Three New Trustees Elected to Aspen Institute Board

April 16, 2019

Jeffrey Aronin, Sonia Kapadia, and Melony Lewis to join the Board of Trustees

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Associate
202 736 2111 |

Washington, DC, April 16, 2019 – The Aspen Institute is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board of Trustees. They are: Jeffrey S. Aronin, Sonia Kapadia, and Melony Lewis. Each member will serve a three-year term that begins immediately.

The Institute’s board also honored Trustee William D. Budinger with Lifetime Trustee status.

For a complete listing of the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees, please visit

Newly Elected Aspen Institute Trustees

Jeffrey S. Aronin is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Paragon Biosciences. He has launched several successful portfolio companies, including: Harmony Biosciences, Castle Creek Pharma, Emalex Biosciences, and Skyline Biosciences. Previously, Mr. Aronin served as President and CEO of Ovation Pharmaceuticals, which he founded in 2000 and was acquired by Lundbeck in 2009. He founded MATTER in 2014, a biotech center for entrepreneurs and industry leaders in Illinois. Jeff also lectures at the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business and is recognized in the community for his civic and philanthropic endeavors. He is a 2010 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Sonia Kapadia is Deputy Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States and challenging racial and economic injustice. Sonia leads partnerships, special projects, branding, marketing, communications, and digital. Prior to joining EJI, Sonia was an entrepreneur and executive in the food and beverage sector. She was the founder and CEO of Taste Savant, the Chief Marketing Officer of Gu Chocolate Desserts, which was acquired in 2010 and held numerous brand management positions at PepsiCo in the US and UK. Sonia was also a national business contributor for a number of news networks and the host of “Food Fortunes,” a primetime television show on The Food Network. Sonia is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Business School. She lives in New York City with her husband and three young children.

Melony Lewis is a co-founder with her husband, Adam, of BAMM Ventures, which focuses on world-positive investments. She heads their family foundation focused on environmental protection and solutions, education, human rights, mental health and the arts. She works with various organizations nationally and locally and serves on multiple committees. As a member of Impact Partners, she is involved with documentaries addressing critical, current issues. She currently serves on the board of Aspen Country Day School and the board of Aspen Institute’s Vanguard Leadership. Melony is a former trustee of Aspen Center For Environmental Studies and The Work Foundation. Prior to her work in the investment and non-profit sector, Melony’s career included public relations and marketing, medical employment recruiting and guiding cycling tours throughout France. She received her BA from UC Santa Barbara. Melony lives in Aspen with her husband and their two sons.

The board also elected two new ex-officio trustees to a one-year term, which is tied to their affiliation with the Aspen Institute as an international partner: Luis Gerardo Del Valle Torres and Sir Donald C. McKinnon.

Luis Gerardo del Valle obtained the “Eduardo García Maynez Medal” from the Director of the Law Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico for having obtained the highest academic achievements of his generation as well as the “Gabino Barreda Medal” from the Rector of the said university.  He is also the recipient of the first prize in the “National Contest on Administrative Justice” of the Federal Court of Fiscal and Administrative Justice. He is currently a founding partner and CEO of Del Valle Torres, S.C., as well as a partner and General Director of Jáuregui y Del Valle S.C. Member of the Cambridge Overseas Trust, of the International Fiscal Association, of the Mexican Bar Association of Lawyers, of the Association of Professors and Investigators of Tax Law and Public Finances, and of the National Association of Corporate Lawyers.  Mr. Del Valle has written articles about tax law, fiscal litigation and appeal for legal protection; as well as the book entitled “Sistema Fiscal Federal Mexicano.- Su Revisión ante los Principios Jurídicos y Económicos” (Mexican Fiscal System. – Its Revision before Judiciary and Economic Principles). Areas: general fiscal consulting, including domestic and international transactions; structuring of investment funds for pension and real estate funds; patrimonial planning, litigation and counseling for fiscal policy.  He holds a bachelor’s degree of Law at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, magna cum laude 1999; LLM of Commercial Law at Cambridge University, England 2001, British Chevening Scholarship; LLM, in International Tax Law at New York University, NYU 2002.  Mr. Del Valle is the president of Aspen Institute Mexico.

Sir Donald C. McKinnon is the inaugural Chair of the Aspen Institute New Zealand.  Sir Don is also the Chair of the New Zealand China Council and Chair of Brain Research NZ and the New Zealand War Memorial Trust-Le Quesnoy and is a current member of the Aspen Minister’s Forum, chaired by Secretary Madeleine Albright.  He first sought a Parliamentary seat in 1969 and was elected to the New Zealand Parliament in 1978. He rose to be his parties Chief Whip for seven years then becoming Deputy Leader and joined the winning Government in 1990. He became Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and over the next nine years was also Leader of the House of Representatives and Minister for Pacific Island Affairs. During his time as Minister he established what was to become the Asia Foundation (NZ) and lead a peace initiative on the island of Bougainville which brought a ten-year civil war to an end for which he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was elected Commonwealth Secretary-General in 1999 being the senior executive official between the 54 Commonwealth countries. The challenges during the next eight years of his term included major difficulties in Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Fiji, Maldives and Swaziland. Since returning to New Zealand in 2009 he has been called upon by the New Zealand Government, the Commonwealth and the United Nations to assist with various national and international challenges.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, D.C.; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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