Alumni Profile

Robert L. Gordon III
President, Be The Change, Inc.
MPA, Class of 1989

Robert has spent over 30 years as a cross-sector leader in the government, military, academic, nonprofit and high tech sectors. He is currently the Chief Global Affairs Officer of Connected Living, a technology and services company that creates trust networks and meaningful connections among seniors, families, communities and companies. He is formerly the President of Be the Change, a social impact organization that creates and manages national issue-based campaigns to inspire broad cross-sector coalitions to bring about positive changes in American society.

Gordon was appointed the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy on July 19, 2010, serving under U.S. President Barack Obama. In the Defense Department he was responsible for defense-wide policy, program execution and oversight of global community support programs to care for, support, and empower 2 million Service members, 1.2 million military spouses, 2 million children, and over 2 million military families worldwide. He oversaw the Department of Defense school system (DoDEA) that serves approximately 90,000 students in 194 schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. He oversaw voluntary education for over half a million active duty military service members; defense resale for over 500 commissaries and exchanges; military spouse education and career advancement for 1.2 million military spouses; child development and youth activities programs; state liaison initiatives; family assistance and non-medical counseling services; and collaborated with Congressional leaders, White House leaders, business and non profit sectors, chambers of commerce, academic communities, and a multitude of federal and state agencies to strengthen the resilience and well being of the military community. Included within the purview of his office was the strategic development of quality education for more than one million military school aged children. His oversight included two Armed Forces Retirement Homes, casualty and mortuary affairs, and military funeral honors. During his tenure, Gordon spearheaded the creation of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership initiative, a partnership with currently more than 360 employer partners nationwide that have hired over 120,000 military spouses since the program's inception. He also led the effort to overhaul the infrastructure of 160 public schools on military installations across the United States. For his service he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Gordon was a senior executive at City Year, an education based national service program that engages 17- to 24-year-old young adults to serve as full-time national service corps members at one of 27 cities across the United States as tutors and mentors, running after-school programs and leading youth leadership programs.

Gordon was also the Founding Chair of ServiceNation: Mission Serve, a nationwide initiative established in 2009 within the ServiceNation network that activates and convenes civilian and military organizations across the United States to more effectively focus on issues associated with Veterans, military families, and active duty service members reintegrating back into the communities across the country.