As founders of the Common Sense Coalition, we came together in 2011 because we share a belief that our country has serious problems and that the current political environment leaves little hope of solving them. As we began to explore the consequences of inaction, it became clear that the America we leave our children would be greatly diminished, if we didn’t act.
While we’ve each spent the majority of our lives building businesses and had little involvement in politics, we recognized that the political system had spun out of control. Career politicians and partisan politics had left America with few true public servants. And a large percentage of Americans, the sensible center, was being left out of the political process. The most rational voices were being silenced.
In an effort to protect our children’s future, we decided to form the Common Sense Coalition.
Charles is Senior Advisor to the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. He sits on several company and non-profit boards, including Patagonia and Trout Unlimited. He also owns a working ranch in Owyhee County, Idaho. Previously, he co-founded Citysearch and as CEO led the company through its merger with Ticketmaster and acquisition of Match.com. Prior to starting Citysearch, Charles was a partner with McKinsey & Company. Charles is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School, Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar, and Boston University.
Thomas Layton is Executive Chairman of oDesk Inc. He was CEO of Metaweb Technologies from 2007 until its acquisition by Google in 2010, CEO of OpenTable from 2001 to 2007, and co-founder and President of Citysearch from 1995 to 1999. Thomas serves on the boards of OpenTable, www.Ancestry.com, oDesk, Doxo, and Hearsay Corp. Thomas co-founded www.MapLight.org, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that provides citizens the transparency tools to shine a light on the relationship between money and politics. He is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, and a graduate of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and UNC – Chapel Hill.
Greg is the founder and Managing Director of Denali Partners and the Managing Partner of Exemplar Holdings, both private investment funds focused on providing capital to small businesses. Previously, he was in the energy services business, first as Chairman, CEO, and founder of Environmental Lighting Concepts, and then as CEO and President of KLT, a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy. Greg has served on the boards of numerous private companies, The Kansas City Zoo, The Gala at the Glen for Cystic Fibrosis and The Center for Ethics in Financial Services at the American College. He was an associate at McKinsey & Company and graduated with high honors from Princeton University.
George (Skip) Battle retired in 1995 as a Worldwide Managing Partner of Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). From 2000 to 2005 he was the CEO, then Executive Chair, of Ask Jeeves until its sale to IAC. Now a private investor, he currently serves on the boards of Expedia, Linkedin, Netflix, OpenTable, Workday, and FICO (as chairman). Since the late 80’s, he has been a Senior Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a Senior Moderator of the Henry Crown Fellowship. He received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and his MBA from Stanford Business School.
Lisa Sweeney is the Director of Programs at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to the GSB, she worked in middle-market private equity, focusing largely in the consumer products industry. She has served the boards of Reef Brezil, Skateboard World Industries, May Logistics, ADS Logistics, totes>>isotoner, Oregon Chai, and Connor Sports Flooring. She also taught a course on private equity at the Haas Graduate School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She received an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University and a BS in Accounting from the University of Southern California.
Gerardo “Gerry” Lopez
Gerry is chief executive officer and president of AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC). Prior to joining AMC, he served as executive vice president of Starbucks Coffee Company. In his more than 25-year career he also has served in executive management positions with International Home Foods, Frito-Lay, Pepsi-Cola and the Procter & Gamble Company. Gerry is active in public and private company boards, including REI; National CineMedia Networks; AMC Entertainment; Digital Cinema Implementation Partners; and Open Road Films. He previously served on the boards of TXU Energy and Safeco Insurance. Gerry serves as a trustee of NALIP, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and on the Executive Board of NATO, the National Association of Theatre Owners. He earned his Bachelor of Science in business administration from George Washington University and his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Meryl is a partner in the San Francisco office of Bryan Cave LLP. A highly regarded trial lawyer, she has been selected as one of California’s Top Women Lawyers and named to the prestigious Northern California Super Lawyers every year since 2008. Meryl was the Chair of the Litigation Department and a Member of the Executive Committee at Holme Roberts & Owen LLP, which combined with Bryan Cave in 2012. Meryl has served as a member of the New Leadership Board of the Pittsburgh Symphony and a volunteer mediator for the Federal Courts. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and her B.A. from Yale University.
Greg is a General Partner at Madrone Capital Partners, an investment management firm based in Menlo Park, California. Prior to joining Madrone, Greg was the SVP and CFO of Wal-Mart Japan from 2002-2004 and the SVP of Finance and Strategy for Walmart.com from 2000-2002. Before this, Greg was a General Partner at Peninsula Capital. Greg is a director of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corporation, eHarmony, Inc., Baidu, Inc. (Beijing), and 99Bill Corporation (Shanghai). He is also a director of Teach For America, The Charter Growth Fund, and Govern For California. He received an MBA from The Stanford Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in International Economics from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Joe is an Advisory Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he spent 30 years in the Merchant Banking and Investment Banking Divisions. Joe began his career in Mergers and Acquisitions, serving as the head of GS’ Technology M&A and Asian M&A groups. For the last 20 years he has led private investments for GS in technology, health care and industrial companies, including investments in Rambus, Citysearch, IPC Communications, Berry Plastics and Alltel. Joe is Chairman Emeritus of The Nature Conservancy of NY, and serves on the Boards of Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History and the Manhattan Theater Club. He holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA and MA from Yale University.
Timothy (Tim) Penny is the President/CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, an organization focused on early childhood development and entrepreneur development. Tim is a former United States Congressman, representing Minnesota’s First Congressional District from 1982-1994. Throughout his congressional career, Tim placed an emphasis on budget issues. He chaired the Democratic Budget Group as well as the Porkbuster’s Coalition. Tim has co-authored three books: Common Cents; The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics; and Payment Due. Tim is a co-chair of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and on the board of the Concord Coalition. Tim received his B.A. in political science from Winona State University.
John is The Common Sense Coalition’s Executive Director. He has over 15 years of experience in campaign management, government relations and legal affairs, including multiple presidential campaigns and statewide races. John is a member of the District of Columbia and Oregon State Bars, and he has delivered guest lectures at Georgetown, Princeton and The George Washington University. He earned his juris doctorate from Willamette University, his master’s degree from The George Washington University and his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Davis.
Local Leaders - just a few of our volunteers from around the country
Bradley was the CEO/President of the Chamber of Commerce of Southern Minnesota, and was asked to start and run the Public Private Initiative (PPI) which developed and executed regional economic development services and later merged into the Greater Minnesota Economic Alliance. He's one of our local leaders in Minnesota.
Teri is a self-described "political advocate for bipartisanship, civility, and common sense in politics. Besides acting being a local leader from Nebraska and a mother, Teri is currently a student in Health IT Systems at Metropolitan Community College.
Deanna Dawson is our local leader from Washington State. She serves as Executive Director of a nonprofit organization representing the cities of King County so that they can act locally and partner regionally to create livable, vital communities. A former Edmonds, Washington City Councilmember, Deanna loves working in local government because it demonstrates how elected officials can achieve real results when they put aside partisan politics, and work together.
Guest Bloggers - writers who share their Common Sense posts on our blog
Dave has an economics degree from UNC Chapel Hill and blogs regularly for the Coalition. He started his own website (www.thesqueakymoderate.com) to advocate for pragmatic and moderate bipartisan solutions in 2011. He currently resides in New York.
Stuart writes about ethical issues, spirituality and psychology from Massachusetts. He was formerly a professional photographer and is active in the leadership of several not-for-profit organizations.
Tom studied at UNC Chapel Hill and the Vienna University of Economics. He left a career in management consulting to pursue a love of storytelling in film, and he now works as a producer in Los Angeles.
- Lori Bluvas, MD • Owner, Sequoia Obstetrics and Gynecology • Redwood City, CA
- Ron Conway • Special Advisor, SV Angel • San Francisco, CA
- Senator Bill Brock • Former Chair of the Republican National Committee • Sarasota, FL
- Bruce Garner • President, Broken Arrow Electric Supply • Broken Arrow, OK
- Robert Purinton • Managing Member, Purinton, Chance & Mills • Overland Park, KS
- Jay Hagenbuch • Chairman, WestLand Capital Partners, M&H Realty Partners and Onconome, Inc. • Ketchum, ID
- Andy Dunn • Chief Executive Officer, Bonobos • New York, NY
- Lisa Sladkus • Director of Upper West Side Streets Renaissance • New York, NY
- Joel Macdonald MD, FAANS • Physician and Neurological Surgeon • Salt Lake City, UT
- Scott Perron • President, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet of America • Oklahoma City, OK
- Kelsey Wirth • Vice President, Winslow Foundation, Co-founder, Align Technology • Boston, MA
- Michael Bloom • Tech and Media Entrepreneur • New York, NY
- Gregory Wilson • Managing Director, Princeton Capital Partners, LLC • Palm Beach, FL
- Wint Winter, Jr. • Chief Executive Officer, People’s Bank • Lawrence, KS
- Eric Budin • Vice President of Business Development, Comcast Corp • Philadelphia, PA