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 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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Rave Reviews About Karen Hughes
I wanted to send you a quick note about Karen Hughes's event on Wednesday. She was so lovely and we enjoyed having her here. She was candid, engaging and did a great job weaving the values and motto of BC in her talk. Her stories about her former boss, George W. certainly gave one more insight about the person he is, and it was evident that he is someone that she admires and holds in high regard. Her personal and professional narrative was fascinating to hear, and the feedback we have received so far from faculty, students, and others in the audience has been overwhelmingly positive.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Karen Hughes
  • National Cotton Council
  • Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.
  • International Dairy Foods Association
  • Accenture
  • Boston College
  • THA
  • Boston College
  • YUM! Brands, Inc.
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
  • California Chamber of Commerce
Keynote - When Life Strikes the White House Conference | SMU Center for Presidential History [48:39] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Karen Hughes's Talks
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Where in the World are we?

The political landscape at home and America’s role in the world – Karen discusses America’s position in the world and America’s political situation leading up to the 2020 election.  ...

The political landscape at home and America’s role in the world – Karen discusses America’s position in the world and America’s political situation leading up to the 2020 election. 

Crisis Communication: Saying the Right Thing When It Matters Most

From 9/11 to the first US hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola, Karen shares insights gained from a career dealing with some of the biggest crises to face our country. ...

From 9/11 to the first US hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola, Karen shares insights gained from a career dealing with some of the biggest crises to face our country.

For Women Audiences

Karen provides personal insights on leadership and women’s empowerment garnered from her experiences in Texas, Washington and around the world ...

Karen provides personal insights on leadership and women’s empowerment garnered from her experiences in Texas, Washington and around the world

The CEO's of Leadership

Karen weaves stories from her time at the White House and over the course of her career to provide insight on leadership principles relevant for any audience. ...

Karen weaves stories from her time at the White House and over the course of her career to provide insight on leadership principles relevant for any audience.

The 5 C's of Successful Communication

Karen shares her expertise on the five most crucial elements of communications, cultivated from her time as a reporter to her time in the White House to her current job as a counselor for corporate and political leaders, to help any audience member communicate more effectively. ...

Karen shares her expertise on the five most crucial elements of communications, cultivated from her time as a reporter to her time in the White House to her current job as a counselor for corporate and political leaders, to help any audience member communicate more effectively.

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<p>Speaker Spotlight: Karen Hughes </p>

Speaker Spotlight: Karen Hughes 

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. 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). 

In her compelling and actionable remarks, Hughes sheds light on issues such as America's role in an evolving world, crisis communication, the keys to successful communication, and leadership and women's empowerment. Audiences herald her as "candid, engaging... fascinating" (Boston College); "absolutely great!... easy to work with" (National Cotton Council), and "very well received" (International Dairy foods Association). As the Wisconsin Women in Government put it succinctly: "So many people have commented that Karen Hughes was the best speaker we've ever had. I wholeheartedly agree!"

Watch some of Karen Hughes' talks here > >

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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.