Welcome Remarks

as delivered by

Carrie Lukas

at the

Independent Women's Forum 2016 Annual Awards Dinner


My name is Carrie Lukas and I'm the managing director of the Independent Women Forum.  Tonight, it is my honor to welcome you to the IWF's Annual Awards Dinner.

I have been working for IWF since 2003 – and I am simple amazed  to see how this organization has grown.  And really IWF's growth and success is a tribute to everyone in this room who recognizes that, for the freedom movement to succeed, we need to reach more women and enlist them to our cause.  And that's exactly why we have IWF.

IWF has been able to bring together a great group of women writers and spokewomen who are dedicated to getting our message to the public. 

We all have a vision of a world in which women have more and better opportunities and we work to share that vision with the public and explain how it relates to health care policy, work place regulations, taxes, energy, spending, product regulations, education, and even foreign affairs.

I'm so proud of the team that we have at IWF, but we also know that success will require the entire movement to do more to reach women.  That's why we are always looking for partners and help promote the work of our allies – many of whom I see in this room tonight.  

And of course, none of our work would be possible without supporters like you.   That's why I would like to thank all of our generous sponsors.

In particular, I'd like to thank our Diamond Sponsors, the Walton Family Foundation and Ariel Corporation. I know the Walton Family Foundation is sitting right over there and we are so excited you all here.  The Walton Family Foundation works to expand educational opportunities and empower children and families with choice – all efforts IWF proudly stands behind and works towards every day.

Now I want to quickly thank two women who been instrumental in making IWF what it is today – and who tend to be overlooked at IWF events like this since they are usually the ones running the show!

Heather Richardson Higgins is IWF's chairman, but she is really so much more than that. 

She is IWF's tireless advocate and the visionary who brought our sister organization, Independent Women's Voice, to life. 

Heather is constantly trying to find better, smarter ways to solve problems, and for years now her obsession has been figuring out how to open more people's minds to the benefits to limited government and economic freedom. 

Heather's insights and her willingness to look past the conventional wisdom led IWV to develop fact-based educational outreach efforts that have been shown time and again to succeed in changing people's minds by educating them about how our economy, our health care system and how our government actually work.  Heather deployed these strategies with tremendous success again this year.

You can read about IWV's unique methodology and track record elsewhere. But what too many people don't know is just how hard Heather works, and the energy she brings to our team.  She jokes she's IWF's den mother and that is one role she plays; she's also our cheerleader and confidant, our reliable colleage and helpmate, and I'm very privileged to call her my friend. 

On behalf of everyone at IWF, thank you Heather.

The other woman I'd like to recognize is Sabrina Schaeffer.  

Sabrina has been IWF's executive director for 5 years now.  And for long before that, Sabrina was writing and speaking on behalf of IWF as a senior fellow.  

Sabrina has brought so much to IWF – her steadfast commitment to respectfully listening to all women and her firm belief that such dialogue can build relationships and change minds. 

When I look at the list of IWF's programs and how we are helping change the conversation about women and public policy – I see so much of Sabrina's influence and inspiration. 

When Sabrina first became executive director, she spoke about the need to profile women on the political right.  Too few people, she said, even among conservative, know just how many impressive, multi-talented women there are on our side.  So IWF has been regularly featuring such women for 5 years now – and I see many of the talent “modern feminists” that IWF has profiled here with us.   

Sabrina simply excels at bringing people together and has transformed IWF from an organization into a real family.  And with all IWF's great women and all the work that we are doing, it's a pretty power family at that!

So thank you for again for your support of IWF and coming tonight.  And now, I'll welcome Sabrina to the stage to kickoff the dinner.