Honorees 2006

The Honorable Blanche Lambert Lincoln
United States Senate, Arkansas

Senator Blanche L. Lincoln made history on November 3, 1998, when she became the youngest woman ever elected to the United States Senate. She is only the second woman to win a U.S. Senate seat election representing Arkansas.  Her first term was marked by a solid list of accomplishments and a willingness to seek bipartisan solutions.  Senator Lincoln's  leadership on issues affecting working families and veterans, particularly those living in rural areas, set her apart as an up and coming leader in the Senate.  She is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Special Committee on Aging. From these platforms, Senator Lincoln will continue as a leading voice on national priorities like social security, tax and retirement policy, education, health care, alternative energy, hunger, nutrition, and veteran's benefits.  With an eye toward ever increasing challenges before the nation, Senator Lincoln agreed to be an original co-chair of a bi-partisan organization called "The Third Way," to craft practical and creative solutions to old problems.


The Honorable Gordon Smith
United States Senate, Oregon

Senator Gordon Smith has represented the state of Oregon since 1997, and since then he has earned a reputation in the United States Senate as a statesman, and a hardworking Senator with an independent streak-one who has the ability to cross party lines and work for the common good.  Senate leaders have recognized Senator Smith's abilities and have asked him to serve in key leadership and committee positions.  Senator Smith serves on five major Senate committees: Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Energy and Natural Resources, Rules, Indian Affairs, and the powerful Finance Committee.  He also serves on the Special Committee on Aging and has been selected by leadership three times to be a Deputy Whip, a position that he currently holds.  Senator Smith's legislative accomplishments include increasing retirement savings and security, protecting consumers from identity theft, expanding health care coverage, IRA equity and prescription drugs for the elderly. 


The Honorable Nancy Johnson
United States House of Representatives, Connecticut (Dist. 6th)

Congresswoman Nancy L. Johnson was first elected in 1982 to represent Connecticut's Sixth Congressional District. She has served longer in the U.S. House of Representatives than anyone in Connecticut's history.  The Almanac of American Politics calls her "one of the most active and productive legislators in the House," and Rep. Johnson's legislative accomplishments include improved health care access, progress in stem cell research, lower taxes for working families, a stronger economy, promoting education and protecting the environment.  Her leadership and talent were recognized by her colleagues when she was appointed to chair a subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, becoming the first woman to do so.  She has used her influence and visibility to promote health security for Americans of all ages, strengthen the long-term care system and improve retirement security for working Americans. 


The Honorable Hilda Solis
United States House of Representatives, California (Dist. 32nd)

Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis was elected to represent California's 32nd Congressional District in 2000 and quickly established a reputation as a tireless advocate for women and working, middle-class Americans.  Her legislative initiatives have put her in the forefront of efforts to expand access to affordable health insurance, improve the lives of working families and protect the environment.  Recognizing her leadership ability, her colleagues appointed her to the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce, making her the first Latina woman to hold that post.  In 2005, Solis was elected Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and named Chair of the Democratic Women's Working Group. Under these important leadership roles, Solis continues to advocate for issues of importance to women and their families, including helping middle-class families build retirement security, expanding savings opportunities and ensuring pension fairness. 


The Honorable Billy Tauzin
President and CEO, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

Billy Tauzin was named president and chief executive officer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in January 2005 and immediately took up two of the most important causes of his career: To help ensure patients everywhere continue to have access to the miracles of medicines, and to ensure that innovative biopharmaceutical research thrives, improving and saving lives everywhere. Prior to this, Billy Tauzin represented the 3rd Congressional District of Louisiana for 13 terms.   As a Member of Congress, he was called "knowledgeable and eloquent" by the Almanac of American Politics and "one of the House's savviest members" by National Journal Magazine.  His leadership style earned him a reputation among his colleagues as able and knowledgeable, and they elected him to several important leadership posts in the House of Representatives. One of his final legislative accomplishments was passage of the historic Medicare prescription drug bill.


Jim Byerly
President and CEO, Byerly, Inc.

Jim Byerly is the founder and CEO of Byerly, Inc, one of the country's leading insurance, risk management and financial services company.  Jim Byerly is an expert on the complexities of benefit programs that families across the country rely on for security.  His personal commitment to promoting the financial and health security of families led him to become one of WISER's earliest supporters, helping WISER to launch its program nationally.  He has been active in numerous community groups, professional associations and boards, including past President of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers and former member of the executive committee and Surety School faculty member, numerous insurance industry advisory committees, Member of the Board of Directors and Finance Committee of Holy Spirit Health System and Advisory Board of Penn State Harrisburg.


Linda DiVall
Founder, President and CEO, American Viewpoint

Linda DiVall is the foremost expert in the Republican Party on developing and implementing strategies on the gender gap.  Her advice on issues as diverse as Medicare and Social Security reform, medical liability reform, trade policy and party image development has been sought by Republican leaders at all levels.  Her strategic advice is sought by Presidential candidates, congressional candidates and numerous corporations.  At the Presidential level, she served as Senior Advisor to both Phil Gramm's campaign and Bob Dole's campaign.  In 2000, after serving as Pollster and Senior Advisor to the Elizabeth Dole for President Campaign, Linda was called up to design swing voter focus group research that would provided 2000 GOP Convention planners with the blueprint for their extremely successful convention in Philadelphia.  In 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign asked Linda to serve as a Member of their polling team.  Since 1988, Linda has served as a consultant and analyst for CBS News in their election night coverage.  Anchor Dan Rather, and reporters Bob Schieffer, Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley have called upon Linda for her ability to quickly and succinctly analyze results and provide insight and commentary. In 2006, she will be the lead consultant for Katie Couric's Election Night Coverage.


Barbara Easterling
Secretary-Treasurer, Communications Workers of America

Barbara J. Easterling began her career as an operator at Ohio Bell, and later became a staff representative for the CWA union.  Easterling is proud to have brought to her union career the strong principles of trade unionism she learned as a child growing up in a Polish family of coal miners and rubber workers in Akron, Ohio.  She steadily worked her way up the career ladder with CWA, eventually becoming the first woman ever to serve in CWA's second highest office - that of secretary-treasurer.  In the fall of 1995, she became the first woman in history to serve as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO.  She has made "shattering the glass ceiling" a rallying cry and dedicated her career to wage equity, pension fairness, health care access and other issues of vital importance to women and all workers.  Easterling has received numerous honors during her career, including induction into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, the prestigious Women's Equity Action League award and the Midwest Labor Press Association's Eugene V. Debs award.


Teresa Heinz Kerry
Chairman of the Heinz Family Philanthropies and Founder of WISER

Teresa Heinz is the chairman of The Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies and has been an advocate for women and at the forefront of women's issues for more than 30 years.  The New York Times has called her "one of the nation's leading philanthropists".  Named by Utne magazine as one of 100 American visionaries ("people who could change your life"), she is recognized as a long-time and tireless educator and advocate on behalf of women's health and economic security and one of our premier environmental leaders. Mrs. Heinz Kerry is a philanthropic innovator that cares deeply and passionately about empowering people. Whether it's her pioneering work on women's retirement security or designing strategies to help guarantee that every person over 65 has access to affordable prescription-drug coverage, Teresa Heinz is known first and foremost for her extraordinary ideas and visionary work.  She is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including the Women's Leadership Award from the Save the Children organization, the lifetime achievement award from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus, the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal for Humanitarianism at Johns Hopkins University and the Community Service Human Rights Award from the American Jewish Committee. Along with Senator Kerry, she shared the Boston Bar Foundation's prestigious John and Abigail Adams Award.


Barbara J. Krumsiek
President and CEO, Calvert Group

Barbara J. Krumsiek is President and CEO of Calvert, an investment firm with over $12 billion in assets that include award-winning fixed income portfolios and a full line-up of socially responsible mutual funds.  Her career in the investment industry spans three decades.  Ms. Krumsiek has led Calvert in several initiatives pertaining to advancing women and minorities in business.   In 2004, with the support of the United Nations Development Fund For Women (UNIFEM), Calvert created the Calvert Women's Principles, a code of corporate conduct focusing on gender equality and women's empowerment.  In 2003, Calvert created and called on companies to adopt model charter language for corporate nominating and governance committees focused on attaining diversity in corporate board rooms.  Throughout her career, Ms. Krumsiek has been recognized as a pre-eminent business leader, most recently named among Washington, D.C.'s "100 Most Powerful Women" by Washingtonian Magazine and one of the "Top 100 Maryland Women" by the Daily Record. 


Celinda Lake
President, Lake Research Partners

Celinda Lake is one of the Democratic Party's leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process.  Since its formation, Lake Research Partners has become one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country, with its Battleground poll widely recognized as one of the leading national issue and election thermometers. Celinda Lake's work has moved the progressive agenda forward on a variety of issues, and she is dedicated to issues affecting working women, including health care access.  Lake is one of the nation's foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters. American Politics calls Lake a "super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother," and Working Woman says she is "arguably the most influential woman in her field." She is renowned for her groundbreaking research on single women voters and frequently interviewed by major news outlets.


Barbara Lee, Founder
Barbara Lee Family Foundation

Barbara Lee is a revolutionary woman investing in revolutionary change by helping women become political leaders and powerful participants in our democracy. A former school teacher and social worker, she has committed herself to helping women gain and use political power, as elected officials, activists, and voters. Lee is the driving force behind the groundbreaking Governors Guidebook Series for women candidates seeking executive office.  Lee organized "Revolutionary Women Boston 2004," a major rally during the Democratic National Convention, bringing together nearly 4,000 women activists, elected officials and concerned citizens to engage, mobilize and empower women to support progressive, pro-choice female candidates for elected office. Revolutionary Women, a membership organization, continues to expand on the groundwork laid during the inaugural event by communicating with members and endorsing candidates in key races across the country. In her hometown of Boston she is also known as a devoted advocate for the city's cultural life whose leadership is helping the Boston arts community to make history. 


Donna Purchase
Director of Homelessness Initiatives and WAVE Program, Fannie Mae Foundation

Donna Purchase is the Director of Homelessness Initiatives and the WAVE Program (We Are Volunteer Employees) at the Fannie Mae Foundation, the country's largest foundation devoted to affordable housing and community development issues. Donna has been with Fannie Mae and the Fannie Mae Foundation for more than 18 years. She is responsible for planning and implementing the Help the Homeless Program-the nation's largest annual collaboration that supports organizations that work to prevent homelessness she also manages the WAVE program that supports Fannie Mae Foundation and Fannie Mae employees in volunteer opportunities. Prior to this, Donna worked with national businesses and non-profit agencies to develop strategies to implement personal finance education in communities and in the workplace. She developed Growing Your Money: Personal Financial Tools, a nine-session personal finance education curriculum. Donna Purchase has a national reputation in the field of financial education for average Americans and has been an early and consistent supporter of WISER's work.


Dallas Salisbury
President and CEO, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Dallas Salisbury has been president and CEO of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) since its founding in 1978. Under his leadership, EBRI has become widely regarded as a reliable voice providing objective information regarding the employee benefit system and re­lated financial security issues.  Mr. Salisbury is currently a member of a number of commissions and study panels and he serves on many editorial advisory boards including a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources; a member of the Board of Directors of the NASD Investor Education Foundation; the Advisory Committee to the Comptroller General of the United States, and on the GAO Advisory Group on Social Security and Retirement. He was a delegate to two National Summits on Retirement Savings and has served on the Secretary of Labor's ERISA Advisory Council, the presidentially appointed PBGC Advisory Committee, the Board of Directors of the Society for Human Resources Management, the U.S. Advisory Panel on Medicare Education, and the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Social Insurance.



Andrew Tobias
Author and Financial Expert

Andrew Tobias majored in Slavic Languages and Literature at Harvard, and during those years, ran a million-dollar student business publishing Let's Go: The Student Guide To Europe.  After graduating in 1968, he was a corporate Vice President at the National Student Marketing Corporation (about which he wrote The Funny Money Game, his first book to gain wide national attention). At 23, he entered Harvard Business School, writing for New York Magazine on the side and, upon graduation, as a Contributing Editor and later write for Esquire. He had a column for several years in Time, and is Personal Finance Editor of Parade.  He has written three New York Times best-sellers, including: The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need; ("The only investment guide many will indeed ever need." -- Barron's); Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money, a software program he helped to create, dominated its market for several years and helped hundreds of thousands of people take control of their finances.  He has received the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, Harvard Magazine's 1998 Smith-Weld Prize, and the Consumer Federation of America Media Service Award.  He is treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.

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