The Year Ahead – Upcoming Dangers & Opportunities
Former Chief of Staff Ron Klain looks at the upcoming dangers and opportunities for the U.S. economy and national security due to possible developments here at home and around the world. With experience spanning public service and private sector leadership, Mr. Klain offers a unique perspective on how these developments will impact companies and industries.
Managing Through Adversity
In this compelling talk, Ron Klain offers a perspective on how to manage through crisis, from the point of view of the White House Chief of Staff for President Biden’s first two years in office, where the team coped with a pandemic, economic instability, national security challenges around the world, and deep divisions in the U.S. – but nonetheless produced unexpected legislative progress and won the best first midterm outcome for any White House since 1934.
Longest-serving Chief of Staff Ron Klain’s expertise is at the intersection of sustainability, innovation, and policy
Outgoing Chief of Staff RON KLAIN brings an unmatched perspective to the conversation on sustainability, innovation, and the impact of policy. Drawing on his unparalleled experience as the longest-serving Chief of Staff for any Democratic President as well as his background in private law practice, Mr. Klain speaks to how new energy innovations can be supported by policy and drive economic growth. He brings a high-level understanding of how the U.S. can re-center American economic strength as a country that makes the critical elements of production.
Working at the nexus of these high-level conversations between the White House and CEOs, Mr. Klain has unique insight into what’s needed now, and where innovation is headed. The focus is on power generation, new investments in expanding solar, wind, and other alternative energy fuels. He notes this is critical to the clean energy transition – making the components domestically will ensure sustainable growth.
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Ron Klain was the longest serving first Chief of Staff for any Democratic President. As Chief of Staff, Mr. Klain oversaw the Biden-Harris White House staff and served as a member of the Cabinet. Upon stepping down from the post, President Biden called Ron Klain “a once-in-a-generation talent with fierce intellect and heart,” and historian Chris Whipple said that Mr. Klain was “same tier” as the “most highly regarded Chiefs of Staff ever.” Mr. Klain was praised by observers ranging from Hillary Clinton (who called him “one of the most effective White House Chiefs of Staff in history”) to Karl Rove (who said Klain was “a consequential chief of staff”) to Al Gore (who dubbed Klain “an all-time great Chief of Staff”) citing his bipartisan legislative achievements, a historic focus on judicial nominations, and guiding the White House to an unexpected victory in the midterm elections. A frequent guest on TV news shows, Mr. Klain was a well-known spokesperson for the administration. Mr. Klain was selected for the TIME 100 list of global leaders while serving as Chief of Staff.
Prior to assuming his White House post, Ron Klain held senior posts in private law practice. He spent more than a decade as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Revolution LLC, an investment firm launched by AOL Co-Founder Steve Case in 2005. Mr. Klain guided the firm’s legal department from its founding; at the time he left, Revolution managed over $2 billion in assets invested in over 200 portfolio companies. Earlier, Mr. Klain spent four years as a Partner and National Practice Group Chair at O'Melveny & Myers LLP, where his practice focused on constitutional and commercial litigation, competition-related litigation in the technology sector, and corporate transactions.
In addition to his private law practice, Mr. Klain has devoted many years to public service. He served as Coordinator of the US Ebola response in 2014-15; President Obama said that Klain had taken on “a challenge that many called insurmountable, and, in leading the team responsible for tremendous progress, helped remind the world what makes America exceptional.” Earlier, Mr. Klain served as a senior White House aide to President Obama responsible for implementing the Recovery Act, and Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden. He has also served as Chief of Staff for Vice President Al Gore, Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno, Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee, and Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Klain was also Associate Counsel to President Clinton in charge of judicial selection. Through his work on the Judiciary Committee, and in the Executive Branch, he has played a role in the selection or confirmation of nine Supreme Court Justices. Klain began his legal career as a law clerk to Justice Byron White, for the Supreme Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms.
Mr. Klain gained national notice as General Counsel for the Gore Recount Committee in 2000, in recognition of which he was selected as one of National Law Journal's "Lawyers of the Year," and featured in HBO's film "RECOUNT." He has worked on eight Presidential campaigns, serving as a top debate preparation advisor to Presidents Biden, Obama and Clinton, and Democratic Presidential nominees Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Klain’s previous civic affiliations include service as a member of the Board of Visitors of Harvard Law School and a Board Member of the American Progress Action Fund, the American Constitution Society, the Executive Council of TechNet, the Democracy Forward Foundation, and a member of the external advisory boards of the World Economic Forum’s Global Health Security project and the Ending Pandemics Project. President Obama appointed him to the Governing Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States. He was a contributing columnist for the Washington Post.
Ron Klain graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he as an Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and won the Sears Prize for highest grade average in 1985. In recent years, he has served as a Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law, teaching a course on Political Law. He was a summa cum laude graduate of Georgetown University, where he also served an Adjunct Professor from 2014-2019. He is married to Monica Medina, the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans, Internal Environmental Affairs and Science, and the first-ever U.S. Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources. They have three grown children.