For 25 years, Jim Doyle has advised leading corporations, financial service firms, venture capitalists, and non-profits on a range of policy, regulatory, and communications issues. In addition to his work at Business Forward, Jim serves as president of Portico Policy Advisors, a policy research firm. Jim’s managed research projects on clean energy, climate change, trade practices, technology in schools, college affordability, children’s nutrition, and online privacy. Prior to founding Portico, Jim helped build and sell two businesses. He also served as senior policy advisor and deputy chief of staff to Commerce Secretary William Daley, where he focused on technology and economic policy, and on the communications team of Clinton/Gore 1996. Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Doyle practiced law with Hogan Lovells US LLP. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Harvard Law School. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two children.
Executive Director of Business Forward Foundation
Liz Fairchild is the Executive Director of Business Forward Foundation, engaging with small business leaders, policymakers, foundations, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs.
Liz most recently served as a Fellow at Blu Venture Investors, a VC firm led by operating executives investing in early stage entrepreneurs in the Mid-Atlantic Region. She has advised high tech, auto industry, and media clients on strategic positioning and policy as Director of Research for Portico Policy Advisors. She has worked for a boutique veteran-owned defense contractor, The Aspen Institute’s Communications and Society Program, and a venture-backed online video production company, Animoto.
Liz holds a BA in Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies from Dartmouth College and MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband.
Senior Digital Manager
Alexia is a senior digital manager at Business Forward. Previously, she interned for two think tanks: Progressive Policy Institute, where she worked on public affairs, and MassINC, a state policy focused think tank where she researched education policy. Most recently, she worked as a data visualization fellow specializing in tax, labor & the economy for National Journal’s Presentation Center. Alexia received her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Claremont McKenna College. She currently resides in Washington, D.C.
Alex Pasanen is a Research Manager at Business Forward. Born and raised in South Burlington, Vermont, he graduated from Brown University with a degree in economics. Before Business Forward, Alex interned at the Progressive Policy Institute in D.C. and Adobe in San Francisco, where he worked on economic policy and product management, respectively.
Rachael is a programming associate at Business Forward. After graduating from Northwestern University with a BA in Political Science and Communication Studies in March of 2020, she joined the Biden for President campaign as an organizer for the Ohio Coordinated. Rachael has previously served as Deputy Campaign Manager’s assistant in the 2018 Illinois gubernatorial race, and interned for a boutique DC lobbying firm, focused on financial technology and defense. The daughter of two Air Force service members, Rachael moved around frequently before attending high school in Omaha, Nebraska. She now resides in Washington, D.C.
Marisa Renee Lee
Supportal is a platform that makes it easy for people to respond when someone they care about is faced with a life-changing challenge. With a focus on experiences that are difficult to deal with and difficult to respond to, Supportal features first-hand accounts of people who have experienced life-changing challenges. They detail the best and most thoughtful ways people in their lives responded and Supportal provides recommendations that will make it easy for others to do the same.
In addition to her work on Supportal, Marisa runs Beacon Advisors, a mission driven consulting firm that allows her to support a variety of institutions on strategy, organizational development, and executive coaching.
Marisa has significant experience advising political, business and non-profit leaders and advancing their strategic priorities as well as launching new projects, programs, and partnerships. She has proven expertise in identifying avenues for business expansion and political growth as well as project, team, and financial management and growth.
As chief strategy and engagement officer, David Sutphen leads 2U, Inc.’s communications and brand functions, as well as the company’s social impact, strategic partnerships, and diversity and inclusion efforts. A member of the senior leadership team, Sutphen reports directly to the CEO.
Sutphen joined 2U in 2017 from Brunswick Group, a global strategic communications advisory firm, where he was a partner and head of the Washington, DC, office. During his more than eight years at Brunswick, Sutphen advised Fortune 500 and emerging companies on strategic communications, reputation, stakeholder engagement, crisis, diversity, and public affairs matters with a particular focus on the media, retail, technology, and education sectors.
Earlier in his career, Sutphen served as judiciary committee general counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and chief of staff to former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. After leaving Capitol Hill, Sutphen worked as a senior vice president at the Recording Industry Association of America and at Viacom, the parent company of MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures.
Outside of 2U, Sutphen is actively involved in numerous education, non-profit, and philanthropic endeavors. He currently serves as board chair of GetSchooled; a board member of CityBridge Education; and as secretary of the board for the U.S. Soccer Foundation. Sutphen currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board for the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.
He is an honors graduate of Amherst College, with a B.A. in Political Science, and served as a trustee of the college. Sutphen also earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served on the editorial board of the Michigan Law Review, before clerking on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Kenny Thompson Jr.
Kenny Thompson, Jr. is a public affairs executive with expertise in building corporate strategies and assessing political risk in the public and private sectors. He applies his experience with social impact, corporate responsibility, sustainability, advocacy and communications to generate new business, amplify PepsiCo’s business partnerships and grow PepsiCo’s reputation as a responsible corporate citizen. Under his leadership, the External Affairs team ensures PepsiCo’s stakeholder engagement plan delivers long-term value and sustained purpose to investors, employees, suppliers, customers and the communities that PepsiCo serves.
Before joining PepsiCo, Kenny held several positions in the Obama White House, including Director of Message Events for Vice President Joe Biden, Senior Advisor to United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Special Assistant and Advance Lead for President Barack Obama.
In 2020, Thompson was selected to serve on the Biden – Harris Transition as the Private Sector Liaison where he provided strategic and management oversight of the interaction with the private sector while managing relationships with Fortune 500 CEOs, Wall Street firms, venture-backed enterprises and industry groups.
A native Texan, Kenny completed his undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University, where he was a proud member of the Horned Frog baseball team. He later earned a Master of Business Administration from Georgetown University.
Currently, Kenny serves on the board of directors of the Women’s Congressional Policy Institute, Corporate Advisory Council at the National Urban League, and the AddRan College of Liberal Arts at TCU.