Melanie Pearlman has managed the administration, programming and strategic planning for the CELL since its inception, ensuring the organization’s relevance to the community and furthering its mission. Melanie is a member of the Colorado Thirty Group and serves on the board of the Denver Police Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America. She is the recipient of the FBI Director’s 2012 Community Leadership Award and was named one of the Denver Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. Melanie received her M.A. in International Management and Foreign Affairs from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Tom Ruppel oversees the execution of the CELL’s strategic plan. He has held a variety of positions with the organization since joining in 2014. Tom received his M.A. in International Security with a Certificate in Homeland Security from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. He received his B.A. in International Relations and Economics from Connecticut College.
Jordan Clark helps provide organizational oversight and spearhead strategic outreach efforts for the CELL. He identifies and establishes key partnerships across the country to implement the CELL’s various educational and public safety initiatives. Jordan has been with the organization since 2012 and holds a B.A. from Colorado State University in International Studies and Political Science and a minor in Spanish.
Caitlin Navratil started at the CELL in 2021 and is responsible for supporting CELL marketing and special projects. She is currently finishing her MA in International Studies at the University of Denver, specializing in Intelligence Analysis. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Communications from Bethel University. Caitlin is a 2021 and 2022 Boren Fellow and a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer.
James Hippensteel joined the CELL in 2021 and is responsible for the development and implementation of the organization’s education programs, tours and curriculum. He also helps craft and implement annual school outreach strategies and trains and evaluates exhibit educators. James received both his B.A. and M.A. in History from the University of Montana-Missoula.
Sarah Scott is responsible for maintaining the CELL’s financial records, ensuring compliance and executing reconciliations. She joined the organization in 2019. Sarah graduated from Tufts University in 2006 with a degree in Child Development while also focusing on theoretical mathematics.
Elizabeth Cychosz supports the development of new CELL educational initiatives, updates existing programming, and assists in the implementation of both digital and in-person programs. She holds an M.A. in Peace and Justice Studies from the University of San Diego, a B.A. in both Anthropology and Journalism from Ohio University and is a Certified Associate in Project Management with the Project Management Institute.
Samantha Jones joined the CELL in 2021. She specializes in data collection and is responsible for tracking attendance for the CELL’s programs and events. Samantha graduated from Colorado Christian University with a B.A. in English Literature Research.
Rachael Gibson joined the CELL in 2022. She specializes in digital marketing/branding, social media management and copywriting and is responsible for supporting the CELL’s marketing needs. She graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in English Writing and a minor in Theatrical Production.
Meg Robbins is responsible for providing education programs, assisting with curriculum development and building partnerships with educators. She joined the organization in 2019. Meg graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience from Regis University and is completing an M.A. in Art History at the University of Denver.
Melanie Avner develops, implements, and maintains the CELL’s annual marketing and communications strategy, driving promotional opportunities and initiatives for exhibits, events, training and programs. She has been with the organization since 2016 and holds a B.A. in English from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Public Communication from American University.
Heather Olsen drives the CELL’s fundraising, outreach and programmatic efforts to ensure the organization meets and exceeds its annual goals and directives. She has served the organization in several roles since coming on board in 2015. Heather has an M.A. in Museum Studies with a concentration on Exhibition Development and Design from The George Washington University and a B.A. in Anthropology with a minor in Business Administration from Fordham University.
Rick Sapkin is a Founder and Managing Principal of Edgemark Development, with more than 30 years of commercial real estate experience with a strong presence through the Midwest, Rocky Mountains and western United States. Sapkin has been involved in various real estate developments, including several million square feet of retail development and, more recently, high-end self-storage facilities. He has established a proven track record for entrepreneurial business transactions specializing in commercial development, redevelopment, and urban projects. Sapkin received his B.S. in Business Administration in 1983 from the University of Denver.
Blair Richardson is Chairman and CEO of Bow River Capital and has held executive positions in international sales and trading of public equity and debt securities for nearly 25 years. In 2011, Richardson was named one of the most influential people in Denver by 5280 Magazine (“The 5280 Fifty”). Richardson was with Morgan Stanley and Company from 1987 to 1995, serving as President of Morgan Stanley Japan in Tokyo, Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia in Hong Kong, and Managing Director of the Equity and Fixed Income Department in New York. Prior to forming Bow River Capital, Richardson was Managing Partner of B.E. Richardson Investments, which invested in a variety of industries and real estate throughout North America. Between 1996 and 2002, his company made over 20 private equity investments. Richardson is the founding partner of Bow River Capital, which today manages over $688 million of AUM and is on their 7th fund.
Michael Pollak, co-founder of Hyde Park Jewelers, started by selling turquoise and Native American jewelry after class on the lawn of the University of Denver in 1973, where he graduated with a BSBA. He has spent extensive time in New York, Geneva, Vicenza and Hong Kong, cultivating his skills, knowledge and expertise in gemology, fine jewelry and Swiss timepieces. With more than 40 years in retail management, developing five regional, luxury jewelry stores, Pollak became Chief Executive Officer of Hyde Park Jewelers in 2007. He has received numerous industry awards, including induction into the National Jeweler Retailer Hall of Fame in 2008 and Ernst & Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” in 1999. Pollack has held board positions with Jewelers of America, Natural Color Diamond Association and the Mizel Institute. He is a co-founder of Diamonds in the Rough, a non-profit organization to support the efforts of youth-based nonprofits and local charities.
Courtney L. Mizel is a Principal at Mizel Consulting, where she has worked for over 20 years. In this role, Mizel advises companies in various industries on matters relating to business management and strategy, including operations, business development, marketing, as well as legal matters. She is also a Founding Director of the CELL. Mizel is involved in a number of non-profit activities, including serving on the Boards of Directors of Zimmer Children’s Museum, Sharsheret National and JQ International. Mizel received her Bachelor of Science in Economics with honors from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. She is the daughter of the MDC Holdings, Inc., Executive Chairman of the Board Larry A. Mizel, and she joined its Board of Directors in 2017. Her legal and business achievements and diverse-yet-highly-relevant experiences provide the Board with enhanced business, operational, governance and legal perspectives.
Following graduation from the University of Denver with an accounting degree, Andy Miller worked as a CPA for the international accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. In 1980, he joined with four other partners as Loup-Miller Development Company, which designed and developed shopping centers, apartment communities, office buildings and warehouses across the United States. After the real estate debacle of the 1980s, Miller co-founded Sevo Miller, Inc., in 1990. Sevo Miller built, managed, marketed, leased and sold commercial real estate for many institutions and third-party owners across the country. In 1993, Miller and David Frishman co-founded Realty Funding Group, a mortgage and finance company that has acted as a mortgage broker and mortgage banker for numerous commercial real estate projects across the U.S. In 2009, Miller and David Frishman founded Miller Frishman Group, which specializes in multi-family apartments and retail shopping centers.
David D. Mandarich has been associated with the MDC Holdings, Inc., since 1977 and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since October 2020. In 1999, he was elected President and Chief Operating Officer, a title he also held in 1996. Mandarich was previously elected Co-Chief Operating Officer in 1994 and Executive Vice President of Real Estate in 1993. He was a Director from 1980 until 1989 and has been a Director continuously since 1994.
A seasoned leader in business, Jimmy Lustig has executive experience at various companies. He has proven himself to have the entrepreneurial spirit that drives new ideas to success while working within the established frameworks of highly regulated industries. Lustig was previously a shareholder and employee of a commercial bank headquartered in Denver, of which his family members were the majority shareholders and which was later sold to Zions Bank. He also founded GEA Entertainment, a music publishing industry consolidator. Lustig balances his professional career with a variety of charitable endeavors. He and his wife run the Lustig Family Foundation, through which they contribute to numerous organizations and institutions that embody their values. Lustig is proud to do his part in supporting educational, cultural, and social endeavors that will shape generations to come.
Walter Isenberg started Sage more than 30 years ago with partner Zack Neumeyer. As CEO of Sage Hospitality Group, he directs all company operations including management, real estate investment and brand development, with an emphasis on community giving and teaching the next generation of great leaders. Results-driven and creative, Isenberg is a member of the Union Station Alliance, the group responsible for revitalizing Denver Union Station and creating the high-performing Crawford Hotel. He created Sage’s art program which provides locally curated art in newly built or renovated hotels. Isenberg is a member of Marriott International’s Owner Advisory Board and the American Hotel Lodging Association Government Affairs Committee, as well as a board member of Visit Denver, which inducted him into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame in 2010.
John A. Ikard stepped down as CEO of FirstBank in March 2017, after a 36-year career with the bank including serving the last 17 years as CEO of FirstBank Holding Company. He served as Chairman of the American Bankers Association, the largest financial trade association in the country representing more than 3,500 institutions. In 2010, Ikard was honored with the prestigious “Community Banker of the Year” by American Banker magazine. On a local level, he has served as Chairman of the Denver Metro Economic Development Corporation, Chairman of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Denver Area Boy Scout Council, and Chairman of Colorado Concern, one of the State’s most influential political/business organizations. Ikard previously served on the Board of Governors for the Colorado State University and was awarded CSU’s Harry Morgan Award as an outstanding alumnus in 2012.
Born and raised in Denver, Arlene Hirschfeld has been making significant and enduring contributions to the community for 35 years. After working as a teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, Hirschfeld made a career of working nearly full-time for various causes. She has volunteered for nonprofits, including JEWISHcolorado (where she served as the third female president in the organization’s 57-year history), the Denver Art Museum, Rose Community Foundation (where she was the first female board chair) and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Hirschfeld currently serves on the boards of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Denver Art Museum. She is a member of Rose Community Foundation’s Philanthropic Services Committee. She is also an honorary trustee of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Her belief in the importance of volunteerism to enhance the quality of life of individuals and the community has fueled her work.
Anne M. Hillary is a community activist and philanthropist, serving on several local boards in arts and education. She and her husband Jim Hillary have lived in Colorado since 1998 with their three children. Hillary’s professional history includes leadership positions in arts management at American Ballet Theatre and the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York.
David P. Cohen leverages his business experience and understanding of Congress and each unique federal agency to gather the political intelligence his clients at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck need most. He has the legal prowess to advocate before consumer-focused regulators at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the political savviness to engage appointees at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the legislative experience to propose sensible solutions to senior members and staff on the House Financial Services Committee. Before returning to Brownstein, Cohen served as Chief Administrative Officer for CLEAR, a leading biometric technology company. Earlier, he served as Chief of Staff to three U.S. Customs Service Commissioners, was involved in the initial policy discussions surrounding the formation of DHS, and served as professional staff on the House Financial Services Committee.
Michael Burg was admitted to the Colorado Bar in May, 1976 and founded Burg Simpson in 1977. Today, Burg Simpson comprises more than 50 attorneys with offices in four states. Burg has tried over 185 trials and obtained over 15 verdicts in excess of $1M. In total, his clients have received settlements, judgments and verdicts in excess of $500M. Burg has annually been named among America’s 50 Leading Trial Lawyers by the U.S. Legal 500 since 2012, and the U.S. Legal 500 also acknowledged him as a Leading Lawyer nationally in representing individuals in Pharmaceutical Mass Tort and Class Action Litigation. Burg was inducted to the Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame in 2016, joining such legendary trial lawyers as John Adams, Clarence Darrow, and Johnny Cochran. Additionally, he was named by Best Lawyers® in America as the 2016 Denver Lawyer of the Year for Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs.
Herbert T. Buchwald is a principal in the law firm of Herbert T. Buchwald, P.A. and President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of BPR Management Corporation, a property management company located in Denver, Colorado, positions he has held for more than the past five years. Buchwald has been engaged in the acquisition, development and management of residential and commercial real estate in Florida, New Jersey and Colorado, through both publicly and privately held ventures for more than forty years. As an attorney, he has been admitted to practice before federal and state trial and appellate courts in Florida and Colorado. In addition, he holds an accounting degree and formerly was a practicing Certified Public Accountant.
Larry A. Mizel founded MDC Holdings in 1972 and has served as a Director and Chairman of the Board since its inception. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of MDC Holdings in 1988, a position he held until he assumed the role of Executive Chairman of the Board in October 2020. In his various roles, Mizel has provided MDC Holdings with leadership and judgment, while advancing the long-term interests of its shareholders.
Tom O’Connor is a Principal Consultant at FEDSquared Consulting, providing security solutions for both government and non-government organizations. He specializes in Domestic Extremist issues and the insider threat posed by followers of extremist ideologies. O’Connor is a frequent speaker at Law Enforcement conferences and webinars on counterterrorism and evidence collection topics including Domestic Extremism, Lone Offender shootings, and Suicide Bombings. He is a retired FBI Special Agent, with 23 years of experience working domestic and international extremism. He has extensive experience at major crime scenes around the globe and has worked for fifteen years as a local police officer. O’Connor is a Certified FBI Academy Adjunct Faculty and FBI Master Police Instructor.
Christian Picciolini is an award-winning television producer, a public speaker, author, peace advocate, and a former violent extremist. After leaving the hate movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and 90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Picciolini went on to earn a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter‑extremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for producing an anti‑hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism. Since leaving the white-power movement over two decades ago, Picciolini has helped hundreds of individuals leave hate behind, and he leads the FREE RADICALS PROJECT, a global extremism prevention network.
Jenny Presswalla is the Acting Deputy Director for Field Operations, Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, where she works to form partnerships between Federal, state, and local government and western states communities to prevent targeted violence. She was formerly Branch Chief for Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) in Washington, DC, tasked with leading a team of subject matter experts who coordinated US Government CVE policy and strategy and engaged American communities on CVE. Before NCTC, Presswalla worked at the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, leading DHS engagement of diverse American communities in Los Angeles and training law enforcement on CVE nationwide. She was a National Security Education Program Boren Fellow in Mumbai, India, has an M.A. from American University’s School of International Service and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida.
Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at FDD where he focuses on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, and intelligence. He was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century. Earlier, he served as a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations. Gerecht is the author of The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East (Hoover Institution Press, 2011), Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997) and The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy (AEI Press, 2004). He has been a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, as well as a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Dispatch, and other publications.
Dr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is a scholar, author, practitioner, and entrepreneur who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Valens Global. The International Herald Tribune has described Gartenstein-Ross as “a rising star in the counterterrorism community.” Gartenstein-Ross also serves as a Senior Advisor on Asymmetric Warfare at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague. Gartenstein-Ross’s previous positions include Senior Advisor to the Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Community Partnerships, Fellow with Google’s think tank Jigsaw, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. Gartenstein-Ross can conduct research in six languages. He holds a Ph.D. in world politics from the Catholic University of America and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law, and received a 10,000 Small Businesses Certificate of Entrepreneurship in 2018.
Bill Roggio is a senior fellow at FDD and editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, which provides original reporting and analysis of the Global War on Terror from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa, Iran, and beyond. He is also president of the nonprofit media company Public Multimedia Inc. Roggio was embedded with the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, and Iraqi forces in Iraq between 2005 and 2008, and with the Canadian Army in Afghanistan in 2006. From 1991 to 1997, he served as a signalman and infantryman in the U.S. Army and New Jersey National Guard. His articles have been published in The New York Times, The Weekly Standard, The Daily Beast, National Review, and The New York Post, and his work has been in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, Foreign Policy, and Bloomberg.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at FDD and is senior editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, a widely read publication on counterterrorism and related issues. Much of his research focuses on how al-Qaeda and the Islamic State operate around the globe. He has served as a consultant for the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and has testified before Congress on more than twenty occasions. Joscelyn has constructed dossiers on hundreds of terrorists during the course of his work. The Daily Beast has described him as one of “the most trusted authorities on the al-Qaeda network because of his encyclopedic knowledge of terrorist biographies.” In 2007, he published a monograph titled “Iran’s Proxy War Against America,” which details Iran’s decades-long sponsorship of America’s terrorist enemies. In 2008, he completed an exhaustive review of the Guantanamo Bay detainee population, cataloging and analyzing thousands of pages of declassified documents. Joscelyn publishes the weekly Vital Interests newsletter for The Dispatch and co-hosts the Generation Jihad podcast. His work has been published by a variety of other publications and cited by The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Washington Post, and many others. He makes regular appearances in the media.
Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at FDD and an expert at FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power (CEFP) focused on Hezbollah’s Latin America illicit threat networks and Iran’s history of sanctions evasion. His research has examined Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its links to the country’s energy sector and procurement networks. Prior to joining FDD, Ottolenghi headed the Transatlantic Institute in Brussels and taught Israel Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. He is author of The Pasdaran: Inside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran: The Looming Crisis, and Under a Mushroom Cloud: Europe, Iran and the Bomb. His columns have also appeared in leading outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and London’s The Sunday Times. He obtained his PhD in political theory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, preceded by undergraduate studies in political science at the University of Bologna.
Dr. Jonathan Schanzer is Senior Vice President for Research at FDD, where he oversees the work of the organization’s experts and scholars. He is also on the leadership team of FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power, a project on the use of financial and economic power as a tool of statecraft. Schanzer previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. He has held previous think tank research positions at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Middle East Forum. Schanzer testifies often before Congress and publishes widely in the American and international media. He has appeared on American television channels such as Fox News and CNN, and Arabic language television channels such as Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera.
Clifford D. May is the founder and president of FDD, a nonpartisan policy institute focusing on national security created immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States. Under his leadership, FDD has become one of the nation’s most highly regarded think tanks and a sought-after voice on a wide range of national security issues. He has helped assemble a staff and advisory board of the most compelling scholars and experts whose research, ideas, and recommendations have shaped important policies and legislation on terrorism, nonproliferation, human rights, Islamism, democratization, and related issues. May has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications, and politics. A veteran news reporter, foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories around the world. From 2016 to 2018, May served as a commissioner on the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress in order to advance the pivotal right of religious freedom around the world and integrate religious freedom into America’s foreign policy.
Samuel Rascoff is an expert in national security law and serves as faculty director of the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University. Named a Carnegie Scholar in 2009, Rascoff came to the Law School from the New York City Police Department, where, as Director of Intelligence Analysis, he created and led a team responsible for assessing the terrorist threat to the city. A graduate of Harvard summa cum laude, Oxford with first class honors, and Yale Law School, Rascoff previously served as a law clerk to US Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter and to Judge Pierre N. Leval of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He was also a special assistant with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq and an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Rascoff’s publications include “Presidential Intelligence” (Harvard Law Review); “Counterterrorism and New Deterrence” (NYU Law Review); “Establishing Official Islam? The Law and Strategy of Counter-Radicalization” (Stanford Law Review); “Domesticating Intelligence” (Southern California Law Review), and “The Law of Homegrown (Counter-) Terrorism” (Texas Law Review).
Elizabeth Neumann served as the Assistant Secretary for Threat Prevention and Security Policy in the Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans. She oversaw Department of Homeland Security (DHS)-wide policy development and coordination for screening and vetting, terrorism prevention, counterterrorism, countering transnational criminal organizations, and other persistent and emerging threats. Prior to this role, Neumann served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Department, where she assisted in the management of the day-to-day operations of DHS and served as a senior advisor to Secretaries Kelly and Nielsen, as well as Acting Secretary Duke. Neumann’s work in the homeland security enterprise began just prior to the founding of DHS in 2003, where she served on the Homeland Security Council at the White House. As part of the White House’s Domestic Counterterrorism Directorate, she tracked terrorist threats and developed domestic prevention and mitigation strategies and programs. Later, in support of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Neumann worked with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to develop the protocols for reporting suspicious activity, and she developed one of the early community-based models for countering violent extremism.
As Senior Advisor to the CEO, George Selim supports the CEO and Senior Staff on a range of strategic initiatives to include policy development and program implementation, national security matters, and a range of special projects and priority engagements. Prior to his appointment at ADL in 2017 as Senior Vice President of Programs, Selim served in the administrations of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump. He served as the Department of Homeland Security’s first Director of the Office for Community Partnerships. Concurrently, he was selected to lead a newly created Countering Violent Extremism Task Force to coordinate government efforts and partnerships to prevent violent extremism in the United States. Before assuming these roles, Selim served for four years at the White House on the National Security Council Staff where he focused on policy development and program implementation matters for both domestic and international security threats. Prior to his work at the White House, Selim served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the DHS Office for Civil Rights & Civil Liberties. He has also worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arab American Institute, and served one year with AmeriCorps. Selim holds an MA from Georgetown University and a BA from Walsh University.
John McLaughlin served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September of 2004 and as the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director for Intelligence at the Central Intelligence Agency, Vice Chairman for Estimates and Acting Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. McLaughlin is a graduate of the US Army Infantry Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning and was recently inducted into the School’s Hall of Fame. He completed a US Army tour in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. McLaughlin is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Community Service Award and the National Security Medal. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Diplomacy. He serves on the bipartisan Homeland Security Advisory Group managed by Mitre Corporation, the National Security Advisory Group at the Noblis Corporation, and the Middle East Institute’s Advisory Group on Countering Terrorism and Extremism.
Thomas Sanderson co-founded and directed the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from 2002 to 2018. Through his consulting practice, he investigates terrorism, insurgency, criminal networks, global trends, and intelligence issues and guides governments and the private sector in detecting, understanding and navigating a wide range of global risks and opportunities.
Juan Carlos Zarate provides expert counsel and strategic guidance to clients on complex internal and international financial investigations. Previously, Zarate served as the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism (“counterterrorism czar”), where he was responsible for developing and implementing the U.S. counterterrorism strategy and policies related to transnational security threats, including anti-money laundering, kleptocracy, and transnational organized crime. He was the first-ever Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. In this role, he led the post-9/11 anti-money laundering and sanctions regime expansion in the United States. Prior to 9/11, Zarate served as federal terrorism prosecutor, working on international terrorism cases like the bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa and the USS Cole. Juan is the chair of the Center on Economic and Financial Power at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and an independent advisor to Coinbase. He was a visiting lecturer in law at the Harvard Law School for eight years and is a published author, including the books Treasury’s War (2013) and Forging Democracy (1994).
Zainab Al-Suwaij is a co-founder of the American Islamic Congress (AIC) and has been its Executive Director since its inception in 2001. In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Al-Suwaij left her teaching position at Yale to launch AIC with the mission of building interfaith and interethnic understanding and to represent the diversity of American Muslim life. Al-Suwaij’s leadership has expanded AIC into an international organization with six bureaus worldwide, including the U.S., Egypt, Iraq, and its newest location, Tunisia. Her vision for acceptance and understanding in the U.S. is being realized through AIC’s growing campus initiative, Project Nur, as well as its Interfaith Councils and groundbreaking Witness Series. Al-Suwaij is an outspoken advocate for women’s equality, civil rights, and interfaith understanding.
Paul Cruickshank has reported extensively on al Qaeda, ISIS, and other Salafi Jihadi groups. He regularly appears on air as CNN’s Terrorism Analyst and is the Editor-in-Chief of CTC Sentinel, the independent flagship publication of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. He is the co-author of the 2014 book Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA. Cruickshank has regularly contributed to CNN’s reporting of Al Qaeda terrorism from a range of locations including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East and has frequently been a guest on CNN programs such as The Situation Room, The Lead, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight, Larry King Live, Piers Morgan Tonight, New Day, as well as CNN International to provide on-air analysis and reaction to breaking news events.