• William Obenshain Chairman of the Advisory Board, The Center for Financial Services, DePaul University

    Bill Obenshain is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Center for Financial Services at DePaul University. Previously he was its Executive Director from March, 2007 to June, 2016.  The Center for Financial Services is a center of excellence for the Chicago area financial services community that delivers to students and practitioners the academic and extra-curricular programs that fulfill industry talent requirements and address the practical and theoretical interests of industry professionals.

    Before joining DePaul, Mr. Obenshain spent 38 years in the financial services industry with Continental Bank and Bank of America. He held positions in Chicago, New York, Brussels and London. He was the founder, in 1995, of Bank of America’s private equity business in Europe.  From 1995 to 2006, he was Managing Partner of BA Capital Partners Europe.

    In addition to his role at CPOST, Mr. Obenshain is Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College; vice chairman of the Naval War College Foundation in Newport, Rhode Island; chairman of MezzVest, a Channel Islands based group of investment funds; director and immediate past president of the American School in London Foundation; chairman of Truth in Accounting and a director of TimeLine Theater Company. He is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chairman’s Circle of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  Mr. Obenshain serves on the advisory board of Three Ocean Partners, a New York based investment banking boutique.

    Before joining Continental Bank, Mr. Obenshain served in the U. S. Navy for five years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Dartmouth College and an MBA at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

  • Michael Morell Senior Counselor, Beacon Global Strategies

    Michael Morell, the recently retired Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is Senior Counselor at Beacon Global Strategies and one of the country's most prominent national security professionals, with extensive experience in intelligence and foreign policy.  He has been at the center of our nation’s fight against terrorism, its work to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and its efforts to respond to trends that are altering the international landscape—including the Arab Spring, the rise of China, and the cyber threat.

    During his 33-year career at CIA, Michael served as deputy director for over three years, and also served twice as Acting Director, leading CIA when Leon Panetta was named Secretary of Defense and again after David Petraeus left government.

    Michael has been a witness to history on multiple occasions.  He is the only person who was both with President Bush on September 11th, when al-Qaida burst into the American consciousness, and with President Obama on May 1st, when Bin Laden was brought to justice.  Michael played a major role in the Bin Laden operation.

    Michael is the recipient of many awards.  He received a Presidential Rank Award for exceptional performance.  He also received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, CIA’s highest honor, for his role in the Bin Ladin operation.  Michael is also the recipient of the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and the Department of Defense Service Medal.    

    Michael is a member of the Board of Directors of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, a speaker at private events, a consultant to private-sector entities, and an occasional media commentator regarding national security issues.  He is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Counselor to Washington’s newest national security consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies.  Michael served as a Member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. He is a native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and a first-generation college student, earning a B.A. summa cum laude in economics from the University of Akron and an M.A. in economics from Georgetown University.  

  • John DeBlasio Founder and Executive Director, GDP Charitable Trust

    John DeBlasio is Founder and Executive Director of the GPD Charitable Trust which was established from the proceeds of the sale of Sallyport Global Holdings in 2011.  The Trust has established programs to assist at-risk young adults as well as to promote democracy world-wide.  The Trust works with a range of implementing partners from major universities to innovative social entrepreneurs to accomplish its objectives.   

    The Trust has funded the following programs since inception:

     1. The Center for the Study of Civil Military Operations at The United States Military Academy at West Point.                          2. The Center for Middle East Studies at the Denver University - Korbel School of International Studies                                  3. The Middle East & North Africa Program at Northwestern University’s Weinberg School of Arts & Sciences.                      4. The Young Leaders Program for the YMCA of Pittsburgh as well as targeted infrastructure grants for its Deer Valley Family Camp.                                                                                                                                                                                      5. The Leadership Development Program for the Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos orphanages in Central and South America.                                                                                                                                                                                            6. Smaller but significant grantees include, Syria Direct, Partners for Democratic Change, Illinois Joining Forces Foundation, and Spearhead Rugby Academy.

    John is a 1989 West Point Graduate who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve Civil Affairs branch and was deployed to the Middle East in 2003-2004 where he worked with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as an Advisor to the Ministry of Trade and with the US Embassy in Amman Jordan as the CPA Liaison for the Embassy. During that time he was awarded a Bronze Star as well as a Joint Service Commendation medal.  Previously, as owner of Sallyport Global Holdings, John built an organization which employed over 1,900 people worldwide and became the largest provider of security and facilities management services to USAID prime contractors operating in Iraq as well as a primary contractor for DoD and DoS work in Central Asia and Africa.  

    Jhn has traveled to Iraq and other locations in the Middle East and Central Asia more than 50 times over the past 12 years.  He is a resident of Chicago and serves on the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Illinois Joining Forces Foundation, MVP Vets, The Social Science Foundation of the Korbel School, and previously was a member of the Dept. of Commerce’s US-Iraq Business Dialogue.  He was selected as an Emerging Leader by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in 2011.  

  • Dr. Rachel Bronson Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    Dr. Rachel Bronson is the Executive Director and Publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists where she oversees the publishing programs, the management of the Doomsday Clock, and a growing set of activities around nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change and emerging technologies. Before joining the Bulletin, she served for eight years at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in a number of capacities including: vice president of studies, vice president of programs and studies, and senior fellow, global energy. She also taught "Global Energy" as an adjunct professor at the Kellogg School of Management.

    Prior to moving to Chicago, Bronson served as senior fellow and director of Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Earlier positions include senior fellow for international security affairs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and adjunct professor at Columbia University. Bronson's book,Thicker than Oil: America's Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia (Oxford University Press, 2006), has been translated into Japanese and was published in paperback in June 2008.

    Her writings have appeared in hundreds of publications including Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post and The Chicago Tribune. She has appeared as a commentator on numerous radio and television outlets, including National Public Radio, CNN, al Jazerra, theYomiuri Shimbun, PBS NewsHour, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Bronson has served as a consultant to NBC News and the Center for Naval Analyses. She testified before the Congressional Anti-Terrorist Finance Task Force, Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, and the 9/11 Commission.

    Bronson is a board director of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani and the Truman National Security Program. She has served as cochair of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Producer Guild, and as a board member of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.  Bronson was named by Today’s Chicago Woman magazine as one of 100 Women to Watch (2012), 20 Women to Watch by Crain’s Chicago Business (2008), a Carnegie Corporation Scholar (2003) and a Glamour Magazine “Wow Woman” (2002). She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economic Club of Chicago and the Pacific Council. She earned a BA in history at the University of Pennsylvania and a MA and PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1997.

  • Niamh King Vice President for programs and strategic content at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

    Niamh King is the vice president for programs and strategic content at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where she has worked since March 2007. Under her direction, the Council on Global Affairs’ Programs Department organizes over 200 events annually, which convened more than 40,000 people in 2015, and includes the signature annual event the Chicago Forum on Global Cities. The Council’s programming informs audiences on a vast range of global themes and features diverse perspectives from the world’s government, business, academic, art, cultural, and civic leaders. Prior to joining the Council on Global Affairs, she held positions with Intel, the European Commission, FÁS, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She is a member of the board of directors of The America Ireland Fund Chicago Regional Advisory Board, the Women’s Board of the University of Chicago, and the Japan America Society of Chicago. King is an active member of Chatham House at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, International Women’s Forum, Ireland Network, Illinois St. Andrew Society, and Concern. King earned a BA in international relations and history from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her MA in development studies from the Institute of Social Studies at Erasmus University in The Hague, Netherlands.

  • Anne Wedner Commissioner on the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy

    Anne Terman Wedner currently serves as a Commissioner on the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.  She has been a leader in grassroots political development. Previous to her political involvement, Anne developed strategic marketing and communications programs in the advertising and the financial services industries.  In her early career, Anne represented the United States as a Foreign Service Officer in France and Venezuela.

    Anne continues her community work developing funding to address complicated urban challenges.  Anne is also a Board Member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, of the Truman National Security Project in Washington, DC, and of the Roosevelt Foundation at Harvard.  Anne is a Grant Review Chair for Impact100.  Anne holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a BA from Harvard University.  She is married to Marcus Wedner, and they have two awesome daughters.

  • George Little Partner, Brunswick Group

    Dr. George Little is a Partner in the Washington DC, office specializing in crisis communications, cybersecurity, reputational and public affairs matters.

    Prior to joining Brunswick, George was head of Marketing and Communications at Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading provider of management consulting, technology and engineering services to the U.S. government, corporates and non-profits. He brings extensive expertise from the highest levels of the national security and defense community, as well as the private sector. Before joining Booz Allen Hamilton, he served as Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and Pentagon Press Secretary, and as Director of Public Affairs and Chief of Media Relations for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In these roles, he worked closely with counterparts from other governments to address the full range of security challenges facing the U.S., its allies and partners around the world. He also spent five years at IBM advising corporate and government clients on business and technology strategy. 

    In addition toGeorge is on  the Board of Advisors for the Masters of Science in Foreign Service Program at Georgetown University, as well as the Board of Imagination Stage, a children’s theater and arts education center serving youth of all ages in the Washington area. Dr. Little was a senior member of the Secretary of Defense’s delegation on all overseas visits and participated in numerous discussions with heads of state and defense and foreign ministers in nearly three dozen countries on six continents. He worked with foreign officials on communicating new developments in defense relationships, as well as negotiating and coordinating communications about international defense collaboration.

    Dr. Little graduated with B.A. and M.A. degrees in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He received his Ph.D., with distinction, in international relations from Georgetown University.

  • Reid Sawyer Senior Vice President, JLT Specialty USA

    A nationally recognized expert, Reid joined JLT in 2015 as Senior Vice President, Credit, Political, and Security Risks after a 23-year career in the U.S. Army. Reid actively advises numerous senior government and industry leaders, with particular emphasis on terrorism, geopolitical, and cyber security risks. Most recently Reid served as the senior intelligence strategist for the Middle East and South Asia at U.S. Central Command, leading the organization’s most elite analytical team conducting strategic risk analyses for Middle East operations, for which he received the Director of National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation. Previously Reid was selected for a prestigious fellowship with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). During his fellowship year, Reid authored the FBI's public - private partnership strategy focusing on the intersection of cyber and organizational resiliency. In this role he led the first summit on intellectual property theft through cyber means and was recognized by the Assistant Director of the FBI for this path-breaking work. Having founded the nation’s premier counterterrorism research institute, The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, he led influential national counterterrorism policy reviews and testified before a bicameral Congressional committee hearing. During his career, he deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, and Latin America while serving in Special Operations Forces. Sawyer also serves as a senior advisor to the New York City Fire Department’s Terrorism Task Force, providing subject matter expertise on resiliency, preparedness, and cyber issues for the Department's senior leadership. The editor of two books on transnational threats and author of numerous articles, previously Reid was a professor at the United States Military Academy and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate School of International and Public Affairs for eight years. Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Sawyer holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University.

  • Greg Nance CEO, Dyad.com

    Greg Nance founded Dyad.com, an online mentorship platform, while a Gates Scholar at Cambridge University. PayPal named the company "Asia's Most Promising Startup” in 2015. He is also Chairman of Moneythink, a FinTech company honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change” in 2012. As a Harry S Truman Scholar at the University of Chicago, Greg authored the first white paper to use a geopolitical defensive realist framework to explain the East Asian naval arms race and how the U.S. must enlist democratic maritime allies to ensure peace. 

    Now based in Shanghai, he's contributed insights on the Sino-American relationship with NBC News and the Seattle Times. Greg's work has also been featured in the World Economic Forum, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and others. The Jefferson Awards for Public Service recognized him as a "Globe Changer” in 2011. Greg is a sponsored ultramarathon runner and has run 200KM through the Malaysian jungle and 250KM across the Gobi Desert. Delta Air Lines named him "12 Ambassador" to his hometown Seattle Seahawks and features his running in TV commercials. For more, click here

  • Kamran Bajwa Partner, Kirkland and Ellis LLP

    Kamran Bajwa is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis, where he handles highly complex international legal matters with a focus on matters relating to the Middle East and emerging markets. He has extensive experience in all areas of corporate law including securities regulations, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, investment funds, corporate finance and Islamic finance. In addition to his international transactional work, Kamran represents U.S. private equity sponsors for investment fund and U.S. domestic acquisition related work.
    Prior to rejoining Kirkland in 2011, Kamran spent eight years as a corporate lawyer and business advisor in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Cairo, Egypt. His experience during this time included serving as the Chief Legal Officer for the leading investment bank in the MENA region, where he established the first in-house legal department and led several major new product launches, investment fund formations and corporate acquisitions. During this time, Kamran gained work experience with business, legal, and political leaders in numerous countries including, Egypt, UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Bahrain.
    In addition to his corporate law experience, Kamran has has studied the Arabic language and Islamic Law at the Al Azhar seminary in Cairo, Egypt and has been active with U.S. and global foundations on issues of reform in Islamic Law. He currently is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School where he offers a seminar on Contemporary Issues in Islamic Law. Kamran is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A., ’90) and the University of Michigan Law School (J.D., ’99).
  • Daniel Roche Vice President, Northern Trust

    Daniel Roche is a security and risk management professional with international private and public sector leadership experience in illicit uses of finance and financial systems.   He is currently a Vice President at Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services, where he is responsible for risk management, security, business continuity, and client confidentiality for hedge funds.

     From 2011 to 2014, he was Director of Global Security at CME Group, where he introduced and led internal testing, “red-team” modeling, and data analysis projects.  He also reviewed and refined existing security policies and procedures.

     From 2002 to 2011, Daniel worked with the Central Intelligence Agency in both operations and analysis, including significant time overseas.  He drafted and directed cross-functional international programs against financial and banking targets, with special focus on terrorism finance, financial crimes, and anti-money laundering (AML).   He also researched and authored current and long-term finished intelligence for senior U.S. policymakers and regularly briefed officials in the White House, Congress, National Security Council, and U.S. Treasury, among others.

     Prior to joining the government, he worked in wealth management at Merrill Lynch for six years.

     In addition to CPOST, he currently serves on the Board of Trustees for EconIllinois a non-profit providing financial and economic literacy for K-12 graders

  • Roxanne Decyk Retired Executive Vice President, Global Government Relations for Royal Dutch Shell

    After her retirement from Royal Dutch Shell, Plc, in 2010, Roxanne Decyk continued her service on the boards of publicly-traded corporations and not-for profit organizations. She is currently is a non-executive director of Digital Globe, Ensco Plc (UK-based) and Orbital ATK. She chairs the Orbital ATK compensation committee and the Digital Globe risk committee and has, in the past, chaired remuneration, governance, nominating and audit committees on these boards and in a number of other companies in the US, the UK and Germany. Roxanne was awarded the Directors Choice Award in 1996 and is an NACD Board Leadership Fellow.

    From 2013-2016, Roxanne served on the Defense Business Board, a civilian advisory board to the Department of Defense, and has served on the Subcommittee for Capacity Building and Skills Training of the International Council on Women’s Business Leadership for the US State Department. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Commercial Club of Chicago, Women Corporate Directors and the Committee of 200. She also serves as board chairperson of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and as a director for the Albany Park Theater Project

    Roxanne had an international business career in the automotive and energy industries, retiring from Royal Dutch Shell in 2010 from the position of Executive Vice President, Global Government Relations.

    Previously, she was a member of the Executive Committee of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and served as Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Development Director, chief of staff for Shell Oil Company and head of strategy and planning for Royal Dutch Shell.

    She has also held senior positions with Amoco Oil Corporation and Navistar, formerly International Harvester Company. Early in her career, she practiced law with a major U.S. firm and worked in the advertising and public relations fields.

    In addition to her corporate and philanthropic board work, Roxanne regularly speaks at governance conferences, in corporate settings and at universities in North America and Europe on topics of corporate governance, diversity and sustainable development.

    Roxanne graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in English literature and advertising and was awarded a JD from Marquette University. She and her husband, Lew Watts, live in Chicago and Santa Fe.

  • Aaron Dowd Principal, Transatlantic Holdings

    Aaron T. Dowd is a Principal of Transatlantic Holdings, a diversified holding company with interests in the financial services, logistics, energy, industrial and beer sectors in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Prior to Transatlantic, Mr. Dowd served from 2003-2013 as an Aide to The Honorable Chuck Hagel, former Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator. Mr. Dowd is on the Board of Directors of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats (CPOST); Mentor Foundation USA; and International Student House of Washington, DC (ISH-DC). He is also a Member of the RAND Corporation; Atlantic Council; Munich Security Conference Young Leaders Roundtable; International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS); American Security Project (ASP); and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy (YPFP). Mr. Dowd holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in Marketing from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.