Jennifer Granholm & Karen Hughes

Consider Jennifer Granholm and Karen Hughes for an insightful and robust program on the most debated political issues of the day.

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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

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

One of the world's foremost communication strategists, Karen Hughes specializes in strategic messaging, crisis communications and executive positioning with clients ranging from global corporations to Fortune 500 CEOs. The current Worldwide Vice Chair at esteemed communications agency Burson Cohn & Wolfe, Hughes also served as counselor to President George W. Bush and Under Secretary of the State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. For her work in Washington D.C., Hughes 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). 

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Learn more about Jennifer Granholm & Karen Hughes

Jennifer Granholm's Biography

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm served two terms as Governor of Michigan, leading a state with a $40 billion annual budget and over 55,000 employees. As governor, Granholm pioneered clean energy innovation, economic development, and led the state through the national crisis in the turn-around of the American automotive and manufacturing sectors. She laid the ground for the improvement in Michigan’s economy after the auto industry bankruptcies, with bi-partisan efforts that engaged the private sector, fostered critical partnerships between industry, government and researchers, and created economic incentives in battery manufacturing, bio-energy, solar and wind power.

During her terms, the state attracted almost 4,000 companies, and Site Selection Magazine repeatedly named Michigan as one of the top three states in the nation for business locations or expansions. Under her leadership, Michigan was twice recognized by The Pew Center on the States as one of the best-managed states in the nation. According to the Gallup Job Creation Index, Michigan led the country in the improvement of job market conditions following the great recession. Prior to being elected Governor, she was Attorney General for the State of Michigan.

Granholm is currently a Managing Partner of RIDGE-LANE LP, where she leads the firm’s Sustainability practice. She also teaches policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI), and a Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society (CITRIS). In addition to her work at UC Berkeley, Granholm is a member of the advisory board at The University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics (IOP).

Granholm leads several initiatives focused on exploring how technological advancements impact jobs and the economy. She is the Chair of the American Jobs Project, a multi-state 25-university research project focused on advanced manufacturing jobs in clean energy. As an advisor to the Autonomous World Fund, Granholm also provides strategic guidance on automated/AI-connected, electric, and shared vehicles.

Granholm is a Senior Political Contributor to CNN and serves on the board of directors of Proterra and Marinette Marine Corporation. She's a Senior Advisor to Media Matters for America and the Chair of the American Bridge Foundation. In addition, she's the co-author of the political bestseller, A Governor’s Story: The Fight for Jobs and America’s Economic Future. She is an honors graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School.

Karen Hughes's Biography

Ambassador Karen Hughes
Worldwide Vice Chair, 
Burson Cohn & Wolfe

Karen Hughes is a leading communications strategist, specializing in strategic messaging, crisis communications and executive communications.

Since joining Burson Cohn & Wolfe in 2008, Karen 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 food safety 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 40 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 Counselor to the President for President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002. In this role she acted as strategic advisor to the president on policy and communications and led the White House Offices of Communications, Media Affairs, Speechwriting and Press Secretary.  Karen also served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs where she led the U.S. government’s efforts to communicate America’s values abroad.  

She serves on the Board of Directors for Parsley Energy and the National Football Foundation. 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. 

Karen is the best-selling 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. She 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.