Team

Bio

Born in Philadelphia, Deborah Devedjian has been a leader in the global Education and Training industry and an expert in corporate governance—creating, building, investing in, and transforming organizations. Long committed to education and inquiry as the basis for democracy, she weaves together more than 20 years of experiences in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors to maximize learning, collaborative decision-making, and stakeholder value. 

She’s served in founding or leadership positions with Copernicus Learning Ventures, Warburg Pincus, RoundTable Partners, European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, and The Boston Consulting Group.

Deborah has chaired or served on the executive committee of 20+ not-for-profit boards, including Polytechnic University; Marlboro College; Elwyn, Inc. (for the developmentally challenged); French-American Foundation; Pennsylvania-Russia Business Council; Commission of Independent Colleges and Universities; Harvard Business School Club of New York; and Yale Reunions.

She attended public schools, has a BA from Yale and MBA from Harvard, but her father still hopes she’ll go to med school.

Fluent in French and Armenian. Amusing in German and Italian. Deborah’s day is not complete without a dose of the Rolling Stones, Beethoven, and Coltrane.

Deborah is an independent (small c). Her patron saint is Ben Franklin. She excels at “herding cats,” according to one business school dean.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Banking
  • Budget
  • Controlled Substances
  • Debt
  • Deficit
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Elections
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Families
  • Foreign Policy
  • Governance
  • Guns
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Housing
  • Immigration
  • Infrastructure
  • Internet
  • Law Enforcement
  • NSA
  • Peace
  • Poverty
  • Prisons
  • Research & Development
  • Student Debt
  • Tax
  • Telecomms
  • Veterans

Favorite quotations

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.--Theodore Roosevelt

Unbought and Unbossed.--Shirley Chisolm

Bio

Lue Ann was born in Marin County, California and hails from three generations of African-American women born in the South who earned 4-year college degrees.

She is the former CEO of Casita Maria Settlement House in The Bronx where she was responsible for building their $60 million Center for Arts and Education in an innovative public-private partnership. Earlier, she was EVP of Strategic Marketing for InfoTegics. 

She is the Vice Chairman of the Community Advisory Board for WNYC-WQXR in New York and the Treasurer of the Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy.

Lue Ann earned her BA from Occidental College and MA from New York University. She is a David Rockefeller Fellow and speaks Spanish and basic Japanese.

A concert violinist, she brings culture to her Israeli-born quant jock husband and their two sons, both engineers.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Guns
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Peace

Favorite quotations

Darkness cannot be driven out by darkness; only light can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

It's never the differences between people that surprise us. It's the things that, against all odds, we have in common. - Jodi Picoult, House Rules

Bio

Benjamin Franklin, TheChisel's Chief Inspiration Officer, was born in Boston in 1706. He moved to Philadelphia at age 17.

Ben was known for being, well, take your pick: typesetter, inventor, scientist, entrepreneur, international statesman, writer, editor, publisher, home brewer, Founding Father, Francophile. Master of public-private ventures.

His was the only signature on all four of our country's founding documents: Declaration of Independence, Alliance Treaty with France, Peace Treaty with England, and US Constitution. 

Totally cool dude. Oh, and politically, he was an Independent.

Self-taught, self-made, and answering to his highest ideals, Ben Franklin was a master problem solver. He identified commonalities and built bridges to forge more prosperous,  equitable, and secure realities for America and the world.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Banking
  • Budget
  • Elections
  • Debt
  • Deficit
  • Defense
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Families
  • Foreign Policy
  • Guns
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Infrastructure
  • Immigration
  • Law Enforcement
  • NSA
  • Peace
  • Poverty
  • Prisons
  • Research & Development
  • Tax
  • Telecomms
  • Veterans

Favorite quotations

Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.--me

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.--me again

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.--yea, me again

Bio

Lisa Goldman Forgang was born in Boston, grew up in Washington, DC, and has lived in both Northern and Southern California and Zurich, Switzerland. 

She has an extensive background in statistics and analytics. Lisa has held executive roles in marketing, membership, and loyalty programs at The Walt Disney Company, Citi Cards, and Barnes and Noble. She received both her BA and MA from Stanford and her MBA from Harvard (HBS).

Lisa is a board member of the HBS Women’s Association of New York and was Vice President of the HBS Club of New York for eight years. She has been a lay leader with UJA-Federation for ten years and serves on the Leadership Committee of HBS Community Partners which provides pro bono consulting to non-for-profits. 

Lisa lives in New York with her attorney husband Chuck. She has two adorable pre-teen nephews and two adult step-daughters. Lisa loves cruises and won't eat blue M&M's.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Banking
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Elections
  • Foreign Policy
  • Guns
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Peace
  • Poverty
  • Tax

Favorite quotations

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
-- Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient

“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
-- Benjamin Franklin

Bio

An educator, director, speaker, writer, and musician, Mike has been a public school teacher for 15 years. He believes that great teaching exists in all leadership, from classrooms to boardrooms. A boundary-pusher, he has hang glided in Brazil, bungee jumped in New Zealand, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, and run the NYC Marathon. Does he think that More Perfect Union's mission is too ambitious? Heck, no-- with leadership and a good team, anything is possible.

A curriculum and innovation specialist, he has recently been a featured speaker at and SXSWedu. He has taught and developed curricula for art, literature, history, and theater for 15 years. For 7 years, he served as Artistic Director for Northshore High School in Glen Head, New York; previously for 5 years, he was an English teacher at Abington High School in Pennsylvania.  Mike has created, managed, and directed a summer theater program at Pennsylvania State University Kids College. In 2009, his PTO named him Teacher of the Year for his district.

Originally from Philadelphia, Mike earned his BS in Secondary English and Social Studies Education from Duquesne University and his MA in Theater from Villanova University. He is a published songwriter, plays in two bands, and blogs about innovation in teaching, art, politics, and culture. He is proficient in Spanish.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Elections
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Foreign Policy
  • Infrastructure
  • Tax
  • Veterans

Favorite quotations

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it." -- Mark Twain

"Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people." -- John Adams

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation." -- Henry Kissinger

"If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law." -- Winston Churchill

Bio

Born and reared in Montpellier in the South of France, Othman Lanizi received his BA in Business Administration from La Trobe University in Australia and his MBA from Montpellier Business School in France.  

His mother is French, and his father is Moroccan; he speaks French and basic Arabic and Japanese.  

Othman is an aficionado of Japanese animé, computer programming, and has chaired a French chapter of a youth mentoring program.

Interests

  • Banking
  • Budget
  • Debt
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Employment
  • Environment
  • Foreign Policy
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Immigration
  • Infrastructure
  • Internet
  • Research & Development
  • Student Debt

Favorite quotations

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom. -Alexis de Tocqueville

Bio

Cassiope Sydoriak is an Analyst at TheChisel.com. After receiving her Masters degree in History of Art & Visual Culture from Oxford in 2012, she started a successful business teaching bicycle mechanics, ran the Trade Marketing department for WhistlePig (the world's highest rated Rye Whiskey), and stage managed for numerous off-off-Broadway theatrical productions. She is also an avid swing dancer, with teaching credits across America and Europe, and a 0.5 second appearance in a Guinness commercial.

Interests

  • Arts
  • Budget
  • Debt
  • Deficit
  • Economy
  • Education
  • Elections
  • Employment
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Foreign Policy
  • Governance
  • Healthcare
  • Higher Education
  • Immigration
  • Internet
  • NSA
  • Peace
  • Poverty
  • Research & Development
  • Student Debt

Favorite quotations

"And yet when we study the biographies of our heroes, we learn that they spent years in preparation doing tiny, decent things before one historical moment propelled them to center stage." - Danusha Veronica Goska