Staff Biographies

Smithsonian Campaign Co-Chairs

July 17, 2015

Barbara Barrett is CEO of Triple Creek Guest Ranch in Montana and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland. Barrett is an instrument-rated pilot and certified astronaut. She serves on the boards of RAND Corp., Sally Ride Science and Aerospace corporations, the Horatio Alger Association and the Lasker and Space foundations. Previously, she was interim president of the Thunderbird School of Global Management, senior advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, CEO of the American Management Association and a teaching fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School. During the Reagan administration, she served as the deputy administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and vice chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Her connections to the Smithsonian began in the 1980s when she was a member of the National Air and Space Museum board and the Smithsonian National Board. Barrett currently serves on the Smithsonian’s Board of Regents.

Sakurako D. Fisher chairs the Smithsonian National Board until Sept. 30, 2015. She is currently president of the San Francisco Symphony and a presidential appointee to the board of trustees for the Kennedy Center. She serves on the U.S. advisory boards for the Union Centrale des Arts et Decoratifs. For Stanford University, she is a member of the advisory boards for the School of Humanities and Sciences and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Fisher recently finished her term as a trustee for the Thacher School in Ojai, Calif., serving as chair of development. She also was vice-chair of the board of directors for the Exploratorium Museum and chaired the nominating committee. She has served on the boards of Stern Grove, the Asian Art Museum Foundation, the American Hospital of Paris, the American Hospital of Paris Foundation, Alliance Française, Centre Pompidou Foundation and ODC/San Francisco, chairing the board twice. The French government honored Fisher for her cultural stewardship with the medal for Le Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. After graduating from Stanford University with a degree in international relations, Fisher worked as a foreign exchange dealer for Citibank and grain merchant for Cargill. Her relationship with the Smithsonian began in 2005 when she joined the national board.

Alan Spoon is a general partner of Polaris Venture Partners. He joined Polaris in 2000, having served as an early advisor and initial investor since 1996. Spoon focuses on investments in information technology, with emphasis on revenue-stage companies, digital media, e-commerce, distance learning and financial services. He came to Polaris from the Washington Post Co. where he worked for 18 years as president, chief operating officer, chief financial officer and president of Newsweek and head of business development. At the Smithsonian, Spoon is Regent Emeritus, chairs the Board of Regents Advancement Committee, serves on other Regents committees and is a former board member of the National Museum of Natural History.

David Rubenstein is co-founder and co-CEO of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. He served as chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments and as deputy assistant to the President for domestic policy in the Carter administration. Rubenstein practiced law in Washington with Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge. He is chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and a trustee at Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Chicago and the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the Visiting Committee of Harvard’s Kennedy School and on the boards of Harvard Business School, the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History. 

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