Friday, November 17, 2017




Diane Hendricks Named Outstanding Woman in Business
Mark Steyn Presented With Gentleman of Distinction Award




WASHINGTON, DC – Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) honored Kellyanne Conway with its Barbara K. Olson Woman of Valor Award for her impressive history as a woman championing conservative principles and American values.

In addition to honoring Conway, IWF recognized Mark Steyn with the Gentleman of Distinction Award and Diane Hendricks as the Outstanding Woman in Business.

The awards were presented at IWF’s 2017 Annual Awards Gala and 25th Anniversary celebration, held Wednesday, November 15, at Union Station’s East Hall in Washington, D.C.

Ted Olson, partner at Gibson Dunn, shared memories of his late wife Barbara K. Olson, whom the Woman of Valor Award is given in memory, one of IWF founders, who perished in the September 11th attack on the Pentagon.

Hailing Kellyanne Conway as a woman of value and valor, Olson said rather than embracing the ideals that being a woman is a handicap, “Kellyanne has consistently and fiercely demonstrated that capable, confident, conservative women can thrive in the political arena on their own merits and success.”


Conway accepted the award and thanked the “women and men of valor in the audience,” explaining that she accepts awards like this because it gives her the opportunity to thank people in the audience for “being people of courage, for showing dignity and class in the face of hate sometimes, but really always in the advancement positively and cheerfully of the principles on which this very country was founded.”

Conway, a mother of four, was joined by her three young daughters – Claudia, Charlotte, and Vanessa. She addressed them on stage, saying “May you always be confident, may you always stand up for principle, may you always kneel for the Lord and stand for the flag.”


Conway recalled her upbringing in a household of all women, her mother, grandmother, and two aunts, and, without one single political conversation, was raised to be a conservative: “They taught us to rely on ourselves and each other before anything and anyone else.  They taught us that the government was there to help fund the military, and then told us why the military was there, and what it meant. … They were small business owners, emphasis on small, and they taught us to give more than you receive, to be very self-denying.”

The first Woman of Valor award was given in 2004 to Lynne Cheney, and has since been awarded to extraordinary recipients, including: Carly Fiorina, 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.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan took stage to recognize IWF’s Outstanding Woman in Business Award recipient Diane Hendricks, chairman and sole owner of building products distributor ABC Supply Co. Ryan described Ms. Hendricks as “one of the coolest people I have ever known, one of the most impressive human beings, one of the most impressive women in my life.” Ryan characterized Hendricks and her late husband Ken as risk-takers, including  taking a risk on a “27-year old guy in a nine-way primary running against state senators and all the rest, for the U.S. House of Representatives,” which helped launch his political career


Ms Hendricks, whose businesses now have over 700 stores in America, $9.5 billion in sales, and employee over 14,000 people, said, “I believe in economic development. They call it philanthropy when I buy a building, but I don’t buy a building to buy a building.  I buy a building to put people in it, to give them careers and jobs.”


Mark Steyn, bestselling author, broadcaster and recording artist, received IWF’s Gentleman of Distinction award.  He was introduced byAbby Moffat, chief executive officer of the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, who saidFeminists and elitists on the Left are unwilling to take note of the trend and the true threat that poses to the Western society, to our national security, and particularly to women.  But there is someone who is standing up and speaking out about the dangers of what is happening here without apology to defend Western values, including that women are full, equal members of society. 


Steyn highlighted the importance of encouraging “independent women, in their full variety” in contrast it to the Left’s distraction of identity group politics.” He said IWF isn’t about “poseur feminism” but rather about real women’s rights.


The more than 400 guests in attendance included: Rep. Ken Buck, Rep. Ron DeSantis, Rep. John Faso, Rep. Gary Palmer, Rep. Keith Rothfus, Rep. Claudia Tenney, Paul and Sarah Atkins, Phil Conley, Giovanna Cugnasca, The Hill’s Bob Cusack, Annie Dickerson, Lee Dunn, Newsweek’s Matthew Cooper, Bloomberg’s Christine Baratta, Nancy and Steve Einhorn, Lisa Gable, Fmr. Rep. Nan Hayworth, Daily Mail’s Francesca Chambers, Adele Malpass, Cleta Mitchell, Joy Villa, Myles Pollin,  Abby Moffat, Lewis and Margaret Topper, Circa News’ Sara Carter, Kaitlin Trinh, Dick and Mary Beth Weiss, NRA News’ Cam Edwards, Diamond and Silk, Jerry and Susie Wilson, Michaelon Write, Yvonne Boice, PBS To The Contrary host Bonnie Erbe, WMAL’s Heather Smith Hunter, Capitol File’s Stephanie Green, Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Betsy Woodruff, Washington Post’s Vanessa Williams, Fox News’ Christina Robbins and Caroline Whiteman, and a number of other media, IWF supporters, and luminaries from Washington’s policy and think-tank community.




Independent Women's Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities.