Robert Gibbs: White House Press Secretary, 2009-2011, and longtime Adviser to President Barack Obama
Karen Hughes: Counselor to President George W. Bush, 2001-2002
Consider Robert Gibbs and Karen Hughes for a robust program addressing the most pressing economic and political issues of the day.
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Top political advisor, communications expert, and trusted commentator Robert Gibbs offers audiences a unique perspective on today’s political, business, and media environment. A long-time senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Gibbs served as the White House Press Secretary from 2009-2011. After nearly a decade in Washington, he became Executive Vice President and Global Chief Communications Office of McDonald’s (2015-19). Following his departure, he became Senior Counsel at Bully Pulpit Interactive, where he focuses on executive communications, building social impact plans, and corporations’ responses to crises. Drawing on his experience as both a Washington insider and executive at one of the most recognizable companies in the world, Gibbs provides robust insights into everything from the economy and regulatory environment to healthcare reform.
With decades of communications experience at the highest levels, Gibbs brings a unique perspective to sought-after commentary and speaking engagements. He is a regular contributor for MSNBC and NBC News, as well as a co-host for the U.S. political podcast Hacks on Tap, alongside David Axelrod and Mike Murphy. Gibbs is uniquely positioned to lead brands, campaigns, and causes through times of immense change and strengthen reputations in a world which is constantly demanding more.
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).
A top advisor to President Obama for nearly a decade and the former Executive Vice President and Global Chief Communications Officer of McDonald's (2015-19), Robert Gibbs is a communication expert who offers audiences a unique perspective on today's political, business and media environment. Drawing on his experience as both a Washington insider and executive at one of the most recognizable companies in the world, Gibbs provides robust insights into everything from the economy and regulatory environment to healthcare reform.
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.