Claudia Pharis, Chair & CEO
Claudia C. Pharis, Chair & CEO
Claudia Pharis is a 30 year veteran of service to government and industry. Her experience in politics and public policy is broad and deep. She served for seven years as Chief of Staff and then Senior Policy Advisor to Congressman Chaka Fattah. She has served at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of Management and Budget, and the U.S. Congress on both the House and the Senate Budget Committees. Ms. Pharis’ perspectives are based, not only on knowledge of the public sector, but on direct experience with the private sector as well. She holds a BS in Physics from the University of Hawaii, an MBA from the Harvard University School of Business Administration, and is currently pursuing Ph.D in Public Policy at George Mason University. She served a stint on Wall Street, ran a small business in New York City which, under her direction, grew from $6 million in revenue to $10 million in three years, founded Mentor Systems International, a company which designed, produced, and marketed an award winning multi-media educational product for families with children.
Most recently, Ms. Pharis is Founder and CEO of The Catalyst Institute for Applied Policy, a social systems intermediary that is engaged in problem solving in large complex systems. Catalyst has four lines of business: Community and Economic Development; Education Reform; Arts and Society; and Strategic Policy Design and Implementation. The operational model for Catalyst involves collaborative strategies and stakeholder partnerships. Catalyst has formed Capitol City Career Development and Job Training Partnership (Capitol City Careers) initially charged with building Federal Industry Academies in the Junior and Senior high schools in Washington, DC., and the Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology which addresses the low participation rate of African Americans in STEM fields. Catalyst has also consulted with Project GRAD USA, a Ford Foundation initiative, on the introduction of Project GRAD into new markets, provided management assistance to non-profit start-ups, developed an arts-based conflict resolution curriculum for high schools, and built a career exploration kiosk designed primarily for Jr. and Senior high school students. Pending projects include the creation of a Jr. Medical Corps to institutionalize the flow of African Americans into the ranks of Navy Medical personnel, an education-led economic development field creation process in collaboration with the International Economic Development Council, and a conclusion of a four-part series of forums on Complicity Theory and Public Policy.
Ms. Pharis is a 21st Century boundary crosser who understands the inner workings of American society: government and the economy, science and technology, our human, physical, and institutional infrastructure, as well as the most basic imperatives of our culture. She is thoroughly familiar with the requirements, the possibilities, and the limitations of the American social, political and economic system. Her areas of expertise range from economic and community development, education, and institution building, to science and technology policy. Ms. Pharis is a development professional and a policy entrepreneur who has organized her life to apply her considerable skills to the design, implementation, and retrofit of large scale human systems in a manner that promotes equity and frees the human spirit.