Our founders, Angela, Kathy and Sylvie, are often asked: “How did you start this?” and “Why are you ladies doing this?” Here’s our story…
It started in Sylvie’s living room …
“I attended an AEI policy conference in 2013. It was the first time since I had left the workforce to raise my children that I had participated in an event like that. I returned home wanting to continue my conversations about policy issues. My passion for policy from my university days was reignited, but I didn’t have many people to discuss with outside of my family.
Surely there were others in my neighborhood who might want to connect. A friend and I created a list, asked a few others to join us, and invited them to my living room for a discussion.”
Sylvie Legere Ricketts
We’re onto something
Fifteen women came to the first meeting in Sylvie’s living room. Each woman explained why she was there. Each was tired of being silent. Each had something to say. The group dubbed itself The Rose Friedman Society and, fittingly, agreed for the next meeting to read the first four chapters of Rose and Milton Friedman’s classic book, Free to Choose.
At that next meeting 25 women came and had a vibrant discussion on free-market economics for more than 2 hours. The energy level was high. Some had known each other for 10 years and had discovered for the first time they shared the same policy positions.
The list grew from 25 to 60 within a few months. They encouraged each other to pay attention and start showing up at local town hall meetings. They connected with a state-based policy organization, the Illinois Policy Institute, for state-level information, and simply started participating in the policy making process. Levels of civic engagement increased together as they encouraged one another.
From a local idea to a national organization
Kathy Hubbard, Angela Braly and Sylvie Legere Policy Circle Co-founders
A year later, Sylvie shared the Rose Friedman Society story at another AEI conference with two women who spoke of similar experiences in Indianapolis. Angela Braly and Kathy Hubbard, too, had found that women wanted to learn from fact-based research and discuss the issues with other women. As they searched for other organizations in this space, they found many who focused on political parties and candidates, but none on grassroots policy education and discussion.
Angela, Kathy and Sylvie launched The Policy Circle in March of 2015 and by June there were seven circles in Indiana and six in Illinois. Just two years after its launch, The Policy Circle grew to 60 circles and over 1400 members in 18 states.
The Policy Circle plans to launch circles in every state. You can join in this movement by
“Make a ripple in your own pond.”
Micah Y., D.C.
Let’s take this to every state in the nation.
A recognized leader in business, Angela serves on the board of directors of Brookfield Asset Management, Inc., ExxonMobil, Lowe’s, Procter & Gamble and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. Angela formerly served as the Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of WellPoint, Inc. (now called Anthem). During Angela’s tenure, WellPoint achieved more than $60 billion in revenue and was the nation’s largest health insurer by membership, with approximately 34 million or 1 in 9 Americans. Anthem operates primarily through its Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in 14 states.
Angela has been named many times, once as high as 4th, on the list of most powerful women in both Forbes and Fortune. She is also listed as one of the 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare and one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare.
Her leadership reaches beyond the private sector. Angela is passionate about giving back in ways that will have a lasting and positive impact. She has been a leading supporter and advocate of United Way for over two decades. Angela and her husband call Indiana home and have three children.
Kathryn Hubbard is a cofounder of the Bridges of Understanding Foundation, a non-profit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to fostering better understanding between the United States and the Arab world. The focus of Bridges of Understanding is to support projects, specifically in the areas of education, youth and culture, which create mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the Arab world.
Kathy serves on the Board of Trustees of DePauw University and chaired the Nominations and Trusteeship Committee. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the American Federation for Children, an organization that promotes school choice and better educational opportunities for all children. Kathy also serves on the Board of the Choice Charitable Trust, a foundation which provides scholarships for low income students to attend private schools In 2006, she was appointed by President George Bush to the J. William Fulbright Board.
In addition to her work in non-profits and in business, Kathy has a long history of political involvement at all levels of government and in political campaigns. Her political activities have included fundraising and political work for numerous state and national political leaders.
Kathy graduated with a B.A. degree from DePauw University. She attended the University of Neuchatel, Switzerland. Kathy is married to Allan B. Hubbard and they reside in Indianapolis, Indiana and have three children.
Sylvie Légère has been actively involved for over 20 years in project management and implementation in both the business and not-for-profit worlds. Someone once told her that we judge a community by its ability to care for its most vulnerable members. Sylvie believes that caring is giving people opportunities to improve their quality of life. Sylvie co-founded Foov Fitness to provide trainers, family members and caregivers a way to connect with people with developmental disabilities to increase their physical activity, and ultimately improve their quality of life.
Sylvie is part of AEI’s National Council. Her participation in policy seminars prompted her and two friends to start a policy discussion group in Wilmette, IL. The group called itself the Rose Friedman Society, and its growth and success became the reason to establish The Policy Circle with Angela and Kathy.
Sylvie holds a Bachelor’s in Commerce with a specialization in Management Information Systems from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a Master’s in Computer Science with a specialization in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. Sylvie spent her career at Accenture, TD Ameritrade and JP Morgan Chase; she also has worked on projects with nonprofits such as World Bicycle Relief, Housing Opportunities for Women, and the dZi Foundation. Fluent in French, English and speaking some Spanish, Sylvie is an avid runner and cyclist. Sylvie and her husband, Todd, are co-owners of Higher Gear Bike Shops; they live in Illinois with their three children.