A panel discussion on the driving universal broadband adoption in the United States.
Michael Grover is the Executive Director of Government Affairs at Cox Communications.
Bret Perkins is Vice President of External and Government Affairs for Comcast Corporation. In this role, he is responsible for the companyâ€™s strategic partnerships with national public policy organizations as well as implementing the companyâ€™s regulatory and legislative initiatives at the local level, managing relationships with state and local intergovernmental associations, and grassroots communications.
Bret served in other capacities at Comcast, including Senior Director of Public Policy, Comcast Corporation and Vice President of Government Affairs for Comcast Cable Communications. Bret joined Comcast in 2001, and is credited with effectively managing a very large local government affairs function during a rapidly growing period for the company. During this time, he managed the transition from an operation responsible for 22 states and 2,500 communities to one with 39 states and 6,000 communities.
Previously he served as Vice President of System Services and Assistant to the President at Mercy Health System, a regional healthcare system in southeast Pennsylvania and subsidiary of Catholic Health East. He was responsible for managing the office of the President, board relations and project management at this regional integrated health care system.
Before Mercy Health System he worked in Legislative Affairs at the multi-state Medicaid managed care company Keystone Mercy/AmeriHealth Mercy Health Plan for four years where he was responsible for government relations and the minority and women owned business development department. Previously he was Manager of Labor Relations for North Philadelphia Health System.
Bret is involved in several capacities at his alma mater, Temple University. He serves as President of the Temple University Alumni Association, is on the Universityâ€™s Board of Trustees, and is a member of the Fox School of Business Board of Visitors. He is a past President of the Temple Young Alumni Association and past President of the Fox School of Business Alumni Association.
Bret is Past President of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. He also serves on the Board and Executive Committee of The Committee of Seventy, the Philadelphia political watchdog nonprofit organization, and on the Philadelphia International Airport Advisory Board.
In 2008 he was awarded the cable industryâ€™s Vanguard Award for Young Leadership. In 2010 he was named to CableFAX's 2010 Most Influential Minorities in Cable. In 2008 he was also named one of Leadership Philadelphiaâ€™s Top 101 Emerging Connectors.
Bret received a BBA in Business Administration from Temple University where he was a four year starter on the varsity soccer team, serving as captain his senior year. He is a graduate of the Leadership Philadelphia Core Program, NAMICâ€™s Executive Leadership Development Program Class VII and Comcastâ€™s Executive Leadership Program.
Gary Shorman is the President and CEO of Eagle Communications.
Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee is Vice President and the first Director of the Media and Technology Institute for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. The Joint Center is one of the nationâ€™s leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Media and Technology Institute was established in 2009 to study how broadband, the media industry and emerging communications technologies can become avenues of advancement for people of color.
Prior to joining the Joint Center, Dr. Turner-Lee was an executive at One Economy - a global nonprofit that uses the power of technology and information to expand opportunities for low-income people â€“ serving most recently as Senior Vice President for External Affairs in charge of public relations, national strategic partnerships and business development. While at One Economy, Dr. Turner-Lee played key roles in all aspects of its core business, including residential and community broadband access, online public purpose media and youth technology training. She helped to establish broadband connections in thousands of affordable housing units, supported the development and distribution of One Economy's core media properties and expanded a national technology service initiative from 250 to nearly 3,000 youth in less than two years. Dr. Turner-Lee is the founder of the Neighborhood Technology Resource Center, a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides public access to computers and the Internet to thousands of low- and middle-income people. In its ten year history, NTRC has been recognized by the State of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a model community technology center. In 2007, Broadband Properties magazine named her to its list of the "Top 10 National Broadband Promoters." She is the author of numerous articles and has presented at hundreds of national conferences.
Dr. Turner-Lee has served on the board of the Center for Economic Progress, most recently as its Vice Chair. She is a member of the board for the Community Renewal Society and a former member of the Chicago Wireless Task Force. She is a former Research Fellow with Northwestern University's Asset-Based Community Development Institute, a recent Rockwood Leadership Fellow and has served as adjunct faculty at Northwestern and North Park Universities.
Dr. Turner-Lee graduated with honors from Colgate University, has a doctorate in Sociology from Northwestern University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Madura Wijewardena serves as the Director of Research & Policy at the National Urban League Policy Institute (NULPI), where he uses research to promote NULâ€™s legislative agenda in economic policy on job creation, economic growth, fiscal policy and small business. In addition to research, Madura manages NULâ€™s federal policy for broadband/technology and energy/climate change. He also handles all matters with the Census Bureau and assists with strategies to use social media to promote NULâ€™s goals.
Prior to NULPI, Madura worked for a Chicago consulting firm where he used quantitative analysis to assist state governments, foundations and political campaigns to micro-target services and messages. Madura has been interviewed on C-SPAN, ABC TV andPublic Radio International, and his work has been quoted in The New York Times and in testimony before the U.S. Congress.
For the first 8 years of his career, Madura was a corporate attorney in technology, telecoms and banking where he structured and negotiated mergers, acquisitions and infrastructure transactions for multi- national corporations. He also advised on regulatory strategy and was a consultant to the World Bank on regulatory policy reforms.
Madura has a MA in Public Policy from the University of Chicago (focusing on microeconomics and statistics), a LLB (equivalent of a JD), and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney, Australia.