2012 ACCT Congress Speakers

Bill Green

Executive Chairman, Accenture

In addition to chairing the Board of Directors, Mr. Green works closely with the leadership team on Accenture’s long-term business strategy. He represents Accenture with clients around the world, with key alliance partners, with business and government leaders, and with other key external groups. Mr. Green is also focused on Accenture’s Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship efforts. He has served on Accenture’s Board of Directors since its inception in 2001.

Mr. Green is an outspoken advocate for the role of education as a key enabler of competitiveness, urging business and government leaders to work together to make education more accessible, affordable, and accountable.

He has testified on this issue before the US Senate Finance Committee and has advocated on the topic at local, US, and global levels. Mr. Green has led the Business Roundtable’s Education, Innovation, and Workforce Initiative and served as chairman of its Springboard Project, an independent commission on workforce issues. He is co-chair of the Business Coalition for Student Achievement and is a member of the Business Higher Education Forum. He is also a board member of Change the Equation and serves as an
advisory board member of Skills for America’s Future.



Paul E Lingenfelter

State Higher Education Executive Officers

Paul Lingenfelter became CEO of SHEEO in 2000, where his work has focused on increasing successful participation in higher education and the public policies required for educational excellence.  Under his leadership, the SHEEO staff organized the National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education in 2005, created the annual study State Higher Education Finance, and published More Student Success: A Systemic Solution. In 2008 Change Magazine published an open letter to the U.S. presidential candidates from the SHEEO association, “Second to None in Attainment, Discovery, and Innovation: The National Agenda for Higher Education.” The letter outlined ambitious national goals for postsecondary education and a strategy for meeting them through federal, state, and institutional collaboration.

From 1985 to 2000, he served the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where in 1996 he was appointed Vice President to establish and lead the MacArthur Foundation Program on Human and Community Development.  Earlier, he was involved in the full range of the Foundation’s international and domestic programs as Associate Vice President for Planning and Evaluation and Director of Program Related Investments.

Dr. Lingenfelter was Deputy Director for Fiscal Affairs for the Illinois Board of Higher Education from 1980 to 1985 and held other administrative positions with the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the University of Michigan from 1968-80.  His educational background includes an A.B. from Wheaton College in Literature, an M.A. from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in higher education with an emphasis in public policy.  He is the author of numerous studies and articles related to his work in higher education and philanthropy, and he currently serves on the boards of the National Student Clearinghouse and the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability.


Byron Pitts

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Contributing Correspondent, 60 Minutes, Author, Step Out On Nothing &
CBS News Chief National Correspondent

Known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling, Byron Pitts is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist. As Chief National Correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric Pitts was an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War and was recognized for his work under fire. Pitts was also CBS’ lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage. A news veteran with over 20 years of experience, other major stories include the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, to name but a few. Pitts realized a life-long goal when he was named a Contributing Correspondent to CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2009.

Pitts’ many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child. Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of twelve and had a persistent stutter.

Capitalizing on his desire to play football, his mother mandated he receive Bs or above in school in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. With the help of his roommate and a college professor, Pitts found the support and encouragement necessary to pursue a career in broadcast journalism—a field that demands excellence in writing and speaking. By staying focused, setting simple and achievable goals and finding strength in faith, Pitts overcame powerful odds. He graduated in 1982 with a BA in Journalism and Speech Communication.

Praised by 60 Minutes Correspondent Lesly Stahl as “truly moving,” Pitts tells his incredible story in his memoir Step Out On Nothing: How Family and Faith Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges (2009). Pitts shares how his faith saw him through his many struggles and how a few key people “stepped out on nothing” to help him change his life.  Katie Couric praised Pitts’ work, saying, “No wonder he is such an inspired storyteller—his
own story is inspiring.”

Pitts’ grit and determination shone throughout his illustrious career as well, garnering him several prestigious awards including a national Emmy Award for his coverage of the Chicago train wreck of 1999, a National Association of Black Journalists Award and second national Emmy Award for individual reporting of September 11th. He is also the recipient of four Associated Press Awards and six regional Emmy Awards. At the podium, he shares his incredible story perseverance and strength and inspires audiences to reach for their dreams.

Pitts lives with his wife in Upper Montclair, N.J.



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President and CEO
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Sterling Speirn is president and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan, one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

Since he assumed his role in 2006, Speirn has led the organization through a comprehensive review of its mission, vision, and program priorities. The foundation’s strategic framework seeks to integrate three core program areas, Education and Learning, Food, Health and Wellbeing, and Family Economic Security while emphasizing the promotion of Racial Equity and Civic and Community Engagement as core approaches to its mission to work with communities to create the conditions of success for vulnerable children. As a result the foundation has placed a special emphasis on dual generation strategies that promote whole family and whole child development from birth to age eight. It seeks to increase the number of children who are born healthy, who enter Kindergarten ready to learn, who are successful and proficient by the end of third grade, and as a result are on their way to high school graduation and career and college access. In addition, the foundation has identified priority places to concentrate an increasing portion of its annual grantmaking: Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, and New Orleans in the United States, and in Mexico and Haiti for its Latin America and Caribbean programming.

Speirn is a member of the Executive Policy Council of the First Five Years Fund, and serves on the board of directors of the Council of Michigan Foundations (CMF). At CMF, he co-chairs the Transforming Michigan Philanthropy project. He serves as co-chairman of the national D5 coalition on Diversity in Philanthropy project. Speirn is also a member of the Council on Foundations Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

Before joining the Kellogg Foundation, Speirn was president of Peninsula Community Foundation, headquartered in Silicon Valley, where he led its asset growth from $60 million to $600 million. He also established the Center for Venture Philanthropy, and created the Raising A Reader Take Home Book Program which today operates in 33 states and serves more than 100,000 children. During that time, Speirn taught a seminar on philanthropy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Before that, he managed the national computer grants program for nonprofit organizations at Apple Computer.

Speirn began his career as a 7th and 8th grade English Teacher in Cleveland, Ohio. He also has worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C.; practiced law in
North Carolina; and managed a large community health center in Arcata, California.

Sterling earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan. He is married to Diana Aviv, president and CEO of the national nonprofit, Independent Sector, and has two sons.

Established in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation seeks to partner with families and communities working to create the conditions that propel vulnerable children to realize their full potential in school, work and life.



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Executive Director
Council of Chief State School Officers 
Gene Wilhoit assumed his role as executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in November of 2006 having spent his entire professional career serving education at the local, state, and national levels. Gene began his career as a social studies teacher in Ohio and Indiana. He served as a program director in the Indiana Department of Education, an administrator in Kanawha County West Virginia, and a special assistant in the U.S. Department of Education before assuming the position of executive director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE), which he held 1986-1993.

From 1994 to 2006, Gene led two state education agencies, as director of the Arkansas Department of Education and as deputy commissioner and commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education. In those positions, he shepherded finance reform, led equity initiatives, designed and implemented assessment and accountability systems, advanced nationally recognized preschool and technology programs, and reorganized state agencies to focus on service and support.

Gene holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics from Georgetown College and a master’s in teaching, political science, and economics from Indiana University, Bloomington. Wilhoit has also studied education administration at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. He is a member of numerous education organizations, has served on national and state commissions, and has written and spoken on a variety of education issues.

He and his wife, Rebecca Campbell Wilhoit, have three children, Christopher, Kara, and Jason.