Natwar Gandhi began life in a dusty Indian village that had no paved streets, no electricity, no telephone and no running water. Through countless long days of work, relentless determination and good luck he was able to take a plane to New York at the age of 25, where he landed with $7 in his pocket. Still the Promised Land is the fascinating and deeply personal story of how an impoverished immigrant made his way to the new world, remade his life and ultimately became the chief financial officer of Washington, D.C., playing a key role in transforming the nation’s capital from a near-bankrupt municipality into a financially healthy major American city.
Born and raised in Montauk, New York, Sean Barrett is a lifelong fisherman, environmental conservationist, and restaurateur. He founded the Dock to Dish movement in 2012, inspired by his work with the Community Supported Fishery (CSF) program of New York State and is an expert on advances in America’s fishing industry. Sean's vision and leadership in harvesting seafood through cooperatives are transforming the way Americans eat.
Kelly Lee is the chief cultural officer for the City of Philadelphia, appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney. She leads Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, which closes the gap in access to quality cultural experiences and creative expression through the support and promotion of arts, culture and the creative industries. The Office connects Philadelphians to enriching arts-infused experiences, links local artists and cultural organizations to resources and opportunities, and preserves Philadelphia's public art assets.
Michael Brune, the Sierra Club’s executive director since 2010, is one of today’s most inspiring and effective environmental leaders. Prior to joining the Sierra Club, he led Rainforest Action Network. Under his leadership, the Sierra Club has grown to more than three million supporters and is at the forefront of the drive to move beyond fossil fuels to 100% clean, renewable energy, while also protecting America’s remaining wild places.
As the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s regional CEO Council for Growth, Claire Greenwood leads the work of nearly 60 business, higher-education and civic leaders who commit their time and efforts to enhancing economic growth and prosperity in the tri-state area. Through Claire’s direction these leaders actively work to foster regional cooperation, enhance mobility, advance innovation, and develop and retain talent in the community, with a focus on growing the energy, manufacturing and healthcare innovation sectors.
In Philadelphia, Knight Foundation focuses on the power of public spaces to unite and strengthen the city. In partnership with the city and other funders, they piloted Reimagining the Civic Commons, an initiative to connect and reinvigorate public spaces such as parks, trails, recreation centers and libraries. Their goal is to bring together people from all backgrounds, develop new local leaders and foster a more vibrant, engaged community.