The giStrat team consists of experienced leaders from government, business, and philanthropy
Jerry White
CEO + Founding Partner

Jerry White is a founding partner and CEO of giStrat. He previously served three years as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, launching the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations. Responsible for strategic planning and partnerships, White introduced advanced analytics and agent-based modeling as a way to develop data-driven strategies for conflict diplomacy.

He also co-founded Landmine Survivors Network, later Survivor Corps, which co-led the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace. White has a BA from Brown University, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and an Honorary Degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He is a Professor at the University of Virginia and co-chairs the board of the nonprofit Global Covenant Partners, an international commitment to stop mass destruction in the name of religion.

Alex O'Donnell
Associate Analyst

Alex O’Donnell is an Associate Analyst at giStrat. He has a Bachelors of Arts from New York University in International Relations with a concentration in the MENA region. His senior thesis was on the impact of military financial aid on information networks, using the ongoing Afghanistan crisis as a case study.

O’Donnell’s other areas of study include American foreign policy, the Palestinian-Israeli Crisis and post-Soviet Russian foreign policy. He has studied at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus and the NYU Berlin campus where he specialized in Emirati Law and EU policy respectively. O’Donnell is analytically proficient on R, State, Tableau, and other key analyst tools. Prior to this position, he worked as a Trademark Analyst for Ladas and Parry LLP, where he reviewed newly filed trademarks and helped to prepare reports to clients on said trademarks. He speaks English natively, is approaching fluency in Italian, and is brushing up on his Arabic language skills.

Jay Hughes

Jay Hughes is an advisor to giStrat. He is the author of Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family, and of Family – The Compact Among Generations, both published by Bloomberg Press and is the co-author with Susan Messenzio and Keith Whitaker of a new book, The Cycle of the Gift: Family Wealth and Wisdom published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. as well as numerous articles on family governance and wealth preservation and a series of Reflections which can be found on his website.

He was the founder of a law partnership in New York City specializing in the representation of private clients throughout the world and is now retired from the active practice of law. He is a frequent lecturer for and member of the Purposeful Planning Institute. He is also an early member of the Family Firm Institute and has lectured for them at a number of their annual gatherings. He has spoken frequently at numerous international and domestic symposia on the avoidance of the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves proverb and the growth of families’ human, intellectual, social, spiritual and financial capitals toward their families’ flourishing. He is an advisor to the Kai Feng Family Heritage Institute located at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China whose mission is to bring to Chinese families the Globe’s knowledge on how to nurture the growth of great families.

Autumn Trowbridge
Business and Finance Assistant

Autumn Trowbridge is a part-time Business and Finance Assistant at giStrat. She is a student at The George Washington University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs with a concentration in International Economics. Outside of class, she volunteers with Reading Partners DC, a non-profit with a mission to improve literacy in the
DVM area. Trowbridge previously worked as an economic research intern at ndp|analytics, contributing to published reports on business innovation and industry analyses.

Lucy Krasker
Partnership Coordinator

Lucy Krasker is a part-time partnership coordinator for giStrat, liaising with researchers in Charlottesville, while pursuing a degree in Social Entrepreneurship and Business Strategy at the University of Virginia. She also coordinates with Global Covenant Partners, a network of scholars, civil society and religious actors, committed to preventing and reducing reduce religion-related violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Krasker recently studied abroad in Siena, Tuscany, and at the London School of Economics. At UVA, she participates in upholding the student-administered Honor System, established in 1842, and is an outreach coordinator for the Tom Tom Founders Festival for Entrepreneurs, sitting on a four-member Innovation Group that enhances the mission of social and tech entrepreneurship.

Ammara Ansari
Research Assistant

Ammara Ansari is graduate of the University of Virginia and Masters candidate at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. Her research targets how to bridge the gap between communities of color and their local and state-level politicians. Her research specializes in issues of the spread of religion-related violence across the Middle East and tracking how US foreign policy in South Asia has impacted immigrant communities in Europe and the United States.

Jesse Emge Headshot
Jesse Emge, PhD
Associate Analyst

Dr. Jesse Emge is an Associate Analyst for giStrat. He is currently Manager of Evaluation, Measurement, and Verification for a major utility company, with a focus on examining the effectiveness of energy efficiency interventions. Previously Dr. Emge worked as an Evaluator for Southern California Edison, examining how behavior affects energy usage. Dr. Emge has also worked for Habitat for Humanity, Chase Bank, and Wells Fargo.

Dr. Emge’s research focuses on integrating advanced, non-traditional research methods to gain actionable insights into global trade and commerce, international conflict, civil war, American politics, and foreign direct investment. He holds a PhD in World Politics and Research Methods from Claremont Graduate University and an MA in International Political Economy from Claremont Graduate University. His PhD dissertation examined international social networks and their influence on international capital flows.

Ali Fisunoglu, PhD
Associate Analyst

Dr. Ali Fisunoglu is an Associate Analyst at giStrat. He is currently an Assistant Professor of International Relations at Ozyegin University. Fisunoglu uses his expertise in econometrics, game theory, formal modeling, and computational analysis to produce peer-reviewed research in variety of topics including potential consequences of reversing the European Union integration and economic and demographic consequences of major wars and determinants of postwar recovery.

His other research interests include political economy of growth and development, peace and conflict studies, measurement and analysis of political performance of nations, and international political economy. Fisunoglu received his BA in Economics from Koc University in 2009, MA. in International Political Economy from Claremont Graduate University in 2012, and PhD in Political Science and Economics at Claremont Graduate University in 2014. He has been awarded scholarships from Vehbi Koc Foundation and Claremont Graduate University, and is also a Fulbright alumni.

Nicholas Cain, PhD
Associate Analyst + Energy Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Cain is an Associate Analyst and Energy Advisor for giStrat. He is a co-founder of the award-winning social-impact technology company Atma Connect, and an energy analyst who has worked for Southern California Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Dr. Cain has published peer-reviewed research on international responses to globalization, public opposition to energy infrastructure, and water policy. His work uses spatial analysis, econometrics, and agent-based modeling. He holds a PhD in World Politics and Environmental Policy from Claremont Graduate University, and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University.

Erik Zhao
Business + Finance Assistant

Erik Zhao is a Business and Finance Assistant at giStrat. He is a student at Georgetown University, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting with a minor in Computer Science.

Between classes Zhao works as the head of finance for Georgetown Bubble, an entirely student-run startup which prepares, markets, and sells its highly popular bubble tea to university students and faculty, as well as to the larger community around Georgetown. Zhao is a senior consultant with Hilltop Consultants, a student-run management consulting group that works to provide innovative, implementable business solutions for nonprofits and sustainable businesses in the D-M-V area, with past clients including the American Red Cross and Teach For America. Zhao is passionate about public speaking and is a member of the mock trial team at Georgetown. Zhao previously held a summer internship with Kamala Harris’ successful U.S. Senate bid in 2016, focusing on synthesizing opposition research and preparing press releases for the campaign. He is a native English-speaker intent on learning Mandarin and French.