Presentation of the Woman of Valor Award
to Kellyanne Conway
as delivered by
Independent Women's Forum 2017 Annual Awards Dinner
November 25, 2017
Thank you, Tammy.
I’m very, very proud to be here tonight to help celebrate IWF’s 25th. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s 25 years from the anniversary of the foundation of this.
I have indelible and extremely fond memories of a handful of your founders who met in the office of my – it wasn’t my law firm, but the firm that I work for – for almost the whole first year of meetings in a conference room on Connecticut and L Street. I think there was popcorn and potato chips, that was it. And iced tea, and things like that, but passionate women who cared about being able to be in a position to speak for women. Because they were outraged that during the, especially during the Clarence Thomas confirmation process and other things, they would sit there and they would watch women come out on Capitol Hill, or in the streets of New York, or in the streets of Washington, and speak for the women of America and tell the people of America what women thought.
Barbara [Olson], my wife Barbara, and the women who came together those days, said it is not right, they are not the women of America. There has to be other people who will speak out and they helped form this organization. They were passionate. They started small, but look at this. Look at this. I’m proud of you.
Barbara would have been extraordinarily proud of all that IWF has accomplished and is accomplishing today. Fulfilling the aspirations – beyond the aspirations of the founders.
She was passionately – I think every one of you who knew her knows how passionately committed she was to the concept of a conservative voice for strong, independent, women who believed in individual liberty and economic freedom, and who had the guts, the passion, and the charisma to take on public stereotypes. Barbara was never bashful about expressing her views nor standing up to conventional Washington liberal vision. She had not the slightest doubt that women could accomplish anything that they wanted to as long as they set their minds to it. She was an unapologetic advocate for her beliefs and was never cowed by a media that was too often seen to view women like her as the enemy. That’s the way she was treated and she never backed away for an inch.
So, that’s why I know, if Barbara had survived, that she would have been so enthusiastic and proud to be associated with Kellyanne Conway, who is a perfect choice to receive an award of valor named after Barbara Olson.
Kellyanne is known for being a top White House advisor to President Trump and the first female campaign manager to lead a winning presidential campaign. But, the people in this room know that that’s just one of the latest and most recent accomplishments of Kellyanne in her distinguished career.
She launched her own polling company at the age of 29 and quickly became a leader and investor – innovator in the industry. During the 1990s, Kellyanne was among the first to point out the Left’s hypocrisy in defending President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and their treatment of women. Throughout her career, Kellyanne has been a consistent and passionate advocate for limited government, economic freedom, and a stronger, more prosperous America. She has long recognized that the media’s representation of women is wrong and is completely off-balance. Based upon her research and her insights into Americans outside of the Beltway, Kellyanne has consistently emphasized the basic decency of the American people and their desire for a healthy culture, a strong country, and real economic opportunities, and she shares with Barbara a radiant, infectious smile that is both disarming and charming. You cannot watch Kellyanne and not be in love with her.
So, given her impressive history as a woman championing conservative principles and American values, it is no surprise that this is not the first time that Kellyanne has been identified with Independent Women's Forum. Kellyanne has frequently partnered with the organization, which has turned to her for polling services and her insights. Kellyanne has performed invaluable service on IWF’s board of directors.
Kellyanne is a mother of four, three of whom are three tonight. They are beautiful young women.
Rather than embracing the ideals that being a woman is a handicap, she has consistently and fiercely demonstrated that capable, confident, Conservative women can thrive in the political arena on their own merits and succeed.
Kellyanne, you are truly a woman of value, a woman of valor, and it is my honor to present you with this award tonight on behalf of the Independent Women's Forum.