Stacey Abrams is a politician, lawyer and author who served as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives (2011–17). She was the Democratic nominee in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election. Abrams is a 1998 graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. @staceyabrams
Paul Begala is a political consultant and political commentator, best known as a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. He was a chief strategist for the 1992 Clinton–Gore campaign, which carried 33 states and made Clinton the first Democrat to occupy the White House in 12 years. As counselor to the president in the Clinton White House, he coordinated policy, politics and communications. @PaulBegala
Michael Beschloss is a presidential historian and author of nine books, including Presidents of War; Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes; Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy; Presidential Courage: Brave Leaders and How They Changed America, 1789-1989; The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany, 1941-1945; and Eisenhower: A Centennial Life. @BeschlossDC
Dan Branch is a respected lawyer and former lawmaker in Texas with more than two decades of experience working in legal and public affairs — including more than 10 years serving in the Texas Legislature. He served as judicial clerk and briefing attorney to The Honorable Jack Pope, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, as chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority and as secretary and vice chairman of the TPFA. He earned his J.D. from Southern Methodist University. @TexansForDan
Robert Dallek is a presidential historian specializing in studying the lives and legacies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon. He won the Bancroft Prize for his 1979 book Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy, 1932–1945, as well as other awards for scholarship and teaching.
Tom Freston is a principal of Firefly3, an investment and consultancy firm focusing on media and entertainment. He is the former CEO of Viacom Inc., where he also served as COO. For 17 years, he was chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, which included MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central and other networks. He is the board chairman of the ONE Campaign, an advocacy organization to fight poverty started by Bono in 2004.
Bianna Golodryga is a journalist currently serving as a contributor on CNN. She was previously the news and finance anchor at Yahoo! News and also was previously co-anchor of the weekend edition of ABC’s "Good Morning America" and a co-host of "CBS This Morning." @biannagolodryga
Karen Hughes is a leading communications strategist, specializing in strategic messaging, crisis communications and executive communications. She currently serves as worldwide vice chair at Burson Cohn & Wolfe, and previously served as counselor to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2002. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Journalism from Southern Methodist University. She serves on the board of directors for the National Football Foundation and Manos de Cristo. @BCWGlobal
Bobby R. Inman, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Adm. Bobby R. Inman joined The University of Texas at Austin as an adjunct professor in 1987, and became the Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy in 2001. Inman served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years (1951–82), retiring with the permanent rank of admiral. He served as director of the NSA and deputy director of the CIA, specializing throughout his career in intelligence and national security.
Joe Klein is a noted political columnist and author. A journalist for nearly three decades, Klein’s work has appeared in TIME, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, LIFE and Rolling Stone. He is known for his novel Primary Colors, a roman à clef portraying Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. His other books include Payback: Five Marines After Vietnam and Woody Guthrie: A Life. Klein is a former Guggenheim Fellow. @JoeKleinTIME
Dina Powell McCormick
Dina Powell McCormick is a member of the management committee and partner in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs. She was U.S. deputy national security adviser for strategy (2017-18); assistant secretary for educational and cultural affairs, and deputy undersecretary of public affairs and diplomacy in the George W. Bush White House. An alumna of The University of Texas at Austin, she is currently a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Mark McKinnon is a political adviser, reform advocate, media columnist and television producer. He was the chief media strategist for five successful presidential primary and general election campaigns, and is a co-founder of No Labels, a bipartisan group dedicated to political problem solving. He is co-creator, co-host, and co-executive producer of the Showtime political documentary series "The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth." @mmckinnon
William McRaven, Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
Adm. William McRaven joined the LBJ School of Public Affairs as a professor in national security in 2018. A retired U.S. Navy admiral who served as the ninth commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, he oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. He served as the chancellor of The University of Texas System (2015–18), and is the author of two best-selling books: Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, and Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World.
Tom Meredith is a partner in Brightstar Capital Partners, a middle-market private equity firm based in New York. He is also CEO of MFI Capital, the Meredith family’s private investment arm. Over more than 35 years, Meredith has worked extensively in corporate finance, manufacturing, finance operations, and global financial markets. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife, Lynn, are heavily involved in philanthropy in Austin.
Pat Mitchell is the co-founder, curator and host of TEDWomen. Throughout her career as a journalist, Emmy-winning producer, and groundbreaking executive, she focused on elevating women’s stories and increasing their representation everywhere. She is chair of the Sundance Institute and the Women’s Media Center boards and is a trustee of the VDAY movement, the Skoll Foundation and the Acumen Fund. @TEDWomen
Bill Moyers is a journalist and commentator. He joined the Peace Corps in 1961, becoming deputy director in 1962. In 1963 he became special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, and served as press secretary from 1965 to 1967. He created the public affairs program "Bill Moyers Journal" on PBS and was a CBS News analyst before forming Public Affairs TV, Inc. in 1987. His programs include "A World of Ideas" (1988, 1990); "Healing and the Mind" (1993); "Now with Bill Moyers" (2002–04); and "Moyers & Company" (2012–14). Moyers has won more than 30 Emmys, including a 2006 lifetime achievement award. @BillMoyers
Joe Straus served as speaker of the Texas House of Representatives from 2009 to 2019, making him the longest-serving Republican speaker in Texas history. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Straus is known for his constructive governing style, and for championing public education and mental health reform. Since his time in office, he launched a PAC called Texas Forever Forward in order to "promote a thoughtful, conservative approach to governing." @SpeakerStraus
Mark Updegrove is an author, historian, journalist and presidential historian for ABC News. He is the president and CEO of The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports both the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. His most recent book is The Last Republicans: Inside the Extraordinary Relationship between George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. @LBJLibrary
Texas Sen. Kirk Watson (TX D-14)
Kirk Watson has served as a Texas state senator since his election in 2006, and in 2019 was elected as the president pro tempore of the Texas Senate in the 86th Legislature. Sen. Watson served as Austin's mayor from 1997 to 2001. As an attorney, mayor and legislator, Watson’s priority has been working to ensure Texas gives children the opportunity to thrive with great public schools and ready access to health care. He is considered the foremost legislative champion of both the Dell Medical School and a new modern teaching and safety-net hospital, Dell Seton Medical Center, at The University of Texas.