Sarah Hurwitz has been the head speechwriter for Michelle Obama since 2008. The Obamas brought Hurwitz on board after she wrote Hillary Clinton's 2008 concession speech which described Clinton's supporters as having put “18 million cracks” in the “highest, hardest glass ceiling.” Hurwitz is esteemed for her powerful imagery and honest prose, and worked closely with Michelle Obama to write her much lauded speech for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Hurwitz has also written for Al Gore, John Kerry, and General Wesley Clark.
Katherine Boo is a staff writer for New Yorker magazine whose writing bears witness to the lives of the impoverished. Her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity tells the stories of slumdwellers living at the edge of a Mumbai airport, where "Only a coconut-tree-lined thoroughfare separated the slum from the entrance to the international terminal."
A highly decorated investigative journalist, Boo has won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and a MacArthur Genius Award. Her book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity has won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, as well as prizes from PEN, the New York Public Library and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Frank Luntz is a political consultant and pollster seeking to dictate the flow of information between the political arena and the American public. Promoting phrases like "death tax" in place of "estate tax" and "climate change" in place of "global warming", Luntz is fascinated by the emotions behind language. Having organized over 2,500 surveys, focus groups, and ad tests, Luntz seeks out words and phrases that resonate with the everyday American and that, in his view, give a more honest picture of issues facing the nation and the globe.
Luntz assisted with messaging in Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, has won an Emmy Award for his segments on MSNBC/CNBC’s “100 Days, 1000 Voices,” and has written three bestselling books, including Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear and Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary.
Michele Norris is a radio journalist and former host of All Things Considered, NPR's "most listened-to, afternoon drive-time, news radio program in the country." Norris left NPR to expand her work on The Race Card Project, a Peabody Award winning archive of six word essays sent in from all over the world that seeks to "provide a window into America’s private conversations about race and cultural identity."
Franklin Sirmans is the director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), and he wants to reimagine the role of the museum in its community. According to Sirmans, in the past 20 years, "the museum has become even more of a place of community and a place where we look for education — it offers programmes for people from ages three to the end. It’s a place where people learn and see each other and have conversations and eat and dance and listen to music."
In addition to his position at the Pérez Art Museum, Sirmans has served as the Terri and Michael Smooke Department Head and Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and as a curator of modern and contemporary art at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. He has also independently mounted exhibitions at museums across the world, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Comune di Milano in Italy and the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich.