President, Next Level Sports and Entertainment
Founder & CEO, Atlas Strategy Group, Inc.
Michael Alexander Blake is a proud native of The Bronx, New York and is the youngest son of Jamaican immigrants. He is the President of Next Level Sports and Entertainment – the only Black owned national TV Sports network in our country’s history. Viewed in 21 million U.S. households and more than 100 million global households and with programming ranging from HBCU-Know to the What’sNXT studio show, Blake is leading a team that is disrupting the Sports, Media and Technology industries. He is also the Founder & CEO of Atlas Strategy Group, Inc. which focuses on Economic Empowerment through increasing Access to Capital, Contracting and Opportunities to Minority, Women and Small Businesses along with creating metrics-based programs for Social Justice and Civic Engagement for Communities of Color.
Michael served as a three-term Assemblymember in the New York State Assembly representing the 79th District in The Bronx, New York from 2014 to 2020. Blake had his signature piece of legislation signed into law for Small, Minority and Women owned Business Enterprises with less than 300 employees who contract with New York state get paid in 15 days instead of 30 and was the led Co-Sponsor on the five-year extension and expansion of the statewide M.W.B.E. program.
Michael served as a Vice Chair at Large of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2021, being the first Black man elected to DNC leadership since Ron Brown, helping lead efforts to mobilize millennials, communities of color, local elected candidates and training. He also served in the Obama-Biden administration as the White House Associate Director of Public Engagement and Deputy Associate Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs coordinating outreach to the African American, Minority and Women Business Enterprises and state and county elected official communities. Michael’s public and political service began in 2006 as one of the first ten participants in the “Yes We Can” training program led by Senator Barack Obama, leading to a 20-month, eight state campaign tenure throughout the 2008 Obama-Biden campaign, and he later served as the national deputy director of Operation Vote for the Obama-Biden 2012 re-election.
Business Development & Public Affairs
At the core of Albus Brooks’ identity is community development and servant leadership. Albus moved to Colorado in 1997 to study and play football for the University of Colorado. Sports Illustrated named him one of the Top 10 Hardest Hitters, and the NFL took an interest in him before injuries ultimately ended his football career.
Albus Brooks pursued his calling for community development by working with young people in Denver’s poor communities. He served as the Director of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership, an organization that invests in Denver’s emerging leaders. In 2010 Albus worked to elect then-mayor John Hickenlooper as Governor of Colorado, acting as the statewide Outreach and Political Director.
This exposure to political leadership led him to seek public office, and in 2011 Albus defeated 38 opponents to become the youngest African American ever elected to Denver City Council. Serving two terms on Denver City Council, including two terms as Council President, Albus accomplished an ambitious range of progressive legislative victories with the goal of building a truly inclusive city. To address the affordability crisis, he co-created Denver’s first – and Colorado’s largest – affordable housing fund. To make Denver a more equitable place to grow up, he funded and expanded the Denver Preschool Program, providing universal access to preschool for all 4-year-olds. He also decriminalized marijuana possession for those 18-21 years old, preventing thousands of young people from entering the criminal justice system.
Albus Brooks received his M.B.A. from the University of Denver. He is now the Vice President of Business Development and Public Affairs for Milender White, a Development and Construction firm operating in Southern California and Colorado.
Albus sits on multiple boards and commissions and has been a part of the following national and international fellowship programs: The Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the NewDEAL Leaders, and the Aspen Institute – Rodel Fellowship.
Although a rising global leader, it is in the heart of Denver where Albus feels most at home. He lives the Five Points/RiNo with his three young children, Makai, Kenya, and Kaya.
Executive Director, Emily’s List
Former Senator, Orono, Maine
Emily Cain is Executive Director for EMILY’s List. With a decade of experience as a state legislator and public policy leader, two cycles as one of the country’s top-ranked Democratic congressional candidates, more than a decade of work in higher education, and prior leadership as Chief Strategy Officer for a private-sector tech company, Cain has helped lead EMILY’s List to record growth in the size and reach of its important work to elect Democratic pro-choice women across the country and up and down the ballot. Prior to joining EMILY’s List, Emily was the Chief Strategy Officer at HistoryIT, a technology company dedicated to making historical collections more accessible and meaningful through digitization.
Emily made her mark in Maine politics serving in both the House and Senate over five terms in the state legislature, leading the Appropriations Committee as Chair, and serving as the youngest woman House Minority Leader in state history. In 2012, against all odds, Cain led House Democrats back into the majority by recruiting top candidates, electing more women, and winning tough seats in Maine’s challenging rural areas. As a leader in the legislature Emily Cain was known as a tough negotiator, deal closer, and champion for women, equality, domestic violence prevention, and economic development. In 2014 and 2016 Emily ran for U.S. Congress in two of the most competitive House races in the country.
President and Co-founder, Third Way
Jonathan Cowan is a co-founder and President of Third Way, the leading moderate Democratic think tank and advocacy group, and also of Shield PAC, a one-of-a-kind effort to protect moderate House Democrats from GOP attacks tying them to the far left. He has co-founded and run two other high-impact national advocacy organizations, served as Chief of Staff of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and worked as a Democratic press secretary and legislative aide in Congress. For the past decade, he has led Third Way and built it into a prominent voice in center-left debates, with Prospect Magazine naming Third Way the 2013 North American Think Tank of the Year and The Washington Post dubbing it “the best source of new ideas in public policy.”
Previously, he co-founded and ran America’s then-largest Generation X advocacy group, Lead…or Leave, and battled the NRA for sensible gun policy as the head of Americans for Gun Safety, which The Atlantic said was responsible for “fundamentally changing the debate” on firearm policy. Additionally, Cowan has served as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, authored a book titled Revolution X, and is frequently cited as a policy and political expert in national outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and NPR.
Chair, Florida Democratic Party
Former Mayor, Miami, FL
Former President, U.S. Conference of Mayors
A force in local, state, and national politics for nearly four decades, Manny Diaz was first elected City of Miami Mayor in 2001. He was re-elected to a second term in 2005, and was chosen to lead the United States Conference of Mayors as its president in 2008. During his two-term tenure, Diaz was recognized for completely transforming the City of Miami, and for many nationally recognized innovative programs in the areas of urban design, sustainability and green initiatives, education, infrastructure investment, affordable housing, law enforcement, poverty and homelessness, and arts and culture.
Diaz is a member of the Board of Directors of OUTFRONT Media, Inc. (NYSE: OUT). He also serves or has served on various commissions and cultural, educational, and volunteer boards including: Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Bloomberg Philanthropies, University of Pennsylvania Institute for Urban Research, League of Conservation Voters, Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Fair Districts Florida, Florida Red & Blue, Florida After School Network, Sustainable Cities Institute, U.S. Green Building Council- South Florida Chapter; and the Florida Steering Committee for The Children’s Movement of Florida, among many others. He is a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council/U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In recognition of his efforts, Diaz has received almost 100 awards and recognitions including, America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News, World Report, and The Center for Public Leadership (Kennedy School of Government); Top 100 City Innovators Worldwide by UBM Future Cities; 100 Most Influential Latinos Committed To Climate Action; Hispanic Business- 50 Influentials; United States Conference of Mayors- President’s Award; the AIA (Miami Chapter)- Governmental Leadership Award; Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce Power Leader of the Year and Green Visionary Awards; Poder Hispanic Magazine Climate Award of the Year and was named an Outstanding American by Choice by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Mayor Diaz served as a Resident Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and is the author of Miami Transformed: Rebuilding America One Neighborhood, One City at a Time. Mayor Diaz is currently serving as Chair of the Florida Democratic Party and is on leave from his prior position as senior partner at Lydecker.
Linda Douglass was an award-winning political journalist for 34 years. She served as Chief Capitol Hill Correspondent for ABC News, a political correspondent for CBS News in Washington and the chief political correspondent for KNBC and KCBS, Los Angeles, over her long career in news. She covered 6 presidential campaigns.
In 2008, Douglass left journalism to work for Barack Obama, first as a traveling spokesperson in his 2008 presidential campaign and, later, as the Director of Communications in the White House Office of Health Reform. Following passage of the Affordable Care Act, she joined Atlantic Media as the Senior Vice President for Global Communications. In 2015, she became the Global Head of Communications for Bloomberg News and Media. She is currently a communications consultant, advising clients on strategy, organization and crisis management.
President, CUNY LGBT Advisory Council
Mitchell Draizin is the retired founder and president of Longview Capital Advisors (LVCA), which offered real estate investment and mortgage banking services. He has and continues to serve on boards, councils, and advisory bodies for various national and regional nonprofit organizations, to include: The Congressional Award Foundation, Point Foundation, New Leaders Council, Williams Institute, and the NYC Economic Development Corporation.
Mitchell develops, sponsors and participates in a portfolio of LGBTQ leadership training, intern and mentor programs at the City University of New York (CUNY), where he has created an Advisory Council composed of over 100 prominent and dedicated LGBT professionals in the private, nonprofit and government sectors in support of the CUNY LGBTQ students. Additionally, he has created, and volunteer teaches a Consumer and Financial Education Course to include High School through Adult Education.
His advocacy includes co-founding the DCCC LGBT Council and as an initial sponsor of the Congressional Equality PAC. He has been the recipient of various Humanitarian, Public Service, and LGBT Advocacy awards.
President and CEO, Chicago Urban League
Former Mayor, Gary, IN
Karen Freeman-Wilson began serving as President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League in January 2020. She brings a passion for equity and social justice to the organization, which works to advance economic, educational, and social progress for African Americans through direct service and advocacy.
Having served in the public arena most of her professional life, Freeman-Wilson has deep experience in addressing issues that impact urban communities. She was mayor of her hometown of Gary, Indiana, from 2012 through 2019. She was the first female to lead the city of Gary and the first African-American female mayor in Indiana. Her mayoral accomplishments include job creation, completion of a $100 million airport runway relocation, and the development of key areas in the city. She previously served as Indiana Attorney General, Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, and presiding judge of the Gary City Court. She also served as Executive Director of the National Drug Court Institute and CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, where she is currently Board Chair.
Freeman-Wilson is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She is a past President of the National League of Cities, a past Advisory Board Member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and sits on the National Police Foundation, the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, and the African American Mayor’s Advisory Board of Directors and the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Council and Kauffman Mayors’ Advisory Council. She is a member of Israel C.M.E. Church; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; the Links, Inc.; the NAACP; the James Kimbrough Bar, and the Indiana Bar.
Vice-Chair, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Former City Controller, Los Angeles, CA
Wendy Greuel served as Los Angeles City Controller from 2009 to 2013 and Los Angeles City Councilmember from 2002 -2009. Wendy attended L.A. public schools and graduated from UCLA. She started her career in public service working for her mentor, former Mayor Tom Bradley, where for ten years she worked on a wide range of public policy issues including child care, senior care, homelessness, housing, public health, and education. While in Mayor Bradley’s office, Wendy was a leader in the creation of L.A.’s BEST, a nationally recognized after-school program that provides a safe and supervised environment for children after school, and helped the city’s first childcare center.
In 1993, Wendy joined the Clinton Administration at HUD and served as Deputy Director of the Interagency Council on Homelessness and as Southern California Regional Director for HUD in the areas of economic development, homeownership, and multi-family housing. In addition, she worked for DreamWorks SKG in corporate affairs from 1997 to 2002. Currently, she serves as a Vice Chair of the Discovery Cube L.A. children’s museum and as an Executive in Residence at the Nazarian College at CSUN. In addition, she is on the Board of Fisker, Inc., a new E.V. car company based in Manhattan Beach.
Her volunteer opportunities include, Vice Chair of the LAHSA Commission working on homeless issues and on the boards of Emily’s List, Luskin School of Public Affairs Advisory Board, California Film Commission, LA 84, Metro YMCA, L.A. Kings Business Advisory Board, the Civic Alliance, the L.A. Economic and Jobs Coalition, Abode Housing and United Friends of the Children.
Senior Policy Advisor, Van Ness Feldman LLP
Former U.S. Senator
Senator Mary Landrieu served in the United States Senate for three terms, from 1997-2015. During her 18 years in the Senate, she chaired the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, and was the first Democratic woman to serve on the Armed Services Committee.
During her time in the Senate, Landrieu was known for her bipartisan approach to addressing national challenges and for her passionate advocacy for her home state of Louisiana, particularly in the aftermaths of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Prior to serving in the Senate, she was elected twice to the Louisiana State Legislature from 1979 – 1987. For eight years, she successfully championed causes related to women and children, flood protection, and education reform. In 1987, she was elected State Treasurer and served with distinction for two terms.
Since leaving the Senate, Landrieu served on the CenturyLink (Lumen) Board of Directors (November 2015 – May 2020); and currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Tyler Technologies and Energy. She has been a leader in the public-school reform movement for decades and serves on the board of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. She is a co-founder and the current chair of the board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which represents over 150 Members of Congress who work on bipartisan policies and funding initiatives to support the notion that every child has the right to a safe, stable and nurturing family. In addition, Landrieu serves on the board of Resources for the Future, and on the National Academy of Sciences’ Gulf Research Program Advisory Board.
She earned her BS degree from Louisiana State University and is married to Frank Snellings, an attorney, and real estate broker. They reside in Washington, DC, and have two grown children and one grandchild.
Founder, Common Ground Institute
Former U.S. Representative, UT-4
Former Congressman Ben McAdams is a Senior Fellow at the Sorenson Impact Center at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. He is also the founder of the Common Ground Institute, an organization focused on policy development, bridge-building, and problem-solving on matters of public significance. McAdams served previously as Mayor of Utah’s largest county, representing 1.1 million constituents and balanced a budget of $1.2 billion while also securing and maintaining the county’s coveted AAA bond rating.
In his public service, McAdams brought Republicans and Democrats together to find solutions to address homelessness, form public-private partnerships to improve education and health outcomes, and promote evidence-based decision-making at all levels of government.
Prior to elected office, McAdams was senior advisor to the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Adjunct Professor of Securities Regulation at the University of Utah’s SJ Quinney School of Law, and attorney in private practice with firms in New York and Salt Lake where he specialized in public and private securities transactions for U.S. and international issuers.
Treasurer, Democratic Governors Association
Catherine “Kiki” McLean is a leading public affair and political strategist. McLean is recognized for her record of building successful teams and organizations and developing impactful strategies. She established the Walton Family Political and Communications office which she led for over five years, and prior to that was the managing director of Porter Novelli’s Washington DC office, led its global public affairs practice, and served on the company’s executive committee.
Kiki’s expertise is in strategic communications and public affairs. A veteran of six presidential campaigns, including the historic 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign, she has more than 25 years of experience leading high-profile, complicated initiatives in the political and business sectors. She served as senior advisor to the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign in 2008 and has served as spokesperson and led communications for Vice President Al Gore, Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic National Committee, and others.
Co-founder, Fulcrum Public Affairs LLP
Oscar is co-founder of Fulcrum Public Affairs, the only 100% Black and Latino-owned federal government relations firm in the country. Fulcrum was hailed as the “top-earning new firm” of 2019 by Bloomberg Government and in 2020 was recognized as one of “Washington’s fastest-growing lobby shops” by The Hill. Fulcrum was also recently named one of the lobbying firms “poised to do well in the new Washington” by Punchbowl News.
Oscar is a seasoned Democratic strategist with two decades of policy and political experience in senior roles on Capitol Hill, on national political campaigns, in the Obama Administration, and at other government relations firms. In the Obama Administration, Oscar served as a senior advisor to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. He spent seven years on Capitol Hill as chief of staff and legislative director for three members of Congress, including House Financial Services Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Al Green (D-TX). While on the Hill, he served as president of the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association. Oscar also worked on the presidential campaigns of John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008. As vice chair of the Maryland Democratic Party from 2010 to 2014 he was a member of the Democratic National Committee.
Oscar has been recognized as a “Top Lobbyist” by the National Institute for Lobbying & Ethics, one of DC’s “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill, one of Washington’s “most influential movers and shakers under 40” by Washington Life Magazine, and as one of the top “40 Under 40 Latinos in American Politics” by The Huffington Post. He sits on the Democratic National Committee’s National Finance Committee and is the father of two very smart dogs, Dug and Lucy.
Former Industrial Executive
Board Member & Advisor
Mr. Rubin has over 40 years of experience, including various executive and advisory positions and board memberships in the energy, refining, and petrochemical sectors. He was CEO of Sunoco Chemicals Inc. (Sunoco Chemicals) and a Senior Vice President of Sunoco Inc. (2008 to 2010) and held various other executive positions during a 32-year career with that company. Mr. Rubin was the first CEO of Braskem America, Inc. (Braskem America), and he served with Braskem America in an executive capacity from 2010 until 2013.
Mr. Rubin serves on the board of Pembina Pipeline Corporation, DISA Global Solutions (a Court Square Capital Partners company), and the M. Holland Company (a private company). He served on the board of directors of Sylvatex Inc. from 2012 to 2016 and is currently an advisor to the company. He was an Executive Advisor for Court Square Capital Partners (2013 to 2015) and was an Operating Advisor for The Carlyle Group (2015 to 2017). In addition, Mr. Rubin served on the Franklin Institute board from 1999 until 2009. He is currently serving on the Pincus Family Foundation Board. This Foundation serves the needs of children worldwide and has recently supported charities in Ukraine.
Mr. Rubin has a Master of Business Administration from Widener University and a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors.