Jennifer Granholm & Karen Hughes

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Jennifer Granholm headshot

Jennifer Granholm

  • 47th Governor of Michigan (2002-2011)
  • Senior Political Commentator, CNN
  • Distinguished Practitioner of Law and Public Policy at the UC Berkeley
  • Bestselling Author of "A Governor's Story: The Fight for Jobs and America's Economic Future"

Jennifer M. Granholm is a former two-term governor and former attorney general of Michigan. She currently serves as the co-chair of Priorities USA Action and is the Director of The American Jobs Project at UC Berkeley, where she also teaches courses in law and public policy.

After leaving office, Granholm hosted Current TV’s national political analysis show The War Room with Jennifer Granholm and co-authored the Washington Post political bestseller, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future. Today, Granholm advocates for a national commitment to advanced manufacturing, worker training, and clean energy.

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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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Biography

Jennifer Granholm's Biography

Former two-term governor of Michigan Jennifer M. Granholm, who is credited with leading Michigan though a period of unprecedented economic challenge and change, is an authority on leadership; politics; economic diversification; clean energy policy; advanced manufacturing; and industrial clusters.

Granholm became the first woman to be elected as governor of Michigan in 2002, and in 2006 she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in the state. Due to the meltdown in the auto industry and the global shift in manufacturing jobs, Michigan had the toughest economy in the nation and Granholm worked relentlessly to diversify, add new jobs and add emerging sectors, such as clean energy, to Michigan’s economic portfolio. As a result of her leadership, Michigan led the country in the improvement of job market conditions between 2009 and 2010, according to the Gallup Job Creation Index

As governor, Granholm pioneered clean energy policies, working with business and labor, Republicans and Democrats to create new economic opportunities and jobs in Michigan. She led an aggressive strategy to make Michigan the hub of clean-energy development in North America by developing entire supply chains in Michigan, fostering critical partnerships between industry, government and researchers and by creating economic incentives that made Michigan the place to locate. Granholm’s plan included specific clustering strategies targeted at battery manufacturing, bio-energy, solar, and wind power.

In addition to diversifying Michigan's economy, Granholm focused on creating jobs, attracting international investment, improving education, and training Michigan’s workers to promote the state’s long-term economic health. She pushed Michigan to double the number of college graduates and signed into law a college prep curriculum for every high school student in Michigan, in addition to some of the toughest turnaround requirements for low-performing schools in the nation. In 2007, she launched the No Worker Left Behind program, which gave unemployed and under-employed citizens the opportunity to attend community college or technical school and receive training for high-demand jobs by offering state-paid tuition to Michigan’s displaced adults.

Prior to her tenure as Governor, Granholm served as Michigan’s attorney general, from 1998-2002. After her last term as Governor, Granholm began teaching courses in law and public policy at UC Berkeley, where she continues to serve as faculty.  In addition, Granholm is a senior research fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, a project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a senior advisor to Correct the Record, and an ABC News contributor. She is also co-author of the political bestseller, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future and an avid supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, where she is a senior partner on energy policy.

Granholm is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She and her husband have three children.

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.