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The RSA US is a distributed community. We have a small full-time staff, regional Ambassadors, a Board (50% of whom are elected from our Fellowship), and around 1,000 Fellows across the United States.  Fellows pay small annual dues that support the sustainability of the network and give them a voice in our strategy and areas of intervention.

RSA US Staff

Alexa Clay

US Director

Alexa leads the RSA US - overseeing research, Fellowship, and thought leadership development across key U.S. cities and regions on topics related to inclusive growth, universal basic income, economic democracy, and creativity and education. She is helping to accelerate cross-city and regional collaboration and grow a distributed network of Fellows for collective impact.

An economic historian and ethnographer by background, Alexa is a leading speaker and expert on subculture and innovation from unlikely places. She is the co-author of the Misfit Economy (Simon & Schuster 2015), a book that explores underground and informal innovation. She is passionate about formalizing insights and learning from social change practitioners and has contributed to theory that has pushed for the application of open source thinking in the social sector.

Previously, Alexa led Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry and co-founded the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within incumbent systems and big organizations. Alexa has previously held positions heading up research and learning at Ashoka and as a consultant at SustainAbility Ltd.

Alexa has written and appeared in Fast Company, Forbes, Wired, Dazed and Confused, VICE, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times and MTV. She is a regular commentator on topics related to economic transition, misfit subculture, social innovation and technology angst. She received her BA from Brown University and a MSc. from Oxford University.

Alexa is based in Philadelphia, PA. She has a love of hermits and Walden Pond.

Alexa's email:

Twitter ¦ LinkedIn

Emily Chiappinelli

US Operational Strategist

Emily works on RSA US operations, community management, and Fellows programs. She is working to develop stable and sustainable community support mechanisms for the US Fellowship that enables the expansion of the RSA network of driven, thoughtful, and collaborative change agents.   

Her background is in impact measurement in the social enterprise world; from launching a citywide better business campaign in New York while working for B Lab, the body that certifies socially- and environmentally-responsible businesses as B Corporations, to developing impact measurement systems for start-ups and micro-entrepreneurs, she has longed for more accountability, transparency, and regenerative ambition from the private sector for many years.

Emily lives in West Virginia where she is helping a spiritual/educational non-profit and community launch a permaculture center, and also organizes large-scale classical music concerts through She’s all for the power of organizing to bring people together to connect, share ideas, and go deep together.



 The Board is responsible for overseeing the affairs of the RSA US and making decisions on its behalf. It consists of the Board Chairperson, appointed by the RSA, and an equal number of elected trustees, voted in by the RSA US Fellows, and appointed trustees, who are elected by the RSA Board. Members each have a term limit of three years that are renewable for one term.

Ric Grefé

Ric has spent decades encouraging thoughtful discussion of policy issues in the civic arena, as a journalist, in handling legislative strategy and strategic planning for public broadcasting, and as the CEO of AIGA, the professional association for design. In the latter role he was a longtime advocate for the use of design thinking and creative collaboration for social change. Ric was educated at Dartmouth College and Stanford University and lives in Connecticut. Currently, he is Design Thinker in Residence at Williams College. He believes deeply in the need for a "21st century enlightenment" and sees RSA as a means for formative public discourse on the issues facing society and—more importantly—action for social change.

Peter Rabley

Peter is part of Omidyar Network, a philanthropic investment firm that specializes in market-based efforts that catalyze economic and social change. He has over 25 years of experience in the international property rights space as an entrepreneur, business leader, and technologist. Peter was the founder and CEO of International Land Systems, and was vice president for global business development and strategy for the tax and accounting government division at Thomson Reuters. He graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in economics and geography, as well as a master’s degree in geography.

Rowan Conway


Rowan Conway is the Director of Innovation and Development at the RSA. With the intention of focusing the RSA’s research on real world impact, Rowan is driving the focus of the RSA’s work on the emerging model of change “Think Like a System, Act Like an Entrepreneur”. She has 20 years’ experience in research, innovation and engagement with communities, businesses and government bodies. She has led a wide range of research and engagement programmes that include: enquiry by design processes for urban design, asset based community development, social enterprise development and impact planning, cross sector partnership working, mental health service design, and environmental sustainability research.

Jan Portillo

Jan is an independent leadership coach and coach facilitator who coaches leaders of change in public and private sector organisations. Jan has extensive experience leading complex change in organisations: translating strategy and concepts into implementable models and practice. Her clients have included the NHS, National Education Scotland, local and national government, housing and transport groups, Newcastle University, the National School of Government, the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, and the Centre for Excellence in Leadership. Jan is also an experienced facilitator who supports and challenges individuals, teams and organisations to grow through reflection, learning and action.

Shaifali Puri

Shaifali Puri

Shaifali Puri


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