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Leadership Across the Political Divide: Do Facts Matter?

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Kimmel Center for University Life

60 Washington Square S

Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th Floor

New York, NY 10012

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Thank you for your interest in the NYU Leadership Initiative! If you have any questions, please email leadershipinitiative@nyu.edu.
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THIS EVENT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE NYU LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE AND THE NYU JOURNALISM INSTITUTE

On the national stage, we’re witnessing debates about facts pertaining to crowd size, climate change and more. How did we get here, and is there a way forward when we can’t agree on the facts? Does the national debate signal a broad and deep trend across the country and campus, and how does it shape our ability to build consensus and set and achieve goals? We’ve invited top media and policy experts to discuss what kind of leadership is needed to move forward in this landscape.

On campus and during your career, you’ll engage with peers and colleagues who have conflicting ideas, values and leadership styles. But is there a way forward when you can’t agree on the facts?

Join us for a panel discussion, table top engagement and audience Q&aA about leading across the political divide in the age of facts and “alternative facts.”

Featured Speakers:

  • Melody C. Barnes, Chair of the NYU Leadership Initiative Advisory Council and Former Director of White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama.
  • Linda Douglass, Global Head of Communications for Bloomberg News and Media; Former Director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform under President Barack Obama and journalist with ABC News and CBS News.
  • Michael J. Gerson, Columnist for The Washington Post; Former Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning under President George W. Bush
  • Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism Professor and Author of PressThink

*Doors open at 5PM for registration

You will be asked to use your NYU ID to enter the event. If you are an NYU alumni or special guest, please email leadershipinitiative@nyu.edu ahead of time so that we can add your name to the front desk with security.


ABOUT THE SPEAKERS:

Melody C. Barnes, Chair of the NYU Leadership Initiative Advisory Council and Former Director of White House Domestic Policy Council under President Barack Obama.

As Chair of the NYU Leadership Initiative Advisory Council, Melody provides strategic counsel across our department to prepare students more fully for leadership roles. She identifies opportunities for university-wide collaboration to cultivate student development and arranges opportunities for students to engage with world leaders. In this role, Melody hosts the NYU Leadership Conversation Series in which she invites prominent leaders from all sectors to share their personal experiences, leadership journeys, and insights. During these public events, students are exposed to diverse perspectives, leadership approaches, and expertise on today’s pressing global challenges.

As a Senior Fellow at NYU Wagner, Melody's deep experience in policy innovation adds to the breadth of research and practice for which NYU Wagner is well known. A former Assistant to President Barack Obama and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Melody has most recently been working as a private consultant and as chair of a new initiative at the Aspen Institute. From January 2009 to January 2012, she provided policy and strategic advice to President Obama and worked closely with members of the Cabinet coordinating the domestic policy agenda across the Administration. Prior to her work in the White House, she served on the leadership team for the Obama-Biden Transition Project and as Senior Domestic Policy Advisor to the Obama for America campaign. From 2003 to July 2008, she worked at the Center for American Progress, a progressive research institute and think tank, where she was named Executive Vice President for Policy in 2005. From 1995 to 2003, she worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, serving as his chief counsel from 1998 onwards. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.

Melody received her bachelor's degree in 1986 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors. She received her law degree in 1989 from the University of Michigan Law School.


Linda Douglass, Global head of Communications for Bloomberg News and Media

Linda Douglass is the global head of communications for Bloomberg News and Media, overseeing strategic communications for digital news and media, television, print, radio, events and business initiatives for Bloomberg Media worldwide. Prior to that, she was Senior Vice President for Global Communications at Atlantic Media, where she managed communications and messaging for all divisions of the company, including The Atlantic, National Journal Group, Quartz and Atlantic Media Strategies. She also served as the lead moderator for The Atlantic’s “Women of Washington” series, where she did in-depth interviews with high-profile women leaders in government, media and business before live audiences in Washington D.C.

Douglass joined Atlantic Media in 2010 after serving as Director of Communications for the White House Office of Health Reform, where she was President Obama’s primary spokesperson leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. During the 2008 campaign, she served as a senior advisor and traveling spokesperson for then-Senator Obama.

Before working in government and politics, Douglass had a long career as a journalist. She spent 9 years as the Chief Capitol Hill Correspondent for ABC News, and, in 2000, received the National Press Foundation's Everett Dirksen Award for excellence in covering Congress. Prior to joining ABC News, Douglass was a Washington-based correspondent for CBS News and was the lead reporter covering then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s effort to pass health reform. Before moving to Washington D.C. in 1993, Douglass worked in Los Angeles, where she was correspondent for CBS News and served as the political editor for KNBC-TV. She covered 6 presidential campaigns.

Douglass is married to John R. Phillips, an attorney, who served the United States Ambassador to Italy during President Obama’s second term. They have a married daughter, Dr. Katie Byrd, and a grandchild, Cullen.


Michael J. Gerson, Columnist for The Washington Post; Policy Fellow with the ONE Campaign; Former Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning under President George W. Bush

Micheal J. Gerson joined ONE in August 2010 as a Fellow. He is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in the Washington Post and in nearly 100 other newspapers. Mr. Gerson is the author of Heroic Conservatism (HarperOne, 2007) and coauthor of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (Moody, 2010). He serves as a Senior Fellow at Results for America, on the Initiative for Global Development Leadership Council, on the Advisory Council of the Bush Institute’s Human Freedom Initiative, on the Advisory Council of the Faith Angle Forum, and on the boards of the U.S. Center for Global Leadership and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. He was the 2015 Pamela and Jack Egan Visiting Professor at Duke University and the 2016 Andrews Fellow at the College of William & Mary. He appears regularly on the PBS NewsHour, Face the Nation and other programs.

Until 2006, Mr. Gerson was a top aide to President George W. Bush as Assistant to the President for Policy and Strategic Planning. He was a key administration advocate for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the fight against global sex trafficking and funding for women’s justice and empowerment issues. Prior to that appointment, he served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President, Director of Presidential Speechwriting, Assistant to the President for Speechwriting and Policy Advisor. Mr. Gerson joined Bush’s presidential campaign in early 1999 as Chief Speechwriter and a senior policy adviser.

He was previously a Senior Editor covering politics at U.S. News and World Report. Mr. Gerson was a speechwriter and policy adviser for Jack Kemp and a speechwriter for Bob Dole during his 1996 presidential campaign. He has also served former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana as Policy Director. Mr. Gerson is a graduate of Wheaton College in Illinois. He grew up in the St. Louis area and now lives with his wife and sons in northern Virginia.


Jay Rosen, NYU Journalism Professor and Author of PressThink

Jay Rosen teaches journalism at New York University, where he has been on the faculty since 1986. From 1999 to 2004 he was chair of the department. He is the author of PressThink, a blog about journalism's ordeals in the age of the Web, which he launched in 2003 (http://pressthink.org) In 1999, Yale University Press published his book, What Are Journalists For? Rosen has a Ph.D in media studies from NYU. He writes and speaks frequently about the predicament of the press in a time of rapid transformation. He's also a press critic with a focus on the depiction of politics. On Twitter he is @jayrosen_nyu


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Kimmel Center for University Life

60 Washington Square S

Rosenthal Pavilion, 10th Floor

New York, NY 10012

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