Board and History
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Board and History

The story of the Partnership begins with Samuel J. Heyman. Inspired by President Kennedy’s call to serve, Heyman joined the Justice Department after graduating from Harvard Law School in 1963, eventually rising to become an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Connecticut. Following his father’s death in 1968, Heyman left government to run his family’s business.  

But his deep faith in the value of public service never wavered. As the new millennium dawned, Heyman sought to address what he saw as the most urgent challenge facing our government: a lack of critical young talent choosing to enter the federal workforce—just as he had nearly three decades earlier.  

To address this issue, Heyman wanted to initiate a renewed call to serve that would inspire the next generation to public service, restore pride in federal work and enable government to meet the challenges of the 21st century. “The future of our nation quite simply depends on the quality of our government,” he said.  

Heyman planned to launch a new nonprofit organization to make his vision a reality. But he first needed someone to head up this work.  

Heyman found that person in Max Stier, an accomplished leader who had learned about government from the inside by clerking for a Supreme Court justice, working for a congressman and serving in a large federal agency.  

Stier’s expertise and fierce dedication to public service transformed the Partnership from a scrappy startup to the only nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to building a better government and a stronger democracy.  

As the Partnership’s president and CEO, Stier has spent more than 20 years growing the Partnership’s budget, portfolio and profile, elevating the organization as a well-recognized authority on federal management and workforce issues in the eyes of popular, political, academic, government, nonprofit and private sector audiences. In his book, “The Fifth Risk,” author Michael Lewis indeed surmised that Stier was perhaps “the American with the greatest understanding of how the U.S. government actually worked.”  

This steadfast entrepreneurial spirit—as well as the work of Mrs. Heyman and Jennifer Heyman, who carry on Sam’s legacy through their continued support and service on our board of directors—has enabled the Partnership to continually break new ground and make an impact. 

Early flagship initiatives like the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals®, the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings and the Call to Serve network—as well as the organization’s support for critical workforce legislation—continue to shine a spotlight on exceptional public servants, create new paths to federal service for students and recent graduates, and hold agencies accountable for creating healthy workplaces and a good employee experience.  

In our second decade, we launched leadership development programs that provide federal employees working across government with the skills to lead at their agencies. Soon, premier programs like the Excellence in Government Fellows program complemented an extensive set of federal networks that enable communities of government leaders to share best practices to address common challenges in their respective fields.  

This period also saw us develop a wide-ranging research agenda that has generated critical insights, forward-thinking solutions and actionable recommendations that help government better serve the public. We also championed landmark legislation and launched groundbreaking initiatives for political appointees that have helped transform the presidential transition process. In 2016, we created the Center for Presidential Transition®, the premier nonpartisan resource for presidential candidates and their teams, incoming senior leaders, career officials and members of Congress as they prepare to lay the groundwork for a new administration or a president’s second term.  

Today, the Partnership continues to expand its horizons to help government reach its full potential, pioneering new initiatives that serve federal communities outside the Washington, D.C., area, and helping Congress become a stronger and more capable institution for the people it serves. 

This work—and more—has made the Partnership a nationally recognized organization whose research and programming has informed critical government management issues—from talent acquisition, the federal customer experience and employee engagement to innovation and technology modernization, presidential transitions and congressional oversight.   

But our work has only just begun. To build a better government and a stronger democracy, we will continue to reimagine how government works so it can solve today’s problems and be better prepared to face tomorrow.

Explore Our Timeline and Impact

Partnership Founders

Board of Directors

Our elected Board of Directors serves as volunteers and brings a diverse set of experiences to the Partnership. The Board guides our strategic priorities and helps to ensure our financial health by providing fiscal oversight and support of fundraising efforts.

Les L. Lyles

Former Chairman of the Board, USAA, Retired General and former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
About Les

Sean O’Keefe

University Professor and Howard G. and S. Louise Phanstiel Chair in Strategic Management and Leadership, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
About Sean

Board Members Emeriti

Since our inception, the Partnership has enjoyed the support and guidance of many exceptional and dynamic leaders. Their counsel and stewardship have been invaluable to our growth, evolution and impact. We are grateful for their dedication and contributions to our mission and proud of what they continue to do for our country.

Thad Allen
Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired) and Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton
John Bridgeland
President and CEO, Civic Enterprises and Vice Chairman, Service Year Alliance
Beth Brooke-Marciniak
Former Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, Ernst & Young LLP
Sheila Burke
Senior Public Policy Advisor, Baker Donelson Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Richard Danzig
Senior Advisor, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Chair, Advisory Panel for Idaho National Laboratories' Innovation Center, and Member, Board of Trustees, RAND Corporation
Tom Davis
Partner, Holland & Knight
Jonathan Fanton
President Emeritus, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
David Gergen
Senior Political Analyst, CNN and Professor of public service and founding director of the Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
Larry Heyman
CEO, The Heyman Enterprise
Lloyd W. Howell Jr.
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, Booz Allen Hamilton
Robert Ingram
General Partner, Hatteras Venture Partners and Chariman, Board of Directors, Viamet Pharmaceuticals
Nancy Killefer
Board of Directors, Cardinal Health and Member, Board of Directors, Computer Sciences Corporation
James Loy
Senior Counselor, The Cohen Group and Member, Board of Trustees, Lockheed Martin
Robert A. McDonald
Former Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs and Retired Chairman, President and CEO, The Procter & Gamble Company
Tom Nides
United States Ambassador to Israel
Peter Orszag
CEO, Financial Advisory, Lazard Freres & Co LLC
Ruth Porat
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Alphabet and Google
Nancy Reardon

Former Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources and Communications Officer,
Campbell Soup Company

Susan Rice
Visiting Distinguished Research Fellow, School of International Service, American University, Former U.S. National Security Advisor and Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Scott Rutherford

Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

David Walker
Senior Strategic Advisor, PricewaterhouseCoopers