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Betsy DeVos 
Secretary of Education—Biography

Betsy DeVos serves as the 11th U.S. Secretary of Education. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 7, 2017 after being nominated by President Donald J. Trump.

Secretary DeVos has been involved in education policy for nearly three decades as an advocate for children and a voice for parents. She is especially passionate about reforms that help underserved children gain access to a quality education.

DeVos' interest in education was sparked at an early age by her mother, a public school teacher. It grew when she sent her own children to school and was confronted with the reality that not every child in America is granted an equal opportunity to receive a great education. DeVos saw firsthand the work leaders in her hometown were doing to increase educational opportunities for students and choices for parents, and she has been involved in the fight to provide better educational options across the nation ever since.

For 15 years, DeVos served as an in-school mentor for at-risk children in the Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public Schools. Her interactions there with students, families and teachers, according to DeVos, "changed my life and my perspective about education forever."

A leader in the movement to empower parents, DeVos has worked to support the creation of new educational choices for students in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

As secretary, DeVos will work with President Trump to advance equal opportunities for quality education for all students. DeVos firmly believes that neither the ZIP code in which a child lives nor a child's household income should be the principal determinant of his or her opportunity to receive a world-class education. As secretary, she will advocate for returning control of education to states and localities, giving parents greater power to choose the educational settings that are best for their children and ensuring that higher education puts students on the path to successful careers.

Prior to her confirmation, DeVos served as chairman of The Windquest Group, an enterprise and investment management firm. In addition to her leadership in the education arena, DeVos has also served on the boards of numerous national and local charitable and civic organizations, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Kids Hope USA, ArtPrize, Mars Hill Bible Church and the Kendall College of Art and Design.

DeVos is a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She is married to entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist Dick DeVos, and together they have four children and seven grandchildren.

 

Lamar Alexander

​In 2016, the nation’s governors created the James Madison Award to recognize members of Congress who support federalism and the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing states’ rights. The governors named Sen. Lamar Alexander as the first-ever recipient of the award for his work to fix No Child Left Behind. The new education law Alexander worked to pass was signed by the president in December 2015. The Wall Street Journal called it “the largest devolution of federal power to the states in a quarter century.”

In 2013, the National Conference of State Legislatures gave Sen. Alexander and three other senators its “Restoring the Balance” Award for protecting states’ rights, the first time in 10 years the organization gave this award to U.S. senators.

Alexander, a seventh-generation Tennessean born and raised in Maryville, was twice elected governor of Tennessee. He has always believed that in most cases the best decisions are made by those closest to the people. 

Today, Alexander chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Alexander is also chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, where he works to boost funding for basic energy research and invest in our inland waterways and harbors.

Alexander was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and has been re-elected twice. His Republican colleagues elected him three times to be chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. 

He has previously served as president of the University of Tennessee and as U.S. Secretary of Education under George H.W. Bush.

He is a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books.

Lamar Alexander and his wife Honey have four children and nine grandchildren and a dog named Rufus. 

Sunday, January 27

Dr. Norm Ornstein
Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Norman Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies politics, elections, and the US Congress. He is a cohost of AEI’s Election Watch series, a contributing editor and columnist for National Journal and The Atlantic, a BBC News election analyst, and the chairman of the Campaign Legal Center.

Dr. Ornstein previously served as codirector of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project and senior counselor to the Continuity of Government Commission. A longtime observer and analyst of American politics and the US Congress, he has been involved in political reform for decades, particularly campaign finance reform and the reform of Senate committees. He has also played a part in creating the Congressional Office of Compliance and the House Office of Congressional Ethics.

Dr. Ornstein was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

His many interviews have been aired on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal,” CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NPR, and “PBS NewsHour,” among others. His articles and opinion pieces have been published widely, including in Politico, The New York Times, NY Daily News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Ornstein’s books include the bestsellers “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” with E. J. Dionne and Thomas E. Mann (St. Martin’s Press, 2017); and “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided with the New Politics of Extremism;” “The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track,” with Thomas E. Mann (Oxford University Press, 2006); and “The Permanent Campaign and Its Future” (AEI Press, 2000).

Dr. Ornstein has a Ph.D. and a master’s in political science from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from the University of Minnesota.


Sunday, January 27

Jon Meacham
Pulitzer Prize winner and #1 New York Times bestselling author of Destiny and Power, American Lion, and Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winner, and contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Jon Meacham is one of America's most prominent public intellectuals. A regular guest on Morning Joe, he is known as a skilled raconteur with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs. Meacham brings historical context to the issues and events impacting our daily lives.

Debuting at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, his new book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, examines the present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in U.S. history when hope overcame division and fear.

His Presidential biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. The Times said, “Destiny and Power reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it.” Meacham delivered a moving tribute at the funeral of First Lady Barbara Bush.

His #1 New York Times bestseller, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, was hailed as "masterful and intimate" by Fortune magazine. His other national bestsellers include Franklin and WinstonAmerican Gospel, and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

A contributing editor at TIME, Meacham writes for the magazine’s Ideas section. He also pens “The Long View” column in The New York Times Book Review in which he “looks back at books that speak to our current historical and cultural moment.” He served as Newsweek's managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and editor from 2006 to 2010. The New York Times called him “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business.”

Meacham has appeared on Meet The PressThe Colbert Report, and Ken Burns’ documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryFox News produced an hour-long special about Meacham’s Destiny and Power in November 2015.

Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and chairs the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Meacham is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at The University of the South and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt. He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison.

 

Monday, January 28

Christopher Graves
President & Founder, Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science

Christopher Graves was named founding President of the Ogilvy Center for Behavioral Science in 2017 after serving 12 years as Global Chairman, Global CEO, and Regional (APAC) CEO for Ogilvy Public Relations.  He also served as a member of the Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide Board and Executive Committee.

Graves joined Ogilvy after two decades in media and news, including 18 years with Dow Jones & The Wall Street Journal. He also headed all news & programming for the TV networks CNBC Asia and CNBC Europe.

He was elected life member to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2010, the most influential foreign policy think tank in the US. 

Christopher was awarded a prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency in 2016 for his work in behavioral science in communications.

Graves served two terms as chairman of the industry association, PR Council, and as a trustee of the Institute for Public Relations where he co-founded their behavioral insights initiative.

Christopher is an active and highly-rated public speaker.  He appears as a guest expert on television news, and as a guest anchor on CNBC. He has chaired sessions with world leaders and CEOs at the World Economic Forum (Davos and Summer Davos in China) for more than a decade.  He has also been a speaker at SXSW, The Clinton Global Initiative, the World Islamic Economic Forum, and has keynoted hundreds of summits and corporate meetings. 

Awards include: a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Residency; four WPP Atticus Awards (for thought leadership); Top 25 Innovator (Holmes Report); Agency of the Year, Asia Pacific PR Professional of the Year, Asia Pacific Consultancy of the Year; a news EMMY nomination and more than a dozen awards from The New York Film and Television Festivals and the Asian Television Awards. In 2011, Graves was chosen to serve on the jury for the Cannes Festival of Creativity.

Graves contributes frequently to the Harvard Business Review and was a contributing author of three recent McKinsey books: “Korea 2020;” and the business bestsellers “Reimagining Japan” and “Reimagining India.”

 

 

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