Michelle Obama | First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017 | MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2020
Michelle Robinson Obama served as First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017, transforming the position and becoming a role model, champion and inspiration for women, families, and young people across America and around the world.
As First Lady, Mrs. Obama launched and led four key initiatives:
Let’s Move! brought together community leaders, educators, medical professionals, parents, celebrities and others in a nationwide effort to address the challenge of childhood obesity
Joining Forces, which she launched with Dr. Jill Biden, called on all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities
Reach Higher aimed to inspire young people across America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university
Let Girls Learn, focused on helping adolescent girls around the world go to school.
Mrs. Obama attended Chicago public schools until enrolling in Princeton where she studied sociology and African American studies. She graduated cum laude from Princeton in 1985 and received a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1988. She then joined the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin, where she met her future husband, Barack Obama.
Following her time at Sidley & Austin, Mrs. Obama served as an assistant to Mayor Richard Daley and as Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Development for the city of Chicago, before becoming the founding Executive Director of the Chicago chapter of Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young people for public service careers.
As part of her continued focus on community service and engagement, Mrs. Obama joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as its Associate Dean of Student Services focused on fostering connections between the campus and community. She also served as Vice President of Community and External Affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center.
In 2018, Michelle Obama published her memoir, Becoming, which sold more copies than any other book published in the United States in 2018, achieving that status in just 15 days and instantly rising to the #1 slot on the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Mrs. Obama was born on January 17, 1964. She married Barack Obama in 1992. They currently live in Washington, DC and have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
John Kerry | 68th Secretary of State (2013-2017) | SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020
On February 1, 2013, John Forbes Kerry was sworn in as the 68th Secretary of State of the United States,becoming the first sitting Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman to serve as Secretary in over a century. Kerry drew from this experience to provide the State Department with global stewardship on issues ranging from nuclear nonproliferation to radical extremists, to humanitarian challenges and the rising threat of climate change.
In 2013, Kerry became the first Secretary of State to meet with Iran’s Foreign Minister since the Iranian revolution of 1979. This meeting was the highest-level U.S. diplomatic contact with Iran in more than six years, and a key moment on the journey towards the eventual signing of the landmark 2015 agreement to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon.
Faced with the rising threat of global climate change, Kerry was also a key architect of the Paris Climate Accord, signing the historic agreement to reduce carbon emissions in 2016.
Kerry drew upon a lifetime of public service during his tenure as Secretary.
Shortly before he graduated from Yale University, Kerry volunteered for service in the United States Navy. He completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, including serving as a Swift Boat skipper patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta. Lt. Kerry returned home from service in Vietnam with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.
Back in the United States, Kerry felt compelled to speak out against the war in which he had served. Testifying at the invitation of Chairman J. William Fulbright before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee he would chair 38 years later, he asked the poignant question, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” He also began a lifelong fight for his fellow veterans as a co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and later as a Senator who fought to secure veterans’ benefits, extension of the G.I. Bill for Higher Education, and improved treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
After receiving his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1976, Kerry went to work as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, where he took on organized crime, fought for victims’ rights, and created programs for rape counseling. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1982 and was elected to the United States Senate two years later.
In 2009, Kerry became Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, assuming a leadership role on key foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, China, nuclear nonproliferation, and global climate change.
In addition to his 28 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry also held senior positions on the Finance, Commerce, and Small Business committees. He served as a member of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, where he worked across party lines to try and reduce the country’s debt and strengthen our economy. Prior to his departure from the Senate, Kerry was the seventh-most senior Senator.
Michael Mussallem | Edwards Chairman and Chief Executive Officer | TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2020
Michael A. Mussallem was appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Edwards Lifesciences in 2000, when it became an independent, publicly traded company. Under his leadership, Edwards has established its position as a global leader in patient-focused medical innovations with the introduction of lifesaving and life-sustaining therapies such as transcatheter aortic valve replacement, rapid-deployment surgical heart valve replacement and non-invasive hemodynamic monitoring. Driven by a passion to help patients, the company collaborates with the world's leading clinicians and researchers to address unmet healthcare needs, working to improve patient outcomes and enhance lives while delivering value to the healthcare system.
Mussallem has not only led the development and successful implementation of the company’s patient-focused innovation strategy, but also established Edwards’ commitment to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. Over the last 13 years, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation has supported communities and causes around the world with more than $60 million in charitable giving and volunteerism. In 2014, Edwards Lifesciences Foundation launched Every Heartbeat Matters with the goal to reach 1 million underserved people by 2020.
In 2019, the foundation exceeded that goal and has since increased the commitment to reach 1.5 million patients by 2020. During Mussallem’s tenure, Edwards was recognized among the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute, an organization that defines and advances standards of ethical business practices. In 2018, Edwards Lifesciences was named as one of the Management Top 250 by the Wall Street Journal in partnership with the Drucker Institute, and was also cited as one of the “7 Companies That Do Everything Well” achieving high marks in five dimensions of corporate performance. Mussallem has been included in the Forum for Corporate Directors Hall of Fame and received a number of honors including the UC Irvine Medal, a lifetime achievement award from The Phoenix Conference and the Wenger Award for Excellence in Corporate Leadership by WomenHeart.
Prior to his current position, Mussallem held a variety of positions at Baxter International from 1979 until 2000, when Edwards was spun off from Baxter. Currently, Mussallem serves on the board of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) and is an advisory board member for the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at the University of Southern California. He is a trustee of the University of California, Irvine Foundation and the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mussallem has served as board chairman of both AdvaMed and the California Healthcare Institute (CHI). He received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and an honorary doctorate degree from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.