Meet Our Team and Board of Advisors
Public Spend Forum’s team is comprised of experts, thought leaders, and practitioners
who are passionate about social change and building a better public sector market.
Co-Founder and CEO
Raj Sharma is a social entrepreneur and thought leader focused on public sector management and public procurement. As founder of Public Spend Forum, Raj is working with leaders and stakeholders across local, state and federal governments across the world to build practical frameworks, tools and communities to address the most common challenges in public procurement. Raj also founded Censeo Consulting Group, a firm recognized nationally for its focus on operational excellence in the public sector. He also serves on several boards, including Girl Rising, University Of Pennsylvania’s Center for Asian Law, Michigan State University’s Executive Advisory Board and NCMA’s Board of Advisors. Raj has also written as a fellow for the Center for American Progress and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
Ben is a nationally-recognized expert, speaker, and author in Federal procurement and non-traditional acquisition methodologies, who spent more than a decade developing some of the most unique procurement solutions for the Department of Defense. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of defense policy and guidance for the use of Other Transaction Authorities and provided training and on-site consulting for more than 5,000 Acquisition personnel as the founder of the Acquisition Innovation Road Show (#AIRS / #FUTAIRS), an organic, Government-to-Government consultancy. Ben is a regular speaker on topics related to alternative acquisition methods, public procurement culture, organizational change management, and acquisition reform. Ben previously served as Chief of the Acquisition Management Office for the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command – Ground Vehicle Systems Center, and prior to that, as a Procuring Contracting and Agreements Officer for the US Army Contracting Command – Warren. Ben has been a member of the Michigan State Bar since 2008; is DAWIA Level III certified in Contracting; a Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM); and Fellow of the National Contract Management Association.
Patrick Wearn brings over 18 years of Government experience to Public Spend Forum. First as an Active Duty US Marine working in the fields of Administration, Finance and Civil Affairs and then as a Civil Servant with Army Future Commands Ground Vehicle Systems Center where he served as a technology scout and alternative procurement expert. Patrick holds a B.S from Oakland University in Human Resource Development and an M.S from Michigan State University in Management, Leadership and Strategy Development.
Ash Bedi is a member of the Public Spend Forum management team, responsible for business strategy and research. Ash has more than 25 years of experience in both consulting and industry, with expertise in the areas of strategic planning, procurement and supply management. Ash brings a blend of private sector and government industry experience, having worked with Fortune companies as well as numerous federal agencies. Ash has also been a frequent presenter at high profile forums including Institute of Supply Management, National Association of Purchasing Managers, Sourcing Interests Group, and National Contract Management Association. Ash previously worked at A.T.Kearney and Censeo Consulting Group, among others.
Publishing Director, Public Spend Forum Europe
Nancy has 25 years of professional editorial and writing experience, including 15 years within the IT analyst publishing industry. She previously served as EMEA Head of Publishing for Gartner Inc. with responsibility for all client-facing analysis and reports, and prior to that as Managing Editor within the Dun & Bradstreet group. Most recently, she was Editorial Director for a technology PR firm. She has extensive experience of producing and authoring customer reference programmes, thought-leadership papers and newsletters. Nancy holds a BA (Honours) in Linguistics and Modern Languages.
Rei Llazani (pronounced: "Ray La-Za-Knee") is involved in the growth and scale of Public Spend Forum's flagship product, GovShop, with a strong focus in Account Management and Engagement. With a background in product, consulting, and procurement, Rei is passionate about innovative technologies that make an impact and benefit millions of people across the world. Rei lives in Washington, D.C. and enjoys reading books, working out, and traveling.
Director of Learning & Content Development
Frank has 13 years of government and acquisition experience, having supported the Transportation Security Administration's Secure Flight program as a Contracting Officer prior to spending four years as a curriculum developer and instructor at the Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy. In this role, Frank applied his subject matter expertise to develop and deliver high impact, practical application courses with a focus on interpreting and leveraging the Federal Acquisition Regulation for pragmatic and innovative contracting solutions. As an acquisition subject matter expert and instructional designer, Frank has developed and delivered technical courses on all phases of the acquisition lifecycle, the federal budget process, business writing, program management, and soft skill courses focused on customer service and the management of public spending.
News and Community Content Manager
Yanissa Pérez de León is a content creator and digital media professional with a passion for storytelling, a know-how in multimedia, and a focus on creating engaging and compelling content.
Managing Director, Public Spend Forum Europe
Peter Smith is Director for Public Spend Forum in Europe and leads our work in that region. He is also Managing Editor of Spend Matters UK/ Europe and has been around procurement for 30 years as a manager, CPO and consultant. He was Procurement Director (CPO) for the UK's largest non-military government department in the 1990s, as well as holding that role in two major private sector firms, and was a non-executive director for two major public agencies. As a consultant he has advised government in the UK and more widely on procurement issues at the highest levels. He is a former President of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply and is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops. His first book, "Buying Professional Services", co-authored with Fiona Czerniawska, was published in June 2010 by The Economist Books.
Co-Founder and Sr. Advisor
Jason Busch is the founder and Managing Director of Azul Partners (a media, publishing and advisory firm with ownership and management interest in a range of ventures). He started Azul Partners in 2004 after leaving FreeMarkets. The firm now controls the largest and most influential set of B2B, procurement and supply chain media and research resources online, reaching millions of readers and members each year through diverse properties including: Spend Matters, Spend Matters Plus/PRO, Spend Matters UK/Europe, Spend Matters Netherlands, MetalMiner, Public Spend Forum, Trade Financing Matters and Healthcare Matters.
Board of Advisors
Shelly is a technology entrepreneur and CEO of Tech HIll Advisors. Shelly also combined her two passions, politics and technology, to launch Root Square, an innovative fundraising platform using gaming to enable political candidates and non-profits to raise funds across social media sites. Shelly has recently been appointed as Vice Chair of the Women in Public Service Project 50x50 Leadership Circle launched by Secretary Hillary Clinton, and is helping to develop women leaders in government and civic organizations on a global level.
Board of Advisors
Laura is a General Partner and Principal at the Bulldog Innovation Group, a Yale-alumni funded venture capital firm focused on seed and early-stage companies linked to the Yale community. Previously, she advised venture-backed companies on business planning and growth strategies at Burch Creative Capital. Laura honed her finance and strategy acumen during her career as an investment banker at Barclays, executing ~$20 billion in M&A deals and corporate finance transactions, and as a consultant with Accenture, advising the U.S. Federal Government on strategic planning. She also serves on the advisory committee of SHE Global Media, a women's empowerment company. Laura holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Board of Advisors
Steve Kelman is the Weatherhead Professor of Public Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. A summa cum laude-graduate of Harvard College, with a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, he is the author of many books and articles on the policymaking process and on improving the management of government organizations. His latest book, Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Change in Government, was published in 2005 by the Brookings Institution Press. His other books include a study on how to improve the government computer procurement process, entitled Procurement and Public Management: The Fear of Discretion and the Quality of Government Performance (AEI Press, 1990), and Making Public Policy: A Hopeful View of American Government (Basic Books, 1987). In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 2001, he received the Herbert Roback Memorial Award, the highest achievement award of the National Contract Management Association. In 2003 he was elected as a Director of The Procurement Roundtable. In 2010 the American Political Science Association awarded him the Gaus Prize, which honors a lifetime of achievement in public administration scholarship.He currently serves as editor of the International Public Management Journal, and he writes a regular column for Federal Computer Week and a blog, The Lectern, at FCW.com. From 1993 through 1997, Dr. Kelman served as Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure as Administrator, he played a lead role in the Administration's reinventing government effort. He led Administration efforts in support of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1995.
Board of Advisors
Wendy is currently an independent consultant having retired from the United States Air Force as a Three-Star General. Prior to her retirement in July 2017, she was Director of the Defense Contract Management Agency (2014-2017) where she oversaw a $1.4 billion budget and 12,000 people around the world in oversight of 20,000 contractors performing 340,000 Defense and Federal contracts valued at $6 trillion. Her oversight included business system approvals, quality compliance, production capacity, delivery timeliness, and payment authorizations of $500 million each day across the spectrum of Defense technologies. During her 36-year career, Wendy also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary (Contracting), Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition (2011-2014), and Program Executive Officer for the Air Forces $30 billion Service Acquisition portfolio (2007-2011), and deployed to Iraq leading contracting support for military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from July 2005-January 2016. Wendy’s medals and commendations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal and the Bronze Star. She is on the board of directors for KBR, Inc. and on the Board of Advisors for National Contract Management Association. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Tech University, a Master of Science degree in logistics management from the Air Force Institute of Technology, a Master of Science degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., and is a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School's Senior Managers in Government. Wendy is a 2017 Distinguished Alum of Texas Tech University, an Executive Mosaic Wash 100 Award winner in 2015 and 2016, and the 2014 Greater Washington Government Contractor “Public Sector Partner of the Year.”
Senior Advisor, Director of Research & Best Practices
Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer and Managing Partner of Azul Partners, Inc., has 25 years of procurement and supply chain industry and consulting experience, and is a recognized procurement expert specializing in supply processes, practices, metrics, and enabling tools and services. He is a regular contributor to business publications, a frequent presenter at industry events around the world and counts himself fortunate to have served and interacted with so many CPOs and future CPOs.
Board of Advisors
Dave Nelson is the CEO of Dave Nelson Group, Inc. and the president of Quality Analytics, Inc. Nelson is a former senior executive in procurement with Honda of America and chair emeritus of the Institute of Supply Management, and the author of several books. Nelson has also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of CAPS Research, promoting academic research in strategic issues involving supply management. Nelson also founded and chaired the OESA Chief Purchasing Officer’s Council.
Board of Advisors
Stephen P. Rodriguez is the founder of One Defense, an agile network of market leading, non-traditional technology companies, venture capital firms and research universities dedicated to scouting advanced software and hardware applications and enabling their transition into the Department of Defense (DOD). Mr. Rodriguez serves on the Board of CENSA, ClearChat, Coin.co, WarOnTheRocks, Public Spend Forum, GraySpace and Training Leaders International. He is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the National Defense University and New America Foundation. A Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations, he also serves on the Term Member Advisory Council and acts as the President of the Foreign Policy Initiative’s Leadership Council. He received his B.B.A degree from Texas A&M University and an M.A. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He has published numerous articles on innovation in the Department of Defense and his graduate thesis on conflict resolution in the Caucasus resulted in an invitation to join Secretary Robert Gates transition team in late 2006. Mr. Rodriguez resides in Washington D.C. with his wife, Laura, a venture capitalist with Bulldog Innovation Group and their son, Fletcher.
Board of Advisors
Anne Rung serves as Director of Government Sector for Amazon Business. In this role, she is helping to expand Amazon Business to state, local, and federal governments as well as non-profits. From 2014 through 2016, Anne served as U.S. Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) under President Obama. As U.S. CAO, she was responsible for implementing acquisition policies covering $450B in annual federal contract spending. Anne also served under President Obama as Chief Acquisition Officer at the U.S. General Services Administration and Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Commerce, overseeing acquisition reform. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Anne was Deputy Secretary of Procurement for the State of Pennsylvania. She has also worked for former Vice President Biden when he served as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Anne was raised in Pennsylvania and earned a BA from Pennsylvania State University and an MSc from London School of Economics.
Board of Advisors
Jason Saul is one of the nation's leading experts on measuring social impact. As the founder and CEO of Mission Measurement, Jason helps corporations, nonprofits and public sector clients create value through social change. He has advised some of the world's largest corporations, government agencies and nonprofits, including: Walmart, Starbucks, McDonald's, Kraft, Levi Straus & Co., Easter Seals, American Red Cross, the Smithsonian and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Prior to founding Mission Measurement, Jason practiced as a public finance attorney at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago. In addition to his advisory work helping organizations measure and improve their social impact, Jason serves on the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where he teaches corporate social responsibility and nonprofit management.
Board of Advisors