Greg’s passion for history was a childhood gift from his uncle, who led Greg on adventures into the deep woods and caves of the northeast United States to discover mysterious remnants of complex ancient cultures not found in his school textbooks. Years later, soon ater Greg began his legal career as a litigator for what would become the world’s largest law firm, his uncle called Greg at his desk near midnight. Could Greg take on a case pro bono for an American Indian tribe seeking to protect from imminent destruction a sacred site with a 10,000 year archaeological record of their peoples’ lives? Oh, and could Greg appear for his client in fewer than 8 hours, 300 miles away, in a court in which he was not licensed to practice?
The battle to save the Black Creek Site lasted five years and involved 24 hearings, with Greg’s team prevailing in 23 of them. The 40-acre site is now a national landmark protected in a state park, and is the site of a semi-annual celebratory pow-wow. And Greg was hooked, especially when the case led to a chaperoned blind date with his future wife, herself a leader in cultural heritage law. Fifteen years later Greg uses law, policy, and business strategy to help preserve the lessons of our diverse history for use by modern leaders in building a better shared future for us all.
Indeed, Greg has enjoyed a vibrant parallel career as a social entrepreneur designing new ways to prepare tomorrow’s leaders. He has served as founding director of four of the top leadership development centers in the U.S.
- The Presidio Institute, launching a $200 million federally sponsored center for cross-sector leadership at historic Fort Scott overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge;
- The Center for Social Entrepreneurship at George Mason University, modeling social innovation education strategies for universities globally;
- The Phoenix Project, developing social entrepreneurs on the streets of America’s poorest communities to address joblessness, schools, health, and violence; and
- The University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership youth civic education programs, building bipartisan public service academies.
An estimated 1,000 graduates of Greg’s intensive programs now help lead federal and state governments, innovative nonprofit organizations and social enterprises, and responsible corporations.
While fostering leadership movements, Greg has himself held public service roles in federal and state government. He has written speeches at the White House and the U.S. Embassy in Paris, coordinated the U.S.’s participation in global meetings for the U.S. Information Agency, and increased the efficiency of Capitol Hill offices through the Congressional Management Foundation. Appointed by Governor Mark Warner, Greg chaired the Virginia Commission on National and Community Service. He co-founded the Harriman Foreign Service Fellowships for students interested in diplomatic service.
As a narrowly unsuccessful candidate for the Virginia legislature against a 16-year incumbent, Greg secured the endorsement of the Washington Post and every community paper, and greater financial support than any prior candidate for the Virginia House. Greg is a long-time advocate for the empowerment of women and girls, the LGBTQ community, and racial and religious minorities. He is a lifetime member of the NAACP.
Greg’s work in cultural heritage law and policy, leadership development, politics, and civil rights has appeared in more than 1,000 media pieces, including the New York Times, Time magazine, and NPR.
Greg earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law and his B.A. degree in government from the College of William and Mary, where he served as student government president and chair of the statewide student coalition.
Greg lives with his wife and professional collaborator Marion Forsyth Werkheiser and their daughter Amelia in Virginia in the National Register-listed Civil War era home they restored.