A special thank you to all who attended the 2016 NeW National Conference. The Conference kicked off with an afternoon panel and evening reception at The Heritage Foundation on Thursday, June 16. Friday, June 17, featured three panels, a special address by Penny Nance, and Q&A with Katie Pavlich. On Saturday, June 18, students had the opportunity to receive exclusive training with NeW and co-sponsor, The Leadership Institute.
Thank you for joining us for networking with top conservative and pro-liberty leaders, authors, and policy experts. In addition to our student leaders, we were thrilled to have alumnae, members, and supporters of all ages from across the country attend.
Take a look at the excitement of National Conference news by following the hashtag #NeWNC.
All media should contact Katelyn at Katelyn@enlightenedwomen.org for any questions.
2016 National Conference Photos
2016 National Conference Speakers & Guests
Attendees had the opportunity to hear from fantastic speakers, including: Karin Agness, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Sterling Beard, Lindsey Burke, Mona Charen, the Honorable Elisebeth Collins, Michelle Cordero, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Meghan Keenan, Caren Merrick, Penny Nance, Katie Pavlich, April Ponnuru, Veronique de Rugy, Catherine Sevcenko, Carrie Severino, Alex Smith, Anna Sugg, Katy French Talento, Kat Timpf, and Bridgett Wagner.
Karin Agness| Karin Agness is the Founder and President of the Network of enlightened Women (NeW). She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia School of Law. She has been interviewed on national television and radio shows, such as Fox and Friends, Hannity, American Morning, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, The Laura Ingraham Radio Show, and The Monica Crowley Radio Show. She regularly speaks on college campuses and at national conferences for conservative groups. She has had editorials published in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and The Richmond Times-Dispatch, among others. One of her stories appeared in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. In 2013, she was named to the Maverick PAC 40 Under 40 list and to the Red Alert Politics 30 Under 30 list. In 2012, she was selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Law and Policy. In 2010, she was awarded a William F. Buckley Award from the Young Conservatives Coalition for her work in leading NeW.
Kristen Soltis Anderson| Kristen Soltis Anderson is author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up). She is a pollster and co-founder of Echelon Insights, a research and analytics firm. She was one of TIME’s “30 Under 30 Changing the World” and has been featured as one of ELLE’s 2016 “Most Compelling Women in Washington.” Anderson is a columnist at The Washington Examiner and is the co-host of The Pollsters, a bipartisan weekly podcast. She regularly appears on programs such as Morning Joe, Fox News Sunday, Real Time With Bill Maher and more. In 2014, Anderson was a Resident Fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics. Her research on millennial attitudes has been featured in The New York Times Magazine and she regularly speaks to audiences of corporate leaders and public officials about how to reach the millennial generation. Prior to launching Echelon Insights, Anderson was Vice President of The Winston Group, a Republican polling firm. She received her Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida. Originally from Orlando, FL, Anderson now lives in Washington, DC with her husband, Chris.
Sterling Beard| Sterling Beard is Campus Reform‘s editor-in-chief. Prior to joining Campus Reform, he spent time as an editorial associate for National Review Online and as a Staff Writer at The Hill, where he served as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s Lyn Nofziger Fellow. He regularly appears across the country on Fox News, Fox Business, Newsmax, and other outlets to provide analysis of current events on America’s college campuses.
Lindsey Burke| Lindsey Burke researches and writes on federal and state education issues as the Will Skillman Fellow in Education Policy at The Heritage Foundation. Burke devotes her time and research to two critical areas of education policy: reducing federal intervention in education and empowering families with education choice. Burke’s commentary, research, and op-eds have appeared in various newspapers and magazines and she has spoken on education reform issues across the country and internationally, and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. She has published evaluations of school choice programs and options for public policy foundations such as the Virginia Institute for Public Policy and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Burke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and a Master of Teaching degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of Virginia. She is also currently studying Education Policy as a Doctoral student at George Mason University.
Mona Charen| Mona Charen, a syndicated columnist and author, is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is a graduate of Columbia University and the George Washington University law school. Ms. Charen began her career at National Review magazine where she served as Editorial Assistant. Ms. Charen served as Nancy Reagan’s speechwriter and later as Associate Director of the Office of Public Liaison. Later in her White House career, she worked in the Public Affairs office helping to craft President Reagan’s communications strategy. In 1986, Ms. Charen joined the presidential campaign of then-Congressman Jack Kemp. Ms. Charen launched her syndicated column in 1987. It is featured in more than 150 newspapers and websites. She spent 6 years as a regular commentator on CNN’s Capital Gang and Capital Gang Sunday, and has served as a judge of the Pulitzer Prizes. She is the author of two bestsellers: Useful Idiots (2003); and Do-Gooders (2005). In 2010, she received the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism. Ms. Charen is the co-host, with Jay Nordlinger, of the weekly podcast Need to Know, and is a frequent guest on television and radio public affairs programs.
Elisebeth Collins| Elisebeth Collins is currently serving her second term as a Board Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. She is also an attorney at WilmerHale. Previously, Ms. Collins was a partner at Freeborn & Peters, LLP. Prior to that, she served as the Republican Chief Counsel, Supreme Court Nominations, for the Committee on the Judiciary in the United States Senate. After three years in various positions at the United States Department of Justice, Ms. Collins was unanimously confirmed in 2008 as Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy. At the Department, she spearheaded initiatives and provided advice relating to national security, judicial nominations, DOJ regulations, civil justice, civil rights, violent crime and other issues. Before joining the Department, Ms. Collins was an associate at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC. Ms. Collins was a clerk to the Honorable Laurence H. Silberman of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and to the Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School. Ms. Collins’ current term ends on January 29, 2020.
Michelle Cordero| Michelle Cordero is the managing editor of Heritage.org. Michelle currently oversees day-to-day editorial operations for the primary digital property of The Heritage Foundation. Prior to that she served as director of Broadcast Services working with news reporters and producers to expedite and deepen radio and television coverage of national or international issues where Heritage Foundation analysts have expertise. Cordero’s background in journalism includes working as an assistant editor and reporter at Human Events, the pioneering conservative weekly and website. She covered national events, the 2008 Republican National Convention among them, and interviewed high-profile politicians and business leaders. She appeared on national news programs such as Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto” and “Studio B with Shepard Smith.” Immediately before joining Heritage as senior media associate in 2012, Cordero was communications director for Freedom Alliance, the charitable and educational nonprofit founded by Oliver North to support members of the armed forces and their families. Her career began as a researcher for Robert D. Novak, the influential syndicated columnist who died in 2009. She previously worked for the Evans-Novak Political Report as an intern in the National Journalism Center program. In her free time she runs a popular food and lifestyle blog called That’s so Michelle that averages 300,000 page views per month. It has been spotlighted on Bon Appetit as well as Glamour, Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, FoodandWine, Refinery29 and many more. She published her first cookbook in June of 2015. She grew up in Fairfield, Conn., and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Eastern Connecticut State University.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth| Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is a senior fellow and director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute. She is a columnist for MarketWatch.com, CapX.co, and Tax Notes. Ms. Furchtgott-Roth has served as Chief of Staff of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers, Deputy Executive Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Associate Director of the Office of Policy Planning in the White House under President George H.W. Bush, and as an Economist on the staff of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers. Ms. Furchtgott-Roth is the Author or Editor of five books, most recently she is the coauthor, with Jared Meyer, of Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young, (Encounter Books, 2015). Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, the Los Angeles Times, and Le Figaro, among others.
Meghan Keenan| Meghan Keenan is a writer and editor at Red Alert Politics. She is originally from the great state of Illinois, and graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2013, with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked in public relations, and she is also a former Red Alert intern.
Caren Merrick| Caren Merrick is the founder and CEO of Pocket Mentor, a mobile app and digital publishing company that helps leaders grow themselves, their teams, and their businesses. Previously she cofounded and was EVP of webMethods which grew to $200m and 1,100 employees worldwide and sold to SoftwareAG for $540m. She loves to help entrepreneurs grow as an angel investor in tech and social impact enterprises. She serves on the boards of several Nasdaq companies. She is an author and speaker, a contributor at Business Insider, Entrepreneur, and has been featured in Success Magazine, Forbes, Mashable, USNews & World Report, The Daily Mail, and on broadcasts and podcasts across the nation. She is a graduate of UCLA, has been married to her husband, Phillip, for 23 years and is Mom to two teenage sons – all of whom love to sail on their boat, “Glad In It”, whenever possible.
Penny Nance| Penny Nance is the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), and is a recognized national authority on cultural, children’s, and women’s issues. She oversees more than 500,000 participating CWA members across the country, over 450 Prayer/Action Chapters and Home teams, 23 Young Women for America (YWA) Chapters, and 600 trained leaders, and is also the president of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) and Concerned Women for America Political Action Committee (CWPAC) and serves as the principal spokesperson for all three entities. She is a weekly political commentator on contemporary events, and appears often on all major television networks — ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX News, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and CNN — as an expert on domestic issues. She most recently served as President of Nance and Associates and as Special Advisor for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), where she advised the Chairman and the Commissioners on media and social issues. She is the wife of Will Nance and the mother of two children. She is a graduate of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Katie Pavlich| Katie Pavlich joined Fox News Channel in 2013 and currently serves as a rotating panelist on FNC’s Outnumbered and as a network contributor, providing political analysis and commentary across Fox daytime and primetime programming. In addition to her role at Fox News, Ms. Pavlich is the news editor for Townhall.com, a contributing editor to Townhall Magazine and the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and Its Shameless Cover-Up. As a reporter, she has covered a range of topics including White House scandals, the 2012 presidential election, and the Second Amendment and border issues. She graduated with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Arizona and is a National Review Washington Fellow.
April Ponnuru| April Ponnuru is the senior advisor at the Conservative Reform Network, where she focuses on developing and promoting conservative policy reforms. She is a former advisor to Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. Shortly after joining CRN, Ponnuru directed the publication of Room to Grow: Conservative Reforms for a Limited Government and a Thriving Middle Class, which David Brooks has called “the most coherent and compelling policy agenda the American right has produced this century.” Her work as a promoter of cutting-edge conservative ideas and their authors was profiled in The New York Times Magazine’s cover story, “Can the G.O.P. be a Party of Ideas?” In the fall of 2015, Ponnuru was included in the Politico 50, a list of the top thinkers, doers, and visionaries transforming American politics. The Independent Women’s Forum also profiled her as part of their “Modern Feminist” series. She speaks frequently about a conservative reform agenda, participating in panel discussions at venues including National Public Radio, Harvard’s Institute of Politics, and the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics. Her essays have been published by National Review,The Weekly Standard, The Federalist, Forbes, and The Hill, among other publications.
Veronique de Rugy| Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, the federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy. Her popular weekly charts, published by the Mercatus Center, address economic issues ranging from lessons on creating sustainable economic growth to the implications of government tax and fiscal policies. She has testified numerous times in front of Congress on the effects of fiscal stimulus, debt and deficits, and regulation on the economy. De Rugy is the author of a weekly opinion column for the Creators Syndicate, writes regular columns for Reason magazine, and she blogs about economics at National Review Online’s the Corner. Her charts, articles, and commentary have been featured in a wide range of media outlets, including the Reality Check segment on Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart, the New York Times’ Room for Debate, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, CNN International, Stossel, 20/20, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and Fox News. Previously, de Rugy has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and a research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Before moving to the United States, she oversaw academic programs in France for the Institute for Humane Studies Europe. She received her MA in economics from the Paris Dauphine University and her PhD in economics from the Pantheon-Sorbonne University.
Catherine Sevcenko| Catherine Sevcenko, FIRE’s Director of Litigation, graduated magna cum laude from George Mason School of Law after a career as a Foreign Service Officer. Postings in Budapest, Munich, and Moscow before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall gave her a deep appreciation for the power of free speech. After law school, Catherine clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before starting work as an associate at Steptoe & Johnson, LLC. After leaving Steptoe, Catherine joined the appellate group at the U.S. Trustees Program at the Department of Justice. Catherine joined FIRE as a Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow; in October 2013, she took over the day-to-day management of what is now FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. Catherine is an adjunct professor of appellate writing at George Mason School of Law. She lives outside of Washington D.C. with her husband and son; her daughter recently graduated from a green light school. She also raises African Pied Crows and recently received her license to rehabilitate wild songbirds.
Carrie Severino| Carrie Severino is Chief Counsel and Policy Director of the Judicial Crisis Network. In that capacity she has testified before Congress on assorted constitutional issues and briefed Senators on judicial nominations. Mrs. Severino has been extensively quoted in the media and regularly appeared on television, including MSNBC, FOX, CNN, C-SPAN and ABC’s This Week. She has written and spoken on a wide range of judicial issues, particularly the constitutional limits on government, the federal nomination process, and state judicial selection. Mrs. Severino regularly files briefs in high-profile Supreme Court cases. In the 2015 term she has filed amicus curiae briefs in Evenwel v. Abbott, Fisher v. Texas, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association,Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, and United States v. Texas. Until March 2010, Mrs. Severino was an Olin/Searle Fellow and a Dean’s Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University Law Center. She was previously a Law Clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and to Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, of Duke University, and holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics from Michigan State University.
Alex Smith| Alex Smith is the National Chairman of the College Republican National Committee. Prior to being elected as National Co-Chairman for the 2012 cycle, she served as Chairman of the D.C. Federation of College Republicans. In 2014, she was named as an RNC “Rising Star” and was the recipient of the RNC’s Jeane Kirkpatrick Award. She was also featured on Red Alert Politics’ “30 Under 30” list of up-and-coming young, conservative leaders. Smith has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and CNN on programs such as “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Kelly File,” “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” and “The Rundown with Jose Diaz-Balart,” as well as in print in The Wall Street Journal and POLITICO. She is an alumna of The Catholic University of America, where she graduated from the University Honors Program magna cum laude, and of Seton Hall University School of Law. She is an attorney licensed to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey Smith is a regular contributor to The Hill.
Anna Sugg| Anna Sugg is the Director of Television at the Republican National Committee. Prior to joining the RNC, Anna worked at the Washington, DC booking desk for Fox News Channel where she booked guests for a host of shows including America’s Newsroom, America’s News HQ, Fox Report and Happening Now. In 2012, Anna worked on the Romney for President campaign, serving as a Radio Booker and Media Specialist at headquarters in Boston. Anna graduated with honors from Furman University with a double major in Communication Studies and Political Science. She was awarded the Charles A. Batson Award for Broadcast Journalism and was named the first recipient of the Mullinax Scholarship from the South Carolina Broadcasters Association while in college. A native of Saint Louis, Anna is very involved with her church and enjoys volunteering as a counselor at the Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center.
Katy French Talento| Katy French Talento is the Legislative Director for Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). Katy has served in a variety of roles in the U.S. Senate since 2001, including leading government oversight teams for Senators as diverse as Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Susan Collins (R-ME), as well as serving as the policy lead on public health and women’s issues such as life and marriage. She has taken on a communications role as well, as chief speechwriter for the RNC during the successful 2010 cycle, and has published opinion pieces at The Federalist, RealClearPolitics, The Washington Times and LifeSiteNews. Rare among conservative women, Katy is a globe-trotting infectious disease epidemiologist and has worked for community-based HIV/AIDS service organizations, advised multinational energy companies on how to protect their workers from malaria and other tropical diseases and taught Russian injection drug users how to avoid HIV/AIDS. Katy founded a faith-based mentoring program for junior high girls living in a DC public housing community and interrupted her Capitol Hill career by spending two years as a nun. She’s an alumna of the University of Virginia and Harvard School of Public Health, and lives in the Virginia suburbs with her husband and two kids.
Katherine Timpf| Katherine Timpf is a journalist, commentator and comedian from Detroit, MI living in New York, NY. She currently works as a Reporter at National Review, writing columns and satire pieces that demonstrate how government overreach and cultural oversensitivity are basically ruining everything. She’s also a Fox News Contributor, making most of her appearances on The Greg Gutfeld Show Sundays at 10pm EST, and the Host of the Kat Timpf Show on every Monday.
Bridgett Wagner| Bridgett Wagner is Vice President of the External Relations Department at The Heritage Foundation and oversees four program areas – Coalition Relations, Lectures and Seminars, Young Leaders Program and Strategic Outreach – that are focused on spreading conservative ideas in a host of outside forums. Her responsibilities include advising and consulting with fellow leaders in the private and public sectors. In addition to her Heritage duties, she serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Dallas and Intercollegiate Studies Institute. She is a director of State Policy Network, the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Dominican Foundation. And, she serves on the advisory boards of the Benjamin Rush Society, the National Civic Arts Society, and Talent Market. She is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society. She joined Heritage in 1981 and previously served as director of coalition relations, director of development, director of business relations and director of events for Heritage’s 25th anniversary “Leadership for America” campaign. Originally from Richardson, Texas, she holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Dallas. She resides in Washington, DC.
2016 National Conference Co-Sponsors
A special thanks to:
NeW National Conference Keynote Speakers
Kirsten Powers (2015)
Katie Pavlich (2014)
Christina Hoff Sommers (2013)
Mary Katharine Ham (2012)
Kate O’Beirne (2011)
Christina Hoff Sommers (2010)
Kate Obenshain (2009)
Danielle Crittenden (2008)
Carrie Lukas (2007)
NeW National Conference Award Winners
- Chapter of the Year: George Washington University
- New chapter of the Year: University of Texas at Dallas
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Diana Stancy
- NeW Woman of the Year: Kendall Wolfson
- Chapter of the Year: University of Florida
- New chapter of the Year: American University
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Krystal Hernandez (University of Florida)
- NeW Woman of the Year: Kara Bloomer (NeW Alumnae Network)
- Chapter of the Year: Cornell University
- New chapter of the Year: Sweet Briar Colleage
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Rachel Smith (Akron University)
- NeW Woman of the Year: Emily Goff (NeW DC)
- Chapter of the Year: Akron University
- New chapter of the Year: Cornell University
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Alyssa Richardson (James Madison University)
- Chapter of the Year: University of Virginia
- New chapter of the Year: James Madison University
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Danelle Gagliardi (Ohio State University)
- Chapter of the Year: Ohio State University
- New chapter of the Year: The King’s College
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Blayne Bennett (Arizona State University)
- Chapter of the Year: Florida State University
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Kathleen Bracken (University of Virginia)
- Chapter of the Year: University of Florida
- Chapter of the Year: Arizona State University
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Meredith Ramsey (University of Virginia)
- Enlightened Woman of the Year: Danielle Sturgis (Drake University)