From 1978 through 1991, Mr. Puzder was a trial lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri. He then entered private practice in California where he represented corporate and individual clients including Carl Karcher, the financially troubled founder of the Carl’s Jr. restaurant chain. Mr. Puzder resolved Karcher’s financial problems, kept Karcher out of bankruptcy and enabled him to retain a significant ownership in the company he worked so hard to build. In 1997, Mr. Puzder was named Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CKE Restaurants. That same year, CKE purchased Hardee’s Food Systems, Inc., which owned the Hardee’s quick-service restaurant brand. Hardee’s was a distressed brand and CKE was burdened by over $700 million in debt following the acquisition. Faced with serious financial and operational issues, CKE’s Board of Directors named Puzder as president and CEO of Hardee’s Food Systems in June 2000 and named him president and CEO of CKE Restaurants, Inc. in September of that year. In 2010, he co-wrote the book Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It, in which he helped provide a framework for instilling strong optimism among U.S. businesses that will create millions of new jobs.
Jennifer Anju Grossman
Jennifer Anju Grossman, a former Senior Vice President at Dole Food Company, became the CEO of the Atlas Society on March 1st, 2016.
Jennifer Grossman has spent decades helping people to live freer, healthier lives. She launched the Dole Nutrition Institute — a research and education organization — at the behest of Dole Chairman David H. Murdock. She continued this agenda as Health Editor of Laura Ingraham's new lifestyle site, LifeZette.
Previously Grossman served as Director of Education at the Cato Institute, and worked closely with the late philanthropist Theodore J. Forstmann to launch the Children's Scholarship Fund. A speechwriter for President George H. W. Bush, Grossman has written for both national and local publications.
"The principles of Objectivism, the philosophy rooted in reality, reason, and individualism, has never been more needed — nor more neglected,” says Grossman. “This is the perfect moment to help the public rediscover the moral vision of Ayn Rand."
Jim is General Partner & CEO of Flying Dog Brewery, a craft brewery with distribution across the U.S. as well as Europe, Russia, and Asia. Jim was also the president and co-owner of the Wynkoop Brewing Company, which owned and operated the largest brewpub in the world, and which acquired historic buildings in core urban areas across the country, converting them into award-winning brewpubs. Jim has been a lifelong defender of the First Amendment and he founded the 1 st Amendment Society with the damages awarded to Flying Dog after it successfully sued the state of Michigan in federal court for violating its First Amendment rights.
Driena Sixto is a young conservative activist who is dedicated to educating students on the importance and benefits of free markets, fiscal responsibility, and limited government. She graduated from Florida International University with two bachelors, in International Relations, and Political Science with a certificate in National Security Studies. She aspires to be a constitutional lawyer to continue defending individual rights and freedoms. Currently she is the South Florida Field Director for "Turning Point USA", a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting and educating our youth in universities and high schools on the importance of fiscal conservatism. Previously she was the National Recruitment Director for "Students for Rubio" in the 2016 presidential election. Being a daughter of Cuban parents who escaped the communist dictatorship, she feels obliged to protect and defend individual rights in the country that has given her the opportunity to change her destiny as well as her family's. Driena was inspired by Ayn Rand's strong, resolute female protagonist, when she first read Atlas Shrugged, and aspires to fight against the same crony corruption in this country and around the world despite the many obstacles presented by big government advocates and politicians.
Matt Kibbe is a leading advocate for personal, civil and economic liberties. An economist by training, Kibbe is a public policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator. He served as Senior Advisor to Concerned American Voters, a Rand Paul Super PAC. He is also Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. In 2004 Kibbe founded FreedomWorks, a national grassroots advocacy organization, and served as President until his departure in July 2015. Kibbe did graduate work in economics at George Mason University and received his B.A. in Economics from Grove City College. He lives in Washington, DC with his unspeakably awesome wife of 29 years, Terry, and their three liberty-minded cats, Roark, Ragnar and Iko. A noted scholarly expert on The Big Lebowski, Kibbe is also an avid DeadHead, drinker of beer and whisky, and collector of obscure books on libertarian philosophy.
Polish born artist, Agnieszka Pilat studied painting and illustration at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA. She is an award-winning artist and her works can be found in public and private collections in North America, South America, Europe, and China. Pilat currently lives and maintains a full time studio in San Francisco and is represented by numerous galleries throughout United States.
Peter Copses is a founding senior partner of Apollo Management, LP, having joined Apollo upon its formation in 1990. Apollo Global Management, LLC, is now a leading, publicly-traded global alternative asset manager and private equity firm. Prior to joining Apollo, Peter was an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert Incorporated, concentrating on the structuring, financing and negotiation of mergers and acquisitions. He has served on the boards of directors of several companies including Claire’s Stores, Inc.; CKE Restaurants, Inc.; Compass Minerals, Inc.; General Nutrition Centers, Inc.; Ralphs Grocery Company; Rexnord Corporation; and Rent-A-Center Inc. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Reason Foundation. Peter received an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and has served on its Management Board.
John Fund is national-affairs columnist for National Review. He worked for the Wall Street Journal for more than two decades, starting in 1984, and was a member of the newspaper’s editorial board from 1995 to 2001. Fund has written for Esquire, Reader’s Digest, Reason, and the New Republic. He co-wrote Cleaning House: America’s Campaign for Term Limits with James Coyne. In 2004, he wrote Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy. He has written two books with Hans von Spakovsky: Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk and Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.
Brett R. Smith has over 20 years experience as a professional commercial artist in the graphic novel industry as an editor and creative director, a color artist in the comic book industry, a storyboard artist in the advertising industry, and a graphic artist for multiple clients. He holds a B.F.A. in Animation. Smith started in the commercial art field in 1995 as an in-house color artist for Chaos! Comics. Since then he has worked with a wide array of clients, including Marvel and DC Entertainment, Hasbro, Cartoon Network, McCann Erikson, BBDO, and Saatchi & Saatchi. Smith has contributed to multiple premier properties and licenses including, The Avengers, Batman, Superman, GI Joe, Wolverine, Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk, Detective Comics, Heineken, Chase Bank, Miller Beer, Cheerios, Pillsbury, Birds Eye and many others. Smith was a co-adapter, editor and creative director for the New York Times #1 best seller, Clinton Cash: A Graphic Novel (August 2016) and editor and creative director of Thump: The First Bundred Days (October 2017). Smith is currently the Creative Director and Production Manager for Milo, Inc. and Dangerous Books.
Catherine Connors is the former Editor-in-Chief of Babble Media and Disney Interactive’s Women & Family portfolio. She is an award-winning writer, media executive, and a former political theory scholar. The author of Her Bad Mother, read by over 1 million subscribers and named one of TIME’s Top 25 Blogs, Connors has been a featured-commentator on media outlets from Fox News to Good Morning America. As the founder and CEO of Demeter Media, a multichannel research and social content development platform, Connors is developing next generation content and services addressing women and families. Her newest project, Project Maverick, aims at enabling a new generation of maverick girls who will break the mold on what it means to be independent thinkers and innovators.
Ivette Fernandez is a native Alaskan with over 17 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining The LIBRE Institute, Ivette served as News Corporation’s Director of Community Affairs in Corporate Diversity and Pfizer Inc.’s Director of Advocacy and Professional Relations for the Northeast Region and Puerto Rico in the Office of U.S. Public Affairs. Prior to joining the private sector, Ivette served as an Associate Director in the Office of Public Liaison at The White House, and a political appointee at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Fernandez also worked in the U.S. Senate for former Senator Frank H. Murkowski, and current Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Charlie Kirk is the Founder and Executive Director of Turning Point USA, a national student movement dedicated to identifying, organizing, and empowering young people to promote the principles of free markets, and limited government. Since the inception of Turning Point USA on June 5th of 2012, Charlie has grown Turning Point USA from nothing to having representation on over 1,100 high schools and college campuses nationwide and over 75 full time field staff. At 23 years old, he has appeared on Fox News, CNBC, and FOX Business News over 200 times including frequent appearances on “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “Varney & Co.”.
Cynthia Farahat, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, an Egyptian national and founder of the Liberal Egyptian party, which was the first secular capitalist classical liberal political party in the history of modern Egypt. She has co-authored several books in Arabic, among them Desecration of a Heavenly Religion, which analyzed and criticized Egypt’s blasphemy law. The book was officially banned in Egypt by al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2008. Cynthia’s work on countering Islamic terrorism has lead Lebanon’s intelligence officials to officially bar her from entering the country. She also received hundreds of death threats from Islamists and was placed on an al-Qaeda affiliated hit list. Recently she has briefed more than 50 Congressional offices and has encouraged them to support classifying the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization by discussing her personal story as well as her research, from a cache of thousands of previously undisclosed documents, into the nature of the Brotherhood. During January, 2011 protests, violence against her family and her associates including the abduction of her brother, and numerous threats to her life, prompted her to flee to the United States where she was granted political asylum. She is currently a columnist in the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Maqal and is writing a book in English on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Stephen Moore, who formerly wrote on the economy and public policy for The Wall Street Journal , is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Project for Economic Growth, at The Heritage Foundation. Moore, who also was a member of The Journal’s editorial board, returned to Heritage in January 2014 -- about 25 years after his tenure as the leading conservative think tank’s Grover M. Hermann Fellow in Budgetary Affairs from 1984 to 1987.As Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Heritage, Moore focuses on advancing public policies that increase the rate of economic growth to help the United States retain its position as the global economic superpower. He also works on budget, fiscal and monetary policy and showcases states that get fiscal houses in order.
Samantha has spent the past year working as Turning Point USA's California Field Director, advocating for the ideas of limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility on some of our nations most liberal campuses. Her father came to this country in the early '70's from socialist Portugal, and through pursuing his version of the American Dream, ensured she knew of the endless opportunity that exists, along with a work ethic to suffice. Before her work with TPUSA, she produced the PowerTalk Afternoon show on PowerTalk 1360&1280, while also hosting the Sunday Morning show -- the Valley View. Samantha is currently earning her Bachelor of Science in Government with a focus in National Security from Liberty University, and plans to work within the IC upon graduation.
Chris Rufer founded The Morning Star Company in 1970, driving one truck hauling tomatoes and peaches from farms to processing factories. The enterprises today include, growing tomato seedlings, transplanting, harvesting tomatoes, and trucking them to three processing factories throughout Central California, which process about thirty percent of the US crop. He personally designs the factories and oversees construction, while providing vision and guidance for all facets of the business. Throughout his career, he has actively and consistently supported libertarian organizations and causes, including the formation of his own foundation, The Foundation for Harmony and Prosperity, which operates to improve humanity and increase well-being. His education includes degrees in economics, agricultural sciences, and business, with concentrations in finance and strategic planning. Chris and his wife, Melodie, have four children and reside in Sacramento, California.
Wolf van Laer
Wolf von Laer is the Chief Executive Officer of Students For Liberty. SFL is a non-profit organization with a budget of $4.1 million that trains and supports pro-liberty students in the United States and around the world. In 2011, Wolf co-founded European Students For Liberty, served as its chairperson and worked as a part-time staff member. Wolf has defended his PhD in Political Economy successfully at King's College London in March 2017. Wolf lived and studied in the US, Turkey, Spain, Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Argentina. He has published several book chapters, a book about central-banking, and a peer-reviewed journal article. During his PhD, he realized that SFL would be a more desirable organization to work for than academia due to the interesting work environment and the quality of people that SFL attracts. In his free time, Wolf enjoys going to concerts and improvisation theater. His website is www.wolfvonlaer.com
John Aglialoro is Chairman and co-founder of UM Holdings Ltd. of Haddonfield, New Jersey, which has owned and operated a variety of businesses for the past 30 years, including CYBEX, a full-line manufacturer of commercial exercise equipment, where he serves as Chairman; and EHE International, a UM company providing physical examinations and corporate wellness programs. Owner of the movie rights to Ayn Rand ’s Atlas Shrugged , Mr. Aglialoro is CEO of Atlas Productions Ltd., the production company formed to produce the movie of Rand’s best-selling novel. John Aglialoro, a graduate of Temple University, is an entrepreneur who has owned and operated a variety of businesses for the past 30 years as Chairman and co-founder of UM Holdings Ltd. of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
John Stossel is a libertarian TV journalist, currently working with Reason TV and Fox News Channel. Prior to that, Stossel co-anchored ABC’s primetime newsmagazine show, "20/20." There, he contributed in-depth special reports on issues like school choice, prosperity, free speech and economic freedom. His work can be seen here
. Stossel’s economic programs have been adapted into teaching kits by a non-profit organization, "Stossel in the Classroom." About 12 million students discuss the videos in class. Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and was honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. The Dallas Morning News named him the "the most consistently thought- provoking TV reporter of our time" and the Orlando Sentinel said he "has the gift for entertaining while saying something profound." Stossel is a graduate of Princeton University, with a B.A. in psychology.
Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press. Tucker gave the Franz Čuhel Memorial Lecture at the Prague Conference on Political Economy in 2017, has been a two-time featured guest on John Stossel’s show, interviewed on Glenn Beck’s television show, spoken at Google headquarters, appeared frequently on Huffington Post Live and Russia Today, been the two-time Master of Ceremonies at Libertopia, been featured at FreedomFest and the International Students for Liberty Conference, the featured speaker at Liberty Forum three years, keynoted the Young Americans for Liberty national convention, has spoken at many dozens of colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world including Harvard University and Boston University, has been quoted in the New York Times and Washington Post, appears regularly in Newsweek and many other popular venues, and is in constant demand as a headline speaker at libertarian, technology, and monetary conferences around the world.
Joan Carter is co-founder and President of UM Holdings Ltd., a private company that has owned and operated over 40 businesses since inception. UM currently owns Gym Source, a distributor of fitness equipment, and Atlas Distribution, formerly Atlas Productions, producer of the Atlas Shrugged movie triology. Ms. Carter serves on the Board of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and is past President of the Union League of Philadelphia, the first woman President in the League’s 150 year history. She is Chair of the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, which oversees the preservation of the largest collection of Civil War documents outside the National Archives. Active in libertarian organizations, Ms. Carter serves on the board of the Reason Foundation and is Chairman of FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization devoted to promoting individual liberty and constitutionally limited government. A frequent speaker on issues of women and business, she resides in Haddonfield, New Jersey with her husband and business partner, John Aglialoro.
George H. Smith
George H. Smith first read Ayn Rand in high school, after watching her three appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight” Show.” In 1969 he established a Students of Objectivism club at the University of Arizona. George has written and lectured extensively on the philosophy of Ayn Rand.
George has published four books, most recently: The System of Liberty: Themes in the History of Classical Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 2013). A three-volume collection of his essays is forthcoming, to be published by Libertarianism.org. George has also edited and written introductions for a number of books, including The State, by Franz Oppenheimer; The Lysander Spooner Reader; and (with Marilyn Moore) Individualism: A Reader.
In recent years George has posted nearly 250 weekly essays on the Libertarianism.org website. Titled “Excursions into Libertarian Thought,” these include two lengthy series on Ayn Rand’s philosophy.
David Kelley is a professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author. After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, he joined the philosophy department of Vassar College, where he remained until 1984. He has also taught at Brandeis University as a Visiting Lecturer. Among his books are Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence
; The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand
; The Evidence of the Senses
, a treatise on epistemology; and The Art of Reasoning
, one of the most widely used logic textbooks in the country. With Roger Donway, he co-authored Laissez Parler: Freedom in the Electronic Media
, a critique of government regulation. He is also the author of A Life of One's Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State
, a critique of the moral premises of the welfare state and defense of private alternatives that preserve individual autonomy, responsibility, and dignity.
His articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Harper's
, The Sciences
, Harvard Business Review
, The Freeman
, and elsewhere. He has been an editorial writer for Barron's
, has appeared on 20/20
and the ABC News
special, "Greed" With John Stossel, and has written and lectured extensively on issues in philosophy, politics, and public affairs.
An active proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years, he has lectured to student groups at Harvard, Yale, University of Michigan, Berkeley, Amherst, and many other colleges and universities. He has also addressed the Mont Pelerin Society, the Free Press Association, the Cato Institute, and Heartland Institute, as well as many Objectivist conferences.
Nicole Sanders is the Director of Student Programs at the Atlas Society. She started her career in the Liberty movement after she read Atlas Shrugged. She then enrolled at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas and started a Young Americans for Liberty(YAL) chapter in February of 2015.
Nicole soon became disenfranchised when she learned of unconstitutional speech codes and a free speech area at her college. With the help of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), she placed a first amendment lawsuit against Blinn College and won the lawsuit in March on 2016.
Nicole has been a Texas State Chair for Young Americans for Liberty, a Campus Coordinator for Students for Liberty, the Texas Campus Manager for Our American Initiative. Nicole was the top Field Associate for Americans for Prosperity in Texas in the spring and summer of 2015, and a Field Representative in Central and Northern California for The Leadership Institute.
“Atlas Shrugged completely changed my life and I would not be where I am today without that book. If I can persuade more students to pick up Ayn Rand’s novels, to dive into her philosophy, I truly believe it will impact their lives for the better.”
Remso W. Martinez
Remso W. Martinez is the host of the Remso Republic podcast and a campaign consultant based out of Virginia. His articles have been published at a variety of outlets and organizations such as FreedomWorks, TheBlaze, the Media Research Center, and the Libertarian Institute. His favorite novel by Ayn Rand is "The Fountainhead", which he reads again every year.
For the past 20 years, Heather Wagenhals has worked to empower others with her special blend of personal finance and wealth building techniques. Heather is a celebrated columnist, author of Yes You Can! With the late Jim Rohn and others, Bushido Business the Art of the Modern Professional with Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy and Steven Covey, host of Unlock Your Wealth Radio, member of the National Speakers Association and International Speakers Network, Certified NLP Practitioner, and a designated real estate broker. Heather is also an adjunct Professor for the University of Arizona‘s Eller College of Business. A native Phoenician and Founder of Unlock Your Wealth Foundation, Heather has two decades of experience in financial services that developed her Keys to Riches™ Financial Wellness Series, which teaches people how to identify and overcome their limiting beliefs around money with specific techniques to create unlimited wealth and happiness.
Sam Sorbo is the host of The Sam Sorbo Show. After high school in Pittsburgh, PA, Sam (Jenkins) Sorbo studied biomedical engineering at Duke University before pursuing a career in modeling. Modeling offered the opportunity to travel and learn languages; she is fluent in five. Sam moved to Los Angeles for acting, where dedication and perseverance gained her roles in several films, including Bonfire of the Vanities and Twenty Bucks, and TV shows, including “Chicago Hope” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” As Guest star on “Hercules” she met Kevin Sorbo, who swept her off her feet. They married in 1998 and she moved to New Zealand. While living in Auckland, Sam created and published a humorous and educational photo-book, Gizmoe: The Legendary Journeys, Auckland. In addition to her nationally syndicated radio show, in 2015, Sam performed in the movies Hope Bridge and Just Let Go, winning “Best Supporting Actress” from the Utah Film Awards. She created “Miracle Man,” a 2016 television show produced by NBC and Sony. Her third book, out in 2016, is called They’re YOUR Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate. The Sorbos home educate their three children. Sam’s next book is Teach from Love, which drops August 1st, 2017. Most recently, Sam co-wrote, produced, and co-starred in (with Kevin) a faith-based feature, Let There Be Light, due out Christmas, 2017. The film features Dionne Warwick, Travis Tritt, and the two Sorbo boys, and is exec-produced by Sean Hannity. (LetThereBeLightTheMovie.com)