Speakers

Stay tuned for our announcement of mainstage speakers who will impress and inspire.

Janet L. Yellen

Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System (2014–2018)

Dr. Janet L. Yellen is a Distinguished Fellow in Residence at the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. From February 2014 to February 2018, under the Obama and Trump Administrations, she served as chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, making history as the first woman to be appointed to that position. 

Prior to her four-year term as chair, Dr. Yellen served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors and, from 2004 to 2010, as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. 

While serving as a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors (1994–1997), Dr. Yellen was appointed by President Bill Clinton as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. From 1997 to 1999, she also chaired the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Earlier in her career, she served as an economist with the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. 

Dr. Yellen enjoyed an accomplished career in academia as an assistant professor at Harvard University (1971–1976) and a lecturer at the London School of Economics and Political Science (1978–1980). In 1980, she joined the faculty of the University of California at Berkeley, where she was named the Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor of Business and Professor of Economics. Currently, she is a professor emeritus at the Haas School of Business. 

A Keynesian economist, Dr. Yellen has written on a wide variety of issues in macroeconomics and labor economics. She is a member of both the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has served as president of the Western Economic Association International, vice president of the American Economic Association and a fellow of the Yale Corporation. 

She is the recipient of the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale, the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics and the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government from the University of Illinois Institute of Government & Public Affairs. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Brown University, Bard College, the London School of Economics and Political Science, NYU, the University of Warwick and Yale. In 2014, she was named by Forbes as the second most powerful woman in the world, and in 2015, Bloomberg Markets ranked Dr. Yellen first on their annual list of the 50 most influential economists and policymakers. 

Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Dr. Yellen was her high school valedictorian. She graduated summa cum laude from Brown University with a degree in economics in 1967. Dr. Yellen went on to receive her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University in 1971—the only woman among that doctoral class. She wrote her dissertation under the supervision of Nobel laureates James Tobin and Joseph Stiglitz. 

Dr. Yellen is married to Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof. Their son, Robert, is also an economist.

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Susan E. Rice

Served as U.S. National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Ambassador Susan E. Rice served as U.S. National Security Advisor and U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations under President Barack Obama. She is the author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For.

In her role as National Security Advisor from July 1, 2013, to January 20, 2017, Ambassador Rice led the National Security Council staff of approximately 400 defense, diplomatic, intelligence, and development experts.   She chaired the cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the president daily national security briefings, and was responsible for coordinating the formulation and implementation of all aspects of the administration's foreign and national security policy, including the $680 billion national security budget and all diplomatic, intelligence, homeland security, and military efforts.

Ambassador Rice’s twenty-five years of public service and unique experience at the highest levels of the U.S. government afford her deep and rare insight into the current geo-strategic environment, political risk, emerging markets, and leadership dynamics in the Asia-Pacific, especially China, as well as Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa.  She is also deeply versed in counter-terrorism, economic development, and cyber policy as well as U.S. government decision-making.

As U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama's cabinet (2009-2013), Ambassador Rice worked to advance U.S. interests, defend universal values, strengthen the world's security and prosperity, and promote respect for human rights.  In a world of 21st century threats that pay no heed to borders, Ambassador Rice helped rebuild an effective basis for international cooperation that strengthened the United States’ ability to achieve its foreign policy objectives and made the American people safer.  As U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, she marshalled and oversaw all U.S. contributions to the UN, which account for 22% of its regular budget and 28% of its peacekeeping budget, and championed the UN management and reform agenda.

Ambassador Rice is currently a Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow at American University’s School of International Service and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.  She is also a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times.

From 2002-2008, Ambassador Rice was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she conducted research and published widely on U.S. foreign policy, transnational security threats, weak states, global poverty, and development.   

Ambassador Rice served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1997-2001. In that role, she formulated and implemented U.S. policy towards 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and oversaw the bureau’s annual operating budget of $100 million and almost $800 million assistance budget.   She was responsible for the management of 43 U.S. embassies and more than 5,000 American and national foreign service employees. Ambassador Rice was co-recipient of the White House's 2000 Samuel Nelson Drew Memorial Award for distinguished contributions to the formation of peaceful, cooperative relationships between states.  From 1993-1997, she served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, as well as Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping on the National Security Council staff.  

Ambassador Rice began her career as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company where she served natural resource, industrial, and some consumer companies.  

Ambassador Rice has previously served on numerous boards, including as a director of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Bureau of National Affairs (now Bloomberg BNA), Common Sense Media, the Beauvoir School in Washington, D.C., and U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  She is currently on the board of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Ambassador Rice received her master’s degree (M.Phil.) and Ph.D. (D.Phil.) in international relations from New College of Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.  She was awarded the Chatham House-British International Studies Association Prize for the most distinguished doctoral dissertation in the United Kingdom in the field of international relations in 1990. Ambassador Rice received her B.A. in history with honors and distinction from Stanford University in 1986, where she was junior Phi Beta Kappa and a Truman Scholar.  In 2017, French president Francois Hollande presented Ambassador Rice with the Award of Commander, the Legion of Honor of France, for her contributions to Franco-American relations.

A native of Washington D.C., Ambassador Rice is married to Ian Cameron, and they have two children.  She is a sports enthusiast, avid tennis player, and retired basketball player.

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