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Five Alumni Named 2018-19 Donaldson Fellows

The Donaldson Fellows Program honors alumni from all sectors and across the globe, who share a dedication to solving complex problems and pursuing positive change in the world.

The Yale School of Management has named five alumni as Donaldson Fellows for 2018-19, recognizing them as embodying the school’s mission to educate leaders for business and society in their personal and professional accomplishments.

The newly named Donaldson Fellows are:

  • Michael Apkon ’02, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children
  • Curtis Chin ’90, Asia Fellow, Milken Institute
  • Louise Dubé ’88, Executive Director, iCivics
  • Katherine Gross ’83, Director, The Charlotte Foundation
  • James Robertson ’99,  Independent Consultant and Former Chief Executive, India HIV/AIDS Alliance 

The Donaldson Fellows Program honors alumni from all sectors and across the globe, who share a dedication to solving complex problems and pursuing positive change in the world. It is named for William H. Donaldson, Yale SOM’s founding dean, himself a leader with a lasting impact in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Donaldson Fellows
From left: Michael Apkon ’02, Curtis S. Chin ’90, Louise Dube ’88, Katherine Gross ’83, and James Robertson ’99

Donaldson Fellows are selected from among alumni nominated by members of the Yale SOM community. The selection committee includes alumni, students, faculty, a former Donaldson Fellow, and members of the school’s leadership team.


Michael Apkon ’02, president and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and the Floating Hospital for Children, is a physician executive and physician scientist serving in C-level leadership roles at several top academic hospitals in the United States and Canada. He has served as the CEO at Tufts Medical Center since November 2018. In that capacity, he leads a 415-bed hospital staffed by 6,000 employees, scientists, medical staff, students, and volunteers with a $1 billion budget. Tufts Medical Center is the principal adult and pediatric teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine and is among the top 10 percent of all institutions receiving National Institutes of health (NIH) funding. The Medical Center comprises a number of subsidiaries, including the New England Quality Care Alliance (NEQCA), a network of 1,800 physicians, as well as the Tufts Medical Center Physicians Organization. In addition, Apkon serves as executive vice president for Wellforce Health System, of which Tufts Medical Center is a founding member.

Apkon has extensive international management experience in both pediatric and adult-oriented healthcare, working with organizations and governments in the UK, Europe, China, Africa, and the Middle East as well as North America. He has consulted widely on business development, capacity development, and management systems as well as quality and safety improvement. He is an expert in strategy, systems development, and operations management, as well as the application of lean and high-reliability organizational thinking to drive improvements in quality, safety, and efficiency.

Prior to coming to Tufts Medical Center, Apkon was the president and CEO at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario, recognized as one of the world’s top children’s hospitals and Canada’s most research-intensive hospital. Apkon has also held senior executive and academic roles at top academic health science centers, including senior vice president for medical affairs and the chief medical officer for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) as well as roles at Yale University School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System, including being the vice president for performance management at the Yale New Haven Health System and the vice president/executive director leading Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. He has held faculty positions at the University of Toronto, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University’s School of Medicine and School of Management.

Apkon has a BSc degree in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University as well as MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and an MBA from the Yale School of Management, at which he taught healthcare management. 

The Honorable Curtis S. Chin ’90, former U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank and Asia Fellow, Milken Institute, has built­­­­­—in true SOM fashion—a career that has crossed the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.  Over the course of 30 years, Chin has served as a business leader, board member, strategist, and public affairs and policy specialist in the Asia-Pacific region and the United States.

Beginning his career in the private sector in Washington, D.C., in 1986—after once having served as a White House intern in the administration of U.S. President Ronald Reagan—Chin went on to serve in leadership and operational roles in Japan, China, Switzerland, and the United States with public affairs and public relations pioneer Burson-Marsteller. A part of Young & Rubicam Brands, the New York-headquartered Burson-Marsteller, now Burson Cohn & Wolfe, is a core agency of leading communications services network WPP plc. (NASDAQ: WPPGY).

Among other roles at Burson-Marsteller, Chin helped shape the firm’s consulting offering in the area of corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship, advising a range of technology, finance, and consumer products companies; led the global business for one of the firm’s largest multinational clients across the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere around the world; and oversaw day-to-day operations of the firm in Beijing and Hong Kong.

Chin left Burson-Marsteller thrice, first to attend the Yale School of Management; second, to join the administration of U.S. President George H.W. Bush as the special assistant to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Barbara Hackman Franklin, working on trade and China issues. And then, for a third time, when under U.S. President George W. Bush, Curtis was nominated and then confirmed by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate as the 15th U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2007.

The ADB is an international financial institution based in Manila, Philippines, whose vision is an Asia and Pacific region free of poverty, and whose mission is to help its developing member countries reduce poverty and improve the quality of life of their people. Upon his swearing in by U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry “Hank” Paulson, Jr., Chin became only the fourth U.S. ambassador of Chinese heritage in American history. He continued to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Asian Development Bank for an additional nearly two years into the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.

As a member of the ADB Board of Directors, Chin pushed for strengthened governance, risk management, and development efforts focused on people, planet, and partnership, particularly on infrastructure projects in Asia’s least-developed nations.  During his time on the Board, the ADB had approved capital base of $165 billion and was the region’s largest, leading multilateral financial institution.

After leaving the ADB, Chin served as an executive-in-residence and senior fellow at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand, working with the AIT CSR Asia Center. Today, he has embarked on the “portfolio life,” splitting his time between the Milken Institute and his own advisory work with a handful of entrepreneurs, startup companies, and equity funds seeking to make much more than a financial impact on our world. At the Milken Institute—a non-partisan, non-profit, Los Angeles-headquartered economic think tank whose mission is to advance collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health—Chin serves as the organization’s inaugural Asia Fellow, working closely with the organization’s Asia Center in Singapore on content creation and strategy and management issues.

Via his advisory firm RiverPeak Group, LLC, Chin serves on the advisory boards of Equator Pure Nature, a Southeast Asia-based, natural consumer products company and cleantech pioneer, and the Dolma Impact Fund, the first international equity fund focused solely on Nepal.  He also serves as executive advisor to TAEL Partners, a private equity partner to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) family businesses, on sustainability, infrastructure, and urbanization issues.

A “media presence”—on air, online and in social media—and a speaker and advocate for strong U.S.-Asia ties, Chin travels widely across East and Southeast Asia, speaking on what he calls the challenge of the “little bric”—bureaucracy, regulation, interventionism, and corruption. He also remains a strong and credible voice for the need for a strengthened focus of development on women, children, and the most vulnerable and for the advancement of public-private partnerships and social entrepreneurship, including through engagement with key stakeholders in Asia and the United States. “If your world is going to be disrupted, it’s better to be the disruptor,” Chin says. He has served as a trustee of World Education Services of New York and is a member of the international advisory boards of the Genesis Foundation of India, and of New York cultural institutions Battery Dance Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company. Twitter: @curtisschin. YouTube: AsiaMinute.

Louise Dubé ’88, executive director of iCivics, discovered the power of education in the early 1990s as a co-founder of CASES, a New York alternative-to-incarceration program where education helped reshape lives.  Inspired by a deep commitment to learning, she has devoted her career to making our society a place of opportunity for young people of all backgrounds. As the executive director of iCivics—the largest civic education provider in the nation—Dubé’s mission is to teach students why democracy matters, how it works, and why they need to be involved. She believes in achieving results through collaboration, and by leveraging the power of large networks for social change.

Dubé has successfully led growth organizations that design and deliver engaging K-12 instructional solutions.  She served as managing director of digital learning at WGBH—the largest public media organization in Boston.  At WGBH, she helped launch PBS LearningMedia, a platform reaching more than 1.5 million educators.  Previously, Dubé served as president of Pangea Tools, an educational software startup successfully acquired by Houghton Mifflin.  As president of Soliloquy Learning, Dube structured the sale of the company to Scientific Learning , where she served as vice president and general manager of Speech Products.

iCivics is the winner of many awards, including Fast Company’s 2017 Top 10 Most Innovative Education Companies, Reimagine Education’s Teaching and Delivery award and, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. In addition, Dubé is a Draper, Richards, Kaplan entrepreneur. She won the 2017 People’s Voice award from the Diane Von Furstenberg - Diller Foundation as well as the 2018 Civvys - American Civic Collaboration National award from Bridge Alliance.

Dubé began her career as an attorney in Montreal, Canada, and holds a law degree from McGill University, as well as an MBA from Yale University.   She is the proud mother of two sons: Daniel, a sophomore and debater at Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts, and Simon, a sophomore studying neuroscience at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

Katherine Gross ’83 is director of the Charlotte Foundation, a family foundation established in 1999 by her and Peter Thorne, her spouse. The Charlotte Foundation supports efforts to improve the educational and life outcomes for low-income young people in the Boston area. The foundation identifies high-potential nonprofits in this space, offering strategic advice along with funding. CityYear, Jumpstart, and EdVestors are all examples of organizations that received early-stage funding from the Charlotte Foundation.

Improving the efficacy of local philanthropy through board service on behalf of EdVestors and the Social Innovation Forum is one of Gross’ volunteer priorities. As a trustee of Skidmore College, she focuses on increasing career development opportunities for all students with a particular focus on first-generation college students.

After receiving her MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1983 and B.A. in American studies from Stanford University in 1978, Gross began her career as a commercial banker working with small businesses in inner-city communities. Subsequently, she managed an economic development fund focused on fostering business growth in low-income communities throughout the Northeast and Midwest.

Gross is an active Yale SOM alumna. For much of the ’90, she and her husband, Peter Thorne YC ’77, were coordinators for the Yale Club of Boston’s Community Summer Fellowship program that provides summer internships in local nonprofits for Yale students. During this period, she served on the Yale Club of Boston Board. The community service fellowship continues to thrive in its third decade. Gross and Thorne are also celebrating their 25th year hosting Shades, one of Yale’s premier a cappella groups, enabling them to perform in schools and community organizations in the Boston area.

James Robertson ’99 served as chief executive of India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi from 2010-16 and currently provides insights on nonprofit management and corporate social responsibility to clients in the United States and around the world.

While at Alliance India, he guided the organization through a period of dramatic growth in scale, impact, and influence to emerge as the foremost nonprofit working to strengthen the country’s response to HIV/AIDS. Working in partnership with government and communities on the ground, Alliance India delivers innovative, evidence-based interventions for populations most affected by the epidemic. Under Robertson’s direction, the organization expanded program reach from 100,000 registered clients in just six states to more than 1.4 million across all 29 Indian states. Funders include the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Elton John AIDS Foundation; the European Union; the MAC AIDS Fund; and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Before joining Alliance India, Robertson was senior advisor at John Snow, Inc., a leading public health consultancy based in Boston. Earlier in his career he worked at World Economic Forum’s Global Health Initiative in Geneva, Switzerland, and as associate director at the NAMES Project Foundation, the sponsor of the international AIDS Memorial Quilt, based in San Francisco.

Robertson has been a leader in the movement for LGBT equality, notably in the corporate sector. During his second year at Yale, he founded a national conference for LGBT MBA students and since then has served in various capacities on the board of Reaching Out MBA, the nonprofit established to steer the conference. The event has grown from 150 participants and five sponsors in 1999 to more than 1,700 attendees in 2018 with financial support from 94 of the world’s most prominent companies, including BCG, McKinsey, Johnson & Johnson, BMS, Pfizer, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Target, Walmart, ExxonMobil, KKR, Credit Suisse, and JPMorgan Chase. A vital part of the social transformation in business and society that is removing barriers that have limited opportunities for LGBT people, the conference is now only one part of the organization’s portfolio of programming for MBA students and alumni. Since 2014, the organization has supported the ROMBA Fellowship, a national scholarship and mentorship program for LGBT MBAs in partnership with 36 top business schools, including Yale SOM.

In addition to his MBA from Yale School of Management, Robertson earned an MPH from Harvard School of Public Health and received his B.A. cum laude from Dartmouth. He has also participated in executive education programs at Stanford and the University of Amsterdam. A dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, Robertson lives in Manhattan with his partner, Rick, and completed the 2018 NYC Marathon with a time of 4:20:55.