2016 SPEAKERS

Donna Brazile

Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, Vice Chair for Civic Engagement   and Voter Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former interim National Chair of the Democratic National Committee as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute.

Aside from working to rebuild her beloved hometown of New Orleans, Ms. Brazile’s passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. Since 2000, Ms. Brazile has lectured at over 185 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” “Race Relations in the Age of Obama,” “Why Diversity Matters,” and “Women in American Politics.”

She first got involved in politics at the age of nine when she worked to elect a City Council candidate who had promised to build a playground in her neighborhood; the candidate won, the swing set was installed, and a lifelong passion for political progress was ignited. Ms. Brazile worked on every presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she became the first African-American to manage a presidential campaign.

Author of the best-selling memoirCooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, Ms. Brazile is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, a syndicated newspaper columnist for Universal Uclick, a columnist forMs. Magazine, a contributor to Essence Magazine's 2016 coverage andO, The Oprah Magazine, an on-air contributor to CNN, and ABC, where she regularly appears on the Sunday morning showThis Week. She has made three cameo appearances on CBS’sThe Good Wifeand two cameo appearances on Netflix’s seriesHouse of Cards and most recently BET's Being Mary Jane. Ask her and she’ll tell you that acting, after all, is the key to success in politics.

She is currently on the board of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, the National Democratic Institute, the Professional Diversity Network, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund, Inc.  She also serves as Co-Chair for Democrats for Public Education.

In August 2009,O, The Oprah Magazinechose Ms. Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries” for the magazine’s first-ever O Power List. In addition, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Women byWashingtonianmagazine, Top 50 Women in America byEssencemagazine, and received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement. Earlier this year, Ms Brazile was awarded Wonk of the Year from the Kennedy Political Union at American University.

Ms. Brazile is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Grambling State University, Spellman College, LeMoyne Owen College,  Northeastern Illinois University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Xavier University of Louisiana, the only historically Black, Catholic institution of higher education in the United States.

Ms. Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.

Last but never least, she is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. In the aftermath of the two catastrophic hurricanes that made landfall in the Gulf region, Ms. Brazile was appointed by former Governor Kathleen Blanco to serve on the Louisiana Recovery Board to work for the rebuilding of the state and to advocate for the Gulf recovery on the national stage.  Brazile was recently appointed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu to serve on the Tricenntinal Commission.

Later this year, Ms Brazile will attend her ninth Democratic  political convention as an unpledged Super Delegate.