Over the last three-quarters of a century, the global population has seen remarkable advancements at all levels of society. Today there are historic lows of extreme poverty, child mortality, and illiteracy—and advancements in health, education, and technology continue to accelerate. At the same time, the world currently faces a range of challenges that threaten natural resources and economic progress, political stability, and human safety.
Addressing climate change, migration, and security challenges—affecting all geographies—is more urgent than ever. There is a critical need to build resilience for individuals, communities, and institutions to better understand, prepare for, and withstand these interrelated threats. Together, we must act to ensure a secure and more prosperous world. While not all problems can be solved, the promise of progress rests in our willingness to address challenges head on.
The Adrienne Arsht–Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center is dedicated to addressing these challenges. Leveraging the Council's intellectual strength, global reach, and nearly sixty-years of measurable global public policy impact, we will transform ideas into action. We are committed to reaching one billion people with resilience solutions to climate change, migration, and security by 2030. The need is urgent and we are all vulnerable. Together, we can build a more resilient world.
Our Leadership and Team
Kathy Baughman McLeod
Kathy Baughman McLeod is the director of the Adrienne Arsht–Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center at the Atlantic Council. She leads creation and execution of the Center’s strategy to achieve its goal of reaching one billion people worldwide with resilience solutions to the challenges of climate change, migration, and security by 2030. She leverages the significant global network, policy expertise, and intellectual capital of the Atlantic Council with strategic partnerships to deliver innovative on-the-ground solutions.
Baughman McLeod is the former senior vice president, Global Environmental & Social Risk, for Bank of America. In this role, she led the bank’s environmental and social risk policy work including climate risk disclosure efforts across the enterprise, in select lines of business and throughout four global regions. She also helped use the bank’s global reach to advance low carbon and climate resilient investments toward reaching the bank’s commitment of deploying $125 billion in capital by 2025.
In her prior role as managing director, Climate Risk & Resilience for the Nature Conservancy, Baughman McLeod led a global team of fifty policy experts, scientists, and financial specialists focused on using natural infrastructure to reduce storm and flood risk throughout Latin America, Australia, Asia, the US, and the Caribbean. She also launched the organization’s insurance initiative that creates market-based products that protect nature and coastal economies, as well as the Conservancy’s humanitarian initiative focused on climate disaster risk reduction called“Nature Protects People.”
A published author and award-winning producer of the documentary film series,The Nature of People, Baughman McLeod was a policy fellow of the French Foreign Ministry and an appointed member of the Florida Energy & Climate Commission. She holds an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, an MS in geography, and a BS in international affairs from Florida State University.
Eric Ridge is the deputy director and security lead of the Adrienne Arsht – Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and leads the Center’s security line of efforts. He has worked at the nexus of strategy and risk on national and homeland security policy issues for nearly fifteen years—envisioning new approaches and leading teams to implement them.
Ridge brings a range of government and think tank experience, including most recently having served as a senior advisor at the Department of Defense, where he was a member of the non-career senior executive service, and as a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He has authored reports and articles on a wide range of defense and security issues. Ridge holds an MA in security policy studies from the George Washington University and a BA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University. He is a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.
Paige Ennis advises leadership teams and boards on the intersection of strategy, communications, and development. She currently serves as Strategic Advisor to the Atlantic Council and as a leadership, communications and public speaking consultant at KNP Communications. From 2012–2017, she served as executive vice president of the Atlantic Council where she managed all external relations activities including development, events and communications.
She came to the Atlantic Council from the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was senior director of alumni relations and the school’s annual fund and director of marketing for executive education. Prior to Harvard, she held leadership positions in global sports including NIKE, US World Cup, US Figure Skating and World Figure Skating Championships and the Atlanta Olympic Games. She served in the White House on the political advance team for President Bill Clinton.
Rebecca Scheurer is a humanitarian professional with over twenty years of international disaster management experience in more than twenty-five countries, managing budgets totaling more than $200 million and raising tens of millions of dollars for her work. She served in a variety of leadership roles in major disaster responses such as Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Pakistan, and during the southeast Asia tsunami of 2004.
Prior to the Atlantic Council, Scheurer lead efforts at The Nature Conservancy to foster resilience in vulnerable communities using ecosystem-based strategies for risk reduction. She offers expertise in community-based disaster preparedness and is particularly interested in seeking innovative solutions for managing risks associated with climate change, migration and environmental degradation.
Scheurer previously served as the founding director of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Global Disaster Preparedness Center (GDPC) which aims to local level disaster preparedness capacities worldwide. Other positions held at American Red Cross include regional representative for Asia based in Bangkok, Thailand, and country representative in Hanoi, Vietnam. Ms. Scheurer also worked for the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance under the US Agency for International Development as last served as regional advisor for South Asia based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Rosemary Mann is the incoming director, Strategic Partnerships Initiative for the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. Mann joins the Council from The Nature Conservancy, where she served as the director of the Global Oceans Program leading the philanthropy strategy for a $100 million capital campaign in four focal areas: coastal risk and resilience, sustainable fisheries, ocean protection and ocean governance.
Previously, Rosemary served as the assistant dean of advancement for the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and the Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. Rosemary has more than 25 years of experience in the field of ocean conservation and fundraising and has raised more than $300 million for science, climate and ocean protection during her career. A Miami native, Rosemary is a graduate of the University of Miami.
Bessie Tassoulas serves as Communications Lead for the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, overseeing all production of multimedia and content as well as building visibility of the program through outreach and engagement. Bessie is a producer and storyteller committed to global activism and resilience through creative and impactful media, innovative solutions and strategic partnerships. Bessie was formerly at The Nature Conservancy helping to implement its global climate adaptation strategy with focus on U.S., Caribbean, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. In this capacity she helped develop and launch the Insuring Nature initiative, with a pilot in Quintana Roo, Mexico to put the first-ever insurance policy on a section of the Mesoamerican Reef. An award-winning film producer and director, Bessie has, and continues to capture impactful stories of human resilience in the face of climate change. Bessie holds a B.S. in Film & Video Production from Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. She currently lives in her hometown of Austin, Texas and aspires to spend more time in her second home of Athens, Greece.
Joe Pettit is Deputy Director, Development Operations at the Atlantic Council. Joe joins the Council from The Nature Conservancy, where he held multiple operations positions over his eight-year tenure. His most recent position was Development Manager, Global Priorities. In this role, Joe directed development operations for The Nature Conservancy’s Cities, Oceans, Science, Freshwater, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs.
Previously, Joe spent six years in performing arts fundraising, sales, and marketing at the Richmond Symphony and the Omaha Symphony. Joe has also served on multiple nonprofits boards with an array of missions including urban gardening, religious diversity, economic development, and charter school fundraising.
Nidhi Upadhyaya is Associate Director with the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. In this capacity she manages the Center’s portfolio on India and the larger South Asian region. She was formerly with the Council’s South Asia Center, where she contributed to policy research initiatives and management of programmatic tasks of projects related to trade, economic development, security, and media diplomacy. Previously, she worked as a researcher with policy consulting firm, Bower Group Asia, and as an assistant manager for the Social Media Content Management and Strategy team at India’s leading business news channel ET NOW. Nidhi graduated with a Master’s inInternational Affairs from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs in 2017.
Giovanna Grigsby-Rocca is an assistant director at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht–Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. Previously, she worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists on policy advocacy for cleaner transportation systems, and with the Environmental Defense Fund on corporate sustainability partnerships.
She earned a BS in environmental science and economics from the University of Virginia. She is continuing her studies on health sciences and environmental health at George Washington University, and supports the development of student-led interventions in this space through the non-profit Bay Area Global Health Innovation Challenge.
Andrea Snyder joins the Adrienne Arsht – Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center as a Program Assistant from Occidental College where her focus was in Diplomacy and World Affairs. Her interest in international security was reinforced through her experience covering the First Committee and Security Council at the United Nations New York Headquarters. Andrea has also grown passionate about the Sahel region through her gap year in Senegal, internship at the U.S. State Department in Dakar, and work with Ashoka’s Africa Diamond Team. A Miami native, Andrea is eager to contribute, in any way, to solving the climate challenges that impact her hometown and other areas facing similar circumstances.
Our Non-Resident Senior Fellows
Vikram Widge, an innovative leader with recognized expertise in climate and development finance, brings a global perspective to designing and deploying financial solutions to mobilize private capital for climate-smart development. He specializes in bridging public finance with capital markets and institutional and impact investors to effect the transformation to a low-carbon future that we need.
Vikram was until recently the global head of Climate Finance and Policy at IFC, member of the World Bank Group, and the largest development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. He has demonstrated global leadership, delivering several award-winning, first-of-their-kind products linked to debt capital markets, results-based finance, and sustainable development including the inaugural Forests Bond to address deforestation, and the forthcoming Breathe Better Bond to reduce urban air pollution. Vikram also oversaw IFC's work on green bond standards, carbon pricing, climate risk and adaptation, climate-related metrics and analytics including reporting aligned with TCFD recommendations. He was also an Advisor to the Climate Finance Labs since their inception.
An experienced relationship manager with a track record in business development and structuring transactions, Vikram has worked in partnership with other development finance institutions, commercial banks, asset managers, corporates, climate funds, philanthropic foundations, and governments. He is also a frequent moderator and speaker on topics of climate finance, carbon pricing and markets, and mobilizing private capital.
Pablo Suarez is Associate Director for Research and Innovation at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, as well as visiting fellow at Boston University, honorary senior lecturer at University College London, and faculty member at University of Lugano (Switzerland). He is also artist in residence at the National University of Singapore. He has consulted for the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, Oxfam, and about twenty other international humanitarian and development organizations, working in more than 60 countries.
His current work involves creative approaches to climate risk management — ranging from self- learning algorithms for flood prediction, to collaboration with humorists and artists to inspire thinking and action. Pablo holds a water engineering degree, master’s degree in planning, and a Ph.D. in geography.
Jeff Goodell’s most recent book, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, was a New York Times Critics Top Book of 2017 as well as one of The Washington Post's 50 Notable Works of Nonfiction in 2017. He is the author of five previous books, including Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future. He is a Contributing Editor at Rolling Stone, where he has covered climate change for more than a decade. As a commentator on energy and climate issues, he has appeared on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He was a 2016-2017 fellow at New America and is currently a Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council.
Isabel Studer Noguez, Ph.D.
Isabel Studer became Director for Strategic Partnerships, Latin America after being Executive Director for Mexico and Northern Central America at The Nature Conservancy.
She was founding Director of the Global Institute for Sustainability and Leader of Energy and Corporate Sustainability at EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey, where she also founded and headed the Center for Dialogue and Analysis on North America (CEDAN).
Dr. Studer has held several positions in the Mexican government. General Director of Cooperation and Bilateral Economic Relations at the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID), Deputy General Director of Canada at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and General Director for the United States and Canada at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), where she served as the Secretary's alternate representative to the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC). She was also Director of Research for the Commission for Labor Cooperation (CLC) in Washington, DC.
She is President of the Board of the Mexican Climate Initiative and member of the Board of Directors of the World Environment Center (WEC) in Washington DC, the Dow Chemical Company's Sustainability Experts’ Advisory Board (SEAC), Mexico's Advisory Council on Water, the French Development Agency in Mexico and the National Council on Tourist Enterprises. Previously, she served as a member of the National Climate Change Council, chaired by Nobel Prize Mario Molina, the Advisory Council of the Center for Private Sector Studies for Sustainable Development (CESPEDES), the Scientific Committee for The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) of Science Po (Paris) and the Advisory Board of the Notre Dame's Global Adaptation Index (ND GAIN), among others.
A Fulbright and Ford Scholar, she has been recognized twice (2018 & 2019) by Forbes Magazine as one of the "100 Most Powerful Women in Mexico" and, each year between 2013 and 2015, by Petróleo y Energía as one of the "100 Energy Leaders in Mexico."
Isabel Studer earned a PhD and a M.A. in international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a BA degree in international relations from El Colegio de México. Author and coeditor of several books, she has written extensively on climate change, trade and environment, renewable energy and economic integration, regional governance and labor markets and migration. She has been a commentator on climate, energy and sustainable development for key media
outlets in Mexico and has been an editorial writer for El Universal, Excelsior and Forbes Mexico.
Ms. Arsht spearheaded the creation of the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at The Atlantic Council, which has just been renamed the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.
Adrienne Arsht is a business leader and impact philanthropist. She has taken a leading role promoting artistic, business and civic growth in the three cities she calls home: Washington, D.C., Miami and New York. Her $30 million contribution to Miami’s Performing Arts Center in 2008 secured its financial footing. In her honor, the Center was renamed the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. In 2012, her contribution of $10 million to Lincoln Center was recognized with the dedication of the Adrienne Arsht Stage in Alice Tully Hall.
In Washington, in 2016 Ms. Arsht spearheaded the creation of the Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience at The Atlantic Council, which has just been renamed the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center with the $30 million Rockefeller Foundation gift that she matched. She also founded the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council in 2013 to focus on the role of South America in the trans-Atlantic community. Arsht is a Trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she established the Adrienne Arsht Theater Fund. Ms. Arsht is a Vice Chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Executive Vice Chairman of the Atlantic Council. She is on the Trustees Council of The National Gallery of Art and a Board Member of the Blair House Restoration Fund. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is former President of the Vice President’s Residence Foundation. At the request of the then Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, Arsht created the campaign Patrons of Diplomacy to establish an endowment for the preservation of furniture and works of art for the State Department. She is Trustee Emerita of the University of Miami and an honorary board member of Amigos for Kids. In 2019, Ms. Arsht was inducted as an honorary member of the Beta Gamma Sigma society by the business school at Georgetown University. She received an honorary degree from her Alma matter, Mount Holyoke College.
Recently, Ms. Arsht was awarded The Order of Rio Branco from the Brazilian government for her outstanding dedication to US-Brazil relations and her vision toward Latin America. In 2017, she was bestowed the Carnegie Hall Medal of Excellence recognizing her visionary and exceptional contributions to cultural and nonprofit institutions nationally. She is the only woman to have ever received this distinction. Additionally, Ms. Arsht was awarded the distinguished Order of San Carlos of Colombia, which was given to her by the direction of Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos. In 2013, Ms. Arsht was presented with the prestigious diplomatic honor, Orden de Isabel la Católica (Order of the Cross of Isabella the Catholic) from The King of Spain.
A 1966 graduate of Villanova Law School, Arsht began her Delaware law career with Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnel. In 1969, she moved to New York City and joined the legal department of Trans World Airlines (TWA). She then became the first woman in the company’s property, cargo and government relations departments. Arsht moved to Washington, DC in 1979 where she initially worked with a law firm, then started her own title company. In 1996 she moved to Miami to run her family-owned bank, TotalBank. From 1996 to 2007, Arsht served as Chairman of the Board. Under her leadership, TotalBank grew from four locations to 14 with over $1.4 billion in assets. In 2007, she sold the bank to Banco Popular Español. Arsht was named Chairman Emerita of TotalBank.
In 2008 she became the first, and still is, the only woman to join the Five Million Dollar Roundtable of United Way of Miami-Dade. Arsht’s other notable gifts include to Goucher College, creating the Roxana Cannon Arsht Center for Ethics and Leadership, in honor of her late mother, a Goucher graduate, The University of Miami Arsht Ethics Programs, and a lab at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami. In Delaware, Arsht funded the creation of a Best Buddies chapter to specifically serve Hispanics and African-Americans with mental disabilities. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Arsht number 39 on its 2008 America’s biggest donors list.
She is the daughter of the Honorable Roxana Cannon Arsht, the first female judge in the State of Delaware, and Samuel Arsht, a prominent Wilmington attorney. Upon graduation from Villanova Law School, Arsht was the 11th woman admitted to the Delaware bar – her mother having been the 5th. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Arsht is a member of the Delaware Bar. She was married to the late Myer Feldman (d.2007), former counsel to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
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