Barnes, Melody PhotoMelody C. Barnes, Chair

Melody Barnes is a Co-Founder and Principal of MB2 Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm, and a Senior Fellow and Compton Visiting Professor in World Politics in the Miller Center at the University of Virginia; she is also a Distinguished Fellow in the School of Law. Barnes serves as an Independent Director on the Boards of Ventas, Inc.; Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation; the Marguerite Casey Foundation and Year Up. Ms. Barnes also chairs the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund and serves as vice chair of the advisory board of the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. From January 2009 until January 2012, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

As Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Ms. Barnes provided strategic advice to President Obama and worked closely with members of the Cabinet coordinating the domestic policy agenda across the Administration. Under her leadership, innovative new policies, practices and partnerships were initiated to address significant national challenges, including education, health care and the federal government’s relationship with local governments and communities.

From July 2008 until January 2009, Ms. Barnes served as the senior domestic policy advisor to the Obama for America campaign and the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Until July 2008, Ms. Barnes was the Executive Vice President for Policy at the Center for American Progress, a progressive research institute and think tank. From December 1995 until March 2003, Ms. Barnes worked for Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee; she served as his chief counsel from 1998 until she left the Committee in 2003. Barnes experience also includes an appointment as Director of Legislative Affairs for the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Assistant Counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York City.

Ms. Barnes received her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1989. In 1986, she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with honors in history.

She is a sought-after commentator on U.S. domestic public policy, and her numerous media appearances include This Week with George Stephanopoulos, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fareed Zakaria GPS, Charlie Rose, Morning Joe, and the NewsHour.

Steve Headshot 2017Stephen A. Patrick,
Vice President & Executive Director

Stephen Patrick became the Executive Director of The Aspen Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute in November, 2012. He oversees work at Aspen that includes a focus on building the collective impact field, launching and implementing the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund, and lifting up successful stories of civic engagement and community change. Previously Steve served as a Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His work at Gates included managing a portfolio of grants focused on supporting disconnected youth on pathways to and through postsecondary education, along with work focused on adult education populations and education for justice involved individuals. Steve previously served as a Vice President at the Daniels Fund and as Director of Youth and Emerging Initiatives at the New Mexico Community Foundation. He is the Co-Founder of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and spent several years leading youth programs for the San Juan Pueblo Tribe. Steve has served on a number of Boards including Grantmakers for Education, and Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE). He was selected as a Next Generation Leadership Fellow by the Rockefeller Foundation and was appointed by Governor Richardson to serve as the Co-Chair of the New Mexico Commission for Community Volunteerism (AmeriCorps). In 2008, Stephen served on the Obama Transition Committee focused on Social Innovation and Civil Society. He lives on Bainbridge Island with his wife, Suzanne and sons, Jackson and Will.


MM picMonique Miles, Director OYIF & Deputy Director AFCS

Monique Miles is the Director of the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) and the Deputy Director of the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions (AFCS) at the Aspen Institute. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute Monique was the Director, Postsecondary Achievement at the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC).

In her role at NYEC, Monique oversaw the Postsecondary Success Initiative, a three-year national pilot that supported ten Community Based Organizations (CBOs) across the country to design and implement postsecondary programming, in partnership with local institutions of higher learning, for students who were disconnected from education. The CBO and college partnerships were designed to reengage disconnected students through bridge programming, including the delivery of developmental education and social supports during the first year of college. In this role Monique also developed and oversaw a strategic plan that included writing policy briefs, convening planning, data collection, and the delivery of technical assistance to programs across the country.

Monique began her career in education reform working as a Case Manager at Youth Opportunity Boston. In this role Monique worked directly with students remanded to the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) to design and deliver youth and career development curriculum. Monique went on to serve the same population of students through political advocacy initiatives at the Commonwealth Corporation (CommCorp). While at CommCorp, Monique conducted assessments of curriculum, materials, and facilities, to inform the professional development and training of DYS teachers throughout the state of Massachusetts. Monique also led additional initiatives at CommCorp, including the development of a strategic plan to infuse culturally responsive instruction into the professional development training of teachers. Additionally, Monique worked with community based transition education programs to implement culturally relevant curriculum and measure outcomes. Monique has also led several development initiatives including securing federal and private grants for Dartmouth Medical School and board development work for Diploma Plus, Inc.

Monique holds a Bachelors of Science from Springfield College and a Master’s in Education, Policy & Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Monique serves as a Trustee on the Board of the Pomfret School. She also serves on the Advisory Board of Tulane University Cowen Institute of Public Education Initiatives.


Sheri Brady PicSheri Brady, Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships

Sheri Brady is the Associate Director for Strategic Partnerships at Aspen Forum for Community Solutions. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute Sheri served as a Senior Policy Fellow at Voices for America’s Children. In that role, Sheri helped Voices members strengthen their advocacy support and expand state-level efforts to address the needs of at-risk children.  She accomplished this by delivering technical assistance and training to member organizations on various aspects of advocacy strategy including planning, implementation and evaluation, as well as developing capacity building and learning opportunities for members. In addition, she managed a policy portfolio on child welfare while providing internal consultation and management on a variety of policy issues.

She was previously the Director of Policy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she provided foundation-wide leadership and consultation on policy and advocacy grantmaking, working across programming units to develop policy funding priorities and make connections that supported the larger organizational mission. In this role, she built public and political support for the Foundation’s programs and initiatives with internal and external stakeholders and provided capacity building activities and tools for grantees including training and consulting, while managing a portfolio of strategic grants aimed at strengthening and supporting the foundation’s policy goals.

Her prior work also includes serving as Director of Policy at the National Council of Nonprofits and Program Director at the Center for Policy Alternatives.

Sheri received and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wheaton College in Norton, MA and her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.


photoYelena Nemoy, Program Manager of OYIF

Yelena Nemoy is the Program Manager for the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund (OYIF) at the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions at the Aspen Institute. Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Yelena was the Project Manager at the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC). In her role, Yelena oversaw NYEC’s expanding education options work and focused on issues of policy and practice that promote quality secondary and postsecondary education and training options leading to living wage careers. While with NYEC, Yelena worked with the Postsecondary Success Initiative, a national pilot that strengthened the ability of ten Community Based Organizations (CBOs), in partnership with local community colleges, to provide postsecondary transition support, college bridge programming, and personal and academic supports to students formerly disconnected from education.  In this role, Yelena developed papers and briefs, planned convenings, delivered technical assistance, and supported the grantees’ data collection and analysis efforts.

Previously, Yelena was a youth services provider with CBOs that focused on dropout prevention and homelessness. Yelena coordinated a student internship program for youth at risk of dropping out of high school and conducted outreach to educate the business community about the value of youth in the workforce at the Goodwill Industries of Denver in Denver, Colorado. Prior to that, Yelena provided crisis intervention support and transitional living case management to homeless and marginally housed youth in shelter and transitional housing programs at Urban Peak Denver in Denver, Colorado.

Yelena holds an M.A. in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver and a B.A. in Psychology from Pace University.


Jamiel photoJamiel L. Alexander, Senior Fellow

Jamiel L. Alexander is the Senior Fellow for Aspen Institute’s Forum for Community Solutions. In this role he coordinates AFCS youth engagement strategy.

Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Jamiel was as Manager of Youth and Family Programs at Crispus Attucks Association for 12 years. While at the Crispus Attucks Association he was responsible for a variety of tasks including managing after school & summer programs, professional & leadership development, youth & family workshops and various community service projects.

Jamiel is a Rising Star award recipient in his community and currently serves as a committee member for the York City General Authority Commission, NAACP, Ancestors Dream Organization and Helping Offer Options & Directions LLC in York, PA.  In 2012 he was appointed to serve on the National Council of Young Leaders as an advisor to our policy makers and in 2013 was chosen to speak at the 50th Anniversary March on Washington. Additionally, earlier this year, his colleagues on the YouthBuild National Alumni Council elected him as their President.

Jamiel continues to engage and serve with many organizations but makes it a priority to take care of “home” first.


MarikoMariko Lockhart, National Coordinator – 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities

Mariko leads the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities for the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions. The “100K” Demonstration Cities engage in collective impact initiatives that coordinate efforts across systems and sectors to prepare opportunity youth – young people ages 16-24 who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – for employment opportunities. The initiative’s employer-led coalition of U.S.-based companies has committed to training and hiring 100,000 opportunity youth by 2018. As National Coordinator, Mariko provides leadership and direction for the learning community of participating cities and develops and supports public/private partnerships that enhance and expand local capacity to develop the opportunity youth talent pipeline.

In her prior role as Director of the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, Mariko led a community-based, multi-sector, collaborative effort to reduce youth violence by providing a network of supportive services to approximately 1,500 youth in the city’s most impacted neighborhoods. Before coming to Seattle, Mariko served as a President & State Director of Communities In Schools of New Jersey where she was responsible for the management and operations of the state affiliate of the nation’s largest organization dedicated to keeping kids in school and helping them succeed in life. During her tenure at CISNJ, she established four independent affiliate organizations in high-needs school districts that engaged public and private sector partners to channel critical supportive resources to students Pre-K – 12. Mariko has extensive experience in working with diverse communities and coordinated the broad-based citywide public planning effort to set education goals for the City of Newark’s successful application for federal designation as an Enterprise Community.

Mariko is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale University and holds a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Engaging Schools.


EmmaEmma Uman, Program Manager – 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities

Emma Uman is Program Manager for the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative Demonstration Cities

The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative is an employer-led coalition committed to training and hiring 100,000 opportunity youth by 2018. In her role, Emma manages a learning community of participating cities and supports the local work to develop and scale employer-led pathways for opportunity youth.

Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Emma was Policy Director at MBSquared Solutions, a policy and strategy firm, co-founded by Melody Barnes. Emma worked with nonprofit and private sector clients across a range of issues, including workforce development, education, economic and social mobility, and food policy. In addition to her client work, during her time with MBSquared, Emma contributed to opinion and editorial pieces that were featured in Politico, Roll Call, Stanford Social Innovation Review, The World Economic Forum blog, and the Huffington Post. Previously, Emma interned with House of Representatives in the Office of Congressman John Lewis.

Emma served as a Teach For America Corps Member in San Jose, California, where she taught second grade at Trace Elementary School. Emma holds a bachelor’s degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

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