$1B Wage Gain Challenge Judges

Addressing persistent wage stagnation requires fresh thinking. This challenge was designed to surface and support innovative ideas that have the best chance of moving the needle and meaningfully impacting workers’ lives through wage gain.

At ASU GSV X on April 8, the seven finalists that emerged from the first round of the competition will present their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges. Collectively, these judges bring decades of experience and expertise in workforce development, education, technology, and business, which makes them the ideal group to engage and ultimately select winner(s).  We’re extremely proud to have them join the challenge in this capacity and grateful for their contributions here and to the field.

  • John Bailey, Fellow, American Enterprise Institute & Advisor, Walton Family Foundation

  • Beth Cobert, Chief Executive Officer, Skillful

  • David Payne, VP and COO, Global Education Division at Educational Testing Service

  • Carmen Rojas, PhD., Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Workers Lab

  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, Executive in Residence, Institute for the Future & Emeritus, Executive Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Digital Futures, CA Community Colleges

About the Judges

John Bailey

Fellow, American Enterprise Institute Advisor, Walton Family Foundation

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John’s experience has spanned government, philanthropy, and the private sector working on a range of issues including technology, immigration, education, and economic mobility.

John serves as a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Fellow working on strategies related to economic mobility, criminal justice reform, and education. He is a visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute researching Opportunity Zones and issues relating to the future of work. He also serves as an advisor to the Walton Family Foundation.

He served as a domestic policy advisor in the White House coordinating the policy process with agencies and White House including ESEA, the Higher Education Act, job training, and the Trade Adjustment Assistance reauthorization.  John also coordinated the Administration’s effort to stabilize the Federal Family Education Loan Program during the credit crisis through the launch of three emergency programs to address nearly $200 billion of loans which saved the taxpayers over $10 billion and ensured that every student that wanted a student loan to go to college was able to obtain one.

He served as the Deputy Policy Director to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Director of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education. He co-founded the strategic advisory firm Whiteboard Advisors, served as a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and most recently was the VP of Policy for Governor Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education.

John is a Pahara-Aspen Institute Fellow, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and an alumnus of the American Council on Germany Young Leaders Program. He also serves on advisory boards for the Aspen Institute’s Future of Work, the Bush Institute, Center for Democracy and Technology, Data Quality Campaign, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. He co-chaired the Aspen Institute’s Task Force on Connected Learning and was an ex-officio member of the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Commission.

Beth Cobert

Chief Executive Officer, Skillful

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As CEO of Skillful, Beth Cobert employs her extensive experience in talent management and partnership development, as well as her acumen for harnessing the constructive potential of new technologies.

Since her appointment as the organization's CEO in April 2017, Beth has drawn upon her skills as a seasoned and collaborative leader by working in partnership with others to evolve and expand the program and deliver results.

Prior to Skillful, Beth honed her leadership skills as Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under President Obama. Under Beth's direction, OPM embraced new technology to improve customer service and cyber security and championed recruiting, development, and advancement practices to support a talented and diverse federal workforce. Before her time at OPM, Beth served as the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Beth began her career at McKinsey & Company, where she became a Senior Partner and worked with clients across a range of sectors, including financial services, healthcare, real estate, telecommunications, and philanthropy.

Beth is a member of the Board of Directors of CBRE Group, Inc. and the Princeton University Board of Trustees. She received a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University and a master's in business administration from Stanford University.


David Payne

VP and COO, Global Education Division at Educational Testing Service

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David Payne is the Vice President and COO of the Global Education Division at ETS.  David heads the GRE® and TOEFL® programs, as well as higher education assessments such as the ETS® Major Field Tests and ETS® Proficiency Profile.  He also led efforts to create the comprehensive HEIghten® assessment suite for student learning outcomes.

Payne works closely with the GRE and TOEFL Boards; undergraduate and graduate education organizations; and colleges, universities and public education systems.  He also helps identify assessment needs in the higher education and professional markets — both domestic and international — and develop external relationships.  

Payne is also Chair of ETS Global BV, ETS’s for‐profit subsidiary, which has offices throughout Europe and the Middle East. ETS Global BV oversees ETS Assessments (Beijing) Ltd. and ETS Educational Services (India) Private Limited.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in experimental psychology from SUNY Cortland and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Purdue University. 

Carmen Rojas, PhD

Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Workers Lab

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Dr. Carmen Rojas is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Workers Lab, an organization founded in 2014 that invests in experiments and innovation to build power for working people in the 21st century. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and nonprofits to improve the lives of working people across the United States. Now through the Workers Lab, Carmen works alongside more than 50 organizations to develop solutions to the most pressing issues facing workers, which often include fighting for living wages, proper benefits, a voice on the job, and more. Carmen and The Workers Lab headquarters are based in Oakland, California. For more information, please visit www.theworkerslab.com.


Van Ton-Quinlivan

Executive in Residence, Institute for the Future Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Workforce & Digital Futures, CA Community Colleges

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Van Ton-Quinlivan is a nationally recognized thought leader in workforce development with experience driving large scale-system change. Ton-Quinlivan spent nearly eight years serving in leadership roles with the California Community Colleges, most recently as the executive vice chancellor of workforce and digital futures for the 115-institution system.

She grew public investments from $100 million to more than $1 billion during her tenure by establishing workforce as a state policy priority, and stewarding an unprecedented level of innovation, collaboration, and experimentation across the system's career education programs. As part of her leadership effort, Ton-Quinlivan also emphasized the importance of data science and drove forward the successful adoption of new technologies aimed to support institutional accountability, data use, and ultimately, student workforce outcomes.

Ton-Quinlivan's career spans the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Prior to the California Community Colleges, she held leadership roles with Pacific Gas and Electric, including serving as director of workforce development where she developed the  nationally recognized, industry best practice PowerPathway workforce development program. She is now executive-in-residence at the Institute for the Future (IFTF) where she examines the ways technology impacts learners, institutions, and employment. IFTF is a non-profit strategic futures organization dedicated to helping businesses, governments, and social impact organizations develop insights to navigate complex change and develop world-ready strategies.

In 2013, Ton-Quinlivan was named White House Champion of Change in recognition of her contributions to education and industry. She received the California Steward Leader Award in 2017 for her dedication to collaboration and her work to align public, private, and civic sector leaders in support of economic and social mobility for state residents. Most recently, Ton-Quinlivan was included in Sacramento Magazine’s 2018 “Powered by Women” list of leaders inspiring positive change.

Ton-Quinlivan serves on the boards of the National Skills Coalition and Western Governors University and is a leader in the California Economic Summit.  She is a member of the global Virtual Reality Augmented Reality Association (VRARA) and the International Women’s Forum (IWF).