These two new executives provide us with the expertise needed to drive JFF’s organizational vision called New Horizons.

JFF names two new executives to support the national nonprofit’s leadership role in the transformation of education and workforce development

Published jan. 24, 2019

JFF today announced that Daphne Layton will join the organization as senior vice president and David Soo will come on as chief of staff. Layton will be based in JFF’s headquarters in Boston, and Soo will be in the organization’s DC office. Both will join by the end of February and will report to JFF CEO and President Maria Flynn.

“Daphne and David’s arrival next month provides us with important complementary leadership expertise needed to drive JFF’s organizational vision called New Horizons,” Flynn said.

For more than 15 years, Layton served in leadership roles at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Most recently, she was senior associate dean for development and alumni relations, acting as chief development officer for the school’s capital campaign and raising $346 million—surpassing the goal by nearly 40 percent. Previously, Layton spent 11 years in academic affairs, first as senior associate dean for academic affairs and, before that, as associate dean for curriculum and faculty appointments.

As senior vice president, Layton will oversee development of JFF’s work from pursuit to impact. In partnership with the Executive Team, she will execute an aligned program strategy to advance JFF’s mission, vision, and goals.

Layton will also establish an organizational framework, approach, and comprehensive plan for a development operation and strategy aimed at advancing New Horizons. She will lead the JFF team to coordinate and grow fundraising and development activities, and help forge new relationships to build JFF’s visibility, impact, and financial resources.

Soo spent the past seven years as a senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. He was a key architect of the department’s higher education innovation agenda during the Obama administration and has provided leadership in the Office of the Under Secretary and the Office of Educational Technology. Specifically, Soo developed an internal theory of change for innovation and aligned policies and programs to this approach, yielding new and refreshed federal activities, including the EQUIP pilots, First in the World grant program, and the Higher Ed Ecosystem Challenge.

As chief of staff, Soo will work closely with the CEO to deliver project management, strategic planning, and implementation support for key organizational initiatives across JFF and JFFLabs. These will include programmatic design and the development and incubation of new initiatives, supported by the creation of concept papers, business processes and reports, and cultivation and stewardship of the necessary stakeholders.

JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For more than 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. 

For more information, contact Karyl Levinson, vice president, Communications, at