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National Council on White House History

History's Ambassadors

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Meet the members of The National Council on White House History

who we are

In early 1961, before major restoration of the White House began, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy asked a group of informed and connected individuals to join what would become her White House Fine Arts Committee. This committee was tasked with the acquisition of antique furniture for the restoration, and for drafting many of its controlling principles.

Mrs. Kennedy realized how important it was to assemble a team of leaders and advocates that could successfully champion White House preservation, and it is for that same reason we’ve established the National Council on White House History.

The Kennedys at The Blair House
Blair House: The President's Guest House, U.S. Department Of State

What we do

Through investments of their time, influence, and resources, individuals invited to join the National Council are committed to promoting and preserving the rich history of America’s Executive Mansion. Council members serve as ambassadors for the Association, raising our profile nationally and advocating for our efforts in the areas of protection, preservation, and public access. They also serve as incubators for new relationships with potential donors, and provide critical unrestricted financial support.

National Council members take part in a number of exclusive engagements and events which we’ve outlined in more detail in our ‘How You Can Help’ section.

White House Historical Association event honoring First Lady Michelle Obama, November 15, 2016
White House Historical Association

Council members serve as ambassadors for the Association, raising our profile nationally and advocating for our efforts in the areas of protection, preservation, and public access.

This photograph is of First Lady Barbara Bush and former first ladies at the dedication of the Reagan Presidential Library on November 4, 1991.
GEORGE BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM/NARA

National Council Members

  • Ashley Dabbiere, National Council Co-Chair

    Ashley Dabbiere is the founder of the Loglio Brain Cancer Research Consortium. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Arizona. She began her media career in radio and television for the Meredith Corporation working in Kansas City, Nashville and Atlanta, Georgia. After living in Europe and Asia for five years, she and her husband Alan settled in Virginia where they have four children.

  • Steven Strawn, National Council Co-Chair

    Steven Strawn is the CEO and founder of Imagenet, a health care technology company, started in Seattle Washington in 2000. It was there he met his wife Andrea, formerly a broadcast journalist from Vancouver, Canada. The couple’s interest in United States history brought them to Washington, D.C. where they support numerous charities and are Board Trustees of The Phillips Collection, an Independent Art Museum in Kalorama.

  • Kim Norris Abod

    Kim Norris Abod is a native of the Washington, D.C. area. Her interest in American history has driven her to perform a range of historic preservation endeavors. She has been actively involved in the restoration of historic homes and landmarks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. She is actively involved with both Women Giving Back, Inc. and Sisters4Sisters. A retired CPA, Kim is presently pursuing her passion for wildlife photography.

  • Kathryn Ballard

    Kathryn Ballard is a member of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Board of Directors and serves as a Trustee on the Board of Directors at Florida State University. She has been honored for Outstanding Achievement by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the Tallahassee / Leon County Historic Preservation Commission for her efforts to restore Tallahassee’s historic Lively House.

  • Marta Batmasian

    Marta Batmasian is a philanthropist and real estate investor focused on commercial property in Boca Raton, Florida. With her husband, James, she makes philanthropic gifts from the James H. and Marta T. Batmasian Foundation. Mrs. Batmasian serves on the boards of the Centre for the Arts at Mizner Park, Fund for Armenian Relief, the National Association for Armenian Studies, and Research, Propel Inc., South Florida PBS, and WXEL Public Broadcasting Corporation.

  • Buffy Cafritz

    Buffy Cafritz serves on the board of the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health, advisory board of the Madison Council Library of Congress, and advisory board of Harvard School of Public Health. She serves as a Trustee for The Kennedy Center, The French American Cultural Foundation, and is on the Trustee Council for the National Gallery of Art.

  • Nick Candy

    Nick Candy is a British entrepreneur, best known for co-founding Candy & Candy and for his role in the globally celebrated One Hyde Park real estate project. Nick also has a portfolio of global investments in tech, biotech, luxury fashion, media and entertainment, and natural resources. Nick and his wife Holly recently established The Candy Foundation to further develop their philanthropic interests.

  • Teresa Carlson

    Teresa leads the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Worldwide Public Sector business and she advises Amazon Public Policy on global policy issues. Carlson dedicates time to philanthropic and leadership roles to support the global community including: the American Red Cross Chairman’s Advisory Council, USO of Metropolitan Washington Board of Directors, the Veteran Administration (VA) Advisory Committee, and Princeton University’s Infrastructure Board, among others.

  • Merlynn Carson

    Merlynn Carson, MD is the award-winning founder and CEO of Myriddian LLC, a Health IT consulting firm that integrates data, healthcare, and workforce solutions for better patient outcomes. Her passion is to harness the power of data to transform healthcare through preventive, predictive, and personalized access. Myriddian has grown into a national firm boasting a clientele of Fortune 100 companies and Federal and state government agencies.

  • Rose Carter

    Rose Carter co-founded Global Wireless Solutions, Inc. Prior to this endeavor she worked as an architect. Currently, she is an advisor and mentor to several early stage startups, foundations, and funds. Rose is a co-founding member of the WE Capital Fund, an Investment Committee advisor to the Halcyon Incubator Fund, and senior Advisor to Early Light Venture Fund. Rose is also President of the Paul and Rose Carter Foundation.

  • James H. Cavanaugh

    James is a Managing Director and Senior Advisor to HealthCare Venture LLC. James served as staff assistant to President Nixon for Health Affairs, Deputy Director of the President’s Domestic Council, as well as Deputy Chief of the White House Staff under President Ford. He is Chairman of the Board of the Richard Nixon Foundation and a Trustee of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation.

  • Robin Taylor Chiarello

    Robin graduated from Finch College and Harvard Graduate School of Design. She pursued a career as a primary school art and art history teacher. Robin also designed health care environments for hospitals and served as president of United Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey. Titles of some of Robin’s award-winning children’s books include The Blue Lobster’s, The Blue Lobster’s Holiday and Broken Wing.

  • Parker Collier

    Parker J. Collier is an innovator, founder, and philanthropic entrepreneur. Using her four decades of marketing and strategy experience, and personal resources, she joins forces with younger generations to create meaningful businesses. In this way, she channels her talents into advancing current and future communities. Parker is an active donor, trustee, and member of a number of organizations with diverse missions, including philanthropy, the arts, healthcare, science, technology, and conservation.

  • Edward L. Diefenthal

    Ned is the Owner and CEO of the Woodvine Group, LLC. Since completing his MBA, Ned has been a businessman and entrepreneur, except for a tour of duty in the Louisiana Army National Guard. Ned has been married since 1977 and resides with his wife Nancy in a New Orleans suburb. He has a bachelor's degree from Cornell University and a master's of business administration from Tulane University.

  • Debbie Driesmen

    Debbie has lived in the Washington, D.C. area for the past three decades, having grown up in Ontario, Canada. She worked as a computer engineer in NASA’s communication division at Goddard Space Flight Center until she retired in 1999 to oversee the construction of a home. She and her husband Frank Islam live in Potomac, MD.

  • Claire Dwoskin

    Claire Dwoskin is a child health advocate, philanthropist, and leader of an international effort to address the increasing incidence of chronic illness and disability. She is founder of the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute and has co-chaired the biannual International Symposiums on Vaccines. Claire currently serves as a member of the Mount Vernon Life Guard Board, The Rosalind Franklin Society Advisory Board, and President of CMSRI.

  • Lorna J. Gladstone

    Lorna grew up in Santiago, Chile and received her PhD at the University of Virginia. She serves on the Sheridan Libraries Council of Johns Hopkins University and is a commander in The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Jerusalem as well as serving on the national chapter. She has lived in McLean, Virginia since 1971.

  • Bonnie McElveen-Hunter

    Bonnie is the Founder and CEO of Pace. She was appointed as the first female National Chairman of the Board of the American Red Cross in 2004. In 2007, she co-founded The Tiffany Circle Society of Women Leaders, which has grown to include 63 chapters nationwide. From 2001–2003, McElveen-Hunter served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland.

  • Anurag Jain

    Anurag Jain is Managing Partner of Perot Jain. Anurag serves as Chairman of Access Healthcare. He is a 2016 recipient of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. Before Perot Jain & Access Healthcare, Jain was the Vice President of Services Delivery for Dell. Anurag has founded three successful, large-scale service businesses: Brigade Corporation, Vision Healthsource, and IQ Back office.

  • Y. Michele Kang

    Michele Kang is the founder and CEO of Cognosante where she leads the mission to transform government health services using innovative technology. She is also founder of Cognosante Ventures, an early-stage health IT startup investor and the Cognosante Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes workforce access and opportunity for women and Veterans. She also serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the American Red Cross, a Kennedy Center International Committee on the Art member, and numerous other philanthropic advisory roles.

  • Howard and Michele Kessler

    Howard Kessler pioneered the concept of the affinity credit card with MBNA in 1982. He is an active philanthropist supporting a wide range of causes. Michele Kessler serves on numerous non-profit boards, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the American Ireland Fund, and is Chairman of the Board of the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society, Chairman of South Florida PBS and Co-Chair of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Leadership Council for Psychiatry.

  • Melissa Kirkpatrick

    Melissa Kirkpatrick attributes her passion for the arts and interior design to her mother and her grandmother. She received a bachelor's of fine arts in Printmaking from the University of Georgia and was honored by UGA with the first Distinguished Alumni Award given by the Franklin College of Arts & Science for her work in printmaking through her interior fabric design business, MK Collection.

  • Susan Klein

    Susan Klein has been a bank officer, the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, and First Lady of Randolph College. She grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Michigan. Susan and her husband John have been married for 49 years, have lived in 10 different places around the world, and have two married children and three grandchildren.

  • Metta Krach

    Metta Krach is a devoted education advocate, passionate supporter of the arts, and attorney. She serves on the Board of Governors for the San Francisco Symphony, Board of Visitors for Georgetown University Law Center, and works with numerous philanthropic organizations through the Krach Family Foundation. Metta began her legal career in 2001 as a real estate attorney for the New York and Los Angeles offices of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.

  • Sachiko Kuno

    Dr. Sachiko Kuno is the co-founder and visionary creative behind Halcyon and its mission to catalyze and nurture emerging creatives striving for a better world. Kuno also serves as CEO of S&R Foundation. In 2016, Kuno co-founded WE Capital, a female-led investment fund in Washington, D.C. She is also a founding member of the Greater Washington Partnership.

  • Ling Kwok

    Ling Kwok is a founder and partner of Quantum GBL, LLC. Mr. Kwok was previously Managing Partner of KP Capital Partners. He led the investments in and served on the boards of Ergo Science Corp, Axis NA, Krell Industries, Tri-Star Uniform and Apparel, and others. Mr. Kwok holds a bachelor's in Economics and Asian Studies from Trinity College, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees.

  • George Logothetis

    Based in New York, George Logothetis has principal executive responsibility for the Libra Group. George is also Chairman of the Leadership Council of Concordia and a member of the Board of Directors of the MBK Alliance. George and his wife, Nitzia, founded the Seleni Institute, a New York-based non-profit organization that addresses maternal mental health.

  • Jennifer London

    Dr. London has a diversified background of scope and accomplishment in marketing, community relations, public relations, and business development as well as M&A search work and running her own consulting firm. She has numerous professional publications to her credit and Board Appointments on several organizations. Dr. London’s current efforts focus on educating and empowering Americans through greater understanding of our Nation’s early history and founders, through her National American History and Founders Month initiative. She is married the Dr. J. P. (Jack) London, Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board of CACI International, Inc. They reside in McLean, Virginia with their three sons born in 2010.

  • Tami Longaberger

    Tami Longaberger joined IRI’s Board of Directors in 2012 and is chair of IRI’s Arab Women’s Leadership Institute. A successful businesswoman, Longaberger is the former chair of the board of the Longaberger Company. In addition to her business leadership, Longaberger is active in numerous charitable campaigns and efforts to support women business owners. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed her chair of the National Women’s Business Council. In 2004, she served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Longaberger has previously served on the board of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and as chair of the U.S. Executive Committee for the 2002 Helsinki Women Leaders Summit.

  • Kristen Lund

    Kristen Lund is an active philanthropist focusing principally on fine arts and health related causes. In addition to her work with The White House Historical Association, she sits on the boards of the Washington National Opera, French-American Cultural Foundation and Explore! Children’s Museum. Kristen is founder of the Sound Body Studios in Washington, DC and Phoenix, Arizona. She is a certified sound therapist. With her husband, Lund chairs the Leadership Council for Mayo Clinic in Washington, DC. She is a strong advocate for integrative medicine therapies.

  • Ling Chai Maginn

    Ling founded Jenzabar in 1998 with an audacious goal to better humanity through higher education. Ling has received two Nobel Peace Prize nominations for her leadership in the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement that inspired the fall of the Berlin Wall and the domino collapse of communist regimes around the world. Her memoir, A Heart for Freedom, chronicles her remarkable journey through those events.

  • Robert Maginn

    As Chairman and CEO, Bob led Jenzabar’s transformation from a dot-com start-up to an industry-leading enterprise solution provider. Bob held the positions of Senior Partner and Director at Bain & Company. He holds a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School, a master's of liberal arts in government from Harvard University, and a bachelor's of science degree in business administration from the University of Dayton.

  • Ken Mehlman

    Ken is KKR’s Global Head of Public Affairs. Before joining KKR, Mr. Mehlman led a bipartisan public policy and regulatory practice at the global law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. Mr. Mehlman spent a dozen years in national politics and government service, including as 62nd Chairman of the Republican National Committee and Campaign Manager of President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign.

  • Mary V. Mochary

    Mary is a retired attorney, active farmer, and philanthropist. She attended Wellesley College and University of Chicago Law School and was the first woman to serve as the Principal Deputy Legal Advisor at the US Department of State. She also served as mayor of Montclair, New Jersey. She then won the Republican primary in New Jersey for the honor of challenging Bill Bradley for the US Senate seat.

  • Geoff Morrell

    Geoff Morrell is Group Head of Communications & External Affairs at BP. Geoff came to BP from the Department of Defense, where he worked as Pentagon Press Secretary. In that position Geoff served as chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the United States Military. Geoff received the Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Prior to joining the government, Geoff was a White House correspondent for ABC News.

  • Dianne Ingels Moss

    Dianne Ingels Moss is the owner of Cartera Investment Corporation, a Dallas, Texas based private investment company. She has 35 years of experience as owner of investment and consulting firms in real estate and financial services. She has served on numerous industry-related boards and has received four presidential appointments. Dianne has founded and been in leadership roles for professional women’s organizations in the U.S. and abroad, healthcare institutions and performing arts organizations.

  • Konstantino Pantazopoulos

    Konstantino Pantazopoulos is a former global head of rates trading for Goldman Sachs. Most recently, Pantazopoulos headed Goldman Sachs risk management strategies for its securities division. Currently, Pantazopoulos runs Moore Capital’s global macro strategy alongside Louis Bacon. Mr. Pantazopoulos has a PhD in science and computational finance and joined Goldman in 1998.

  • Linda Powers

    Linda is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Biotherapeutics. Previously, Ms. Powers served as a Managing Director of Toucan Capital Fund II. Ms. Powers holds a bachelor's degree from Princeton University, where she graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She also earned a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School.

  • John F. W. Rogers

    Vice Chairman, The White House Historical Association

    John F. W. Rogers is an EVP and Secretary to the Board of Goldman Sachs. Prior to Goldman, Rogers was a senior fellow at Rice University and spent many years in government service. He is a life trustee and treasurer of the Reagan Presidential Foundation, vice chair of the American Academy in Rome, Board member of Howard University and chairman emeritus of the NMAH.

  • Hilary Geary Ross

    Hilary Geary Ross works as a society writer for Quest magazine, an American lifestyle magazine based in New York City. Hilary is married to the current Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

  • Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.

    Chairman, The White House Historical Association

    Frederick J. Ryan, Jr. is Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Washington Post. Previously, he was co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Politico. He served as Chief of Staff to former President Ronald Reagan. Mr. Ryan graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in political science and speech communication, and received a JD from the University of Southern California Law Center.

  • Deborah Sargeant

    Deborah Sargeant is a native Floridian. She has served on various boards in her community including the Bethesda Hospital Foundation, the Delray Beach Historical Society, and the Florida Governor’s Mansion Commission. Of late, her volunteer time is spent with her church, spearheading outreach programs geared towards meeting the needs of children and young families.

  • Karen Schaufeld

    Karen Schaufeld is the co-founder and President of 100WomenStrong, which makes strategic grants to Loudoun County non-profits and programs. She is also the co-founder of All Ages Read Together, which provides children in need with free preschool programs. She founded Powered By Facts to spread awareness about Virginia energy policy and VAOurWay to educate voters in Virginia to spur engagement around common sense policies.

  • Susan Silverstein Scott

    Susan Silverstein Scott, a native Washingtonian, has been a museum educator and early childhood teacher for more than thirty years. She is a member of the board of the National Symphony Orchestra and Explore! Children’s Museum, Washington, D.C.

  • Mel Sembler

    Mel Sembler is Chairman Emeritus of The Sembler Company, a family-run, private shopping center development company. He is the former U.S. Ambassador to Italy and also former Ambassador to Australia and Nauru. Mel currently serves on the boards of the International Council of Shopping Centers, George and Barbara Bush Presidential Library Foundation, Republican Jewish Coalition, American Enterprise Institute, and Moffitt Cancer Center. He is a member of the Florida Council of 100.

  • Marlyne Sexton

    Marlyne Sexton is the owner of The Sexton Companies, one of the largest female-owned businesses in Indiana. Mrs. Sexton is actively involved with Best Buddies, a citizenship mentoring program, both nationally and locally as their Honorary Chairperson, as well as the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Prince of Wales Foundation, and in her time away from Indianapolis, produces Broadway plays and musicals.

  • Nicole Sexton

    Nicole is President and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. Previously, Nicole was Chief of Staff of the Central Park Conservancy. In 2010, she helped to establish the FEED Foundation as its first Executive Officer, and she remains on the board. As of 2018, the FEED Foundation has provided over 100 million meals to kids around the globe.

  • Jeanne Specchio

    Jeanne is a member of the Board of Directors and Ambassador Council at N Street Village. Additionally, she is a member of the Town of Vienna, Virginia’s Public Arts Commission. She previously served as an officer on Flint High Schools Parent Board and on their Board of Directors. Her professional experience includes working two decades in Human Resource Management. She has been dedicated to raising her two sons, her proudest accomplishments.

  • Diana Davis Spencer

    Diana serves as Chairman and President of The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. In addition to her philanthropic career, Diana is an accomplished journalist and author. She served as editor of the Foreign Policy Association’s newsletter and was a member of literary organizations including the National League of American Pen Women, National Writers Union, and National Press Club. Diana also enjoyed a successful career as an activist.

  • Sally Hartsfield Sutton

    Sally Hartsfield Sutton currently resides in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Married to Ben Sutton Jr., she has two adult children, Addison Sutton and Trey Sutton. She was born and raised in Texas but has been in North Carolina for 32 years. Throughout the last 30 plus years she has served on numerous community boards. She currently works with Love Out Loud and is restoring an 1860’s farm house in Yadkinville, North Caroline.

  • Nancy Voorhees

    Nancy is the founder of Hamilton Court Interior Design. She has served on a number of advisory boards. She has traveled the world with study groups including the Library of Congress, Winterthur Museum and the Garden Conservancy. Nancy collaborates with academic centers and innovators at the forefront of change in urban transportation planning, the urban goods movement, and commercial real estate development.

  • Gregory W. Wendt

    Gregory W. Wendt is a Partner at Capital Group. He holds a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from The University of Chicago. Greg is in his third term as a trustee at The University of Chicago and served on the National Board of Teach for America.

  • John Wood

    John serves as CEO of Telos Corporation. Prior to joining Telos in 1992, Wood worked on Wall Street after earning his degree in finance and computer science at Georgetown University. Mr. Wood serves on the boards of Northern Virginia Technology Council and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. In 2012, Mr. Wood was named Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

  • George C. Zoley

    George Christopher Zoley is a Greek-born American businessman, the chairman, chief executive officer, and founder of the GEO Group, which manages prisons and jails in the US.S. and internationally. George also serves as a director of several business subsidiaries through which The GEO Group, Inc. conducts its operations worldwide.

how we do it

  • Protect

    We fund the acquisition and protection of historically significant artwork, furniture, china, and other household items for the White House’s permanent collection.

  • Preserve

    We assist in the preservation and periodic renovation of White House interiors, and commission the official portraits of both the President and the First Lady.

  • Provide

    We provide meaningful connection to the White House through our publications, educational programs, digital image library, exhibits, and the White House Visitors Center.

How You Can Help

As our thank-you, members of the National Council receive:

  • The National Council

    • Invitations to convene twice a year with senior leadership of the White House Historical Association
    • Briefings from Association leadership throughout the year
    • Invitations to exhibitions, symposia, lectures and book signings at the Association
    • Invitation to an annual presidential site trip (Presidential Libraries, Birthplaces, and Homes)
  • Members also receive exclusive “first look” updates on Association projects and initiatives, which include:
    • Participating in strategic discussions with Association leadership
    • Visibility as an important leader within the White House Historical Association
    • Engaging with content leaders, historians, authors, and peers in the social and business communities
    • Receiving early notice of news and updates about the Association
    • Receiving complimentary invitations to Association events

For more information about the National Council on White House History, please contact Taylor Hathorn at thathorn@whha.org.