Barbara Franklin is the former secretary of commerce under President George H.W. Bush, the second woman to hold that position. TIME
magazine named her one of the “50 Women who Made American Political History.” She is the president of Barbara Franklin Enterprises, a consulting firm in Washington, D.C. In 1971, Secretary Franklin led the government effort to recruit women for high-level government jobs as staff assistant to President Richard Nixon, an effort which resulted in nearly quadrupling the number of women in those positions. Her story is told in the book by Lee Stout, A Matter of Simple Justice, The Untold Story of Barbara Franklin and A Few Good Women. Following that, Franklin served an original commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, where she focused on safety for children. In the private sector, Franklin has served on the boards for fourteen public companies, three private companies, and numerous not-for-profit organizations, and has been honored as a corporate governance expert. Currently, she is a vice chair of the board of the National Museum of American History, a board member of the National Symphony Orchestra, and the National Committee on US-China Relations, a trustee of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, an emerita chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors, and the Economic Club of New York. Secretary Franklin was one of the first women graduates of the Harvard Business School.