Class of 2023
Learning from our Transatlantic Partners on the Future of Work
The Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship is a congressional fellowship that convenes staffers from the European parliament, German Bundestag, US government (both federal and state) as well as select participants from the private sector. The Bertelsmann Foundation Fellowship Class of 2023 is centered around the future of work. Through a hybrid format spanning four months, Fellows will explore how best we can build a human-centered work force in the digital age.
Leighton Johnson is an economic development professional that supports technology adoption across manufacturers & logistics firms within the State of Indiana, as a Director of Innovation & Digital Transformation for Conexus Indiana. In his role, Leighton serves as the Program Manager to the Indiana Manufacturing Readiness Grants Program, which has awarded over $41 million in matching technology-enabled capital equipment investments funding supporting $509 million to nearly 400 Indiana manufacturing firms in nearly 80% of all Indiana counties. As a member of the broader Conexus Digital Transformation team, Leighton implements strategies for effective program administration, data and analytics, and reporting to ensure that the organization is meeting its programming goals.
Prior to joining Conexus, Leighton served in the capacity of Senior Director for Workforce Solutions for a North-Central Indiana based regional economic development initiative, supporting Advanced Industry workforce development, higher education and innovation economy ecosystem building to enhance the resiliency and productivity for regional advanced manufacturing firms.
Heather Painter is Legislative Director for Congressman Derek Kilmer, a Member of the Appropriations Committee and the Committee on Administration, representing Washington’s 6th district. Heather began her career teaching through Teach For America and has worked on public policy issues in government, academia, think tanks, and in the U.S. and abroad as a Fulbright (Austria) and Congress-Bundestag Program (CBYX) recipient. A Pittsburgh native, she especially enjoys working on policy matters related to economic mobility and making the government work better. She graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with majors in Political Science, English, and German.
Joe is the career pathways manager at Washington state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board, where he works with agency partners and stakeholders to support an environment of equitable access to career pathways in high-demand, livable-wage careers.
He was also the co-manager of Washington State’s Future of Work Task Force, which was created in April 2018 by the Washington State Legislature. Comprised of business and labor leaders along with legislators from each caucus, the task force was responsible for developing a set of policy recommendations that help Washington businesses and workers prosper together. The report was delivered to the state’s Legislature and Governor in December 2019, including 17 specific policy recommendations.
Prior to his work with Washington state, Joe worked as a business analyst for 13 years in dozens of countries around the world, having analyzed a wide range of industries across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Through the course of this work, Joe has researched, analyzed and presented assessments on a variety of topics and policy areas, ranging from education and workforce development to economic growth and information technology.
Jeanne Batalova is a Senior Policy Analyst and Demographer at the Migration Policy Institute. She is also Manager of the Migration Data Hub, a one-stop, online resource with the latest facts, stats, and maps covering U.S. and global data on immigration and immigrant integration. Her areas of expertise include the impacts of immigrants on society and labor markets; social and economic mobility; and the policies and practices regulating the immigration and integration of highly skilled workers and foreign students.
Dr. Batalova earned her PhD in sociology, with a specialization in demography, from the University of California-Irvine; an MBA from Roosevelt University; and bachelor of the arts in economics from the Academy of Economic Studies, Chisinau, Moldova.
Amir M. Kamel is a Visiting Scholar and Instructor at Stanford University and an Associate Professor at King’s College London where his research and expertise focus on two areas: the impact of cryptocurrencies on policymaking, and challenges to foreign policy. Amir has 14+ years of experience leading collaborative projects, professional development and wider education programs, managing teams that include interns, academics, and government representatives, winning grants, delivering education and training programs, presenting and publishing 100+ outputs to various audiences, and being commissioned to advise governments, businesses, and non-profits. His latest book is Floundering Stability: US Foreign Policy in Egypt. Amir holds a PhD from King’s College London, an MSc in International Relations, and a BSc in Economics with Management Systems.
Elisabeth Giesemann is a policy advisor to Maik Außendorf, a member of the German Bundestag who is currently the Greens' spokesperson on digital policy. She is responsible for the work of the Digital Committee, focusing on digital infrastructure and sustainable digitalisation. Previously, she worked on open source technology for Wikimedia Deutschland and on innovation in the telecommunications sector at Deutsche Telekom. Elisabeth is also the spokesperson for the digital policy working group of the Greens in Berlin.
Michele is Senior Auditor and Strategy and foresight officer within the Presidency of the European Court of Auditors (ECA). He is currently coordinating the ECA’s Task force on the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the EU flagship initiative to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has almost 15 years working experience within the European Institutions, both in Brussels and Luxembourg. Prior to join the ECA, he worked as policy analyst for the European Commission in the fields of employment, education, and health. Within the ECA, he has extensively worked on social policies related issues (e.g. youth employment, education and child poverty).
Michele has worked extensively on youth employment and education and earned a PhD in industrial and labour relations.
Céline Chateau has an academic background in political science (Diploma & prep PhD at 'Sciences Po' Paris, France, and Msc at London School of Economics, UK) and law (BA, University of Nancy, France). She is currently working at the Secretariat of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament. Her portfolio include legal migration and asylum, as well as Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights. She gained a good insight of EU inter-institutional relations, having been seconded by the European Parliament to the French Permanent Representation to the EU during the French Presidency of the Council of the EU (2022).
She has a broad experience of Government at all levels (local, national and international). Prior to serving the EU institutions, she worked as Director of Administration at the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH), an intergovernmental organisation giving birth to international conventions and monitoring their implementation. She also acquired experience in Local Government, in France and at international level, having participated in the setting-up of the umbrella organisation United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) and spent her first EU years at the Committee of the Regions (CoR). Her very first professional years were spent as Parliamentary Assistant in France.
Marc Lendermann works in the German government service, currently at the German consulate general in San Francisco, where he covers economic and digital/tech policy issues.
He trained as a lawyer in Germany and holds law degrees including a doctorate from universities in France and in Germany.
James leads the Government and Regulatory Affairs function at DXC Technology. With 130,000 people in over 70 countries, DXC helps leading organizations run their mission-critical IT systems and business operations. James is focused on demonstrating DXC’s capabilities to drive digital transformation, especially in the public sector, where DXC has decades of experience. His remit covers the UK and Europe, with further work in the US. He joined DXC after five years in the UK Civil Service, leading teams working on trade negotiations, crisis management, and social policy. His current work seeks to understand how advanced technologies can be used to address the challenges facing government today and what implications this has for the future of work. In previous roles, James spent five years leading policy teams in the charity sector with a notable focus on access to education and technology. Outside of work, James volunteers on a number of boards including Disability Sports Wales. He is especially motivated by removing barriers to participation in any walk of life.
Andrea Castagna is Secretary General of the European Digital Development Alliance (EDDA), where he focuses on digital cooperation with countries in the EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy and elsewhere in Africa. He has been working in the field of European affairs since 2017, with a focus on external affairs. He is active in projects related to innovation, digital education and youth.