History of Global Pathways Institute

The Global Pathways Institute was launched in June, 2014, and is based at Arizona State University. It is directed by William C. Symonds, who gained international recognition as the primary author of the Pathways to Prosperity report, which was issued by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011. The Institute grew out of the vision for preparing all youth for success that was first expressed in this landmark report.

The report highlighted our national failure to prepare many young Americans to lead successful lives as adults. It argued that we could reverse this failure if we worked together to forge pathway systems that would more effectively prepare young people for economic independence.

The report advanced three primary strategies for creating such systems: (1) providing all youth with multiple pathways to success; (2) engaging employers in these pathways systems; and (3) developing a “new social compact” with young people, aimed at equipping them with the education and experience needed to lead successful lives as adults.

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Symonds had primary responsibility for preparing the report while serving as director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at Harvard from 2008-2013. Following its publication, he spoke about the report’s findings in 40 states, as well as in Canada and New Zealand. Later, he helped organize the Creating Pathways to Prosperity conference, which was held at Harvard University in March, 2013.

This event attracted more than 400 attendees from across the country and around the world, including educators, business representatives from Fortune 500 companies, and political leaders. The conference concluded with a call for creating a more effective pathways system that would improve career guidance, expand high-quality “multiple pathways” options for young people, and increase opportunities for work-based learning.

In the fall of 2013, many of the leaders involved in the conference gathered in Washington, D.C., and developed the idea of creating an Institute dedicated to advancing this work. A group of visionary leaders in Arizona quickly offered to provide a home for the Institute. These leaders built a coalition of companies, foundations, business organizations and government agencies that contributed the funds needed to launch what would be known as the Global Pathways Institute.


Meet the people behind Global Pathways Institute.

William C. Symonds


Bill Symonds is Director of the Global Pathways Institute (GPI) and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University. Previously he served as Director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 2008- 2013.


Karis Felthouse

Conference Manager

Karis Felthouse is a graduate of Barrett, The Honors College, at Arizona State University. Prior to working at GPI, she served as a field organizer for the Hillary for America Campaign.


Jeff Abraham

Senior Strategic Consultant

Jeff Abraham focuses on the long term business plan and strategy for sustaining the Institute. He has previously held numerous executive and consulting positions in a variety of for-profit and non-profit organizations. Jeff came to GPI thanks to Experience Matters and its Encore Fellow program, which enables retired executives to launch “encore careers” in the non-profit world.


Jim King

Encore Fellow

Jim assists GPI with the Coalition for Career Development and the Career Development Demonstration Project. Prior to serving as an encore fellow, Jim worked at the pharmacy benefit manager, CVS Health, and with a technology start-up, Myndshft, Inc.


Founding Board of Directors

Global Pathways Institute activities and governance are led by its Founding Board of Directors, the leaders who helped create GPI in Arizona. There are currently 18 members.

Jim Zaharis

Board & Executive Committee Chair

Vice President of Education, Greater Phoenix Leadership

Richard Condit

Executive Committee Member

Sundt Construction (retired)

Sybil Francis

Executive Committee Member

Executive Director, Center for the Future of Arizona

William Symonds

Executive Committee Member

Director, Global Pathways Institute

Elizabeth Cantwell

Vice President of Research Development, Office of Knowledge and Enterprise Development, Arizona State University

Richard Dozer

Corporate Director; former President, Arizona Diamondbacks

Eric Eilertsen

CEO, Experience Matters

Dick Foreman

President and CEO, Arizona Business & Education Coalition

Glenn Hamer

CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce

Maria Harper-Marinick

Executive Vice Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges District

Paul Luna

CEO, Helios Education Foundation

Kim McWaters

CEO, United Technology Institute

Fred Pryor

Founder of Fred Pryor Seminars

Thom Reilly

Director, Morrison Institute for Public Policy, Arizona State University

Carolyn Warner

Education Consultant, former State Superintendent and Chair, CTE Quality Commission

Glenn Wike

Senior Philanthropic Advisor for Education, Arizona Community Foundation

Vince Yanez

Vice President, Arizona Student Success Initiatives, Helios Foundation


Initial financial support for GPI was provided by a coalition of Arizona business, philanthropic and government entities. Their contributions enabled Global Pathways Institute to begin its important work on the four pillars. GPI continues to seek, identify, and work with funders that share the same vision.