Cordell is the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Socrates Program, a global education forum for emerging leaders from all over the USA and 30 countries who come together several times a year for expertly-moderated, values/ethics-based, Socratic group dialogue on contemporary leadership issues. He comes to the Aspen Institute from Tennessee where he was the founding CEO of TechTown Foundation, Inc., which trains school-aged children on how to code, build robotics, design and print in 3D and film-making. Previously he was Chief of Staff and Director, U.S. Programs for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Vice President of Operations for the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools; and Vice President of Public Policy leading the Education and Workforce Committee for the Business Roundtable. Earlier in his career, he served the Seattle Public School District as a labor negotiator and Director of School Support Services, a Visiting Attorney/Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow with Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW) Bankengruppe; and a technology strategy consultant with the IBM Corporation.
Cordell has been honored as an Eisenhower Foundation Fellow to China, a White House Champion of Change for Computer Science Education, designated as a “40 under 40” by business and civic organizations in Washington State and Tennessee, selected as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow for Young American Leaders, a Broad Foundation Resident in Urban Education and a Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow. He has served on the boards of the United Ways of Greater Chattanooga, and King County (WA), Downtown Seattle YMCA and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation. In his spare time, Cordell works with entrepreneurs seeking impact and speaks on innovation and motivation at industry conferences.
Cordell earned a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School, a M.Sc. in Public Policy and Management Studies from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington.