The Heritage Foundation
Romina Boccia is a leading fiscal and economic expert at The Heritage Foundation. She is the Grover M. Hermann research fellow in federal budgetary affairs and deputy director of the Economic Policy shop. Boccia’s research and writing centers on controlling government spending and debt, eliminating corporate welfare and reforming Social Security. Boccia often advises members of Congress on fiscal policy issues, and has testified before congressional committees. Her research has been widely published and she appears frequently as a guest expert on national television. She has made a name for herself as an energetic speaker who conveys complex, number-heavy subjects in an engaging style. Just imagine...“an economist who speaks English!” She previously was a policy analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum. Boccia earned her master’s degree in economics from George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax, Va. In her spare time, she is an avid hiker and rock climber.
A recognized leader in business, Angela serves on the board of directors of Brookfield Asset Management, Inc., ExxonMobil, Lowe’s, Procter & Gamble and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Angela formerly served as the Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of WellPoint, Inc. (now called Anthem). During Angela’s tenure, WellPoint achieved more than $60 billion in revenue and was the nation’s largest health insurer by membership, with approximately 34 million or 1 in 9 Americans. Anthem operates primarily through its Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states.
Angela has been named many times, once as high as 4th, on the list of most powerful women in both Forbes and Fortune. She is also listed as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare and one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare. Her leadership reaches beyond the private sector. Angela is passionate about giving back in ways that will have a lasting and positive impact. She is a co-founder of The Policy Circle™, a grassroots network starting conversations across the country to educate, engage and empower women to be a force for positive change in their communities.
Sameeksha Desai, PhD
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Dr. Sameeksha Desai is an Associate Professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, where she also serves as Associate Director of the Institute for Development Strategies and academic director for the Rwanda study abroad program. In her research, she explores how the political and policy environment affect incentives for entrepreneurship and investment. Her current research includes a study of how investors and governments structure investment deals to facilitate infrastructure investment in regions affected by ongoing insurgency, conflict, and terrorism, as well as a cross-national study on how corruption affects the performance of female-managed firms.
Desai has received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants for her work; she is funded by and consults with government, international, and nonprofit organizations. She holds a PhD and MS from George Mason University and a BA from Northwestern University.
Jennifer Dirmeyer, PhD
Ferris State University, College of Business
Jennifer Dirmeyer is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Ferris State University, where she also serves as the Assistant Department Chair in the Management Department. Her research interests are political economy, local and urban governance and corruption.
She has been published in academic journals, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other popular outlets. Her paper, “The Jitney Potential: Transportation Regulation and the Welfare of the Poor,” was included in the Templeton Prize-winning report, "Enterprise Programs: Freeing Entrepreneurs to Provide Essential Services to the Poor.” Other professional interests include devising pedagogical tools for active learning in economics and facilitating co-curricular activities to encourage student engagement beyond the classroom. She holds a PhD in economics from George Mason University, and, in her free time, she explores Michigan with her two sons and husband.
Chair, Fortune Most Powerful Women International Summit
Principal, Sellers|Easton Media
Nina Easton is a bestselling author and TV commentator who won numerous awards during her career as a columnist/editor for Fortune and writer for the Los Angeles Times. She currently chairs Fortune Most Powerful Women International and co-chairs the Fortune Global Forum. In 2016 she became founding partner of Sellers|Easton Media, dedicated to capturing and preserving the legacies of leaders in business, public service, the arts, and philanthropy.
At the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Nina hosts the global affairs series of live events and iTunes podcasts “Smart Women, Smart Power,” bringing world leaders and diplomats to the stage for insightful interviews. She is a regular analyst on Fox News, and has provided commentary on such programs as NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, and Charlie Rose. Her critically-acclaimed political history, Gang of Five, drawing on hundreds of interviews and archival research, ranks on the Vox list of “books to read to understand the world.” In 2012, she served as a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Jo Kwong, PhD
The Philanthropy Roundtable
Jo Kwong is the Director of Economic Opportunity Programs at The Philanthropy Roundtable, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that helps donors advance liberty, opportunity and personal responsibility. The Economic Opportunity program explores strategies that donors can support to help marginalized individuals and families achieve greater economic mobility. Prior to joining The Philanthropy Roundtable, Jo worked at free market nonprofit organizations for 25+ years, including the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies, PERC, and Capital Research Center. She has a particular interest in discovering, developing and supporting strategies that 1) help low income individuals become employable and employed, and 2) help low-income workers build savings, credit and assets. Jo is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Michigan.
The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy
Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015 and is currently a member of the Pope Center’s board of directors. Before joining the center in 2006, she was a senior fellow of PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana. Her previous experience includes writing and speaking on economic and environmental topics. Among other books, she coauthored with Michael Sanera Facts, Not Fear: Teaching Children about the Environment (Regnery 1999). Before joining PERC in 1984, she was an associate economics editor of Business Week. Shaw has a B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College. She is married to Richard L. Stroup.
Stefani Smith, PhD
Tensegrity Law Group LLP
Stefani Smith is a Partner at Tensegrity Law Group LLP, a Silicon Valley litigation boutique specializing in patent law. She practices in United States district courts and at the International Trade Commission. Her practice covers a broad range of technologies, including computer hardware, operating systems and software applications, e-commerce and mobile payment technologies, medical devices, semiconductor packaging, and consumer electronics.
Before attending law school at the University of California-Berkeley, Stefani earned her doctorate in Economics at the University of Illinois and was an instructor in its Masters of Science in Policy Economics program. While subsequently teaching graduate and undergraduate economics at Tulane University and the University of Georgia, the focus of her academic research was on public economic theory. She also served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc. and has a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Whitman College.
Liberty Fund, Inc.
Amy Willis is a Senior Fellow with Liberty Fund, Inc. in Indianapolis, IN. She is the Director for the Library of Economics and Liberty. Her contributions to the site include writing the EconTalk Extras and Podcast Listening Guides, as well as editing several of Econlib's regular columns. Ms. Willis is a graduate of the University of Vermont and holds Masters degrees from the University of Delaware and Arizona State University. She taught high school and college economics in Arizona, and served as the Executive Director of the Arizona Council on Economic Education before joining Liberty Fund in 2006. She previously served on the governing board of BASIS Scottsdale, and is active in the independent school system in Indianapolis. She has written reports about the uses of technology in education and recently published a chapter on the long-lost literary hero Horatio Alger in Capitalism and Commerce in Imaginative Literature. She has also published articles in The Journal of Private Enterprise, Small Business Economics, and Social Education.
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