Leadership Team

Nathan Olson

Acting Director


Nathan is the Director of Operations for the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program. He has held numerous senior leadership roles in operations and management, and is the CEO of a consulting firm that offers operations and organizational development coaching for nonprofits and campaigns.

Before joining the PIF program, he provided expert advice on an education reform project with 270 Strategies, a next-generation grassroots organizing firm. He served as the National Operations Director at Enroll America, a national nonprofit tasked with maximizing the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. A seasoned organizer and strategist, he was instrumental in shaping and designing state operations and field programs as the Deputy Director of Field Operations at Obama for America HQ in 2012. Nathan is a proud graduate of the University of Minnesota, with a B.A. in Spanish Studies and minors in Mathematics and Linguistics.

Ben Willman

Director of Strategy


Ben Willman is the Director of Strategy and Programming for the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, where he leads efforts to bring innovation ideas for the federal government through a structured program from problem exploration to prototyping with users. Ben was most recently on the 18F delivery team, working in Product Management and Experience Design on the USCIS and the Peace Corps teams. Prior to 18F, Ben was a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Department of Veteran Affairs helping to modernize how the VA delivers products and services to veterans.

Ben has been on the founding team of several startups as a founder, CTO and product strategist. He is passionate about building products and services people love and advocates for Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Service Design approaches to innovation management. Ben actively teaches and mentors startup teams on how to use Lean Startup, including as a long-time mentor at the Lean Startup Machine. He is also an experienced technologist as a CTO, systems architect and developer working with a variety of technologies and languages.

Puja Balachander

Operations Specialist


Puja Balachander supports operations for the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program. Previously, Puja has worked with non-profits in India and the US on projects that included creating an online toolkit for young social innovators, and creating and implementing a curriculum for youth empowerment in urban slums. She is a Boren National Scholar, and spent the last year in India working and learning Hindi. Puja has a BA in International Studies from American University.