Public safety expert Val Demings and cybersecurity expert Will Hurd are world-class security experts have dedicated their lives to public welfare. They draw on their combined experiences in public service to illuminate the importance of collaboration in change-making.
When former Congresswoman Val Demings served as Orlando’s first female Chief of Police, she took an unorthodox approach to making a difference. A lifelong public servant, Demings broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department, her election to Congress, and her appointment to prosecute the first impeachment of former president Donald Trump. Demings is heralded as a tireless champion for public safety, civil rights, the rule of law, and the American Dream.
Cybersecurity expert, former Congressman and CIA officer, and author Will Hurd is a leading voice for bipartisanship, inclusivity, and finding unity in the face of divisive issues. While serving in Congress, Politico called Hurd “the Future of the GOP,” and he was renowned for his ability to put policy ahead of politics. Prior to his work in politics, Hurd served as an undercover officer in the CIA, honing an in-depth analysis of current national security concerns and the future of cybersecurity as the next domain of conflict.
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Former Congresswoman and Orlando Police Chief Val Demings is a rising political star who has made an impact with her message, “everyone counts, and everyone is accountable.” A lifelong public servant, Demings broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department, her election to Congress, her appointment to prosecute the first impeachment of former president Donald Trump, her campaign for Senate in Florida, and her consideration as a potential running mate to President Joe Biden. She is heralded as a tireless champion for public safety, civil rights, the rule of law, and the American Dream – Demings shares her perspective and insights as a riveting keynote speaker.
Demings served as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 10th District from 2017-2023, and held positions on numerous House Committees including Judiciary, Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Oversight and Government Reform. Demings was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and New Democratic Caucus, as well as a member of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board and the Elections Security Taskforce, to name just a few. At sought-after events with groups including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the Orlando Economic Partnership, League of Women Voters, 92nd Street Y, and many others, Demings shares her uplifting and inspiring vision for the promise of what America could be, if we have the courage to fight for it.
Cybersecurity & AI expert, former U.S. House Representative, and former CIA officer Will Hurd is a leading voice for bipartisanship, inclusivity, and finding unity in the face of divisive issues. Prior to his work in politics, Hurd served as an undercover officer in the CIA. His service left him with an insider’s understanding of current national security concerns and the future of cybersecurity as the next domain of conflict. While serving in Congress, Politico named Hurd “the Future of the GOP.” He was renowned for his ability to put policy ahead of politics – getting more substantive legislation signed into law in three terms than most lawmakers achieve in decades. Always forward-thinking, Hurd wrote the first national strategy on AI, held the first Congress hearing on AI, and published the first Presidential Plan for AI. He was a candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. In his book, American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done, Hurd provides a vision for leadership that is values-based and inspiring for audiences of all kinds.
A renowned cybersecurity expert, Hurd was recently a managing director at Allen & Company, working with entrepreneurs on the cutting edge of technology to anticipate the shockwaves of the future. He is also a trustee of the German Marshall Fund, a past board member for OpenAI, and served as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Hurd is an in-demand expert on the future of politics, national security, foreign affairs, and cybersecurity. Offering insights informed by his time in the CIA and politics, Hurd helps organizations and individuals put threats into context and directs focus toward unifying strategies for policy, economic empowerment, and America’s technological future.
“Everyone counts, and everyone is accountable,” says Val Demings. Today, she’s a lifelong public servant who broke numerous glass ceilings in her rise through the Orlando Police Department, her election to Congress, her appointment to prosecute the (first) impeachment of former president Donald Trump, her campaign for Senate in Florida, and her consideration as potential running mate to President Joe Biden.
Val Butler Demings learned from her parents about the American Dream. They didn’t have much: two parents and seven children in a small wood-framed house in Jacksonville. Her mother Elouise Butler worked as a maid; her father James as a janitor, landscaper, and orange picker — as many jobs as it took to get by. “Work hard and play by the rules,” they taught her. ”Have faith.” “Treat others as you want to be treated.” “Never tire of doing good.” In America, these were the building blocks of a successful life.
She took her first job at 14 as a dishwasher. Became the first in her family to go to college, showing up with $50 in her pocket and working at a fast food restaurant to pay her way to a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and a later Master’s in Public Administration. She became a social worker, working to protect children in broken homes. Then, dismayed at a system that was leaving too many families behind, she signed up to become a police officer — an officer with a social worker’s heart.
It was a tough path, and tougher still in the 80s for a woman and Black American in a profession that had few of either. But she determinedly pushed forward, graduating from the police academy as class president, receiving the Board of Trustees’ Award for Overall Excellence, and earning the reputation of a bold, creative cop willing to take on conventional thinking and the toughest parts of the city.
Chief Demings served 27 years and at every rank level in the department. She commanded the Special Operations division and handled the department’s highest-profile tasks. She coordinated the response of the Airport Division on 9/11. And in 2007, she made history when she was appointed to serve as the city’s first female Chief of Police.
The eyes of the city were on her. The financial crisis was squeezing budgets. But by taking the tough fights head-on, she did more with less, kept officers on the street, and crushed violent crime, reducing it by 40%.
By making the Orlando community a partner of the department, Chief Demings made the concept of “protect and serve” a tangible presence in Orlando’s most dangerous neighborhoods. She launched innovative programs like Operation Positive Direction, a mentoring program that empowers at-risk students through tutoring, community service, and positive incentives. She also launched Operation Free Palms, a project focusing on rejuvenating Orlando's most crime-ridden housing complex, the Palms Apartments. By focusing on unorthodox strategies like access to childcare, building playgrounds, a GED program, and job skills training, she improved the quality of life in Orlando’s most distressed community.
In 2016, Chief Demings was elected by the voters of Florida’s 10th District to serve in Congress. She swiftly gained a reputation as a tireless champion for public safety, civil rights, the rule of law, and the American Dream that had given her a chance to succeed. She gained widespread acclaim for her conduct as a deliberative and justice-focused impeachment manager during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.
In Congress, she served on the House Committees on Judiciary, Intelligence, Homeland Security (chairing the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery) and Oversight and Government Reform. She was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Women’s Caucus, and New Democratic Caucus, a member of the Law Enforcement Congressional Badge of Bravery Review Board and the Elections Security Taskforce, and served as Assistant and Regional Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, Co-Chair of Candidate Recruitment for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Vice Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
Demings holds an honorary doctorate of laws from Bethune-Cookman University, as well as honorary doctorates from Florida Technical College and City College Fort Lauderdale. Rep. Demings is an active member of St. Mark A.M.E., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Orlando Chapter of the Links, Inc., NAACP Silver Life Member, Florida Bar Citizens Advisory Committee, Florida Police Chiefs, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives, National Congress of Black Women, and numerous other affiliations.
Val Demings and her husband Jerry Demings (currently serving as Mayor of Orange County) have been blessed with three children and five grandchildren. When she’s not fighting for our democracy and spending time with her family, she rides her Harley-Davidson Road King Classic.
Through all of it, she has never tired of doing good, the lesson taught to her by her parents in their home in Jacksonville. She has never given up on the promise of what America could be, if we have the courage to fight for it.
Will Hurd is currently a managing director at Allen & Company and former member of Congress, cybersecurity executive, and undercover officer in the CIA. For almost two decades he’s been involved in the most pressing national security issues challenging the country whether it was in the back-alleys of dangerous places, boardrooms of top international businesses or halls of Congress.
After stopping terrorists, preventing Russian spies from stealing our secrets, and putting nuclear weapons proliferators out of business, Will helped build a cybersecurity company that prepared businesses for the next domain of conflict – cyberspace.
While in Congress, Texas Monthly and Politico Magazine called Will “The Future of the GOP,” because he put good policy over good politics at a time when America was often consumed with what divides us rather than what unites us. He was able to get more legislation signed into law in three terms than most congressmen do in three decades – substantive legislation like a national strategy for Artificial Intelligence.
Will is a native of San Antonio and earned a Computer Science degree from Texas A&M University. Additionally, he is growing the US transatlantic partnership with Europe as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund, an OpenAI board member, and most recently served as a fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. He is also the author of American Reboot: An Idealist’s Guide to Getting Big Things Done.
For more information, please visit willbhurd.com.