Big Ideas Breakfast Series

Our Big Ideas Breakfast Series features leaders, scholars, and policy experts in fields ranging from economics to human and civil rights, presenting their views on current and emerging issues.

Breakfasts are by invitation only. To learn more about attending a future breakfast, please contact Monica Gonzalez at

Past Breakfasts

The Politics of Reproductive Rights and Economic Inequality – December 2015

The attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was a stark illustration of how vitriolic the battle over reproductive health and rights has become. In recent years antichoice rhetoric has heated up, violence against providers has increased, and lawmakers across the country have imposed funding cuts and medically unnecessary restrictions that have made it harder for women to access care. While reproductive health and rights seem to be on a fast train back to the pre-Roe v. Wade era, progressive economic policies to combat inequality—minimum wage, paid sick leave, and paid family leave—are gaining traction and promising economic gains for low-income women. But these gains will be compromised if women are not able to access quality, affordable healthcare and plan the timing and size of their families.

Roosevelt hosted a breakfast conversation on this topic with Andrea Flynn and Alexis McGill Johnson. Flynn and Johnson made the case that progressives must do more to counter the anti-choice ideologies and policies that threaten the health, economic security, and safety of American women and their families.


The Next American Economy – October 2015

Is the internet the new factory? Are we heading towards a post-employment world? Will Americans still go to college in 2040? Bo Cutter’s Next American Economy project focuses on the likely impact of technology on American workers, businesses, and society over the next 25 years.

Felicia Wong led a discussion with Bo Cutter on the emerging patterns that are likely to shape work and the workplace over the next several decades. Together they also addressed the need for a new commitment to entrepreneurship and institutions to help manage the welfare of entrepreneurs and employees of the growing “gig” economy.

The Future of Work in America – June 2015

Roosevelt Fellows Dorian Warren (Columbia University) and Damon Silvers (AFL-CIO) discussed the nature of work and building worker power in the 21st century economy. They explored the current forces that are creating income inequality and, specifically, a lack of good jobs that pay a living wage and other benefits.

Three potential solution areas were proposed: promoting innovative strategies for worker organizing and representation; strengthening labor standards and their enforcement; and ensuring access to good jobs for women, workers of color, and immigrants.

Roosevelt National Network: Creating a Force for Change – April 2015

How is Roosevelt changing the conversation on Millennial political engagement? Joelle Gamble, National Director for the Roosevelt Network, a recent recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, discussed the ways that the Institute is engaging Millennials in the policy process and public debate.

Eugenia Kim, a student leader at New York University, joined Joelle and weighed in on the innovative approaches that she and her fellows classmates are building community investment at NYU. Gamble and Kim explored the potential of universities to serve as drivers of local change and highlighted a current initiative underway to connect the assets of universities to community banks.

The Way Forward on Economic Inequality – February 2015

How will inequality and economic issues like wages, financial regulation, tax policy, infrastructure investment, education, human capital investment, and trade will play out in the national debate leading up to the 2016 election?

Nobel Laureate and Roosevelt’s Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz discussed these questions and his new economic agenda that identifies the causes and consequences of growing economic inequality and explores emerging policy solutions.