Dean's Coffee Talks

Join Dean Hellman and Dean Byman for a series of Dean’s Coffee Talks, where the Dean and a special guest will discuss their areas of expertise with a handful of SFS students. Dean’s Coffee Talks offers students the unique opportunity to learn about special guests’ career paths and current work in an intimate setting. Conversations will range across a variety of subjects including international business, development, economics, security, and additional subject areas.

Fall 2017 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

Nancy McEldowney – Director, Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) and Distinguished Professor of the Practice
September 7, 2017

Ambassador McEldowney began her position as Director of the MSFS program on July 1, 2017. She comes from a distinguished career in the U.S. Foreign Service, including her most recent role ass Director of FSI, where she led the foreign affairs training facility for the U.S. government. Ambassador McEldowney also served as Interim President and Senior Vice President of the National Defense University, the U.S. Department of Defense’s national security university. Ambassador McEldowney served President Clinton as Director of European Affairs on the White House National Security Council Staff. She also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, where she led the U.S. government engagement with NATO, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Ambassador McEldowney’s distinguished career as a foreign service officer included positions as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria and as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Spring 2017 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

Sarah McAvoy – Managing Director in Corporate Treasury at Bank of America
April 12, 2017
Sarah McAvoy is a Managing Director in Corporate Treasury at Bank of America responsible for global funding and for liability management, a role she assumed in 2012. Sarah joined Corporate Treasury in 2010 to oversee domestic funding and liability management for the company. Sarah joined Bank of America in 1993 as a Vice President in Commodity Derivatives. She was promoted to Managing Director, Head of Commodity Sales in 1998. In 2003, Sarah joined the company’s Corporate Investments group as a fixed income portfolio manager. From 2005 to 2008, she was Head of Equity and Credit Research for Corporate Investments and managed various fixed income and equity portfolios. From 2008 to 2010, Sarah was responsible for managing all non-mortgage portfolios for the group. Before joining the bank, Sarah was a Vice President with J.P. Morgan & Company in New York from 1988 to 1993 in the Corporate Finance and Derivatives units. Sarah graduated summa cum laude with a BSFS from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University where she majored in International Finance and was a Landegger Scholar.


Dexter Goei (SFS’93) – Chairman and CEO of Altice USA and President of the Board of Altice NV
April 4, 2017
Dexter Goei is the Chairman and CEO of Altice USA and President of the Board of Altice NV. Altice USA is now the fourth-largest operator in the United States, having acquired Cablevision (the largest cable provider in the Northeast) for $17.7B  in 2016. It had previously acquired Suddenlink (St. Louis-based provider that covers much of the middle of the US) for $9.1B. As a result of these acquisitions, Altice USA has operations in 20 states, including Cablevision’s stronghold on the lucrative Long Island market, putting it behind Comcast, Charter Communications (which just acquired Time Warner Cable) and Atlanta-based Cox Communications. Dexter runs these businesses, as well as future acquisitions in the market.


Samantha Vinograd – Director of Public Policy at Stripe
March 24, 2017
Samantha Vinograd is a seasoned public policy and strategic communications professional. She began her career in Baghdad working for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and subsequently served on President Obama’s National Security Council as the Director for Iraq, Director for International Economics, and Senior Advisor to the National Security Advisor.  She joined Goldman Sachs in 2013 where her work focused on building public – private sector partnerships across a broad range of policy and business issues. She recently began a new role leading Global Public Policy at Stripe. Samantha received her B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University


Anastasia Norton – Intelligence Analyst
February 21, 2017
Anastasia Norton has spent most of her career in government service. Her 15 years of government service spans counterterrorism, community development, socio-cultural analysis, and strategic communications efforts. Anastasia is currently an intelligence analyst and has spent the last 10 years working CT issues. She also served as the first intelligence community liaison to the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center headquartered at the US State Department and tasked with countering terrorism using strategic communications tools. She also worked as an analyst at FBIs Washington Field Office for two years. Prior to her work in DC, she was a peace Corps volunteer I Suriname, South America.  Anastasia is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where she teaches a course on terrorist propaganda and government response.


Kaya Henderson (SFS’92) – Former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools
February 1, 2017
Kaya Henderson served as the Chancellor of DC Public Schools from 2010-2016. Under her leadership the embattled district become the fastest improving urban school system in the country. Her tenure was marked by consecutive years of enrollment growth, the highest graduation rates in the history of the district, improvements in student satisfaction and teacher retention, increases in AP participation and pass rates, and the greatest growth of any urban district on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) over multiple years. A native of Mt. Vernon, NY, Kaya Henderson is a graduate of Mt. Vernon Public Schools. Kaya received her Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and her Master of Arts in Leadership, also from Georgetown, where she also served as an adjunct professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. She is the honored recipient of two honorary doctorate degrees from Georgetown University and Trinity Washington University.


Luke Murry – Staff Director of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee

January 27, 2017
Luke Murry serves as the Staff Director of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He previously worked for Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) and Congressman Ander Crenshaw (FL-04), where he focused on reforming foreign assistance, protecting sexual assault victims, and increasing access to water, sanitation, and hygiene programs. He holds a M.A. degree with honors in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with a B.A. degree in Political Science and minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures.


Jamie Geller – Professional Staff Member and Deputy Communications Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
January 27, 2017
Jamie Geller is a Professional Staff Member and Deputy Communications Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs under Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel.  In this role, Jamie works on global anti-Semitism, Jewish affairs, national security and communications for the Committee. Prior to Capitol Hill, Jamie worked for Dr. Daniel Byman as his research assistant, focusing on terrorism and insurgency worldwide. Jamie also built and ran Dr. Byman’s first-generation Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on terrorism and counterterrorism through edX. She previously worked as the Associate Editor-Middle East at the Georgetown Security Studies Review, as well as in other various capacities at Omnis, Inc., Brookings Institution’s Center for Middle East Policy, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and the Jerusalem Post. She received an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Middle East studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Susan Hennessey – Fellow in National Security in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and Managing Editor of Lawfare blog
January 23, 2017
Susan Hennessey is a graduate from Harvard Law School who works as a Fellow in National Security in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She is also a managing editor of the Lawfare blog and focuses on national security issues surrounding cybersecurity, surveillance, federal terrorism prosecutions, and congressional oversight of the intelligence community. Prior to working at Brookings, Susan worked as an attorney for NSA.


 Fall 2016 Dean’s Coffee Talks 

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (SFS’76) -Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba
December 5, 2016
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Prior to taking up the position of Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in August 2014, Ambassador DeLaurentis served for three years as the Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. Prior to that posting, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Columbia University Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. He is married to Jennifer Lee DeLaurentis, who holds a senior position in the United Nations Secretariat.


Alexis Early – Associate at Steptoe and Johnson
November 11, 2016
Alexis Early is an associate for Steptoe and Johnson where she is a member of the International Relations and Compliance Group. Prior to joining Steptoe, Alexis advised corporations and foreign sovereigns on international trade, defense cooperation, and rule of law issues, and advocated on their behalf before Congress.


Lauren Gaffney – Assistant General Counsel for TerraForm Power
November 11, 2016
Lauren Gaffney works as an assistant general counsel for TerraForm Power. Before working at TerraPower, Lauren was an associate for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom. She earned her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law center where her focus was International Law.


Ludmilla Savelieff – Associate at Squire Patton Boggs
November 11, 2016
Ludmilla Savelieff is an associate at Squire Patton Boggs. She graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 2013 where she was the winner of the Dean’s Certificate and served as Symposium Director for the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. Prior to law school, Ludmilla was the Special Assistant to the Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.


prince-turki-al-faisalHis Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal – Former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States
October 25, 2016 – 3-4 pm
His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, SFS’68, was appointed as an Adviser at the Royal Court in 1973. In 1977, HRH was appointed Director General (with a rank of Minister) of the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Saudi Arabia’s main foreign intelligence service. HRH served as the head of the GID until August 2001. In October 2002, HRH was appointed as the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland where he served until his appointment in July 2005 as Ambassador to the United States. He retired in February 2007. His Royal Highness is a founder and trustee of the King Faisal Foundation as well as the Chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies.


wittes_tamara_2015Tamara Kofman Wittes – Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings
October 24, 2016
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow and the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Wittes served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from November of 2009 to January 2012, coordinating U.S. policy on democracy and human rights in the Middle East for the State Department. Wittes also oversaw the Middle East Partnership Initiative and served as deputy special coordinator for Middle East transitions. She was central to organizing the U.S. government’s response to the Arab awakening.


ambwittigportraitjul14Ambassador Peter Wittig – German Ambassador to the United States
October 19, 2016  – 3-4 pm
Peter Wittig has served as German Ambassador to the United States since April 2014. Prior to this, he was German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York and represented Germany during its tenure as a member of the UN Security Council in 2011 and 2012. There, he drew on his wide expertise in United Nations matters, having previously served as Director-General for United Nations and Global Issues at the German Foreign Office in Berlin.


Jeffrey-GoldbergJeffrey Goldberg – National Correspondent for The Atlantic
November 1, 2016 – 1-2 pm
Jeffrey Goldberg is the national correspondent for The Atlantic. He who began his career in journalism as a police reporter for The Washington Post and later worked for The New Yorker as a Washington correspondent and Middle East correspondent. His reporting has taken him to Gaza, the West Bank, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – where he spent a month living in a Taliban madrasa. At The Atlantic, Mr. Goldberg authored a series of in-depth reports on the people and forces shaping American foreign policy, including “The Obama Doctrine” (April 2016), a seminal article based on his interviews with the President.


amb-dobbinsAmbassador James Dobbins – Senior Fellow, Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security
September 20, 2016
Ambassador James Dobbins is a senior fellow and Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security at the RAND Corporation. From 2002 to 2013 he served as director of the RAND International Security and Defense Policy Center. He has held State Department and White House posts including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. Dobbins has served on numerous crisis management and diplomatic troubleshooting assignments as special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti, and Somalia for the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. In 2013 he returned to the State Department to become the Obama administration’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, returning to RAND in 2014.


Spring 2016 Dean’s Coffee Talks

andrew-steer-wriphotoAndrew Steer – President of the World Resources Institute
April 7th, 2016 | 12:15 pm-1:15 pm
Dr. Andrew Steer is the President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization that works in more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Europe. World Resources Institute’s 450 experts work closely with leaders to address six urgent global challenges at the intersection of economic development and the natural environment: food, forests, water, climate, energy and cities.


HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates
March 30th, 2016 | 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates and son of the founder of UAE, the First President, Emir of Abu Dhabi, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. During his tenure as Minister of Foreign Affairs, the UAE has witnessed a rapid expansion of its diplomatic relations with countries in Latin America, the South Pacific, Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia as well as a consolidation and strengthening of its relations with Western countries.



Michael Williams – Partner Kirkland & Ellis LLP

March 17th, 2016
Mike Williams (SFS’98, L’01) is a trial lawyer and appellate advocate in the Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington office. He has extensive experience leading trials and appeals on behalf of the firm’s clients in state and federal courts throughout the country. Mike received his Juris Doctor, summa cum laude and first in class, from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law & Economics. He received his Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.


shanta devarajanShanta Devarajan – Chief Economist for Middle East and Africa, The World Bank
March 3rd, 2016 
Shantayanan Devarajan is the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Middle East and North Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief Economist of the Human Development Network, South Asia, and Africa Region. He was the director of the World Development Report 2004, Making Services Work for Poor People. Before 1991, he was on the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


trae stephensTrae Stephens – Principal at Founders Fund
March 3rd, 2016
Trae Stephens (SFS ’06) is a Principal at Founders Fund, where he focuses on startups operating in the government space. Previously, Trae was an early employee at Palantir Technologies, where he led teams focused on growth in the intelligence/defense space as well as international expansion, helping large organizations solve their hardest data analysis problems. While at Palantir, Trae also served as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University.