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National Council on White House History

History's Ambassadors


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.

National Council Members

  • Teresa Carlson, National Council Chair

    Teresa Carlson leads the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Worldwide Public Sector business, which includes state, local, central and regional governments; educational institutions and Ed Techs; non-profits and non-governmental organizations (NGO); and she advises Amazon Public Policy on global policy issues.

  • Kathryn Ballard

    Kathryn Ballard serves on the Board of Directors of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition and is a Trustee at Florida State University. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Florida Special Olympics, the Board of Trustees of the Maclay School. Kathryn resides in Tallahassee, FL.

  • Buffy Cafritz

    Buffy Cafritz serves on the board of the Kennedy Center, NIH FDN, trustee council National Gallery of Art, French-American Cultural board, advisory board Madison Council, Library of Congress. Among awards, Legendary Women's award for Philanthropy, Spirit of Columbia NTL Org. of Italian Women, Manifesting the Kingdom of the Archdiocese of Wash.

  • Ashley Dabbiere

    Ashley is founder of the Loglio Brain Cancer Research Consortium, a leading funder and researcher of low grade glioma. She is involved in the National Brain Tumor Society, NIH NCI-Connect, Inova Health Systems, the Brain Tumor Research Center at UCSF, and serves on the Board of The Lab School of Washington. She and her husband Alan have four children.

  • Edward L. Diefenthal

    “Ned” Diefenthal is the President/CEO of Woodvine Group, LLC, and is also engaged in cutting edge oil sands technology. Some of his current memberships include the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation BOD, Member of the Board of the Louisiana Supreme Court Historical Society, and Past President of the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion Foundation.

  • Debbie Driesmen

    Debbie has lived in the Washington DC 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. Debbie is the Vice President of the Frank Islam and Debbie Driesman Foundation.

  • Lorna J. Gladstone

    Lorna grew up in Santiago, Chile and took 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 McElveen-Hunter is Founder & CEO of Pace Communications. She served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland from 2001-2004, and since 2004 as National Chair of the American Red Cross. Boards: Kennedy Center, Horatio Alger, Blair House, National Museum for Women in the Arts, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, and Society of the Four Arts.

  • Matthew Kaido

    Matthew is a board member of the Longaberger Family Foundation, which strives to promote entrepreneurial principles, preserve American history and ideals, and address quality of life issues in Ohio, nationally, and internationally. He has experience on Capitol Hill working for the Joint Economic Committee and for Congressman Pat Tiberi.

  • 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 serves on many nonprofit boards, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the American Ireland Fund, and is Chairman of the Palm Beach Zoo and Conservation Society and South Florida PBS.

  • Melissa Kirkpatrick

    Melissa is an entrepreneur, Chairwoman and Founding Director of Circuelle Foundation, which educates young adults on the importance of breast health and awareness. She is the owner and Creative Director at MK Collection, a design business of printed fabrics and woven textiles. Her greatest accomplishment is raising her three sons and two stepsons.

  • Sachiko Kuno

    Dr. Sachiko Kuno is the co-founder and Chair of Halcyon, a nonprofit dedicated to the power of human creativity. Kuno also serves as CEO of S&R Foundation, a 501(c)(3) she co-founded in 2000 to support talented individuals with great potential and high aspirations in the arts, sciences, and social entrepreneurship.

  • Ling Kwok

    Ling Kwok is a Co-Founder and Partner of Quantum GBL, LLC, an independent, New York-based alternative investment firm. He was previously affiliated with KP Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley, and Citicorp Securities. He serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Trinity College (Hartford, CT), and on the Board of Trustees of The Browning School in New York City.

  • George Logothetis

    George Logothetis is Chairman and CEO of the Libra Group, a business active in 35 countries and spanning aviation, energy, finance and diversified, hospitality, real estate, and shipping.

  • Mary V. Mochary

    Mary is an art collector, book collector and avid traveler, former mayor of Montclair, NJ, first female Deputy Legal Advisor-US Dept. of State, past president of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, former board member-Kennedy Center and currently serves on a multitude of nonprofit and for profit boards with homes in Florida, Virginia, and D.C.

  • John F. W. Rogers

    Vice Chairman, The White House Historical Association

    John is an EVP and Secretary to the Board of Goldman Sachs. Prior to GS, 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.

  • 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 serves on the Ambassador Council at N Street Village, working toward empowering homeless and low-income women in D.C. She also is a member of the Vienna Virginia Public Arts Commission. Her professional experience includes two decades in Human Resource Management. She has been dedicated to raising her two sons, her proudest accomplishment.

  • Steven and Andrea Strawn

    Steven is the CEO and founder of Imagenet, a health care technology company started in Seattle. It was there he met his wife Andrea, formerly a broadcast journalist from Vancouver. The couple’s interest in US history brought them to DC, where they support numerous charities including The Phillips Collection Independent Art Museum in Kalorama.

  • Ben C. Sutton, Jr.

    Ben C. Sutton, Jr. is founder and chairman of Teall Capital Partners. He was previously Chairman and CEO of IMG College. He is trustee at Wake Forest University, as well as the USOC, Ronald Reagan Presidential, National Football and Naismith Basketball foundations.

  • John Wood

    Mr. Wood oversees support of Telos customers in cybersecurity, secure mobility and identity. He is Chairman of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an organization providing care for families of America’s fallen military. Wood also serves on the boards of Northern Virginia Technology Council, Wolf Trap Foundation and INOVA Loudoun Hospital.

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