2011 Kenneth Cole Forum - Speaker Biographies
In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.
Since 1990, Mr. Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children's Zone, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time." In October 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report.
In 1997, the agency launched the Harlem Children's Zone Project, which targets a specific geographic area in Central Harlem with a comprehensive range of services. The Zone Project today covers 100 blocks and aims to serve over 10,000 children by 2011.
The New York Times Magazine said the Zone Project "combines educational, social and medical services. It starts at birth and follows children to college. It meshes those services into an interlocking web, and then it drops that web over an entire neighborhood....The objective is to create a safety net woven so tightly that children in the neighborhood just can't slip through."
The work of Mr. Canada and HCZ has become a national model and has been the subject of many profiles in the media. Their work has been featured on "60 Minutes," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Nightline," "CBS This Morning," "The Charlie Rose Show," National Public Radio's "On Point," as well in articles in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today and Newsday.
Claire Shipman is a contributor to ABC News' "Good Morning America." She joined the morning broadcast in May of 2001 and is based in the network's Washington, D.C., bureau.
Shipman regularly interviews newsmakers for "Good Morning America." She has conducted in-depth interviews with former Vice President Dick Cheney, Queen Rania of Jordan, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as presidential candidates and political leaders. Shipman has also reported from Iraq, where she spent time with former U.S. Ambassador L. Paul Bremer. She was part of the team that covered the 2008 presidential election for ABC News and continues to report on a wide range of news stories affecting the lives of Americans across the country.
Prior to joining ABC News, Shipman served as NBC News' White House correspondent. There, she regularly reported on presidential policy and politics for "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" and the "Today" show. In addition to her NBC duties, Shipman wrote a popular column for John F. Kennedy Jr.'s George Magazine.
Through her on-the-ground reporting during the 2000 presidential election, Shipman broke many big stories at NBC. On "Today," she conducted the first televised interview with then Vice-President Al Gore in the wake of his campaign finance troubles. She was the first to report that Gore would name Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate and, in December of 2000, she was the first to report on the Florida Supreme Court's decision to allow a recount of contested ballots.
Before joining NBC, Shipman spent 10 years at CNN, where she covered the White House. Shipman previously spent five years at CNN's Moscow bureau, where she won international praise for her coverage of Boris Yeltsin's 1993 assault on the Russian Parliament building.
Shipman's reporting from Moscow helped CNN earn a National Headliners Award. Her reporting on the aborted Soviet coup and 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union won the network a coveted Peabody Award. She received a DuPont Award and an Emmy Award as one of the key contributors to CNN's coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student uprising. She is also the recipient of a DuPont Award for CNN's coverage of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Shipman began her broadcasting career as a production assistant and intern at CNN's bureau in New York City. She holds a graduate degree in international affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in Russian studies from Columbia University, where she graduated magna cum laude.
In June of 2009, Shipman's first book entitled "Womenomics" (co-authored by Katty Kay) was published by Harper Business. Shipman, a native of Columbus, Ohio, resides in Washington, D.C., with husband Jay Carney and their two young children.
Kubi Ackerman has been conducting design-based research at Urban Design Lab since 2007. At the UDL Kubi has worked on several food systems and urbanization projects, including efforts to curb childhood obesity and assess New York City's regional "foodshed." He is currently managing a project to evaluate the capacity of New York City for urban agriculture. Kubi has also been involved with other projects including the rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem, a study of urban development patterns in the Hudson River Estuary, and designs for park infrastructure to increase physical activity and economic development in northern Manhattan. Previously Kubi taught and worked at the Salvadori Center, City College of New York, developing design and architecture-based curricula for public schools in New York City. Kubi has conducted extensive research into the history of architecture and urban development in Prague, Czech Republic. He is a LEED® Accredited Professional with the United States Green Building Council.
B.A., Wesleyan University, 1998; M.Arch., Columbia University, 2007.
Michael Hurwitz is the Director of Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC, which is one of the largest farmers market networks in the world. His organization operates community-based markets that range from four to 75 farmers, in all types of neighborhoods. As a farmer, Michael piloted the NYS EBT program in 2001 and now operates EBT at 45 of Greenmarket sites. As a staunch advocate for promoting a sustainable food system, Michael has enhanced Greenmarket’s educational program by developing school-based curricula that meets Board of Education standards for thousands of students visiting New York City farmers markets annually.
Michael was also the co-founder of Added Value and Herban Solutions, Inc. and was the co-Director for four years. He continues to serve on the Board of Directors and Chair the Board Development Committee.
“I’d like to help expand the role farmers markets play in our food system. I am confident that the more resources and ideas are shared by the national farmers market community, the sooner we can bring about this goal. I’m excited to be a part of that process.”
Before joining Just Food as the Fresh Food For All Program Coordinator, Abby Youngblood co-managed Old Path Farm, a diversified organic vegetable farm located near Utica, New York. She also worked as a staff person at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) to organize a series of regional gatherings for farmers in the winter of 2008 as a part of a new initiative to build support for Community Supported Agriculture in New York State. Before beginning her farming career in 2004, Abby worked with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger on a campaign to increase access to food stamp benefits for low-income households in Philadelphia. Abby has also conducted research on organic agriculture in other countries. In 2007, she spent three months learning about organic farming and food security in China while at the Soil Science Research Center in Nanjing and during visits to other regions of the country. In 2001, she received a fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation to conduct a year long research project focused on sustainable agriculture and food systems in Kenya, India, and Russia. Abby’s current work at Just Food combines her passion for farming with her commitment to increase access to fresh food for all NYC residents. She can be reached at 212.645.9880, ext 227, or abby[at]justfood.org.
Chris Cuomo is co-anchor of "20/20," the Emmy Award-winning ABC Newsmagazine, and he is also the Chief Law and Justice Correspondent for ABC News, covering legal and breaking news for the entire network.
At 20/20, Cuomo has covered major breaking stories such as the recent earthquake in Haiti and the rash of bullying in the country. However his primary role has been to champion purposeful long-form journalism. His most recent hour-long documentary exposed the growing number of homeless teens in America and a groundbreaking look at the new face of heroin. His year-long coverage on these issues revealed suburban heroin addiction attacking families like never before, and the reality that families are casting-off promising kids who have nowhere to go, except the streets.
Chris' investigative efforts have been a corner stone of ABC News' "Gets Answers" series, tackling dozens of cases against major companies, especially health insurance companies, for families whose situations exemplify larger industry issues. More importantly, these stories have resulted in real change. A few examples: American Express changed policy after card member exploitation was discovered by ABC News; a tip from a BMW owner about engine shut-down issues led to a recall of over 150,000 affected models; the effect of zinc in denture cream revealed an alleged cover-up of neurological problems and resulted in the FDA acting on the situation; a hidden camera expose on for-profit school recruiters, led to new standards of disclosure to potential students. (A follow-up story showed there were still problems, and more change was instituted); and dozens of families have received medical treatment and coverage after hounding insurance companies about denials and methods of coverage.
Cuomo's reporting and investigations have been recognized with dozens of journalism awards, including multiple Emmy nominations and awards for his investigative reporting and news coverage (9/11, Charitable hospitals, Best Morning Show, various breaking news stories). Notably, Cuomo's "Good Morning America" profile of inspiring 12-year-old poet, Mattie Stepanek, was recognized with a News Emmy making Cuomo one of the youngest correspondents to receive a News Emmy in network news history. Additionally, Cuomo has been awarded Polk and Peabody awards for team coverage and his work has been singled out in the areas of breaking news, business news, and legal news, with the Edward R. Murrow award for breaking news coverage, a Loeb Award for business reporting and the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for investigating juvenile justice.
Carla Shedd is Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Columbia University. Shedd received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in June 2006 and her A.B. in Economics and African American Studies from Smith College. Her research and teaching interests focus on: crime and criminal justice; race and ethnicity; law and society; social inequality; and urban sociology.
Shedd is passionate about illuminating the plight of urban adolescents who each day confront the paradoxes of: a school system that can work to educate or criminalize them; a police department that can work to protect or harass them; and a justice system that can work to rehabilitate or damage them further. Shedd is currently finishing her first book, Arresting Development: Race, Place, and the End of Adolescence, which focuses on the city of Chicago. Centrally, the book examines the two institutions that prominently shape the lives of urban youth: the public school system and the criminal justice system. It also highlights the racially stratified social and physical terrain youth traverse between home and school. Shedd’s exploration of the “carceral continuum” is extended in her new project analyzing the myriad legal and extra-legal attributes that impact juvenile justice processing and dispositions in New York City.
Shedd has been published in various academic journals and edited book volumes. She has also received numerous competitive fellowships and grants from the Russell Sage Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Consortium on Violence Research, Columbia University, and Northwestern University.
Angel Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the Andrew Glover Youth Program. Reared on the Lower East Side, he has worked continuously and exclusively for the Program and the people of the area since first working along side his mentor. He is a model in the community, someone who overcame many challenges to make it by sheer will and hard work.
Rodriguez received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Queens College in recognition of his commitment to young adults. He has also received other awards for his community work, including the Hero Award from the Robinhood Foundation.
Ben Jealous is the President and CEO of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. In 2008, at age 35, he became the youngest person to serve as its chief executive.
Jealous has dedicated his life to fighting for freedom and justice. He is an organizer and journalist whose work has been credited with helping to: save a Black small farmer who was being framed for arson; expose our nation’s widespread sentencing of children to life without the possibility of parole; stop the state of Mississippi from turning a public historically Black university into a prison; and abolish the juvenile death penalty in the US.
He formerly served as President of the Rosenberg Foundation, Director of Amnesty International’s US Human Rights Program, Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, and Managing Editor of the Jackson Advocate, a crusading Blackowned Mississippi newspaper that was last fire-bombed in 1998.
A fifth-generation member of the NAACP, Jealous’ family has been deeply involved in the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice in America. His mother, who was one of a handful of Black girls to desegregate Baltimore’s Western High School in 1954, descends from men who were born slaves and died having served as Reconstruction statesmen in Virginia’s House of Delegates and Senate. His father, who was jailed for his participation in lunch counter sit-ins, descends from a soldier who was promoted from corporal to lieutenant during the Battle of Bunker Hill.
A Rhodes Scholar, he is a graduate of Columbia College, Oxford University, and the public and parochial schools of Monterey County, California.
Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) is a tech evangelist and skeptic (he can explain how he's both) specializing in explaining technology to non-techies. He is a professor and dean of students affairs at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches in the digital media program, including media entrepreneurship. He is co-founder of SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association, a group of 1,000+ members across the U.S.
In 2009, he was named one of AdAge's 25 media people to follow on Twitter and one of the 35 most influential people in social media by Poynter.org.
Mark Belinsky, President & Founder of Digital Democracy, brings experiences working in technology, media and civil society for over five years, with projects extending from Europe, the Middle-East and the Caucasus to South and Southeast Asia, Southern Africa and the USA. In the Caucasus, Mark helped found and develop Bem, a youth action center in Armenia that serves as a platform for youth to build an active civil society through technology, art, and media for free-expression. Mark graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Sociology and Film & Media Studies, with concentrations in Technology, Cross-National International Development and Documentary Film. For Dd he manages financial, logistical and personnel issues, oversees technical aspects of programming, and develops innovative design strategies.
Beka Economopoulos is a Senior Strategist at Fission Strategy. She has 15 years experience as a grassroots field and online organizer, working with local, national, and international NGOs, community groups, and activist mobilizations. Prior to joining Fission, Beka created and ran the Online Organizing department at Greenpeace USA, managing a team with a focus on online/offline integration, volunteer management, leadership development, and online social networking and social media strategy. Before that, she was the web producer at United for Peace and Justice. Beka is a senior trainer and Advisory Board member at the New Organizing Institute, the only formal training institution for online organizing in the U.S. She has been a presenter and trainer on digital activism, online organizing, and creative communications at the Social Tech Training in Toronto, Craigs List Boot Camp, Netroots Nation, Non-Profit Technology Network (NTEN), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association, Personal Democracy Forum, Left Forum, Grassroots Media Conference, Green Corps, New Museum, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program, Parsons New School for Design, and Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology. Beka is also the co-founder and director of Not An Alternative, a volunteer-run non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, New York, whose mission aims to integrate art, activism, technology and theory in order to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history. She has produced videos and creative interventions for campaigns and clients in this capacity, including Greenpeace USA, Oxfam International, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, and performance artist Reverend Billy. Beka serves on the Steering Committee of Where We Are Now, a network of roughly 100 New York based arts, cultural and academic institutions coordinating efforts around politics and activism. She has been interviewed and quoted on CNN, BBC, Fox, NBC, ABC, NPR, NY Times, Washington Post and many other media outlets.
Ted Perlmutter is a Lecturer in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Columbia University, where he teaches a course on "Conflict, Social Networks, and Communications Technoloy and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the M.S. program in Global Affairs at New York University where he teaches "Global Civil Society" He works as the Knowledge Management director of a Genocide Prevention Program (GPP) jointly sponsored by the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University and Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict, and Complexity (AC4) at Columbia University. In the past, he worked at the Center for International Conflict Resolution at Columbia as a Knowledge Management director, focusing on a series of projects in Iraq related to internal displacement, civilian monitoring of electoral violence, and conflict assessment. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wesleyan University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University.