Sander van 't Noordende, Group Chief Executive, Accenture
Sander van 't Noordende is group chief executive of Accenture’s Management Consulting growth platform, with responsibility for the company’s capabilities and services across seven service lines. Additionally, Mr. van ’t Noordende is responsible for several company-wide initiatives, including Analytics, Sustainability Services, and Business Process Management. He is a member of Accenture's Global Management Committee.
Joining Accenture in 1987, Mr. van 't Noordende became a partner in 1999. From September 2006 until being appointed to his current role in March 2011, Mr. van 't Noordende was group chief executive of Accenture's Resources operating group, which serves clients in the utilities, chemicals, energy (oil and gas), forest products, and metals and mining industries. Previously, he led Accenture's Resources operating group in Southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Mr. van 't Noordende holds a degree in industrial engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology in The Netherlands, with a specialty in finance and marketing.
Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy
Kathleen Martinez was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the third Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 25, 2009. As head of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Ms. Martinez advises the Secretary of Labor and works with all DOL agencies to lead a comprehensive and coordinated national policy regarding the employment of people with disabilities. Blind since birth, Ms. Martinez comes to ODEP with a background as an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity and gender issues.
Over the years, Ms. Martinez has been appointed to a number of councils and committees. In 2002, she was appointed by President Bush as one of 15 members of the National Council on Disability, and in 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed her as one of eight public members of the State Department advisory committee on disability and foreign policy. The same year, she was appointed Executive Director of the World Institute on Disability (WID). In 2007, she was appointed a member of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, a Congressionally-created agency dedicated to research and projects in conflict management.
Candis was born Brendan McDaniel in Maui, Hawaii, and left for the big apple at age 19. Candis burst on stage in the mid-nineties at the famed NYC gay hot-spot "Boy Bar," where her performances drew rave reviews. At the time, she performed in drag, but soon realized that she was a transgender woman, thus making the transition from drag to her true gender identity in front of her audience. In 2008, Candis landed the biggest role of her career on ABC’s series Dirty Sexy Money, where she plays Billy Baldwin’s transgender lover. Candis is the first transgender actress to have a recurring role on a prime-time series.
Andy Cohen is Bravo's Senior Vice President of Original Programming and Development, responsible for overseeing the network's current development and production slate of over two dozen shows, including Top Chef, The Real Housewives of Orange County, New York City, Atlanta and New Jersey, Kathy Griffin My Life On the D List, The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Rachel Zoe Project, and Flipping Out. In addition, Cohen is the host of Watch What Happens: Live, Bravo’s late night, interactive, weekly talk show that features guests from the world of entertainment, politics and pop culture.
Meredith Baxter is an actress, writer, mother of five. She has starred in four series, including the long-running Family Ties, and made over fifty movies for television. Her New York Times Bestselling book UNTIED, a Memoir of Fame, Family and Floundering was published in March, 2011. Baxter is a speaker on issues as divergent as alcohol abuse, domestic abuse, breast cancer and general life issues. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her partner.
Paul Bell, President of the Public & Large Enterprise Business Unit, Dell
Born in North Africa, Paul worked with the Peace Corps in Tunisia early in his career. He has been with Dell for more than 14 years, and currently serves as president of the Public and Large Enterprise business units. His leadership role at Dell is complemented by his broad international experience and long-standing personal passion for public service. Paul is currently the chairman of the Global Giving Council at Dell, an organization that seeks out and supports philanthropic programs including Dell YouthConnect, which helps connect children to the digital world. In this role, he leads the team that helps government, education, health care organizations and corporate IT users make full use of information technology to achieve their goals. Previously, he ran the Worldwide Home and Small Business Group before relocating to the United Kingdom, where he managed the Europe, Middle East and Africa business. After seven years in Europe, he returned to the United States to manage the commercial business in North and South America.
Paul earned bachelor's degrees in fine arts and business administration from Pennsylvania State University and a master's degree in business administration from the Yale School of Organization and Management. He is an instrument-rated pilot, and enjoys traveling with his wife, Maryann, and three children.
LZ Granderson has been named Journalist of the Year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. He writes a weekly column for CNN.com, appears weekly on CNN Newsroom (Tuesdays, 9:40 am ET), has a CNN video blog and podcast and appears frequently on CNN Newsroom, American Morning with Ali Velshi, Newsroom with Don Lemon, Anderson Cooper 360, and on HLN. He's also appeared on ABC's GMA and is also a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, and has contributed to ESPN's Sports Center, Outside the Lines and First Take. He is a 2011 and 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism.
Since April, LZ has penned a weekly column for CNN Opinion, focusing on how social and cultural issues affect the way life is lived in America today. He was the number one commentator in the Opinion section for April. You can follow LZ on Twitter at @locs_n_laughs.
Rick Welts served as president of the Phoenix Suns organization for nine seasons, three as the club’s chief executive officer. On May 16, 2011, in a front-page story in the New York Times, Welts publicly acknowledged that he is gay becoming the first senior executive of a men’s professional team sports organization to do so.
Welts previously served successful stints in professional basketball with the NBA league office and the Seattle SuperSonics. He was also responsible for the 1992 Olympics “Dream Team” marketing program as the agent for USA Basketball. In 1998, Brandweek magazine named Welts “Marketer of the Year” for his role in creating and launching the WNBA. It was an honor he shared with former WNBA President Val Ackerman. Welts left the NBA in June 1999 to become president of Fox Sports Enterprises, a new entity that managed Fox interests in facilities and sports teams including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dodger Stadium, STAPLES Center, the Los Angeles Kings, Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers. A native of Seattle, Welts attended the University of Washington.
Selisse Berry is founding executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the nation's only national nonprofit organization specifically dedicated to creating safe and equitable workplaces for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Under her leadership, the organization has grown significantly with 1200 percent expansion in the annual Summit since 1999, and seventeen regional affiliates across the United States.
Her clear and unwavering vision has been instrumental in creating an internationally recognized organization whose philosophies reflect the importance of treating all colleagues in the workplace with respect and dignity. Since her first job as a guidance counselor, Selisse has continued her commitment to justice as a teacher and as executive director for several social service organizations prior to founding Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. She has master's degrees in education and theology from the University of Texas and San Francisco Theological Seminary respectively. Selisse and her partner, Cynthia Martin, were married in July 2007.
Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile is a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee and recently served as the interim chair of the DNC during its 2011 leadership transition. A weekly commentator on CNN, she also regularly appears on ABC, PBS, and NPR. Her writings include the New York Times bestselling book Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, a nationally-syndicated column, and contributions to Roll Call, O Magazine, The New York Times, and Ms. Magazine. She has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University for nearly a decade. In 2000, Brazile became the first African American to run a major presidential campaign.
In 2009, O, The Oprah Magazine chose Brazile as one of its 20 “remarkable visionaries,” and she has received the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s highest award for political achievement. A Louisiana native and Gulf Coast advocate, she was recently named a Weiss Award recipient by the New Orleans Council for Community and Justice, and is the proud recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University and Xavier University of Louisiana. Brazile is also the founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy, and training firm based in Washington, DC.
Mike Ullman, CEO, JCPenney
Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III has served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of J.C. Penney Company, Inc. since 2004. He was directeur general, group managing director of LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton from 1999 to 2002. Mike previously served as group chairman and chief executive officer of DFS Group Limited (1995-1999) and as chairman and chief executive officer of R.H. Macy & Co., Inc. (1992-1995). He was appointed a White House Fellow by President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1982. Mike serves on the boards of Starbucks Coffee Company and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. He also serves on the Retail Industry Leaders Association Board of Directors; is chairman of the board of Mercy Ships International, a global medical and human services charity; and is on the board of FIRST, a charity that sponsors robotics competitions designed to motivate youth to pursue education and careers in science and technology.
Kate Clinton, Emcee
Kate Clinton is a faith-based, tax-paying, America-loving political humorist and family entertainer who still believes that humor gets us through peacetime, wartime and scoundrel time. This year she celebrates her 30th Anniversary of performance. Kate brings her new show The GLEE Party nationwide. This year her 9th comedy collection Lady HAHA has been released. For the latest breaking Kate Clinton news, vlogs and blog entries, please visit www.kateclinton.com .
Joel Burns, Ft. Worth City Councilman
District 9 representative Joel Burns seeks to help steer his native Cowtown through the challenges that come from rapid growth and continuing to meet changing needs in the nation's 17th largest city. Burns took his seat on the Council dais in January 2008 following a run-off election in December 2007, but he is no stranger to city government.Burns previously has served on the Zoning Commission, the Tarrant Housing Partnership and the Historic Fort Worth board as well as chaired the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission. Additionally, he has taken a leadership role in neighborhood and professional organizations
Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO and President, Northrop Grumman
Wes Bush is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leader in global security. Bush assumed the role of chairman in July 2011. He was named chief executive officer and president in January 2010, and elected to the company’s Board of Directors in 2009.
Bush previously served as the president and chief operating officer of the company. Before that, he served as the corporate vice president and chief financial officer, and, earlier, as the president of the company’s Space Technology sector. Prior to the acquisition of TRW by Northrop Grumman, he had served since 2001 as president and chief executive officer for TRW’s UK-based global Aeronautical Systems. Bush joined TRW in 1987 as a systems engineer, and served in engineering, program management and business development roles in TRW’s Space & Electronics business. Prior to joining TRW, he held engineering positions with both the Aerospace Corporation and Comsat Labs.
Bush earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also completed the University of California, Los Angeles’ Executive Management Program. Bush serves on boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Conservation International and the Business-Higher Education Forum. In 2008, he was appointed to serve on the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.
Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com  for more information.
Margaret Cho has been performing on stage and in film since 1999. In 2000, Margaret received GLAAD’s first-ever Golden Gate Award – honoring her as “an entertainment pioneer who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity." Margaret's performances include: I’m The One That I Want, Notorious C.H.O, Revolution, Assassin, the VH1 series, The Cho Show, and Beautiful. In 2009, she nabbed a starring role in the Lifetime comedy/drama series Drop Dead Diva. In June 2011, Margaret was honored by LA Pride, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an individual whose lifetime body of work has left a lasting major imprint on the LGBT community.
Wilson Cruz attended California State University at San Bernardino, where he pursued a double major in theater and English before he joined the cast of My So-Called Life. The role of Rickie Vasquez was his first as a series regular. Cruz's other acting credits include the films Joyride, All Over Me, Supernova, Party Monster, Margaret Cho's Bam Bam & Celeste and He's Just Not That Into You. While playing numerous roles on television, film, and the stage, Cruz devotes more and more of his time to LGBT youth. In 2005 he was the Grand Marshall of the Chicago Pride Parade, and in 2008 he was the keynote speaker at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Lavender Graduation and Rainbow Banquet honoring graduating LGBT students.