Katherine Chon is President Emerita and co-founder of Polaris Project, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery. She has recently been appointed as Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sparked by a local newspaper article describing the enslavement of women in a brothel a few miles from where she lived, Katherine piloted innovative victim outreach strategies focused on direct interventions which identified more than 400 potential victims in her community. Katherine led the creation of one of the first transitional housing and service programs assisting victims of all forms of human trafficking and partnered with the D.C. police and U.S. Attorney’s Office to establish one of the first community-wide Human Trafficking Task Forces in the United States.
Katherine has testified before U.S. Congress and helped to pass landmark federal legislation bringing parity of services to victims of human trafficking. She has spoken before dozens of government, corporate, and community audiences and interviewed with numerous U.S. and international news sources including the Washington Post, ABC News, Marie Claire, Newsweek, and Women’s Health magazine. Katherine has been recognized for her leadership and social entrepreneurship with the Do Something BRICK award presented by President Bill Clinton, the People’s Voice award presented by Diane Von Furstenberg at the United Nations, and the Legacy award from Working Mother Media. Under her executive management, Polaris Project grew into a $3.1 million organization in eight years. It has been recognized as “one of the best charities in the Greater Washington region” by the Catalogue for Philanthropy and received the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator for its efficient spending and effective work.
Katherine currently serves as an advisory board member of Maria Shriver’s A Woman’s Nation and sits on the Emma Willard Head of School’s Advisory Council. She is also an active member of the Asia Society’s Asia 21 Initiative. Katherine received her M.P.A from the Harvard Kennedy School, supported by the Roy & Lila Ash Fellowship on Democratic Governance and Innovation. She received her Sc.B. in Psychology with honors from Brown University and completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford Graduate School of Business with a Center for Social Innovation Fellowship.
Mr. Hong currently advises or serves on the boards of several non-profit and for profit ventures, including Open Source Ecology, Lumoon Vision and Street Symphony. He is also co-founder and former Executive Director of Liberty in North Korea, an organization focused on human rights and refugee protection of North Koreans. Mr. Hong was a visitor at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy (2010 – 2011), a Visiting Lecturer teaching “America, Human Rights and Foreign Policy” at Korea’s Ewha University (2008), and was selected as a 2009 Arnold Wolfers Fellow at Yale University (2009). He was also selected to receive the the Japanese American Citizens League “Vision Award” (2009). Mr. Hong is also co-founder of the TEDxSanDiego conference, held annually since 2010, and founder/curator of the TEDxTripoli conference, founded in 2012.