TIO NYC: Network 20/20

Network 20/20 is a talented, diverse and multilingual group of rising and established professionals interested in promoting an informed dialogue on foreign policy. They come from different sectors of society: business, law, media, the arts, NGOs, medicine, governments, academia, and many others.

The organization prides itself on maintaining an inclusive group of leaders and business professionals from a number of countries including Azerbaijan, Chile, Croatia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iran, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe. 

Go here to learn about the many benefits of becoming a member of Network 20/20, which includes numerous opportunities to hear distinguished speakers on topics of global importance in intimate settings.

For one blessed evening, as guests of the organization’s board chair, a part-time Telluride local, we could put aside the odoriferous stew of political rhetoric and feast on a banquet of positive ideas served up by talented innovators. 

Hope in the form of people who are making a real difference in the world, members and guests of Network 20/20, a non-profit dedicated to bringing together rising leaders from diverse backgrounds to share ideas, forge bonds, and influence policymaking and so provide an invaluable service to America and the world.

People like Denis McDonough, former White House chief of staff for President Obama, once described by Politico as “Obama’s Obama. McDonough was Guest of Honor at Network 20/20’s 15th annual foreign policy lecture and benefit.

While McDonough’s talk was strictly off the record, it is fair to say he honored Network 20/20 specifically for its work in Iran in 2014. The bottom line of his message: we have to learn to talk across fences.

Given the toxic environment in and around Washington, easier said than done.

Denis McDonough, described by The Daily Beast as “Mr. Popular.” Image, courtesy, The Daily Beast.

In his role as Obama’s Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough managed the 4,000 member White House staff, as well as Cabinet Secretaries and agency leaders. He provided strategic advice to the President on the most significant domestic policy, national security, and management issues facing the federal government.

Prior to his role as Chief of Staff, from September 2010 until February 2013, McDonough served as assistant to the President and principal deputy national security advisor.

McDonough was appointed senior principal at the Markle Foundation in February 2017. In that role, he is working to address the skills gap, particularly in light of the looming artificial intelligence revolution.

As part of this work, McDonough will chair the Rework America Task Force,  a panel of influential Americans who will advance work on enabling all Americans to develop the skills they need to grow their careers and find a new place in the new economy.

Through the Task Force, McDonough will work to shape and lead a larger, longer-term national conversation about how the technological revolution can serve all stakeholders in the new economy.

According to an online source, Davey Gibian, a former investment banking analyst, was working on the Syrian-Turkish border in late 2014 during the Syrian Civil war when he came across a group of American and British veterans driving food and medical convoys into Aleppo under the name “Hera.”

“Gibian, a suburban Pennsylvania native, noted that the small team was ‘pretty loose,’ and decided to introduce the sort of order one would expect from a man with a meticulously color-coded bookshelf. Convinced that the nascent organization could be better structured, use data more efficiently, and also expand, he joined the vets to found the Heraion Foundation (often stylized as HERA for short), a humanitarian non-profit based in Brooklyn and Erbil, dedicated to aiding those communities most severely affected by extremist violence,” wrote roomzoom.

HERA is designed to fill the hole between the limited resources local governments can offer and the pressing need for aid caused by extremist conflict. Though unequivocally separate from the U.S. military, Presidential Innovation Fellow Gibian receives government support for his nonprofit’s efforts.

SWITxBOARD (pronounced “switchboard’) is a platform for connecting technological, social, financial and spatial innovations to meet the needs, talents and skills of refugee populations worldwide. Founded by Kilian Kleinschmidt while at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan after a 25-year career with the UN, the Innovation & Planning Agency is engaged in innovation related to humanitarian relief and international development.

After spending most of the last decade in media and technology, Ben Homer now oversees the US branch of IPA and, along with his colleagues, is dedicated to connecting technology with humanitarian relief.

Tara Kangarlou is an award-winning journalist who has reported and produced breaking news stories, investigative pieces, and magazine-style print and broadcast stories on both domestic and international issues. Over the years she has written, reported, and produced for CNN, CNN International, NBC Los Angeles, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post and Al Monitor.

As a multimedia journalist, Kangarlou has reported from the United States and around the world including Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2015, she led Al Jazeera America’s unprecedented access to reports from Iran during the historic nuclear negotiations.

In 2016, Kangarlou founded Art of Hope Inc. an NYC-based non-profit, non-governmental, non-religious 501(c)3 charitable organization that aspires to provide alternative educational and vocational training for Syrian refugees in an effort to address the massive mental-health and psychological challenges among the refugee population.

Gibian, Homer and Kangarlou were honored during the evening with the Ted Sorensen Award, given by Gillian Sorenson, a senior advisor at the United Nations Foundation.

Also honored was Elizabeth Buchanan, who received the evening’s Global Leadership Award.

Most recently responsible for driving transformation at OMD, an Omnicom agency, Buchanan has had a distinguished career with more than 20 years inside marque brands including Yahoo!, Macquarie Bank, WPP and Uber. In addition, she was co-founder and CEO of The White Agency in Australia, which she built from a startup into the country’s hottest digital agency.  Elizabeth sold The White Agency to STW Group (now WPP) and then moved into the holding group as Division Director, responsible for the Digital, Direct, Media & Experiential portfolio of agencies (20+ P/Ls). Today, through Vital Voices, she works with women leaders worldwide in economic empowerment, political participation and human rights.

If it takes a village, Network 20/20 is an address of note.

One Response

  1. Dan Whittet says:

    Nice Post Susan, I see your articles when they pop up on twitter and I’m impressed with the quality of what’s coming out of that little box canyon. Maybe it’s the geography of focus, both in altitude and no way out, that brings such powerful thinking out of the thin air. Keep it up, and say hello to everyone from.