Day 1 Keynote: Dan Bartlett, Former Counselor to President George W. Bush, and Current EVP of Corporate Affairs for Walmart

As the former counselor to President George W. Bush, Dan Bartlett was responsible for all aspects of communications planning, policy formulation, and agenda implementation. Currently a strategic advisor to business leaders in key sectors of the American and global economy, his experience serving in the highest levels of state and federal government and helping lead two successful presidential campaigns gives him a unique perspective in shaping public opinion and reputation management. Bartlett also draws on his years of foreign policy experience to speak from firsthand knowledge about the current political environment, life in the West Wing, and America’s international relationships. He is exclusively represented by Leading, Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau.

A Distinguished Resume. During his years at the White House, Bartlett oversaw the White House Press Office and the Offices of Communications, Media Affairs, and Speechwriting. He played a key role in developing and executing the president’s domestic and foreign policy agenda and traveled extensively with President Bush to more than 40 countries, participating in talks with top-level officials. President Bush relied on Bartlett for his policy judgment, which enabled him to develop successful campaigns to reform public schools, pass major tax relief, and begin diversifying America’s energy sources. In addition, Bartlett played a lead role in launching a global communications strategy as the U.S. responded to the attacks on September 11, 2001.

Since 1993, Bartlett has been a valuable aid to Bush, beginning with his work on two successful gubernatorial campaigns. Following those wins, Bartlett served as a senior spokesman and the director of rapid response for the “Bush for President” campaign in 2000 and the reelection campaign in 2004. Once in the White House, Bartlett was the assistant to the president for communications and then the communications director before becoming the counselor. 

Current Roles
Currently, Bartlett is the executive vice president of corporate affairs for Walmart. Mike Duke, the company’s CEO said, “Dan’s…broad understanding of world affairs make him the ideal leader…He has had key roles in government and at a major communications company. He has also counseled a wide range of clients in areas such as growth strategy, crisis management, and public opinion.” Before that, Bartlett was the president and CEO of Hill+Knowlton (H+K) Strategies’ U.S. arm, where he helped organizations assess public opinion and risk and develop strategies for operations, HR, and more. Additionally, Bartlett is a commentator for CBS News who covers all things political, and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and a fellow at its Center for Politics and Governance.

Texas Monthly magazine once described Bartlett as “the linchpin of the most far-reaching, tough-minded, and technologically advanced government communications operation in history.” Bartlett’s colleagues have lauded his belief that the American people deserve to know as much as possible and are capable of taking “the good with the bad.” White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten noted, “His title [was] counselor to the President, but he’s been much more than that.” Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove added, “Dan is somebody who has a very good relationship with the president that allows him to be shockingly and sincerely direct. There aren’t a lot of those.”