Honorees

Leaders in the fight to protect children

Cindy McCain

Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world.

As Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the HALO Trust USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to landmine removal and weapons destruction in war-torn countries, Cindy is dedicated to the worldwide removal of landmines.

Cindy serves as co-chair of the Arizona Governor's Council on human trafficking and on the McCain Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council.   She is dedicated to efforts to reduce human trafficking in Arizona, throughout the United States and around the world as well as working to improve the lives of victims of human trafficking. Through her work with the McCain Institute several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving various aspects of the problem.

Cindy also served on the Board of Directors for Operation Smile, a non-profit organization whose mission is to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the world. She was a founding Member of the Eastern Congo Initiative. She’s travelled to the region seven times in the last four years and is committed to raising awareness on the travesties facing women and children in the Congo.

She also sits on the board of the Special Olympics Los Angeles 2015 summer games. She holds an undergraduate degree in Education and a Master's in Special Education from USC and is a member of the USC Rossier School of Education Board of Councilors.

Cindy is the chairman of her family’s business, Hensley & Company, which is one of the largest Anheuser-Busch distributors in the nation Cindy resides in Phoenix with her husband, U.S. Senator John McCain.   Together, they have four children.


Nejdra Nance

Carlina White was nineteen days old in the summer of 1987 when her parents took her to Harlem Hospital to treat a high fever. A woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform comforted the new parents and encouraged them to go home overnight to rest as it was late in the evening, reassuring them their baby would be safe. Carlina disappeared from the hospital during the shift change early that next morning.

While her parents searched for her, Carlina grew up having little reason to believe her abductor, Ann Pettway, was not her real mother. Raised as Nejdra Nance, Carlina, who prefers to be called Netty, faced motherhood as a teenager. Seeking her original birth certificate to apply for prenatal services, Pettway demurred, saying her drug-addicted mother had abandoned her and was unable to produce a valid certificate. Netty became suspicious and started a course to seek the truth.

A few years passed, but Netty still sought answers to her questions about her identity. Her quest took her online to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website where she identified a picture of a missing infant. The likeness of the child’s image was strikingly similar to photos of her own child, Samani. Netty next took a step that would change her life; she called 1-800-THE-LOST. The Call Center was able to begin a process to narrow down possibilities leading to DNA collection and testing.

In January of 2011, DNA tests confirmed that Nejdra Nance was the abducted infant Carlina White. Netty has since reunited with her biological parents and begun the journey to establish a relationship with her family.

Netty remains a passionate advocate for missing children’s issues, presenting her story for the first time this year at the Dallas Crimes Against Children’s Conference.


Eric Schmidt

Since joining Google in 2001, Eric Schmidt helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. As executive chairman, he is responsible for the external matters of Google: building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership, as well as advising the CEO and senior leadership on business and policy issues. From 2001-2011, Eric served as Google’s chief executive officer.

Prior to joining Google, Eric held leadership roles at Novell and Sun Microsystems, Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University as well as a master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the U.K.

He is the co-author of The New Digital Age and How Google Works, and serves on the boards of the Economist Group, the Mayo Clinic, and Khan Academy. He’s a Gulfstream pilot, and his philanthropic efforts through The Schmidt Family Foundation focus on climate change, including support of ocean and marine life studies at sea, as well as education, specifically cutting edge research and technology in the natural sciences and engineering.