Biographies and Head Shots of Featured WCF IX Presenters

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Featured Presenters

[xa_slide title=”Governor Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah” icon=”angle-down”]


Governor Gary Richard Herbert has led Utah’s recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. His unwavering focus on economic development includes attracting businesses and investment to the state while helping homegrown businesses flourish.

The governor is focused on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah’s economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, jobs, and an unsurpassed quality of life.

The governor currently serves as chair of the National Governors Association, where his chair’s initiative focuses on highlighting state-based solutions while enhancing a collaborative state-federal partnership.

Prior to becoming the state’s chief executive in 2009, Gov. Herbert served as Lieutenant governor for five years. In 1990, Mr. Herbert was appointed to the Utah County Commission and concluded his service in 2004.

Gov. Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, are the proud parents of six children and 16 grand-children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Jeanette Herbert, First Lady of Utah” icon=”angle-down”]

jeanette-herbertJeanette Herbert, First Lady of Utah, serves on the Governor’s Mansion Foundation Board, Governor’s Artist Series Board and is also involved with the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation.

The First Lady’s initiative is called Uplift Families. The goal of this initiative is to promote good parenting skills, strengthen families, and offer resources to parents throughout the state.

Mrs. Herbert was a recipient of a Utah Women’s Leadership award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” icon=”angle-down”]

ElderBallard (1)Elder M. Russell Ballard is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Saints. He has been serving as an apostle since October 6, 1985, traveling throughout the earth to instruct Church members and direct day-to-day affairs of the worldwide Church.

As a young man, he served a mission to England for the Church, where he was a counselor in the mission presidency. He has also served as a bishop twice.

In 1974, he was called as president of the Canada Toronto Mission, where he was serving when called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1976. As a member of the Seventy, he supervised and trained leaders in his assigned geographic regions. He later served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy from 1980 to 1985, overseeing the Church’s Quorums of the Seventy. Much of his ministry has been focused on missionary work.

Prior to his call as a full-time Church leader, Elder Ballard had interests in the automotive, real estate, and investment businesses. He has served on many Church and civic committees and boards. He attended the University of Utah. He married Barbara Bowen in the Salt Lake Temple in 1951. They are the parents of two sons and five daughters.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Theresa Okafor, Foundation for African Cultural Heritage” icon=”angle-down”]

Theresa_Okafor_webTheresa Okafor holds a post-graduate degree in education administration and a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Dr. Okafor is a director at the Quality Assurance and Research Development Agency, Nigeria. She is also a board member of the International Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2009-2011) headquartered in the Netherlands. She is a member of the governing council of Wavecrest College of Hospitality Management, Lagos; a member of the African Quality Assurance Network and the coordinator of the West African Quality Assurance Network.

Dr. Okafor was a panelist at the United Nations Committee on the Status of Women New York 2010 and 2011. She is also a director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage and the CEO of Life League. Dr. Okafor is a recipient of three awards. The Rhodes Youth Forum Award (Greece 2010) for active participation; the Flynet Award (Nigeria, 2009) for educational promotion and a merit award from the National Association of Catholic University Students (Nigeria, 2008) for her work with youths.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Charmaine Yoest, Americans United For Life” icon=”angle-down”]

Charmaine YoestCharmaine Yoest, Ph.D., is president and CEO of Americans United for Life, the legal architects of the pro-life movement.

A sought-after political commentator, Dr. Yoest has appeared on all major networks and cable news channels. She is also the co-author of Mother in the Middle and is currently working on a second book related to modern feminism, with the working title Women Alone.

She has been profiled by the Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, New York Times, New Republic and Mother Jones. One publication credited her leadership at AUL with producing the “greatest number of abortion restrictions since Roe v Wade in 1973.” Another credited her “deft reframing of the abortion debate” for “ changing the face of the abortion movement” by giving it a “gentler face.”

AUL pioneered the state-based model legislative strategy and also pioneered the strategy focused on both the mother and child. Dr. Yoest has provided expert testimony in congressional hearings in both the House and Senate, most notably in Planned Parenthood hearings as well as in the hearings for justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. She is a frequent commentator on all major television and cable stations.

Dr. Yoest and her husband, John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., live in the Washington, D.C., area with their five children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Lila Rose, Founder and President of Live Action” icon=”angle-down”]

Lila RoseLila Rose is the president of Live Action, a new media nonprofit dedicated to ending abortion and building a culture of life.

Ms. Rose founded Live Action when she was 15 years old. The group utilizes investigative journalism to expose the Abortion Industry’s threats against the vulnerable and defenseless. Live Action uses the results of these investigations to reveal the humanity of the unborn – to inspire the nation to take action to end abortion in America through new media.

As Live Action’s president, Ms. Rose leads undercover investigations into America’s most notorious abortion facilities, shining a light on the greatest human rights abuse of our time through national media campaigns. Live Action runs stealth education programs, targeted at changing hearts and minds about abortion thought, overseeing the largest pro-life social media platform on the web, including over 1 million Facebook fans and over 52,000 followers on Twitter. Live Action also hosts Live Action News, a widely read pro-life news site.

Ms. Rose is a regular guest on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, The Laura Ingraham Show, as well as many other national TV and radio programs. Her work has been featured on practically every major news outlet, from CBS to CNN, from the Los Angeles Times to The Washington Post.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Alveda King, Priests for Life” icon=”angle-down”]

Dr. Alveda C. King works toward her purpose in life, to glorify God.

Dr. King currently serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. She is also a voice for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, sharing her testimony of two abortions, God’s forgiveness, and healing.

The daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, Dr. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her family home in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Kentucky. She was jailed during the open housing movement. Dr. King sees the pro-life movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

Dr. King is a former college professor and served in the Georgia State House of Representatives. She is a recipient of the Life Prize Award (2011), the Cardinal John O’Connor Pro-Life Hall of Fame Award (2011) from the Legatus organization and the Civil Rights Award from Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (2011). She is a bestselling author.

Dr. King lives in Atlanta, where she is the grateful mother of six and a doting grandmother.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Father Josiah Trenham, Pastor at St. Andrew Orthodox Christian Church” icon=”angle-down”]

Father Josiah Trenham is a native Southern Californian. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in 1993, and was awarded a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Durham, England, in 2004. He has served as pastor of St. Andrew Orthodox Church in Riverside, Calif., since 1998.

Father Josiah is the founder and director of Patristic Nectar Publications, a company dedicated to “nourishing the spiritually thirsty with the sweet teachings of the Holy Fathers” in quality audio recordings. PNP produces both recordings of patristic works as well as recordings of lectures and homilies available in direct download formats. Father Josiah’s weekly homilies and additional theological reflections are published weekly and listened to by thou- sands all over the globe on The Arena podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

Father Josiah serves as an instructor in and on the Board of Advisors of the Ss. Cyril and Athanasius Orthodox Institute in San Fran- cisco: He is an adjunct professor of theology at St. Katherine College in Encinitas, Calif. (2010-present), and was an adjunct professor of history at Cali- fornia Baptist University (2003-2010). He is a member of the Orthodox Theological Society of America, and participates in yearly academic forums and symposia.

Father Josiah was married in 1988 and has 10 children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Ignacio Assuage, HazteOir and CitizenGo” icon=”angle-down”]

13126473853_149c57ce59_oIgnacio Arsuaga founded in 2001. He currently serves as its president and CEO. He also serves as president of the CitizenGO Foundation.

As part of his efforts to promote citizen participation and defend human rights (in their entirety, starting with conception and ending with natural death), he is convinced that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can – with the help of God – change the world.

Initially, was created as a Web page offering citizens the opportunity to participate in petition campaigns to promote values and liberties. Since 2001, has grown rapidly to become the most effective prolife and pro-family lobbying platform in Spain.

In last years, has organized several massive demonstrations, with several million people participating. Currently, 440,000 mem- bers make up and participate in its campaigns.

Mr. Arsuaga has been interviewed and has participated in debates in international media like CNN, PBS, Fox News, the New York Times, Time Magazine or the BBC.

Mr. Arsuaga graduated in law with the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas and has an LL.M. from Fordham Law School (New York).

Mr. Arsuaga and his wife, Nuria, live in Madrid, Spain, with their five sons.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Suja Koshy, Associate Professor & Head of Department of Human Development at S.V.T. College, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, India” icon=”angle-down”]

Suja koshyDr. Suja Koshy, M.Sc. (Child Development and Family Relations), Ph.D. (Education-Interdisciplinary) started her career working in a child-guidance clinic. But being passionate about teaching, she soon joined as a teaching faculty in the Department of Human Development, S.V.T. College, SNDT University, Mumbai, India. She currently is the head of the Department of Human Development.

Dr. Koshy has been teaching courses such as counseling – a developmental approach; family dynamics; current issues related to adulthood; methods of child study; introduction to remedial education; communicating with parents and children; life skills training, etc.

Her special area of work has been developmental counseling. Having been a parent coach for more than 30 years, she has conducted various workshops for parents and teachers on effective parenting, marital communication, emotional well-being, child-friendly schools, life skills, social skills, and self-esteem building. Presently Dr. Koshy is in the process of setting up a Family and Child Enrichment Center in her college that will provide a range of services to the community.

Her research interests include topics of family cohesion, family stressors and academic functioning, reading skills and children’s literature, patterns of sharing of emotions of children and adolescents, sensitization of children towards the obese child, and sensitization toward needs of the elderly.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Levan Vasadze, Chairman, Prometheus Capital” icon=”angle-down”]

levan-vasadzeMr. Levan Sh. Vasadze serves as the Chairman at Prometheus Capital Partners. Mr. Vasadze has 13 years of experience in private equity, investment banking, and CEO operations in Russia and the CIS. Mr. Vasadze served as the chief executive officer and chairman of ROSNO insurance company. He served as the first vice president and chief of strategy and development of Sistema JSFC.

At Sistema Corporation, Mr. Vasadze was in charge of corporate strategy and development; led the sourcing, review and execution of new acquisitions; and served on the boards of numerous subsidiary companies. During his tenure he oversaw no less than five successful IPOs of various businesses, including the 2005 London Stock Exchange IPO of Sistema itself – the largest ever Russian IPO at the time. From 1992 to 1993, Mr. Vasadze served as the deputy director general of Edward Shevardnadze’s Democracy and Revival Foundation. From 1995 to 1999, he occupied senior positions in the investment companies Sector Capital, Cred- itanstalt Investment Bank and Aton LLC. He has been the Chairman of Russian Insurance People’s Company (ROSNO) JSC since 2001.

In 1992, Mr. Vasadze received an M.S. with honors from Tbilisi State University specializing in geophysics. In 1995, he graduated from the Emory University Business School (Atlanta) with an MBA.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Luca Volonté, CEO of Novae Terrae Foundation” icon=”angle-down”]

Luca VolonteLuca Volonté is the CEO of the Novae Terrae Founda- tion and Chair of Dignitatis Humanae Institute. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of CitizenGo.

He was a member of the Italian Parliament from 1996 to 2013 and President of the European People’s Party (PACE) at the Strasbourg-based Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the most influential international institution focusing on human rights, democracy and rule of law.

In February 2013, Cardinal Martino confirmed Mr. Volonté as Chairman of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), also known as the Institute for Human Dignity.

Mr. Volonté has been a member of several committees at the PACE, including the Presidential Committee, PACE Bureau. His efforts were focused on defending conscien- tious objection; freedom of religion; and issues regarding youth, family and life, including anti-euthanasia measures.

He was an Italian Deputy from 1996 to 2013, and president of the Union of Christian and Center Democrats (UDC) from 1998 to 2008.

In November 2011, he received the Scandinavian Human Rights Prize in Stockholm, as well as the Honoris Causa Degree from the Albanian State University in Tirana.

In June 2013, he received from Pope Francis the “Equitem Commendatorem Magno Ordinis Sancti Gregori Magni.”

Mr. Volonté and his wife, Giannina, have two young daughters.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Pastor Greg Johnson, Standing Together” icon=”angle-down”]

pastor-greg-johnsonThe Rev. Gregory C.V. Johnson and his wife Jill founded the ministry of Standing Together in Utah in March of 2001.

Standing Together seeks to advance biblical unity among evangelical churches and pastors in Utah and spiritual transformation through- out our community and state. Prior to founding Standing Together, The Rev. Johnson served as a pastor in three local Utah churches from 1992 to 2001, in Ogden (Washington Heights Baptist Church), Ogden Valley (Ogden Valley Baptist Church), and in Orem (Orem EV Free). The Rev. Johnson has served as an at-large board member of the National Association of Evangelicals since 2008, and was ordained by the Conservative Baptist Church in America in June of 1993.

The Rev. Johnson was raised in the Mormon Church and was born again at a Christian camp just outside of Colorado Springs at age 14. Because of his background in Mormonism, The Rev. Johnson is passionate about building a relational dialogue with members of the Mormon faith, particularly with Mormon leaders and scholars. He facilitates and partic- ipates in LDS/evangelical dialogues between university students, scholars, leaders, and with his primary LDS dialogue partner, Dr. Robert Millet of BYU.

He is married to Jill Johnson and they have four children, Indiana, Reagan, California, and America.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Cathy Ruse, Senior Counsel, Family Research Council” icon=”angle-down”]

cathy-ruseCathy Cleaver Ruse is legal adviser to the Family Research Council.

Ms. Ruse is the former chief counsel to the constitutional subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to her law degree from Georgetown University, Ms. Ruse earned a certificate for trial advocacy. She is a widely published legal scholar who has given expert testimony in both U.S. House and Senate congressional hearings.

Ms. Ruse has made many television appear- ances. In addition, she received a John Paul II award for advancing the Culture of Life, and a Defender of Life Award from American Colle- gians for Life.

She and her husband, Austin, live in northern Virginia with their daughters Lucy and Gianna-Marie.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Brian Brown, National Organization for Marriage” icon=”angle-down”]

Brian-S-Brown-238x395Brian S. Brown has been president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) since 2011 after having co-founded the organization in 2007 and serving as its first executive director. NOM is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to the protection of marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.

Mr. Brown is widely regarded as one of the nation’s foremost advocates for preserving marriage, recognizing its importance to men and women, children and society as a whole.

Mr. Brown led NOM’s work in California helping to qualify Proposition 8 to the ballot, and campaigned throughout the state in 2008 to successfully urge its adoption. He has represented NOM in successful ballot fights on marriage in Maine (2009) and North Carolina (2012), and was a key leader in the successful 2010 effort to unseat three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had redefined marriage.

Mr. Brown, an Oxford University-educated and articulate advocate for marriage, is a sought-after speaker who has addressed hun- dreds of gatherings throughout the country, and internationally.

Mr. Brown is a C. Phil. at UCLA in American history, earned his B.A./M.A. in modern history at Oxford University, and received his B.A. in history from Whittier College. He and his wife, Susan Brown, have eight young children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Mark Regnerus, The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture” icon=”angle-down”]

Mark RegnerusMark Regnerus is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and a senior fellow at the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. Author of over 30 published articles and book chapters, his research is in the areas of sexual behavior, family, marriage, and religion. He’s the author of two books: Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (Oxford, 2011), which describes the norms, behaviors, and mating market realities facing young adults, and Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford, 2007), which tells the story of how religion does—and does not—shape teenagers’ sexual decision-making.

His work has been widely reviewed, including in Slate, the Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The New Yorker, and his research and opinion pieces have been featured in numerous media outlets. More recently, he was the author of a 2012 study appearing in Social Science Research on the comparatively optimal outcomes of young adults from stably married families.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”The Very Rev. Dr. Chad Hatfield, St. Valdimir Seminary, Advisory Board, First Things” icon=”angle-down”]

chad-hatfieldDr. Chad Hatfield is the chancellor and CEO of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. In addition to his administrative duties, he is the professor of Missiology. Fr. Chad serves on the Advisory Council of FIRST THINGS and the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America. He is co-chair of the OCA/Anglican Church in North America Dialogue. He is a member of the board of the Manhattan Declaration.

Fr. Chad’s ministerial service includes mission- ary work in South Africa and serving as Dean of St. Herman Orthodox Seminary, Kodiak, Alaska in addition to serving parishes and schools prior to his appointment to St. Vladimir’s Seminary. He and his wife, Matushka Thekla, are the parents of two married sons and have three grandchildren.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Richard and Linda Eyre, Authors and speakers” icon=”angle-down”]

richard-linda-eyreFor nearly 20 years, Richard and Linda Eyre have been among the most prominent and popular speakers in the world on topics of parenting, life-balance, and family-strengthening. Presenting as many as 100 keynotes, lectures, seminars, and workshops a year, the Eyres are known as much for the interactive and entertaining nature of their presentations as for the content, which is based on their New York Times bestsellers.

With clients ranging from national association conventions like the American Bar Association, the AARP, and the American Dental Association to the top management of Fortune 100 Companies like Disney and Merck, and from national and international organizations like The Young Presidents Organization and the Jr. League, to local and sponsored community and church groups, Mr. and Mrs. Eyre tailor their presentations to the interests and needs of their audiences but stay always true to their mission statement of validating values, bolstering balance, and popularizing parenting.

For the Eyres, speaking and in-person presentations are the third corner of their “influence triangle.” The other two corners are writing and media.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Ted Baehr, Chairman of Christian Film and Television Commission and Publisher of MovieGuide” icon=”angle-down”]

ted-baehrTed Baehr is founder and publisher of Movieguide®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment, as well as the chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission®, his life purpose is to “be used of God to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment.”

This was not always Mr. Baehr’s goal. He graduated with a juris doctor from New York University School of Law. After graduation he helped get funding for films that now would go against his media values.

However, friends persuaded him to read the Bible, and that experience was transformative for him. With continued study and thought, he developed his life purpose.

Mr. Baehr believes God inspired the invention of the television, despite its negatives, in order to “take every thought captive towards Him.” He believes television and other mass media are tools to be used in progressing His work and values. Mr. Baehr says, “The solution starts with you. We need to redeem the media; you know the most powerful person in Hollywood is not [media mogul] Ted Turner, it’s the 12- to 24-year-old who goes to movies.”

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”The Honorable Francisco Tatad, Former Majority Leader in the Philippine Senate” icon=”angle-down”]

francisco-tatadFrancisco “Kit” Sarmiento Tatad is a Filipino journalist and politician who served as min- ister of public information under President Fer- dinand Marcos from 1969 to 1980, and as a senator of the Philippines from 1992 to 2001.

When Marcos first appointed Dr. Tatad as Min- ister of Public Information in 1969, he became the youngest member of Marcos’ cabinet. As a senator, he served as Senate Majority Floor Leader from 1996 to 1998 and again from 2000 to 2001. As a legislator, he authored or sponsored 22 laws and was described by the media as the

“Moral Conscience of the Senate” because of his conservative stance on issues such as contraception and the Reproductive Health Bill.

After finishing his tertiary education, he worked as a journalist and columnist for various agencies. In the 1960s, he was a correspondent for Agence France-Presse and columnist and reporter at the Manila Daily Bulletin. He was also a writer for the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal Asia, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Quarterly, Business Day and the Philippine Daily Globe.

From 1989 to 1991, he was the publisher and editor of Newsday, a business and political daily newspaper. Dr. Tatad is also the author of five books.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference” icon=”angle-down”]

Samuel-RodriguezThe Rev. Samuel Rodriguez earned his master’s degree in educational leadership and was given an honorary doctorate by The Baptist Universities of the Americas.

This background, paired with his decision to follow Christ, has led to the influence the Rev. Rodriguez has in the world today. Fox News and CNN named him “the leader of the Hispanic Evangelical movement.” In 2013 he was nominated by Time magazine for its “100 Most Influential People in the World” list.

The Rev. Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the nation’s largest Hispanic Christian organization, representing over 500,000 churches around the world, with over 175 billion members.

Outside of his sermons, the Rev. Rodriguez is involved on a political level in issues such as religious liberty, biblical marriage, sex trafficking, human dignity, immigration, and alleviating poverty. He addresses these issues through a gospel lens. This involvement has provided him with the opportunity to be a keynote speaker at the 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference in Washington, D.C. He also has spoken at the White House and consulted with members of Congress and others on “social justice, Latino and values issues.”

The Rev. Rodriguez resides with his wife, Pastor Eva Rodriguez, in Sacramento, Calif., with their three children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Paige Patterson, President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary” icon=”angle-down”]

paige-pattersonPaige Patterson, an Evangelist Baptist preacher, professor and adminis- trator, is the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

His commitment to share the good news of Christ is widespread. His global mission in- cludes 125 countries, individuals and congre- gations, and his message aims to strengthen his listeners’ conservative moorings. Dr. Patterson still finds time to offer a rigorous education in the seminary to his pupils.

Dr. Patterson remembers as a child reading the biography of missionary Adoniram Judson. This inspired him to his own Evangelistic min- istry. Adoniram Judson, Jr., was an American Congregationalist and later Baptist missionary who formed the first Baptist association in America to support missionaries.

He is passionate about missions, traveling and scholarly studies. He has shared the gospel with many world leaders, including Yasser Arafat. Dr. Patterson is a proponent of expository preaching, defined as preaching that helps others read God’s words.

Dr. Patterson and his wife, Dr. Dorothy Patterson, have two daughters and two grandchildren and live in Fort Worth, Texas.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. W. Bradford Wilcox, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Viginia and Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia” icon=”angle-down”]

WBradfordWilcoxDr. W. Bradford Wilcox is associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. As an undergraduate, Dr. Wilcox was a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia (’92) and later earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has held research fellowships at Princeton University, Yale University, and the Brookings Institution.

The co-author of Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives (Columbia, 2013, with Kathleen Kovner Kline), Professor Wilcox’s research has focused on marriage, fatherhood, and cohabitation. He has coauthored the forthcoming book Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Children, & Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos. Now, Dr. Wil- cox is exploring the contribution that families make to the economic welfare of individuals and societies.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the The Ruth Institute” icon=”angle-down”]

jennifer-morseDr. Jennifer Roback Morse graduated with a Ph.D. in economics from the Uni- versity of Rochester and taught at Yale and George Mason universities. She has written three books and traveled the world speaking about marriage. Her books are Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village, 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage, and Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook- Up World. Her knowledge and interest has allowed her to be a guest on CNN, Fox News, and EWTN.

Keeping in line with her scholarly focus, Dr. Roback Morse served as a research fellow for the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and has held fellowships at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, Cornell Law School, and the University of Chicago’s economics department.

Dr. Roback Morse recognized one of the major threats to the family was the sexual revolution. She saw a clear correlation between the risky behavior the revolution promoted and the disintegration of marriage. In 2008 she established the Ruth Institute with the goal of promoting lifelong married love to millennials by changing the marriage and hook-up culture.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Pat Fagan, MARRI Institute, Marriage and Religion Research Institute” icon=”angle-down”]

pat-faganPatrick F. Fagan, Ph.D. in Dip. Psych, is Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at the Family Research Council, a social science institute studying the impact of marriage, family and religion on children, adults and society in general. A native of Ireland, Dr. Fagan began as a grade school teacher in Cork, Ireland, before becoming a psychologist practicing in Canada. In the mid- 1980s Fagan moved from clinical work into public policy and discourse to focus on family issues. He began at the Free Congress Founda- tion, later worked with Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, and was ultimately appointed deputy assistant secretary for Family and Community Policy at HHS under President George H.W. Bush. Dr. Fagan served as the Senior Fellow in family and culture issues at the Heritage Foun- dation for 13 years before moving to the Family Research Council and founding MARRI.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Errol Naidoo, Family Policy Institute” icon=”angle-down”]

Errol NaidooErrol Naidoo is the founder and CEO of Family Policy Institute (FPI) – a nonprof- it, pro-family, public policy research and educational organization based in Cape Town, South Africa. While Mr. Naidoo was serving as associate Pas- tor and Director of Public Affairs at His People Christian Church in Cape Town, God called him to establish a ministry to inform, educate and equip the greater Body of Christ to fulfill its God-given mandate to be salt & light to society. Since its launch in 2008, FPI has been at the forefront of the battle to defend the family and advance Biblical Christian values in Parliament, the media and general society.

Pastor Naidoo is the producer and host of “Watchmen on the Wall,” South Africa’s first current affairs TV program from a Biblical perspective broadcast weekly in primetime on Faith broadcasting Network. He also produces a syndicated radio program, “Watchmen on the Wall Radio Half-Hour” broadcast every week on 23 Christian radio channels across the country.

Pastor Naidoo is a regular contributor and uncompromising voice for family values in the national media in South Africa.

Errol and Arlene Naidoo have been married for 29 years and have three children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Nick Vujicic” icon=”angle-down”]

nick-vujicicNick Vujicic was born in 1982 with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare condition characterized by the absence of all four limbs. A frequent target of negative attention and bully- ing as a boy, Nick became so depressed about his physical limitations, his loneliness, and his future that he attempted suicide – only stopping when he thought of the grief his parents would experience.

When Nick was 15, he came to know God and realized there was a plan for him. He came to understand that each person, including himself, has great worth. He says that knowledge made all the difference.

He undertook his first speaking engagement at age 19. Since then, Mr. Vujicic has told millions about his life story, attributing his strength, his passion for life, and his victories to his faith in God. He speaks with people of all ages and in all walks of life. He speaks one-on-one, in churches, at work conferences, prisons, schools, orphanages, hospitals and stadiums.

In 2007, Mr. Vujicic, who is Australian, founded an international nonprofit ministry called Life Without Limbs. Its purpose is “to cross bound- aries and break down barriers, to build bridges that bring people to the love and hope found in Jesus Christ.”

In addition to his speeches and seminars, Mr. Vujicic gives many more people the opportunity to hear his message and relate to him through his strong online presence.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Allan Carlson, Founder and former International Secretary, World Congress of Families, and former CEO and president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society” icon=”angle-down”]

allan-carlsonBorn 1949 in Des Moines, Iowa, Allan Carlson received his B.A., magna cum laude, from Augustana College (1971) and his Ph.D. in Modern European History from The Ohio University (1978). He is married and has four children.

In October 1997, he created and became president of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society. He served as General Secretary of WCF II, held November 1999, in Geneva, Switzerland, with 1,600 delegates. During 2001-03, he was a History Team Member of The Pew Foundation/Woodrow Wilson Center project on “the nature of the human person.” In 2002-05, Dr. Carlson held the additional post of Distinguished Fellow for Family Policy Studies at the Family Research Council (Washington, D.C.). In 2003 he served on the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Honors Faculty at Oriel College, Oxford University. In March 2004, he was International Secretary for the WCF III, held in Mexico City, with 3,300 delegates; he held the same position for the WCF IV, held May 2007 in Warsaw, Poland, with 3,900 participants and for the WCF V, held August 2009 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has received research grants from Ohio University, The American Scandinavian Foundation, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Institute for Educational Affairs, Earhart Foundation, and Fieldstead and Company.

The author of 10 books and numerous essays, Dr. Carlson has testified as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Family and Human Services; the U.S. Attorney General’s Taskforce on Family Violence; The Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces; the U.S. House of Representa- tives Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; Swedish, Polish, and Mexican Parliamentarians; and in state and federal court.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Dave Ulrich, Author, Psychologist and Former President of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychologists (AMCAP)” icon=”angle-down”]

david-ulrichDave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and a partner at The RBL Group, a consulting firm focused on helping organiza- tions and leaders deliver value. He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate award-winning databases that assess alignment between strategies, organiza- tion capabilities, HR practices, HR competen- cies, and customer and investor results.

Dr. Ulrich has published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 25 books. He edited Human Resource Management 1990-1999, served on editorial board of 4 journals, on the Board of Directors for Herman Miller, and Board of Trustees at Southern Virginia University, and is a Fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Wendy Ulrich” icon=”angle-down”]

Wendy Ulrich, founder of Sixteen Stones Center for Growth, is a licensed psychologist with over 25 years of experience.

She is a former president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists and has been a visiting professor at Brigham Young University. She is the author of Habits of Happiness (2014, Deseret Book), The Temple Experience: Passage to Healing and Holiness (2011,Cedar Fort), Forgiving Ourselves: Getting Back Up When We Let Ourselves Down (2008, Deseret Book) and Weakness is Not Sin: The Liberating Distinction that Awakens our Strengths (2009, Deseret Book). She and her husband, Dave Ulrich, co-authored the Wall Street Journal No. 1 business bestseller The Why of Work: How Great Leaders Build Abundant Organizations that Win (2010, McGraw Hill). They presided over the Canada Montreal Mission for the LDS Church in 2002-05. Wendy is a featured speaker at Time Out for Women, and speaks frequently to both professional and lay audiences. She loves walking with friends, making things with her hands, and beating her kids (on rare occasions) at iPhone Scrabble. She and Dave are the parents of three children and eight beautiful grandchildren.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Patrick Truman, National Center on Sexual Exploitation” icon=”angle-down”]

pat-truemanMr. Patrick Trueman is a former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, U. S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1993. While there, he supervised the prosecution of child sex crimes, child pornography, and obscenity. He managed an office of 20 prosecutors and support staff, and worked with the nation’s 93 United States Attorneys to initiate and coordinate federal prosecutions. Among his duties at MIM, Mr. Trueman directs the War on Illegal Pornography, a national coalition effort involving dozens of national, state and local groups that are educating the American public on the great harms of pornography and calling for vigorous enforcement of federal laws against illegal pornography.

During his 34 years as a lawyer, he has litigated cases at all levels of the federal system, including in the United States Supreme Court. He has been an advisor to many municipalities on First Amendment law and has helped draft ordi- nances to end or curb the impact of sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip clubs, and related establishments.

Mr. Trueman has traveled to Europe, South American, the Middle East, and other areas to speak and train on the issue of human traffick- ing or deliver papers on the effects of television sex and violence on the family.

Mr. Trueman lives just outside Washington, D.C., is married to Laura Clay Trueman, and has three children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Bishop Emmanuel Badejo, Bishop at the Catholic Diocese of Oyo, Nigeria and Chairman of CEPACS at The Communications Commission of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar” icon=”angle-down”]

Adetoyese BadejoThe Most Rev. Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo was born in 1961. The young Em- manuel went to the minor seminary at 9 and showed exceptional musical, artistic and intellectual. He did his theological studies in Rome.

After his ordination as priest he worked in many areas, taking great interest in youth, communications, music and writing. He returned to Rome for a Licentiate in Pastoral Communi- cations at the Salesian University, returning to

Nigeria to serve the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, as Director of Communications for eight years. During this period he recorded musical tapes and audio and video CDs addressing themes related to the family, HIV/AIDS and youth. On sabbatical in the United States, while doing research on Film and Spirituality, he was in 1987 appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria.

Bishop Badejo has helped organize conferences and meetings on pro-life and family formation and advocacy within and beyond Nigeria. His interest in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue has also brought him into prominence in the work for peace and reconciliation. His great interest and commitment to marriage and family ethics and values is frequently brought to the fore in his weekly column published in three Nigerian national newspapers.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Steven Smoot, Family First Foundation” icon=”angle-down”]

steve-smootSteven Edgar Smoot is president of the Family First Foundation and a co-producer and executive producer of 5 documentaries: Demographic Winter: the Decline of the Human Family, Demographic Bomb: Demog- raphy is Destiny, The New Economic Reality: Demographic Winter, Lost America’s Antiquities and The Lost Civilizations of North America. He authored the book, Lost American Antiquities: a Hidden History, showing how social engi- neering in the 1800s silenced America’s ancient history, transforming how society has come to view and value the American Indian, children, marriage, family and America’s ancient civiliza- tions. President of Excel Investment Corpo- ration, a 35-year-old commercial real estate development and investment company, broker and owner of Sky Properties founded in 1978, and co-owner and CEO of Zelph Financial and The Watchman Insurance Company. Mr. Smoot is married to Kathleen Reid; they have 9 children and 14 grandchildren. The Family First Foundation has been a Contributing Partner of every World Congress of Families since 1999.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Christine de Vollmer, President of ALAFA” icon=”angle-down”]

Christine de Vollmer (2)Christine de Vollmer is president of Latin American Alliance for the Family-ALAFA, since 1989 and of ALAFA Editions.

She is also president, Asociación Provida de Venezuela- PROVIVE (Since 1981); member, Pontifical Council for the Family and Pontif- ical Academy for Life; and a member of Holy See delegation to the U.N. 1990-1995 (Earth Summit through Beijing). In 2005 she was named one of Top Ten People by Inside the Vatican magazine and in 2011 given Outstand- ing Achievement Award by Life Committee, headed by Cardinal Cheong, Archbishop of Seoul, Korea.

Ms. de Fullmer is member of the Academic Council of the Chair of Values Education, University of Carabobo (Venezuela). She is co-author and coordinator of the curriculum Alive to the World, (in Spanish Aprendiendo a Querer), a 13–year series of textbooks for values education, chastity education, personality and character development, now in use in 14 countries of Latin America, and in the U.K., Korea, Poland and Hungary.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Pastor John Jenkins, First Baptist Church of Glenarden” icon=”angle-down”]

Pastor John K. JenkinsPastor John K. Jenkins Sr. has been preaching the Good News since he was licensed as a minister in 1973 at 15 years old. From an early age, he developed a love for the Lord and felt a call to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

A tech-savvy minister, Pastor Jenkins em- braces technology to reach souls in a global way. All four of the Sunday worship services
at First Baptist Church of Glenarden (Md.), Tuesday night Bible study, and church events are streamed live via the church website. Pastor Jenkins also ministers to thousands of viewers who tune in each week online.

With the support of his wife, Trina, and their loving family, Pastor Jenkins is able to expand his ministry beyond the walls of First Baptist. In addition to his role as senior pastor, he is a trustee at Bethel University and board chairman for Project Bridges and The Skinner Institute.

Under the leadership of Pastor Jenkins, First Baptist founded SHABACH! Ministries, Inc., in 1996. Today he serves as chairman emeritus for SMI, which provides clothing, food, education and other resources to more than 11,000 people in the Washington, D.C., area.

Pastor Jenkins and his wife are the proud parents of six children and one granddaughter.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University” icon=”angle-down”]

Everett-PiperDr. Everett Piper is the fifth president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, established in 1909.

President Piper is passionate about providing students with the best opportunities to impact culture, think independently, and build a bib- lical foundation for their beliefs. Alongside his work as president, Dr. Piper advocates tirelessly for cultural change from a Christian worldview. His commentary on religion, education, and politics challenges his academic and political peers for what he calls their fallacious Orwel- lian duplicity of intolerant tolerance. Dr. Piper is the author of The Wrong Side of the Door: Why Ideas Matter and Why I Am A Liberal and Other Conservative Ideas.

Dr. Piper received a B.A. from Spring Arbor University, a M.A. from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. His previous academic leadership experience includes positions at Spring Arbor University, Grace College and Seminary, Greenville College, and Bowling Green State University

A native of Hillsdale, Michigan, Dr. Piper and his wife, along with their two sons, have served as OKWU’s First Family since August of 2002.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Tim Ballard, Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R)” icon=”angle-down”]

TimBallardTimothy Ballard is the founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). He also serves as O.U.R.’s Jump

Team Commander for rescue operations. Mr. Ballard began his career at the Central Intelligence Agency where he worked cases dealing with terrorism and Latin America. He has spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. Mr. Ballard has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations. In this effort he has successfully dismantled dozens of these organizations and rescued countless children from sex slavery.

Mr. Ballard has been featured on many national news outlets to discuss his efforts to combat child trafficking. He has appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, The Meredith Vie- ira Show, CBS Nightly News, ABC Nightline, and CNN Headline News, MSNBC, and The Glenn Beck Program.

Mr. Ballard graduated cum laude with a BA in Spanish and political science from Brigham Young University. He went on to graduate summa cum laude with an MA in international politics from the Monterey Institute of Interna- tional Studies. He resides in California with his wife and children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Stephanie Nielson” icon=”angle-down”]

Stephanie Nielson

Stephanie Nielson was born and raised in Provo, Utah, and is a popular blogger/ author, most widely known for publishing “” Ms. Nielson also penned the New York Times bestseller Heaven Is Here.

Ms. Nielson’s writings and social media mes- sages are a natural portrayal of the everyday activities in her life, like being a wife, a stay-at-home-mother, and an active Mormon.

Ms. Nielson began blogging in 2004 when her family moved to New Jersey where her husband, Christian, began his career. Originally the blog was simply a means of keeping family members in the West informed about their life back East. But people flocked to her little blog and her readership grew steadily.

Tragedy struck, however, in the summer of 2008 when Ms. Nielson and her husband were involved in a fatal airplane accident in Arizona. The crash claimed the life of their dear friend and fellow pilot, while the Nielsons miracu- lously survived life-threatening burns covering arms, legs, faces and hands. As burn-trauma survivors they offer a remarkable message of courage, faith, and hope, and the power and resiliency of family.

The Nielsons have been guests on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show, the Glenn Beck program, Anderson Cooper, and many other major media outlets.

The Nielsons live in Provo with their five children.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Dr. Jaroslaw Szymcsak, Cardinal Stefan Wysznski University” icon=”angle-down”]

jaroslaw_szymczakDr. Jaroslaw Szymcsak is a member of the Secular Institute of Consecrated Life of the Holy Family in Lomianki near Warsaw. He is a doctor of theology of marriage and family. Since 1988, he has worked at the Department of Family Studies, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University.

Dr. Szymcsak is a chaplain, confessor, and a marriage and family counselor, called the “lifeguard of marriage” – including those in deep crisis. He is co-founder of programs for married couples and brides workshops sharing years of experience of pastoral work with cou- ples. He is a spiritual guide and friend to many marriages and families.

Dr. Szymcsak is a member of the board of directors of Fertility Care Centers International, Członek International Planning Committee, and chaplain of the World Congress of Families USA. In his spare time he is a marathon runner, diver and traveler.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Andrea Williams” icon=”angle-down”]

andrea-williamsAndrea Williams is a barrister (lawyer) who has practiced at all levels of the British judicial system. After pioneering the Student and Policy work of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship, she went on to found Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, which have run some of the most high-profile Christian freedom cases and campaigns in Europe.

She is a leading analyst, campaigner and spokeswoman on issues of national importance in the moral life of the nation and a defender of Christian liberties in the parliamentary process, the justice system and the media. Ms. Williams and her husband, Gareth, have four children. She is an eight-time marathon runner.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Father Maxim Obukhov, Director, Department of Family and Life, Russian Orthodox Church, Founder, Over 1,000 Pro-Life and Pro-Life Centers in Russia” icon=”angle-down”]

Father Maxim Obukhov is director of the Department of Family and Life, Russian Orthodox Church, and founder and chairman of the Zhizn Centers, Russia’s largest and most influential pro-life organization. He also formed the All Russian Pro-Family Union, which now has 45 branches.


Featured Entertainers

[xa_slide title=”Jenny Oaks Baker, violinist” icon=”angle-down”]

Violinist Jenny Oaks Baker is a Grammy-nominated, Billboard No. 1 performer and recording artist. She received her master of music degree from the renowned Juilliard School in New York City and her bachelor’s degree in violin performance from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

She has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Strathmore Hall, the Library of Congress and as a guest soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Utah Symphony, and the internationally acclaimed Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Over the years Ms. Baker has collabo- rated with such luminaries as Gladys Knight, Kurt Bestor, Marvin Hamlisch, and the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Baker has released twelve studio albums since 1998. They have sold nearly half a million copies and consistently chart on Billboard. Her emotionally stirring music has also been featured on the soundtracks of many films, and her popular music videos can be viewed on her Youtube Channel. Ms. Baker, her husband, Matthew, and their four children reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Nathan Osmond, soloist” icon=”angle-down”]

Nathan Osmond is an accomplished singer, songwriter, producer, motivational speaker and has shared the stage with some of the industry’s biggest names. He is the son of ’70s pop star Alan Osmond.

His four latest singles, (“Sweet,” “The Tailgate Song,” “There’s A Whole Lot About A Woman” (with Country legend, Jack Greene) & “Stars & Stripes” have all hit #1 on several Country charts. His music videos have been seen on many Na- tional music networks including CMT & GAC.

Mr. Osmond was recently nominated as New Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year by the New Music awards in Los Angeles.

He recently opened for Chris Young, Carrie Underwood, Clay Walker, Lonestar, Martina McBride, and others. During the CMA Music Fest, Mr. Osmond played the “Midnight Jam- boree” at the historic Texas Troubadour Theater and Nashville Palace in Nashville, TN.

Nearly his entire life has been dedicated to writing and performing music. Raised around television and recording studios, Mr. Osmond knew at an early age that music was his destiny.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Jessie Funk, soloist” icon=”angle-down”]

Jessie Funk holds a leader- ship certification from the University of Notre Dame along with a bachelor’s de- gree in psychology. She has also been a professional youth speaker for 12 years, speaking for high schools and leadership conferences internationally. She is a “7 Habits” facilitator for Franklin Covey, the most prestigious leadership training company in the world.

She is a published author of two books for teens and she is also the Di- rector of Education for the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition. Her passion for empowering teenagers led her to start an international nonprofit organi- zation called “The Ivy Girl Academy,” a confidence and leadership-training program for teen ladies.

As a professional vocalist she has released five solo albums, has toured 36 states with the Broadway musical “Footloose,” and has also been hired for hundreds of recording sessions as a studio vocalist including songs heard on TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” ESPN and “The Biggest Loser.” Jessie has walked away from three record deals, unwilling to sell her soul for fame. She chooses to use her voice to lift and inspire in positive ways. Jessie’s favorite role in life is that of adored wife and mother to two.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic” icon=”angle-down”]

The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic, led by Kayson Brown, is Utah’s most-recognized youth orchestra. Its 2012 joint release with The Piano Guys of “Beethoven’s 5 Secrets” spent 48 days as the No. 1 download on the iTunes Classical charts in 7 countries and has nearly 40 million views on YouTube. Orchestra members come from 30 schools across the state of Utah. The Philharmonic has performed with platinum-selling artists Jackie Evancho and David Archuleta, Billboard-topping artists The 5 Browns, The Piano Guys, Paul Cardall, and Jenny Oaks Baker.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Betty Crouse Shearer, Contralto/Mezzo-soprano” icon=”angle-down”]

Betty Crouse Shearer, contralto/mezzo-soprano, has been soloist for major classical works by master composers Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Britten with renowned choral organizations including The Lexington Singers; The Delta State Choral Union; The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, Florida; and The Bach Ensemble. In Vienna, Austria, she was featured soloist with The Coast Chorale of Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. Among the classical selections “Messiah” solos are her most highly valued. But she has delighted audiences with a variety of styles including spirituals such as “Deep River” and music from the film and stage notably her favorite “The Sound of Music.” Most recently, in semi-retirement she has sung with The Jackson Choral Society of Mississippi.

Mrs. Shearer, who earned a Masters of Music Education degree from Delta State University, has taught music at all age levels from preschool through elementary, junior high, high school and college. She began teaching in a mission school in Korea and finished her teaching in a sem- inary in Haiti with many years in the United States. She is married to the Rev. John W. Shearer, and together they serve the First Christian Church of Jackson, Mississippi. They have three adult children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”The Playlist, Olivet Nazarene University” icon=”angle-down”]

Known for its fresh arrangements of classic favorites and current hits, The Playlist captivates audiences with its piano-driven melodies and creative vocal harmonies. Inspired by the standards of the American songbook and infused with gospel stylings, The Playlist communicates to people of all ages. The group’s members – Amber Leffel, Luke Olney, Wesley Taylor – are all graduates of Olivet Nazarene University, where they are currently employed. The school is located 50 miles south of Chicago, Illinois.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”Peggy Wheelwright, Violinist” icon=”angle-down”]

Peggy Wheelwright began playing the violin at age 4. She performed as a soloist with the Utah Symphony when she was 18. She has been a featured soloist with many other orchestras, including the New American Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra Ogden and Nevada Chamber Orchestra. Peggy has been a core performer with Ballet West Orchestra for over 25 years. She is the concertmaster of both the New American Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra Ogden. Peggy has performed backup for several soloists including Natalie Cole, Sarah Brightman, Placido Domingo, John Denver, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues and Mannheim Steamroller as well as Marie Osmond and Kurt Bestor. She has done extensive motion-picture recording work.

[/xa_slide] [xa_slide title=”StickShift, Bluegrass Country Group” icon=”angle-down”]

StickShift, a band formed at Weber State University (Utah), plays Texas swing, bluegrass, jazzy, country, hot fiddle, stomp-your-feet music. The band plays some covers but also writes its own music and claims “a unique composi- tion style that is clean and clever.” Fiddler Alan Watts says, “When I write, I try to incorporate something you may not have known, even though it’s a part of everyday life.”