Contact: Christie Hobbs
Phone: (202) 349-5889

WASHINGTON, DC — The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) is pleased to announce that Senior Vice President Michelle D. Bernard has been named president and chief executive officer of IWF, beginning January 2, 2006.

“The board of IWF spent the last five weeks conducting a thorough search for the best candidate to lead IWF into the future, opening up the process not only internally, but externally as well,” said Heather Higgins, chairman of IWF’s board of directors. “After winnowing the field, we started with eight serious candidates, several of whom would have been excellent choices. We were delighted when, after multiple interviews, we concluded that the person who would work best as IWF’s next president and CEO was our own Michelle Bernard, who has demonstrated exceptional leadership skillls and commitment to all that IWF is and can be.”

Ms. Bernard joined IWF in February 2004. Since that time she has served as a senior fellow and most recently as IWF’s senior vice president, working on domestic, international, and legal issues. She has focused on legislative and foreign policy matters pertaining to women. Ms. Bernard has distinguished herself as head of IWF’s Iraqi women’s democracy initiative and is the program officer of the Iraqi Women’s Educational Institute (IWEI), a joint project of IWF, the American Islamic Congress, and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

As a media commentator, Bernard has spoken on a variety of topics, including the war in Iraq, judicial appointments, and the political participation and voting trends of women and African Americans. She is eager that IWF not only develop its domestic programs further but also help advance the cause of economic liberty and human rights for women in other countries who do not enjoy the same status that women in the United States often take for granted.

Ms. Bernard came to IWF with an already impressive set of professional accomplishments. She was a partner at the Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm, Patton Boggs, LLP. Before that, she served in the executive office of the Bush/Cheney 2000 Inaugural Committee and was chairman of the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency.

On her appointment as president and CEO of IWF, Bernard said, “I am thrilled with the board’s decision and look forward to bringing IWF to the next level in my new role as president.”

Ms. Bernard will assume the presidency on January 2, 2006, when she returns from maternity leave. She is married to CNN correspondent Joe Johns and the couple already has a son, Logan Christopher.

Nancy M. Pfotenhauer will remain president and CEO of IWF until Ms. Bernard takes the helm. Thereafter, Ms. Pfotenhauer intends to remain active on the board and do media for IWF.