Jeff Leitner

Fellow, Bretton Woods II

Jeff Leitner is a fellow with the Bretton Woods II initiative, an effort to leverage $250 billion in global, long-term investments for social impact. 

As a fellow, he developed the first sequence for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - based on a survey with the OECD of economists, political scientists and social scientists around the world. He is now partnering with data and AI scientists to develop the first machine learning application for determining the optimal order for addressing SDG targets. 

Leitner is innovator in residence at the University of Southern California School of Social Work, where he is helping to develop the field’s first professional doctorate in leadership, innovation and advanced practice; the first graduate nursing program housed in a school of social work; the field’s first academic conference on innovation; and a master’s-level fellowship in social innovation. 

He is also a founder and director of UX for Good, an award-winning initiative to leverage experience design to solve social challenges. In the past three years, UX for Good has partnered with the Dalai Lama Center for Peace + Education to advance social-emotional learning in public schools; with Aegis Trust to boost the impact of genocide memorials in Africa and Europe; and with the GRAMMY Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative to raise the standard of living for professional musicians in New Orleans. 

Previously, Leitner developed and led Insight Labs, which partnered with more than 50 governments and institutions to advance complex social initiatives, including the U.S. Department of State (effectiveness of international organizations); Walter Reed National Military Medical Hospital and National Endowment for the Arts (normalization of art therapy); Harvard Medical School and Family Van (adoption of mobile healthcare); Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (promotion of work-life balance); West Collection (impact of contemporary art); TED Conferences (global collaboration); Ashoka (empathy education); Creative Coalition (support for arts education); and NASA (funding for big initiatives). Leitner led development of Law 2023, an initiative to guide advances in U.S. legal practice, and advised on the development of a new framework for global philanthropy. He has developed and launched social sector initiatives related to job training, youth development, public policy and basic human needs; and private sector consultancies oriented to public affairs and cause marketing. He worked for fourteen years as a political strategist, lobbyist and public affairs consultant, and for seven years as a political and government affairs reporter. 

Leitner holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and an undergraduate degree in government from the University of Texas. He lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife and daughter.