Jon Abbott, Board Chair
Jon Abbott is President and CEO of WGBH—public broadcasting for New England, PBS’s leading content producer, and a major supplier of programming for public radio nationwide.
Abbott is a nationally recognized public media leader who has transformed the way WGBH creates and distributes educationally rich content to millions of Americans throughout New England and across the nation. He has expanded WGBH’s media services, impact, and reach locally and nationally—on TV, radio, the Web, and mobile, in living rooms and classrooms. He championed WGBH’s early adoption of digital technologies, new content creation models, best practices, and cost efficiencies that are furthering WGBH’s capacity to produce programming and content in the public interest, supported by the public WGBH serves.
Working closely with Thirteen/WNET and American Public Television, Abbott co-led the launch of two national digital channels: Create (showcasing lifestyle programming) and World (nonfiction documentaries celebrating diverse voices). In partnership with PBS, he led the launch of PBS LearningMedia, a free national online service pioneered by WGBH that offers classroom-ready digital resources and lesson plans tied to state and national standards; that service now is utilized by more than 1.6 million educators in 50 states. In 2012, to enhance its role in producing new content and supporting creators and producers, WGBH acquired Public Radio International (PRI), a leading content producer and distributor for public radio and new media platforms.
Under Abbott’s leadership, WGBH has invested in promising R&D projects to further public media’s mission, from the development of mobile apps that deepen preschoolers’ understanding of math concepts to piloting a new forum for civic discourse on the air and in real time via social media. Abbott was instrumental in bringing public television station leaders together to create the Contributor Development Partnership, to identify and share best practices for building member support and establish the first-ever national database tracking practices and performance. More than 160 public TV and radio stations now participate in this initiative to strengthen public media services, improve efficiencies, and reduce costs by tapping economies of scale.
Abbott has led WGBH’s dramatic reinvestment in services to its New England region, through 10 public TV services and three public radio services; the launch of a vibrant WGBH News service; the acquisition of 99.5 WCRB to preserve and deliver classical music, 24/7; and a partnership with the early childhood and K-12 education agencies of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Abbott joined WGBH as Vice President and General Manager in 1998, became Executive Vice President and COO in 2004, and was named President and CEO in October 2007. Prior to coming to WGBH, he served six years as Senior Vice President for Development and Corporate Relations at PBS and five years in senior management with San Francisco public station KQED. A longtime jazz enthusiast, he got his start in broadcasting in 1981 at Columbia University Station WKCR-FM.
He chairs the board of the Public Television Major Market Group, is a member of the boards of PRI (Public Radio International), National Public Media, American Documentary/POV, MassChallenge and Project Healthy Children, and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He holds a BA from Columbia University and an MBA from Stanford University.
Ben Godley, CEO
Ben Godley is currently the CEO of CDP, the fundraising collaborative he helped create and has overseen since its inception in 2011. Previously, Godley was the Chief Operating Officer of WGBH and President of WGBH Business Services.
During his 10 years as COO of WGBH, Godley was responsible for business strategy, financial, and day-to-day operational management of the $240m, 900 employee educational non-profit. He oversaw the legal and business affairs, finance, development, technology, accessible media services, marketing, and human resources functions. Under his leadership, WGBH increased its operating revenue and endowment to record levels, advanced fiscal management practices, improved administrative systems, enhanced WGBH’s local content and services, and created new business models to strengthen the public media system. Godley oversaw WGBH’s New England-wide television, radio and web services and led the investment and significant expansion of their local newsroom and broadcast services.
He joined WGBH in 2008 as Executive Vice President, was named COO in 2010 and was additionally named President of Business Services in 2017. Godley led the organization’s participation in the 2017 FCC spectrum auction and negotiated a local channel sharing partnership with a national broadcast network. He oversaw the acquisition of WCRB, initiated partnerships such as a model alliance with New Hampshire PBS, a corporate affiliation with PRI and PRX, and the acquisition of GlobalPost. Godley also extended WGBH’s community presence by negotiating a first-ever broadcast facility inside the Boston Public Library.
His vision to develop and launch technology-based initiatives resulted in NGO Connect, a Salesforce application from roundCorner now used in managing the fundraising relationships of more than one-third of public television donors. As a board member of roundCorner, Godley helped manage a successful acquisition of the company by Salesforce in 2019. He also oversaw the development of Public Media Management, a cloud-based media management system created in partnership with Sony.
Prior to joining WGBH, Godley served in senior positions with Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and on the executive staff of the Massachusetts governor. He co-founded and was president and CEO of the award-winning agency CGN Marketing & Creative Services (aka Cohn Godley Norwood) which he later sold to Epsilon. He has also held marketing and management roles at Hill & Knowlton and IBM. Godley has served in a variety of capacities on a number of boards including the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boston Medical Center, roundCorner and RadioPublic.
Jeffrey F. Rayport is a strategic advisor in marketing services, online media, and e-commerce, with a focus on new business opportunities enabled by emerging digital technologies. Rayport currently serves on the faculty of the Harvard Business School in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, where he teaches in both MBA and Executive Education programs.
Prior to his affiliation with HBS, Rayport was as an Operating Partner at Castanea Partners, a mid-size private equity firm specializing in retail, consumer brands, and marketing services, and a Special Advisor to Bain Capital Ventures. He was also founder and Managing Partner of Marketspace LLC, a digital strategy and advisory firm. As a spin-off of that business, he co-founded and grew a custom executive development and e-learning business, which he established as an affiliate of Monitor Deloitte, where he was a Senior Partner. In related pursuits, Rayport was a co-founder and faculty member of several corporate universities, including at Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC); Bertelsmann AG; and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN). As a keynote speaker, he is represented exclusively by Washington Speakers Bureau.
Previously, Rayport was a Faculty member at HBS for nearly a decade, teaching and doing research in Marketing and Service Management. While at HBS, he developed and delivered the first graduate-level e-commerce course in the nation, enrolling nearly 2,000 MBA students. In building the course, Rayport authored nearly a hundred case studies and related materials. Business plans written by students gave rise to dozens of start-ups, including Yahoo! Prior to his taking a leave from HBS, Rayport coined the term “viral marketing.” He was also voted Outstanding Professor for three years in a row by the HBS Students Association.
Rayport has published a series of leading MBA-level textbooks on strategy in the networked economy with McGraw-Hill/Irwin (e-Commerce, Cases in e-Commerce, and Introduction to e-Commerce) with co-author Bernard J. Jaworski. He and Jaworski also published a bestselling trade book for Harvard Business Review Press on reinventing service businesses, Best Face Forward: Why Companies Must Improve Their Service Interfaces with Customers.
Rayport has written as a blogger for Harvard Business Review Online and a columnist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek Online. He has contributed to other publications, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CIO Magazine, Financial Times, Fast Company, Forbes.com, Harvard Business Review, MarketWatch, McKinsey Quarterly, Strategy & Business, and MIT Technology Review.
He has served as a director of both public and private corporations. These include International Data Group, Hanley Wood, MediaMath, Monster Worldwide (NYSE:MWW), and Shoprunner. Past directorships include Conversant (NASDAQ:CNVR); GSI Commerce (NASDAQ:GSIC), now eBay Enterprise, where he was a founding director; iCrossing; CBS MarketWatch (NASDAQ: MKTW); Agency.com (NASDAQ:ACOM); and Be Free (NASDAQ:BFRE). He is a Trustee of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA; an Overseer of Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA; and Chairman of the Board of From the Top (the #1 U.S. classical music radio and TV program, distributed through National Public Radio and PBS) also based in Boston, MA.
Rayport earned an A.B. at Harvard College, an M.Phil. in International Relations at the University of Cambridge (U.K.), and an A.M. and Ph.D. in Business History at Harvard University.
Chuck Longfield retired in 2018 after serving as Blackbaud’s Chief Scientist since January 2007. He is the founder of Target Software and Target Analysis Group, now Blackbaud companies. Longfield has extensive experience designing and implementing national and international constituency databases, and addressing the information needs at many of the world’s largest not-for-profit organizations.
He is certified to teach secondary school mathematics and, prior to founding the Target companies in 1992, taught math to middle and high school students. Mr. Longfield is Fundraising Success Magazine’s 2007 Fundraising Professional of the Year recipient for Lifetime Achievement and received the DMA 2012 Max Hart Nonprofit Achievement Award.
He holds a B.A. in Mathematics and a M.Ed. from Harvard University. Mr. Longfield is very involved with efforts to improve urban, public education and serves on the executive committee of Boston Leaders for Education. He is President of the Longfield Family Foundation and serves on the boards of the Blackbaud Institute for Philanthropic Impact and the Philanthropy Centre, a UK nonprofit that researches best practices in philanthropy.