Jill Tefienthaler (Wake Forest University Circle), CEO of the National Geographic Society

As the chief executive officer at the National Geographic Society, Dr. Jill Tiefenthaler oversees the development and implementation of the Society’s mission-driven work and programmatic agenda. She leads a global community of scientists, innovators, educators, and storytellers in the mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Jill sits on the Society’s Board of Trustees and the board of National Geographic Partners.

Before joining the National Geographic Society, Jill spent nine years as the president of Colorado College. She served as provost at Wake Forest University where she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa. Jill began her academic career at Colgate University, where she was a full professor of economics before holding various administrative roles.

Originally from Iowa, Jill grew up on a farm and worked for her family’s popcorn business before attending Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Duke University.

Rick Brite (Auburn University at Montgomery Circle), The Rockefeller Foundation

Rick Bright is an immunologist and public health expert. From 2016-20, he served as the director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bright, who was the AUM Circle Leader of the Year in 1997, is a member of President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s (University of Delaware, 1981) coronavirus task force. He earned his doctorate from Emory University and was recently featured as an expert on COVID-19 in The Circle.

Summer Owens (University of Memphis Circle), founder and president of S.O. What! LLC and the S.O. What! Foundation.

Summer Owens is a nationally recognized keynote speaker, author, and educator dedicated to helping people overcome obstacles and live no excuses lives. She is the founder and president of S.O. What! LLC and the S.O. What! Foundation. Summer currently serves as the president of the University of Memphis National Alumni Board of Directors.


Check out the 2021 NLC recorded sessions on the O∆K YouTube channel.