Staff Bios

Cecilia A. Conrad

Cecilia A. Conrad

CEO, Lever for Change; Managing Director, MacArthur Fellows and 100&Change, MacArthur Foundation

Cecilia A. Conrad, Ph.D. is CEO of Lever for Change and a Managing Director at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. In addition to her role at Lever for Change, Dr. Conrad oversees the MacArthur Fellows program and MacArthur’s 100&Change. Conrad steered the cross-foundation team that designed the 100&Change competition and that created a platform to promote the submitted ideas to other funders and the public. 

Before joining the foundation in January 2013, Conrad had a distinguished career as both a professor and an administrator at Pomona College, Claremont, CA.  She joined the economics faculty at Pomona College in 1995.  She served as Associate Dean of the College (2004-2007), as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College (2009-2012), and as Acting President (Fall 2012).  From 2007-2009, she was interim Vice President and Dean of the Faculty at Scripps College.   

Conrad's academic research focuses on the effects of race and gender on economic status and her work has appeared in both academic journals and nonacademic publications including The American Prospect and Black Enterprise.  Her co-edited text, African Americans in the US Economy, was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title in 2005.  Conrad has also served on the faculties of Barnard College and Duke University, was an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and was a visiting scholar at The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. 

Conrad was recognized as California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year in 2002, received the National Urban League’s Women of Power Award in 2008 and the National Economic Association’s Samuel Z. Westerfield award in 2018. She has honorary doctorates from Claremont Graduate University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Dr. Conrad is a member of the board of trustees of Bryn Mawr College, The Poetry Foundation, the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Sylvia Bozeman and Rhonda Hughes EDGE Foundation.  She received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. 


Brad Ballast Headshot

Brad Ballast

Chief Operating Officer, Lever for Change

Brad is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of Lever for Change. 

Most recently, Brad was Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. Prior to joining Lurie Children’s Foundation, Brad was Executive Director of both the TAWANI Foundation and the Pritzker Military Foundation, focusing on grant making in a wide range of subject matter areas, with a primary focus on military history, historic preservation, environmental initiatives, health/wellness and gender and human sexuality.

Before that, Brad was Managing Director of U.S. Community Affairs for BMO Financial Group in Chicago. In that role, Brad was responsible for BMO’s community affairs activities across the bank’s U.S. footprint, including charitable giving, nonprofit sponsorships and the bank’s nonprofit board training and placement program. He also served as primary advisor to the bank’s executives about their own philanthropic engagement.

Brad was also a Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Contributions for LaSalle Bank in Chicago and was responsible for all of the bank’s charitable contributions and sponsorships, nonprofit board placements, volunteer programs and internal fundraising campaigns. Prior to that, Brad was Associate Director of Community Affairs at LaSalle Bank.

Brad has served on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including the Chicago History Museum; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Center on Halsted; Arts Alliance Illinois (formerly the Illinois Arts Alliance); Forefront (formerly the Donors Forum of Chicago); and Lookingglass Theatre.

Brad is a graduate of Hope College and has an MBA in Marketing from Michigan State University.



Kristen J. Molyneaux

Vice President, Social Impact, Lever for Change

Kristen leads the Social Impact team for Lever for Change which provides programmatic and technical supports to applicants and grantees.

Kristen was previously the Senior Program Officer for the Foundation’s 100&Change initiative, a competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve a critical problem of our time. In this role, Kristen co-developed, designed, and launched the inaugural 100&Change competition. She currently manages various aspects of the competition including scope of initiative, the provision of technical support to competition participants, and due diligence processes. Currently, Kristen oversees the Foundation’s $100 million investment in Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee.

Kristen joined the MacArthur Foundation in 2013 as a Program Officer in the Girls' Secondary Education in Developing Countries program where she oversaw the strategic trajectory of the GSE portfolio. This work included global engagement activities focused on strengthening the policy and evidence base for secondary education. During this time, she also played a critical leadership role in forming the Partnership to Strengthen Innovation and Practice in Secondary Education (PSIPSE) donor collaborative which has granted over $50 million dollars to global educational programs to date.

Before joining the Foundation, Kristen was a Program Officer at the Firelight Foundation where she led the organization’s investments in early childhood and primary education. Previously, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at Florida State University where she taught graduate courses on international education development, gender, and education policy, while also publishing scholarly articles on the importance of role models for young women interested in pursuing STEM related careers.

Kristen served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in both Uganda and Cape Verde. In both countries, she worked extensively with primary and pre-primary teacher training programs focused on improving the quality of teacher methodology and school culture within resource-poor school environments.

Kristen serves on the Board of Directors for the Comparative International Education Society (CIES).

Kristen obtained her B.S. degree from SUNY Oswego and M.S. from Florida State University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies—Comparative International Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 



Dana Rice

Vice President, Philanthropy, Lever for Change

Dana manages the relationships with donors with significant wealth and the wealth and philanthropic firms that advise them.

Just prior to joining MacArthur in June 2018, Dana was a Managing Director at Opportunity International leading global communications and institutional development efforts. Before that, Dana created and led the corporate social responsibility program for GCM Grosvenor, a global financial services firm. Early in her career, Dana practiced law for over 20 years, most of that time leading mergers and acquisitions for Pacific Telesis Group, a global telecommunications public company.

Dana received a B.A. in Sociology from Wellesley College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School and is on the board of Chicago Scholars and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.



Jeff Ubois

Vice President, Knowledge Management, Lever for Change

Jeff joined the MacArthur Foundation in 2011 to build what became the Discovery grants program, and has since worked in the Foundation's American Democracy, Philanthropy, and 100&Change programs.

Previous to his time at MacArthur, Jeff worked for organizations focused on digital media and innovation, including UC Berkeley’s School of Information Management and Systems, the Internet Archive, the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision, and the Preserving Digital Public Television Project at Thirteen/WNET. In the 1990s, Jeff worked as a journalist covering new technology, and co-founded a Silicon Valley startup, Omniva, which was funded by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.  Jeff attended New College in Sarasota, Florida for undergraduate studies, and as joint inventor, has five U.S. patents related to information management.

Jeff is a frequent public speaker, and has published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Nation, First Monday, the Journal of Digital Information, and other journals, summarized at He currently serves on the boards of the Kahle/Austin Foundation, which supports access to digital information; Humanity 2050, which explores challenges of complexity and the human future; and, a Chicago-based organization supporting free culture and expression.


Marci Chin

Marci Chin

Program Coordinator, Lever for Change

Marci is the Program Coordinator for Lever for Change and works closely with the Lever for Change team to ensure smooth operations across a variety of programs. Before joining Lever for Change, Marci worked with the MacArthur Foundation’s Office of Evaluation and the Conservation and Sustainable Development Program.

Prior to joining MacArthur, Marci served in various capacities at Hyatt Hotels Corporation, where she gained extensive experience in events management. She previously worked in the sales department for a Chicago-area radio station.

Marci holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Governors State University.



Mariela Evans

Administrative Coordinator, Lever for Change

Mariela is the Administrative Coordinator for Lever for Change and previously the Team Coordinator for the 100&Change competition. She works with the whole team and manages the everyday program operations.  Mariela also handles any contract related matters as well as contract payments.  In her previous roles at MacArthur, Mariela worked in Arts and Culture, Discovery Grants, MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, and Philanthropy Grants; as well as for the Conservation and Sustainable Development Program, mainly focused on the Latin American and Caribbean Regions.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Mariela worked in Perú, for CARE International and Peru-Mercantil (a representative company for two computer corporations).

Mariela studied business administration at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú and completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Business at DePaul University. She is fluent in Spanish and has knowledge of Portuguese.



Regina Shoykhet

Project Manager, Lever for Change

Regina provides wide-ranging project management to the Lever for Change team, which aspires to connect donors to organizations working to create social change by staging custom competitions and helping source projects of interest to fund from a solutions database. She brings a broad background in research, knowledge management, training, and program and project management, with experience in both the public and private sectors, including institutions of higher and secondary education.

Prior to joining MacArthur in August 2018, Regina was a Change Management Consultant at Northern Trust overseeing training, communication, and deployment activities to support the successful implementation of a new front-end financial software. She previously spent over 15 years in the education sector in program and project management roles, where she helped leverage educational technology and student data to support data-driven pedagogical decisions, after working as a classroom teacher in Boston Public Schools and in Mexico City.

Regina speaks Russian and Spanish. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Miami and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Board Bios


Julia Stasch

Board Chair; Former President, MacArthur Foundation

Julia Stasch serves as the Lever for Change Board Chair and is the former President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. With a broad background of leadership in the business, governmental, and philanthropic sectors, she served as the Foundation’s President since July 2014 and, previously, as Vice President for U.S. Programs. Prior to joining the Foundation, she worked for the City of Chicago, as Commissioner of the Department of Housing and as Chief of Staff to then Mayor Richard M. Daley. Stasch was President and Chief Executive Officer of Shorebank Chicago Companies, including South Shore Bank, the nation’s first community development bank. She also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of Chicago-based real estate development firm Stein & Company. During the first Clinton Administration, Stasch served in Washington, DC as Deputy Administrator of the General Services Administration. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


 HyperFocal: 0

Reid Hoffman

Co-Founder, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners

Reid Hoffman is the Co-Founder of LinkedIn and a Partner at Greylock Partners. An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses. In 2003 he co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service. In 2009 he joined Greylock Partners. He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Coda, Convoy, Edmodo, Entrepreneur First, Gixo, Microsoft, Nauto, Xapo and a few early stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Endeavor, CZI Biohub and Do Something.

He is the host of Masters of Scale, an original podcast series and the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for featured guests. He is the co-author of two New York Times best-selling books: The Start-Up of You and The Alliance. His next book is focused on “blitzscaling”, based on his Stanford course of the same name. He is an Aspen Institute Crown Fellow, a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, and a graduate of Stanford University.