John Balkcom


Balkcom has been a longtime adviser to management and boards. He retired in 2000 after 25 years as a management consultant and since then has served as a corporate director and advisory board member for a number of public and private enterprises. He served on the Bulletin’s Governing Board from 2012 - 2013 and from 2016 - present; previous leadership roles have included president of St. John’s College and chairman of a NYSE company. As chair of the Governing Board, Balkcom is a member of the Science and Security Board, ex officio.


Virginia Berkeley

Berkeley served as Executive Vice President of CoBiz Bank from 2009-2012 after performing numerous other leadership roles at the organization. She previously served as Senior Vice President and Manager of Business Banking of Bank One, Denver and held several positions with Colorado National Bank. Berkeley’s extensive community involvement includes work with numerous Boards of Trustees, most recently with Colorado Public Radio, where she served as board chair, and the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. Berkeley holds a BS degree in economics from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Oklahoma.


Rachel Bronson

(Ex Officio)

Bronson is the president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, where she oversees the publishing programs, management of the Doomsday Clock, and a growing set of activities around nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, climate change, and disruptive 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. 


Edmund G. Brown Jr.

(Executive Chair)

Brown completed his fourth term as Governor of the State of California in 2019. He began his career in public service in 1969 as a trustee for the LA Community College District and became California Secretary of State in 1970 and Governor of California in 1974 and 1978. After his governorship, Brown lectured and traveled widely, practiced law, served as chairman of the state Democratic Party, and ran for president. Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland in 1998 and California Attorney General in 2006; he was elected to a third gubernatorial term in 2010 and a fourth term in 2014. During this time, Brown helped eliminate the state's multi-billion budget deficit, spearheaded successful campaigns to provide new funding for California's schools, and established a robust Rainy Day Fund to prepare for the next economic downturn. His administration established nation-leading targets to protect the environment and fight climate change. Brown attended the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a JD at Yale Law School.

Misho Ceko

Misho Ceko

Ceko is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Senior Associate Dean of Business Operations at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy. Prior to Harris, Ceko was the COO for the Chicago Children’s Choir (CCC). He also worked for the United Nations in Mozambique on the Delivering as One initiative under former Secretary General Kofi Annan and as a senior strategy consultant in Accenture’s public sector practice in Washington, DC. Prior to business school, Misho worked as an engineer for St. Jude Medical. In addition, he served as a mayoral fellow in the office of Mayor Richard M. Daley and was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health. He holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, and a BS in bioengineering from the University of Illinois. 


Cyndi Conn

Conn is the Founder and President of LaunchProjects LLC, a creative consulting firm with a track record of engaging and inspiring organizations, influencers, and leaders. She serves on the Governing Board of the International Council for the Black Mountain Institute, and on advisory boards of N Square Innovators and the National Parks Arts Foundation. In 2018 she co-chaired Mayor Alan Webber’s task force to catalyze job creation, in 2014 chaired Mayor Javier Gonzales’ housing and community development transition team and was selected as one of New Mexico’s 40 Under Forty awardees statewide. She was previously the Executive Director of Creative Santa Fe, a non-profit dedicated to leveraging collaboration and the power of the arts to reframe critical issues and drive positive change. Prior to that was the Visual Arts Director and Curator of the Center for Contemporary Arts. She holds a Masters Degree in Curatorial Studies and Arts Administration from Skidmore College in conjunction with the Tang Museum, a BA in Latin American studies from Tulane University and studied at the Universidad Ibero Americana in Mexico City.


Lee Francis

(Second Vice-Chair)

An internist and the CEO of Erie Family Health Center, Francis is assistant clinical professor of internal medicine at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is a past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a national organization dedicated to the prevention of violence and nuclear war, and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.


Melissa Harris

Harris began her career as a journalist, capping 15 years in media as a business columnist for the Chicago Tribune. After earning her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, she left the world of private equity to start her own company. Since then, M. Harris & Co. has become one of the fastest-growing marketing firms in the Midwest. With M. Harris & Co., Harris was part of the 2018 Clio Award-winning team behind the Cards Against Humanity Saves America campaign. She holds a master's degree in government from John Hopkins University and journalism degree from Northwestern University. Harris serves as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago.

Austin Hirsch

Austin Hirsch


Hirsch is a partner at Reed Smith’s Global Corporate Group. Hirsch has been an Executive Committee member of Reed Smith and former Managing Partner of Reed Smith Chicago’s legacy firm, Sachnoff and Weaver. His practice encompasses all aspects of business law. Hirsch has served as a director of various companies and as an advisor for family offices. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the Chicago Bar Foundation and a Co-Chair of Lawyer Lend-A-Hand to Youth.

Hirsch is Chair of the Board and Trustee of the Benton Foundation. He is Chair and President of The Selfhelp Foundation and recipient of the Selfhelp Special Service Award. Hirsch is also a member of the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Foundation and Chair of the Investment Committee, as well as a member of the Finance Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He received a BS in accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1970 (CPA certificate) and went on to complete his JD at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law in 1973. Hirsch and fellow board member Lowell Sachnoff were honored at the 2019 Annual Dinner and Meeting.

Kuhlman Headshot

David Kuhlman

(First Vice-Chair)

Kuhlman is managing partner of Axiom Consulting Partners, a consulting firm that helps clients identify pathways to profitable growth and align their organizations for long-term success. For over 30 years, he has worked with people-intensive/asset-light businesses including accounting and law firms to establish and realize transformative strategies. Previously, Kuhlman was managing partner of Sibson Consulting, a leading HR consultancy and global head of Human Resources for Russell Reynolds Associates, a premier executive recruiting firm.


Ania Labno

Labno is a Director at KKR Capstone where she works with the group’s health care industry team. She was previously Managing Director and Partner at the Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago office. She has worked across all health care sectors with a strong focus on innovation including data analytics/AI, digital-driven innovation, and novel treatment modalities such as gene/cell therapy. She has supported both commercial and public sector healthcare innovation and is passionate about responsible use of new technologies to enhance health and wellness. Labno serves as an advisor to the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago and MATTER incubator. She holds a BS degree in biology and physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and PhD in biophysics from UC Berkeley.

LoPrete, Rob

Robert LoPrete

LoPrete is a partner in Reed Smith’s Private Client Services group, based in Chicago. His practice includes complex estate, gift, and tax planning for high net worth individuals and families. In addition, he organizes charitable entities and advises clients on tax compliance, governance, and fiduciary obligations, and assists clients with charitable gift planning through a variety of techniques. LoPrete serves on Reed Smith’s Pro Bono Committee and on the Recruiting Committee for the firm’s Chicago office.

LoPrete is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; a member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council; a member of the Education Committee at Steppenwolf Theatre; and a Heritage Society Ambassador of the Chicago Botanic Garden. He also serves as trustee of a private family foundation based in Michigan. He received a BA from DePauw University and a JD from University of Michigan Law School.


Steve Ramsey


Ramsey is the former Vice President of Corporate Environmental Programs at General Electric, where he managed GE’s environmental strategy. He was previously the head of environmental practice at Sidley Austin in DC and was the first Chief of Environmental Enforcement Section at the US Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. Ramsey has served as a Visiting Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry and Environment, the Chair of the Board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities, and as a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Texas School of Law.


William Revelle

Revelle is a professor in the Department of Psychology at Northwestern. He is he past president of the International Society for Intelligence Research; former president of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences as well as the Association for Research in Personality and the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association. He has served on the board of the Federation of American Scientists. Revelle’s research in personality integrates findings from biological, cognitive, and social psychology with a specialization in psychometrics. In addition to his academic interests, he is the chairman of the board of Calcomco, an information company that published the San Diego Daily Transcript (on the web at and the Columbus Business Journal. He served on the board of directors and is the former chairman of Ocean Design, Inc., a company that specializes in electrical and fiber connectors in harsh (e.g., subsea) environments.


Stephanie Woodson

Woodson has worked in and for higher education for nearly 20 years as consultant, strategist, entrepreneur, new product designer, and general manager. She was an executive at one of the earliest online learning ventures, Most recently she launched and served as the Executive Director of Integrated Education Solutions (IES), Adtalem Global Education’s external facing division. Before its sale in 2018, IES provided online learning expertise and services to a broad portfolio of colleges and universities. Prior to that she headed Adtalem’s corporate strategy organization. Woodson has a background in management consulting.


April Arnold

(Board Fellow)

Arnold is a senior communications adviser supporting the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Smuggling Detection & Deterrence. She has advised the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Army on various arms-control agreements. She is co-chair for the Foreign Policy for America’s Next Generation Defense & Intelligence Working Group and a 2021 PONI Nuclear Scholar and Pacific Forum Young Leader. She has a degree in international relations from the University of Delaware and is pursuing a master’s in Sustainable Energy at Johns Hopkins University.


Haneen Khalid

(Board Fellow)

Khalid is a research and policy professional in international security. She is an admitted PhD student in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. Khalid has worked on women’s affairs and advocated on issues of nuclear security and climate action at the National Assembly of Pakistan. Khalid was an Obama Foundation Scholar at the University of Chicago and has established youth-led initiatives for greater peace, security, and cooperation in South Asia and beyond. She will co-direct the Policy Speaker Series at the Centre for International Strategic Studies and focus on diplomatic and technical collaboration on security issues at Princeton.