Hero Summit Speakers List
The Hero Summit, an annual event beginning this year, by invitation only, will be in Washington November 14th and 15th.
Madeleine K. Albright Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group; Chair, Albright Capital Management
Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright is the chair of both the global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group and Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets.
Previously, Albright served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations and was a member of the president’s cabinet. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in recognition of her contributions to international peace and democracy.
She teaches the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
Lori Bell Founder and President, National Association of Military Moms and Spouses (NAMMAS)
Lori Bell is the founder of nammas.org– the only social network for military moms and spouses. She also hosts the premier motivational seminar for spouses and women veterans Prosper Where You're Planted Boost Camp. She is a by-name requested speaker and singer, and has appeared in front of more than 20 million people via CNN, ABC's Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, and NBC Nightly News' Making a Difference.
Wolf BlitzerLead Political Anchor, CNN
CNN’s lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer, the host of the daily news program The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, has spearheaded CNN’s 2012 and 2008 coverage of the presidential elections. In addition to politics, Blitzer is also known for his in-depth reporting on international news. Most recently, he traveled to NATO headquarters in Brussels for an exclusive joint interview with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the latest in global foreign policy issues. A tremendously experienced journalist, Blitzer is the recipient of numerous awards including an Emmy Award for his 1996 coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. He was also among the teams awarded a Peabody for the coverage of Hurricane Katrina, an Alfred I. duPont Award for coverage of the Southeast Asia tsunami disaster and an Edward R.Murrow Award for CNN’s coverage of the Sept.11 attacks. Blitzer is the author of two books, Between Washington and Jerusalem: A Reporter's Notebook and Territory of Lies.
Bono Lead Singer, U2; Co-Founder, ONE and (RED)
Bono is the lead singer of the Irish rock band U2 and a well-known activist in the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. He co-founded ONE, an advocacy organization with more than 3 million members that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease by pressing policymakers to support effective programs that are saving millions of lives in the poorest parts of the planet. He also co-founded (RED), a private sector initiative involving some of the world's most iconic brands, which has channeled nearly $200 million to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa. Bono has received numerous awards for his music and activism, including 22 Grammys, TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2005 (with Bill and Melinda Gates), the Legion D’Honneur from the French Government, and an honorary British knighthood.
Sergeant Julia Anne Bringloe U.S. Army, Health Care Specialist and Flight Medic
Sgt. Julia Bringloe is one of the Dustoff73 crew members that won the 2011 Army Aviation Association of America’s Rescue of the Year Award and the 2011 Goodrich International Hoist Rescue of the Year. She also earned a Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor and was recognized as the USO Female Soldier of the Year.
A member of the first graduating class of paramedic and critical care certified Army flight medics, Sgt. Bringloe has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kenneth Brodhead U.S. Army, Standardization Pilot
CW4 Kenneth Brodhead is one of the Dustoff73 crew members that won the 2011 Army Aviation Association of America’s Rescue of the Year Award and the 2011 Goodrich International Hoist Rescue of the Year.
Currently assigned at Fort Drum, N.Y. with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, CW4 Brodhead is the standardization pilot for C Company, 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion. C Company is a 15-ship medical-evacuation (air ambulance) team, where CW4 Brodhead is the senior warrant officer adviser to the commander on the technical aspects of flying and crewing the HH-60 Medevac Black Hawk helicopter. He also trains and evaluates the pilots, crew chiefs, and flight medics assigned to the company. Since becoming an aviator, he has deployed three times—once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan.
Tina Brown Editor in Chief, Newsweek & The Daily Beast
Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek & The Daily Beast, is one of the highest-profile, most talked-about magazine editors in the world. From a young writer for Punch magazine and the Sunday Times, she quickly rose through the ranks of the magazine industry on both sides of the Atlantic to become editor in chief of Tatler, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and Talk magazines and most recently, editor in chief of Newsweek & The Daily Beast. Tina hosted a well-received television program, Topic A with Tina Brown, on CNBC and in 2007 her biography, The Diana Chronicles spent several weeks at the top of the New York Times best-seller list.
Specialist David Capps U.S. Army National Guard, Federal Technician, UH-60 Maintainer and Crew Chief
Spc. David Capps is one of the Dustoff73 crew members that won the 2011 Army Aviation Association of America’s Rescue of the Year Award and the 2011 Goodrich International Hoist Rescue of the Year.
He is currently assigned to C Company, 2-135 General Support Aviation Battalion with the National Guard in Lincoln, Neb., and is a UH-60 maintainer/crew chief. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brian Castner U.S. Air Force Veteran and Author, The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life That Follows
Brian Castner served as an explosive ordnance disposal officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1999 to 2007, deploying to Iraq to command bomb disposal units in Balad and Kirkuk in 2005 and 2006.
His writing has appeared in a number of national and regional publications, including Publisher’s Weekly, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and Newsweek.
Brian lives outside of Buffalo, N.Y., with his wife and four sons. The Long Walk is his first book.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran Senior Correspondent and Associate Editor, The Washington Post; Author, Little America: The War Within the War for Afghanistan
As a foreign correspondent, Rajiv Chandrasekaran has reported from more than three-dozen countries and has served as The Washington Post’s bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo, and Southeast Asia. His work has won three Overseas Press Club awards. He is the author of Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone, a finalist for the National Book Award and one of The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2007. Chandrasekharan lives in Washington, D.C.
Ryan Crocker Senior Fellow, Yale University
Over a career of more than 37 years, Ambassador Ryan Crocker served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, as well as many other countries. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2009, but was recalled for duty in 2011 in Afghanistan, where he served for a year. Ambassador Crocker’s exceptional career saw him assigned to the American Embassy in Beirut during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the bombings of the embassy and the Marine barracks in 1983. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, in 2009; the Presidential Distinguished and Meritorious Service awards; the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, among many other honors. In September 2004, President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of career ambassador, the highest Foreign Service rank.
Ambassador Henry Crumpton Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Crumpton Group LLC and Author, New York Times Bestselling Book, The Art of Intelligence (2012)
Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton is the founder of Crumpton Group LLC, a strategic international advisory and business development firm. Previously, he served as the Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State. He joined the CIA's Clandestine Service in 1981 as an operations officer and for most of his 24-year career, operated in the foreign field, including assignments as Chief of Station. He also served at the FBI as Deputy Chief of the International Terrorism Operations Section and was the Deputy Chief (Operations) of CIA's Counterterrorism Center and led the CIA's Afghanistan campaign in 2001-2002.
Ambassdor Crumpton is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book The Art of Intelligence and was a contributing author to Transforming U.S. Intelligence. Ambassador Crumpton is the recipient of numerous awards including the Intelligence Commendation Medal, the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest award for achievement.
John Donvan Moderator, Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates and Correspondent, ABC News
John Donvan has been moderating the Intelligence Squared U.S. debates since 2008. A correspondent for ABC News, he has also hosted Nightline, World News, and Good Morning America. During his ABC career, he has served as chief White House correspondent, and has held posts in London, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Amman. His voice has been heard this year while he’s filled in as host on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and as a live-performance storyteller on the SpeakeasyDC stage in Washington. Last year, Donvan was a finalist honoree for the National Magazine Awards, for his profile piece, “Autism’s First Child.” He is currently writing a book on the history of autism, due out in 2014.
ME2 Anthony Emanuele U.S. Coast Guard, Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd class, USCG Recruiter
ME2 Emanuele was deployed with a Task Force aboard a U.S. Navy ship to the Gulf of Aden in the fall of 2010, conducting a counter piracy mission of the Coast of Somalia. During the deployment, he was involved with a humanitarian rescue of 85 Somalian and Ethiopian refugees whose boat capsized.
Additionally, ME2 Emanuele was an integral member of the last Coast Guard unit in the southern port of Iraq. During his multiple deployments to Umm Qasr, Iraq, he helped develop the curriculum for training 12 platoons of Iraqi Marines on how to conduct law enforcement boardings and assisted with the training and river patrol missions.
Olivier Francois Chief Marketing Officer, Chrysler Group LLC and Fiat Group Automobiles; Head of Fiat Brand
Olivier François is Chief Marketing Officer of the Chrysler Group and head of the Fiat brand worldwide. He is also a member of the Group Executive Council responsible for reviewing the operating performance of the business, setting performance targets, making key strategic decisions and investments for the Group and sharing best practices. Previously, François was the President and CEO of the Chrysler Brand at the Chrysler Group and was the lead executive for marketing the Lancia Brand. François joined Fiat after working as General Manager at Citroen.
Eric Greitens U.S. Navy Veteran and Chief Executive Officer, The Mission Continues
A former Navy SEAL, Eric Greitens has been deployed four times in the Global War on Terror, including Iraq and Afghanistan, earning both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service. In addition, he has worked as a humanitarian volunteer, documentary photographer and researcher around the world, including Rwanda, Cambodia and Mexico. Eric earned his Masters and PhD at the University of Oxford where he studied as a Rhodes scholar. As Founder & CEO of The Mission Continues, Eric has been recognized as one of the most innovative social entrepreneurs in the country, by institutions like the highly selective Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and The Manhattan Institute Award. His organization provides opportunities for returning veterans to continue their service by engaging them in six-month fellowships at nonprofit and public service organizations. With the support of both individual donors and Fortune 500 companies like Goldman Sachs, Boeing, and Target, The Mission Continues has granted more than 500 Fellowships to veterans across the country.
Jim Hake Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Spirit of America
Twice named a “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum, Hake is the founder and CEO of Spirit of America (SoA), a group that provides venture capital–type support to the stability, humanitarian, and counter-extremism operations of U.S. military and civilian personnel serving abroad. Entirely citizen supported, SoA’s new model of decentralized, private-public collaboration represents a new way for the U.S. to defend and extend America’s interests and ideals. Hake also founded and sold one of the first Internet companies (Access Media) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Gunnery Sergeant Tawanda Hanible U.S. Marine Corps, Operations Chief and Founder, Operation Heroes Connect
Gunnery Sgt. Tawanda Hanible was recently selected to serve as the operations chief in the Office of Diversity at the Marine Corps Recruiting Command. She previously served as Operations Chief for the Manpower Management Support Branch.
Gunnery Sgt. Hanible enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1996, and completed one deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. In her spare time, Gunnery Sgt. Hanible heads a mentorship organization that partners at-risk youth with service members and veterans.
Her awards include the Navy and Marine Achievement Medal with two gold stars, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
Hon. Jane Harman Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Woodrow Wilson Center
During her nine terms in the U.S Congress, from which she retired in February 2011, Jane Harman served on all the major security committees and traveled to hotspots around the world to assess threats against the U.S. An expert on security and public-policy issues, she has received the Defense Department Medal for Distinguished Service, the CIA SEAL Medal, the CIA Director’s Award, and the National Intelligence Distinguished Public Service Medal. Harman is currently serving as director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
In April 2011 she assumed the seat of her late husband, Sidney Harman, founder of Harman International Industries and Newsweek chairman, on the board of directors of Newsweek & The Daily Beast.
Mike Haynie, Ph.D.U.S. Air Force Veteran; Executive Director and Founder, Institute for Veterans and Military Families, Syracuse University
As a former U.S. Air Force officer stationed in the U.S. and across the world, Mike Haynie worked in both operations and staff assignments. He later became a professor of management at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, before joining the faculty at Syracuse University. There he founded the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program (EBV) – an initiative that trains post 9/11 veterans in entrepreneurship and small business. More than 500 vets have received EBV training since 2007 and the program is now offered through a network of world-class schools across the country. In 2009, EBV was recognized as a “National Best Practice” by the Secretary of the Army and in 2011, Haynie was appointed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo to the NYS Council on Returning Veterans and Their Families. Haynie has received numerous awards for his community engagement, scholarship and teaching, including the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Prestigious Snyder Memorial Award and the Guttag Research Fellowship among others.
Mellody Hobson President, Ariel Investments
As president of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson is responsible for firm-wide management and strategic planning, overseeing all operations outside of research and portfolio management. She is also a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education with frequent appearances on Good Morning America, ABC’s World News Tonight, and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. She was also the executive producer and host of an ABC primetime special, Unbroke: What You Need to Know about Money.
Hobson is actively involved with a variety of civic and professional institutions, and serves on the boards of the Field Museum, the Chicago Public Education Fund, and the Sundance Institute.
Zach Iscol U.S. Marine Corps Veteran; Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Hirepurpo.se and The Headstrong Project
A combat-decorated former Marine officer and Iraq veteran, Zach Iscol is currently the CEO and founder of Hirepurpo.se, an online platform that uses employment testing to match military veterans and families with civilian employers. He also runs the Headstrong Project, a New York City–based nonprofit to build collaborative partnerships and deliver cost- bureaucracy- and stigma-free treatment to military veterans with PTSD and TBI.
Previously, Iscol built one of the first highly successful Iraqi military units in Al Anbar province in 2004, and fought in the second battle of Fallujah.
Upon leaving the service, he wrote, directed, and produced The Western Front, a Tribeca Film Festival selection about the Al Anbar awakening, scheduled for release in late 2013.
Staff Sergeant Natalie Jones U.S. Marine Corps Reservist, Platoon Staff Noncommissioned Officer
Staff Sgt. Jones is one of the few female Marines who has been attached to all-male infantry units from 2005 to the present.
Her previous duties include administration chief for units in the United States and squad leader for the Female Engagement Team of Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. She will soon serve as the platoon staff noncommissioned officer in charge of Alpha Company, Wounded Warrior Regiment, Camp Pendleton, Calif., where she will lead a small group of Marines to serve wounded-in-action service members returning from combat.
Kirk Johnson Founder and Executive Director, The List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies
Kirk W. Johnson is the founder of the List Project to Resettle Iraqi Allies, a nonprofit organization that helps Iraqis who have become imperiled as a result of working with the U.S. The List Project has marshaled hundreds of attorneys from eight top firms, securing well over 100,000 hours of pro bono legal counsel for Iraqis as they navigate the refugee resettlement bureaucracy. More than 1,500 Iraqis have found refuge through the project.
Johnson previously served as USAID’s coordinator for reconstruction in Fallujah. His book on the fate of our Iraqi allies, To Be A Friend Is Fatal, will be published in 2013.
Garry Kasparov Chairman, United Civil Front
An outspoken critic of the Kremlin, Garry Kasparov first shot to fame at age 22 as the world’s youngest chess champion in history. His peak rating is still the highest of all time. After twenty years as the world’s top-ranked player, Kasparov retired from chess in 2005 to take up the struggle for Russian democracy.
His organization, the United Civil Front, is a member of the Solidarity opposition alliance that staged “Marches of Dissent” across Russia to protest President Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian crackdown on democracy and civil rights. Kasparov and his allies were also instrumental in organizing anti-Putin protests in the aftermath of the 2011 parliamentary elections and the March 2012 presidential elections.
Kasparov’s US-based non-profit Kasparov Chess Foundation promotes the teaching of chess in schools and reaches over 3500 schools in every state. He is also the author of How Life Imitates Chess, My Great Predecessors, and Modern Chess. He lives in Moscow.
Haidar Khairallah Translator
Iraq native Haidar Khairallah developed his love for the English language during a childhood stay in Cardiff, England. His family eventually returned to Iraq and in 2003 Khairallah’s linguistic skills helped him become an interpreter with the 82nd Airborne Division in Baghdad. Nicknamed “Homeboy” by the troops, who had a tough time pronouncing his name—it rhymes with ‘rider’—Khairallah served with the troops helping them in their search for hidden bombs, weapons, and insurgent groups. In 2003, he lost a leg in an ambush trying to save an American soldier’s life in a firefight. Khairallah currently lives in the United States.
Daniel Klaidman Special Correspondent, Newsweek & The Daily Beast
Daniel Klaidman is a special correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and the author of Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency.
Nicholas Kristof Columnist, The New York Times
Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since November 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.
After joining the Times in 1984, initially covering economics, he served as a correspondent in Los Angeles and as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo. He later was associate managing editor of the Times, responsible for Sunday editions.
In 1990, Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square movement. He won a second Pulitzer in 2006, for his coverage of the genocide in Darfur.
Howard Kurtz Washington Bureau Chief, Newsweek & The Daily Beast
Howard Kurtz is The Daily Beast and Newsweek’s Washington bureau chief, and writes the Spin Cycle blog. He also hosts CNN’s weekly media program Reliable Sources. The longtime media reporter and columnist for The Washington Post, Kurtz is the author of five books.
Eli Lake Senior National Security Correspondent, Newsweek & The Daily Beast
Eli Lake is the senior national-security correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. He previously covered national security and intelligence for The Washington Times. Lake has also been a contributing editor at The New Republic since 2008 and covered diplomacy, intelligence, and the military for the late New York Sun.
He has lived in Cairo and traveled to war zones in Sudan, Iraq, and Gaza. He is one of the few journalists to report from all three members of President Bush’s axis of evil: Iraq, Iran, and North Korea
Bernard-Henri Lévy Philosopher, Author, and Director, The Oath of Tobruk
Bernard-Henri Lévy is a philosopher and runs the magazine La Règle du Jeu. He is the author of 30 books and director of two documentary films: Bosna!, on his activities during the siege of Sarajevo, and Le Serment de Tobrouk (The Oath of Tobruk), about his involvement in the revolution in Libya.
Lu LobelloU.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Founder of Unit Specific Aid and Author of the forthcoming article Moral Injury: A Sociological Approach
Lu Lobello is currently in his last year of law school at California Western School of Law in San Diego. He is the founder of a Social Media Advocacy Think Tank that helps teach citizens how to leverage online collaborative tools to effect social change. Previously, Lobello was in the Marine Corps, with Fox Company 2/23 AKA The Sinners and The Saints.
Admiral William H. McRaven U.S. Navy, Commander, United States Special Operations Command
Admiral McRaven commands United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., and is responsible for joint special operations forces’ readiness and, as directed, conducting operations worldwide. He previously commanded Joint Special Operations Command; Special Operations Command Europe, concurrently serving as the first NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre director; a Naval Special Warfare group, SEAL team, squadron, and platoon. His staff assignments include the Office of Combating Terrorism, National Security Council and the USSOCOM and Navy staffs. Admiral McRaven attended Naval Postgraduate School and was the first graduate from the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.
Peter MeijerBoard of Directors, Student Veterans of America
Peter Meijer has served on the Board of Directors of Student Veterans of America since 2009. From the summer of 2010 to the summer of 2011, Meijer deployed to Iraq as an embedded combat advisor with the Iraqi Army conducting bilateral training missions in Baghdad. He has also served with Team Rubicon working at refugee camps in South Sudan.
Phillip Mudd Senior Global Adviser, Oxford Analytica
Philip Mudd’s long association with the CIA began as an analyst on South Asia in 1985. In 1992, he managed the Iraq analyses at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center and worked on Middle East issues at the White House National Security Council. He later became the FBI’s Senior Intelligence Adviser before resigning from Government service in 2010. Mudd currently serves as Senior Global Adviser to Oxford Analytica, a British-based firm specializing in advising multinational companies. He sits on the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Group and is on the advisory board of the National Counterterrorist Center.
William P. Nash, M.D. U.S. Navy (Retired); Researcher in Combat-Related PTSD and Moral Injury
Bill Nash is a psychiatric researcher, educator, author, and consultant in combat and operational stress control and posttraumatic stress disorder prevention and treatment for the Marine Corps, Navy, Department of Defense and the VA. During his 30 years of active duty, CAPT Nash was the principal architect of the current Navy–Marine Corps approach to combat and operational stress control, officially published as MCRP 6-11C in December 2010. Dr. Nash has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, and co-edited the recent volume, Combat Stress Injury: Theory, Research, and Management. He serves as co-principal investigator in several active research projects, and holds appointments as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Bill Norwood Father of U.S. Marine Sergeant Byron Norwood
Employee benefits manager Bill Norwood’s deep engagement with the Army began when his son, Sgt. Byron Norwood, lost his life in Fallujah, Iraq, during a rescue mission for brother Marines.
Bill Norwood hopes to keep his son’s legacy alive by spending time with injured Marines and soldiers and contributing to the annual Warrior Benefit Clay Shoot in Houston.
Bill has lived in Texas most of his life and is married to Janet. They have five children and two grandchildren.
Elizabeth Perez-Halperin U.S. Navy Veteran; President and Founder, GC Green
Elizabeth Perez-Halperin is the president and founder of GC Green (GCG), a green-build general contracting and consulting firm that helps place veterans and displaced workers in California in a broad range of jobs in the clean-energy sector.
Previously, Perez-Halperin worked in the green-build and engineering industry in California, and served in the U.S. Navy for more than eight years as an aviation logistics specialist. She received an honorable discharge as a 9/11 Wounded Warrior veteran.
Perez-Halperin plans to start the first military cleantech hub in San Diego for veteran entrepreneurs working in the clean-energy industry.
Martha Raddatz Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent, ABC News
Recent vice-presidential debate moderator Martha Raddatz is a seasoned foreign affairs journalist and covers national security and the White House at ABC News. She travels frequently to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and has made more than 20 trips to Iraq during the war. She is also the only television journalist who was allowed on a combat mission over Afghanistan in an F-15 fighter jet.
Raddatz is the author of the bestselling The Long Road Home, which chronicles a battle in Iraq’s Sadr City in 2004, and she is the recipient of numerous Emmy awards, including the ABC News award for coverage of the 9/11 attacks.
Alfred Rascon U.S. Army; Medal of Honor Recipient
Medal of Honor recipient Alfred Rascon immigrated to the United States from Chihuahua, Mexico with his parents when he was four years old. At 17, he enlisted in the army and became a medic in the 173rd Airborne Brigade. In the spring of 1966, Specialist Fourth Class Rascon’s reconnaissance platoon was part of a major operation in the jungles of Long Khanh Province in Vietnam. On February 8, 2000 Alfred Rascon received the Medal of Honor from President Bill Clinton for his valorous acts during this incident. After discharge from the Army, Rascon joined the Army Reserves and later returned to active duty as a commissioned officer and served another tour in Vietnam. His career as a Federal employee spans 38 years, with assignments in the Army and within the Department of Justice where he served with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and INTERPOL, as well as serving as the Director of the Selective Service System under President George W. Bush.
Dr. Andrew Roberts Author, The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War
Dr. Andrew Roberts is a British historian whose most recent books include the prize-winning Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941–45 and the bestseller The Storm of War, which won the British Army Military Book of the Year Award.
He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and a trustee of the Margaret Thatcher Archive Trust. Dr. Roberts lives in New York.
Deborah RobertsABC News Correspondent, 20/20
Deborah Roberts joined the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 in June 1995, and since then has also served as a substitute anchor on Good Morning America and World News Weekend. Roberts reports regularly on a wide variety of stories for the newsmagazine program and World News with Diane Sawyer.
She has reported from Africa on the HIV/AIDS crisis and orphans, and the CA wildfires, which earned her an Emmy award. She also was awarded an Emmy for her emotional, in-depth reporting on an Ethiopian American woman’s journey back to Africa to find her mother and for her work with ABC’s millennium coverage.
Roberts resides in Manhattan with her husband, NBC weatherman Al Roker, and their two children.
Charlie Rose Executive Editor and Anchor, Charlie Rose; Anchor, CBS This Morning
Charlie Rose is the executive editor and anchor of Charlie Rose, the nightly one-hour news interview program on PBS. He is also the co-anchor of the daily morning television program CBS This Morning and a contributing correspondent to the CBS News program 60 Minutes.
Since 1991 Charlie Rose has done more in-depth interviews with Nobel laureates and extraordinary men and women of science, politics, art, business, sports, technology, literature, and entertainment than any other program in the world.
He received the Legion of Honor award in 2010.
Kim Ruocco National Director of Postvention Programs, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Kim Ruocco is the National Director of Postvention Programs for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). In her role at TAPS Kim provides comprehensive, peer-based comfort and care to all those who are grieving the loss of a service member to suicide.
In addition to postvention care, Kim provides suicide prevention education for various organizations including the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the American Association of Suicidology and the Marine Corp. She is a National speaker who uses information gathered from service members and 1000s of survivors to provide training to large groups of Soldiers, Marines, Airman and Sailors in hopes of saving a life.
Kim is also a survivor. Her husband, Major John Ruocco USMC was a decorated Cobra pilot and died by suicide on February 7, 2005. Kim now lives in Newbury Massachusetts with her two sons, Joey 18 and Billy 16.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Erik Sabiston, U.S. ArmyUH-60 Black Hawk Instructor Pilot
CW2 Erik Sabiston is one of the Dustoff73 crew members that won the 2011 Army Aviation Association of America’s Rescue of the Year Award and the 2011 Goodrich International Hoist Rescue of the Year.
Currently stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala., CW2 Sabiston teaches new UH-60 flight-school students with Echo Company 1-212th Aviation Battalion.
He has deployed to Iraq twice and completed a tour in Afghanistan as a Medevac pilot-in-command and air mission commander.
Baba Shetty CEO, The Newsweek Daily Beast Company
Baba Shetty joined The Newsweek Daily Beast Company as CEO in October, departing his role as Chief Strategy & Chief Media Officer at Hill Holliday.
At Hill Holliday, Baba oversaw the work of connecting people with brand ideas, he led brand planning, consumer research, media planning and buying. Under his stewardship, Hill Holliday was named 2011 Media Agency of the Year by MEDIA magazine and for four consecutive years was honored with a Media Plan of the Year Award from Adweek Magazine.
Prior to Hill Holliday, Baba led digital at Fallon Worldwide, and spent three years as a research director and principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, MA.
Major Sarah A. Shirley, Florida Air National GuardChaplain
Chaplain (Maj.) Sarah Shirley is assigned at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base in Florida where she advises leaders on ethics and members' religious rights. She deployed twice since 9/11, recently spending 13 months as a hospital chaplain in Afghanistan. Chaplain Shirley joined the Air Force in 2001 after 20 years in organizational leadership and chaplaincy, becoming a guardsman in 2006. She has a Masters of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology and a Masters in Military Operational Art and Science from Air University.
Aaron Sorkin Playwright and Screenwriter
Aaron Sorkin is an Academy Award–winning screenwriter and television producer. He won an Oscar for The Social Network and was nominated for the adapted screenplay for Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.
Sorkin wrote and produced Sports Night and the Emmy Award–winning series The West Wing, and is also the creator of the hit HBO series The Newsroom.
His Broadway playwriting debut, A Few Good Men, won the John Gassner Award for Outstanding New American Playwright, and the play’s film adaptation was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes, including best screenplay.
Sorkin is currently working on the second season of The Newsroom.
Howard "Ford" Sypher U.S. Army Veteran and Director of Field Operations, Region VII, Team Rubicon
Howard “Ford” Sypher is a former Team leader, as well as EMT-I in 3/75 Ranger Regiment. While in the U.S. Army he served three deployments in Iraq and two in Afghanistan. He attended several Joint Special Operation Command surgical skills courses, participated and trained in high-angle rescue and extraction, as well as mass casualty triage and management. Ford has extensive medical and genetic-surveying experience in South America and South Asia. While serving in the Army, Ford was decorated several times for service and combat, including the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device. Ford has also served as the Team Leader for Team Rubicon deployments in Walker County, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri. Ford is currently pursuing a B.A. in Global Studies at the University of Kansas.
Patti Walker U.S. Army Civilian, Fort Riley, Kansas; Wounded Warrior Transition Advocate
When 1st Sgt. (Ret.) Kevin Walker was severely wounded in Iraq in 2004, his wife, Patti, started a small nonprofit group that helped more than a hundred wounded soldiers and their families at Fort Riley.Following months of recovery and rehabilitation, Kevin and Patti became major catalysts for changing policies affecting wounded warriors and family care in the Army. Ms. Walker continues her work as an advocate for the Army Wounded Warrior Program and has been recognized for her work with the Commander’s Service Award, the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award, the Order of St. Joan d’Arc, and the Very Important Patriot Award of Honor from the National Military Family Association.
J. Kael Weston Former State Department Official (1999-2010) and Current Volunteer, Spirit of America
J. Kael Weston is a former U.S. State Department official whose work included assignments at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. and seven consecutive years in Iraq and Afghanistan. There he served alongside U.S. Marines and other service members in Fallujah, Khost, Sadr City, and Helmand. Weston is currently working on a book based on his time in Iraq and Afghanistan and the how the so-called Arab Street perceives the U.S.
Eli Williamson U.S. Army Veteran; Director, Veterans Program, The McCormick Foundation; Board of Directors, Leave No Veteran Behind
Former army staff sergeant Eli Williamson is the co-founder of Leave No Veteran Behind, an Illinois-based nonprofit that helps veterans find jobs.
While serving as executive director of Leave No Veteran Behind, he helped vets with debt relief, workforce-skills training, and community-service opportunities to help them make the transition from military to civilian life.
Williamson served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of psychological-operations teams and as an Arabic linguist, working on outreach to civilian communities and supporting special-operations forces.
He is the recipient of numerous awards and medals, including the Bronze Star and two Army Achievement Medals.
James Kimo WilliamsExecutive Director, United States Veterans Art Program
James Kimo Williams is a Vietnam Combat Veteran and the founder of the United States Veteran Art Program, which provides guitars, cameras and art supplies to wounded service members.
Williams has released four CDs of original compositions, including works that have been performed by major symphony orchestras including Detroit, Atlanta, Savannah, Philadelphia and Indianapolis. He also co-founded the Lt. Dan Band with actor Gary Sinise, performing worldwide for military service members and their families.
Williams holds an MA in management from Berklee College in Boston and is currently an associate professor at Columbia College, Chicago.
He is currently devoting his energies with his creative partner and wife Carol to multi-media production, composing and photography.