Howard Dean & Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes and Howard Dean face off in a rousing program on the major domestic and foreign policy issues of the day, including healthcare reform, the economy, foreign policy, and more.

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Howard Dean headshot

Howard Dean

EXCLUSIVE
  • Chairman, Democratic National Committee (2005-2009)
  • 79th Governor of Vermont (1991-2003)
  • Founder, Democracy for America
  • MSNBC Contributor

Dean’s groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Presidency and subsequent four years as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee provided him with both an insider's view and a reformer's commitment to the economy, foreign trade policy and international relations. His 12 years as Governor of Vermont and his Chairmanship of the National Governor's Association have given him a vast knowledge of domestic issues.

His skillful stewardship of the party as Democratic National Committee chair began in 2005 and continued through the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Dean made the Democratic Party competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats' core values.

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Karen Hughes headshot

Karen Hughes

EXCLUSIVE
  • Counselor to President George W. Bush (2001-2002)
  • Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2005-2007)
  • Worldwide Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller
  • One of the World’s Foremost Communication Strategists

Karen Hughes serves as Burson-Marsteller’s Worldwide Vice Chair.  She is one of the world's foremost communication strategists, specializing in strategic messaging and communications, crisis communications and executive positioning with clients ranging from global corporations to Fortune 500 CEOs.

For her work in U.S. government, she has been described as "the most powerful woman ever to serve in the White House" (Dallas Morning News) and "the most powerful public diplomacy czar in decades" (The Boston Globe). As Under Secretary of State, she traveled to more than 50 countries, meeting world leaders and reaching out to international audiences.

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An Evening with Karen Hughes and Howard Dean

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Biography

Howard Dean's Biography

Howard Dean’s groundbreaking campaign for the U.S. Presidency and subsequent four years as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee have provided him with both an insider's view and a reformer's commitment to the economy, foreign trade policy and international relations. His 12 years as Governor of Vermont and his Chairmanship of the National Governor's Association have given him vast knowledge of domestic issues. His skillful stewardship of the party as Democratic National Committee chair began in 2005 and continued through the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Governor Dean made the Democratic Party competitive in every race, in every district, in every state and territory, while integrating national and state party operations and standing up for Democrats' core values.

Dean currently serves as a Senior Strategic Advisor and Independent Consultant for the Government Affairs practice at Dentons where he focuses on healthcare and energy issues. He is a frequent contributor to MSNBC.

Dean also serves on the Board of the National Democratic Institute, a democracy building organization chaired by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. He has extensive experience in Southeastern Europe including in Ukraine, Moldova, and the Balkans. He has also has an extensive knowledge of Iraqi and Iranian affairs, and has spent time in China and Myanmar as a result of his NDI activities. He has been active in anti human trafficking efforts in Asia and in the United States. He lectures frequently in Europe, and is currently teaching a course on the Politics of American Foreign Policy at the Jackson Institute at Yale.

Drawing on his extensive experience in politics and healthcare, Governor Dean delivers a sharp, in-season speech to help groups and businesses plan for the future. His presentation brings the current debates into focus and offers a closer look at the impact the economy, budget deficit, healthcare, and the future of Social Security and Medicare are having on the country, and what to expect from the next four years.

Governor Dean gained national prominence as a U.S. presidential candidate in 2004, and he served as the Governor of Vermont from 1991 to 2003. During that time, he created a record that promoted equality and opportunity for his constituency employing a philosophy of fiscal responsibility advocating low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt.   His successes prompted Governing magazine to proclaim him "Public Official of the Year" in 2002. His leadership roles also include turns as chairman of the National Governors' Association, the Democratic Governors' Association, and the New England Governors' Conference

He led the Democratic Party to success as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. He is credited with pioneering an energetic 50-state strategy and the development of 21st century campaign tools that helped Democrats make historic gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

After achieving national prominence in his bid for the Democratic nomination for president, Governor Dean founded Democracy for America to build on the groundswell of support and the wave of new energy sweeping the Party, and continues to serve as a consultant to the organization. Since 2004, Democracy for America has been working with the grassroots to elect fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates to all levels of government - local, state, and federal - all over the country.

Karen Hughes's Biography

Karen Hughes is one of the world's foremost communication strategists, specializing in strategic messaging and communications, crisis communications and executive positioning with clients ranging from global corporations to Fortune 500 CEOs.

Since joining Burson-Marsteller in 2008, she has provided strategic communications counsel to many high profile clients. Karen helped develop the strategy to differentiate Ford in the aftermath of the auto bailout; she advised a global healthcare company as it managed recalls of some of its most iconic consumer products; she guided a major Texas retailer as it managed a complex data breach; she was the senior strategist on the team advising the first U.S. hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola; and she helped Blue Bell Ice Cream manage the largest voluntary total recall of 2015 after listeria was found in several of its products. She has led numerous communications workshops and media trainings, and works directly with several CEOs and senior executives on their messaging and communications strategies.

Karen has more than 35 years of public policy, communications and political experience, from helping lead winning presidential campaigns to serving at the highest levels of government. Karen served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs from 2005-2007, reaching out on behalf of the United States to audiences across the world. Karen dramatically reshaped the State Department’s communications efforts, rebuilt an agency demoralized by years of budget cuts, launched a new focus on America’s “diplomacy of deeds” and made public diplomacy central in the development of foreign policy.

From 2001 to 2002, Karen served as Counselor to the President, a title reflective of her role as strategic advisor to President George W. Bush. Told by the President that he wanted her “in the room whenever a major decision is made,” Karen worked on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues, and led the White House Offices of Communications, Press Secretary, Media Affairs and Speechwriting. When she left the White House, the New York Times said: “The rule of thumb in any White House is that nobody is indispensable except the president. But Karen Hughes has come as close to that description as any recent presidential aide.” The Associated Press called her “perhaps the most influential woman ever to serve an American president.”

Karen was President Bush’s Communications Director and one of the “Iron Triangle” of three people who led his winning presidential campaign in 2000 and served as a senior communications strategist on his 2004 re-election campaign. She was instrumental in developing and shaping his image as a “compassionate conservative.” She served as Director of Communications in the Texas Governor's office (1995-1999) and directed communications during Governor Bush's successful gubernatorial campaigns in 1994 and 1998.

Karen was Executive Director of the Texas Republican Party from 1992 until 1994, and served as a consultant and frequent spokesman for the Party throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. She was the Director of Media Relations for Halcyon Associates, a Dallas-based public relations firm, from 1987 until 1990. She has worked on numerous political, issue and bond campaigns in Dallas and was Texas press coordinator for the Reagan-Bush '84 campaign.  

Karen began her career as a journalist, working as a television reporter for KXAS-TV (NBC affiliate) in Dallas-Fort Worth from 1977 until 1984. She is the author of Ten Minutes from Normal, a book about working for President Bush and her decision to leave the White House to return with her family to Texas in 2002. Karen was selected to serve as a Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics for the Spring 2013 semester where she led a study group on communications.

She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Football Foundation and Manos de Cristo, a non-profit that provides dental, educational and emergency basic needs services to low income residents in Austin. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, an organization created to foster ties between the women of America and Afghanistan. Karen also serves on the Women’s Initiative Policy Advisory Council at the Bush Institute in Dallas and on the 2016 ONE Campaign Advisory Board.  

Karen is a Phi Beta Kappa and received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Journalism from Southern Methodist University. She received the Distinguished Alumni award from SMU in 2003. She is an elder in the Presbyterian Church and a long-time Sunday School teacher. She is married to attorney Jerry Hughes and has two children, Leigh and Robert.