The EMILY's List and Marie Claire Townhall at the Democratic National Convention

Meet The Panel

Joanna Coles, Marie Claire Editor-in-chief

Joanna Coles has been editor-in-chief of Marie Claire, the smart woman’s fashion and beauty magazine, since 2006. With a mission of empowerment, Coles has extended the magazine’s readership to 3.8 million and pushed its award-winning mix to cover the issues that matter to women most, big or small. Under Coles’ leadership, the Marie Claire brand has come to life well beyond the pages of the magazine. Currently a mentor on the hit show, Project Runway All-Stars, she also produced and appeared on Style Network’s Running in Heels, one of the first reality television shows to go behind-the-scenes of the fashion and magazine industries. Coles has also led MC to the digital forefront with cutting-edge apps, a website with 2.2 million unique users and an active Twitter following of more than 700,000. Coles was named AdWeek’s 2011 Editor of the Year and led the magazine to the #2 spot on Adweek’s Hot List, an annual list of the most influential and successful magazines. Previously, Joanna worked at More and at New York Magazine;. the British-born Coles was also the New York bureau chief for the Times of London, a radio and TV broadcaster for the BBC, a writer for the Guardian, and a reporter at the London Daily Telegraph. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, two sons and their mutt Phoebe. She’s also the author of The Three of Us: A New Life In New York.

Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List

Stephanie Schriock is one of the nation's brightest young political professionals, having successfully managed some of the toughest senate races in the country (Jon Tester of Montana and Al Franken of Minnesota) and served as Finance Director for Howard Dean's presidential campaign, which revolutionized internet fundraising. Schriock has served as a Chief of Staff in the United States Senate as well as a leader at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Since she arrived at EMILY's List in 2010, membership has tripled to 1.6 million members in all fifty states; EMILY’s List has set new records in fundraising for women candidates, and has recruited and is supporting a truly extraordinary number of women, including a record ten candidates for the United States Senate. Washingtonian Magazine named her one of their “40 under 40 Washingtonians to watch”, and Time Magazine said she was a “rising star in American politics.”

Ashley Judd, Actress & Activist

Ashley Judd is an actor, author, activist, and advocate; as well as a Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention from her co-home state of Tennessee. Her New York Times best-selling book All That Is Bitter And Sweet is based on personal diaries about her travels to 13 countries, working on feminist social justice and global public health. Ashley serves on the board of directors of Population Services International and Defenders of Wildlife, and on the advisory council of International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Demand Abolition, and Women Thrive Worldwide. She actively supports several organizations including Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List among others. Ashley has given the keynote address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has twice addressed the National Press Club. An honors graduate of the University of Kentucky and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, she received the Dean’s Scholar Award for her work in the Harvard Law class, Gender Violence: Law, and Social Justice. She recently completed an intensive course in theology at Christ Church College, Oxford. Ashley is married to the internationally-recognized race car driver Dario Franchitti, a three-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Kirsten E. Gillibrand was sworn in as United States Senator from New York in January 2009, filling the seat of the current Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. In November 2010, Gillibrand won election to the seat with 63 percent of the vote. Prior to her service in the Senate, Gillibrand served in the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 20th Congressional District, which spans across ten counties in upstate New York. In the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has helped lead the fight to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," and fought for providing health care and compensation to the 9/11 first responders and community survivors . The mother of two young children, Senator Gillibrand is an outspoken advocate for women’s political participation, and travels the country urging women to “get off the sidelines”. Named to Newsweek/The Daily Beast’s “150 Women Who Shake the World" list, Gillibrand is a graduate of Dartmouth College and UCLA’s law school, and was an attorney in private practice and public service before her election to Congress.

Val Demings, Fmr. Police Chief & Congressional Candidate

Val Demings began her law enforcement career as a beat cop working nights – and in 2007 was selected to serve as Chief for the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to ever hold that position. Her tenure was marked by a dramatic forty percent reduction in violent crime, including robberies, shootings and murders. Under her bold and aggressive leadership, thousands of guns were removed from Orlando’s streets, and communities became safer. Demings also reduced costs, saving taxpayers money. Demings received a B.S. in Criminology from Florida State University and a Masters degree in Public Administration from Webster University. She spent her early career as a Social Worker focused on foster care, and then joined the police force in Orlando. The youngest of seven children, Demings is the mother of three sons.