Leadership to Ensure the American Dream (LEAD) is a new initiative born out of a time-tested idea: that America is a force for good and that the pursuit of the American Dream is as essential today as it has been at each critical juncture in the development of our nation. 

We aim to foster a discussion about how the American Dream manifests in individuals, families, groups, and private enterprises. LEAD brings forward stories of how the achievement of dreams and the journeys chasing them have shaped our country and our people. Our focus is on the foundation of the American Dream. 

The bedrock the American Dream is built upon is the freedom for all Americans to succeed. Freedom must be secured and protected as a fundamental value and understood to be inherently fragile. LEAD addresses current top policy issues facing the nation from the free, hope-filled, solution-oriented, people-centered, limited government perspective. Our overarching philosophy is to lead the conversation with leaders and people impacted by critical public policy issues and provide a space for in-depth analysis. LEAD creates a platform to address the complex issues we must face as families, communities, states, and as a country that impacts the American Dream above the political crossfire.  

LEAD believes in fostering the American Dream and empowering people by illustrating the positive, far-reaching impacts that achieving those dreams can have in our lives and the lives of others both today and tomorrow. The ability to achieve the Dream lies in the power of working together as one nation.  

LEAD Board of Directors

The Honorable Mike Rogers

The Honorable Mike Rogers

Throughout our history, our nation’s challenges have never been bigger than the idea of America.

Mike is the youngest of five boys and grew up in a small town in Michigan.  His father was a high school football coach and a vice principal, and his mom ran the local chamber of commerce. It was Mike’s mother who passed on the lesson of the importance of public service – Mike spent time going door to door as a young man, handing out campaign flyers for her run for county commissioner. She taught her sons that serving your community was an honorable pursuit, just as long as you don’t stay in office too long. It can be all too easy for office holders to forget “who works for who,” as she was fond of saying. 

Mike’s parents had a basic rule growing up: you were going to spend your time in a productive way. While in school, you could either play sports, have a job, or work with his father mowing lawns and cutting wood after school and on weekends. All the boys did each one of those along the way. Mike’s parents taught the boys that having a strong work ethic and being of good character was all the advantage you would need in life.  

Mike embraced those lessons, and spent his school years working various part-time jobs. He worked in a car plant making convertibles and at a plant making plastics for car components. He maintained a local cemetery and small park. He mowed lawns and cut firewood. He worked at a large retail store on college breaks. Each job taught Mike that his parents were right: hard work and self-reliance are the cornerstones of the American dream.

Mike ultimately took that work ethic and belief in public service into his career, serving in the US Army after college and going on to serve as an FBI Special Agent working organized crime in Chicago.  He went on to win one of the closest congressional races in his election year, carrying the election by just 111 votes. Once elected, Mike worked across the aisle with two Presidents, legislative leadership, countless diplomats, the US military, and intelligence professionals to ensure we were getting the best national security possible for the American people.  While serving in the U.S. House he fought for progress on issues ranging from healthcare to telecommunications to energy to the most sensitive intelligence and national security issues. He stood strong in his own principles and worked with members of congress from all over the country to forge solutions to our most difficult problems. He knew that you did not have to abandon your beliefs in order to get things accomplished.  Washington Post columnist David Ignatius remarked that Mr. Rogers was “a rare example of bipartisanship.”  

After serving seven successful terms in Congress, including as the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Mike believed it was time for someone else to serve, and stepped aside to engage in private sector pursuits. He provides strategic advice to small and developing companies, including IronNet Cybersecurity, Constella Intelligence, and IAP. Mike is also the incoming Chairman of the Board for Mitre Corporation, allowing him to continue to be a part of our country’s national security infrastructure and to engage in challenging health issues. Mike continues to advocate for smart private-sector solutions to the most pressing problems facing our country today.

Mike is married to Kristi Rogers and has two grown children.

Kristi Rogers, President

Kristi Rogers, President

America is constantly evolving. Yes, we need to improve, but we have made so many positive and incredible steps. It’s the idea of America that we must not give up on and we should teach our kids this. Give our kids hope, teach them that this is the land of the free, home of the brave, and where you can be anything you want if you work hard.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Kristi Rogers finds those homegrown values driving her work. Family, faith, and freedom are her cornerstones, and they have driven her to spend her life in the service of others and of her country. 

Kristi began her career in government service, ultimately holding multiple senior positions, including her appointment as Assistant Commissioner at U.S. Customs & Border Protection and as a senior official with the U.S. Department of Defense, serving nine months in Iraq.

Kristi has also successfully launched, managed, and grown two companies with overseas operations. She is now the managing partner and co-founder of Principal to Principal, a company that brings together senior executives and decision leaders to find solutions to today’s ever-changing world. Kristi’s goal was to create a space for leaders of all backgrounds, political beliefs, and careers to develop common-sense solutions for a rapidly changing world. This approach continues to yield results relating to security and disaster response, public-private partnerships, and federal government contracting—all with the same goal in mind: pushing for a better America.  

Ultimately, Kristi strives to live her life according to a piece of advice given to her by her grandfather: “Every morning you wake up, you have a choice: I can try to be miserable or I can try to be happy. Some days it is more difficult than others, but you have the choice.”

Kristi currently serves as co-chair of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and sits on the Advisory Councils for both ForgePoint Capital and George Mason University’s National Security Institute. She also sits on the board of directors for two information and technology security companies – Qualys and Now Secure – as well as Business Executives for National Security (BENS).

Laurie Michel

Laurie Michel

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan

Laurie Michel is retired from a career as a senior government relations professional and advocate.  She most recently worked as Director of Federal Affairs for The Port Authority of NY & NJ where she was responsible for identifying issues and advocating policy and legislative positions affecting the Port Authority’s business objectives, operations, programs and facilities to the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch. Prior to joining the Port Authority, Laurie was Senior Director & Counsel for Federal Policy and Government Relations at Merck.  She was responsible for shaping the federal legislative and policy environment for vaccine financing and access; patent reform and domestic intellectual property; research regulation; legal reform; and environmental legislation. 

Prior to joining Merck, Laurie was Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Pasteur/Merieux/Connaught.  She began her Washington career as Legislative Assistant to Cong. Ed Derwinski (R-IL) and as staff assistant in the Office of Legislative Affairs of the U.S. Treasury.  She then headed the Washington Office of Nabisco Brands, Inc. for four years before joining the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, where she was a member of the Public Finance and Legislative Practice groups.  Laurie returned to legislative practice in Washington at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson before going to Pasteur/Merieux/Connaught.

Ms. Michel is a graduate of Smith College (A.B., in American Studies and Government) and George Washington University Law School (J.D.). 

Laurie and her husband, David Norcross, live in Alexandria, VA.  They have two adult children and four grandchildren who are in grade school and high school. The future success and happiness of our children and grandchildren depends on our work today to promote, foster and build a civic environment to ensure The American Dream.

Allan Filip, Treasurer

Allan Filip, Treasurer

Like all generations, we face challenges unique to our times. As has always been the case, the solution to our challenges lies in the values of freedom, community, and economic opportunity. It is an honor to be part of the LEAD initiative to highlight the power of the American spirit and policies that advance peace and prosperity.

Allan Filip is currently Senior Vice President at a cross-partisan organization co-founded by military veterans dedicated to leadership and civility in elected public service. As a part of the overall effort to highlight the importance of veterans and veteran issues, he supports principled military veterans in Congress and helps amplify their cross-partisan agenda that finds solutions for the American people. Allan works with veteran running for Congress, helping them organize their campaigns and build a winning strategy. He also works with members of congress to advance issues of national security and veterans issues. 

Previously, Allan served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Mike Rogers. Allan interfaced between the congressman’s personal office and Intelligence Committee, helped develop legislative priorities, and oversaw political and fundraising strategies. Allan also served as Chief of Staff to Congressman Mike Bishop, who served on the powerful Way and Means Committee. In 2006, Allan was appointed to the US Selective Service System by President George W Bush, serving 10 years on the regional board.

Prior to entering the public sector, Allan worked as CDO for Work Skills Corporation in Brighton, MI. He also worked several years for International Paper as a national project manager. He received his B.B.A. from Athens State University.

Tom DiNanno, Secretary

Tom DiNanno, Secretary

This is important work that Chairman Rogers has embarked upon and I’m happy to be a part of it.

Thomas DiNanno is currently an adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He has a long record of accomplished service in the Executive Branch having held five senior executive appointments across the State Department, White House and Department of Homeland Security since 2001. He was most recently a professional staff member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a senior executive at the State Department where he led the U.S. government’s investigation to determine the origins of SARS-COV2 as it pertained to Chinese compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. 

Thomas DiNanno most recently served as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Bureau. In this role he oversaw the implementation and oversight of all arms control treaties agreements and cooperation with international partners and stakeholders on behalf of the Secretary of State. Mr. DiNanno led the Bureau in the renegotiation of the New Start Treaty with the Russian Federation and led bureau efforts related to the Open Skies Treaty, Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological Weapons Convention, and Outer Space Treaty. He oversaw over 100 federal employees and foreign service officers in two U.S. missions in the Hague and Geneva.  In this diplomatic role Mr. DiNanno lead U.S. delegations with over a dozen countries including China, Japan, NATO, India, and throughout Europe. 

From 2017-2018 Mr. DiNanno served as Assistant Administrator at the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency where he oversaw nearly $5 billion in counter-terrorism programs and national preparedness initiatives that focused on resilient public safety communications systems, national continuity planning, and cyber-security initiatives. 

Mr. DiNanno also served as Senior Fellow for Homeland Security and Critical Infrastructure Protection at the International Assessment and Strategy Center from 2008-2017. From 2004-2007 Mr. DiNanno served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Critical Infrastructure Protection at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he was responsible for Homeland Security initiatives to identify and protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. These projects included: leadership of the National Cyber Security Division programs; development and implementation of regulations to identify and protect high risk chemical sites; management of the National Communications System; the creation of a multi-year grant program to identify and secure high risk sites; security initiatives to protect at-risk infrastructure including dams, commercial properties, and iconic targets. He also represented the United States in bilateral initiatives involving cooperation between the private sector and government counter-terrorism initiatives both in Latin America, Canada and in Europe. He was also involved in the development and execution of Operation Liberty Shield – the national mobilization of Homeland Security and Public Safety resources in the lead-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

Mr. DiNanno served in the White House Office of Homeland Security as Director of Corporate Relations from November 2001 to March 2003 and Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff at the US Small Business Administration from Feb. 2001 to October 2001.

Mr. DiNanno received his MS in Business and Urban Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999, an MA in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate in International Relations the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy in 1993. He received the BA in Economics and Latin American Studies from Middlebury College in 1989.