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Fellow

Sree served as senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo from early 2021 to 2024, focusing on emerging technology, supply chain resiliency, and industrial policy. He is currently a Fellow at the nonprofit NobleReach Foundation, advising that organization on technology, talent, and investment initiatives to support US national and economic security.

Sree’s achievements at Commerce including developing and facilitating the CHIPS and Science Act and other Biden administration initiatives on semiconductors, supply chains, and critical technologies. He also developed Commerce’s CHIPS strategy and investment thesis to guide implementation of the CHIPS program and helped recruit key leaders to build the CHIPS program office at Commerce. He served as Commerce’s key technology and industrial policy interlocutor with the private sector, national security community, and Congressional leadership and staff.

He continues to advise a wide range of policy and industry leaders on ways to promote, protect, and scale up emerging technologies and industrial investments in the United States.

Sree was formerly a Partner in McKinsey & Company’s Washington DC office and at the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the non-profit business and economics research arm of McKinsey. In this role he was responsible for shaping MGI’s and McKinsey’s research on trends in global competition, technology disruption, and the forces impacting multinational firms. For more than a decade Sree has researched and written extensively about American manufacturing and supply chains, the impact of deindustrialization on economic and national security, and opportunities to revitalize industrial investment in established and emerging sectors.

Prior to joining McKinsey in 2008, Sree spent nearly a decade in the US aerospace and telecom sectors with roles in engineering and regulatory affairs. He holds three patents, an MBA, and Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in computer engineering and telecommunications.

Katharine Viles serves as the Director of Communications at NobleReach. Prior to joining NobleReach, she worked with leading PR agencies including Burson and Sage Communications for over five years, building communications campaigns and message strategy on behalf of major cloud service providers and trusted public sector partners in the defense, cybersecurity, hardware, digital transformation, telecom, satcom and channel company space. She holds a BSFS from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an MA from King’s College London in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies and speak French and Arabic fluently.

Amy Vallario currently serves as the SVP, Financial Planning & Analysis for NobleReach Foundation. She is a proven leader with over 15+ years of experience working to bring thoughtful direction and innovation to the Finance organization.

She has found herself at the forefront, driving impactful change and steering organizations towards success. Previously serving as the Director of Finance Operations at SRI International in Arlington, VA, she provided strategic leadership for the Advanced Technology Systems Division, managing a substantial portfolio of complex contracts and grants. She has been a catalyst for organizational growth, collaborating with research teams to develop precise forecasts and operational plans that ensure financial accuracy and viability. Through meticulous analysis and adherence to industry best practices, she navigates the intricate web of financial regulations and policies to safeguard the organization’s interests.

She also held various positions at SRI International, including Senior Project Manager and Manager, IT Applications, where she spearheaded initiatives to enhance financial reporting systems and streamline processes for maximum efficiency. Her journey is marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a commitment to continuous improvement. From overseeing accounting operations for a $750M customer group at SAIC to driving innovative solutions for revenue optimization and compliance, her experiences have shaped her into a versatile and resourceful leader in the field of finance.

Beyond the realm of numbers, she remains grounded in the values instilled in her during her formative years. Whether collaborating with cross-functional teams or mentoring aspiring finance professionals, she is driven by a passion for excellence and a genuine desire to make a positive impact in every endeavor. As she continues to chart new territories and conquer new challenges, she is guided by the belief that true success lies not only in achieving financial goals but in inspiring others to reach their fullest potential. With every step, she is committed to leading by example and shaping a future where financial integrity and modernization go hand in hand. Amy earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Jessica is a dedicated leader who is passionate about fostering entrepreneurial talent to address our nations most pressing problems through cross-sector collaboration. Prior to joining the NobleReach team, Jessica served as University Program Lead at the Common Mission Project (CMP), where she spearheaded the expansion of the Innovation for Impact program to over 10 universities, and managed university relationships across their national security and impact university entrepreneurship programs. Jessica has years of experience with program support, including serving as Program Assistant for the Centers for German and European Studies at the University of Virginia, and internship experience at the U.S. Department of State. Jessica graduated from the University of Virginia with a M.A. in European Studies and a B.A. in Global Studies Security and Justice with a minor in German.

Danielle Holman serves as the Senior Director of Talent Programs, leveraging her experience in talent development and program management to advance the mission of NobleReach.

She brings a breadth of experience in program strategy and operations, talent recruitment, DEI, and partnership building between philanthropic, private, and non-profit institutions. In her most recent role as the Director of Talent Selection at Schmidt Futures, she built the Quad Fellowship, a joint initiative with the White House to support STEM graduate students in pursuing social impact careers, and advised other talent selection programs. Before Schmidt Futures, she served as the Director of Admissions of the TEAK Fellowship where she developed its talent pipeline for extraordinary students from low-income backgrounds and chaired the organization’s Equity Committee. She also led a national search for youth leaders at the Making Caring Common Project and served as an admissions officer at Princeton University. She holds a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor’s degree in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University.

Leor Schiffer is an Associate of Academic Partnerships, focused on the Innovation for Impact Program. An experienced start-up operator, Leor previously served as the Strategic Projects Lead at Common Mission Project, where he worked on AI implementation and building ecosystem partnerships that improved the scale and quality of the Innovation for Impact program.

Before Common Mission, Leor was the Business Operation Manager at Summit, a community building organization that curated events for top innovators, leaders, and creators. As the Business Operations Manager, Leor guided the sales team through changes in the product due to COVID, and implemented sales strategies to grow its new offering.

Prior to these roles, Leor used the methodologies he learned in Hacking4Defense to create his own start-up, DIGII, where Leor led a team of 6 to develop and sell digital business cards. Outside of work, Leor is a professional volleyball player, having been on the USA Beach Volleyball Development Team and playing indoor for San Diego Wild.

Jim Santa serves as NobleReach’s Senior Director of Academic Partnerships.

Prior to NobleReach, Jim was the Director of International Academics at the Common Mission Project and adjunct teaching faculty within the Management Information Systems department at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Saunders College of Business, the Department of Computing Security within the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, and the Albert J. Simone Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Before his role at CMP, Jim was the Director of Project Management at Eagleview Technologies and Director of Advancement Information Systems within University Advancement at RIT. In the national defense sector, James was the Deputy Project Manager at ManTech International supporting PM WIN-T (now the One Network Tactical Network) and Operations Manager for PM-DCGS-A.

Jim began his career from 2006-2001 as an enlisted infantryman in the U.S. Army. He was stationed at Fort Myer, VA as part of The Old Guard, serving in capacities ranging from ceremonial duties to Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, and the White House, as well as within operations for the regiment.

He holds his DBA in Business Intelligence, MBA in Finance, and BS in Business Administration from Capella University. His research interests range from the human interaction parameters with business systems, and information learning systems.

Darian Philips joined NobleReach to serve as a Human Resource Coordinator, where he plays a crucial role in supporting HR functions such as recruitment, onboarding, employee engagement, and administrative duties. Darian holds a B.S. in Human Resource Management from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Through his internship with another non-profit organization, he recognized a passion and drive for fostering a positive workplace environment and culture. To show his dedication and enthusiasm for HR functions, he also obtained his SHRM Certified Professional Certification. When he is not contributing to NobleReach’s continued success, Darian can be found taking photos, listening to music, watching the sunset, trying new foods, and going to live performances.

Stephanie DeFino is the chief financial officer of NobleReach Foundation and leads the accounting, finance, treasury, and contracts functions. Stephanie joined the organization in January 2024 after spending over 4 years as the CFO of SRI International, a nonprofit research organization based in Menlo Park, CA. During her tenure at SRI, Stephanie led several transformation efforts, including the modernization of the ERP and planning systems, due diligence and post-acquisition integration activities, and was a key participant in the redevelopment actions for the Institute’s primary locations.

Stephanie joined SRI from SAIC, where she spent over 20 years in executive roles. In her role leading the finance shared services team she was responsible for leading collaborative initiatives between division and corporate groups and managing an organization that included project and operational accounting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, program control, and compliance.

Stephanie has been recognized for her process improvement accomplishments, including system implementations, cash flow optimization, and employee career development initiatives. She holds a B.S. in Accounting from San Diego State University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Taylor Moran serves as NobleReach’s Associate of Academic Partnerships.

Before joining NobleReach, Taylor served as a Senior Analyst at the Common Mission Project (CMP), where she worked to advance their Hacking for Impact (H4I) program and utilized her environmental industry experience to forge crucial partnerships to support the organization’s growth.

Before her time at CMP, Taylor was a Program Officer on the Oceans Markets and Finance team at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where she orchestrated high-profile corporate partnerships and led initiatives in market engagement for Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), ghost gear, and ocean plastics.

Preceding her work at WWF, Taylor honed her analytical skills as a Data Marketing Analyst at Google, driving impactful marketing strategies. Taylor’s academic background blends business marketing with a deep-rooted emphasis on conservation biology.

Alex Gallo is a Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy at NobleReach Foundation. He is also a Fellow with the National Security Institute at George Mason University and the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Additionally, Alex is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Prior to this role, Alex served as the Executive Director of the Common Mission Project, an organization responsible for scaling the Hacking for Defense and Hacking for Impact programs across the United States. He was also a Senior Advisor with the defense innovation consultancy, BMNT.

From 2012-2017, Alex served as a Professional Staff Member with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). His portfolio included U.S. policy in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions for the full committee policy staff. Alex wrote legal authorities, conducted oversight, and advised the HASC Chairman within his portfolio area of responsibility, completing five National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAAs).

From 2008-2012, Alex served as a professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point and Deputy Director of the Combating Terrorism Center.

Alex began his career as a U.S. Army officer. His operational deployments included a peacekeeping deployment to Kosovo and a combat tour in Iraq.

Alex’s work has been featured in The Hill, Foreign Affairs, The Economist, The Cipher Brief, Modern War Institute, Defence Studies, and CTC Sentinel.

Alex holds a B.S. from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a PhD in Governance and Global Affairs from Leiden University.

Kuzeyhan Ozdemir is Director of Academic Partnerships at NobleReach Foundation. He joined NobleReach from George Mason University where he served as the National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Program Manager.

Before his time at Mason, he worked at the intersection of Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Bilkent University & Technology companies. He also mentors and coaches the entrepreneurs at startup accelerators like CleanTech Open and Founder Institute.

He leverages his extensive experience to support startup founders, academic and student entrepreneurs in transforming their ideas, and inventions into tangible products and services that positively impact people’s lives and contribute to the economic development.

He has BSc and MSc degrees in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (majoring in Computer Science) and MBA degree in Business Administration from Middle East Technical University in Turkey. He is also a Project Management Institute (PMI) certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

 

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