Urban Institute’s WorkRise Welcomes Seven New Leadership Board Members

January 29, 2024—Washington, DC.

WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute, is honored to welcome seven distinguished new members to its Leadership Board. Each a nationally recognized thought leader in their own right, this diverse group will be instrumental in guiding WorkRise’s research agenda, expanding its network, and vetting and amplifying research findings.

WorkRise’s Leadership Board is comprised of prominent leaders spanning business, worker advocacy, workforce and training, policy, and academia. The board also reflects diversity across stakeholder type, geography, political orientation, and race and gender to provide the needed insight for directing a comprehensive research agenda.

“Our incoming board members bring outstanding credibility and recognition from the full range of sectors involved in improving work and workers’ lives,” said Todd Greene, Executive Director of WorkRise. “With their unique perspectives and networks, WorkRise will be optimally positioned to refine our research-to-action agenda and continue getting quality evidence into economic decisionmakers’ hands.”

The WorkRise board helps shape the effort’s knowledge agenda by surfacing the questions, challenges, and priorities facing their fields of practice. They also play instrumental roles as working group members, event speakers, and thought partners, and help activate WorkRise’s research findings by presenting evidence to policymakers, researchers, and practitioners.


New members include:


Casey Lozar

Casey Lozar is a vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and director of the Center for Indian Country Development (CICD), a research and policy institute that works to advance the economic self-determination and prosperity of Native nations and Indigenous communities. Casey brings unique lived-experience, deep knowledge, and strong national networks that will enable WorkRise to engage a population that has faced long-standing and structural barriers impeding economic mobility and security for workers. 


Donna Gambrell

As President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital, Donna J. Gambrell is responsible for attracting and directing investments to Community Development Financial Institutions (or CDFIs) and other mission-driven lenders in Appalachia. Donna is a steadfast advocate for lifting up and revitalizing our most vulnerable, low-wealth communities. She is also the longest-serving and first African-American woman to be appointed director of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund).  Donna is also the board chair for the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)–a leading national network of more than 400 CDFIs.  Donna’s expertise will be especially valued as WorkRise seeks to strengthen outcomes for the many lower-wage workers employed in small businesses and in rural communities.


Janelle Jones

Janelle Jones is the vice president of policy and advocacy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Previously, she was the chief economist and policy director at the Service Employees International Union and served as the chief economist at the U.S Department of Labor, the first Black woman to serve in that role. Before that, she was an economic analyst at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) working on a variety of labor market topics within EPI’s Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, and the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Janelle’s leadership in national labor market policy development and in organized labor will provide WorkRise with important insights on a wide range of topics—especially how and where research can have the strongest impacts.


Michael Sorrell

Dr. Michael J. Sorrell is the longest-serving President in the 151-year history of Paul Quinn College. During his years of leadership, Paul Quinn has become nationally celebrated for its ability to reimagine higher education to better serve the needs of today’s students and their communities. Sorrell is a celebrated, innovative and well-respected leader across higher education and has successfully implemented models that drive strong employment outcomes. The Work Program strives to “poverty proof” the education experience by 1) providing students with meaningful work opportunities that allow them to better serve the Paul Quinn community; 2) developing the necessary skills, habits, and experiences needed to be competitive in the 21st-century job market; and 3) actively contributing towards the cost of their education.  Sorrell’s networks across higher education and experience engaging employer communities will allow WorkRise to strengthen our pillars more effectively, especially those focused on skills and training.


Pete Stavros

Pete Stavros joined KKR in 2005 and is Co-Head of Global Private Equity. This includes oversight across Europe, Asia and the Americas and covers traditional large and mid-cap private equity, impact, core and growth equity. Pete is also the Founder and Chairman of Ownership Works- a nonprofit organization that partners with companies and investors to provide all employees with the opportunity to build wealth at work. Pete’s interest in employee ownership began with his father, who worked as an hourly construction worker in Chicago for 40 years and experienced what most Americans do — a lack of incentive alignment with his employer and no opportunity to create wealth. His interest in employee ownership deepened when he worked with an ESOP nearly 25 years ago, and later had an opportunity to study the topic in depth at business school. He has been experimenting with different models of employee ownership since that time.  Pete’s experiences will enable WorkRise to refine and deepen our research and engagement strategies related to how employee ownership models can strengthen worker and employer outcomes.


Rodney Crim

Rodney Crim is the CEO and President of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, a regional economic development organization for St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The organization provides business attraction, retention and expansion services, facilitates innovation and entrepreneurship, and owns and manages four business incubators. In his role, Rodney oversees several initiatives including the Mosaic Project, an effort designed to make the region more welcoming to foreign born populations and the St. Louis Promise Zone, an initiative to address the most distressed areas of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Rodney’s strong national networks across the economic development spectrum, coupled with his practical, on-the-ground experiences, will enable WorkRise to better inform and align economic development policies and practices to have a greater emphasis on worker outcomes.


Sameera Fazili

Sameera is an economic policy expert with over 20 years of experience in policy development, program execution, and crisis management across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. She served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House’s National Economic Council from 2021-2022. In that role, she led the Biden-Harris administration’s work on industrial policy, supply chains, and regional economic development. Her expertise spans multiple industries including financial services, manufacturing, clean energy, housing, small business, transportation, and logistics. Sameera served in domestic and international economic policymaking roles in the Obama White House, the Treasury Department, and in the Federal Reserve System. Prior to working in government, she worked at Shorebank, the nation’s first community development bank, and taught development finance at Yale Law School. Sameera’s experience developing national workforce development programs and policies, as well as her work advising local economic developers and researching best practices in inclusive economic development, will enable WorkRise to further its mission to develop research that can inform policymakers and bridge the worlds of policy and practice.


Continuing Leadership Board members:

David Autor, Ford Professor of Economics, MIT​

Amanda Cage, CEO, National Fund for Workforce Solutions​

Oren Cass, Founder and Executive Director, American Compass​

Arin Dube, Professor of Economics, UMass-Amherst​

Darrick Hamilton, Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, New School for Social Research​

Dane Linn, Senior Vice President, Business Roundtable​

Blair Milo, Senior Fellow, Sagamore Institute​

Eduardo Padron, President Emeritus, Miami-Dade College​

David Rolf, President Emeritus, SEIU 775 

Palak Shah, Founding Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance Labs; Social Innovation Director, NDWA​

Nicole Sherard-Freeman, COO, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan​

Michael Strain, Director of Economic Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute​

Tanya Wallace-Gobern, Executive Director, National Black Worker Center Project

Coach Keldrick McKinney of the track and field team smiling

COACH Keldrick McKinney

About the Coach

Coach Keldrick McKinney is a native of Dallas, Texas who enters his third year as the Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach at Paul Quinn College. After serving one year as Associate Head Coach under the leadership of Coach Maurice West; Coach McKinney was given the opportunity by Paul Quinn’s legendary Athletic Director James “Zip” Summers.

The program has quickly grown from 3 to now 25 student athletes under the leadership of Coach McKinney. In the second year of competing at the Red River Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships, the Paul Quinn Tigers placed two athletes in the Top 10.

Coach McKinney received his bachelor’s in Kinesiology from Prairie View A&M University. After graduation he then opened a training facility where he trained hundreds of athletes. This provided the background and experience for Coach to thrive at the next level. Coach McKinney’s student-athletes not only excel on the track but also in the classroom as well. Coach McKinney’s team maintains over a 3.0 gpa.

Coach Michael Delgado of the mens soccer team

COACH Michael Delgado

Email: mdelgado@pqc.edu | Phone: 214-379-5374

About the Coach

Coach Michael Delgado has been coaching at the collegiate level since 2009. He began his coaching career at Howard Payne University, shortly after starting his time there as a collegiate soccer player. He began as a student coach and after graduating with a degree in Spanish Education, became an assistant.

In 2015, Coach Delgado moved back to Dallas to form the Men’s and Women’s Soccer program at Paul Quinn College as the assistant coach and became the head coach of the Women’s team in 2017. From 2015-2021 he was also the Men’s assistant coach. 

In 2021, Coach Delgado took over the Men’s program and led the team as the #3 seed (highest in school history) to the USCAA National Championship for the 3rd year in a row, with a 3rd place finish. 

Coach Delgado is a Dallas native and graduated from Mesquite Poteet High School as a district MVP & All-State. He holds his Master’s degree from Concordia University in Coaching & Athletic Administration. He resides in the campus neighborhood of Highland Hills and lives daily by his motto, #AlwaysRefuse2Lose.

coach brandon espinosa

COACH Brandon Espinosa

About the Coach

Brandon Espinosa starts his fourth season as Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Paul Quinn College.

Last season, Coach Espinosa and the Tigers had a historic 19 game turnaround from the previous year going from 7-25 to 26-2 (12-2 RRAC). Coach Espinosa led the 2021-2022 Tigers to the school’s first USCAA Men’s Division I National Championship and the 3rd overall national championship in school history. The Tigers also won the Red River Athletic Conference West (RRAC) regular season title for the first time since joining the conference in 1998. The Tigers finished the 2021-2022 season with the most RRAC wins and highest winning percentage in a season in program history.

The Tigers were the No. 1 seed at USCAA Nationals and had a dominant showing with 3 double digits wins. The championship game featured seven ties and ten lead changes. After trailing by four at half, 38-34, Bryant & Stratton led 67-65 with 6:33 left in the game. Henry Hampton hit a jumper a minute later to give Paul Quinn the lead to highlight a 10-0 run to seal the victory for the Tigers. Ja’Mare Redus led PQC with 18 points while Hampton finished with 17. Spencer McElway added 12, Ja’Mere Redus came off the bench and scored 11, and Steven Tynes chipped in seven points and nine assists.

While the team’s collective efforts were the deciding factor in their success, several outstanding individuals led them both on and off the court. Coach Brandon Espinosa was recognized as the USCAA National Coach of the Year. In addition, senior forward Spencer McElway was selected as a USCAA 1st Team All American, USCAA All Tournament Team and RRAC 2nd Team All Conference. Sophomore forward Trevoin Shaw was voted USCAA 1st Team All American, USCAA All Tournament Team and RRAC 1st Team All Conference. Sophomore guard Ja’mare Redus received USCAA Tournament MVP as well as USCAA 2nd Team All American Honors. Sophomore guard Torron Mingo Jr. earned the USCAA Academic All American award. Junior guard Caleb Thompson received the RRAC Champions of Character award.

During his first season with Paul Quinn, Espinosa led the Tigers to the most conference victories since 2012-2013. In addition, PQC had two players receive RRAC All Conference honors; Spencer McElway was 1st Team All RRAC and Mateo Escheik received 2nd Team All RRAC honors. McElway also joined the schools 1000-point club.

Espinosa also serves as the Director of EYBL and 17U Head Coach for Drive Nation which was founded by former NBA All-Star Jermaine O’Neal. This summer Drive Nation qualified for the 2021 Nike Peach Jam and currently has the most ESPN Top 100 ranked players in the country.

Espinosa has held coaching positions at Bossier Parish Community College, Ranger College and with the Dallas Mavericks NBA G-League affiliate, Texas Legends.

  • In 2016-17, while he was the associate head coach for Chris Lovell at Bossier Parish Community College, Bossier qualified for the Region 14 Championship Tournament for the first time since becoming a member of the conference. In 2017-2018 Bossier again qualified for the Region 14 Championship Tournament and finished with a record of 17-14. The 17 wins was the most for a team at Bossier in ten years.
  • While at Ranger College, he helped head coach Billy Gillispie orchestrate the biggest turnaround in college basketball history. During the 2015-2016 season Ranger went from 2-23 the previous year to 35-3, making the NJCAA national tournament and a Final Four appearance for the first time in the schools 90-year history.
  • From 2013-2015, Espinosa was an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks NBA G-League affiliate Texas Legends. Espinosa coached under Eduardo Najera, who in 2000 was the first Mexican born player to be draftedinto the NBA. During the 2013-2014 campaign the Texas Legends tied the franchise record for most wins in a season with 24. Legends guard PJ Hairston was the first G-League player ever to be drafted in the first round of an NBA draft when he was selected 26th overall by the Miami Heat in 2014.
  • Espinosa also served as the associate head coach for Jeff Webster and Nike Pro Skills 17U EYBL team from 2016-2018.

Espinosa is a native of Houston, Texas. He played collegiately for Dallas Christian College, where in 2010 they won the ACCA National Championship. Espinosa earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2011.

Paul Quinn did not compete in 2020-2021 due to Covid-19.

Coach Camille Headshot

COACH Camille Smith

Email: csmith@pqc.edu | Phone: 214-379-5499

About the Coach

Camille Smith is in her first season at Paul Quinn College.

Smith was hired in early March and her most recent position was as an Assistant Coach for the WNBA Dallas Wings.

Prior to coaching, Smith played professionally for 10 seasons internationally and 12 seasons in the WNBA before retiring in 2019. Smith was drafted to the San Antonio Silver Stars in the 2007 WNBA Draft as the 17th Overall pick. Amid the start of the 2008 WNBA season, Smith was selected in the Atlanta Dream dispersal draft before being traded to the Seattle Storm where Smith played and won a championship in 2010! In 2015 Smith was traded to the Connecticut Sun, then to the Phoenix Mercury in 2017, where she finished her career.

Internationally, Smith played on multiple teams in Israel (2015 Israel League Champion) and China. She also played in Turkey, Limassol, Cyrpus, Ragusa, Sicily (2016 Cup Champion), Lebanon (2017 Arab Cup Champion), Montpelier, France, and Venice, Italy (2018 Euro Cup runner-up).

As a former student-athlete at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Camille graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in interpersonal communications. A four-time All-ACC selection, she finished her college career with over 1,700 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists, and 250 steals. As a senior, Camille averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game along with 99 steals to help the Tar Heels reach the Final Four. Camille is ranked among the top 20 all-time scorers at UNC and was named Honorable Mention All-American by the Associated Press following her junior year. She averaged 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior. As a sophomore, Camille averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in the ACC tournament, including a 23-point game against Duke in the finals. In 2004, she was named ACC Rookie of the Year and was the only freshman selected as a finalist for Kodak All-American honor. Camille became the first Tar Heel to be named first-team All-ACC as a freshman.

In high school, Camille was named Associated Press NC Player of the Year and NC Miss Basketball (Class 3A; 2003). Camille was also awarded State Player of the Year by the Charlotte Observer and NC Gatorade Player of the Year (2002 and 2003). In 2001, Camille shared AP Player of the Year honors at Carver High School and helped her team finish with a 30-0 record and State Championship. Camille is a three-time All-State Selection and averaged 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game during her senior year. She holds the record of 2,168 career points during her high school career, was a McDonald’s High School All-American, and played in the 2002 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival. Camille was also named Piedmont Triad All-Conference, four years in a row, and Piedmont Triad Conference Player of the Year, three years in a row.

Camille Smith & her husband Jeremis Smith are happily married & live in the Historical Stop 6 Community.

Coach Patrick Gonzalez of the womens volleyball team


About the Coach

Coach Patrick Gonzalez is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with emphasis in Criminal Justice from Texas Wesleyan University. He also has a M.Ed. in Sports Administration from Concordia University in Austin, Texas. He has coached volleyball for over thirteen years. He has coached on the high school, club, and collegiate level.

He currently coaches for 360 Volleyball Club in Arlington, Texas. Coach Gonzalez brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Paul Quinn College volleyball program. He served as the women’s assistant volleyball coach at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee for five seasons. While at Fisk University, Coach Gonzalez served as an Admissions Counselor and Director of International Student Services in the Office of Student Engagement. He has also worked at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and served as the Associate Director of Minority Outreach in the Office of Admissions. He most recently was selected into the Big XII Reach & Teach Volleyball Diversity Program.