Economic Development

Leading in a Time of Crisis: How Time Horizons Influence Priorities

June 12, 2020  • Aspen Global Leadership Network & Finance Leaders Fellowship

During the COVID-19 pandemic, investors and company operators have had to focus on immediate needs and decisions to keep their companies afloat, which has led to the delay or cancellation of longer-term projects and investments.

Does there really need to be such a stark trade-off? How have leaders made sure that some of the traction on positive impact continues to be part of their work, even in the acute phase of recovery? What can we expect will be sacrificed during this time?

Watch AGLN Fellows Ann Lee-Karlon, Dan Draper and Antonio Saad in conversation moderated by Jennifer Simpson as they explore the types of long-term efforts that have been affected: everything from Research & Development to progress made on environmental matters, equity, and community engagement.


  • Ann Lee-Karlon, Senior Vice President, Genentech, Health Innovators Fellowship
  • Dan Draper, CEO, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Finance Leaders Fellowship
  • Antonio Saad, Business Solutions and Quality Assurance Manager, Copa Airlines, Central America Leadership Initiative
  • Moderated by: Jennifer Simpson, Executive Director, Finance Leaders Fellowship

Ann Lee-Karlon is a Senior Vice President at Genentech and an Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellow. She leads Portfolio Management and Operations for Genentech Research and Early Development. Leaders in her group lead over 30 drug development teams across oncology, immunology, neuroscience, ophthalmology, and infectious diseases. During the pandemic, Genentech has prioritized resources to continue key clinical trials while initiating new studies for patients with severe COVID-19-related health complications. Ann will share insights and experiences in focusing on employee and patient needs and taking action on short-term goals and long-term strategies.

Antonio Saad, a 2018 Central America Leadership Initiative (CALI) Fellow, is Business Solutions and Quality Assurance Manager for Copa Airlines, which flew to 80 international destinations in 33 countries North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean before the pandemic. Due to COVID-19, Copa temporarily shut down operations in the face of low passenger demand, high volume of reservation cancellations, and suspension of international flights. Antonio will share with us his ongoing experience dealing with major disruptions and envisioning how Copa will build up slowly over the long-term, implementing new procedures to keep passengers and staff safe.

Dan Draper is a 2016 Finance Leaders Fellow and is taking on a new role as CEO of the S&P Dow Jones Indices, widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap US equities and includes 500 leading US companies with a market capitalization value of more than $10 billion. Before the COVID-19 market downturn, sustainability funds that focus on clean energy, corporate governance and other social and ethical factors, outperformed in many areas. Even in this time of crisis, these types of funds are proving to be resilient. Dan will share with us his experience leading through the recent market volatility, ensuring that investors stay focused on longer-term outcomes during turbulent times.

Jennifer Simpson is the Executive Director of the Aspen Finance Leaders Fellowship focused on improving public trust in the global finance industry. An entrepreneurial leader, Jennifer has made private equity and debt investments through The Gladstone Companies, where she served on a number of industrial company boards; served as the first CEO for Gladstone Securities; worked in leveraged lending and was chief credit officer for National City Bank’s $4.7 billion small business loan portfolio; invested with PE firm Morgenthaler Partners; and served as EVP of Finance and Operations at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. She was also part of a failed biotech startup serving the MENA region for a time. Jennifer began her career as a platoon leader in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps after studying economics at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, financing it with a four-year Army ROTC scholarship. Her MBA is from Case Western Reserve University.