Communications Director and Chief of Staff in the Office of the CCO Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Professor, Area Coordinator Social Psychology, Distinguished University Professor, Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Dr. Lara Aknin is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, former Fellow with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and chair of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Mental Health Task Force, and a co-editor of the World Happiness Report. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of British Columbia.
Her research has been published in various academic journals, including Science, Nature Human Behaviour, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science and Perspectives on Psychological Science, and has been covered in international media outlets such as the CBC, CNN, Maclean’s Magazine, Forbes, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
ANN W. CRAMER
Senior Consultant, Coxe Curry & Associates
Ann Wilson Cramer is a senior consultant with Coxe Curry & Associates. In this role, she provides strategic consultation to nonprofit clients to strengthen their capacity in the critical areas of board development, volunteer engagement, corporate relations, and fundraising. She will also be available to the business community to provide guidance on the issues of corporate citizenship and social responsibility. In 2023, Ann received the Mayor of Atlanta’s Phoenix Award, as well as the Young NonProfit Professional Network (YNPN) created a recognition in her honor: the Ann Cramer Civic Leadership Award. Recently she also received the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s first Corporate Social Responsibility Lifetime Achievement Award and Georgia Trend’s Georgia Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining Coxe Curry, Ann served as director for IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs for the Americas. In that position, she was a member of the senior management staff overseeing the company’s approach to corporate citizenship, strategic philanthropy, and overall social responsibility. Ann received the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s first Corporate Social Responsibility Lifetime Achievement Award, which is named in her honor.
Ann serves and has served on numerous local nonprofit boards, including the Alliance Theatre Company, Atlanta Technical College Foundation, Atlanta Way 2.0, CareerRise, CHRIS 180, Crossroads, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, HOPE Atlanta, Learn4Life, Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), Woodruff Arts Center, WABE, the Georgia Foundation for Public Education and Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta. She has served as chair of the Search Committee for the Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Educated Workforce Committee, and WorkSource Atlanta. Nationally, Ann has chaired the Council on Foundations Public Policy and Corporate Committees, the Conference Board’s Business Education Council, the Executive Committee of both the U.S. Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center and the Institute for a Competitive Workforce and the United Way of America’s National Corporate Leaders Council. In 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce presented her with its first Business Civic Leadership Achievement Award.
Ann has been named to Georgia Trend’s Georgia Hall of Fame, and the Women’s College Coalition honored Ann and Marian Wright Edelman with the first WCC Women Creating Change Award. Ann was one of five Georgia women to receive the first STEM Gems recognition. Ann was recognized with Ann Curry and Ann Stallard as the YWCA Women of Achievement, and with the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Women Who Mean Business and listed among Georgia Trend’s 30 Years of Influence, received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service at Clayton State University and was honored with the inaugural ARC Harry West Visionary Leadership Award, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Leadership Award and Voices for Georgia’s Children Big Voice. She has received the prestigious Dan Sweat Award from Central Atlanta Progress, Public Broadcasting Atlanta’s Sullivan Award, and was honored with The United Way of Greater Atlanta Women’s Leadership Award. She has participated in Leadership Atlanta, Leadership Georgia, Regional Leadership Institute, is a member of Outstanding Atlanta, and is past president of the Junior League of Atlanta. She received the Woodruff Arts Center “Arts in Education” honor and the Communities In Schools Georgia “Lifetime Friend to Education” award.
Ann is a graduate of Salem College with a degree in mathematics. In 1991, she received Salem College’s Alumnae Leadership Award. Ann and her husband, Jeff, are long-time residents of Inman Park and are active members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. They are the proud parents of two adult children.
HELENE D. GAYLE, M.D., MPH.
President, Spelman College
Helene D. Gayle, M.D., MPH., began serving as the 11th president of Spelman College on July 1, 2022. Dr. Gayle previously served as president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, from October 2017 to June 2022. Under her leadership, the Trust adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region.
For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. A pediatrician and public health physician with expertise in economic development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.
Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America and the ONE Campaign. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, National Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics. She has also been appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement in the United States.
Dr. Gayle is from Buffalo, New York. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and an MPH. at Johns Hopkins University.
She is a tenured full professor in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and has received 18 honorary degrees. She also holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.
Dr. Gayle is married to Stephen Keith, the First Gentleman of Spelman College, who is also a physician and a proud Spelman dad.
DR. KATHLEEN HALL
Founder and CEO, Stress Institute and the Mindful Living Network
During times of stress and crisis such as mass shootings, terrorist bombings, and disasters such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Washington Naval Yard shooting, the Newtown Massacre, the West Virginia and Utah coal miner tragedies, Katrina ravaging the Gulf Coast, Air France crash, London terrorist bombings, and the Runaway Bride – the national television and print media consistently seek the authoritative knowledge, information, and direction of Dr. Kathleen Hall. Many media outlets look to her for the most credible and up-to-date information on stress-related, lifestyle, and Mindful Living® topics.
Dr. Hall’s advice and expertise is featured on most of the major national media, including Time Magazine, NBC’s The Today Show, Dr. Oz Show, CNN Headline News, FOX, CNN International, FOX News, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Anderson Cooper 360, Huffington Post, ESPN.com Fortune, Money Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Associated Press, Business Week, Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Parents, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Real Simple, Working Woman, Woman’s Day, Oprah & Friends, TEDMED, Good Morning America Radio, and Martha Stewart Radio. She has been a weekly guest commentator on WTOP radio, Washington D.C.
Dr. Hall has been the spokesperson for many Fortune 500 Companies, including Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Procter and Gamble, Unilever, Wyndham Hotels, Princess Cruise Lines, Tempur-Pedic, and Darden Restaurants. She has also been a world thought leader to many corporations. Martha Stewart Publications coined her as the “Stress Queen.” Dr. Hall has worked with many Fortune 500 Companies in stress, Mindful Living®, and work-life balance. A few on her client list are McDonald’s, S. C. Johnson, Kimberly Clark, Home Depot, Procter and Gamble, Kellogg Foundation, Turner Broadcasting, Southern Company, and Grant Thornton.
Dr. Hall earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Jacksonville State University, a Masters of Divinity from Emory University, a Doctorate in Spirituality, and a Ph.D. She became interested in the mind-body connection to stress and health outcomes. She then continued her studies with medical pioneers, including Dr. Herbert Benson at the Harvard Mind/Body Institute, Dr. Dean Ornish of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, and Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at The University of Mass Medical School Center for Mindfulness in Medicine.
She is the author of four books: Mindful Living Everyday (Oak Haven Press, 2018), Uncommon HOPE (Sourcebooks, 2010); A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness (AMACOM, January 2006) – 2008 Mom’s Choice Book Award winner, and winner of the prestigious 2007 Nautilus Book Award; and Alter Your Life: Overbooked? Overworked? Overwhelmed? (Oak Haven Press, April 2005).
Dr. Hall lives with her family in Atlanta, where she continues her work with animal rescue groups, hospitals, and inner-city public schools. She previously lived on her 250-acre horse farm for over 30 years, where she created and developed the Hermitage, the campus and retreat center of the Stress Institute®, and the Mindful Living Network®. Dr. Hall also maintained a bird sanctuary and animal rescue operation where she fostered and rescued animals for over 30 years on her farm.
Kathleen assisted in creating and currently is on the advisory board of the Dukes Foundation. The Dukes Foundation helps improve the lives of underprivileged, at-risk youth. Dr. Hall is on Jeffrey Evans Campbell Foundation’s board, where she works with patients and their families regarding organ transplantation’s psychological challenges. She also serves on the Peace Harmony and Joy Foundation board committed to creating peace and nonviolent programs. She was also the founder and President of the nonprofit Habersham Humane Society, volunteered to facilitate nonprofit hospital-based cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation groups, worked with inner-city children at Capitol Area Mosaic, and has spent most of her life volunteering with countless other organizations.
NATOSHA REID RICE
Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Habitat for Humanity International
Natosha Reid Rice is Habitat for Humanity International’s first Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and is leading the development and the execution of Habitat’s global strategy for diversity, equity and inclusion.
In her previous role as Associate General Counsel, Natosha initiated and managed financing programs and strategies to generate sources of capital to enable Habitat affiliates to build affordable housing with families throughout the U.S. In addition to her work at Habitat, Natosha served as an Associate Pastor at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA for 11 years before joining All Saints’ Episcopal Church as Minister for Public Life.
Prior to joining Habitat, she practiced law in the commercial real estate practices of Alston & Bird LLP, in Atlanta, Georgia and at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison in New York City.
Natosha is passionate about providing a voice to the voiceless and opportunities to communities that have been historically disadvantaged and serves on the boards of the global Harvard Alumni Association’s Awards Committee, the Harvard Alumni Association Executive Committee, Goodwill of North Georgia, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, The Redress Movement and Westminster Schools. She has also been actively involved in efforts to pass legislation and policies to protect victims of human sex trafficking in Georgia, such as the passage of the Safe Harbor/Rachel’s Law in 2015.
Additionally, she is a highly regarded keynote speaker and workshop facilitator and delivered her talk “If We Are More Alike Than Unalike, Then…” for TEDx Centennial Park Women.
Natosha received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her B.A. in Government with honors from Harvard/Radcliffe College. Natosha is married to Corey Rice and they are the proud parents of Kayla, Malachi and Caleb.
BLYTHE KEELER ROBINSON
CEO & President, Sheltering Arms
Blythe Keeler Robinson is an innovative and passionate leader with more than 25 years of non-profit management experience. She is an equity advocate and a nationally recognized leader in early education and two-generation approaches to educational success and economic security.
Robinson is the President and CEO of Sheltering Arms Early Education and Family Centers in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1888, Sheltering Arms is one of Georgia’s largest and most respected nonprofit organizations serving nearly 2,300 children daily, ages six weeks to five years old, and their families in 13 early care and education centers across metro Atlanta. Sheltering Arms is a National Head Start Center of Excellence, as well as a member of the Educare Learning Network, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Family Economic Success – Early Childhood Initiative Action Learning Network, and Ascend at the Aspen Institute. Robinson has increased the organization’s national impact and visibility through partnerships, panel discussions, presentations, and consultancy projects.
Prior to joining Sheltering Arms, Robinson served as the Senior Vice President & Chief Programs Officer of the Early Learning Coalition of Miami‐Dade/Monroe, Florida. She was responsible for the management and implementation of early care and education programs providing services to more than 50,000 children and their families annually. In her role as the Vice President of Strategic Planning and Initiatives at Reading Is Fundamental, she directed programs and strategic initiatives across the country, and designed and oversaw the implementation of the Multicultural Literacy Campaign, a national effort to promote and support early childhood literacy in communities of color.
As a dedicated servant leader, Robinson believes in giving back to the community. She volunteers with local organizations focused on children and mentors girls and women. Robinson serves as the President of the International Women’s Forum – Georgia Chapter Board and Vice-Chair of the National Black Child Development Institute Board. She also serves on the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast Governing Board, the Atlanta Speech School Advisory Board, and the PAACT (Promising All Atlanta Children Thrive) Founding Advisory Board and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Robinson is a 2022 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow. She was recognized as a member of the 2019 Academy of Women Achievers by the YWCA, named one of Atlanta Tribune’s 2018 Women of Excellence and received the 2017 Image Award from the 100 Black Men of North Metro (Atlanta), Inc. She has been named to the Atlanta Business League’s list of Top 100 Black Women of Influence for six years, Atlanta Business Chronicle’s list of “Atlanta’s 40 Under 40 Leaders” and South Florida’s “50 Most Powerful Black Professionals.” She is a member of the Leadership of Atlanta Class of 2015.
Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics with a certificate in African American Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a juris doctor from The Georgetown University Law Center.
ROBERT WALDINGER, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, Massachusetts General Hospital; Cofounder, Lifespan Research Foundation
Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and Zen priest. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever done. The Study tracked the lives of two groups of men for over 78 years and now follows their Baby Boomer children to understand how childhood experience reaches across decades to affect health and wellbeing in middle age. He writes about what science can teach us about healthy human development.
Dr. Waldinger is the author of numerous scientific papers as well as two books, and he directs a teaching program in psychotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He has won awards for teaching and research from the American Psychiatric Association, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts Psychiatric Society, and he is consistently named as one of the Best Doctors in America. He is also a transmitted teacher in Boundless Way Zen and teaches Zen throughout New England.
Maria S. Floro is Professor Emerita of Economics at American University in Washington, DC. She served as co-director of the Graduate Program on Gender Analysis in Economics (PGAE) between 2008 and 2021. Her publications include books on Informal Credit Markets and the New Institutional Economics, Women’s Work in the World Economy, and Gender, Development, and Globalization: Economics as if All People Mattered (co-authored) as well as monographs and journal articles on gender, vulnerability, informal employment, food security, care work, time use and well-being, financial crises, urban poverty, household savings, credit, asset ownership, and climate change. She collaborated in early 2000 with researchers, women’s groups, and community organizations in Thailand, Philippines, Ecuador, and Bolivia in conducting fieldwork on vulnerability, gender, and informal employment in urban poor communities. She recently led the Care Work and the Economy (www.careworkeconomy.org) project in 2017-2021.
Professional Actress and Comedian in Film, Television, Radio, and Stage; and Comedy Improv Instructor
You’ve seen her before. She’s practically famous. The Wit’s End, Musicals at the Alliance, and major play houses in Atlanta. She’s has also done many national commercials but only for the money.
In L.A. she worked in radio, movies, and television. She guest starred on the Bob Newhart Show, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Dukes of Hazard, The Tony Randall Show, the movies Being There, and The God’s Must Be Crazy. She played Jeff Foxworthy’s wife, on the Jeff Foxworthy’s
“Big Night Out” filmed in Atlanta. Also, Little Britain USA on HBO.
In the meantime let’s throw in she has been leading workshops in Comedy Improv and environmental/spiritual seminars and events. She has had two short stories published and produced a documentary which aired on PBS in 1992 called The Next Epoch with the late Jonas Salk. She has also written a movie and a musical both undervalued at this time.