Past CLC Speakers
Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D., had a childhood dream of becoming a physician. Growing up in a single parent home and being challenged by dire poverty, poor grades, a horrible temper and low self-esteem appeared to preclude the realization of that dream, until his mother, with only a third-grade education, challenged her sons to strive for excellence. Young Ben persevered and today is an emeritus professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he directed pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center for 39 years. He was the inaugural recipient of a professorship dedicated in his name in May, 2008 and is now the Emeritus Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., M.D. and Dr. Evelyn Spiro, R.N. Professor of Pediatric Neurosurgery, having retired on June 30, 2013.
Some career highlights include the first and only successful separation of craniopagus (Siamese) twins joined at the back of the head in 1987, the first completely successful separation of type-2 vertical craniopagus twins in 1997 in South Africa and the first successful placement of an intrauterine shunt for a hydrocephalic twin. Although he has been involved in many newsworthy operations, he feels that every case is noteworthy — deserving of maximum attention. He is interested in all aspects of pediatric neurosurgery and has a special interest in trigeminal neuralgia (a severe facial pain condition) in adults.
Dr. Carson holds more than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and has received literally hundreds of awards and citations. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of
Science, the Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans and many other prestigious organizations. He sits on the board of directors of numerous organizations, including Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, the Academy of Achievement and is an Emeritus Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the governing body of Yale University. He was appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He is a highly regarded motivational speaker who has addressed various audiences from school systems and civic groups to corporations and has spoken twice during the President’s National Prayer Breakfast.
Carly Fiorina has always believed in giving back to the community and has been an active participant in
government and politics.
Carly is a true leader and a seasoned problem-solver. She is a passionate, articulate advocate for
conservative policies that advance economic growth, entrepreneurship, innovation, and effective
leadership. Through extensive experience she has learned that human potential is a limitless and
uniquely powerful resource that can be unlocked, inspired and focused on worthy goals and common
purpose. She knows that conservative principles, applied in a twenty-first century context, are the
most effective way to unleash this potential for positive change in communities, organizations of
all kinds and our nation.
Carly started out as a secretary for a small real-estate business. She then joined AT&T in an
entry-level sales position. Fifteen years later she led AT&T’s spin-out of Lucent Technologies and
then Lucent’s North American operations. In 1999, she was recruited to Hewlett-Packard where she
would become the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business. In her six years as Chairman and CEO of
HP, she would double its revenues to $90 billion; more than quadruple its growth to 9%; triple the
rate of innovation to 11 patents a day; achieve market
leadership in every market and product category and quadruple cash-flow. She traveled the globe and
made lifelong friends from countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas.
Carly has always believed in giving back to the community and has been an active participant in
government and politics. She has served in a large number of advisory and policy-making positions
for national and state governments. She currently serves as the Chairman of the American
Conservative Union Foundation, which annually hosts CPAC (the largest annual gathering of
conservatives) and was founded by William F. Buckley and others; the Chairman of Good360, the
world’s largest product philanthropy organization; and the Chairman of Opportunity International, a
Christian-based organization that lifts millions out of poverty through micro- finance.
Taking on tough challenges has been a hallmark of Carly’s life. In 2010, she didn’t shy away from a
challenging run for the U.S Senate when she took on one of Washington’s most entrenched liberals,
Barbara Boxer, from the deep blue state of California. She earned more votes than any Republican
nationwide that election-cycle and raised over $25 million dollars in 12 months. On the campaign
trail, Carly became known for her proud adherence to conservative philosophy and her mastery of the
During the hard-fought battle for votes and ideas, Carly was also battling breast cancer. At the
same time, she and her husband Frank suffered the terrible tragedy of the loss of the younger
daughter, Lori. Throughout these difficult times, Frank and Carly were sustained by the redemptive
power of their Christian faith and the strength of their family. Carly has many blessings but the
most important are her husband, their oldest daughter Tracy and her two granddaughters. They
inspire Carly to make a positive difference every day.
In her best-selling memoir, Tough Choices, Carly credits her parents with providing an unshakable
foundation for her life. Her mother taught her: “What you are is God’s gift to you. What you make
of yourself is your gift to God.” Her father, a strict constructionist jurist who would eventually
sit on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, taught her conservative philosophy and the importance of
fighting with integrity and courage for one’s beliefs. Her lifetime of experience has taught Carly
that the highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential in
Becoming president of The Heritage Foundation is “like coming home,” says Jim DeMint, who rose from modest South Carolina roots and a career in marketing to build and lead a resurgent conservative caucus in the U.S. Senate. Heritage’s public policy research, DeMint says, informed him as a citizen and inspired his entry into politics and government.
On April 4, 2013, DeMint succeeded Edwin J. Feulner as president of the leading think tank. After stepping down from the Senate seat to which South Carolinians twice elected him, DeMint functioned as president-elect of Heritage in a three-month transition. Feulner, president since 1977, was a founding trustee in 1974.
“I’m humbled to follow in the footsteps of Ed Feulner, who built the most important conservative institution in the nation,” DeMint said during the transition. “He has been a friend and mentor for years and I am honored to carry on his legacy of fighting for freedom.
“Heritage will remain, first and foremost, a research institute dedicated to impeccable research and data-driven policy analysis,” DeMint added. “Our policy recommendations carry weight because they are informed by that research and grounded in the principles laid out by the Founding Fathers—principles that have been proven sound time and time again during this great American Experiment.”
DeMint has said that a primary goal for Heritage is to help the conservative movement understand how Americans from all walks of life perceive public policy issues — and to better communicate conservative ideas and solutions.
DeMint was born James Warren DeMint on Sept. 2, 1951, in Greenville, S.C. “Jim” and three siblings were raised by a single mother who taught him the value of hard work and perseverance. He attended public schools in Greenville, graduating from Wade Hampton High School. He married his high school sweetheart, Debbie Henderson, in 1973.
That same year, he received a bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Clemson University.
In 1983, after working 10 years in the research, advertising and marketing business, he started the DeMint Group, a Greenville-based marketing research and strategic planning business. In addition to his family, small business and local Presbyterian church, he immersed himself in Greenville civic life – volunteering and leading numerous charitable organizations.
He ran the DeMint Group until 1998, when he was elected as a Republican to the first of three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. DeMint kept his promise to serve only three two-year terms in the House. His reputation as one of Washington’s most principled conservative leaders grew after his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, the 55th to serve from South Carolina. He continued to advocate limited government, individual liberty, a strong national defense and traditional values – all core tenets of America’s founding and Heritage’s public policy mission.
Over the years, DeMint collaborated with Heritage on reforms to entitlements, health care, education and immigration, and on efforts, such as Heritage’s Index of Dependence on Government, to reverse Americans’ growing reliance on taxpayer-funded programs. He drew national attention for working to end the corrupt system of congressional earmarks, stopping the misguided 2007 amnesty bill, arguing for comprehensive missile defense and opposing ill-advised treaties, such as the UN’s Law of the Sea Treaty, which would harm American sovereignty.
He is the author of the books “Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse” (Center Street, 2012); “The Great American Awakening: Two Years that Changed America, Washington and Me” (B&H, 2011); and “Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism” (Fidelis, 2009). His first book, with co-author J. David Woodard, is “Why We Whisper: Restoring Our Right to Say It’s Wrong” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). His latest book, “Falling in Love with America Again” (Center Street, 2014) debuted at #1 on The Washington Post bestseller list.
DeMint and his wife, Debbie, have four children who now are grown and married. They’ve taken a shine to being grandparents.
Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks, a national grassroots organization that serves citizens in their fight for more individual freedom and less government control. An economist by training, Kibbe is a well-respected policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator, and a regular guest on CNN, Fox News, The Blaze TV and MSNBC. He also serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Dubbed “the scribe” by the New York Daily News, Kibbe is author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, (2012) and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (2010). According to Slate Magazine, “Kibbe…looks like Billy Bob Thornton cleaned up for a Job interview,” and is prone to wonkish pronouncements regarding music, philosophy and beer. Terry, his awesome wife of 27 years, takes no responsibility for his many mistakes or frequent embarrassments.
Ann McElhinney is a journalist, and film producer and director.
Her most recent success is a massive crowdfuding campaign for a movie about Kermit Gosnell. The
crowdfunding for the Gosnell movie was the most successful Indiegogo campaign ever. Over 26,500
people funded the film contributing $2.25m in 45 days. The campaign smashed a number of
Gosnell is a ripped from the headlines story about a respected doctor who ran a medical clinic in
an impoverished Philadelphia neighborhood. But behind the doors of his clinic the smiling,
avuncular Kermit Gosnell was also America’s most prolific serial killer.
The project has attracted an enormous amount of media coverage on television, radio and with
hundreds of articles written about the film and the historic crowdfunding.
McElhinney is the director and producer of FrackNation – A Journalist’s Search for the Fracking
Truth, a documentary on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and the natural gas boom in the US and
FrackNation premiered January 22, 2013 on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV and was later picked up for
distribution by Magnolia Pictures. The New York Times called the film “meticulously researched…
provocative.” Variety said it was a “briskly paced…mischievous pic.”
FrackNation bypassed traditional funding methods and instead turned to Kickstarter, a
crowd-funding website. In 60 days, 3,305 backers donated $212,265 to tell the truth about fracking.
It was one of the most successful campaigns in Kickstarter history.
In 2009, she produced and directed Not Evil Just Wrong, a film which examines the devastating
consequences of global warming hysteria.
Previously, McElhinney produced and directed Mine Your Own Business – the first documentary that
asks difficult questions of the environmental movement. Canada’s The National Post said “Mine Your
Own Business is devastating because it combats prejudices and fantasies with pictures that refute
thousands of weasel words.”
McElhinney has also made documentaries for the BBC, CBC (Canada) and RTE (Ireland). The Search for
Tristan’s Mum concerned the case of Tristan Dowse, a baby who was adopted by
an Irish man and his wife in Indonesia. Two years later, when the adoptive mother became
pregnant, they abandoned Tristan in an Indonesian orphanage.
The case outraged Ireland and McElhinney tracked down Tristan’s natural mother and, going
undercover, infiltrated the baby-selling ring. Tristan is now living with his natural mother in
Indonesia and the baby sellers are serving lengthy jail sentences.
The Irish government initiated a high court protection order to protect Tristan’s interests and
when delivering his judgment, Justice John McMenamin said McElhinney deserved the “highest of
praise” for her investigative journalism.
McElhinney was featured in and was the Associate Producer of the highly controversial documentary
Return to Sender (2005) for CBC.
McElhinney has also written for or is a regular contributor to an array of international media
organizations including CNN, FOX News, ABC (US), BBC, CBC (Canada), ABC (Australia), RTE (Ireland),
The Sunday Times and The Irish Times. She is a regular on a number of US talk radio shows including
The Hugh Hewitt Show, The Dennis Miller Show and The Dennis Prager Show.
McElhinney has worked as a journalist and filmmaker in the US, Canada, Romania, Bulgaria, Chile,
Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Ghana and Uganda.
She is an entertaining and sought-after public speaker and has most recently spoken at conferences
in Dallas (TX), Houston (TX), New York City (NY), Bonita Springs (FL), San Diego (CA), Chapel Hill
(NC), Bakersfield (CA), Santa Fe (NM), Little Rock (AR), Santa Barbara (CA), Mayetta (KS), Billings
(MO), Pittsburgh (PA) and many more.
McElhinney produces and directs with her husband Phelim McAleer.
Gosnell (in development) Producer
FrackNation (2013) Director & Producer
Not Evil Just Wrong (2009) Director & Producer
Mine Your own Business (2006) Director & Producer
The Search for Tristan’s Mum (RTE, 2005) On Screen Journalist
Return to Sender (CBC, 2005) Associate Producer
Romanian Twins (BBC, 2004) Assistant Producer
In 2012, in his first run for elected office at any level, Dan Forest became only the second Republican since 1897 to be elected Lieutenant Governor in the state of North Carolina.
Dan’s victory to the State’s second highest office came after he personally travelled nearly 300,000 miles to all 100 counties.
This same work ethic was demonstrated in Dan’s previous career. A registered architect, Dan rose from office intern (while in college) to Office President and Senior Partner of the North Carolina’s largest architectural firm over his 22 year career.
As Lieutenant Governor, Dan serves as President of the North Carolina Senate, serves on the State Board of Economic Development, is a member of the NC Military Affairs Commission and is Chairman of the Energy Policy Council.
Dan’s passion and priority in the Lt. Governor’s Office is Innovation Through Education.
By nature of being Lieutenant Governor, Dan serves as a voting member of the State Board of Education and on the NC Community College Board.
In these roles, Dan is tireless in spreading his vision for North Carolina education to move away from the status quo and towards customized curriculum for each and every child, using technology as the tool.
Dan is a supporter of Mastery Based Learning and as Chairman of the Governor’s eLearning Commission and member of the State Board of Education’s Special Committee on Digital Learning, he is helping lead the way towards North Carolina being the first state in the nation to have every classroom connected through high-speed wireless Internet. Dan is also working diligently so that every child, regardless of socio-economic position in life, may have a school-issued one-to-one device, so that the world of learning is literally in the palm of their hands.
Dan is married to his wife of 22 years, Alice. Dan and Alice are the parents of four children ages 9 to 21 and reside in Raleigh.