strategies for the nation’s leading political figures and campaigns. Most recently, she was Deputy Campaign Manager for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, Obama for America. Before joining the campaign, Stephanie was Deputy Senior Adviser to President Obama, overseeing message strategy and issue development. From January to May 2009, Stephanie served as Counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, handling the strategy behind the development and implementation of the Obama Administration’s Financial Stability Plan. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Stephanie was the Chief Spokesperson for the Obama-Biden Transition, and served as Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff on the 2008 Obama for America campaign. Stephanie was a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, taught at Johns Hopkins University, and has lectured at Smith College, American University and the University of Pennsylvania. Stephanie also served as a senior strategist for Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Edward Kennedy, and Senator John Kerry. She held several positions in the Clinton Administration, including White House Deputy Communications Director. She regularly appears on network news and cable channels to discuss the issues of the day. Stephanie is a graduate of Smith College and Georgetown University Law Center.
Robert Gibbs is a leading communications strategist who previously served as White House press secretary under President Barack Obama. An Alabama native who graduated from North Carolina State University, Gibbs was a core member of the team that built the Obama brand, dating back to Obama’s Senate office. Dubbed the “president’s political compass” by The New York Times, Gibbs served as White House press secretary from Obama’s inauguration until February 2011. After leaving the White House, Gibbs, along with fellow former Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt, founded The Incite Agency, a new strategic communications practice. At The Incite Agency, Gibbs has helped companies across a variety of industries create and implement new communications strategies based on data and research.
Ed Gillespie is founder of Ed Gillespie Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that provides high-level advice to companies and CEOs, coalitions, and trade associations. Gillespie was a long-time policy and communications aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. He was a principal drafter of the Contract with America, the 1994 campaign platform on which Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. As former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Gillespie in 2004 became the first GOP chairman in 80 years to preside over his party’s winning the White House, House and Senate. He went on to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia. He served as chairman of Bob McDonnell’s successful campaign for governor in 2009, Counselor to the President in the last 18 months of the Bush Administration, and before that was co-founder of a bipartisan public affairs firm Quinn Gillespie and Associates (QGA), one of Washington, DC’s premier government relations firms. Gillespie served on the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America, the Council on Virginia’s Future, and as Chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee. Gillespie is also a founding board member of Resurgent Republic, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to informing the debate over the proper role of government. Gillespie is the author of Winning Right: Campaign Politics and Conservative Policies, published by Simon and Schuster in Spring 2006. He is a popular public speaker represented by Leading Authorities speaker’s bureau.
In 30 years as a political and advertising professional, Larry Grisolano has been at the center of some of the most important battles for the Democratic Party and for progressive ideas, and earned recognition for his management of complex advertising campaigns. From January of 2007 to November of 2008, Larry served as Director of Paid Media and Opinion Research for Obama for America and Obama-Biden 2008. Grisolano directed an integrated paid advertising program of television, radio, digital, and direct mail that spent over $350 million between June and November. Ad Age recognized the campaign as Marketer of the Year and The Advertising Research Foundation recognized the campaign with an Ogilvey Award for its innovative use of research in an ad campaign. In 2011, Larry again served as Director of Paid Media for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign. In securing the President’s re-election, the campaign faced nearly a billion dollars of opposition spending. In response, Grisolano led an effort to develop innovative targeting of television buys to target persuadable voters. The tool came to be knows as the Optimizer, and was featured in a story in The New York Times. The $600 million integrated buy in this campaign included the longest continuous Spanish language buy for a political campaign, an extended track of television targeting women and individual level targeting of digital buys. Larry is President and CEO of AKPD Message and Media, a leading national political advertising firm founded by David Axelrod. Larry also serves on the Board of The Strategy Group, specializing in political direct mail, and Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Washington, DC based full service digital marketing firm. Larry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in political science from The University of Iowa. He majored in marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Doris Kearns Goodwin
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a presidential historian and award-winning author of several best-selling presidential biographies, including Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. In 1995 Goodwin won the Pulitzer Prize in history for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. During President Lyndon B. Johnson’s last year in the White House, she worked as an assistant to him and later helped him write his memoirs. A native of New York City, she attended Colby College in Maine and later earned a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. A resident of Concord, Mass., Goodwin is a devoted Boston Red Sox fan, the first woman to enter the team’s locker room, and served as a contributor to Ken Burns’ 1994 documentary "Baseball."
Brad Keywell is a co-founder of Lightbank, Groupon, Echo Global Logistics, MediaOcean, and several other technology companies. He is on the Board of Trustees of Equity Residential, an S&P 500 company. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and Chairman of the Illinois Innovation Council. Brad founded and is Chairman of Chicago Ideas Week, a global ideas and innovation platform. He is the Chairman of the Future Founders Foundation, which runs programs to inspire students in entrepreneurship. He is a Trustee of the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan. He is on the board of the NorthShore University HealthSystem and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Brad received a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan School of Law and a Bachelor of Business Administration with honors from the University of Michigan.
William Kristol is the editor of The Weekly Standard. He is also a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday, a contributor for the Fox News Channel, and a monthly columnist for the Washington Post. Before starting the Weekly Standard in 1995, William led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the first Bush Administration, and to Education Secretary William Bennett under President Reagan. Before coming to Washington in 1985, William was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ray LaHood served as the 16th Secretary of Transportation from January 23, 2009 to July 2, 2013. During his term, LaHood led an agency of more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation missions. Before becoming Secretary of Transportation, LaHood served for 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 18th District of Illinois (from 1995-2009). During that time he served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the House Appropriations Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also chaired four bipartisan retreats to help restore civility to the House of Representatives. Prior to his election to the House, he served as Chief of Staff to House Republican Leader Robert Michel, whom he succeeded in representing the 18th District, and as District Administrative Assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature. Before his career in government, Secretary LaHood was a junior high school teacher. He received his degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. He was also director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau and Chief planner for the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission in Illinois.
Isaac Lee is the Chief Content Officer for Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America and Grupo Televisa in Mexico, the largest Spanish-language content producer in the world. Most recently he served as Chief News, Entertainment & Digital Officer for Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) and CEO of FUSION. Lee is responsible of making sure both media companies have a single, integrated focus on the Hispanic audience in the United States and the domestic Mexican audience. He also ensures both operations strengthen their collaboration and benefit from synergies and aligned content initiatives. Prior to his current role, he was responsible for the editorial oversight of Univision News across network, local and digital platforms as well as UCI’s comprehensive digital efforts across verticals. With a background in print journalism and digital media, Isaac became the editorial director of Semana, the most influential and internationally recognized magazine in Colombia at the age of 26. Most recently Isaac founded and served as chairman and editor-in-chief of PODER magazine. He spent the past 14 years in editorial roles leading top journalistic teams at prominent publications serving Spanish-speaking audiences in the U.S. and Latin America.
Mike Murphy is one of the Republican Party’s most successful political media consultants, having handled strategy and advertising for more than 26 successful gubernatorial and senatorial campaigns. Mike served as senior strategist for both John McCain’s first campaign for President in 2000 and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s historic election as Governor of California. He has directed successful campaigns for GOP Governors and Senators including Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Terry Branstad, Lamar Alexander, Jeff Sessions. Slade Gorton, Dirk Kempthorne, Tommy Thompson and John Engler. A partner in the Washington DC based Revolution Agency, Mike also advises several Fortune 500 corporations and several of America’s largest trade associations, working with industries including insurance, energy, financial services and commercial real estate. Mike attended the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In 2001 he was an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard's JFK School of Government.
Beth Myers has a long history of involvement in public issues and campaigns. Beth served as a senior advisor on Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign for president and as campaign manager for his 2008 presidential race. Before that, she was Chief of Staff during all four years of the Romney governorship. Starting on the 1980 Reagan campaign, Myers has helped a slew of candidates win office. Working for Market Opinion Research, she developed and implemented GOTV campaigns in California, Texas, Massachusetts, Louisiana and Missouri. In addition she worked as a deputy campaign manager in statewide races in Massachusetts and Texas. She is a board member of the Pioneer Institute, a conservative think tank in Boston, Massachusetts, and is a partner in the Shawmut Group. Beth graduated from Tufts University and received a JD from Southern Methodist University School of Law, after which she practiced as a litigation associate in the Dallas office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld.
Deval Patrick was reelected to a second term as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in November 2010. Governor Patrick’s life has charted a path from the South Side of Chicago to the U.S. Justice Department, Fortune 500 boardrooms, and now the Massachusetts State House. Patrick moved to Massachusetts in 1970 at the age of 14. A motivated student despite the difficult circumstances of poor and sometimes violent Chicago schools, he was awarded a scholarship to Milton Academy through A Better Chance, a Boston-based organization. Governor Patrick is a graduate of Harvard College, the first in his family to attend college, and of Harvard Law School. After clerking for a federal judge, he led a successful career in the private sector as an attorney and business executive, rising to senior executive positions at Texaco and Coca-Cola. In 1994, President Clinton appointed Patrick as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation's top civil rights post.
David Plouffe is widely referred to as the “architect” of President Barack Obama’s two Presidential campaign victories. David departed the White House in January 2013. In 2010, David was Number 4 on the Newsweek list of “New Thought Leaders”, and The Daily Beast named him as one of the “25 Smartest People of the Decade.” GQ named David in 2012 the third most powerful person in Washington. The Obama/Biden presidential campaign and Plouffe were awarded the Titanium and Integrated Grand Prix Awards from the Cannes International Advertising Festival (2009). David has won plaudits for the use of technology and pioneering new applications, his message development and discipline, his management skill and his focus and competitiveness. He has managed campaigns at all levels of politics, served as an award winning producer of television advertisements, served as a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies and has been a ubiquitous presence on national news shows. David is also the author of The New York Times best seller, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory.
As Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Provost, Darren Reisberg provides oversight for the operation and budget of the Office of the Provost and for several academic centers and initiatives including UChicago Urban, the Urban Education Institute, the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics, and the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. Reisberg also has oversight of regulatory and compliance matters under the purview of the Provost’s Office, including equal opportunity programs and Title IX, as well as faculty governance. As a Vice President, Reisberg oversees certain strategic initiatives in the President’s Office, including leadership development across the University. Reisberg previously served as the Vice President and Secretary of the University, and the first Executive Director of the University’s Institute of Politics, where he currently serves on the Institute’s Board of Advisors. Reisberg came to the University from the Illinois State Board of Education, where he was the General Counsel and Deputy Superintendent. In those roles, he counseled the State Superintendent of Education and State Board of Education on legal, policy, and operational matters. Before joining the Illinois State Board of Education, Reisberg was an employment and labor attorney at the Chicago law firm Sidley Austin LLP. He also worked as a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer. Reisberg received his J.D. from Yale Law School and his B.A. in political science at Duke University.
Neera Tanden is the President of the Center for American Progress and Counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Tanden has served in the Obama and Clinton administrations, as well as presidential campaigns and think tanks. Neera previously served as senior advisor for health reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, advising Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and working on President Barack Obama’s health reform team in the White House to pass the Affordable Care Act. Prior to that, Neera was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals. She had also served as policy director for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign where she directed all policy work, ranging from domestic policy to the economy to foreign affairs, and managed day-to-day policy announcements. In that role, she also oversaw the debate preparation process for then-Sen. Clinton. Tanden currently has a regular column for The New Republic online and has appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” PBS’ “NewsHour,” MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. She was recently named one of the “Most Influential Women in Washington” by National Journal and received the India Abroad Publisher’s Award for Excellence in 2011. She received her bachelor of science from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School.
Howard Wolfson served as New York City's Deputy Mayor for Government Affairs and Communications from 2010 through 2013. In this capacity, Howard oversaw local, state and federal government relations in addition to helping to craft the administration’s overall communications strategy. Prior to his appointment, Howard advised local, state, and federal officials inside and outside of government. He has worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill, a Communications Director on a presidential campaign, and the Executive Director of a national party committee. He served as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Nita Lowey, and as an advisor to Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, and David Paterson, among others. He also served as the Communications Director of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign. Howard, a New York native, graduated from the University of Chicago and received a Master's in History from Duke University.