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Putin Expert, Astronauts and Others to Headline Conversations with Exceptional Women
Wednesday, August 31, 2022


Fiona Hill, considered a world expert on Russia and Putin, will be among the women who will be featured in the 8th annual conversations with Exceptional Women conference.

The two-day conference will be held Thursday and Friday, Sept. 8-9, at the Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum.

This year’s theme is “On the Shoulders of Giants” and acknowledges women whose work has advanced women’s rights and gender equality.

Hill, former official at the U.S. National Security Council, was one of two fact witnesses in the first impeachment trial of President Trump. Her new book, “There’s Nothing for You Here,” tells the story of her journey from the coal fields of England to the White House

Others who will be speaking include Jennifer Siebel Newsom who founded the Representation Project to advance women’s rights and will offer a screening of her new film “Fair Play,” which seeks to change the unfair work dynamic at home and in society.

Other speakers include Dr. Ellen Ohoa, astronaut and former director of the Johnson Space Center; Boise’s Barbara Morgan, astronaut and Teacher in Space; Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams; Gina Bennett, a CIA counterterrorism expert who was the first to warn of the menace of Osama bin Laden—eight years before 9/11.

Others include State Sen. Michelle Stennett, the Senate’s minority leader; Naomi McDougall Jones, who tackled the sexism of Hollywood in her book “The Wrong Kind of Women: Inside Our Revolution to Dismantle the Gods of Hollywood;” 2022 Grammy Award winner Amy Andersson; film director Christine Walker and Jo Hay, a visual artists whose series “The Persisters” celebrates such women of courage as  Fiona Hill, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Michelle Obama.

There also will be sessions examining threats to American democracy and the status of women after Dobbs.

“We have, once again, gathered some of the nation’s remarkable leaders for two days of conversations about issues that confront women and, indeed, America,” said David Adler, president of The Alturas Institute and founder of Conversations with Exceptional Women.  

Tickets are $185 for both days and includes coffee and lunch each day.

Tickets of $225 include a reception with speakers and $350 tickets include an intimate dinner with speakers and a private talk. Tickets are available at

The lineup:

Thursday, Sept.8

 9-9:10 am:   Welcoming Remarks

 9:10-10:20: “Beyond the Stars: Courage is Contagious.” Barbara Morgan and Ellen Ochoa (David Adler, moderator)

10:20-10:35:  Coffee break, book signings

 10:35-11:35: “From the Coal Fields to the White House: The Improbable Fiona Hill.” Fiona Hill (David Adler, moderator).

 11:35-12:20: “The Persisters: Painting Courageous Women.” Fiona Hill and Jo Hay. (Christine Walker, moderator).

 12:20-1:20:  Lunch Provided

 1:30-2:30: “Championing Human Rights: Nobelist Jody Williams.” (David Adler, moderator).

 2:30-2:40:   Break

 2:40-4:00: “Women’s Rights After Dobbs.” Jody Williams, Caroline Heldman, Naomi McDougall Jones. (Jeanette Schneider, moderator).

 Adjourn for the day.

 4-5:30: Reception for Ticket Holders.

 5:45-7:30: Intimate Dinner and Private Talk for Ticket Holders.

 Friday, Sept.9

 9-10:20 am: “Challenges to American Democracy.” Gina Bennett, Fiona Hill, Caroline Heldman, Michelle Stennett.  (David Adler, moderator).

 10:20-10:35: Coffee Break and Book Signings

 10:35-11:15: “A Conversation with Filmmaker, Christine Walker.” (David Adler, moderator).

 11:20-12:10: “Winning a Grammy: Amy Andersson.” (Caroline Heldman, moderator).

 12:10-1:10: Lunch and Book Signings.

 1:15-2:15: “Women and National Security.” Fiona Hill and Gina Bennett. David Adler, moderator.

 2:30-4:00: Exclusive Screening of “Fair Play.” Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

 4-4:15:  Break.

 4:15-4:50: Interview with Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Caroline Heldman, moderator.

 4:50: Closing remarks.

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