Kathleen Parker is a columnist for The Washington Post, writing twice-weekly on politics and culture. She is the most widely syndicated columnist in the country, with her columns appearing in more than 450 papers. She is also a consulting faculty member at the Buckley School of Public Speaking and a regular guest on Sunday news shows.
A columnist since 1987, Parker has worked for five newspapers, from Florida to California, and has written for several magazines, including The Weekly Standard, TIME, Newsweek, Town & Country, Cosmopolitan, and Fortune Small Business. She serves on the board of contributors for USA Today’s Forum page, part of the newspaper’s Opinion section, and is also a contributor to the online magazine, The Daily Beast. Parker joined the Washington Post Writers Group in 2006.
In 2010, she became co-host of CNN’s Parker Spitzer, along with former New York governor Elliot Spitzer. She left the show in 2011 to focus on her writing. She is also the author of Save the Males: Why Men Matter, Why Women Should Care.
With a selection of political opinion columns, Kathleen Parker won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for “her perceptive, often witty columns on an array of political and moral issues, gracefully sharing the experiences and values that lead her to unpredictable conclusions.” She is also the 1993 winner of the H.L. Mencken writing award presented by the Baltimore Sun. The Week magazine named her one of the nation’s “Top Five Columnists” in 2004 and 2005.
Alejandro Mayorkas has served as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) the United States Senate unanimously confirmed his nomination on August 7, 2009. Director Mayorkas leads USCIS within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is charged with operating the largest immigration system in the world. He is responsible for a workforce of more than 18,000 people located in approximately 230 offices throughout the world, and he oversees a budget of approximately $3 billion.
Immediately prior to joining USCIS, Director Mayorkas was a partner in the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP. He advised boards of directors and executives, led internal investigations, and litigated bet-the-company matters covering a wide array of industries. He also served as a member of O'Melveny & Myers' worldwide governing Policy Committee and as Chair of the firm's Values Awards Committee and the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee. In 2008, the National Law Journal named Mayorkas one of the "50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America."
In 1998, Senator Dianne Feinstein recommended Mayorkas to be the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate, Mayorkas became the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation and the first in the Central District of California to be appointed from within the Office. Mayorkas led an office of 240 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and oversaw the prosecution of cases of national and international significance. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Attorney General's Advisory Subcommittee on Civil Rights and as a member of the Subcommittee on Ethics in Government.
From 1989 to 1998, Mayorkas served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. From 1996 to 1998, he served as Chief of the Office's General Crimes Section, overseeing the training and trial work of all new Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Criminal Division. He has received numerous awards and commendations from federal and local law enforcement for his work as a federal prosecutor.
Maria Odom was appointed Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in September 2012.
In this role, Odom leads the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman. The Ombudsman’s Office is dedicated to improving the quality of citizenship and immigration services delivered to the public by providing individual case assistance, as well as making recommendations to USCIS to improve the administration of immigration benefits.
To carry out this mission, Odom works with community leaders and immigration professionals across the country to understand current issues and explore solutions to problems faced by individuals and employers seeking citizenship or immigration services. Under her leadership, the Ombudsman’s Office serves as a visible, accessible and reliable resource to the community.
Odom came to the Department as a legal expert with a wide range of immigration experience in the government, private and charitable sectors. Most recently, Odom led the country’s largest network of charitable legal immigration programs as the Executive Director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC). Odom practiced immigration law in the southeast for many years, leading a successful private practice dealing with defense from removal along with business and family-based immigration. Early in her career, Odom also served as Assistant District Counsel for the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service and as a judicial law clerk at the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
Odom is a graduate of The Florida State University College of Criminology and the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law. In 2010, Odom was honored with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the College of New Rochelle in New York.