A middle-aged woman with shoulder-length black hair smiling in front of a white background, wearing diamond earrings and a white shirt.

Iris Chen

Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
New York
Alumni Region: 
New York

"Without the critical frames of reference that diverse leadership brings, it’ll be tough for us to consistently make the best decisions to serve all our students over the long term."


Iris Chen began her career as a 4th and 5th grade teacher at P.S. 307 in Brooklyn, as part of Teach For America's charter corps in 1990. Iris subsequently held several leadership roles, including New York City's executive director, national program director, and director of public affairs. 

Previously, Iris served as president and CEO of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation. She most recently helped launch Beyond Z, a new social enterprise founded by Aimée Eubanks Davis that is working to ensure that the next generation of global leaders emerges from everywhere. She also worked briefly as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and was a Coro Fellow.  

Iris graduated from Yale with a B.A. in East Asian studies and earned a J.D./M.B.A. from Harvard. She has served on the Board of Trustees of The Lincoln Fund and East Harlem Scholars Academy, and on the Advisory Boards of Delaware Valley College, William E. Macaulay Honors College at The City University of New York, New York Civil Rights Coalition, and Blue Engine. She also served a two-year term as a member of the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and is a retired member of the New York State Bar.