As CEO of Skillful, Beth Cobert employs her extensive experience in talent management and partnership development, as well as her acumen for harnessing the constructive potential of new technologies.
Skillful - an initiative of the Markle Foundation, the state of Colorado, Microsoft, and LinkedIn - seeks to create a labor market in which job seekers, employers, and educators focus on the skills needed to do a job, regardless of where or how they are obtained. Since her appointment as the organization's CEO in April 2017, Beth has drawn upon her skills as a seasoned and collaborative leader by working in partnership with others to evolve and expand the program and deliver results.
Prior to Skillful, Beth honed her leadership skills as Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under President Obama. Under Beth's direction, OPM embraced new technology to improve customer service and cyber security and championed recruiting, development, and advancement practices to support a talented and diverse federal workforce.
Before her time at OPM, Beth served as the Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She brought together representatives from across the federal government to collaborate on the President's Management Agenda to make government more effective. Her leadership within the private sector and government navigating ever-accelerating technological change informs her work at Skillful, which engages both policy makers and business leaders on digital economy workforce issues.
Beth began her career at McKinsey & Company, where, for 30 years, she worked with clients across a range of sectors, including financial services, healthcare, real estate, telecommunications, and philanthropy. She championed the advancement of women into leadership positions and was one of the first to pursue a part-time program and be elected Senior Partner while working part-time. This breadth of experience across the private sector - and her commitment to, and expertise in, collaborative change management and diversity - affords Beth a real-world perspective essential for catalyzing systems-level change.
Beth is a member of the Board of Directors of CBRE Group, Inc. and the Princeton University Board of Trustees. She previously served as both board chair of the United Way of the Bay Area, a board member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council.
Beth received a bachelor's degree in economics from Princeton University and a master's in business administration from Stanford University. She and her husband have two children and currently reside in Denver, Colorado.
As Executive Director of Skillful Colorado, an initiative of the Markle Foundation, the state of Colorado, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, Andi Rugg and her team are looking to help the labor market realize that there are many roads to success and that a person's skills and competencies should determine whether they are a good fit for a job. In pursuit of this mission, she has developed and nurtured numerous partnerships with diverse stakeholders; with them, she and the Skillful team want to change the public narrative surrounding the future of work.
With nearly 20 years of leadership experience, Andi is a pragmatic and collaborative leader, adept at bringing people together to solve complex problems. By looking at an issue holistically, she helps her team think strategically about solutions.
A passionate advocate of life-long learning, Andi values growth: her own and that of her team. She knows that organizations flourish when they clearly articulate a vision and when employees have the tools they need to realize their full potential.
During her time at Skillful, Andi has also overseen the launch of several programs designed to help the state and its residents adjust to a rapidly-changing, digital 21st century economy. Initiatives include: The Governor's Coaching Corps, data transparency pilots, the development of skills-based products and services, and more.
Prior to Skillful, Andi served in a number of leadership positions at American Express' OPEN and Global Commercial Payments businesses. During her tenure, she honed many leadership skills, and learned how to empower her team and execute on strategy. She was responsible for the success of a portfolio of corporate payment products, one of which contributed to double digit growth. She developed a strategic vision and approach to American Express' most important small business customers, created the foundation for American Express' successful Net Promoter Score work, managed an external board of digital experts for the President of OPEN, and played an important role in setting OPEN's strategy and priorities.
Andi learned the fundamentals of business, the prerequisites for innovation, and the importance of having a diversity of perspectives at MIT Sloan School of Management.
Faiza Issa brings a wealth of strategic skills and business knowledge to her role as Director of Skillful, an initiative of the Markle Foundation, the state of Colorado, Microsoft, and LinkedIn. Today, Faiza leads national programs and partnerships at Skillful's headquarters in New York where she helps lead the national expansion of Skillful through newly-developed tools and programs.
An imaginative leader, critical thinker, and problem solver, Faiza draws on her decades of experience in the public and private sectors to advance Skillful's mission of rewiring hiring practices so that skills and competencies are the primary factors in determining a candidate's fitness for a job.
After joining the Markle Foundation in 2016 - the year Skillful launched in Colorado - Faiza used her broad experience in strategy, program design, and implementation to oversee day-to-day operations in the state. As Skillful entered its second year, Faiza implemented lessons learned and worked with key stakeholders in the governmental, educational, and private sectors to bring Skillful to its next iteration.
In addition to helping lay the overall strategic direction for Skillful, Faiza has also spearheaded the creation of key initiatives, including the Governor's Coaching Corps. A leadership and professional development program that recognizes the vital role career coaches play in bridging the gap between job seekers and employers, the Governor's Coaching Corps gives coaches from community colleges, high schools, workforce centers, and nonprofit organizations the tools and training they need to better serve job seekers in the rapidly changing labor market. The Corps is also designed so that coaches can invest in their own personal and professional development.
Faiza's career prior to joining Skillful equipped her with a deep understanding of the need for effective stakeholder relationships reflecting a wide range of perspectives. In increasingly senior positions in New York City's Department of Small Business Services and the New York City Economic Development Corp., she led efforts to support entrepreneurship in New York City, aligning stakeholders to facilitate public-private partnerships and recommending a regulatory approach to flexible economic development policies. A particular point of pride was her creation of NYC Generation Tech, a program that teaches entrepreneurship and coding to disadvantaged high school students with mentorship from tech and business professionals.
Her tenure at the Council on Foreign Relations as a Research Associate and at Goldman Sachs as a Financial Analyst helped her hone her strategic and analytic skills. Faiza affirmed her commitment to the public good as a graduate of the NYU School of Law and the Harvard Kennedy School.
Katy Hamilton is Director at the Markle Foundation, where she leads strategy and implementation of Skillful, an initiative with the state of Colorado, Microsoft, LinkedIn and other partners. Skillful works to create a skills-based labor market connecting today's workforce with the jobs of tomorrow and empowering employers to adopt skills-based hiring and training practices.
Katy's leadership style combines critical and innovative thinking with a focus on fostering relationships with her team and external partners. Expert at building partnerships, she was instrumental in Skillful's 2016 launch in Colorado. As one of the first to join the Skillful in August 2015, Katy was closely involved with growing the team and establishing the Colorado office. She developed and led Skillful's Coaching Initiative until May 2017. As Skillful looks to expand nationally, Katy is applying her extensive education, workforce development, and partnership building experience to lead the process that will ultimately result in identifying and launching the second Skillful state.
Katy began her career in 2007 as Legislative Liaison in the Office of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Representing the Executive Branch in the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate, she established strategic alliances to support legislative priorities and became a skilled advocate and communicator. During Katy's tenure as Director of Policy for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, she served as conduit between the Governor and the department, building consensus with key stakeholders and gaining legislative support for passage of the agency's $1.6 million annual budget.
Katy's commitment to education and workforce development led her to the Partnership for New York City which represents the city's business leadership and its largest private sector employers. Operating in increasingly senior positions, including as Vice President of Education and Workforce, Katy was loaned to the New York City Department of Education to deepen employer engagement with the city's Career and Technical Education schools. As a bridge between business leaders and city, state, and federal officials, Katy designed and implemented collaborative strategies that enhanced private sector contributions to public education and workforce development initiatives, resulting in business sponsorship of five new industry-led high schools designed to prepare students for in-demand careers.
Katy received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Texas Christian University and a master's degree in International Politics from the University of Melbourne in Australia. While in graduate school, she interned for the U.N. Development Fund for Women in East Timor and was a research and teaching associate at the University of Melbourne and Deakin University.
As Director of Skillful Colorado, an initiative of the Markle Foundation, the state Colorado, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, Joe Barela and his team look to create a labor market that values a job seeker's skills above all else. To this end, Joe brings people and organizations together to make sure that educators, trainers, and coaches have the tools they need to implement skills-based hiring and training practices.
Since joining Skillful in late 2017, Joe and his team have overseen the launch of Skillful's Coaching Initiative's two programs: the Governor's Coaching Corps and the Coaching Community of Practice. Joe also works on Skillful's Data Initiative, which seeks to increase educational and workforce data transparency and accessibility so that the entire workforce ecosystem can make high-quality, data-driven decisions.
Joe is an agile, empathetic, and collaborative leader, who works to effect systems change by leveraging funding and breaking down silos. His work is driven by a passion for workforce issues; he often tells his staff, "There's no greater work than the work of helping people find their passion."
With 25 years' experience in workforce issues, he is seen as a local and national leader in the field. He adapts easily to change, and values out-of-the-box thinking when solving problems.
Prior to Skillful, Joe worked as Workforce Director at Arapahoe/Douglas Works! Workforce Center (ADWorks!) for 12 years, where he oversaw a staff of more than 100. In this role, he used public and private resources to bring talent to business and industry, and ensured that elected officials included workforce issues in their agendas. While at ADWorks!, Joe served the U.S. Department of Labor in 2015 as a Senior Advisor; he helped coordinate the U.S. Department of Labor's implementation of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) at state and local levels.
Before joining ADWorks!, Joe worked at the Colorado Department of Human Services as a Workforce Policy Analyst for six years, during which time he turned legislation into programmatic operations to better serve people with low incomes.
Joe is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. He furthered his skillset by obtaining two certificates: in 2007, he completed the University of Colorado at Boulder's Executive Development Program, and in 2014, he finished the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania's Workforce Leadership Development Program.