Heather leads the IWV team, where she uses her passion for education and helping people make informed decisions to create a vision and overall strategy for IWV’s efforts.
Heather has been involved in numerous organizations that share the mission of improving people’s lives by creating a better, fairer, more innovative and prosperous country. Heather serves as chairman of the Independent Women's Forum (IWV’s sister organization) and she is also on the board of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and The Philanthropy Roundtable. In addition, she is on the NY board of UBS's mutual funds, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was named as one of the "50 Most Influential People" by Campaigns & Elections magazine for her issue advocacy and being a thought leader.
Some of the campaigns Heather has designed include:
Heather previously worked in finance and as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal and assistant editor at the Public Interest magazine. When not working, Heather loves to cook, hike, and make friends laugh. She continues to write opinion editorials and appears on a variety of radio and television programs. Heather lives in New York City with her husband, three teenagers, a dignified cat, and one squirrel-obsessed dog.
Carrie is IWV’s go-to policy wonk. Carrie (who has a B.A. from Princeton and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) has been working in the policy arena since 1997, when she joined the Cato Institute as a junior Social Security policy analyst. She also worked on Capitol Hill as the senior domestic policy analyst for the House Republican Policy Committee, and joined the Independent Women’s Forum in 2003.
Carrie has testified before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, co-authored Liberty Is No War on Women, and wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism, published by Regnery Publishing. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, and The New York Post, and she’s a contributor to Forbes.com and National Review.
During the last eight years, Carrie has lived in Belgium, Austria and Germany, but today lives in Virginia. She and her husband have five children.
Victoria Coley is IWV’s P.R. guru, helping get IWV’s information and educational messages out to as wide an audience as possible.
Victoria’s been working in the communication field for more than a decade: She began her career at Fox News Channel as a producer and later also served as coordinator of the network's Washington booking unit. She landed numerous interviews with political heavyweights and newsmakers, and coordinated breaking news coverage both in the bureau and in the field. She’s been a part of the PR team at a leading advocacy organization. And, as a regional manager at Chesapeake Bay Magazine, Victoria produced online-steaming advertising and promotional videos.
In her work for IWV and IWF, Victoria has secured experts interviews in about all the national news powerhouses.
Victoria was the founding president of The Rotaract Club of Annapolis, sponsored by The Rotary Club of Annapolis, and she is a Paul Harris Fellow. She holds a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies from Clemson (graduating as a cum laude), where she was also a two-time All-American club lacrosse player. Today she’s also busy with her two young children, which means she’s learning a whole new set of communication skills!
Heather is the Director of Operations and Policy Research at Independent Women's Voice where she helps develop, organize and implement IWV’s many projects and educational campaigns.
Heather came to IWV from the world of political consulting where she helped clients make their case to the American people. Heather also worked for the U.S. House of Representatives where she assisted with constituent services and managed the schedule for a member of Congress.
Heather graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia's School of Public and International Affairs with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in American History. She also holds an M.A. degree from the University of Georgia where she studied American Politics with a concentration in Campaigns and Elections.
Though she’s a proud Georgia native, today, Heather lives with her husband in Colorado. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking Pikes Peak, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, and volunteering with the Junior League of Colorado Springs.
Somerlyn Cothran is IW’s Senior Vice President for Development. Cothran has been running a national trade association management and fundraising company headquartered in Oklahoma for the past 16 years. Cothran founded that organization in 2001, and had then developed and managed hundreds of national and local fundraising efforts, national trade associations, nonprofits, and political action committees.
She was named a 2005 Rising Star in Politics by Campaigns and Elections magazine and was a co- founder and is the current President of the National Association of Political Fundraisers. She is an active member in the Association Management Company Institute, The American Society of Association Executives and is a certified administrator of the MBTI®. She is a regular guest speaker for state and national organizations on the topics of vision, keys to success, and women in business.
Somerlyn is also very involved in her community: She is the immediate past president and a board member of the Ada City Schools Foundation and serves on the boards of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and Mama T's Homeless Shelter. She was a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XVII, named an “Oklahoma Achiever Under 40” in 2012 and was a 2014 and 2015 “Oklahoma Woman of the Year" finalist.
Cothran earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Tulsa and a master’s degree in human relations and organizational development from the University of Oklahoma. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband and two children.
Lauren Rubio is the Director of Donor Relations, working with current and prospective donors to further the mission and reach of Independent Women’s Voice.
Lauren graduated cum laude from Wake Forest University where she majored in both Communication and Spanish. Following graduation, she went on to work in orthopedic medical device sales for nine years. With a specialty in spinal devices, she spent her medical career at two companies: Medtronic, a Fortune 500 company, and Si-Bone, a promising start-up. Working in medicine taught her many life lessons: the blessing of good health, the gift of innovation and most importantly, the power of positive impact. She left healthcare with hopes of making a greater impact for conservative women.
Lauren currently lives in Charlotte, NC where she cheers on the Carolina Panthers and spends way too much time renovating her house. She is active in her local church, Mecklenburg County of Young Republicans, and Young Life.
Hadley is Policy Director at IWV, specializing in health care, entitlements, economics and fiscal policy.
Hadley may be young – she was named to Forbes “30 Under 30” list in law and policy in 2016 – but she already has an impressive career. Hadley was a 2012-2013 National Review Institute Washington Fellow, and was also named to the Red Alert Politics “30 Under 30” list in 2014. In 2015, Hadley was named a “Rising Star” by the Republican National Committee. Currently, Hadley is serving as the 2017 Tony Blankley Chair for Public Policy and American Exceptionalism at the Steamboat Institute in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Hadley appears frequently in radio and TV outlets across the country, including Fox Business’s Coast-to-Coast, Stossel Show, Fox News’s Your World with Neil Cavuto, and PBS’s To the Contrary among others. She is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog, and her work has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, US New and World Report, TIME.com, Forbes, POLITICO, Roll Call, Real Clear Policy, the Tampa Tribune, the Denver Post, and elsewhere.
Hadley is proud to serve on the board of the Better Yes Network, a nonprofit dedicated to building communities focused on relationship, responsibility, and restoration. She graduated with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar with a bachelor’s degree in economics and journalism. She lives with her husband in Denver, Colorado.
IWF Senior Fellow Charlotte Hays is the editor of In Character magazine, which is published by the John Templeton Foundation and the former editor of The Women’s Quarterly, which was published by the Independent Women’s Forum. She has been a feature writer for the Washington Times and was the Washington bureau chief for the National Catholic Register. While at the Register, she reported from on the ground in Beirut in 1985 and won a first place from the Catholic Press Association for an interview with the novelist Walker Percy. She has written for National Review, Town & Country, New York magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard. A recovering gossip columnist, Charlotte is also coauthor of three books, Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the perfect Funeral; Somebody Is Going to Die if Lilly Beth Doesn’t Catch that Bouquet: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding; and Some Day You’ll Thank Me for This: The Southern Ladies’ Guide to Being a “Perfect” Mother. Charlotte is also the author of Fortune Hunters, about dazzling marriages. A native of Greenville, Mississippi, Charlotte has a B.A. from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn.
Julie is a senior policy analyst at IWV, where she focuses on regulation and public policy, in particularly as it relates to food and consumer products.
Julie is the author of the book From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back. Julie’s work has appeared in the New York Post, the Washington Post, New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, National Review Magazine, National Interest Magazine, the Tampa Tribune, and Townhall.com and is a regular contributor to National Review Online, BlogHer and Huffington Post. She has offered political commentary on Fox News, TheBlaze TV and other networks and is a regular guest on local, regional and national radio programs.
Gunlock previously worked on Capitol Hill for both Senate and House committees.
Today, she lives in Virginia with her husband and three active boys, where she is active in her local Catholic church, the school PTA, and other community organizations.
Patrice Lee, a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice. Onwuka has worked in the advocacy and communications fields for more than a decade. Prior to joining IWF, Onwuka served as national spokeswoman and communications director at Generation Opportunity, and worked at The Philanthropy Roundtable and the Fund for American Studies in policy and media roles. She also held consulting roles as a speech writer for a United Nations spokesman and a manager for a student travel program to South Africa.
Born in the Caribbean, Patrice immigrated with her family to Boston where she grew up and completed her education. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Tufts University and a master’s degree in international relations from Boston College. Patrice’s unique background fuels her passion to defend freedom and faith in America.
Amber is IWV’s Director of Outreach. That means she is always looking for opportunities to meet people and organizations that share our passion and that we could work with to advance our cause.
Amber has worked for several prominent organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation, Maryland Public Policy Institute, and the Lexington Institute.
She is also a lifestyle photographer in her spare time, and enjoys photographing many of IWF and IWV’s events. Amber currently lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband Tyler and their two young children.
Ashley is the Director of Coalitions for the Independent Women's Voice.
A native Marylander, Ashley cut her teeth in politics by working for a longtime Maryland Congressman and later at the Maryland General Assembly. Since that time she’s worked on numerous campaigns and with state parties around the country.
She received her B.A in Government & Politics from the University of Maryland, College Park and holds a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She also spent time studying at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
Ashley is actively involved in the DC community. She is currently elected as the At-Large member of the the DC State Board of Education, volunteers with the Junior League of Washington and promotes literacy development by working with several area nonprofits. An avid Nationals fan, Ashley loves to show her Natitude.
Ericka Andersen Sylvester is the Digital Marketing Director of Independent Women's Voice where she focuses on audience development, promotional, and engagement strategies to connect with women across the country.
She was formerly the Digital Director of National Review Online and Digital Manager at the Heritage Foundation. She also served as the director of online media outreach for Vice-President Mike Pence when he was Chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Ericka lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and young son.
Sekayi has 15 years of experience in graphic design specializing in visual print design for various forms of branding and marketing collateral. She graduated cum laude from Bloomfield College in May 2000 with a BA in Desktop Publishing. She worked and learned a great deal in a couple entry level positions before landing a graphic designer position at Eagle Publishing (now Salem Eagle). For 8 years she worked within a team of talented designers for the leading publisher of conservative books before moving to Georgia in 2010. In the six years following, she has expanded her design experience to include higher education at Kennesaw State University and Amoena USA Corporation — the global industry leader in breast form manufacturing and pocket apparel production. She lives in Georgia with her husband.
Natalie is a Development Associate for IWF and IWV, helping to keep all the trains running on time, and assisting in a variety of research and administrative projects. Prior to joining IWV, Natalie was a legal intake officer at the ACLU of South Carolina.
She is involved in activism projects with pro-liberty non-profits, such as Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty.
Natalie has a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science with a concentration in Politics, Philosophy & Law from College of Charleston.
Casidy McMeans is a Development Associate for IWV , helping to keep all the trains running on time, and assisting in a variety of administrative projects.
Casidy graduated from East Central University in Ada, OK where she earned a B.A. in Human Services Counseling with a concentration in Services to the Deaf and a B.S. in Psychology. Casidy has almost a decade of development experience having worked at the national fundraising firm, Cothran Development Strategies, Inc. and most recently for the past 5 years at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oklahoma City.
Casidy resides in Ada, OK with her husband and daughter.
Betsy Pearson is the Staff Assistant at the Independent Women's Forum/Voice. She is a graduate from the University of Iowa, double majoring in Public Policy and Communications. Betsy received her Writing Certificate from the renowned Iowa Writer's Workshop, which has led her to be published with The Libertarian Republic and intern with Atlas Network, writing news updates. She spent her undergraduate career as a student activist with Young Americans for Liberty, fighting for free speech on campus. Betsy has completed the Charles Koch Institute's Internship Program, and the Fellowship Program. She has just relocated to the East coast and enjoys exploring D.C. with her dog.