The Institute for Cultural Evolution’s Austin Conclave on the Future of the Right: June 25 – 28, 2015

Participant Biographies

John MackeyJohn Mackey
Our host for the Austin Conclave, John Mackey, is a Senior Fellow of The Institute for Cultural Evolution. He is co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. He has transformed the American grocery business to improve America’s eating habits. From a single store in Austin, Texas in 1978, to a $14.2 billion Fortune 300 company with 415 stores and 90,000 Team Members in three countries. He is co-author of Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business.

John Weaver
John Weaver is an American political consultant best known for his work on the John McCain presidential campaigns of 2000 and 2008. In between, he worked for a time for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Weaver served as the chief strategist for Jon Huntsman’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Carlos CurbeloCarlos Curbelo
U.S. Congressman, Dade County Florida. In November of 2010, Carlos was elected, with the support of over 27,000 voters, to serve on the Miami Dade County School Board. Miami Dade County Public Schools is the fourth largest school district in the country. Shortly after being elected, he was the only School Board Member in the state asked to serve on the Governor’s Education Transition Team where he was a champion for reform and for equity in funding. On the School Board, Carlos has been a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility, parental involvement, and transparency in the district’s operations.

Brian HooksBrian Hooks
As president of the Charles Koch Foundation and Charles Koch Institute, Brian oversees grant making and educational programs that advance an understanding of how free societies enable the well-being of individuals and society as a whole. Prior to that, Brian served as executive director and chief operating officer of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a growing research, education, and public policy outreach center. Brian also held positions as director of the Global Prosperity Initiative, Social Change Project, and Enterprise Africa at Mercatus. Brian is a member of the board of directors of the Mercatus Center and Institute for Humane Studies. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and daughter.

Michael Stephen SteeleMichael Stephen Steele
Michael Stephen Steele is an American politician and MSNBC political analyst as of May 2011. Steele served as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee from January 2009 until January 2011. From 2003 to 2007, he was the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, the first African American elected to statewide office in Maryland. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, he chaired the Minority Business Enterprise taskforce, actively promoting an expansion of affirmative action in the corporate world.

Dr. John B. ElstrottDr. John B. Elstrott
Dr. Elstrott is the Emeritus Executive Director of the Levy Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Tulane. In addition, he was recently awarded the 2013 Tulane Distinguished Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Elstrott is Chairman of the Board of Whole Foods Market, he has served as a director of the Company since 1995.

William RugerDr. William Ruger
William Ruger serves as the vice president of research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute and the vice president for research at the Charles Koch Foundation.  Before coming to CKI/F, he was most recently an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Texas State University.  Ruger is the author of a biography titled Milton Friedman and co-author of two books on state politics: Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom and The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. Ruger’s recent scholarly articles appeared in International Studies Quarterly, Civil Wars, Economics of Governance, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.

Michael StrongMichael Strong
Michael Strong co-founded FLOW with John Mackey in 2003. Radical Social Entrepreneurs, launched in 2012, is one of three “descendants” of FLOW, along with its siblings Conscious Capitalism and Peace through Commerce. He is lead author of Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems, co-authored with John Mackey, Mohammad Yunus, Hernando de Soto, Don Beck, and others.  He is currently the co-founder of the Khabele Strong Incubator, a secondary school integrated with an entrepreneurial incubator for teens.  Prior to FLOW he spent fifteen years as an educational entrepreneur.  A charter school he created in New Mexico was ranked the 36th best public high school in the U.S.

Betsy Wright HawkingsBetsy Wright Hawkings
Betsy Wright Hawkings is the Program Director for the Governance Initiative at the Democracy Fund, a private foundation that fosters the highest ideals of the American republic – government of, by, and for the people. She leads the Democracy Fund’s grant making to organizations building bridges across the ideological divide and seeking out ways for our government to solve problems in the face of increased polarization. Current grantees of the Governance Program include the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program, and the Faith & Politics Institute. Prior to the Democracy Fund she served as a Capitol Hill chief for 25 years.

Rich TafelRich Tafel
Rich Tafel is a Senior Fellow of The Institute for Cultural Evolution. He is the founder and president of a strategy company Public Squared that provides collaborative solutions to our world’s most challenging problems with a unique ability to bring together diverse sectors and ideologies into win-win-win coalitions to bring sustainable change. In 1993, Rich created Log Cabin Republicans and moved to Washington DC to open a national office as its first Executive Director where he implemented a values strategy for gay rights creating 50 grass roots chapters, a PAC and foundation. Rich served as appointee of Governor William Weld (R ) MA in the role of Director of Adolescent Health Services. He is the author of Party Crasher: A Gay Republican Challenges Politics as Usual.

David BlankenhornDavid Blankenhorn
David Blankenhorn is founder and president of the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to study and strengthen civil society. He is the author of Fatherless America (1995), The Future of Marriage (2007), Thrift: A Cyclopedia (2008), and New York’s Promise (2013). He is also the co-editor of nine books, the most recent of which is American Thrift: A Reader (2013). A 2007 profile in USA Today describes him as making “a career of thinking about big issues” and describes the Institute for American Values as “a catalyst for analysis and debate among those with differing views.”

Nick_GillespieNick Gillespie
Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of and Reason TV, the online platforms of Reason, the libertarian magazine of “Free Minds and Free Markets.” The two sites draw over 4 million visits per month and have been named among the nation’s best political sites by Playboy, Washingtonian, National Journal, and others. Gillespie is co-author, with his Reason colleague Matt Welch, of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America, published in June 2011 by Public Affairs.

Veronique de RugyVeronique de Rugy
Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. Her primary research interests include the U.S. economy, the federal budget, homeland security, taxation, tax competition, and financial privacy. She has testified numerous times in front of Congress on the effects of fiscal stimulus, debt and deficits, and regulation on the economy. De Rugy writes regular columns for Reason magazine, and she blogs about economics at National Review Online’s the Corner. Previously, de Rugy has been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and a research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.

Matt WelchMatt Welch
Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason, the libertarian magazine of “Free Minds and Free Markets.” He is co-author, along with Nick Gillespie, of the 2011 book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America, which Tyler Cowen called “the up-to-date statement of libertarianism.” Welch also wrote the 2007 book McCain: The Myth of a Maverick. From December 2013 to January 2015 he was co-host of the nightly Fox Business Network program The Independents. Before assuming editorship of Reason in 2008, Welch worked as an assistant editorial pages editor for the Los Angeles Times, as a media columnist for Reason, California correspondent for The National Post, political columnist for, and regular contributor to the Online Journalism Review. Before 1998, he lived for eight years in Central Europe, where he co-founded the region’s first post-communist English-language newspaper, Prognosis, worked as UPI’s Slovakia correspondent and managed the Budapest Business Journal.

IMG_0019Peter Hopkins
Peter Hopkins is the co-founder and president of Big Think, the knowledge company that makes people and companies smarter, faster through efficient e-learning from world-renowned experts. As president, Hopkins sets the vision for Big Think’s content strategy that enables the world’s top visionaries to share big ideas shaping the 21st century at and offer their e-wisdom needed for a competitive edge in the knowledge economy. Peter directs the company’s individual and corporate e-learning solutions, including Edge, which helps Fortune 100 companies attract, develop and retain top talent at all levels, and Mentor, which offers a subscription to lifelong and efficient e-learning for personal and professional growth from Big Think’s world-class experts. He is an editorial advisor to TEDMED.

Trammel S. CrowTrammell S. Crow
Trammell Crow is the President of the Crow Family Foundation, which operates and manages The Trammell & Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art as well as the Trammell Crow European Sculpture Garden. Mr. Crow is the son of Trammell Crow, founder of the Trammell Crow Company. Mr. Crow is also a founder of Texas Business for Clean Air, an organization of prominent business leaders throughout Texas who are committed to matters that affect air quality in the state. Past and ongoing involvements include: Republicans for Environmental Protection, Dallas County Community District Foundation, University of Texas at Dallas, Museum of African-American Life and Culture.

Ted BuergerTed Buerger
Ted Buerger is a successful executive and social entrepreneur. He is a co-founder of No Labels, a co-founder and Chairman of, and was previously co-founder of Growth Capital Partners and three other successful national businesses. Ted also serves on the board of the Western New York Foundation, and the Welfare to Work Foundation (of which he was a founder), and was previously chairman of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the Presidency. He has a special passion for community, for the Hudson River and for using new media to bring people together around shared concerns.

final bellowAdam Bellow
Adam Bellow is editorial director of Broadside Books/HarperCollins and president of Liberty Island Media, an independent publisher of conservative-themed fiction. Previously he was executive editor-at-large for Doubleday/Random House and editorial director of The Free Press/Simon & Schuster. A publishing professional for nearly 30 years specializing in books for the conservative/libertarian audience, he is the editor of numerous intellectual bestsellers including many that were highly controversial. He is also the author or editor of several books of his own, including In Praise of Nepotism: A History of Family Enterprise from King David to George W. Bush (Doubleday 2003), New Threats to Freedom (Templeton 2010) and The State of the American Mind (Templeton 2015). Adam was recently interviewed by CSPAN during the BEA about conservative publishing:

Alexander GreenAlexander Green
Alexander Green is the Chief Investment Strategist of The Oxford Club. Alex’s Oxford Communiqué is ranked among the top 10 investment letters in the nation by the independent Hulbert Financial Digest. A 25-year Wall Street veteran, Alex has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Forbes and other media outlets. Alex is also the author of four national best-sellers. His works include The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio; Beyond Wealth; The Secret of Shelter Island; and An Embarrassment of Riches.

Robert J. KabelRobert J. Kabel
Bob Kabel is a public policy expert and current National Committeeman of the District of Columbia Republican Committee. In this capacity, he is also a member of the Republican National Committee. Previously, he was Chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee from December 2004 through January 2013. He has been involved in Republican politics throughout his career; during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Kabel served for three years as Special Assistant to President Reagan for Legislative Affairs. He is a former Legislative Director for Senator Richard Lugar and former Legislative Assistant to Senator Paul Fannin. He is a social impact investor with a focus on healthcare products.

Patrick RuffiniPatrick Ruffini
Patrick Ruffini is a Republican Party political strategist and blogger. He is a founding partner and Chairman of Engage, LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based political media firm, and now runs the political research and intelligence firm, Echelon Insights. In the 2004 election, Ruffini served as webmaster for the Bush-Cheney campaign, managing day-to-day operations on the campaign’s Web site and helping oversee development of the grassroots tools that mobilized 1.4 million campaign volunteers.

Monica MehtaMonica Mehta
Monica Mehta is an investor and financial journalist.  She is a managing principal at Texas based Seventh Capital and author of ‘The Entrepreneurial Instinct: How Everyone Has the Innate Ability to Start a Successful Small Business’ (McGraw-Hill, 2012) which explores the role of behavior and brain science in our ability to take rewarding risks, bounce back after failure. Mehta is a frequent commentator on business and the economy for Real Time w/ Bill Maher, CNN, CNBC, FoxNews, MSNBC, BloombergTV, Yahoo!Finance, The Adam Carolla Show and has written columns for Bloomberg Businessweek, INC and Entrepreneur. She is an Ambassador for Operation HOPE, a non-partisan organization empowering economic mobility by teaching financial literacy and entrepreneurship basics to low income Americans. Mehta is a graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

John StreetJohn Street
John Street is a serial entrepreneur with extensive start-up experience. He is Chairman and CEO of Pax8, Inc., his latest venture, pioneering a new era of product distribution in a cloud-centric world. He also serves as Chairman of MS Biotec, an ag-biotech company that is breaking new ground in rumen health. Street has previously founded three businesses that achieved ranking on the Inc. 500 list four different times and received Entrepreneur of the Year recognition in 1995 by Ernst & Young. He is currently Chairman Emeritus of Colorado Springs Philharmonic and, through his many musical endeavors, he was a Grammy finalist in 2013 for his involvement in the production of Jumpin’ Jazz Kids. Street graduated from the University of Notre Dame and is a CPA.

Kristina KendallKristina Kendall 
Kristina Kendall is an executive with New Balloon Media, a cross-platform entertainment company.  Prior to joining New Balloon she worked as John Stossel’s executive producer at Fox News and Fox Business Network.  Before Fox, she was Stossel’s producer at the national ABC newsmagazine 20/20 where she produced nearly 100 pieces, including hour-long specials on education, social psychology, risk, and health care policy.  She serves on the boards of the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) and the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children.

Abner MasonAbner Mason
Abner Mason is Founder and CEO of ConsejoSano, a health and wellness app for Spanish speakers in the US. Abner is also Founder and CEO of the Workplace Wellness Council of Mexico, now the leading corporate wellness company in Mexico. Abner was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, where he served as Chairman of the International Sub-Committee from 2002 – 2005. Abner also served as Chief Policy Adviser, Chief Secretary, and Undersecretary of Transportation and Construction for Massachusetts Governors Paul Cellucci and Jane Swift from 1997 – 2002. Abner is a former President of the Log Cabin Republicans.

Kevin JamesKevin James
Kevin serves in Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Administration as the President of the Board of Public Works. Prior to launching his campaign for Mayor of Los Angeles in 2011, Kevin spent several months visiting more than 50 Neighborhood Councils, listening to neighborhood leaders and residents, and learning about their issues, concerns and needs.  He then took those issues and concerns to the powerful Southern California airwaves to effect change and improvements in those neighborhoods and throughout the City. Kevin James moved to Los Angeles from Texas in the late 1980s to begin his career as an attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  He immediately began his involvement in local politics and working with local charities.  Kevin left Gibson Dunn to join the United States Attorney’s Office.  After a few years as a Federal Prosecutor in Los Angeles, Kevin returned to private practice focusing on an entertainment litigation practice.  Kevin practiced law in the entertainment industry for 20 years.

Terry KibbeTerry Kibbe
Terry is a Senior Advisor at Concerned American Voters, where her primary focus is fundraising. Terry is also the President of Curated Innovation, a 501c(3). Based in Cambridge MA, Curated Innovation is focused on delivering breakthrough products that save or greatly improve lives. Most recently, Terry served as Chairwoman of the Advisory Board of the Rising Tide Foundation in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and as an Advisor to the Global Philanthropic Trust in the Cayman Islands. Terry brings 18 years of experience as a fundraiser, having raised millions in operating capital for various nonprofit and political causes, including FreedomWorks and the Cato Institute. She spent the first decade of her career as an engineer working on defense technology. She also worked on Capitol Hill as a top aide to Congressman Christopher Cox. In early 2007, Terry formed Dagny, LLC, offering strategic management services to philanthropic charities and non-profit organizations. Terry is a graduate of Grove City College, where she received her B.S. in Industrial Engineering.

Jay OgilvyJay Ogilvy
Jay Ogilvy, is a cofounder of Global Business Network. Trained in philosophy (Yale PhD in 1968), he taught for 7 years at Yale, 1 at Texas, 4 at Williams College. Then he transitioned into contract research and consulting at SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) from 1979 to 1986. In 1987 he and four friends founded Global Business Network, a boutique consultancy that specializes in using scenario planning to develop long range strategies for large corporations and government agencies. Jay is the author of Many Dimensional Man: Decentralizing Self, Society and the Sacred (Oxford, 1977; Harper& Row, 1980); Creating Better Futures (Oxford, 2000); China’s Futures with Peter Schwartz (Jossey- Bass, 2001); Living Without a Goal (Doubleday, 1996). He is also the editor of Re-Visioning Philosophy (SUNY Press, 1991) which is an anthology based on a series of invitational conferences at Esalen and Cambridge University. He is a frequent facilitator of invitational conferences for Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research, and chairs Esalen’s Global Potentials Program.

Carter PhippsCarter Phipps 
Carter Phipps is co-founder, Managing Director, and Senior Fellow of The Institute for Cultural Evolution. He is an author, a journalist, and a leading voice in articulating the emerging evolutionary worldview. His acclaimed 2012 book, Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea, was published by Harper Perennial.

Steve McIntoshSteve McIntosh
Steve McIntosh is co-founder and President of the Institute for Cultural Evolution (“ICE”) think tank. A leader in the integral movement, he is author of three books on cultural evolution. In addition to ICE and his work in philosophy, McIntosh has had a variety of other successful careers, including founding the consumer products company Now & Zen, practicing law with one of America’s largest firms, and working as an executive with Celestial Seasonings Tea Company. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and the USC Business School.