Wade Henderson is the president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition, and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Under his stewardship, The Leadership Conference has become one of the nation’s most effective advocates for civil and human rights. Mr. Henderson is also the Joseph L. Rauh, Jr., Professor of Public Interest Law at the David A. Clarke School of Law, University of the District of Columbia. Prior to his role with The Leadership Conference, Mr. Henderson was the Washington Bureau director of the NAACP. Mr. Henderson is a graduate of Howard University and the Rutgers University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar in the District of Columbia and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Henderson has received countless awards and honors, including the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association.
Karen McGill Lawson is the executive vice president and COO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. She works with the president to maintain the organizations’ financial stability; oversees implementation of the organizations’ policies and procedures, and manages ongoing strategic planning and evaluation. Her career has focused on issues of equity through direct service, research and advocacy. Ms. Lawson is co-author of “Talking to Our Children About Racism, Prejudice and Diversity; Building One Nation, A Study Of What Is Being Done Today in Schools, Neighbors and the Workplace,” and “All Together Now!,” a guide to educational activities and resources on diversity for teachers of young children. She is also senior editor of The Education Fund’s Civil Rights Monitor, an annual publication that tracks the civil rights activities of the federal government. Ms. Lawson holds B.A. and M.A. degrees from Pennsylvania State University and Notre Dame University, respectively.
Nancy M. Zirkin is the executive vice president and director of policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Ms. Zirkin has long been active in issues involving civil rights. Since 1971 she has worked to advocate public policy that improves the lives of all people by promoting civil and constitutional rights and equity in education and in the workplace. Before coming to The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund, Ms. Zirkin served as director of public policy and government relations for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a 150,000 member national organization. In addition, Zirkin was appointed to the Woodrow Wilson Center board of directors by President William J. Clinton in 1998, and to the United States Institute of Peace board of directors by President George W Bush in 2008. Ms. Zirkin is also a National Trustee for Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the Leadership Council Chair for No Kid Hungry, and sits on the Board of Trustees of the Washington National Opera.
Ellen Buchman is executive vice president for field and communications at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund. Ms. Buchman oversees field and communications staff who develop and carry out strategies for the coalition’s public education, rapid response, communications, and field organizing and outreach campaigns on a number of priority issues, including but not limited to voting rights, criminal justice reform, equity in education, economic security, affirmative action, federal judicial nominations, and other critical issues in the coalition. Further, Ms. Buchman, who has formal training in leadership development and social work, has authored numerous training materials and curricula, as well as conducted numerous trainings and talks in both domestic and international seminars, conferences, and classes. She has been a member of the staff of The Leadership Conference and The Education Fund since 2003 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.