Monday, December 5, 2016

Fiorina Recognized As A Fighter Taking On Challenges That No One Thought Possible 

Cheryl Bachelder Named Outstanding Woman in Business
Ed Gillespie Presented With Gentleman of Distinction Award



(Washington, D.C.) – The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) Board of Directors honored Carly Fiorina with IWF’s tenth Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award for her courage and tireless commitment to women, personal liberty, and political freedom.

The award was presented at Independent Women’s Forum’s 2016 Annual Awards Dinner, held Wednesday, November 30, at Union Station’s Columbus Club Palm Court in Washington, D.C.

In addition to presenting Fiorina with IWF’s highest award, IWF recognized Ed Gillespie with the Gentleman of Distinction award and Cheryl Bachelder as the Outstanding Woman in Business.

IWF Chairman Heather R. Higgins explained the significance of the Woman of Valor award – given in memory of Barbara K. Olson, one of four IWF founders, who perished in the September 11th attack on the Pentagon – as an honor to women who, through courage and commitment, help advance the principles of economic liberty, personal responsibility, and political freedom. These women portray the promise of true feminism and accomplish great, important things.

Hailing Fiorina as a formidable presidential candidate and businesswoman, Higgins said, “When I think of [Carly Fiorina], the first thing that I think of is a fighter against long odds.  She’s a fighter in her personal life, she is a fighter in her corporate, boardroom life, she’s been a fighter in her political life, taking on challenges that no one else thought possible.”


Fiorina said during her remarks at the dinner that she was humbled and grateful to be decorated as IWF’s Woman of Valor. “As American women, we know we still face some unique challenges that men do not,” she said. “We also know that we are the most educated, liberated, powerful generation of women in history and throughout the world.  Our lives are filled with endless possibilities for impact for positive contribution for leadership, for progress.  And the work that IWF does and that all of you support is proof of that.”

Fiorina made clear that feminism isn’t about a strict loyalty to Leftwing causes and resentments: “A feminist is a woman who uses all of her God-given gifts and lives the life she chooses, on her own terms. She can home-school five kids or she can run for president.  She can form her own beliefs and defend her own opinions.  She is a fully capable citizen of this great land and it is why I said over and over and over again, as a proud feminist, I will never vote for Hillary Clinton.”

The first Woman of Valor award was given in 2004 to Lynne Cheney, and has since been awarded to a broad spur of extraordinary recipients. These include: Rep. Barbara Comstock, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Fmr. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Fmr. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Brinker, Fmr. Rep. Mary Bono, and R. Gaull Silberman.


House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth highest-ranking Republican in the House and also the recipient of IWF’s 2014 Woman of Valor Award, took stage to recognize the long list of congressional champions dedicated to advancing real changes that will empower women

“IWF has been laying the foundation for women to be strong leaders by encouraging them, advocating, and redefining that all issues are women’s issues,” Rodgers said. “IWF is leading the way by increasing the number of women all across this country who value free markets and personal liberty.  You’ve been on the front lines of this avocation for many years and right now we need it more than ever.”  

Rodgers recognized twenty of her congressional colleagues that joined her in adding their support to IWF’s Working for Women Commonsense Commitment including Sen. Deb Fischer (NE), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Rep. Andy Barr (KY), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Rep. Susan Brooks (IN), Rep. Ken Buck (CO), Rep. Mike Coffman (CO), Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL), Rep. Renee Ellmers (NC), Rep. Bill Flores (TX), Rep. Lynn Jenkins (KS), Rep. Mia Love (UT), Rep. Martha McSally (AZ), Rep. Luke Messer (IN), Rep. Kristi Noem (SD), Rep. Lleana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY), Rep. Ann Wagner (MO), Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN), Rep. Mimi Walters (CA).


Ed Gillespie, a corporate leader, political candidate, husband, father, and champion for limited government, received IWF’s Gentleman of Distinction award. Steve Forbes was the inaugural awardee in 2015.

Gillespie echoed IWF’s motto that all issues are women’s issues. He detailed a number of women’s issues in Virginia that need to be tackled including education, wages and jobs, addiction, and said “these are issues that are best addressed by the principles, and the problems solved by the principles of the IWF, principles of personal liberty and free markets that have made America a beacon of hope and opportunity that has drawn freedom-loving people to our shores for centuries.”


Former Congresswoman Nan Hayworth introduced the second awardee for Outstanding Woman in Business to Cheryl Bachelder, chief executive officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

Bachelder’s business career includes a number of impressive professional accomplishments. Prior to becoming CEO of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen in 2007 Bachelder was president of KFC Corporation, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for Domino’s Pizza, and General Manager of the Life Savers Division of RJR Nabisco. 

Bachelder praised the franchising model as “the quickest path to the American dream.” “It offers men and women, Americans and immigrants, the opportunity to own their own business,” she continued.

She encouraged everyone – from those in business, government, the professions, home, community, to join her in developing a strong next generation of leaders. Closing by saying, “We don’t want to develop any more legends, we want to develop some legacies.”

The more than 300 guests in attendance included: Walton Family Foundation, MPAA’s Greg Saphier, Marathon Petroleum’s Patricia Richards, Bradley Foundation’s Dan Schmidt and Jessica Dean, Matt Sclapp, Betsy Fisher, John Fund, CNN’s Jennifer Simpson, Jay McMichael and Angelica Grimaldi, Townhall’s Katie Pavlich and Guy Benson, Laura Cox-Kaplan, Job Creators Network’s Sarah Lenti, Alfredo Ortiz, and Elaine Parker, Independent Journal Review’s Andre Clark, Washington Free Beacon’s Brent Scher, Christina Hoff Sommers, Myles Pollin, WMAL’s Heather Smith Hunter and Derek Hunter, and a number of other media, IWF supporters, and luminaries from Washington’s policy and think-tank community.




Independent Women’s Forum works to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free-markets and personal liberty. 


Victoria Coley
Communications Director
443.758.6077 | [email protected]