Board of Advisors

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.

JoaquĆ­n Castro

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

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.

Bob Dold

Bob Dold recently left the United States House of Representatives after serving two terms representing Illinois 10th Congressional district.  Congressman Dold served on the Financial Services Committee and the powerful  Ways & Means Committee where he was focused on access to capital for small businesses, tax reform, healthcare reform and tackling poverty issues plaguing communities across our nation. Dold has been ranked as one of the most independent bi-partisan members of the US Congress.   Dold is an original member of the No Labels movement which, Dold stated, he hoped would help to end the gridlock in Washington, DC.  He served as the Co-Chair of the Tuesday Group, a caucus of moderate Republicans focused on pragmatic governing solutions.  An editorial in The Daily Herald noted Dold’s spirit of bipartisanship and called for more Bob Dolds in Congress.  in 2015, The Lugar Center, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit founded by former Senator Richard Lugar released a Bipartisan Index in cooperation with Georgetown University, ranking Congressman Dold the fifth most bipartisan congressman (out of 438) in the 114th Congress. Bob continued a family tradition and earned a BA from Denison University.  His educational credentials include a law degree from Indiana University, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Prior to being elected to Congress, Bob ran Rose Pest Solutions, a small business founded in 1860.  It is the oldest pest management company in the United States.  Rose Pest Solutions is headquartered in Northfield, IL, and serves families and businesses throughout Northern Illinois and beyond.  

Robert Gibbs

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

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.

Jennifer Granholm

Former two-term governor of Michigan Jennifer M. Granholm, who is credited with leading Michigan though a period of unprecedented economic challenge and change, is an authority on leadership; politics; economic diversification; clean energy policy; advanced manufacturing; and industrial clusters. Granholm became the first woman to be elected as governor of Michigan in 2002, and in 2006 she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in the state. As a result of the meltdown in the auto industry and the global shift in manufacturing jobs, Michigan had the toughest economy in the nation and Granholm worked relentlessly to diversify it, adding new jobs and emerging sectors, such as clean energy, to Michigan’s economic portfolio. As a result of her leadership, Michigan led the country in the improvement of job market conditions between 2009 and 2010, according to the Gallup Job Creation Index. As governor, Granholm pioneered clean energy policies and worked with business and labor, Republicans and Democrats to create new economic opportunities and jobs in Michigan. She led an aggressive strategy to make Michigan the hub of clean-energy development in North America by developing entire supply chains in Michigan, fostering critical partnerships between industry, government and researchers and by creating economic incentives that made Michigan the place to locate. Granholm was Governor of Michigan from 2003-2011. Prior to her two terms as governor, Granholm was Michigan’s attorney general from 1998-2002. After leaving public office, Granholm joined the faculty at UC Berkeley, teaching courses in law and public policy, and was named a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. In that capacity, Granholm is chair of the American Jobs Project, a major research initiative focused on state-based policies to create advanced manufacturing jobs in clean energy. Granholm is a senior contributor to CNN, is the CEO of Granholm Mulhern Associates, and serves on several boards. She is also the co-author of the political bestseller, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future and was a senior partner on jobs and energy policy during Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. Granholm was an IOP Pritzker Fellow in Spring 2017.

Larry Grisolano

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."

Bill Kristol

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

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

Isaac Lee is the former Chief Content Officer for Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the leading media company serving Hispanic America and Grupo Televisa in Mexico. Prior to that, he served as Chief News, Entertainment & Digital Officer for Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) and CEO of FUSION. In those roles, Lee was responsible for making sure both media companies had a single, integrated focus on the Hispanic audience in the United States and the domestic Mexican audience. Previously, 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. He also 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.

Michael Morell

Michael Morell is a former Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and one of our nation’s leading national security professionals, with extensive experience in intelligence and foreign policy. During his 33-year career at CIA, Michael served as Deputy Director for over three years, a job in which he managed the Agency’s day-to-day operations and analysis, represented the Agency at the White House and Congress, and maintained the Agency’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders around the world. Michael also served twice as Acting Director, leading CIA when Leon Panetta was named Secretary of Defense and again after David Petraeus left government. Michael received the Presidential Rank Award for exceptional performance – the nation’s highest honor for civilian service – and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, CIA’s highest award, for his role in the Bin Ladin operation. Michael is also the recipient of the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and the Department of Defense Service Medal. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Great War of Our Time: An Insider’s Account of the CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – From al Qaida to ISIS.”

Mike Murphy

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.

Shailagh Murray

Shailagh Murray spend nearly six years shaping communications strategy inside the Obama White House, most recently serving as Senior Advisor to President Obama from 2015 to 2017. Previously, she was Vice President Biden’s deputy chief of staff and communications director. In her White House roles, Shailagh developed a long-term communications strategy aimed at vastly expanding engagement opportunities for the President and Vice President, to include long-form magazine interviews, social media products, documentaries, podcasts, book reviews and academic journals, and comedy shows and sitcoms. Shailagh joined the Obama administration in 2011 after working as a foreign correspondent, congressional correspondent, and national political reporter for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.  Over the course of her journalism career, she covered the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe; the expansion of the European Union; three presidential elections and three mid-term election cycles; and every major debate in Congress during the presidency of George W. Bush, including the Iraq War. Born in upstate New York, Shailagh grew up in Charlottesville and Richmond, Va. She has a BA in humanities from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Masters in Journalism from Northwestern University. She lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Beth Myers

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.

Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker is an entrepreneur, civic leader and philanthropist with more than 30 years of experience in numerous industries. Pritzker is the Founder and Chairman of PSP Capital Partners and Pritzker Realty Group, a global private investment firm that takes a long-term, fundamental approach to investing in and building market-leading businesses in sectors such as professional services, real estate, technology, agriculture, industrial services and consumer products. From June 2013 through January 2017, Pritzker served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration. Pritzker was a core member of President Obama’s economic team and served as the country’s chief commercial advocate, leading the Administration’s trade and investment promotion efforts. She also served on President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Currently, Pritzker is a member of the board of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a member of the board of Microsoft, a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, a member of the board of the Obama Foundation, a member of the board of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and on the advisory council of The Hamilton Project. Pritzker earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard University and a Juris Doctor and Masters of Business Administration from Stanford University. 

Deval Patrick

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.

Kasim Reed

Kasim Reed served as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta, from 2011 to 2018. Reed's civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized on programs such as Meet the Press and on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, FOX and CNBC, and in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Delta Sky Magazine. Reed has been a guest speaker at numerous national and international conferences, including the Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, New York Ideas, New Cities Summit, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America, the Gathering of Leaders and recently delivered his first TED talk at TEDCity2.0. As a champion for Atlanta and the State of Georgia, Mayor Reed serves on a number of advisory committees. He is Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission. In November 2013, he joined Vice President Joe Biden to tour the Panama Canal and advocate for the deepening of the Port of Savannah; Georgia’s largest economic development project to date. He is a member of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2007, Leadership Georgia Class of 2000 and Leadership Atlanta Class of 1998. Prior to his election, Reed established a track record of leadership during his 11 years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and served two terms. From 2002 to 2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.  He is a former partner of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm. Reed is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees and an honorary Doctor of Laws. As an undergraduate member of Howard University's Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. Reed was appointed as Howard University's youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and remains a dedicated member of the Board of Trustees. Reed lives in the Cascade community of Southwest Atlanta with his wife, Sarah-Elizabeth, and their daughter, Maria Kristan.  He is a member of Cascade United Methodist Church.

Darren Reisberg

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.

Bret Stephens

Bret Stephens is an Op-Ed columnist with the New York Times, a position he assumed in April 2017 after a long career at The Wall Street Journal. He is a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post and author of the 2014 book, "America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder." He holds three honorary doctorates and is the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. He was raised in Mexico City, holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an MSc. from the London School of Economics, and lives with his family in New York City and Hamburg, Germany.

Neera Tanden

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.

Amy Walter

Amy Walter is the National Editor of The Cook Political Report where she provides analysis of the issues, trends and events that shape the political environment. Her weekly column appears at Over the past 19 years, Amy Walter has built a reputation as an accurate, objective, and insightful political analyst with unparalleled access to campaign insiders and decision-makers. Known as one of the best political journalists covering Washington, she is the former political director of ABC News. She is also a regular panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press, Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier and CBS' Face the Nation. She provides political analysis every Monday evening for the PBS NewsHour. This is Amy’s second tour of duty with The Cook Political Report. From 1997 to 2007, she served as Senior Editor where she covered the U.S. House. Walter was named one of DC's "50 Top Journalists" by Washingtonian Magazine in 2009 and honored with the Washington Post's Crystal Ball award for her spot-on election predictions in 2000. She is a member of the Board of Trustees at Colby College where she graduated summa cum laude.

Howard Wolfson

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.