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Zoë Baird

Chief Executive Officer and President, Markle Foundation

Zoë Baird joined the Markle Foundation as its president in 1998, after a diverse career as a prominent lawyer and business executive. At the start of her tenure, as the internet was poised to become mainstream, she and the Markle Board of Directors redirected Markle’s mission to focus on the potential of information technology (IT) to address some of the most challenging issues in the areas of economic security, national security and health care. Ms. Baird is currently leading the Markle Foundation’s Skillful Initiative in collaboration with Microsoft, LinkedIn, the state of Colorado, and many other partners. Skillful is working to create a skills-based labor market that enables everyone, regardless of degrees, to participate in good digital economy careers. Skillful integrates the diverse stakeholders, data, and technology across the workforce ecosystem to enable businesses to identify those with the skills they seek, and enables workers to know the skills they need to get. Skillful’s unique approach to the digital economy workforce challenges grew out of the insights and findings of Rework America, a Markle Foundation initiative of diverse national leaders, which Ms. Baird convened in 2013. In her preface to their collectively authored book, America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age, Ms. Baird outlines an action agenda to leverage technology and globalization as powerful tools to navigate the digital economy. In September of 2017, she launched the Rework America Task Force, bringing together leaders of business, technology, labor, and academia to build upon the work of the 2013 initiative to pursue policies and business initiatives to transform America’s outdated labor market and unlock economic opportunity for American businesses and workers. Previously, Ms. Baird led Markle’s collaborative efforts to reform the intelligence community after 9/11 to meet current threats. Markle’s recommendations have been embodied in law to create a trusted information sharing environment for national security while protecting traditional civil liberties. She established Markle’s Connecting for Health initiative to catalyze improvements in the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care, work which framed the deployment of IT for the HiTech Act and the transformation of access to personal health information. Prior to Markle, she served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Aetna; Counselor and Staff Executive at GE; partner in the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers; Associate Counsel to President Carter, and Attorney-Advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice. Ms. Baird is a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Secretary of Defense’s Defense Policy Board; and the New York City Ballet. She is also an Honorary Trustee of the Brookings Institution and a member of the Aspen Strategy Group. She has served on boards of several publicly held companies and government advisory boards, including as the co-chair of the Department of Commerce Digital Economy Board of Advisors (2016–2017) and as a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (1994–2000), the Congressional Commission on Roles and Capabilities of the U.S. Intelligence Community (1995), the Department of Defense, Defense Science Board Summer Study on Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction (1997), the Department of Defense Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee (2003–2004), and the National Security Cyber Awareness and Response Panel (2010–2011). Ms. Baird holds an A.B. Phi Beta Kappa and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.