Coffee chats are small, informal gatherings with SFS alumni and guests hosted by SFS Dean Joel Hellman and Vice Dean Daniel Byman. The guest briefly talks about his/her academic and professional path, before students ask questions about professional experience, and guests offer advice.
Goli Sheikholeslami (SFS’89)
President and CEO of New York Public Radio, National Public Radio
December 9, 2019
Goli Sheikholeslami is a highly regarded executive who has successfully built and led operations at several prominent media companies over the past 20 years. Her experience is a rare combination of traditional news media and digital innovation at both emerging and established organizations. As a senior executive for The Washington Post, Sheikholeslami helped build washingtonpost.com and led the successful integration of digital operations with the company’s legacy newspaper.
Sheikholeslami has also served in key leadership roles with major media organizations Conde Nast and Time Warner. Prior to joining Chicago Public Media, she served as the chief product officer for Everyday Health, a leading health information platform for consumers and medical professionals. In 2016, she was elected to the Board of Directors of National Public Radio (NPR). Since 2012, she has served as a Director of DHI Group, Inc., a leading provider of data, insights and employment connections through specialized services for professional communities including technology and security clearance, financial services, energy, healthcare and hospitality.
Sheikholeslami holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia and a B.S. in International Economics from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Margaret Huang (SFS’91)
Executive Director, Amnesty International
November 19, 2019
Margaret Huang, an advocate for human rights and racial justice for more than two decades, is the Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.
As the chief executive officer, Ms. Huang is responsible for advancing the vision and mission of the organization, managing the organization’s day-to-day operations and activities, serving as the lead spokesperson for the organization, and ensuring the organization’s financial health.
Ms. Huang previously served as Chief of Staff and as Deputy Executive Director for Campaigns and Programs at Amnesty International USA. Earlier in her career, she served as Executive Director of the Rights Working Group, a coalition of civil liberties and human rights groups formed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks. Previously, she served as Director of the U.S. Program at Global Rights, Program Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights, and Program Manager at The Asia Foundation. Earlier in her career, she served as Committee Staff for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ms. Huang received a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and a B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University.
Former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
November 12, 2019
Mr. Cardillo was appointed as the sixth director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2014. Previously, he was selected by then director of national intelligence James Clapper to serve as the first deputy director of national intelligence for intelligence integration in September 2010. He has also served as deputy director for analysis at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and director for analysis and production at the NGA.
Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins
Joint Visiting Fellow at Brookings Institution and the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House
November 5, 2019
Jenkins was nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in June 2009 as Special Envoy and Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, U.S. Department of State (DOS). She served in that position until January 2017. Jenkins promoted a coordinated U.S. effort on threat reduction globally. Jenkins was the DOS lead for the 2010 – 2016 Nuclear Security Summits and the U.S. Representative to the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction. She was also the Chair of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Nuclear Security and Support Center Network (NSSC). She helped establish the GHSA NGO Consortium, and founded the GHSA Next Generation Network. Bonnie Jenkins founded Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security in 2017 and serves as the organization’s president.
Senior Vice President, Global Business and Government Affairs, SpaceX
October 29, 2019
As Senior Vice President, Tim Hughes leads the policy, regulatory, and global business development efforts at SpaceX. Joining in 2005 as the company’s first in‐house counsel, Tim defined SpaceX’s legal and government affairs functions from the ground up, helping to take the company from true start‐up to one of the world’s most recognizable and innovative technology firms. For twelve years, Tim led a team of attorneys in handling the company’s broad corporate, contracting, export control and litigation portfolios. His responsibilities now span the company’s government business development efforts in the civil and national security space markets, insurance, regulatory affairs, and launch licensing portfolios, as well as SpaceX’s domestic and international policy agenda for both the launch services and satellite business sectors.
Prior to joining SpaceX, Tim served as Majority Counsel to the Committee on Science and Technology in the United States House of Representatives. Tim was the principal attorney responsible for drafting and shepherding the passage of ground‐breaking commercial human spaceflight legislation, the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004 (P.L. 108‐492), which helped to establish the legal and regulatory framework for commercial human spaceflight in the United States.
A graduate of William and Mary Law School and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Tim previously served as a senior associate with Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP, as well as in the Office of the Chief Counsel for the United States Secret Service
CARE USA’s Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice
October 28, 2019
As CARE USA’s Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice, Sheba provides overall leadership and strategic guidance for CARE USA’s emergency and humanitarian operations, programs, and policy. She is responsible for overseeing humanitarian technical and operational support to CARE country offices and CI members and leads, which includes emergency food aid programs.
Sheba came to CARE after serving at the State Department as Assistant Secretary for International Organization Affairs, Director in the Office of Policy Planning and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of State. Her prior government service includes additional roles at the State Department and in the National Security Council. Sheba has extensive inter-governmental and non-governmental organization experience including at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the United Nations, the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She has taught at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, George Washington University, and American University. Sheba received a bachelor of arts from Stanford University, a master of arts from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
John Cohen, Senior Expert on Global Threats
Argonne National Laboratory
October 28, 2019
John D. Cohen currently serves as a Senior Expert on Global Threats for the Argonne National Laboratory. He is also an on-air expert for ABC News on homeland security, terrorism, counter-intelligence, and law enforcement issues and was recently appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Georgetown University Security Studies Program and Center for Security Studies. Until recently he served as a Distinguished Professor of Professional Practice in Criminal Justice in the Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences and Director of the University’s Center for Critical Intelligence Studies.
Research Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and Co-Founder of the Russian Language News Exchange
October 22, 2019
Mr. Eristavi is a prominent Ukrainian writer and one of the most well-known English-speaking journalists coming from Eastern Europe. A self-described ‘bridge-builder’, he amplifies and explains stories from global frontlines for equal human rights. His work sits on the nexus of disinformation, foreign policy and identity politics. Mr. Eristavi has been a contributor for news outlets such as BBC, CNN, Reuters, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Politico, die Welt and the Washington Post among others. He delivers regular policy briefings to parliaments and foreign ministries, including in the UK, the US and the EU Parliament. Mr. Eristavi is the only openly queer journalist coming from Ukraine and has been outspoken in raising regional civil rights issues abroad.
Congressman Andy Levin (MI-9)
U.S. Representative from the 9th District of Michigan
October 21, 2019
A union organizer, human rights activist, workforce policy expert and green energy entrepreneur, Congressman Andy Levin has spent his career fighting for an equitable and inclusive future for all people. He’s bringing that fight to Congress as the proud representative for Michigan’s 9th District. Andy has been advocating for working families since the 1980s, when he organized hundreds of health care workers for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Jill Dougherty (S’13)
SFS Centennial Fellow, Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a CNN Contributor on Russia issues
September 25, 2019
Jill Dougherty is an expert on Russia and the former Soviet Union. In her three-decade career with CNN she served as Foreign Affairs Correspondent, based in Washington, DC, where she covered the State Department and provided analysis on international issues.
Dougherty previously served as U.S. Affairs Editor for CNN International; Managing Editor of CNN International Asia/Pacific, based in Hong Kong; and CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief and Correspondent. From 1991 to 1996 she was CNN White House Correspondent, covering the presidencies of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2013-14 she was a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where she pursued research on Russia’s mass media.
Dougherty received her B.A. degree in Slavic Languages and Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her M.A. from Georgetown University, where she researched Russia’s soft power diplomacy. Jill Dougherty is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council.
Zaid Zaid (SFS’97)
Public Policy, Strategic Response at Facebook
September 17, 2019
Zaid Zaid has over 15 years of experience in tech, law, policy, diplomacy, foreign affairs, national security, and international development, where he worked closely with numerous high-level government and private sector officials. In addition to having served as Special Assistant to the President and Associate Counsel to the President at the Obama White House, he also worked in government at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and as a Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State. He worked at a major law firm, WilmerHale, for four years. As a diplomat, he served in various countries in the Middle East, as well as at the United Nations. As a Senior Associate at WilmerHale, he traveled extensively to London, Geneva, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Tom Purcell (SFS’93)
Public Securities and Private Business, Lake Trail Capital
September 5, 2019
Tom Purcell manages his family office, Lake Trail Capital, which invests in public securities as well as private business. Mr. Purcell worked for Viking Global Investors from 1999 until March 2015. Mr. Purcell managed portfolios at Viking from 2003 until 2014, served as Co-Chief Investment Officer from 2012-2014 and was on the Management and Executive Committees. Prior to joining Viking Mr. Purcell worked for Tiger Management, ING Equity Partners and Solomon Brothers. Mr. Purcell is a graduate of Harvard Business School (1999) where he was a Baker Scholar and of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (1993).
Gurbir S. Grewal
Attorney General of the State of New Jersey
February 27, 2020
Gurbir S. Grewal was named to serve as New Jersey’s 61st Attorney General by Governor Philip D. Murphy on December 12, 2017. He was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate and assumed the office on January 16, 2018. Since assuming office, Attorney General Grewal has focused his attention on protecting the interests of New Jersey residents by expanding affirmative litigation, strengthening police-community relations, reducing violent crime and fighting the opioid epidemic.
Before becoming New Jersey Attorney General, Grewal served as Bergen County Prosecutor, the chief law enforcement officer of the most populous county in New Jersey and home to nearly 1 million residents living in 70 municipalities. From 2010 to 2016, Grewal worked as an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, where he served as Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit from 2014 to 2016 and oversaw the investigation and prosecution of all major white collar and cybercrimes in the District of New Jersey. Before becoming a federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Grewal also served as an AUSA in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York from 2004 to 2007, where he was ultimately assigned to the Business and Securities Fraud Unit.
In addition to his work as a federal prosecutor, Grewal has also worked in private practice, including at Howrey LLP, in Washington, DC and in New York. While at Howrey LLP, he counseled clients on a range of matters including securities, trademark, antitrust and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act issues; represented individuals and companies in government investigations and criminal proceedings; conducted internal investigations for public corporations; and conducted civil trials.
Attorney General Grewal graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1995. He obtained his law degree from the College of William & Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in 1999.
Managing Director, FHI Partners
February 11, 2020
Ricardo Michel is an international development expert with more than 25 years of international finance and leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. He is responsible for driving the strategic direction of FHI Partners, cultivating key relationships and managing the overall operations. Ricardo also serves on the executive committee of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs and on the board of directors of Shared Interest.
Prior to joining FHI 360, Michel served as the Executive Vice President of AMEX International, Inc., an international development consulting firm, where he managed strategic business development and operations. Ricardo also served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he was responsible for public-private partnerships and played a catalytic role in the launch of the U.S. Global Development Lab. He also directed the Office of Innovation and Development Alliances and served as Senior Advisor for economic growth and trade in the Africa Bureau.
Before serving with USAID, Michel spent several years structuring project finance transactions at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. He served as a Senior Trade and Investment Advisor for the U.S. African Development Foundation and was instrumental in establishing the foundation’s trade and investment initiative for small and medium enterprises. Michel worked for several years as an investment banker for J.P. Morgan Securities and began his career as a certified public accountant, working as an auditor for Arthur Andersen, LLP in their Philadelphia and Bermuda offices.
Gyude Moore (MSFS’09)
Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development and Former Minister of Public Works for Liberia
January 31, 2020
W. Gyude Moore is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. He previously served as Liberia’s Minister of Public Works with oversight over the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure. Prior to that role, Moore served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Head of the President’s Delivery Unit (PDU). As Head of the PDU, his team monitored progress and drove delivery of the Public Sector Investment Program of Liberia—a program of over $1 billion in road, power, port infrastructure, and social programs in Liberia after the civil war. As one of the President’s trusted advisors, he also played a crucial role in supporting President Sirleaf as Liberia responded to the West Africa Ebola outbreak and shaped its post-Ebola outlook
At CGD, Moore’s research focus is around financing infrastructure in Africa and the changing landscape of development finance on the continent. His research tracks the channels of private sources of finance, the rise of China and its expanding role in Africa, and Africa’s response to these changes. Drawing on his experience working for the Liberian government, he is also working on a project analyzing the political economy the introduction of new technology, for example, using gene drives to combat malaria in Africa. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors of the Master of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University. He holds a BS in Political Science from Berea College and an MS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Ellen Clarke (BSFS’09)
Associate Security Counsel, Google
January 28, 2020
Ellen Clarke is Associate Security Counsel at Google LLC, where she is a member of the Law Enforcement and Information Security team. She previously served as a Trial Attorney in the Washington Criminal I Section of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Before joining the Department through the Attorney General’s Honors Program, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard W. Story of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. Ms. Clarke received a J.D. magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
President and Chief Executive Officer for the International Youth Foundation
January 21, 2020
Susan Reichle was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the International Youth Foundation in January 2019. As CEO she has overseen the development and implementation of IYF’s new strategic plan, Transformation 2022 which focuses on three interconnected objectives — Youth Agency, Economic Opportunity and Systems Change — based on the needs of young people and their communities. She joined IYF in 2017 as President and COO.
Prior to joining IYF, Susan dedicated 25 years leading USAID policy development and programs overseas and in Washington, DC In her most recent position with USAID, she served as the Counselor to the Agency, USAID’s most Senior Foreign Service Officer, and advised the Administrator and senior leadership on key global development policies and management issues. She also oversaw the Agency Coordinators for Youth, Countering Violent Extremism, and Local Solutions while communicating on a regular basis with 80 USAID Missions around the globe.
Previously, Susan served as Assistant to the Administrator for Policy Planning and Learning. She oversaw USAID’s response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake as Acting Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) in Washington. She also served as Mission Director and Deputy Director in Colombia. In Russia, Susan oversaw one of USAID’s largest democracy portfolios in the world.
E. William Priestap
Former Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division
January 21, 2020
Bill Priestap is a recognized thought leader in national security. After twenty-one years, he concluded his FBI career in early 2019. From December 2015 through December 2018, Mr. Priestap led the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, including the development and implementation of the agency’s global strategy to counter foreign nations’ intelligence efforts against the United States.
Mr. Priestap began his FBI career in 1998 conducting organized crime and drug investigations in Chicago. After the events of 9/11, Mr. Priestap worked on counterterrorism cases until he was promoted to the FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. While in Congressional Affairs, he was detailed to the U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he assisted with the committee’s counterterrorism investigative and legislative efforts, including the development of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.
Following his time on Capitol Hill, Mr. Priestap served in the FBI’s Directorate of Intelligence, where he helped the organization make significant changes to its intelligence program post 9/11. In 2006, he was assigned to the FBI’s New York Office, and over the next several years held a variety of counterterrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence managerial positions. He later became the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Office’s Counterintelligence Division, during which time he oversaw all of the office’s counterintelligence efforts.
Mr. Priestap was the winner of a National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation from the Director of National Intelligence in 2012 and the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award in 2017. Mr. Priestap is an attorney and holds a Master in Business Administration degree.Back to Top
- Dr. Scott Guggenheim, former Senior Advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
- Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (SFS’76) (ret.), former U.S. Chargé d’Affaires to Cuba
- James Politi (SFS’99), World Trade Editor at the Financial Times
- Valla Vakili (SFS’95), Director, Head of Ventures Studio, Citi Ventures
- Meroe Park (SFS’89), former Executive Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (“CIA”)
- Stéphane Dujarric (SFS’88), Spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
- Greg Miller, National Security reporter at The Washington Post
- General Wesley Clark (ret.), SFS Centennial Fellow
- Frederic Wehrey, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Prasenjeet Yadav, Molecular Ecologist and Photographer
- Sarah Margon (MSFS’05), Washington Director at Human Rights Watch
- Catherine Novelli, former Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
- Molly K. McKew, CEO of Fianna Strategies, narrative architect at New Media Frontier
- Kara Swisher (SFS’84), Executive Editor of Recode, host of the Recode Decode podcast
- Kathleen H. Hicks, Senior Vice President at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
- Tom Purcell (SFS’93), former Co-Chief Investment Officer at Viking Global Investors
- Gary Perlin (SFS’72), former CFO of Capital One and The World Bank
- Alex Marquardt (SFS’04), Senior National Correspondent for CNN
- Jeffrey Feltman, John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution
- Dr. Azar Nafisi, SFS Centennial Fellow
- Dr. Christina Hanna, (SFS’08, M’14)
- Claudia Escobar, Former Magistrate, Court of Appeals of Guatemala
- Kimberly Nelson (SFS’84), Senior Vice President, External Relations; President, General Mills Foundation
- Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, U.S. Department of State
- The Honorable Nasser S. Judeh (SFS’83, P’18), Former Foreign Minister of Jordan
- Ambassador Kristie Kenney, Career Ambassador, U.S. Department of State
- Colin Kahl, Associate Professor, Security Studies Program and former National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden
- Dr. Joachim von Amsberg, Vice President for Policy and Strategy at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
- Ambassador Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States
- Ambassador Nancy McEldowney, Director, Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) and Distinguished Professor of the Practice
- Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, Afghan Ambassador to the United States
- Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao
- Mark Landler (SFS’87), White House Correspondent at The New York Times
- Ambassador Ben Rowswell (SFS’93), Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela (2014-2017)
- Ambassador Richard Verma (L’98), U.S. Ambassador to India (2014-2017)
- Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution
- Anne Richard (SFS’82), Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration
- Ambassador Dana Smith, Former U.S. Ambassador to Qatar
- Shéhérazade Semsar-de Boisséson (SFS’89, MSFS’90), Managing Director at Politico Europe
- Tim Hughes (SFS’94), Senior Vice President and General Counsel at SpaceX
- Dr. Mara Karlin, Associate Professor of the Practice of Strategic Studies at Johns Hopkins-SAIS and Nonresident Senior Fellow for Security and Strategy at Brookings
- Ambassador Gérard Araud, French Ambassador to the United States
- Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis (SFS’76), Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba
- Alexis Early, Associate at Steptoe and Johnson
- Lauren Gaffney, Assistant General Counsel for TerraForm Power
- Ludmilla Savelieff, Associate at Squire Patton Boggs
- His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Former Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States
- Tamara Kofman Wittes, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings
- Ambassador Peter Wittig, German Ambassador to the United States
- Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief for The Atlantic
- Ambassador James Dobbins, Senior Fellow, Distinguished Chair in Diplomacy and Security
- Sarah McAvoy (SFS’88), Managing Director in Corporate Treasury at Bank of America
- Dexter Goei (SFS’93), Chairman and CEO of Altice USA and President of the Board of Altice NV
- Samantha Vinograd (SSP’07), Director of Public Policy at Stripe
- Anastasia Norton, Intelligence Analyst
- Kaya Henderson (SFS’92), Former Chancellor of DC Public Schools
- Luke Murry, Staff Director of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee for the House Foreign Affairs Committee
- Jamie Geller (SSP’15), Professional Staff Member and Deputy Communications Director for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Susan Hennessey, Fellow in National Security in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and Managing Editor of Lawfare blog
- Andrew Steer, President of the World Resources Institute
- HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates
- Michael Williams (SFS’98, L’01), Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist for Middle East and Africa, The World Bank
- Trae Stephens (SFS’06), Principal at Founders Fund