Our Team

STAFF

Becky Margiotta, CEO and President

Becky Kanis MargiottaBecky inspires and supports leaders in the social sector to step all the way into what they’re here to do on this planet. And it’s always bigger than they thought.

In 2015, she created the Skid Row School to train foundation and nonprofit executives how to effectively design and run large-scale change initiatives. Prior to that, she created and led the 100,000 Homes Campaign that mobilized 186 cities to house 105,000 people off their streets in just four years.

Becky is a graduate of West Point and The New School. Her work has been featured on 60 Minutes and in the New York Times. She has received the White House Champion of Change Award, the Schwab Foundation’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the National Conference on Citizenship’s HOOAH Award.


Abigail (Abby) Zier Alyesh, Vice President

AbigailAbby has experience in change management and continuous process improvement, specifically focused on promoting large-scale care delivery transformation and payment reform to improve health care quality. Before joining the Billions Institute, Abby was a Quality Improvement Manager at the University of Michigan Health System, where she established and managed the Internal Medicine Quality and Innovation Program. Additionally, she led the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) Learning and Diffusion Group’s team that was responsible for designing, implementing, and managing learning communities across the country. Prior to her work at CMMI, Abby worked at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on the Research and Development Team. Abby holds an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a BA in anthropology from Georgetown University.


Jennifer Kennedy, Training Manager

JenniferJennifer Kennedy is a trainer, speaker, and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in education. Jennifer’s passion in education began as a volunteer in Ohio teaching English to Mexican migrant farm workers. She joined Teach For America and taught first grade in Compton, California. Her teaching career included teaching in Cameroon, West Africa and at a Charter School in Inglewood, California. She earned both the Teacher of the Year and Leadership Awards for her commitment to educating young minds. After leaving elementary education, she became a software trainer where she designed and implemented in-person and virtual professional development for over 100 school districts across California. Jennifer founded Teach Good Stuff to help business owners create online curriculum and digital content. She has spoken for the Blogging While Brown, BlogHer, iBloom, At the Helm, and Toastmasters conferences.


Kara McElvaine, Project Manager

Kara McElvaine is a project manager at the Billions Institute. Prior to joining the Billions Institute team, Kara spent over two years working at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence where she consulted with youth-serving organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Playworks, to identify areas for improvement in their existing social and emotional climates. Kara earned her BA at the College of William and Mary, where she studied both Anthropology (with a focus on Medical Anthropology) and Art History.  When she’s not working, she can be found practicing and teaching hatha yoga, reading copiously, and exploring nature and new places.


Keith Farrell, Project Manager

unnamed Keith Farrell is a project manager at the Billions Institute. Keith comes to the Billions Institute with a background in education and political organizing. He started his career with Teach for America working as a high school mathematics teacher at a charter school in inner city New Orleans, where he taught from 2009 – 2012. Most recently, he has worked as a field director and regional field director on a number of political campaigns, notably the campaign to update the Massachusetts’ bottle bill, Don Berwick’s 2014 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, and Ed Markey’s 2013 initial Senate campaign. Keith lives in Somerville, MA. He is currently pursuing an MPA degree from Northeastern University and has a BA in mathematics and political science from Connecticut College.

FACULTY

Joe McCannon, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor

Joe McCannon leads Shared Nation, an online democracy initiative incubated by the Billions Institute.  He co-founded the Billions Institute with Becky Margiotta and was CEO from 2014-2017. Before that, Joe was an appointee in the Obama Administration, serving as Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). There he rolled out major pieces of the Affordable Care Act and was part of the founding leadership team at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), directing its Learning and Diffusion Group. Previously, he was Vice President and faculty on large-scale improvement at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), leading the organization’s major domestic initiative to improve patient safety, the 100,000 Lives Campaign, and starting its work in Africa. He has supported large-scale transformation in several nations, including Canada, Denmark, England, Japan and South Africa, and consulted on the topic for a number of organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization and Community Solutions (100,000 Homes Campaign).


Nana A.Y. Twun-Danso, MD, MPH, FACPM, Senior Advisor

Nana Twum-Danso, MD, MPH, FACPM, is a Senior Advisor to the Billions Institute and the Founder and CEO of MAZA, a social enterprise that is establishing a transportation network to provide timely access to health care in rural Ghana. She is a public health and preventive medicine physician and a social entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in public health policy, strategy, program design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and research at local, national and global levels. Before MAZA, Nana was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she shaped and managed grants to improve maternal and child health outcomes at scale and provided strategic guidance on adolescent health. Prior to that, Nana led Project Fives Alive!, a nationwide quality improvement initiative that partnered the Institute for Healthcare Improvement with the two largest health service providers in Ghana to reduce child mortality. Nana’s work with MAZA has recently earned her membership in the Echoing Green Global Fellowship Program.


Christine Margiotta

Christine MargiottaChristine Margiotta has dedicated the last 15 years to creating social change on issues including homelessness, education, economic justice, racial equity, and LGBTQ rights. As Executive Director of Social Venture Partners, Los Angeles, she leverages a blend of collective impact, grantmaking, and community engagement to ensure a more thriving and just Los Angeles. Prior to joining Social Venture Partners, she was the VP of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where she led the strategic implementation of their mission to create pathways out of poverty. She designed, launched, and directed Home For Good, the region’s initiative to end homelessness. Home For Good cultivated the collaboration of over 200 cross-sector leaders and helped leverage over $1 billion in resources to house over 30,000 of the most vulnerable Angelenos. She received her MSW from UCLA in 2003 and she lives in Culver City with her wife, Becky, and their two kids, Huck and Vivian.


Dan Heath

Dan Heath Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center, which supports entrepreneurs who are fighting for social good. He is the co-author, along with his brother Chip, of three New York Times bestsellers: Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive.  The Heaths’ books have been translated into over 30 languages. Dan and his brother Chip were named to the Thinkers 50, a ranking of the world’s 50 most influential management thinkers. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.


Michelle Molitor

Michelle Molitor is the founder and CEO of Fellowship for Race & Equity in Education (FREE), an organization with the mission of creating equitable educational spaces for all students through honest and open dialogue across difference, and collective anti-racist action.  This equity work was built in response to the urgency for culturally responsive systemic change for our most vulnerable students—not just in DC, but nationwide. FREE has partnered with and led work alongside several national, regional and local education agencies across the education ecosystem including the Department of Education, district offices, individual schools, philanthropic groups, and education facing entities.   Prior to starting FREE, Michelle was a teacher for many years, and was a founding school administrator and principal for a decade. 


Leslie Chertok

Leslie Chertok is the Managing Director at BioPause, a startup company that she cofounded in 2015. Leslie studied Buddhist Psychology at Naropa University earning a MA in 1991. She has been a practicing therapist and coach ever since. Leslie is a graduate of the Hendricks’ Institute Leadership and Transformation Program.  She is a 30-year meditator whose primary interest is in the integration of mindfulness into daily life. Over her 25-year career, she has seen the negative impacts of chronic stress on thousands of people, families, businesses, and communities. Leslie believes that the ability to pause throughout the day holds the key to empowering people to choose to live a healthier, more meaningful life. She works with business and non-profit leaders and has facilitated leadership team retreats within the health care industry. Her preferred work location is in the forest, inviting nature to support people connecting with their most authentic selves.


Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson has often been described as a Change Agent and was identified as “The Fix-It Man” by The Advocate, a national LGBT-interest magazine. Mike is currently serving as CEO of the LGBT Community Center of the Desert in Palm Springs. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Mike previously served as the Chief Operating Officer  and Acting President of GLAAD, a national LGBT advocacy organization, Executive Director of Equality Utah, a statewide equality organization, and worked with the Gill Foundation and Gill Action to form One Colorado, the state’s LGBT political advocacy group. Mike has also worked extensively as a leadership and organizational development consultant and is actively involved with CenterLink, the network of LGBT community centers across the country . Throughout his career, Mike’s passion has been building mission-focused organizations.


Nicole Taylor

Nicole Taylor has been dedicated to supporting individuals in their personal transformation and growth for more than 10 years. Using a blend of meditation, yoga, mind/body awareness, emotional intelligence, and Ayurvedic techniques, Nicole facilitates transformative workshops on self-care. She is  a graduate of the Hendricks Institute’s Leadership and Transformation program, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor, and a teacher trainer for the Himalayan Institute’s Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist program. A resident of Philadelphia, she has facilitated wellness instruction for the Philadelphia Police Department, Fairmount Park Conservancy, Penn Center for Community Health Workers, and Mural Arts Foundation.

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