Team Members:
Larry Brilliant, President
Jane Bloch, Project Manager, Climate Learning Initiative
Courtney Colburn, Administrative Assistant
Adam Crawley, Research Associate, Pandemics
Alexis de Belloy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Lauren Diaz, Administrative Assistant, Pandemics
Veronica Garcia, Executive Assistant
Sylvia Lee, Water Manager
Bruce Lowry, Director, Policy and Communications
Amy Luers, Director, Climate Change
Annie Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer
Bessma Mourad, Program Associate, Water
Jennifer Olsen, Manager, Pandemics
Mark Smolinski, Director, Global Health Threats
Nathan Willcox, Strategic Partnerships, Climate Learning Initiative



  • Larry Brilliant, President

    Larry Brilliant is the President and CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. He previously was Vice President of Google and Executive Director of Google.org.

    Larry is an MD and MPH, board-certified in preventive medicine. He lived and worked in India for ten years and was on the UN team that led the successful World Health Organization smallpox eradication program. He did his undergraduate in Philosophy at the U of M, his MD at Wayne Medical School and came back to do his MPH at the U of M. Later he joined the faculty from 1977 to 1986, first as assistant professor of health planning and international health and later, as associate professor of epidemiology at the U of M School of Public Health. He has authored two books and dozens of scientific articles on infectious diseases, blindness and international health policy.

    In 1985, while in Ann Arbor, Larry founded the Seva Foundation, an international NGO, whose projects have given back sight to nearly 3 million people worldwide through their work to eliminate preventable and curable blindness. Also in Ann Arbor, he co-founded The Well, a pioneering digital community that holds a special place in the history of online communities and he holds a telecom patent related to online transactions.

    He also worked for WHO and UNICEF in polio eradication and blindness and volunteered as a physician during several disasters, including the Asian Tsunami in Sri Lanka and Indonesia and the Bihar Floods. After the anthrax attacks in the U.S. in 2001, he volunteered as a first responder for CDC’s bio-terrorism effort.

    Larry was founding chair of the National Bio-Surveillance Advisory Subcommittee, created by Presidential directive, and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Catastrophic Risks. He was elected to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2008. He is on the boards of the Skoll Foundation, Salesforce.com Foundation and is a frequent speaker and consultant on topics ranging from social action to large scale social change.

    Recent awards include the TED Prize in 2006, Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People and Top 20 Scientists and Thinkers (2008), UN Global Leadership Award (2008), Peacemaker Award (2005), UC Berkeley International Public Health Hero Award (2004), UCLA School of Public Health Champion Award (2012), University of Michigan Detroiter Hall of Fame (2013), UCLA Medal Award (2014), and two Honorary Doctorates. In 2009, the documentary about polio eradication, which Larry conceived and was funded by Google.org, The Final Inch, won an Oscar nomination and was bought and shown by HBO.


  • Jane Bloch, Project Manager, Climate Learning Initiative

    JaneBlochJane Bloch is the Project Manager for the Skoll Global Threats Fund’s Climate Learning Initiative, where she focuses on climate risk communication and public engagement on climate change. Prior to joining SGTF, she advanced efforts to price carbon and promote caps on greenhouse gases at the Energy Foundation. Jane has worked with diverse stakeholders — including business groups, local governments, communities of faith, medical professionals, labor unions, and environmental groups — to protect and implement state and regional policies, including California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Previously, she researched and evaluated coal-fired electricity generation facilities for the Northwest Energy Coalition and supported media and communications outreach at the Pacific Institute.

    Jane holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington.


  • Courtney Colburn, Administrative Assistant

    Courtney Colburn headshotCourtney is an Administrative Assistant at the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Previously, she worked as an Administrative Assistant at the Jim Joseph Foundation, where she assisted in the management of a $75 million grant portfolio and oversaw the preparation for the foundation’s quarterly board meetings.

    Prior to her arrival in San Francisco, Courtney was an intern at Amnesty International in New York, helping to plan their regional conferences. She also was an intern at Classwish.org, where she worked to increase the organization’s social media presence.

    Courtney holds a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from New York University, where she graduated magna cum laude.


  • Adam Crawley, Research Associate, Pandemics

    Adam HeadshotAdam has worked in the areas of pandemic preparedness and infectious disease epidemiology since 2008. Prior to joining the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Adam was the Interim Supervising Epidemiologist for the San Mateo County Health System, where he focused on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis Control, Communicable Disease and GIS support for health policy projects. Adam also worked for several years as a Research Associate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Infectious Diseases and Emergency Readiness, conducting research for CDC-funded projects focused on epidemiologic capacity and all-hazards preparedness in state and local health departments. Before his move to California, Adam was employed as a Pandemic Influenza Emergency Planner at the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response prior to, and during, the 2009 novel H1N1 influenza pandemic.

    Adam received his B.A. in International Politics and International Development, with a minor in Biology, from the University of Rhode Island. He holds an MPH, with a concentration in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology, from UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.


  • Alexis de Belloy, Entrepreneur-in-Residence

    AlexisHeadshotWith over a decade of experience building internet companies, Alexis de Belloy joins the Skoll Global Threats Fund’s pandemics team as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Prior to joining Skoll Global Threats Fund, Alexis was Chief Revenue Officer at Vinted, a social/mobile peer-to-peer clothing marketplace. Alexis was one of the first European employees of HomeAway (Nasdaq: AWAY), the world’s leading online marketplace for the vacation rental industry. He helped guide the company to IPO, first as head of all European businesses, then as SVP for North America. Before HomeAway, Alexis helped launch eBay’s European operation and ran Match.com in France and Benelux. He also founded, built and served as CEO of Fotango.com, a European online photo company that he sold to Canon. Alexis started his career in manufacturing, working for Alcatel’s optical fiber cable division in France and China.

    Alexis holds mechanical and industrial engineering degree from ICAM in France and an MBA from Stanford University.


  • Lauren Diaz, Administrative Assistant, Pandemics

    IMG_5539-Cropped (1)Lauren joins the Skoll Global Threats Fund after serving as the Developmental Department Administrative Assistant at The Salvation Army, Golden State Division headquarters, responsible for social service programing in 17 counties throughout central California. In that role, Lauren supported the Development team, and was the key point responsible for multiple fundraising activities in support of the organization’s $56 million dollar operating budget.

    Prior to the Salvation Army, Lauren taught intermediate and advanced English courses at the Centro de Educación Continua- Escuela Politécnica Nacional University in Quito, Ecuador, through the WorldTeach program. In this capacity, she developed the class curriculum and implemented new classroom techniques to encourage learning. During her year-long stay in Ecuador, Lauren organized a weekend language exchange club and established volunteer opportunities for students and colleagues.

    Lauren holds a B.A. in Political Science and Communication Studies from the University of San Diego.


  • Veronica Garcia, Executive Assistant

    Veronica has over a decade of experience in the healthcare industry through her work with MPM Capital, the world’s largest life science-dedicated venture investors and GeneSoft Pharmaceuticals, Inc. At MPM, Veronica assisted in the startup operations of several biotech companies as well as the development of drugs in the field of cancer and pain management. Meanwhile, her time with GeneSoft, an MPM portfolio company, exposed her to the regulatory and commercialization processes as she assisted a global team that successfully took a new fluoroquinolone through the FDA drug approval process and its eventual marketing in the U.S.

Veronica has a B.S. in Information Systems from the University of San Francisco.


  • Sylvia Lee, Water Manager

    Sylvia Lee has over a decade of experience in the water sector. She most recently worked as a Water Resources Specialist for the South Asia Region of the World Bank based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her work at the World Bank focused on transboundary water issues and climate change adaptation & resilience building for vulnerable communities.

    Prior, Sylvia was with the World Economic Forum based in Geneva, Switzerland, serving most recently as Associate Director, Environmental Initiatives, where she led the World Economic Forum’s Water Initiative. Her work focused on raising awareness of the global water challenge and engaging the private sector in water.

    Sylvia has also worked as a consulting engineer on water and sanitation design and construction projects in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    Sylvia received her Master’s in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from McGill University.


  • Bruce Lowry, Director, Policy and Communications

    Bruce serves as Director, Policy and Communications, for the Skoll Global Threats Fund, helping shape the organization’s approach to engagement with government and leading message development and outreach for its communications efforts.

    Prior to joining the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Bruce served as Communications Director for the Skoll Foundation, working with media, the Skoll social entrepreneurs, and Skoll’s partners to broadly promote the Foundation’s message around the power of social entrepreneurship.

    Bruce brings both private and public sector experience to the Skoll Global Threats Fund, with an international perspective built from working and living in the Middle East, Africa and Europe. He joined the Skoll Foundation from Novell, where he led the company’s global public relations team. He oversaw the company’s media and communications efforts as Novell underwent a major reinvention, moving from a traditional proprietary enterprise software player to a leader in Linux and open source.

    Prior to Novell, Bruce spent nearly 14 years at the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Service Officer. An economic specialist, he served overseas tours of duty in Saudi Arabia, Swaziland and Italy. His domestic assignments included stints in the Department’s Economic and Business Affairs Bureau, the European regional economic office, the office of the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, and the Ukraine Desk. As a diplomat, Bruce worked on a wide range of issues, including, among others, the G-7 summit process, the Middle East peace process, Chernobyl/nuclear safety, human rights, democratization, and economic development.

    Bruce earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from Pomona College and a Master of Arts in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He’s a member of the Pacific Council for International Policy, a Founding Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research, and a board member for the Cazadero Performing Arts Camp.


  • Amy Luers, Director, Climate Change

    Amy_2014Amy Luers has over twenty years of experience working at the interface of economic development and environmental sustainability. Dr. Luers came to Skoll Global Threats Fund from Google where she was the Senior Environment Program Manager leading a series of information and communication technology initiatives for climate risk management, with efforts in Latin America, South East Asia, and Africa. Prior to Google Dr. Luers headed the Climate Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists California Office, where she led collaborative analysis and outreach efforts to inform alternative state and federal policy options.

    Dr. Luers started her carrier working on sustainable development in Latin America. She spent six years living and working throughout Latin America on development and resources management. She is co-founder and former executive director of Agua Para La Vida (Water for Life), a small NGO dedicated to enhancing sustainable access to potable water in rural Latin America.

    Dr. Luers has over three dozen publications in peer reviewed journals, edited books and in the popular press on society’s vulnerability to global environmental changes and on climate policy. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and sits on committees of the National Academies of Sciences and the International Council for Science. A respected leader on issues at the intersection of big data, climate, and resilience, Luers was awarded a Bellagio/Poptech Fellowship for innovation in big data and resilience, and has served as an adviser to the United Nations and the White House on Data and Climate initiatives.

    She holds a Ph.D. in environmental science and an M.A. in international policy studies, both from Stanford University, and a M.S. and B.S. in environmental resources engineering from Humboldt State University.


  • Annie Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer

    Annie Maxwell is the Chief Operating Officer of the Skoll Global Threats Fund. She joins the organization after serving as a White House Fellow, working in the Office of Vice President Biden, where she focused on implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    From 2002 to 2009, Annie was with Direct Relief International, serving most recently as Chief Operating Officer. Direct Relief is a privately funded nonprofit that, through humanitarian assistance, improves the quality of life for people affected by poverty or disasters in 59 countries, including the U.S. From 2005 to 2006, Annie was seconded to the United Nation’s Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, led by Special Envoy President Bill Clinton. She served as Partnerships and Outreach Officer, focusing on environmental issues and the role of NGOs in the recovery effort.

    Annie served as chair and vice chair of the Alumni Board of Governors at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and as a member of the founding Board of Directors for the nonprofit Wizzy Digital. In 2007, she was selected for the Marshall Memorial Fellowship.

    Annie received her Master’s in Public Policy and B.A. in English and Political Science, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Michigan. She attended the university on a full athletic scholarship and was captain of the university’s Division I volleyball team.


  • Bessma Mourad, Program Associate, Water

    BessmaforWebBessma has been working for nearly a decade on issues of international development, natural resources, and women’s rights. Prior to joining Skoll Global Threats Fund, Bessma was a Project Manager at the sustainability research organization Global Footprint Network, where she developed and managed relations with clients around the world, from scoping projects to delivery. Bessma also worked with the United Nations Environment Programme’s Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch as a Project Advisor in the Environmental Cooperation for Peacebuilding program, researching and writing on topics of natural resources management, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. Earlier, she was a Program Associate for Middle East and North Africa at the Global Fund for Women and a Development Manager at the Center for Environmental Health.

    Bessma holds a M.S. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.


  • Jennifer Olsen, Manager, Pandemics

    JenforWebJennifer joins the Skoll Global Threats Fund after serving as the Division Director of Fusion within the Office of Emergency Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (APSR) at the US Department of Health & Human Services. In that role, Jennifer led initiatives for data fusion, data integration, analytics, and visualizations to enable improved decision making by responders at various levels. During her time at ASPR, Jennifer led the information analysis efforts for the following responses: Superstorm Sandy, Deepwater Horizon, Haiti earthquake, the 2009 Presidential Inauguration, two sets of political conventions, and H1N1 influenza. Prior to her tenure at ASPR, Jennifer served as a reach back engineer at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) with a focus on atmospheric dispersion and epidemiological modeling. As part of her time at DTRA, Jennifer also served as program manager for a research and development effort to improve agent-based modeling for decision makers.

    Jennifer received her Bachelor’s degree in Biomathematics from Rutgers University and her Master’s in Public Health with a focus on Epidemiology from George Washington University. She also holds a Certificate in Weapons of Mass Destruction from the Uniformed Services University for Health Sciences. In 2013, Jennifer completed her doctorate from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill as a result of dissertation research focused on fusing and implementing digital disease detection approaches in the federal government.


  • Mark Smolinski, Director, Global Health Threats

    Mark has led global efforts toward early detection and rapid response to emerging threats. His work has brought together governments, NGOs, academia, and private industry in partnerships across national borders in Southern Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Russia, and SE Asia.

    In 2006, Mark joined the start-up team at Google.org as the director of the Predict and Prevent Initiative. Prior to Google, Mark served as Vice President for Biological Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a public charity directed by CNN founder Ted Turner and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. While at NTI, Mark led the development of a regional disease surveillance system linking Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority, demonstrating the power of health as a diplomatic tool even in areas of longstanding conflict.

    In 2003, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences released a landmark report, the Emergence, Detection, and Response to Microbial Threats to Health for which Mark was the study director. He has also served as an advisor to the World Health Organization, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary of Health, and an Epidemic Intelligence Officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mark was a member of the investigation team that discovered hantavirus in 1993 in Southwestern United States.

    A native of Michigan, Mark holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he also received his M.D. He received his M.P.H. from the University of Arizona. Mark is a trained Internist and board certified in Preventive Medicine and Public Health. WIRED magazine’s 2008 Smart List of 15 people the next president should listen to included Mark, a.k.a., the threat detective.


  • Nathan Willcox, Strategic Partnerships, Climate Learning Initiative

    NathanforwebNathan Willcox develops key partnerships to advance the Climate Learning Initiative. Prior to joining the Skoll Global Threats Fund, Nathan worked for 12 years for Environment America. He served at the state level in Pennsylvania and, later, as Environment America’s federal global warming program director in Washington, D.C., focusing on organizing and advocacy to promote climate, clean air and clean energy policy solutions.

    While at Environment America, Nathan co-authored several research reports, was quoted in stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and helped to secure implementation of the 2017-2025 clean vehicles standards, the Environmental Protection Agency’s first-ever mercury pollution standards for power plants, EPA’s proposed carbon-pollution standards for power plants, and EPA’s strengthening of air quality standards for particle pollution. Nathan has a B.A. in Environmental Policy and Political Science from American University.