Our 2020 Speakers

An Invitation from Our Keynote Speaker, Dr Jorge Valdez

Fr John Bartunek LC_v1

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, “Inside the Passion”–the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: “The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer”. His most recent books are “Spring Meditations”, “Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength”, and “Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions”. Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

Frank J. Hanna

Frank J. Hanna is CEO of Hanna Capital in Atlanta, Georgia. He invests as a merchant banker in technology and financial services, and has started and sold a number of businesses over the last twenty-nine years. Prior to going into the investment business, he was a corporate attorney. He is featured in the PBS documentary, The Call of the Entrepreneur.

Mr. Hanna has been involved in education for the last 37 years. He has been instrumental in the foundation of thirteen new educational institutions, from preschool through post-secondary. He served as Chair of a Commission on Education Excellence under President George W. Bush.

He has been a frequent speaker to various groups and mass media regarding macroeconomics, education, and philanthropy. He is the author of two best-selling books: What Your Money Means, and A Graduate’s Guide to Life.

He currently serves on and advises the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, both within the Catholic Church, and in the secular world, EWTN, the Acton Institute, and the American Enterprise Institute.

Mr. Hanna is the founder of the Solidarity Association. Of most significance, the Solidarity Association serves as Trustee of the Mater Verbi/Hanna Papyrus Trust, which safeguards in the Vatican Apostolic Library the oldest copy of the Gospel of Luke (and the oldest copy of the Lord’s Prayer) in the world.

In recognition of his charitable efforts, Mr. Hanna has received the William B. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership, and the David R. Jones Award for Philanthropic Leadership. He is also a Knight of Malta, of the Holy Sepulchre, and was named a Knight of the Grand Cross of the Order of St Gregory by Pope Benedict XVI.

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Sean White - website

Sean Duffy

Sean Duffy is an American politician, prosecutor, former sports commentator and reality television personality. He first entered public life as a cast member on The Real World: Boston, 1998’s Road Rules: All Stars, and 2002’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, before going on to serve as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party.  On August 26, 2019, Duffy announced he would resign from Congress effective September 23, 2019.

Kevin Mathews

In 2008, Kevin Matthews, a well-known ABC and CBS radio personality in Chicago, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As the drive-time radio host for seventeen years on AM 1000 The Loop and ABC and CBS radio, and also the voice of his sports commentator, Jim Shorts, and other characters, Matthews entertained ten million listeners weekly, sold out every appearance in the Midwest, and performed in front of 65,000 fans at Grant Park. He traveled around the world, met the famous, had babies named after him, and helped countless charities. He entertained hundreds of thousands of people inside prisons, army bases, and backyards. His promotions included comedy jams, a band, barbeque throw downs, and golf outings.

Broken Mary is Matthews’ story of his early years in radio, and stand-up comedy, his successful career, his struggle with MS, his awakening to the dignity of women, and, importantly, his chance encounter with a broken statue of Mary left next to a dumpster and all that happened as a result. Told with Matthews’ signature good humor, this confession of the brokenness of mankind is touchingly honest, personally inspiring, and full of hope.

Kevin Mathews - website
Fr Steven Borello - website

Fr. Steven Borello

Fr. Steven Borello currently serves as the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Joliet.  He has previously served on the Formation and Spiritual Direction Staff at St. John Vianney College Seminary and as Parochial Vicar at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Naperville and at Notre Dame Parish in Clarendon Hills.  He received his Master of Arts in Philosophical Studies from Mount Saint Mary’s College in 2013, his Master of Divinity in Theology from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, and bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Jorge Valdes

Do you remember the television program “Miami Vice” with its powerful drug cartels, daily million-dollar drug deals, fast money, fast cars, fast women, good guys-bad guys, cops and robbers, all set in some of the swankiest locations on earth?  Dr. Jorge Luis Valdés lived and experienced the real-life of Miami Vice.

Dr. Valdés was 20 years old when he dreamed of becoming a millionaire before he was 30. He had everything -technically speaking- to make his dream come true: family, education, a brilliant mind, and an enormous capacity for effort and sacrifice. He showed great promise but succumbed to the temptation of money and power.  Seduced by a group of Colombian businessmen, who at that time were the biggest importers of cocaine, Dr. Valdés put his financial brain at their service.

By the early age of 21, Dr. Valdés became a drug lord and largest importer of cocaine.  As a millionaire playboy, Dr. Valdes made between one and three million dollars a month. He had gorgeous women, yachts, private jets, and mansions all over the world. He had everything the world wanted, and yet he felt miserable.  He endured prison, torture, and betrayal and yet he envied people who could be happy with a simple life.

While serving a prison sentence, Dr. Valdés earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible from Southeastern College.  Upon his release from prison, in 1995, Dr. Valdés earned a Master’s Degree from Wheaton College, and in 2001 Dr. Valdés completed his Ph.D. in New Testament from Loyola University in Chicago.

Today, Dr. Jorge Valdés is a much thought after speaker and spends the majority of his time writing books, mentoring few selected leaders, speaking, and simply being a dad.  His first book, Coming Clean, was published worldwide by WaterBrook Press (a division of Random House/Doubleday) in September 1999, and that same year, Vida Publishers published Cuentas Claras.  In June of 2018, Ediciones Logos published Jorge’s second Spanish book, Cerebro Narco. His second English book, Narco Mindset, along with Narco Mindset Workbook, were recently published by SLT Publishing and available through Amazon. 

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