Skyline view of Manhatten in New York City.

Change Can’t Wait New York

Thank You, New York

On March 13, American University returned to New York to celebrate our community of changemakers. Guests experienced Change Can’t Wait: The Campaign for American University—our ambitious effort to take on society’s most complex challenges.

About the Speakers

Learn more about our distinguished guests below.

Correspondent, NBC News

Emilie Ikeda is an NBC News Correspondent based in New York. She reports for all of the network’s platforms, including “TODAY,” “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt,” NBC News NOW, NBC News Daily and MSNBC.

Since joining NBC News in July 2021, Emilie’s reporting has carried her from coast to coast – from a massive oil spill in California to deadly tornadoes in Arkansas, the Gilgo Beach serial killer and a racially-motivated supermarket shooting in New York.

She had the rare opportunity to shadow an elite firefighting crew, referred to as the “hotshots,” as they scaled the Sierra Nevada Mountains, battling a relentless blaze.

You will also find Emilie digging into a wide array of business news, such as “Swiftnomics” (the sweeping impacts of Taylor Swift) and how scammers are using artificial intelligence.

Previously, Emilie worked as an MMJ/reporter and fill-in anchor at FOX 5 Atlanta, as well as a multimedia reporter for Fox News. During her tenure there, she covered deadly hurricanes and tornados, actor Bill Cosby’s re-trial, Congressman John Lewis’ death and numerous mass killings, including the Parkland school shooting and Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.

Emilie studied broadcast journalism and political science, graduating magna cum laude from American University’s Honors College. She also minored in dance and was captain of the school’s Division I field hockey team.

President, American University 

Sylvia M. Burwell is American University’s 15th president and the first woman to serve as president. A visionary leader with experience in the public and private sectors, President Burwell brings to American University a commitment to education and research, the ability to manage large and complex organizations, and experience helping to advance solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. 

Burwell has held two cabinet positions in the United States government—serving as the 22nd secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services and as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Her additional government experience is extensive and includes roles at the Treasury and the National Economic Council. Burwell has also held leadership positions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. Her private sector experience includes service on the Board of Directors of MetLife. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Government from Harvard University and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. 

Read her full biography here.  

Member, AU Board of Trustees 
Co-Chair, AU Campaign Committee
Co-Founder and Partner, Raine Group

Jeff is the co-founder and partner of the Raine Group. Before founding Raine, Jeff was vice chairman and global head of technology, media & telecom investment banking at UBS Investment Bank. He joined UBS in April 2001 and was named a board member in 2003. Prior to that, Jeff was global head of media investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Jeff’s clients have included many leading global media, technology, and communications companies. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Jeff was an attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and London. Jeff is a current or past board member of The Manhattan Theatre Club, The International Radio and Television Society, The Museum of Television and Radio Media Center, National Public Radio (Chair), The USC Annenberg School of Communication/Law Center Joint Venture, ITHAKA, Educational Testing Service (Chair), Univision, WeWork, and American University (Chair). He has also produced many plays and musicals over the past two decades on Broadway and in London’s West End and is a three-time Tony Award Winner. 

Jeff also serves on the boards of many Raine portfolio companies and subsidiaries. Jeff holds a BA from American University and a JD from the University of Southern California. 

Program Director, Business & Entertainment,
Kogod School of Business

John Simson has been in the music industry since his signing in 1971 as a recording artist and songwriter. Simson's career has included stints as a manager, handling the career of 5X Grammy winner, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, special advisor to Harry Belafonte for music and television projects, and a 30 year career as an entertainment lawyer advising clients on copyright and business issues in film, television, music and the visual arts. He most recently served as the Executive Director of SoundExchange from 2001-2010, an organization he helped launch in 2001. SoundExchange collects royalties from internet and satellite radio services on behalf of recording artists and record labels. The organization is now responsible for distributions greater than Eight Billion Dollars since inception. Simson received an Emmy nomination for his music supervision of the PBS series, "American Roots Music" and was named the Outstanding Volunteer Lawyer by Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts on their 10th Anniversary celebration. Simson was at the forefront of the battle for artist's rights and their ability to be paid for their work online and has been featured on NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, WSJ, Marketplace, CNN and many other news outlets. He is a frequent lecturer on music industry and copyright issues and serves on the Advisory Board of Smithsonian Folkways Records. He formerly served as the Chairman of the Board of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, was Chairman of the D.C. Bar's Art, Entertainment, Media & Sports Law Committee, was a Board member of CINE, the Musicianship and the Music Manager's Forum. He is a 1994 Alumni of Nashville's Leadership Music Program and is a past President of the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Grammy organization. Simson previously taught Entertainment Law at Washington College of Law and Georgetown University Law Center.  


Director, WCL Sports and Society Initiative
Professor, Washington College of Law

Professor N. Jeremi Duru teaches several sports law courses as well as civil procedure, and he is among the nation’s foremost sports law authorities. He is a co-author of one of the field’s premier casebooks, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases and Materials (5th edition) (Wolters Kluwer), as well as one of the field’s premier explorations of sports agency, The Business of Sports Agents (3rd edition) (U. of Penn Press). In addition, he is the sole author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL (Oxford University Press), which examines the NFL’s movement toward increased equality of opportunity for coaches and front office personnel. 

Professor Duru is active in the national sports law community. Among other appointments, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Sports Lawyers Association and for the Fritz Pollard Alliance of coaches, scouts and executives of color in the National Football League, the National Sports Law Institute’s Board of Advisors, and the LawInSport Editorial Board. He has also served as a member of the NCAA’s Committees on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport, the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Racial and Social Justice Expert Advisory Team. 

Professor Duru has a particular interest in sport’s impact on society, with a principle focus on racial and gender dynamics. He has conducted research and delivered lectures on these topics throughout the United States as well as abroad, including as: a Fulbright Fellow at Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a Parsons Visitor at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia; and a Visiting Professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China. In addition, Professor Duru remains active in practice. He has represented sports industry professionals in employment matters involving the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball. He has also represented collegiate student-athletes – most notably in McAdoo v. University of North Carolina – serving as counsel to plaintiffs suing the university with respect to its nearly two decades-long academic fraud scandal. 

Professor Duru is widely recognized for his excellence as both an advocate and a teacher. He has received the National Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award as well as the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Washington College of Law Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, before joining the WCL faculty, while teaching at Temple Law School, Professor Duru received Temple’s George P. Williams Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award. 

Professor Duru received his undergraduate education at Brown University and then completed a joint-degree program at Harvard University, receiving a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, Professor Duru served as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. 

Professor Duru is a frequent media contributor and has provided commentary for numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, ESPN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Host, NFL Network's Good Morning Football
Reporter, CBS Sports

Jamie Erdahl is a host of NFL Network's Good Morning Football, joining the Emmy Award-winning show in 2022.

Prior to NFL Network, Erdahl worked at CBS Sports, where she joined in 2014. During her eight years with CBS, Erdahl served as a sideline reporter for the NFL ON CBS, and most recently was the lead SEC ON CBS reporter. While at CBS Sports, Erdahl also served as a sideline reporter for the network's coverage of the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship and regular season college basketball games, as well as an analyst for select women's college basketball games on CBS Sports Network. Additionally, Erdahl hosted the network's studio coverage of the NFL and college basketball, and was a major part of the CBS Sports HQ launch in 2018 appearing as an anchor for the 24/7 sports news outlet.

Prior to joining CBS Sports in 2014, Erdahl worked at NESN as a host and reporter.

Erdahl played basketball and softball at St. Olaf College prior to transferring to American University, where she received her degree in communications.

Football Diplomat, Former International Soccer Player, and
Co-Founder, Football for Peace

Since making a debut on the international circuit and playing in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Qualifiers, Kash Siddiqi has become known to many as South Asia’s philanthropic football globetrotter. His contribution on and off the field has led him to have been invited to play in the most militarised zonesin the world, Kashmir, India, making him the first British Asian to have represented the Pakistani national team and to play in the Indian part of conflicted Kashmir. He is also one of a handful of British South Asians to have made it in the professional ranks in the UK.  

His journey in sport is one of many travelled routes and philanthropic accomplishments. In 2013, he became only one of eleven British South Asians to have been signed by an English Professional League Club. He was also the first British South Asian to have been awarded a scholarship for soccer in the USA and play professional football in Europe, North America and the Middle East. Giving Kash a very strong USP – which he has used to give back and bridge gaps for underrepresented communities both locally and internationally. His achievements both on and off the pitch through charitable work to-date are all credited to his mother and faith in God. In 2011, he founded the Kashif Siddiqi Foundation and in 2013, co-founded the Football for Peace, Kash has become renowned for his humanitarian efforts and has been recognised for his goodwill work by HRH The Duke of Cambridge – Prince William, Former Prime Minister David Cameron, His Highness Prince Ali of Jordan, Pope Francis and the United Nations. In 2013, he was inaugurated as a Champion of Peace, by Peace and Sport- under the High Patronage of His Highness Prince Albert II for his global charitable 2016, Kash was invited to open a press conference by the poticital of vatican on sport at the service of humanity. In 2017 he was the Winner of Power Brands Global Award as growing philanthropic athlete. He was further honoured in 2019 at 9th Annual Better World Awards in Monte Carlo as ‘Humanitarian Athlete of the Year Award’. In the same year he was invited to the 74th United Nations General Assembly in NYC to discuss the power of football being used as a force for good. 

Member, AU Campaign Committee
Member, Kogod Advisory Council
Vice Chairman, Private Equity Investments, GCM Grosvenor

Mr. Jones is a member of the Private Equity, Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment Committee and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. He has led the firm’s private equity diverse manager practice for the past 16 years. As of March 31,2023, the firm has committed $8.7bn to women and people of color in over 230 investments. He also led the firm’s private equity co-investment practice from 2010-2020, which had approximately ~$5bn AUM. His responsibilities include team management, deal sourcing and investment underwriting activities. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Mr. Jones was a Managing Partner at Oncore Capital, as well as a General Partner at Provender Capital. He started his private equity career 35 years ago at Prudential Insurance Company as part of Prudential Equity Investors, which subsequently became Cornerstone Equity Investors, where he was a partner. Mr. Jones received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from American University and his Master of Business Administration in Finance from New York University. Mr. Jones has served on numerous advisory, portfolio company, and non-profit boards over the years. He currently serves on the board of and was former treasurer to the National Association of Investment Companies. Mr. Jones also serves on the advisory board of the American University Kogod School of Business. He is a recipient of the Pacesetter Award from the National Association of Investment Companies in 2012 and the UNCF Keeper of the Flame Award in 2016. He was also recognized as one of the 75 Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2011. In addition, he recently joined the board of the Apollo theater.