Day for Visionaries and Innovators - Speakers

Mr. Gene D’Adamo
President and CEO - Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust

Gene D’Adamo joined President and CEO the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust in January 2014. He previously was the vice president of community relations for Republic Media, which includes The Arizona Republic, 12 News and azcentral.com. While at the Republic, Gene created and directed Phoenix’s Season for Sharing Program, which distributed grants to Arizona nonprofits for 20 years. He also advised Indianapolis Star news executives on establishing a similar grants program in Indianapolis.

Gene has served on 20 nonprofit boards and received numerous awards for his philanthropic activities.   Gene is a graduate of Arizona State University earning a degree in communications. He also completed certification programs from the Kellogg School of Graduate Management at Northwestern University and the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College.

Mr. D’Adamo has worked closely with the staff of the Trust since its inception. One of his mentors was the late Frank Russell, who helped launch the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust in 1998 and served as its founding chairman.

Dr. Rufus Glasper
President & CEO - League for Innovation in the Community College

Rufus Glasper, PhD, is the president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The League hosts conferences and institutes, develops print and digital resources, and leads projects and initiatives with more than 800 member institutions representing nine different countries, over 160 corporate partners, and a host of other governmental and nonprofit agencies. In its continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities, the League is dedicated to improving student and organizational learning through innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation.

Glasper is also chancellor emeritus of the Maricopa Community Colleges, one of the nation’s largest multi-college community college systems. He served as chancellor from 2003 through February 2016, and previously held district leadership positions for more than two decades.

Glasper served from 2009 to 2012 as the committee co-chair for the Lumina Foundation on Education "Getting AHEAD" Initiative, a comprehensive and collaborative initiative by Arizona’s education institutions, business community, and state government to reshape Arizona’s postsecondary education system and enable more residents to attain a college degree. From 2005 to 2009, Glasper served with then-governor Janet Napolitano as co-chair of the P-20 (pre-kindergarten through graduate school) Council.

Nationally, Glasper previously served as a member of the American Council on Education Commission on Higher Education Attainment, convened by the six presidential-level higher education national associations to assess the need for improved college retention and attainment and to chart a course for improvement. In 2012, he was appointed to the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, comprised of prominent university presidents and academic leaders charged with advising the secretary and senior leadership at the department on several key issues. Additionally, Glasper serves on the Air University Board of Visitors, the intellectual and leadership center of the Air Force that provides dynamic comprehensive education to prepare graduates to develop, employ, command, research, and champion air, space, and cyberspace power at all levels, and the American Council on Education. Glasper previously served on the board of directors for RC-2020, a not-for-profit association of community college CEOs serving major metropolitan areas, and the Higher Learning Commission. He also served on the board for the League for Innovation from 2003 to 2016.

Glasper is an active community member, serving on the boards of the Arizona Community Foundation, the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, and the O’Connor Institute. He is also an emeritus member of Greater Phoenix Leadership.

Glasper earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Luther College (Decorah, Iowa) and a master’s and advanced degrees in school business administration from Northern Illinois University. He received his doctorate of philosophy degree in higher education finance from the University of Arizona.

Ms. Suzanne Pfister
President & CEO - Vitalyst Health Foundation

Suzanne Pfister is the President and CEO of Vitalyst Health Foundation. She is leading a variety of projects, including support for the Cover AZ Coalition, that focuses on Medicaid and federal marketplace enrollment, assistance to cities in Arizona to integrate health into land use planning and community development, and promoting health innovation.

Prior to this, she was Vice President of External Affairs for Dignity Health Arizona and Vice President for Marketing and Communications at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, and served as a community relations consultant.

Suzanne’s hobbies are travel and landscape photography.  However, she currently serves in so many leadership positions on boards and commissions, I wonder where she finds time to enjoy her hobbies.

Suzanne has a Master’s Degree in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Urban Studies from Occidental College.

Mr. Vince Roig
Founding Chairman - Helios Education Foundation

As Founding Chairman of the Board of Helios Education Foundation, Vince Roig provides leadership by setting the organizational tone, and overseeing governance and related activities with a focus on mission, direction, priorities and evaluation. His leadership and lifelong commitment to education has helped Helios Education Foundation emerge as one of the largest foundations focused solely on education in both Arizona and Florida.

Before founding Helios, Vince was the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Student Services Corporation and its affiliates for over 20 years. Southwest was a full service provider of student loan products and services to students, families and schools, with a primary focus in Arizona and Florida.

Vince also serves on more than half a dozen community boards and leadership organizations. And he received awards from many organizations.  One that I am most proud of  is the 2014 Hero of Education by the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.  Although at the time we were honoring him, he honored the colleges with a 2 million dollar grant for scholarships.

Dr. Steve Seleznow
President & CEO - Arizona Community Foundation

Steven G. Seleznow is president & chief executive officer of the Arizona Community Foundation.  Founded in 1978, ACF has more than 1,200 funds and $900 million in charitable assets under management today, and is one of  nations’ and Arizona’s largest statewide grant makers, largest private provider of scholarships to students. ACF has made close to $600 million in charitable grants across its statewide network of 6 affiliate community foundations.

Prior to leading ACF, Steve served for nearly five years as deputy director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s U.S. Program in Education, managing the implementation of a $2.5 billion investment portfolio and leading grant making for states, districts and networks throughout the country.

Seleznow spent the first 28 years of his career in public education and leadership in Maryland and the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Seleznow earned a doctorate and master’s degree in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University, an M.A. from the University of Maryland and is a graduate of Boston University.

Dr. Monica Sharma
International Expert and Practitioner on Leadership Development

Monica Sharma, trained as a physician and epidemiologist, worked for the United Nations since 1988 for 22 years. Currently, she engages worldwide as an International Expert and Practitioner on Leadership Development for sustainable and equitable change.  She works with United Nations, Universities, Management Institutions, governments, business, media and civil society organizations. She is the Tata Chair Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai. As a practitioner, her proven track record of generating measurable results at scale, as well as enhancing leadership on every continent, is unique. She brings this experience and capability to all her work. She designs and facilitates programmes for whole systems transformation and leadership development in both developed and developing countries. Using cutting–edge transformational approaches and methodologies,   the purpose is to achieve measurable and sustainable change in development, business and peace. She fosters results-oriented partnerships with governments, civil society, business, media and United Nations. She also designs and implements workshops – “learning –in-action programmes” – with both business and non-profit organisations on different aspects of Leadership Development for Sustainable Change. She engaged with over 20 organisations, mostly global. 

Formerly, as Director of Leadership and Capacity Development, United Nations, she designed and facilitated programmes for whole systems transformation and leadership development around the world with a focus on the 50 least developed countries, with measurable results. 

Monica Sharma designed and directed large programmes globally, and lived and worked extensively in both developing and developed countries – in Africa, Asia, Arab States, Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America.

For example, she developed and implemented transformational leadership programmes in 40 countries generating multiple innovations and large-scale results impacting 4.5 million directly and another 130 million in the context of HIV AIDS as the global Director of the HIV/AIDS programme of United Nations Development Programme. She pioneered the strategy for “whole systems transformation” for reducing maternal mortality in South Asia, addressing women’s rights and leadership at all levels.

She led teams for policy formulation, strategic direction and programme development in 60 countries, building multi-stakeholders partnerships with governments, media, civil society and business.  She has published and presented over 250 articles in journals and international forums. 

In 2009, Monica Sharma received “The Spirit of the United Nations Award”, given to a person whose work is an expression of the core principles, spirit and vision on which the United Nations was founded. Monica Sharma was honored because “of her inspirational leadership, skilled wisdom and devoted attention to the United Nations,…for guidance  in  developing effective strategic  frameworks for action for application world-wide…..that has manifested in effective programs and leadership development initiatives.”

Monica Sharma also received the prestigious Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) 2009 Honorary Membership Award, for her contribution in fostering transformational leadership world-wide resulting in measurable change and for her strategic work with the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health (NIGH) related to nursing and health care. 

Monica Sharma created and uses a unique response model based on extensive application –a conscious full-spectrum model- which simultaneously in time solves problems, shifts systems and creates new patterns sourced from individual inner capacity and transformational leadership.  This model has generated sustainable results worldwide. She fosters emerging leaders world-wide – proactively seeking out potential leaders, unleashing their power of effective creativity, enabling them to manifest their full potential.

These leaders recognize the invisible, multiple patterns and systems that shape societal and planetary situations and actions; they distinguish, design and deliver actions sourced from self-awareness and empathy; manifest sustainable and equitable change, creating new patterns as they solve problems. ‘Development’ of the individual and the collective is being redefined by her, to include the further reaches of the human and cultural capabilities,  to discover a deeper balance between humanity and nature, our intellect and emotion, our inner and outer worlds, and to foster its expression through many programmes world-wide in society as well as organizations.