Ali Zaidi – Bio


Ali Zaidi works on the design and implementation of federal policies and the development of public and private sector partnerships to increase U.S. energy security and cut harmful carbon pollution.  Since February 2009, Zaidi has served in a number of roles within the Obama Administration: He is deputy associate director for energy and climate change for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  Previously, Zaidi served as a policy advisor to the White House Domestic Policy Council, as special assistant to the Secretary of Energy, and as special projects coordinator at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Before joining the Administration, Zaidi served as a director of the America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth.  Zaidi also served as a regional field organizer during the Obama primary campaign in New Hampshire. Zaidi has studied at Georgetown University Law Center and at Harvard College, where he was Vice President of the Harvard Health Policy Review, President of the Harvard Islamic Society, and volunteered with the Phillips Brooks House Association.


As Associate Director of The Generations Initiative, Chelsey serves as a partner in management and strategy, focusing on connecting with organizations serving young adults and young adult leaders.

In 2006, Chelsey joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as one of the first members of the Special Initiatives program led by Hilary Pennington, which eventually launched the Postsecondary Success initiative. Chelsey established and managed the operational systems that supported the team’s grant making and contract management, including overseeing the budget and development of all investments. She also developed and managed a $6 million portfolio of investments in improving postsecondary outcomes for youth in foster care. From 2010-11, Chelsey served as a program analyst for Melinda Gates. From 2011-12, Chelsey worked on the Postsecondary Success team focused on improving financial aid design and delivery to incent more students through college completion.


Previously, Chelsey was an Operations Manager for Adaptive Business Services, a company that provided customized business support for start-up companies. She also previously worked in international adoption serving as a liaison to families adopting from Russia, China, and Thailand.

Chelsey received her undergraduate degree in Human Rights from the University of Washington, and received her Masters in Organizational Development from Seattle University.


As Director of The Generations Initiative, Hilary sets the strategic direction for the project and oversees all primary management functions.

From 2006-12, she served as Director of Education, Postsecondary Success & Special Initiatives, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she led the foundation’s postsecondary education initiative as well as one-time opportunities to respond to unique challenges and unanticipated events in the US.


Previously, Hilary served as a Senior Fellow at the progressive think tank the Center for American Progress and as President and CEO of Jobs for the Future (JFF), a research and policy development organization she co-founded with Arthur White. In her 22 years with JFF, Hilary helped it become one of the most influential in the country on issues of education, youth transitions, workforce development, and future work requirements. She also served on President Clinton’s transition team and as co-chair of his Presidential Advisory Committee on Technology.

Hilary is a graduate of the Yale School of Management and Yale College. She holds a graduate degree in Social Anthropology from Oxford University and a Masters of Theological Studies from the Episcopal Divinity School. She was a Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2000. She serves on the boards of the Noyce Foundation and Capella Education Company.