Strategy Consultant @ Future Matters
114 karmaJoined Working (15+ years)Seeking workPitsburgo, PA, EUA



Interdisciplinary researcher, communications professional, and manager, with a history of entrepreneurship. I have held positions in multiple parts of the United States government (including White House), nonprofits (policy analysis, management, fundraising, campaigning) and private companies (management, consulting, sales, technical analysis), and worked within the United Nations system. I have a strong set of technology skills and learn computer & foreign languages quickly. I am experienced in quantitative analysis, project and personnel management and working with senior corporate and U.S./foreign government officials. I am a seasoned communicator, with experience in speechwriting, media relations and copyediting. I have delivered hundreds of public speaking & technical presentations, interviews (newspaper, magazine, radio, podcasts, online, TV), and publications (book chapter, academic papers (including highly cited), magazine articles). I have served on ~10 boards of directors and chaired 6, and volunteered extensively on political campaigns. I am a veteran of the U.S. Army.


How others can help me

I am looking for opportunities in AI safety/alignment and existential risk reduction, but also open to other opportunities.


Topic contributions

We at Future Matters also offer strategy consulting Support services for EA organisations. A summary of our services is here!

I'd agree that it doesn't seem that the IPCC caused political polarization. My observation is that it has been a victim or target of that polarization (as have most efforts at climate action become subject to polarization attempts). If the IPCC hadn't existed, I think there would still be just as much effort to polarize climate action. There would just be one less target/victim of that polarization.

On the topic of the current political environment and whether it makes sense to create institutions today: It's worth noting that the IPCC isn't the only such institution, and some of these were created much more recently, in a time when, according to this argument, there was more polarization. For example, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has a similar structure to the IPCC, but was created in 2012. It has not been credibly accused, to my knowledge, of polarizing conversations on biodiversity. Rather, it is generally viewed as positively contributing to an understanding of the scientific consensus, and remaining uncertainties, around biodiversity and ecosystem services and the available policy options.

Edited to clarify that my experiences were all with the same organization.

Some personal examples:

I worked for an EA-adjacent organization and was repeatedly asked, and witnessed co-workers being asked, to use campaign donation data to solicit people for political and charitable donations. This is illegal[1]. My employer openly stated they knew it was illegal, but said that it was fine because "everyone does it and we need the money". I was also asked, and witnessed other people being told, to falsify financial reports to funders to make it look like we had spent grant money that, in various situations, we either: hadn't spent, didn't know whether we'd spent it or not, or may have spent on things that the grant hadn't been given for. Depending on how the specific sums of monies had actually been spent, that was anywhere from illegal to at least a massive breach of the contracts with our funders.

  1. ^


Strongly agree with the critiques and suggestions here. Though, if I were writing it, I would say that "Poorly Governing Board are Weird". In my experience*, the issues described are not unusual in boards, but there are plenty of boards that do not exhibit these issues. I would call boards that consistently exhibit these issues "poorly governing". I have no idea what percentage of boards govern poorly (rough guess 30-70%), but I do know that there are lots of techniques for avoiding/correcting poor governance, including many you mention.

A few additional recommendations I'd add, which might be particularly useful for people who are setting up a new board (when you have the most opportunity to lock-in good practices) or who are on a board now and really want to govern well:

Control of the Board - Although it's true that most boards can only be fired by the board itself, it doesn't have to be this way. An organization's bylaws and articles of incorporation can be set up (or changed) such that other people can remove board members. This is especially common in a membership-based organization, but it can be accomplished in other organizations, too. Since boards are often unwilling to give up the power to fire themselves, best to do this from the beginning. But I have seen boards that voluntarily give other people mechanisms to control them. I have also seen employees rise up and successfully demand limits on the board's power.

Unclear goals - An organization doesn't just have to be guided by its mission. Organizations can create strategic plans and other types of goals and metrics that allow a board to assess how well the organization is doing in service of its mission. In fact, a well governed board would insist on and help create these goals and plans, and then hold the organization accountable for achieving them. Of course, strategic plans can also be misused or ignored. This isn't a perfect solution. But it's typically better than no plan.

Board assessments - In addition to the board assessing itself regularly, the board can/should require, and the staff and CEO should insist, that other people have the ability to assess the board. This can also be written into bylaws if necessary, or into a policies and procedures manual. The assessment could include staff, the CEO (especially if they are not a board member or are a non-voting board member), or anyone else who interacts with (or should interact with) the board. It's true that staff or others may not have much visibility into what the board does, and will have trouble assessing the board. But that in itself is useful to illuminate through a "360 degree" assessment. It can show ways that the board can be more transparent in its governance. Again, a board may be reluctant to allow itself to be assessed. But people setting up a new organization can mandate it in the governing documents, board members interested in good governance can create these reforms from within the board, and/or the staff or the organization's stakeholders can insist on it.

* I've served on about 10 (nonprofit and quasi-for-profit) boards over 16 years, have relationships with about 40 other people who have served on boards (mostly nonprofit, but some for-profit), and have received formal training in effective board governance from organizations like BoardSource

Agree that board hire impact could take some time to manifest. Though, in my experience (boards I serve(d) on and that my colleagues serve(d) on), we're bringing on a small number of directors every 1-1.5 years. So, I'd be surprised if it took 2-3 years for impact to be felt here. On a board with staggered terms for directors, typically every year there are directors with expiring terms. Some of those directors are renewed for an additional term. But it's also quite common for one or more directors to leave the board and create a vacancy every year.

Thank you for a great post. As another person in the experienced-manager-outside-EA group, but now moving more into this world as a manager, I would definitely be interested in a space to discuss management with other managers. I had a peer network like this in a previous management position, and it was quite helpful.

Hey Brian! I'll reach out to you on Slack, but just letting other Pittsburghers know that I'm here, too.

You might also be interested in this recent polling by Data for Progress* on likely U.S. voters' attitudes around farm animal cruelty. We found strong support across political ideologies for preventing farm animal cruelty. Note, though, that we did not ask about things like banning slaughterhouses.


* I work here, but was not involved in fielding this survey.

I'm wondering if some of the difference of opinion in several comments are definitional. Can you clarify how you see liberal progressivism in comparison to liberalism generally? For example, as someone heavily involved in United States politics, I see the terms usually understood in the following way by my colleagues (and opponents). But this is not necessarily how they are used globally:
* Socialism = far left socially and economically
* Liberal progressivism = progressivism (the phrase liberal progressive isn't used by most politically active citizens) = solidly left socially and economically
* Liberalism  = Center-left socially and economically (although historically has been used where progressive is used today)

It looks like the new link has also expired. Can you post an update?

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