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Bush Center Celebrates Jan Pruitt and Blayne Smith for Exceptional Leadership

October 16, 2017
Additional speakers at 2018 Forum on Leadership will include current and former government officials, innovators in science and technology, and philanthropic leaders

(Dallas, TX) – The Bush Center today announced that it will recognize two outstanding leaders at its Forum on Leadership in April, 2018. Jan Pruitt will receive the George W. Bush Institute Trailblazer Citation posthumously, and Blayne Smith will receive the George W. Bush Institute Military Service Citation. These citations will join the previously announced George W. Bush Medal for Distinguished Leadership, which will be given to Bono for his work fighting poverty and disease.

“Leadership is core to the mission of the Bush Center, and the Forum on Leadership is a three-day celebration of leaders. The Trailblazer Citation and the Military Service Citation will recognize extraordinary innovators who, through their deeds, are effecting positive change,” said Ken Hersh, President and CEO of the Bush Center. “We are proud to celebrate the significant contributions Jan Pruitt made to end hunger through her leadership of the North Texas Food Bank and Feeding America, and that Blayne Smith continues to contribute to the veterans in our country.”

In addition to presenters previously announced, The Forum on Leadership will also feature Vice President Dick Cheney, Governor of New Mexico Susana Martinez; General Peter Pace, USMC (Ret.), 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Joshua Bolten, President & CEO of Business Roundtable; and, Edward Lazear, the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the Davies Family Professor of Economics at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“We’re thrilled to bring such a distinguished line-up of speakers to Dallas for this program,” added Hersh. “The Bush Center is fortunate to be able to leverage our convening power to bring leaders from across all sectors together for important conversations about the most pressing issues of our time.”

In addition, the Forum on Leadership will also include a series of interactive conversations called Studio 43. These sessions will feature a conversation about 21st Century Medicine with Dr. Marc Penn, Director of Research and Cardiovascular Medicine, Summa Cardiovascular Institute; Dr. W.E. “Ed” Bosarge, Ph.D., Founder and CEO Capital Technologies; and, Dr. Jennifer Doudna, professor of Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at University of California, Berkeley, and co-inventor of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology.

TRAILBLAZER CITATION

The George W. Bush Institute Trailblazer Citation recognizes an outstanding leader who has effected change in the North Texas region, focusing on social welfare, health, economic empowerment, education, or has otherwise enriched the quality of life in North Texas. 

Based upon the standards outlined, there is no one more deserving than Jan Pruitt to recognize posthumously for her work to end hunger in the North Texas region and beyond. Under her leadership, The North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) grew to lead a network of over 1,000 programs through 200 partner agencies in our region. Last year, NTFB provided access to some 70 million meals and continues to make steady progress to close the hunger gap. Jan also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger relief organization. She was named Board Chair in 2014. The group helps to set and guide the strategic direction for Feeding America, which supports a network of more than 200 food banks across the nation. Jan was considered an innovative leader in the food banking industry nationally, and served as a mentor to many food banking and non-profit leaders.

Jan began her work by organizing a canned donations closet at a local Methodist Church and went on to inspire a movement to end hunger in North Texas and the United States. A Trailblazer in the field, she became a prominent voice in our country on issues regarding hunger relief and an example to us all.

MILITARY SERVICE CITATION

The George W. Bush Institute Military Service Citation recognizes a post-9/11 veteran who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and has continued to practice servant leadership since transitioning to civilian life.

Blayne Smith has an outstanding record of Military Service, having graduated from West Point followed by nine years of service in the U.S. Army. During his military career, Blayne graduated with distinguished honor from the Army Ranger School and completed multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army Officer and Special Forces Team Leader.

Upon completion of his military service, Blayne served as a corporate Sales and Marketing leader with Quest Diagnostics, developing the company’s first Leadership Development Program. He next served as the Executive Director of Team Red, White and Blue (RWB), setting a vision and strategy for the organization that resulted in RWB’s emergence as one of the Nation’s most respected peer-based, veteran serving non-profits, comprising over 220 chapters and 140K members nationwide. In late summer 2017, Blayne transitioned back to the for-profit sector to serve as the President and CEO of GORUCK, which manufactures military grade gear and apparel in the USA and produces over 900 team-building events each year. GORUCK was founded with three goals: to serve as a voice for good, to employ more Special Operations veterans than any organization outside the U.S. military, and to build a bridge between the military and civilian communities.

Blayne has chosen servant leadership at each stage of his career, through serving his country alongside fellow soldiers, developing up-and-coming leaders in a corporate setting, and serving veterans through both for-profit and non-profit organizations. He is a stellar example of a humble, effective, and respected post-9/11 veteran who has and continues to display the value-driven traits representative of this award. 

The Forum on Leadership is by invitation only. For more information, please visit www.bushcenter.org/forumonleadership.