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Policy Summit 2019: Connecting People & Places to Opportunity

When & Where

Policy Summit 2019: Connecting People & Places to Opportunity
June 19–21, 2019
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio


Please direct any questions about the Policy Summit to Bonnie Blankenship at

* Check back often: As the Policy Summit 2019 agenda is finalized, our list of speakers will grow.

Keynote Speakers

Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University and the director of Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University-based research and policy institute dedicated to understanding why upward mobility and economic progress have stalled for so many US families. His research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been cited in media outlets and congressional testimony. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity and ways in which institutions and organizations might foster disadvantaged children’s success.

Chetty is a past recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the 2013 John Bates Clark Medal awarded by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under age 40.

He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Loretta J. Mester

Loretta J. Mester is president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She participates in the formulation of US monetary policy and oversees 1,000 employees in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Prior to assuming her current role in 2014, she was executive vice president and director of research at the Philadelphia Fed, having joined the Bank as an economist in 1985.

Mester has published numerous journal articles on a variety of topics, including economics, central banking, and financial issues. She also serves as managing editor of the International Journal of Central Banking and as coeditor of the Journal of Financial Services Research. She is a director of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a trustee of the Cleveland Clinic, a trustee of the Musical Arts Association (Cleveland Orchestra), and a director of the Council for Economic Education.

She holds a BA in mathematics and economics from Barnard College and an MA and a PhD in economics from Princeton University.

David Williams

David Williams is a policy director at Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University-based research and policy institute dedicated to understanding why upward mobility and economic progress have stalled for so many US families. Before joining Opportunity Insights, he served as a member of the mayor of Detroit’s economic development team, managing large-scale real estate and community revitalization projects, neighborhood planning initiatives, and policies related to economic mobility, land use, and equitable development.

Williams’ experience includes focusing on antiforeclosure and antieviction law and policy as president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, working on anticorruption initiatives with the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa in Cape Town, working at a law firm that specializes in affordable housing and community development, and consulting for nonprofit and government clients.

He holds an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School.

Plenary Speakers

Alan Berube is senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. In this role, he coordinates and amplifies research from across Brookings Metro on how to strengthen economic opportunity in regions, cities, and communities. Berube has authored publications on economic and demographic trends in metropolitan areas, social policies affecting families and communities, and the role of cities in a globalizing economy. He is coauthor of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.

Prior to joining Brookings in 2001, Berube was a policy advisor in the Office of Community Development Policy at the US Department of the Treasury, a researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and an Atlantic Fellow in public policy at the UK Treasury, focusing on mixed-income housing policy.

He holds a BS in chemical engineering from Stanford University and an MPP from the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.

Tiffany Manuel is the president and chief executive officer of TheCaseMade, a woman/minority-owned public benefit corporation dedicated to helping leaders powerfully and intentionally make the case for systems change. In this role, Manuel works with social change leaders, changemakers, and innovators around the United States who are building strong communities that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

For more than 25 years she has worked to expand opportunity for low-income workers, families, and communities through professional and volunteer experience spanning the private and nonprofit sectors, government, and academia.

Manuel holds a BA in political science from the University of Chicago, an MA in political science from Purdue University, and an MS and a PhD in public policy from the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Otis Rolley is managing director of economic resilience and operations at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he leads the US Jobs and Economic Opportunity Initiative’s place-based economic development investments. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, Rolley served as a North America managing director for 100 Resilient Cities, where he managed a portfolio of 29 cities throughout the United States and Canada advancing systemic change through strategic human and financial investment in municipal government and community leadership. Prior to his work at 100 Resilient Cities, Rolley served as CEO of Newark, New Jersey’s economic development corporation.

Dedicated to advancing economic and community development in cities, his 20 years of experience includes serving in various leadership positions in the public sector as well.

Rolley holds a BA in Africana studies and a BA in political science and government from Rutgers University and an MCP (master of city planning) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Richard Rothstein is a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, where he works on policy issues regarding education and race. He is also a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. An expert on education and race and ethnicity, his most recent book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, is an account of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation.

Theresa Y. Singleton is senior vice president of the Community Development Studies and Education Department and community affairs officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In this role, she oversees research and outreach initiatives that promote community development and fair and impartial access to credit. She has guided the creation and implementation of the Economic Growth & Mobility Project, and she oversees economic education and personal financial efforts for the Bank.

Before joining the Bank, Singleton served as the director of research and information at the Housing Assistance Council in Washington DC. In that role, she was responsible for the organization's research and information activities, and she directed and contributed to products that examined demographic trends, assessed policy impacts, and developed recommendations for rural communities.

She holds a BA, an MA, and a PhD in political science from Temple University.

Scot Spencer is the associate director for advocacy and influence at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this role, he leads the foundation’s work in advancing community-focused policies, practices, and strategies that increase opportunities for children, families, and the places where they live. Spencer also coordinates the foundation’s local advocacy efforts in Baltimore.

Prior to his current role, Spencer managed the foundation’s investments in East Baltimore, served as a transportation specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund, and served as deputy director for the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition.

Spencer holds a BS in building science, a BArch in architecture, and an MS in urban environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Jennifer S. Vey is a senior fellow and the director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institution. Her work primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or coauthor of numerous Brookings publications, including Why We Need to Invest In Transformative Placemaking, Assessing Your Innovation District: A How-To Guide, and Building from Strength: Creating Opportunity in Greater Baltimore’s Next Economy, and she coedited Retooling for Growth: Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Older Industrial Areas.

Prior to joining Brookings, Vey was a community planning and development specialist at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She holds a BA in geography from Bucknell University and a master of planning in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia.

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl is the chief of Louisville Forward—the city of Louisville’s integrated approach to economic and community development that combines business attraction, expansion, and retention activities with all of the city’s real estate functions and talent development to present a unified solution for job growth and quality of place. Since its creation in 2014, the organization’s projects have included $5.5 billion in investment, more than 23,000 new jobs, and more than 260 company locations.

Wiederwohl has provided leadership for several of Mayor Greg Fischer’s major initiatives, including his strategic plan, the Vision Louisville 25-year advanced plan, the Move Louisville strategic multimodal transportation plan, the city’s first sustainability plan, the Global Louisville Action Plan, and the Vision Russell Initiative, which won a HUD Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant. Before joining the Fischer administration, Wiederwohl worked in public affairs in both the public and private sectors.

She holds a BA in music and political science from the University of Louisville.