Betsy DeVos: Changing the Face of Politics in Education

Betsy DeVos steps into the national spotlight as the United States Secretary of Education. Though new to the national platform, DeVos has been in the public eye as a businesswoman, politician and philanthropist for decades.

DeVos came under fire by some for her stance on charter schools, school vouchers and what some say is a way to make all public schools private. In the article, “Why not give Betsy DeVos and school vouchers a try” some people stand behind her stating public employee unions that oversee the current school system might not have the children’s best interests at heart. Other say as long as we stand together whether it’s about the public school system or public roads, we are strongest. One person actually went as far to say Democrats should open their arms to this Republican support of Islam which is not usual. Most people agree education is about what is best for the students no matter what system they use to learn. Check this related article from

DeVos comes from a wealthy family in Michigan, an heir to the Amway fortune. She quickly got into politics. DeVos was a delegate for the Michigan Republican Party, a Republican National Committeewoman for Michigan and chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. DeVos then became the finance chairperson for the Bush Administration’s National Republican Senatorial Committee. Throughout this time she was a strong supporter or charter schools, school vouchers and education as a whole.

Whether people agree or disagree with Betsy DeVos approach to education, no one can argue she does many philanthropic activities and raises funds for many projects. DeVos and her husband began the Windquest Group in 1989. This company invested in technology, clean energy and manufacturing. The same year DeVos launched the Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation. This foundation supports community, arts, justice, leadership and education. DeVos and the foundation made over $11.6 million in 2015. This catapulted the DeVos family on the Forbes list in the top 24 of the country’s givers. This foundation donated millions to hospitals, Christian schools, missions as well as many other organizations. Her critics shout DeVos has no public education experience; however, her track record with charter schools proves this isn’t true. Millions of dollars from her foundations directly aided charter schools.

Standing behind her love for education, the DeVos foundation gave over five million to charter schools, over eight million to private Christian schools and almost $60,000 to public schools. They don’t stop at schools, but even put money into college students’ education. DeVos also gives a yearly scholarship, the Betsy and Dick DeVos Scholars for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholarship, to students at Northwood University earning a BBA or combined BBA/MBA.

Visit Betsy’s website:

Veterans Suggest Solutions to VHA Issues

For a long time, U.S. Veterans have been lamenting about the Department of Veterans of Affairs. The health insurance cover that veterans have with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is not sufficient to meet their healthcare needs and they also receive poor services from the VHA. The fact that they only have the option of having a cover with the VHA is also a problem because the VHA knows it has no competition and therefore does very little to address their grievances.


Veterans suggest that the VHA should be privatized and maybe then, the quality of healthcare services they receive will improve. They want the government to increase the pay of soldiers in active duty to enable them to take up insurance covers with private firms of their choice. Veterans also want to be involved in the running and operation in the VHA because that way, they will have no choice but to deliver quality services to their own. The government should also allocate enough funds to the VHA to meet the healthcare needs of the veterans.


Many past presidents have attempted to fix these issues but always fail at doing so because they take the wrong approach. Among President Donald Trump’s promises during his presidency campaign was to fix these issues once and for all and improve the welfare of veterans who so faithfully served the country. However, many are skeptical about the fulfillment of these promises unless the privatization approach is taken.


Solange Knowles’ ‘A Seat at the Table’ Album Serves As an Inspiration

‘A Seat at the Table’, Solange’s 2016 album is the source of inspiration of a course syllabus that is forthcoming. Reliable sources say that the project is being run by a team including Wake Forest University students, scholars and Melissa Harris-Perry. The course syllabus curators are calling out to young women of color (black women) to make contributions that will help build the syllabus. The contributions are to be made through the seatsyllabus website.


Solange’s album has been among the most popular and reflective albums that have been produced by a young woman of color. Some of the issues talked about in the album include, race, equality and womanhood—issues that actually matter quite a bit. The whole point of this album is to be a wakeup call to the women of color between the ages of 16-30 to express their experiences through music, visual arts and texts. This is more like having a ‘seat at the table’.


One statement made on the seatsyllabus website suggested that if America was to have a democracy in which all the citizens were to have a seat at the table, those experiences would be the main point of focus to the country’s development.


The syllabus is based on the album’s themes which will address topics such as resisting racism, human sexuality, understanding gender, nurturing ourselves and the role of relationships. The ‘A Seat at the Lunch Table’ theme is suited for middle school aged girls and elementary school. The deadline for submissions is January 31st 2017.

Trump Chooses Obama Administration Carry-Over To Head VA Cabinet Post

There aren’t too many open positions left to fill in President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. Another post was taken today, and that honor goes to David Shulkin, a former Obama cabinet member who currently serves as undersecretary of health.


Donald Trump announced in a news conference on Wednesday, that he has chosen Shulkin to head the Veterans Affairs Department. What’s most interesting is this little fact:


If confirmed, 57-year-old David Shulkin would be the first non-vet ever to serve in the post.


Veterans’ healthcare here in the United States still suffers from its own set of challenges, according to a report by the, including long waiting lines and schedule manipulations for those vets seeking healthcare. Shulkin will attempt to reform the broken system that serves nine million vets.


More than two years after the scandal broke in 2014 at the Phoenix, Arizona VA Hospital, problems continue. President Obama had brought in a new team to tackle the issues and improve access to providers. However, many vets remain in limbo, to the tune of 38,000 waiting more than 125 days for an appointment. Arizona’s Sen. John McCain finds it shameful, saying the country is “putting the health of our veterans at risk.”


When Donald Trump was campaigning for president, he often blasted the VA department as corrupt and incompetent, guaranteeing veterans that they could opt to go to private doctors. It appears the President-elect is now stepping back from those remarks and taking a more careful approach to a complicated healthcare system.


So far, the nomination of David Shulkin is being met with approval from some democrats. Phillip Carter, an Iraq vet who had advised Hillary Clinton on veterans issues, is applauding Trump’s choice. Carter says Shulkin is one of few with the ability to handle such a complex system.



Lori Senecal; A woman determined to change the entire aspect of advertisement industry.

Currently, Lori Senecal is the Chief Executive Officer of CP+B (Crispin Porter & Bogusky) LLC and a former Executive Chairman of KBS. She holds this position in an industry filled with desperate people who want more and ready to do whatever it takes to be the best. The advertisement industry is known for preferring big personalities where an individual is expected to be in a position of advertising him/herself. Despite being a woman, Lori has made a name for herself and proven a woman can indeed make it in the advertisement industry. Lori is responsible for deepening MDC’s model, driving the strategic vision and working hand in hand with the MDC agencies in a consultative role of cross collaboration and fuel growth. She also plays a role in partnering with all the clients to assist in optimizing seamless structures across the partner capabilities. While she was working at KBS, she was focused on the firm’s growth and global vision.

For the past five years, Lori has pioneered ambition to the advertisement industry and also ignited a movement to focus beyond the overstatement of innovation to genuine intervention. Through this KBS was branded as an agency responsible for inventive options. She firmly believes that for competitive advantage to be delivered, the true invention is needed in every brand. In her former position at KBS, she was responsible for spearheading business units around start-up investment, content creation, and technology.

She mostly encourages employees and other women always to invent the career of their choice. Lori has incubated and backed various passion startups and projects pitched by employees. These projects and startups have been pitched with the help of agency-wide invention competitions aimed at inspiring and incentivizing employees in the agency while fueling culture and invention.

With the support of Lori’s leadership skills, Forbes reveals that KBS was seen to grow from a 250 person agency to more than 800 people worldwide. Because of all her effort, today KBS is viewed as one of Crain’s suitable place to work while in New York. It has been in a position of working with a roster of blue-chip customers such as Victoria’s Secret PINK, Simmons Bedding Company, American Express among others. Before joining KBS, Lori had served as the President of the McCann Erickson New York Office. She also worked for the McCann World group as the Global Chief Innovation Officer.

With all she has learned and achieved, Lori is determined to apply all her efforts in CP+B LLC to ensure it grow and develops like she did KBS agency.

Read full report:

Disability Benefits Being Awarded To U.S. Vets Exposed To Tainted Water

It’s been a long time coming, but finally a major breakthrough for our nation’s veterans, former reservists and former National Guard members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and exposed to tainted drinking water.


The Obama administration has agreed to provide these military veterans with disability benefits, according to an official announcement made to the public on Thursday.


Those who served for at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune’s marine base from 1953 to 1987 and have been diagnosed with one of eight diseases are eligible.


The Dept. of Veterans Affairs would be making these payments to those veterans starting in March. The Associated Press reports that up to 900,000 service members could have been affected by the tainted water at the famous marine base. The cost to taxpayers of the added VA benefits has been estimated at $2.2 billion over five years.


The diseases and conditions listed by the document’s Federal Register include adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.


The National Research Council stated that contaminants in the water supply were found to have three major routes of exposure: through inhalation, skin contact and ingestion. Some of these toxic chemical compounds featured trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride.


Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis had authored the Camp Lejeune Reservist Parity Act to require the VA to expand benefits to reservists who served at Camp Lejeune (not only active-duty personnel). Bilirakis serves as Vice Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.


Biliarkis, like many in our country strongly believe, says it was the right thing to do for the men and women who had served at Camp Lejeune. Veterans sacrifice so much for the country and deserve better access to well-earned benefits, Bilirakis added.


US Veterans Protest against Installation of Oil Pipeline in North Dakota

US veterans from various military branches have joined North Dakota residents and other activists in demonstrations against the installation of an oil pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota. The protests have been ongoing since April 2016. The protesters were recently ordered to leave the area but even the bitter cold does not seem to be a deterrent to them. Among the protesters are environmental activists who claim that the oil pipeline will contaminate Standing Rock’s water source. Besides this, the oil pipeline will also run over sacred burial sites and this has infuriated North Dakota residents.


Michael Wood, a former US Marine, is the leader of the veterans’ group of protesters. There have been accusations of police beating up peaceful protesters and Mr. Wood was appalled by this as the demonstrations are peaceful. The veterans have a Facebook page through which they urge the public to support them by making donations to cater for the various needs of the protesters and other aspects of the campaign. They have raised more than $1 million and are expecting many more people to join the protests. The protesters want the pipeline to be rerouted so as not to interfere with the local water source and the sacred burial sites.


The veterans are determined to fight for this cause as they believe it is a worthy one. They have truthfully and honorably served the US for years and continue to do so even in their retirement. They urge volunteers who want to join in the protests to be peaceful and not to carry any drugs or weapons to the protests.


Chili’s Manager Scolded For Refusing Free Meal To Vet, Despite Proof Of Service

This one makes Chili’s restaurant chain look bad, no matter what part of the country the establishments are located in. The problem occurred on Veteran’s Day, when the chain announced that US servicemen and women could have a free Chili’s meal.


Ernest Walker and his service dog were enjoying that meal at a Chili’s Restaurant in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill, Texas. Imagine the vet’s embarrassment and humiliation when the Chili’s manager there challenged Mr. Walker on his US Army military status, beginning with the uniform he was wearing, says


Mr. Walker was wearing a military uniform without a name tag. He had bought the uniform after retirement. Mr. Walker claims another customer at the north Texas Chili’s had the nerve to question whether he was actually in the service.


When a manager then asked the veteran to showed him his discharge papers and identification, Mr. Walker did right away. Still, his free meal was taken away from him. Mr. Walker filmed the incident unfolding on his cell phone, which shows the manager taking the free meal away, despite proof of the military discharge papers. Mr. Walker posted the video on YouTube after the incident. You can check it out here.


Mr. Walker claims he was treated with disrespect by the male manager, because of his color. “He treated me as if I was a black mean stealing a meal.”


The vet has retained counsel, looking at his legal options. Chili’s has since apologized.


Veterans With PTSD Find Comfort With Art Therapy

Art therapy has been a growing trend of using artistic mediums to deal with or work through traumatic situations or issues that cause mental anguish. One non-profit oganization in the UK is using this innovative form of therapy as a treatment for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


The Tyrwhitt House is a combat stress facility that works with veterans returning from war and has realized the healing properties that art therapy can have on these struggling individuals.


The facility’s senior art pyschotherapist, Jan Lobban told Buzzfeed News that it does not take artistic talent to participate and be successful in this form of therapy. Lobban explains that all that is needed is an open mind. The mind creates the art.


“It’s not about how good the art is, it’s about what it represents,” Lobban said. “It’s about self-expression and being able to externalise some things that might not be making sense. People learn about themselves through image-making.”


The art therapy program’s veteran participants were skeptical at first, but are now realizing how creating artwork and poems can help them let go of things that their minsd are holding onto and begin the healing process.


“The inspiration comes naturally, or quite instantly,” explains one of the veterans. “And sometimes you have to get up because it’s too painful.”


Art therapy is giving hope to these veterans that are struggling with seeing unimaginable things and coming so close to making the ultimate sacrifice for their serviec to their country.


Jeanmarie Guenot; Excellence in Business and Therapeutics Management


Jeanmarie Guenot brings an over two decades’ wealth of experience in the Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. In fact, Jeanmarie Guenot’s company Amphivena Therapeutics was named one of the bay area’s 10 hottest biotech startups. In her career, Jeanmarie has worked in all the stages of various companies in both the private and public sectors. She has served in pharmaceutical R&D, business development, project and alliance management, corporate & commercial development, and venture capital. She has an outstanding expertise as well as interest in construction or redevelopment of companies. Jeanmarie launched her business career at Atlas Venture where she ran venture capital investments and created life science companies. Her scientific career began with her role as the principal scientist in Preclinical R&D at Hoffman-La Roche.


Currently, Jeanmarie is the President and the Chief Executive Officer of Amphivena Therapeutics Inc. This is a company that is focused on developing groundbreaking functional antibody therapies for hematologic malignancies. Jeanmarie also has remarkable entrepreneurial skills. She is known for building and running her start-up SKS Ocular. This is an ophthalmic company incubator which is focused on sustained release ocular drug delivery, dry AMD, and therapeutics for glaucoma, ocular inflammation as well as macular degeneration.


In one of the most remarkable accomplishments, JeanMarie Guenot has served as a business advisor for Hoffman-La Roche based in Shanghai, China. She has also served as the vice president of Corporate & Business Development at PDL BioPharma according to At her role, she managed licensing, M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions), as well offering alliance management for PDL’s R&D as well as commercial product portfolio. Jeanmarie also spearheaded the negotiation in the Biogen Idec-PDL 50:50 commercialization strategic collaboration and co-development. This deal involved a three second-phase cancer and autoimmune illness drug candidates.


Recently, Amphivena Therapeutics announced their achievement of the 1st and 2nd markers under the terms of the agreement with Janssen Biotech. Janssen Biotech and Amphivena were working on developing an undisclosed tumor antigen. These milestones prompted the release of disbursements to Amphivena. However, the details of the deal that was facilitated by Johnson and Johnson were not disclosed. Jeanmarie, speaking on the achievements said, “We are delighted to have achieved our milestones earlier than anticipated and look forward to advancing our therapeutic candidate rapidly to the clinic to address the unmet needs of patients suffering from life-threatening cancers.”

Video for the agreement was released on YouTube
Jeanmarie Guenot and Maverick Therapeutics Announce Five-year Collaboration with Takeda