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Speaker Biographies


Arturo Chávez, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Mexican American Catholic College

Dr. Arturo Chávez is the President and Chief Executive Officer of MACC, the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas.  He has been a member of the MACC faculty since the year 2000, and was appointed President in 2007.  Since then, Dr. Chávez has led the organization into its current transition from a Cultural Center to a Catholic College that offers B.A. and M.A. degrees in Pastoral Ministry.  The unique degree plans are offered bilingually to meet the growing needs of Latinos for higher education, especially for service in faith communities.

Dr. Chávez has worked for over 30 years in a variety of ministries.  As a teacher, youth minister, a chaplain to the incarcerated, and a community organizer.  He founded a nonprofit youth organization called JOVEN and was instrumental in establishing other faith-based partnerships to address the urgent needs of families who are poor and disenfranchised.  His commitment to community-based activism, education, and peace-building continues through his ministry as a teacher, facilitator, and international speaker.

Nationally recognized for his efforts to combat racism and poverty, he was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as an advisor on the White House Council for Faith Based and Community Partnerships.  Recently, Catholic Charities USA recognized him as “…a national champion of the poor” with the 2010 “Keep the Dream Alive Award” in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Chávez holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Incarnate Word, a Master’s degree from Oblate School of Theology of the Southwest, and a Ph.D. in Religious and Theological Studies, from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology, with a focus on the relationship between religion and social change.

John Carr
Executive Director
Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

John Carr serves as Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops' Conference. In this role, he assists the U.S. bishops in sharing Catholic social teaching, advocating on major issues of justice and peace and building the Catholic community's capacity to act on its social mission. The Department he leads includes the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is the Bishops' anti-poverty program, and is guided by two Bishops' Committees: Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace

John leads Catholic Bishops' policy development and advocacy efforts on a wide range of national and global issues. He has assisted the U.S. Bishops in developing a number of major statements, including: Communities of Salt and Light, Sharing Catholic Teaching, Everyday Christianity and Faithful Citizenship. He has represented the U.S. Bishops' Conference at the Vatican and in the Middle East, Central America, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and Russia.

For three decades, John has been a leader in Catholic social ministry, serving at the Bishops' Conference and as Cardinal Hickey's Secretary of Social Concerns in Washington, DC; as Education Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and as Legislative Coordinator for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.

Outside the Church, John served as Executive Director of the White House Conference on Families and as Director of the National Committee for Full Employment. He currently serves on the board of Bread for the World, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, the Catholic Health Association and the Law School of the University of St. Thomas.

John is a graduate of St. John Vianney Seminary and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. John received the "Vision Award" from Catholic Charities USA and the Msgr. John Egan Award by the National Pastoral Life Center and was named a "Hunger Hero" by Bread for the World.

John and his wife, Linda, have four children.

Carolyn Woo, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Catholic Relief Services

Carolyn Y. Woo is the new President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, having served as a CRS Board member earlier.  
Woo was born and raised in Hong Kong, educated by the Maryknoll Sisters of Ossining, and immigrated to the U.S. to attend college at Purdue University, where she received her B.S., M.S.I.A. and Ph.D. degrees.
Prior to assuming the deanship of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, Woo served as Associate Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Purdue University. She joined Purdue as assistant professor in 1981, became full professor in 1991 and directed the Professional Master's Programs in the Krannert School of Management from 1993 to 1995.
Her teaching and research interests include corporate and competitive strategy, entrepreneurship, management of innovation and change, and organizational systems.
During her six-year tenure on the CRS Board, she made several trips overseas to visit the agency's programs and staff, including Banda Aceh, Indonesia shortly after the Indian Ocean tsunami, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Woo and her husband, David Bartkus, have two sons.

Judy McDonald
Catholic Comedian

Judy McDonald (, based in San Diego, California, has been a natural comedian all her life.

An alumnus of University of San Diego, Judy has been performing stand-up since 1994. In college, she worked at KFMB Studios in radio and television. She also worked for the Republican National Convention, the Commission on Presidential Debates and the Academy Awards.

Judy's professional comedic experience includes appearances on the Dennis Miller show, the Weather Channel and opening for such comedians as Paula Poundstone, Mark Curry, Caroline Rea and Mitch Hedberg. She performs at universities, corporate and private events, and is a regular at the La Jolla Comedy Store in San Diego.

For the past five years Judy has been touring nationally and internationally, bringing her Catholic Comedy to parishes, conferences, and even military bases. When she doesn't have a microphone in her hand, you might find Judy participating in adventure races, triathlons, surfing and an occasional sandbagging round of golf.

David Brooks
Commentator, The PBS Newshour

David Brooks became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in September 2003. He has been a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly, and he is currently a commentator on “The PBS Newshour.” He is the author of “Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There” and “On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense,” both published by Simon & Schuster.

Mr. Brooks joined The Weekly Standard at its inception in September 1995, having worked at The Wall Street Journal for the previous nine years. His last post at the Journal was as op-ed editor. Prior to that, he was posted in Brussels, covering Russia, the Middle East, South Africa and European affairs. His first post at the Journal was as editor of the book review section, and he filled in for five months as the Journal's movie critic.

His distinguished history of contributions to publications include: The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Public Interest, the TLS, The New Republic and Commentary among others.
He is also a frequent commentator on National Public Radio, CNN’s Late Edition and the “Diane Rehm Show.” Mr. Brooks is the editor of the 1996 anthology “Backward and Upward: the New Conservative Writing.”
Born on Aug. 11, 1961 in Toronto, Canada, Mr. Brooks graduated a bachelor of history from the University of Chicago in 1983. Immediately afterwards, he became a police reporter for the City News Bureau, a wire service owned jointly by the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times.

He is married and lives in Bethesda, Md.

Mark Shields
Commentator, The PBS Newshour

The Wall Street Journal has called Mark Shields “the wittiest political analyst around” and “frequently the most trenchant, fair-minded, and thoughtful.” The Washington Post has called Shields “a walking almanac of American politics.” His insights are first-hand and up-to-the minute, drawn from four decades of knowing, covering and savoring the country and its politics.

A nationally known columnist and commentator, Shields has worked in Washington through the administrations of nine U.S. Presidents. He was an editorial writer for The Washington Post where he began writing his column in 1979. That column is now distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.

Since 1988, Shields has provided weekly political analysis and commentary on national campaigns for PBS’ award-winning "The PBS NewsHour" where he has matched wits with David Gergen, The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Gigot and most recently with David Brooks of The New York Times. For 17 years, Shields was moderator and panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang. He now is a regular panelist on Inside Washington, the weekly public affairs show which is seen on both ABC and PBS.

A native of Weymouth, Mass., and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Shields served as an enlisted man in the United States Marine Corps before coming to Washington where he began working in 1965 for Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire. In 1968, Shields went to work for Robert F. Kennedy in the New York Senator’s presidential campaign and later held leadership positions in three other presidential campaigns. Over 11 years, Shields helped manage campaigns from the courthouse to the White House in some 38 states.

In addition to attending 17 national party conventions and working on or covering the last 11 presidential elections, Shields has taught American politics and the press at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Public Policy and he was a fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy Institute of Politics. "On the Campaign Trail," his book on the 1984 presidential campaign, has been praised as “funny,” “irreverent,” and “for bringing that race to a magnificent light.”

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