Person

Daniella Ballou-Aares

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

CEO, Leadership Now Project

Lives:

Washington, D.C.

Daniella Ballou-Aares is a left-leaning political activist and former Obama administration official who leads the Leadership Now Project as its founder and CEO. Ballou-Aares started the organization in 2017 in collaboration with several other graduates of Harvard Business School. Leadership Now acts as a membership organization for left-leaning business executives and academics to engage on public policy issues related to democracy and election administration. [1]

In 2021, the group was reported as being part of a larger movement of business leaders who issued a statement opposing an election integrity bill passed into law in Georgia. [2]

Background

Ballou-Aares began her career as a consultant for Bain and Company, and then joined the founding team at Dalberg, an international development consulting firm. She took leave from Dalberg to work in the Obama administration as the Senior Advisor for Development to the Secretary of State, where she worked for Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. [3]

While working in the Obama Administration’s State Department, she was involved in a 192-country sustainable development agreement and worked on the U.S. government’s global HIV initiative. [4]

At the end of the Obama administration, Ballou-Aares returned to Dalberg as a partner. Over her entire tenure at Dalberg, she worked as the partner in charge of the Americas, where the firm grew into a large presence and among the largest social impact investment companies. [5]

Leadership Now Project

Daniella Ballou-Aares founded the Leadership Now Project in 2017 shortly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump at a time that she described as “democracy in crisis.” [6] One of the projects of the organization is its “New Leaders” work, a program that supports candidates for Congress who support the organization’s goals. The endorsed candidates are all Democrats. [7] The organization noted that it solely endorsed Democrats since its inception, though it named several notable moderate Republicans to its “Democracy Defenders” list including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH), and neoliberal Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin. [8]

In 2021, Ballou-Aares and the Leadership Now Project partnered with left-leaning groups including the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism and the Yale Chief Executive Leadership Institute (CELI) to mobilize a group of 100 CEOs of major American companies to issue a statement condemning a recently passed election integrity law in Georgia. [9]

In response to Republican-supported election bills, Ballou-Aares has sponsored several Zoom calls with CEOs at companies including Starbucks, Levi Strauss, Merck, CNBC, and LinkedIn where she urged business leaders to go beyond issuing statements and “take aggressive action to shift the policy environment.” [10]

The Leadership Now Project has also recently called on CEOs to blacklist any Republican members of Congress who voted against certification of 2020 presidential election results in any state, as well as urging CEOs to sign a “racial equity pledge”[11] tied to the Black Lives Matter movement. The organization also shares an office address with Dalberg, the firm where Ballou-Aares has worked as a partner for several years. [12]

References

  1. “Daniella Ballou-Aares.” Dalberg. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://dalberg.com/who-we-are/our-leadership/daniella-ballou-aares/ ^
  2. Cawood, Jeffrey. “How the Pope, Yale, Foundations, and ‘Plutocrats’ Got Corporations Involved in Politics.” The Daily Wire. April 15, 2021. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.dailywire.com/news/how-the-pope-yale-billionaires-got-corporations-involved-in-politics ^
  3. “Daniella Ballou-Aares.” LinkedIn Profile. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniella-ballou-aares-b117a/ ^
  4. “Daniella Ballou-Aares.” Dalberg. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://dalberg.com/who-we-are/our-leadership/daniella-ballou-aares/ ^
  5. “Daniella Ballou-Aares.” Dalberg. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://dalberg.com/who-we-are/our-leadership/daniella-ballou-aares/ ^
  6. “Daniella Ballou-Aares.” Dalberg. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://dalberg.com/who-we-are/our-leadership/daniella-ballou-aares/ ^
  7. “New Leaders.” 2020. Leadership Now Project. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.leadershipnowproject.org/new-leaders ^
  8. “2020 Democracy Defenders.” 2020. Leadership Now Project. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.leadershipnowproject.org/democracydefenders20 ^
  9. Cawood, Jeffrey. “How the Pope, Yale, Foundations, and ‘Plutocrats’ Got Corporations Involved in Politics.” The Daily Wire. April 15, 2021. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.dailywire.com/news/how-the-pope-yale-billionaires-got-corporations-involved-in-politics ^
  10. Birnbaum, Emily. “The Commission to Shape Biden’s Tech Agenda.” Politico. April 13, 2021. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-tech/2021/04/13/the-commission-to-shape-bidens-tech-agenda-794632 ^
  11. Cawood, Jeffrey. “How the Pope, Yale, Foundations, and ‘Plutocrats’ Got Corporations Involved in Politics.” The Daily Wire. April 15, 2021. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.dailywire.com/news/how-the-pope-yale-billionaires-got-corporations-involved-in-politics ^
  12. Cawood, Jeffrey. “How the Pope, Yale, Foundations, and ‘Plutocrats’ Got Corporations Involved in Politics.” The Daily Wire. April 15, 2021. Accessed April 22, 2021. https://www.dailywire.com/news/how-the-pope-yale-billionaires-got-corporations-involved-in-politics ^
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