Kitchen cabinet

Julie McDermott

Julie McDermott, Angel Investor, LP, Fixed Income Trader

Julie McDermott spent over a decade as a Fixed Income Trader at Wall Street investment banks Citigroup and Bank of America, trading a $2BN bond portfolio and generating nearly $200mm in profits over her career. Prior to that, she received her MBA from Columbia Business School in 2001 with a concentration in Finance. Julie has traveled extensively, speaks Portuguese,Spanish and English and has lived and worked in Brazil. Currently, she is a Limited Partner in several VC Funds including 500 Startups, Monks Hill and Female Founders Fund. She is an active angel investor in addition to investing across as set classes. She lives in NYC with her partner, Marcus and daughter, Vivian.

Will McDonough

Will McDonough, Investor and Entrepreneur

In 2014, McDonough co-founded Atlas Mara Co-Nvest with former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond. Together they raised $1 billion and acquired 8 banks in Sub-Saharan Africa including BancABC in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe; BRD and BPR in Rwanda, and UBN in Nigeria. He led the process of taking Atlas Mara public on the London Stock Exchange (ATMA-LSE) in August 2014. Today Atlas Mara has over 3,500 employees, operated by executives formerly of the World Bank, IFC, Barclays, Standard Chartered and Ecobank. Prior to joining Atlas, McDonough ran a team in the Investment Management Division of Goldman Sachs, managing over $17bn of the private capital of the current and retired partners of the firm.

Chok Ooi

Chok Ooi, CEO of AgilityIO, Mentor at 500Startups

Chok runs AgilityIO, a 157 person software consulting firm with offices in New York, Singapore, and Vietnam. Chok's firm works with Silicon Valley and NYC startups, as well as large enterprises such as ADP, Consumer Reports and Samsung. Chok is also a mentor at 500 Startups, and a LP at 500's SE Asia Durian fund. Prior to AgilityIO, Chok worked at location-based startup Loopt, under Sam Altman who is today President of y-Combinator. Chok was also a technologist at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Courtney Spence

Courtney Spence, CEO, CSpence Group; Founder, Students of the World

Courtney Spence is a passionate creative entrepreneur and global storyteller. She is the CEO of the marketing firm the CSpence Group, and is the founder of Students of the World, a non-profit that was started over 15 years ago at Duke University and continues to provide services and opportunities to the next generation of creative leaders. Her production experiences range from places across the globe, including Cuba, Uganda, Cambodia, Haiti, Kosovo, Israel & the West Bank. Through her journey, Courtney has deepened her understanding of emerging filmmakers, storytelling, and the work of innovative cause-based organizations. In 2004, Courtney was recognized by the International Youth Foundation with a Youth Action Net Fellowship in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the Executive Producer of a UN-endorsed feature-length documentary, The Children’s War, that captured the story of survivors of the Civi l War in Uganda. Her most recent creative endeavor is writing and producing her first feature-length narrative film set for release in 2016.

David Taylor

David Taylor, Former CEO, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp

Dave Taylor began his professional career in the commercial aircraft industry, and then transitioned to aerospace and defense with his last major role as CEO of an aerospace and defense corporation. While CEO he organically tripled top line while significantly growing margins. Dave is currently unsuccessfully retired and is a founder of a high-tech startup and principal investor in an international social venture startup.

John Hamilton

John Hamilton, CEO and Managing Partner, The Onyx Company and Better Earth, LLC; Partner, Renew Packaging

John Hamilton is an entrepreneur, business owner, and investor. John is currently the CEO and Managing Partner of The Onyx Company, which specializes in the distribution of sustainable food service packaging, paper, and chemical products. John is also the founder, CEO, and Managing Partner of Better Earth, LLC, a manufacturing company focused on compostable food service products. In addition, he is the co-founder and partner in Renew Packaging, a bio-film manufacturing company. John’s entrepreneurial spirit coupled with his passion for the environment has been a great catalyst leading him to focus on creating companies that drive environmentally preferred products into mainstream markets around the world. John is active in several non-profits focused on environmental conservation and socioeconomic development.


Mickey Bergman

Mickey Bergman, Vice President, The Richardson Center for Global Engagement; Executive Director GAP, The Aspen Institute

With nearly 15 years in various aspects of strategic diplomacy, Mickey Bergman coined the term Fringe Diplomacy to describe the new field he is forging, an innovative discipline exploring the space in international relations just beyond the boundaries of States and Governments’ capacity and authority.

He manages relationships and private diplomacy efforts in North Korea, Cuba, Myanmar, Middle East, and Africa. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 as part of his work at the Richardson Center, he has led his team to facilitate the release of more political prisoners than any other organization. Mickey creates new political capital by leading Professional Exchange Programs to frontier countries such as North Korea, Myanmar, Cuba, Lebanon, and others.

Mickey is Vice President and Senior Advisor at Governor Richardson Center for Global Engagement; was Executive Director of the Global Alliances Program at the Aspen Institute; is a professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, where he teaches about emotional intelligence in international relations, and consultant to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Mickey has published numerous articles, interviews, and opinion pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe, Foreign Policy Online, and Huffington Post. Mickey also has been featured as a subject matter expert for television interviews on CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox News, I24news, Global News, and ABC News Australia.

Robin Bergman

Robin Bergman, Fringe Diplomacy Board Member

Robin Bergman is somewhat of an outsider in the foreign diplomacy world, but is looking forward to contributing to the work of Fringe from the fringe. She currently works as a Realtor in Northern Virginia with Arlington Premier Realty. In this capacity she is able to help people make some of the most important financial and personal decisions on their lives. In her previous life, Robin worked as an Assistant Director of Development for an international non-profit. Building upon a degree in Print Journalism, she tries to incorporate writing into all of her endeavors. The causes she is most passionate about include inter-faith and inter-cultural exchanges to promote peace through understanding. She is also somewhat of a self-proclaimed eco-geek.

Rachel Samuelson

Rachel Samuelson, Fringe Diplomacy Board Member

Rachel is currently completing her MBA at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business, where she has pursued a focus on public sector innovation and the adoption of systems to inspire innovation, incentivize productivity, and deepen effectiveness across government and non government organizations. Following her graduation from McDonough, Rachel will join Deloitte as a Senior Consultant in their Federal Strategy & Operations practice here in Washington, DC. Prior to attending Georgetown, Rachel built and managed the Aspen Institute's Global Alliances Program (GAP) -- founded to bolster trade and investment between the US and emerging markets in a capacity that yielded social, financial, and diplomatic returns. Rachel also launched the New Ideas @ OSD partnership with the Office of the Secretary of Defense--envisioned as a vehicle for fostering greater innovation and learning in the policy community through the adoption of private sector values and practices, and in an effort to generate new and creative ways of thinking about national security and defense.

Vanessa Zuabi

Vanessa Zuabi, Fringe Diplomacy Board Member

Vanessa specializes in business and partnership development, working actively to bridge business with social impact. She is Founder and President of JSR, a consultancy that advises on business and partnership development to achieve stronger social impact objectives. She is also the Associate Vice President of External Affairs and Strategic Initiatives for the Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII), which aims to provide access to finance to small businesses throughout the MENA region. Vanessa Zuabi was formerly Associate Director of Partners for a New Beginning (PNB), at the Aspen Institute. PNB is a public private partnership that promotes impactful investment in entrepreneurship and education initiatives globally. Vanessa has published articles on education and entrepreneurship development in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Huffington Post and Foreign Policy. She is a former Fulbright Fellow to France and received her Masters of Science in Foreign Service with a focus in International Development from Georgetown University.

Rehan Hasan

Rehan Hasan, Fringe Diplomacy Counsel

As an attorney and strategic advisor Rehan has a corporate transactional/tax practice that focuses on social impact, entrepreneurship, and the innovation economy. His work includes projects with the Unreasonable Group and the Nike Foundation designing and serving as attorney in residence for the Girl Effect Accelerator and Go Code Colorado, which is a public/private partnership platform for entrepreneurship around public data and building community across the state of Colorado. As an entrepreneur Rehan has successfully founded and launched multiple companies, including Galvanize and its code school component, gSchool which is one of the largest and most dynamic co working space and platforms for entrepreneurship and education in the country. Rehan's latest venture -- a community, co-working space, and educational platform promoting mindfulness, human-centered design and diversity in the workplace. In addition, Rehan serves on the executive committee of the National Board of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its National Board of Directors.