About Us

About Us

Where creativity meets society’s big problems.

The large and growing number of complicated problems we are facing in our interconnected world – from climate change, to transnational terrorism, to the erosion of personal privacy – demand bold thinking and innovative solutions.  There is a dearth of such characteristics in our nation’s capital, where political polarization has led to a situation where policy officials merely tailor ideas to pre-existing polled audiences.

Forum280 works to fill this void.  Our region, traveling along the 280 corridor from San Francisco through Silicon Valley, is renowned as the world’s greatest center of innovation, creativity, and problem solving.  At its core, its success comes from its people – those who generate new ideas to overcome problems and improve the world, one challenge at a time.  We gather an eminent group of these people – scientists, engineers, financiers, artists, writers, and leaders – to explore society’s greatest challenges and collaborate to design innovative and practical solutions.

Forum280 is a California nonprofit public benefit corporation and is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations to Forum280 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  Our tax identification number is 81-1794193 and our mailing address is P.O. Box 268, Palo Alto, California, 94302


Members will gather quarterly in Silicon Valley or San Francisco to meet with a leading U.S. or international leader and confront a specific policy challenge that merits new ideas or approaches – the kind of approaches that founders bring to their start-ups and companies.  Additional thematic meetings may be added, such as presentations by intriguing political candidates during election seasons.  Attendees will be provided pre-read materials to help them prepare for the session.

The first pillar of Forum280’s mission is to stimulate and facilitate creative, open, and honest discussions on policy issues.  To this end, we follow the Chatham House Rule:

“When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

Forum280 Founders

Forum280 represents an opportunity to charge our policy discussions with the type of energy and acumen that Silicon Valley epitomizes.  We hope that you join us as we endeavor to make a difference on the issues that matter.

Trevor Cornwell, Founder & CEO @ appbackr

Trevor Cornwell’s career has been spent developing and growing new enterprises in media and technology-based businesses deploying Internet technologies to create market efficiencies. As appbackr CEO, he is innovating the mobile application marketplace and enabling users to find apps based on interests and location.

Earlier he developed video personalization software which produces customized video streams based on viewer behavior. One of Mr Cornwell’s most successful entrepreneurial ventures was a reservation system for business jets, Skyjet, which was later acquired by Bombardier.

Trevor Cornwell on Twitter

  • Entries by Trevor Cornwell on Medium.com


Jeff Collins, International Lawyer, Diplomat

Jeff Collins’s career spans two decades creating and implementing solutions to complex challenges in the public, private, and social sectors.  As Vice President at After School — America’s largest social network for teens — Mr. Collins is helping create new ways for young people to connect, communicate, and engage in social change. 

Collins elevated social responsibility in the energy sector as Chevron’s Senior Counsel for Global Policy.  As White House National Security Council Director for Turkish Affairs, Mr Collins energized U.S.-Turkish economic and political relations.  For innovative work as a U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Iraq, Turkey, Bolivia, and Venezuela, Mr Collins has been named a Colin L. Powell FellowWashington Post Federal PlayerAspen Institute Visiting Scholar, and recipient of the William R. Rivkin Award for Intellectual Courage and Constructive Dissent.

Jeff Collins on Twitter

  • International Bar Association’s (IBA) Profile on Jeff Collins

Founding Advisors

Senator Gary Hart, U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland

Gary Hart is currently serving as Personal Representative of Secretary of State John Kerry.  He was chair of the International Security Advisory Board of the Department of State, was vice-chair of the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Advisory Council, was chair of the American Security Project, the Threat Reduction committee at the Department of Defense, and co-chair of the US-Russia Commission.

Gary Hart was co‑chair of the U.S. Commission on National Security for the 21st Century. The Commission performed the most comprehensive review of national security since 1947, predicted the terrorist attacks on America, and proposed a sweeping overhaul of U.S. national security structures and policies for the post-Cold War new century and the age of terrorism.  For 15 years, Senator Hart was Senior Counsel to Coudert Brothers, a multinational law firm with offices in thirty-two cities located in nineteen countries around the world.

Senator Hart was first elected to the Senate in 1974, having never before sought public office, and was re‑elected in 1980.  During his 12 years in the Senate, he served on the Armed Services Committee, where he specialized in nuclear arms control and was an original founder of the military reform caucus.  He also served on the Senate Environment Committee, Budget Committee, and Intelligence Oversight Committee.  During his Senate years, he played a leadership role in major environmental and conservation legislation, military reform initiatives, new initiatives to advance the information revolution and new directions in foreign policy.  He is widely-recognized as among the first to forecast the end of the Cold War.

Hamilton Fish, President @ Public Concern Foundation

Hamilton Fish is publisher and editorial director at the New Republic. Mr Fish is a social entrepreneur, environmental advocate, and film producer in New York City.

Mr Fish serves as President of the Alice Curtis Desmond and Hamilton Fish Library and is on the boards of Riverkeeper, the Gomez Foundation, the Merchant Ivory Foundation, and the Fund for Constitutional Government.

In 1977, Mr Fish helped revitalize The Nation magazine, and its sister foundation, the Nation Institute and served as the magazine’s publisher for a decade. From 1995 to 2009 Mr Fish served as President of The Nation Institute.

In 2016, Mr Fish was appointed publisher and editorial director of the New Republic. 


Tina Sharkey, CEO @ SherpaFoundry

Tina Sharkey is the CEO of SherpaFoundry and a Special Partner at SherpaVentures. SherpaFoundry provides strategic, trusted advice and guidance to select corporations and entrepreneurs to galvanize ideas and accelerate innovation and development. In her role at SherpaVentures, Ms Sharkey sits on the Investment Committee and is an advisory partner to many of the firm’s portfolio companies.

Ms Sharkey spent more than 20 years as an entrepreneur, corporate executive and media pioneer. She was Chairman and Global President of BabyCenter LLC for Johnson & Johnson. In 2011, Tina led Johnson & Johnson’s initiative with the U.S. State Department and the United Nations Foundation for the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA). Prior to joining BabyCenter, Ms Sharkey worked as a corporate executive at Time Warner, where she led AOL’s programming and social media initiatives. Before AOL, she co-founded iVillage, built Sesame Street online, and helped create a new home shopping channel for QVC.

  • TEDxHollywood | Unlocking Joy: The Art of Receptional Design
  • WSJ | Building Joy into Brand Experiences

Tina Sharkey on Twitter

Doug Wilson, Senior Fellow in Residence @ The Truman Project and Center for National Policy

Doug Wilson is a lifelong change-agent for American policy, working at the highest levels of Military and political strategy for decades. Having served in senior positions at the Pentagon, the White House, overseas embassies, and several NGOs, he has led multiple progressive reforms from the repeal of the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell Legislation to the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance framework. Mr Wilson has three times been awarded the Distinguished Public Service Medal, the Pentagon’s highest civilian honor.

A graduate of Stanford University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, he has convened and led global cross-disciplinary meetings on issues including energy security, health and macroeconomics, women as leaders of change, and media and policy; a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings of U.S. thought leaders with counterparts from India, Russia, South Asia, Europe, the Pacific Rim, and Muslim majority nations; and policy strategy sessions on issues ranging from public diplomacy to foreign assistance to military families.

  • A personal victory for gay Pentagon official, Washington Blade
  • U.S. Department of Defense biography

Debbie Shore, Co-Founder @ Share Our Strength

Debbie Shore founded Share Our Strength in 1984, with her brother, Bill Shore (now CEO). Ms Shore oversees the organization’s long-term planning and strategy. Share Our Strength has raised and invested more than $376 million in the fight against hunger, and has won the support of national leaders in business, government, health and education, sports and entertainment.

Ms Shore supervises the culinary events department, which coordinates more than 75 seated dinners and tasting events annually, including nearly 40 Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® events, the nation’s premier culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no child in America grows up hungry. The event has raised more than $80 million and has built a nationwide network of volunteers.

Funds raised through these and other programs support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to make sure every child in the U.S. gets the nutritious food they need, every day.

No Kid Hungry on Twitter

Todd Schulte, President @ FWD.us

As President of FWD.us, Todd Schulte steers the organization to focus on what matters most to it’s mission: to make the American Dream more achievable in the 21st century, starting with immigration reform. He works with the organization’s team - staff, supporters and the board - on strategy and external and internal operations. FWD.us challenges conventional narratives of technology and politics, using storytelling and technological innovation to fundamentally improve the way people talk to their government.

In addition to immigration policy, Mr Schulte’s policy background includes work in health care and on financial regulatory reform. Prior to working at FWD.us, He served from the beginning as Chief of Staff at Priorities USA Action, the first major Super PAC supporting a Democratic President. He also served as Congressman Scott Murphy’s (NY-20) Chief of Staff in 2009-2010. Prior to that, he spent two election cycles at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

FWD.us on Twitter