National Advisory Council

Thomas Dretler
Co-founder & CEO
Shorelight

BIO

Tom is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Shorelight. Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Shorelight. Prior to co-founding Shorelight in 2013, Tom was for 13-years the CEO of Eduventures, a best-practices and Benchmarking organization that works with more than 500 top U.S. universities.

Tom also was an executive-in-residence at Sterling Partners, a private equity firm that invests in education, health care, and business services companies. Tom is Board Chair of US News Global Education and is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. He is co-author of the Bain & Company white paper, The Financially Sustainable University, which analyzed the financial health of all four-year colleges and universities in the United States and outlined solutions for creating new revenue streams that benefited students and other university stakeholders. Previously, Tom was the founding Board Chair of the Alliance for Business Leadership, an organization of CEOs committed to changing the role of business leadership in society.

Tom is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where he was a Rhodes Scholar candidate and Phi Beta Kappa member. He also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where he was awarded the Goldsmith Fellowship.

Member since 2018

Michael Berkow Headshot

Michael Berkow
Director, Investigative Service
US Coast Guard

BIO

Director Berkow has led the Coast Guard Investigative Service since October 2012. CGIS has responsibility for investigating any crime occurring on navigable waterways within the United States as well as investigating any felony crimes that occur within the ranks of the Coast Guard. Director Berkow leads over 450 special agents operating out of 44 offices both within the United States and overseas. With more than 40 years in law enforcement, Mr. Berkow is an experienced police executive with extensive knowledge of both the domestic and international arenas. He is a published author and guest lecturer on a variety of topics including; community-oriented policing, integrity, and the operation of internal misconduct systems.

Mr. Berkow holds a B.A. in sociology from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, a J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law and a Masters from Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Berkow is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the FBI National Legal Institute, and the FBI National Executive Institute.

 John Erickson

John Erickson
Chairman, Retirement Living Television
Erickson Retirement Communities

BIO

John Erickson, chairman of Retirement Living Television, rejected the traditional concept of retirement living and in 1983 struck out on his own to create Erickson Retirement Communities for people over 62 years of age. The company has 19 full-service, campus-style communities in 10 states that are home to more than 23,000 people. The Erickson Foundation has invested millions in research to improve the lives of people around the world. In addition, the foundation works to develop inner-city children into leaders. The Foundation’s NorthBay camp, located on the Chesapeake Bay, is a unique educational retreat with a state-of-the-art environmental education center, focused on teaching and experiencing environmental science. In April 2004, he helped establish the Erickson School of Aging, Management and Policy, which is located at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. John holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Bernard’s College and a master’s degree from Catholic University.

Lisa Egbuonu-Davis

Lisa Egbuonu-Davis
Vice President
Danaher Diagnostics Platform

BIO

Dr. Lisa Egbuonu-Davis, MD, MPH, MBA is a physician executive with expertise in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and public health. She is skilled in clinical and health economic research and bridges science and commercial approaches to develop innovative products and services. She has a track record of assessing and demonstrating value to support product acceptance by payers, providers and patients in a variety of roles. She has advised companies on research and investment strategy, created functions and companies and managed large functions and budgets.

Currently, as Vice President, Medical Innovations, Danaher Diagnostics Platform, she provides medical advice on innovation strategy and minority equity investments across the diagnostic portfolio (including molecular, immunoassay, pathology, and other tests). She leads the MD Council of diagnostic physicians, leveraging their expertise to support product research, development and commercialization. She also leads the COVID-19 clinical strategic initiative influencing research and investments.

Previously, Vice President, Global Patient Outcomes and Solutions, Sanofi, she served as the strategic lead for building patient centered support programs, services and tools that enhance medication adherence and improve healthcare outcomes. Lisa utilizes expertise in data analytics and behavioral science to catalyze the development, implementation and assessment of interventions.

She has served as Pfizer’s Vice President of Medical Affairs and Vice President of Global Outcomes Research, developing evidence from clinical trials, observational studies, and “real world” analyses to support product value assessment throughout the product lifecycle as well as customer-based assessment of both products and services. She led the expansion of global outcomes research and created Pfizer’s US field based medical team. Additionally, she has created innovative patient focused, multisector partnerships to promote appropriate product utilization, health care access, quality and outcomes in populations ranging from maternal and infant health to the elderly.

Lisa has a B.S. in Biology at M.I.T. and an M.B.A. in health care management from Wharton; she earned an M.D. and M.P.H. (epidemiology) degrees from Johns Hopkins, completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (board certified in pediatrics) and a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania with a focus on health services research and assessing the impact of Medicaid program changes on population health.

Member since 2003

Jess Gartner Headshot

Jess Gartner
CEO & Founder of Allovue

BIO

Jess Gartner is the CEO & Founder of Allovue, an education technology company that empowers K-12 educators to strategically and equitably allocate financial resources. Allovue supports school districts across the nation to budget, manage, and evaluate spending. Allovue has been credited with birthing the EdFinTech industry and hosts the annual Future of Education Finance Summit. Jess has raised $13 million in venture capital for Allovue. Jess has been featured as one of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Education, Baltimore Sun’s Women to Watch, The Tech Edvocate’s Trailblazers in Edtech, and Baltimore Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She was recognized as a Maryland SmartCEO Innovator of the Year and received the Johns Hopkins Outstanding Alumni Award and Maryland TEDCO Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Before founding Allovue, Jess studied education policy at the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated magna cum laude. She received her M.A. in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. She serves on the boards of Access Art MD, the Johns Hopkins School of Education National Advisory Council, and Teach for America.

Leslie Falconer
Co-Founder/Trustee
Alabaster Fund

BIO

Leslie Falconer is co-founder and trustee of the Alabaster Fund, a private family foundation through which she and her husband research and invest in international programs that support increased access to education and opportunities for entrepreneurs. She serves as co-chair of the Nexus Education and Entrepreneurship Lab and is on the board of ISSA (the International Step by Step Association) and the International Child Resource Institute (ICRI). Leslie, holds a B.A. in Literature and International Studies and an M.S in Early Childhood Education from Erikson Institute. Dedicated to strengthening the ecosystem around education and family systems, she and her husband have built an impact investment portfolio that intersects education, economic development and environmental sustainability through investments in microfinance, reforestation, sustainable real-estate development, edtech, as well as education publishing.

In 2007, through an acquisition, she took over the leadership and redesign of the Experience Early Learning publishing company that produces early childhood resources, including the Mother Goose Time curriculum. In the last 10 years, she scaled the company to be an international brand with a mission for increasing quality and access to early education. Falconer has authored numerous children’s books, co-produced over 200 children’s songs, and written articles appearing in both early childhood education and philanthropy journals. As an international speaker and trainer, she has presented on topics related to education, innovation and next generation philanthropy. On her downtime, Leslie loves to be outside hiking and enjoying beautiful Traverse City, Michigan with her husband three active daughters.

Two people portrait

Sheldon Glass
National Medical Director
MedMark, Inc.

BIO

Sheldon Glass holds an M.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University and taught in the Department of Education for 12 years, introducing five courses. He is a founding and current member of the National Advisory Council. He has been on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry since 1968, is on the board of directors for Friends Research Institute and is president of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry. He is the national medical director of MedMark. Sheldon has been board-certified in pediatrics, adult psychiatry, adolescent psychiatry and addiction medicine.

Natasha Yamaoka
Director, Ancillary Revenue and Omnichannel PMO
Delta Air Lines

BIO

Natasha Yamaoka serves in the Global Distribution & Digital Strategy Division as Director, GDDS International and Enterprise Payments for Delta Air Lines. Natasha started with Delta in 2009 and has held positions in Ancillary Revenue and Omnichannel PMO, where she managed Delta’s Digital Transformation, cross-divisional delivery of commercial Ancillary Revenue initiatives, and the Omnichannel Strategy; in Partner Development focused on work with Delta’s equity partners; in Distribution Strategy, worked on the strategy for merchant fees, third party online channels and the systems that allow travel professionals to access Delta products; Corporate Strategy; and Finance. Prior to Delta, Natasha worked in the steel industry for 13 years. She started her steel career right after graduating from JHU at Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc. in New York City. After eight years, she moved to the Cleveland, Ohio area to join the Sales and Marketing management team of The International Steel Group (ISG). She worked on commercial contracts and multiple M&A integrations with ISG, Mittal Steel and finally Arcelor Mittal. Natasha has a BA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

Nancy Grasmick

Nancy Grasmick
Presidential Scholar
Towson University Co-Director
Center for Innovation and Leadership in Special Education, Kennedy Krieger Institute

BIO

Nancy Grasmick served as the first female state superintendent of top ranked Maryland Public Schools for 20 years. Expectations and performance for adults, schools and children significantly improved under her leadership and have received national attention. For five years in a row, Maryland was ranked number one in the country by Education Week. In a 2012, Harvard Kennedy School researchers published the report, “Achievement Growth: International and U.S. State Trends in Student Performance”, that cited: “Maryland won the gold medal by having the steepest overall growth trend” in student performance among U.S. states between 1992 and 2009, the years examined in the study. In 2012, Nancy was appointed Presidential Scholar for Innovation in Teacher and Leader Preparation at Towson University. Her focus on teacher and leadership preparation is transforming the way that teachers deliver classroom instruction and engage students in learning. Using the most relevant research and knowledge about motivation, technology and what children must know and be able to do in the 21st century, a new wave of reform is underway. In addition to her work at Towson University, she is a faculty member at the Kennedy Krieger Institute codirecting an innovative fellowship program to prepare administrators as leaders in special education. Dr. Grasmick is also the chair of the Kennedy Krieger Institute Governance Board. As one of her final acts as state superintendent, Nancy secured a coveted $250 million Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education. She holds a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University, master’s degree from Gallaudet University and bachelor’s degree from Towson University.

Member since 2011

Howard Mandel

Howard “Howie” Mandel
Obstetrician Gynecologist

BIO

Howard Mandel, MD, FACOG, is a practicing obstetrician gynecologist who has dedicated his life to the practice of high-quality health care and assuring access to such care. He has held positions on and chaired boards of directors of several not-for-profit and educational institutions, served on numerous advisory panels and councils, and has received recognition for his leadership locally, statewide and nationally. He has been on the Los Angeles City Health Commission for 5 years and now in his second year as its President. He previously served on the National Physician’s Council for Health Care Policy, served on the “Obama for America Health Policy Advisory Committee,” was an advisor to President Biden on health care issues during his presidential campaigns and is an adviser to Senators Mark Warner, Michael Bennet and others. Born in Brooklyn, Howard holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University and New York University School of Medicine. His exposure early on to the medical care of the indigent at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Bellevue Hospital inspired him to defend those who could not help themselves. As a volunteer at the Saban Free Clinic in Los Angeles for almost four decades, he has advocated for equal access to health care for women, children, the homeless and the working poor. In addition to teaching and lecturing on topics such as ob/gyn emergencies, umbilical cord blood banking, menopause, women’s health and health care economics, he has been recognized for his leadership and public service by the State of California, County and City of Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University (Distinguished Alumnus Award 2015), Jhpiego (The Elyse Bila Ouedraogo Award 2015) and Oakwood School (Charles Haas Award 2011), among many others.  He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Dr. Susan Mandel, and has two children, Spencer and Mallory.

Member since 2014

Emilie Hudson
Project Manager-Safety & Operational Manager
BP America Inc.

BIO

Maxine Phillips

Maxine Phillips
Vice President of International Business Development Phillips Food, Inc.

BIO

Maxine is vice president of international business development of Baltimore-based Phillips Foods, an international manufacturer, retailer and restaurateur of innovative flavors and food solutions. Prior to joining Phillips Foods, she was an educator for nearly three decades, serving as a classroom teacher with extensive experience in curriculum development, teacher supervision and staff development. She taught in a variety of locales, including on a Navajo reservation boarding school and on the East Coast, with rural, suburban and urban student populations. She holds a BA in special education and an MA in educational administration. She also earned certifications as an elementary principal and special education supervisor, including the National Board Teaching Certification.

In 2017 Maxine graduated with a J.D. from the University of Maryland Carey Law. She intends to pursue legal work or work as an advocate in Environmental Law. She and her husband reside in Annapolis.

Eric Paquette

Eric Paquette
Senior Vice President of Production
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Screen Gems

BIO

Eric Paquette has spent 20 years as an executive in the motion picture and television business, including the last five years as a senior vice president of production at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Screen Gems division. Prior to joining Screen Gems, he held senior executive positions at Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Phoenix Pictures. From 1993 to 1996, he was an associate producer for CBS News, where he worked with anchors Dan Rather and Connie Chung on breaking news stories, social issue features and hourlong specials. He also has been deeply involved in working with disadvantaged children and youth through New York Cares, LA Works, Liberty Hill Foundation, and Fulfillment Fund. A former member of Senator Obama’s national finance committee, Eric currently serves on the executive committee for Human Rights Watch and on the Democratic National Committee’s national finance committee. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters.

Courtney Williams

Courtney Williams
Co-Founder & CEO
Torsh

BIO

Courtney is the co-founder and CEO of Torsh, an education technology company that seeks to drive significant gains in student success by improving instructional effectiveness. Torsh harnesses the power of video, actionable data and expert coaching to increase access to high-quality growth opportunities for all educators that are accessible at any time and from anywhere. Prior to his role at Torsh, he served in a number of senior executive roles at Interactive One, a wholly owned subsidiary of Radio One, and at AOL Time Warner. While at AOL, he was responsible for structuring and negotiating cross-brand marketing agreements with the AOL Time Warner family of brands, as well as leading AOL’s e-commerce initiatives in the financial services and insurance categories. Before joining AOL, he was an associate in the New York offices of Loeb & Loeb, an entertainment law firm. He is an active member of his community, as well as a 2010 CUP Fellow, which is awarded to business executives with a strong interest in facilitating social change through public service. Courtney is a graduate of Columbia University School of Law and Oberlin College where he received a bachelor of arts degree in politics. He resides in New Orleans with his wife and family.