Each summer, young conservative women and friends of NeW from across the country gather in Washington, DC for the annual NeW National Conference. This annual conference provides a unique educational opportunity to hear from top conservative women authors, policy experts, and leaders AND network with other young women. We had a great line-up for our 10th Annual Conference in June, 2015. Make plans to join us for the 2016 National Conference! Check back for online registration.
2015 National Conference Photos
2015 National Conference Speakers & Guests
In addition to a special video message from Carly Fiorina, attendees had the opportunity to hear from fantastic speakers, including Karin Agness, Kristen Soltis Anderson, Rachel Brand, Jennifer Butler, Alexandra Curtis, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Beverly Hallberg, Suzzette Hurley DeMers, Elianna Johnson, Jennifer Marshall, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Anne Neal, Katie Packer Gage, Katie Pavlich, Heather Pfitzenmaier, Kirsten Powers, Steven Rhoads, Representative Martha Roby, Ashe Schow, Grace-Marie Turner, and Susannah Wellford.
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 co-founder and partner at Echelon Insights, an opinion research, data analytics and digital intelligence firm. She is also the author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials Are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), due out from HarperCollins in July 2015. Kristen also is a columnist at The Daily Beast and is co-host of the weekly polling podcast The Pollsters. She previously served as Vice President of The Winston Group, a Washington DC-based opinion research and political communications firm where she spent eight years studying emerging trends in politics and policy. In 2013, she was named one of TIME magazine’s “30 under 30 Changing the World,” National Journal magazine’s “25 Most Influential Women in Washington Under 35” and one of Marie Claire magazine’s “New Guard” of the 50 most connected rising female leaders.
Rachel Brand| Rachel Brand has served as a Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board since 2012. In addition to her service on the PCLOB, Ms. Brand serves as the Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center, where she previously served as Vice President and Chief Counsel for Regulatory Litigation. Her prior government experience includes serving as the Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice after being confirmed by the Senate and appointed by President George W. Bush. In that capacity, Ms. Brand served as chief adviser to the Attorney General on issues including counter-terrorism policy and oversaw the development of all regulations promulgated by the Department of Justice. She also managed the Department’s role in selecting federal judges and prepared Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito for their U.S. Senate confirmation hearings. Earlier in her career, Ms. Brand served in the Office of Counsel to the President at the White House. Ms. Brand was a law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court and to Justice Charles Fried of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Ms. Brand graduated from Harvard Law School, where she served as deputy editor-in-chief of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, and earned a B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Morris.
Jennifer Butler| Jennifer Butler’s lifelong belief in self-sufficiency and free markets led her to State Policy Network and her current role as Vice President of External Relations. She is responsible for developing strategic partnerships with national and issue focused groups. As part of the policy team, she also works on federalism related issues in multiple states. Ms. Butler has over 18 years experience in the public policy arena and running campaigns. Prior to joining SPN, she headed up several trade associations’ government affairs departments in South Florida where she was an advocate for private property rights, advancement of homeownership opportunities, and limiting government interference with commercial and residential development. She has also lobbied on issues related to the restaurant industry, prison privatization, and health care. A graduate of the Political Science department at Florida State University, she went on to earn her Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Administrative Law from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She is a Florida native living in the Washington DC area with her husband and currently homeschooling her two kids.
Alexandra Curtis| Alexandra Curtis, Miss West Warwick, was crowned Miss Rhode Island 2015 at Rhode Island College last month. Alexandra (Allie) received her Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Public Relations and Political Science at Syracuse University in 2014. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Brown University, and she will now be competing for the Miss America title this fall. At the pageant, her platform was “Leading Ladies: Equipping Young Women With The Skills to Lead.” NeW is proud to have such an eloquent and influential woman join our movement.
Carly Fiorina| In 1999, Carly Fiorina became the chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. As CEO of HP, she was the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business. Since leaving HP, she has focused on giving back. She has served in a large number of advisory and policy-making positions for national and state governments. She has also led a number of charities and nonprofits.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth| Diana Furchtgott-Roth is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and the director of Economics21. She is a contributing editor of RealClearMarkets.com, and a columnist for the Washington Examiner, MarketWatch.com, and Tax Notes. From 2003 to 2005, Ms. Furchtgott-Roth was chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor. From 2001 to 2002, she served as chief of staff of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. Furchtgott-Roth served as 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 from 1991 to 1993, and she was an economist on the staff of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1986 to 1987. Additionally, Furchtgott-Roth is the author of Regulating to Disaster: How Green Jobs Policies are Damaging America’s Economy and Women’s Figures: An Illustrated Guide to the Economic Progress of Women in America. A frequent guest on Fox Business News, Furchtgott-Roth’s areas of expertise include employment, taxation, education, pensions, unionization, and immigration.
Beverly Hallberg| Beverly Hallberg has been on all sides of the camera. In 2008, she launched District Media Group to focus on preparing and coaching leaders to deliver their messages in a way that makes a difference. She has trained members of Congress, organization leaders, and policy experts, among other professionals for appearances on local as well as national networks.
Suzzette Hurley DeMers| Suzzette Rodriguez Hurley DeMers is the Executive Director of Consovoy McCarthy PLLC, a litigation boutique in Washington, D.C. with a focus on U.S. Supreme Court matters. Previously, she served as the Director of Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis at George Mason University School of Law. She practiced law at Jones Day and Wiley Rein in Washington, D.C. and served as Special Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee focusing on Supreme Court nominations and confirmations. Suzzette earned her law degree from George Mason University School of Law, and her BA in Economics and Masters of Teaching from the University of Virginia. Before law school, Suzzette was a teacher in Fairfax County, Virginia where she now lives with her husband and two young children.
Eliana Johnson| Eliana Johnson is Washington editor of National Review. She oversees all of National Review’s political coverage and serves as the magazine’s lead reporter on the 2016 election. She’s well-sourced among conservatives and is often the first to know what’s happening on the campaign trail. Previously, she has worked as a writer and producer at the Fox News Channel and as a research associated at the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a graduate of Yale.
Jennifer Marshall| Jennifer Marshall is the Vice President for the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation. Marshall collaborates with Heritage colleagues to explore how moral values and civil society relate to issues such as limited government, a strong national economy and foreign policy. She also edits Heritage’s annual Index of Culture and Opportunity, which tracks key social and economic trends to determine whether important indicators of opportunity in America are on the right track. In 2010, National Journal named Marshall one of Washington’s 20 “power players” in recognition of her work on school choice and other education reforms. Before joining Heritage in 2003, Marshall worked on cultural policy issues at Empower America, a free-market think tank. Before that, she was senior director of family studies at the Family Research Council and taught at an American school in Lyon, France. She has spoken at national and international forums, testified before Congress and appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including C-SPAN’s Washington Journal and PBS’ To the Contrary. She is the author of Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Single Life in the Twenty-First Century (Multnomah Publishers, 2007). The book evaluates the cultural, practical and spiritual issues that marriage-minded young women confront as the age of first marriage continues to rise in America. Marshall holds a master of arts in religion from Reformed Theological Seminary, a master’s degree in statecraft and world politics from the Washington-based Institute of World Politics, and a bachelor’s degree in French from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., where she also earned teacher’s certification. She currently resides in Arlington, Va.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers| Cathy McMorris Rodgers is Eastern Washington’s chief advocate in Congress and a rising star in American politics. Since first being elected to the House in 2004, she has earned the trust of her constituents and praise on Capitol Hill for her hard work, conservative principles, bipartisan outreach, and leadership. As someone who grew up on a farm, worked at her family’s small business, and later became a wife and mom of three, she has lived the American Dream, and she works every day to rebuild that Dream for our children and grandchildren. As Chair of the House Republican Conference, she is the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House and the highest ranking woman in Congress. In 2010, she was appointed to the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee — where almost half of all legislation pertaining to the economy must pass. She currently serves on the Health Subcommittee, where she plays an active role in advancing affordable, patient-centered health care reforms.
Anne Neal| Anne D. Neal co-founded the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and has been president since 2003. She has been widely published as a prominent leader in higher education reform, and as appeared frequently on radio and television, including the PBS NewsHour, Fox Business News, CNN, Fox News, WGN, and National Public Radio. She has authored or co-authored numerous ACTA studies on historical illiteracy, federal accreditation, governance, intellectual pluralism, and cost, and contributed chapters to Reforming the Politically Correct University (AEI Press, 2009), Accountability in American Higher Education (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), and Intellectual Property Rights and Capital Formation in the Next Decade (University Press, 1988). In 2007 and in 2010, Ms. Neal was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity which advises the U.S. Secretary of Education on federal accreditation. Ms. Neal graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Harvard College with an A.B. in American history and literature, and received her J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Katie Packer Gage| Katie Packer Gage is a founding Partner of WWP Strategies, a political consulting and issue management firm based in Washington, DC. In 1996, she served as Michigan State Director for the Dole for President Campaign and then was Executive Director of the Michigan Senate Republican Campaign Committee. Katie worked as Deputy Campaign Manager and as a Senior Aide to U.S. Senator Spence Abraham (R-MI) and then was a Senior Advisor when he became US Secretary of Energy. She later worked during the Michigan primary for the Romney team in 2008 and in 2012, she served as Deputy Campaign Manager of the Romney for President Campaign. In 2008, Katie started the Workforce Fairness Institute (WFI), an organization dedicated to voter education and grassroots mobilization on issues related to workplace fairness. Katie also founded Burning Glass Consulting, a team of all female GOP operatives, in order to change the way the Republican Party messages to women.
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.
Heather Pfitzenmaier| Heather Pfitzenmaier currently serves as Director of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation. She oversees Heritage’s efforts to reach out and promote its mission to the next generation of Americans. These programs include a rigorous but welcoming internship program, campus outreach and events for young professionals. Herself an alum of Heritage’s intern program, Pfitzenmaier joined Heritage in 2007. Previously, she was intern coordinator for the Young Leaders Program, running various components of Heritage’s premier internship experience. YLP is part of the think tank’s External Relations division. Pfitzenmaier was the recipient in November 2012 of the Young Conservatives Coalition’s Buckley Award, which recognizes individuals between the ages of 21 and 40 who have made “a significant contribution to the conservative movement.” In December 2012, Forbes magazine named her one of “30 Under 30” young Americans who are making the greatest impact on law and policy. In 2014, she was also named one of “30 Under 30″ by Red Alert Politics based on the positive impact she has had on the conservative movement. She also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Network of enlightened Women, an Advisory Board member for the Young Conservative’s Coalition, and Chair of America’s Future Foundation’s Southeast Michigan chapter. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and political science from the University of Michigan. She hails from the great state of Michigan, born and raised in metro Detroit.
Kirsten Powers| Kirsten Powers has been called “Fox’s liberal to be reckoned with” by Mediaite and “an outspoken liberal journalist” by the Columbia Journalism Review. The Women’s Media Center lauded Powers as a “trailblazer,” “powerful,” and an “exceptional professional.” Prior to her career in journalism, Powers worked in Democratic Party politics and the Clinton administration. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Observer, the New York Post, the Daily Beast, Elle, Salon.com, and the American Prospect online.
Steven Rhoads| Steven Rhoads has taught public policy at the University of Virginia for over forty years. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Public Interest and other publications. He discussed his book Taking Sex Differences Seriously on 75 radio shows including widely syndicated National Public Radio programs such as “Talk of the Nation” and “On Point.” His television appearances include two appearances on C-SPAN’s BookTV and commercial programs such as the Today Show. His other books include The Economist’s View of the World and Incomparable Worth: Pay Equity Meets the Market. Dr. Rhoads lives with his family outside Charlottesville, Virginia and is a board member for NeW.
Martha Roby| U.S. Representative Martha Roby is currently in her third term serving the people of Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. Prior to being elected to Congress, Rep. Roby worked as an attorney and served as a city councilman in her hometown of Montgomery. In the House, Rep. Roby has been a forceful advocate for cutting wasteful spending and eliminating bureaucratic red tape that burdens American families and businesses. Roby is a Member of the House Committee on Appropriations, which has oversight on the whole range of government spending. She is the first representative from the 2nd District to serve on the key congressional committee. In her short tenure in Congress, Rep. Roby has distinguished herself as an effective legislator and messenger for the conservative cause. She exposed abuses in the scandal-ridden Veterans Affairs health system and has worked tirelessly to improve care for veterans, both locally and nationally. A fierce advocate for the military, Roby is leading efforts to stop devastating cuts that threaten military readiness. She also continues to search for truth as a Member of the Select Committee on Benghazi. Roby, 38, is married to Riley Roby, and they have two children – Margaret, 10, and George, 6.
Ashe Schow| Ashe Schow is a Commentary Writer and Columnist for the Washington Examiner, where she focuses on gender politics and the harm being done to college campuses by the politically correct. Her main focus is debunking myths about the prevalence of campus sexual assault and pointing out the current attempts to strip students of their constitutional protections of due process. She came to the Examiner from the Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action for America, where she worked as an editor and contributor to the organization’s blog. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She calls no state home but spent most of her life in Orlando, Florida.
Grace-Marie Turner| Grace-Marie Turner is president of the Galen Institute, a public policy research organization that she founded in 1995 to promote an informed debate over free-market ideas for health reform. She has been instrumental in developing and promoting ideas for reform to transfer power over health care decisions to doctors and patients. She speaks and writes extensively about incentives to promote a more competitive, patient-centered marketplace in the health sector. She has been published in hundreds of major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today, and has appeared on ABC’s 20/20 and on hundreds of radio and television programs. She is a co-author of Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for American (HarperCollins, 2011), and editor of Empowering Health Care Consumers through Tax Reform. Turner speaks extensively in the U.S. and abroad, including at the London School of Economics, Oxford University, and the Gregorian University at the Vatican. Turner is founder and facilitator of the Health Policy Consensus Group which serves as a forum for analysts from market-oriented think tanks around the country to analyze and develop policy recommendations. She received the 2007 Outstanding Achievement Award for Promotion of Consumer Driven Health Care from Consumer Health World. In the mid-1990s, she served as executive director of the National Commission on Economic Growth and Tax Reform. For 12 years, she was president of Arnett & Co., a health policy analysis and communications firm. Her early career was in politics and journalism where she received numerous awards for her writings on politics and economics.
Susannah Wellford| In spring 2007, Ms. Wellford founded Running Start to inspire young women and girls to political leadership. Running Start has trained over 7500 young women and girls to lead in politics, and has programs in Washington, DC, New York and Los Angeles. Ms. Wellford travels around the country speaking to colleges, law schools, political groups and nonprofits about the importance of inspiring more young women to lead in politics. Although Running Start’s focus is on empowering American young women to run for office, she also meets regularly with groups from around the world including most recently Israel, Kazakhstan, and the Palestinian Territories. After receiving her J.D. from the University Of Virginia School Of Law in 1998, she worked for several years at Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. She is licensed to practice in Virginia and Washington, DC. Prior to law school, Ms. Wellford worked for Hillary Clinton’s Health Care Task Force in the Clinton White House. She is also a former Legislative Assistant for Senator Wyche Fowler from Georgia. Ms. Wellford is a 1990 graduate of Davidson College. She lives in Washington, DC with her twin sons, Ben and James.
2015 National Conference Co-Sponsors
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)