Featured Speakers

 

Donna Brazile

Veteran Democratic Political Strategist; Adjunct Professor; Author; Syndicated Columnist

State of the Union: A Conversation with Donna Brazile and Karl Rove

Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). For over 40 years Brazile, former Vice-Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Participation, has been an active member of the Democratic Party. Ms. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.  In addition to her work an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, Ms. Brazile is the author of the best-selling memoir Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics and is on leave with ABC News. She is especially pleased to have made three cameo appearances on CBS’s The Good Wife, and two cameo appearances on Netflix’s series House of Cards. She most recently appeared on BET's Being Mary Jane. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.  Ms. Brazile has worked passionately in the rebuilding and recovery efforts in her beloved hometown of New Orleans. Additionally, she loves working with young people, encouraging them to vote, to run for office, and to work within the system to strengthen it.  Ms. Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.  

 

Hon. Karl Rove

Foremost Conservative Commentator & Strategist and Former Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush

State of the Union: A Conversation with Donna Brazile and Karl Rove

Karl Rove, an iconic political strategist and one of the most sought-after political pundits of our time, is best known for his provocative and robust knowledge of the major political issues of the day.  Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making  process. Rove has been described by respected author and columnist Michael Barone in U.S. News & World Report as “…unique…no Presidential appointee has  ever  had  such  a  strong influence on politics and policy, and none is likely to do so again anytime soon, "Washington Post columnist David Broder has called Rove a master political strategist whose "game has always been long term...and he plays it with an intensity and attention to detail that few can match. "Fred Barnes, executive editor of The Weekly Standard, has called him "the greatest political mind of his generation and probably of any generation...  He knows history, understands the moods of the public, and is a visionary on matters of public policy.  "Mr. Rove writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, appears frequently on the Fox News Channel, and is the author of the New York Times best seller, Courage and Consequence.  His latest book is The Triumph of William McKinley:  Why the Election of 1886 Still Matters.  A Colorado native, he attended the University of Utah, the University of Maryland-College Park, George Mason University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Nina Easton

ReFocus 2020 Host
Sirus XM Radio Host, Former Fortune Magazine Senior Editor and Award-Winning Columnist, and Co-CEO of SellersEaston Media

SiriusXM radio host, award-winning author, columnist, on-air commentator, and live-event architect. Transforming live events as at TV-ready emcee who brings global economic insight to interviews and panels.  One of the world’s leading interviewers, Nina Easton helps CEOs, global leaders, and cultural icons communicate their vision and stories on stage. With deep economic and political sophistication, she engages speakers and audiences to produce far-sighted conversations on how to navigate today’s hyper-speed, disruptive landscape. Her broad portfolio crosses business sectors–from finance and insurance to high-tech and energy–as well as U.S. and geopolitics.  An accomplished political historian and award-winning former Fortune magazine columnist, Nina is Co-CEO of SellersEaston Media, a firm dedicated to curating stories of leadership and impact. She also co-chairs the Fortune Global Forum, bringing CEOs from around the world together, and chairs Fortune Most Powerful Women International, staging events in Asia, Canada, Europe, and the U.S. She has emceed and moderated events for Fortune 1000 companies and industry associations, including SAP, Accenture, Microsoft, the US Chamber of Commerce, the American Council of Life Insurers, and many others.  In 2019, Nina Easton and Pattie Sellers launched a SiriusXM radio show, “Making a Leader” bringing top-name figures on-air in pairs to discuss what it takes to lead in today’s complicated business and media world.

Greg Heidrich

Executive Director,
Society of Actuaries

SOA Remarks

Greg Heidrich has served as Executive Director of the Society of Actuaries (SOA) since 2007. He provides management oversight and direction to the full range of the Society’s activities and for its 140 employees.  Before joining the SOA, he served as Senior Vice President, Policy Development and Research, for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). At PCI, he worked with member insurers to develop public policy positions and research on issues facing the U.S. property/casualty insurance industry. He began his career in 1983 with the Alliance of American Insurers, serving as staff economist and director of research before serving in a variety of management roles.  From 2011- 2017, Greg served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Portico Benefit Services, a non-profit organization providing employee benefits for employees nationwide of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). During his term on the Portico Board, he served as Chair of the Investment and Executive Committees and as Board Chair from October 2015 – 2017.  

Greg currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association Forum of Chicagoland and is a member of the Key Professional Associations and Key Global Associations Committees of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  Greg earned his MA-Economics from the University of Chicago in 1983 and his BA- Economics (Highest Honors) from the University of Oklahoma in 1981.

 

Susan K. Neely

President & Chief Executive Officer, American Council of Life Insurers

State of the Industry

Susan Neely is President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation's leading trade association dedicated to providing products and services that contribute to Americans' financial and retirement security. As President and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 95 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families. Neely has long been recognized as a leading voice in public policy and advocacy in Washington, D.C. She served as special assistant to President George W. Bush and helped create the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and later became the first DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs. Neely was a senior executive at the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), where she designed award-winning national advocacy programs and initiatives, like HIAA’s ground-breaking Harry & Louise campaign. Most recently, she led the American Beverage Association (ABA) for 13 years as president and CEO. Under her leadership, ABA instituted first-of-their-kind initiatives with President Clinton’s Global Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. These partnerships decreased calories from beverages sold in schools by 90 percent, put transparent calorie labels on millions of beverage containers, and reduced sugar consumed from beverages in the American diet. Neely has been named Trade Association CEO of the year by two different national organizations. She is a past chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100 of the largest trade associations and the American Society of Association Executives. A native of Iowa, Neely holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and French civilization from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. She is the mother of two children, Eve and Ben.

 

 
 
 
 

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