Secretary Madeleine Albright was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. In 2012, Dr. Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama. In 1997, Dr. Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, Dr. Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. Prior to her service in the Clinton Administration, she served as President of the Center for National Policy; was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff; and served as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie. Dr. Albright is the author of five New York Times bestsellers. Dr. Albright received a B.A. with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a Certificate from its Russian Institute.
Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer and director in a distinguished career over 4 decades. His honors include Oscar and Tony nominations, 6 Emmys, 33 Emmy nominations, the Science Board’s Public Service Award, and induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He hosted the award winning series, “Scientific American Frontiers” on BPS for eleven years, interviewing leading scientist from around the world. He has won the Director’s Guild Award three times, received six Golden Globes from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and seven Peabody Awards. Mr. Alda played Hawkeye Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and also wrote and directed many episodes. His wife, Arlene, is the author of fifteen children’s books and is an award winning professional photographer. They have three daughters and seven grandchildren.
Kwame Anthony Appiah, a 2012 National Humanities Medal recipient, is a distinguished author who is published widely in numerous languages. His studies include the fields of Societal Ethics and African and African-American literature and culture. Appiah joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 as Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. He won the 2007 Arthur Ross Award of the Council on Foreign Relations and was Chair of the Board from the American Council of Learned Societies. He serves as general editor of the Amnesty International Global Ethics Series, and was President of the PEN American Center for three years. Associations, honors and awards bestowed are numerous. They include induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, United Nations Democracy Fund Advisory Board, degree of Honorary Doctor of Philosophy, Dickinson University and honorary degrees from Colgate University, Bard College and Swarthmore College.
Aaron Belkin is a scholar, author, activist and dancer. He has written and edited more than twenty five scholarly articles, chapters and books, the most recent of which is a study of contradictions in American warrior masculinity and the ways in which smoothing over those contradictions makes U.S. empire seem unproblematic. The book, titled Bring Me Men, was first published by Columbia University Press in 2012 and then picked up by Oxford University Press in 2013. Since 1999, Belkin has served as founding director of the Palm Center, which the Advocate named as one of the most effective gay rights organizations in the nation. He designed and implemented much of the public education campaign that eroded popular support for military anti-gay discrimination, and when “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed, the president of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund observed that, “this day never would have arrived (or it would have been a much longer wait) without the persistent, grinding work of the Michael Palm Center.” Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley said of Belkin that, “Probably no single person deserves more credit for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Spencer P. Boyer is a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. In addition, he has affiliations with public affairs and security-focused consulting firms based in Washington, D.C. and Silicon Valley. He served in senior roles in both terms of the Obama administration. From 2014 – 2017, he was the National Intelligence Officer for Europe in the National Intelligence Council—the center for long-range strategic thinking within the U.S. Intelligence Community. During the first term of the administration, he served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. He began his career as a lawyer with the international law firm of Jones Day and subsequently served with international courts and tribunals in The Hague, Zurich, and Paris. He has been Executive Director and War Powers Initiative Director at a Georgetown University-based NGO and a Director, Senior Fellow, or Visiting Scholar with numerous think tanks, including the Center for American Progress, the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Mr. Boyer is a graduate of Wesleyan University and received his J.D. from New York University School of Law. While at NYU, he also obtained a master’s degree in French Studies, with a concentration in French politics, history, and economy.
Terry Brackett is a retired Washington, D.C. energy lawyer and former legal advisor to Dr. Matthew Holden at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. She has done extensive volunteer work concentrating on issues impacting women, including sexual violence and sex trafficking. Ms. Brackett is a member of the Board of the US National Committee, UN Women.
Sherry Broder is a lawyer, law professor and activist. Her law practice has concentrated in complex civil litigation with an emphasis on social justice issues. She has litigated cases on behalf of the Native Hawaiian people and the victims of human rights abuses. She has represented clients in litigation in many different state and federal courts and in the courts of other countries. She serves as an international arbitrator. She was the first woman President of the Hawaii State Bar Association and is the President of the Federal Bar Association for the District of Hawaii. She was a founder of both Hawaii Women Lawyers and Hawaii Women Lawyers Foundation and served as one of their Presidents during the early years. Ms. Broder teaches International Law and International Ocean Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii. She has been a consultant to the Republic of Turkey. Ms. Broder in the recipient of various awards, including ABA Solo Practitioner of the Year 1992, ABA Solo and Small Firm Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, and Cox Price Human Rights Award from the University of Denver Law School 2007. She has published many articles and chapters on international and ocean law issues. Ms. Broder graduated from Wellesley College and U.C. Berkeley Law School, Order of the Coif.
Meredith Auld Brokaw is a highly accomplished businesswoman, humanitarian, author and businesswoman. Mrs. Brokaw founded Penny Whistle Toys, was president of the company for twenty years, and is the author of eight Penny Whistle books for parenting and children’s activities. Mrs. Brokaw served as vice-chair of Conservation International, whosemission is to protect the earth’s living heritage and it’s global biodiversity. She is also on the board of Maloto, Inc., which works to transform the lives of children and women living in extreme poverty in Malawi by supporting programs that feed, educate and empower. Brokaw established the tomato canning project initiative, a micro-finance business, which is partnered with the Kwithu Women’s Group. Brokaw served on the board of WNET, was chair of their Education Committee for over ten years and was a director of the Gannett Company for over 17 years. In 2011, Meredith and her husband, Tom, hosted the International Rescue Committee’s Annual Freedom Award Benefit.
General Wesley Clark, US Army (ret.) is a four-star general and director for strategic plans and policy of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Supreme Allied Commander Europe and NATO, he led Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. General Clark is highly decorated and a recipient of many awards and honors including the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. In 2000, General Clark was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is a Rhodes scholar, West Point graduate and class valedictorian. A major influence in his view of the military was Douglas MacArthur’s speech, “Duty, honor, country.” His most recent book, “Winning Modern Wars,” was published in October 2004.
Ambassador Nancy Ely-Raphel has most recently served as Vice President and Managing Director of Save the Children. Prior to that appointment she was the Counselor on International Law in the Department of State. Ambassador Ely-Raphel served as Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State and Director of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons where she established that office and led the State Department’s efforts to develop and implement policy to combat trafficking in persons until January 2003. From 1998 until 2001 she served as the United States Ambassador to Slovenia. Prior to her service in Slovenia, she served as the Coordinator for Bosnia, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, and Assistant Legal Adviser for African Affairs and Nuclear Affairs. She has worked as an Assistant United States Attorney, Associate Dean of Boston University School of Law and senior trial attorney with the Organized Crime Strike Force of the Department of Justice. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, she is the recipient of various awards, including the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive in 1991 and 1999, in 2001 the University of San Diego’s Author E. Hughes Award for lifetime career achievement and in 2004 the Director General’s Cup of the Department of State.
Jason W. Forrester, President of Jason Forrester Consulting, is committed to improving the well-being of the post-9/11 generation of troops, military families, and veterans. From 2009-2015, he served as a Department of Defense presidential appointee. His ultimate assignment was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he was responsible for the well-being of the 1.1 million members of the National Guard/Reserve. Jason was the leader in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for National Guard/Reserve sexual assault prevention/response, suicide prevention, and diversity promotion. Earlier, Jason spearheaded efforts in the Army to create a career-ready military and was chief legislative advisor for the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” review. Jason has also worked for The Carter Center, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and the Brookings Institution. He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is a member of the Sewanee Athletics Hall of Fame and was the distinguished young alumnus in 2008. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and The Army and Navy Club. He has been named a Thomas J. Watson Foundation fellow, an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar, and a National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard, chair of Afro-American Studies and the director W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. Professor Gates has authored several works of literary criticism, and many volumes of African American and Africana studies. Professor Gates has taught at Yale, Cornell and Duke Universities. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius award,” George Polk Award for Social Commentary, Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential Americans” list, a National Humanities Medal and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Gedney, US Air Force (ret.) served over 22 years on active duty as an intelligence officer and an additional five years as a defense contractor in the Washington DC area after retiring from active duty. Gedney holds an MBA, MS, and CSW, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, College of Social Work. She served as an advisor to the executive director on the Sundance award-winning documentary The Invisible War that addresses the epidemic of sexual assault in the military. Her research interests include community-based research, gender equality, military sexual assault, military culture as it relates to sexual assault, and leadership gender bias in the military. Gedney completed her MSW internship at the Salt Lake City Veterans Hospital working in outpatient mental health where she provided individual and couples psychotherapy and facilitated a military sexual trauma survivors support group. Her current research focus is on military sexual assault prevention and program evaluation.
Ambassador Gordon Giffin is the Chair of the Public Policy and international department of McKenna Long & Aldridge. Ambassador Giffin has been engaged in the practice of law or government service for over thirty years. From August 1997 to April 2001, Ambassador Giffin served as the nineteenth U.S. Ambassador to Canada. From 1975-1979, he was Legislative Director and Chief Counsel to U.S. Senator Sam Nunn in Washington D.C.
Ryan Guilds is a highly accomplished lawyer and dedicated advocate for survivors of sexual assault. Mr. Guilds is an attorney at Arnold and Porter, LLP, where his practice focuses on intellectual property brand protection, complex products liability litigation, white collar defense, internal company compliance and ethics, and criminal law. Mr. Guilds has an active pro bono practice supporting survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, with an emphasis on survivors of sexual assault in the military. In 2013, Mr. Guilds spearheaded the development of Arnold and Porter’s initiative to represent military and civilian victims of sexual assault by U.S. military service personnel. The initiative, developed in cooperation with Protect Our Defenders, has supported dozens of civilian victims’ rights lawyers across the country and has resulted in significant legal victories in the fight to protect survivors’ sexual history and psychotherapy records. He has also testified on behalf of victims before the Military Judicial Proceedings Panel, recommending improvements to how the armed services respond to sexual assaults. Mr. Guilds’ support for sexual assault survivors extends to civilian proceedings. He is a member of the board of Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. (NVRDC), a non-profit organization offering holistic services including legal counsel to the victims of crime. NVRDC and Mr. Guilds collaborated on pro bono training programs focused on representation for survivors of sexual violence on college campuses and in criminal proceedings. In 2014, Mr. Guilds was a recipient of NVRDC’s inaugural Firm Voice Award. This award recognizes an individual who has displayed a commitment to offering pro bono support and advocacy for survivors of crime by ensuring they have a voice throughout the recovery process. Mr. Guilds graduated from the University Of North Carolina School Of Law, High Honors.
Marcena Gunter currently serves as Director of Public Affairs for the VA St. Louis Health Care System. In this role she is the Public Information Officer for the facility, leads media relations, crisis communications, directs and creates strategy for internal, media and community relations for the complex tertiary care hospital. St. Louis is a major center for Department of Veterans Affairs programs. She also supports the Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration and VA National Cemetery Administration, and the VA volunteer program. She has received national recognition by Department of Veterans Affairs for her work. Having worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 20 years, she is involved with numerous veteran rehabilitation programs to re-engage veterans in positive physical and creative programs. She is highly regarded by her peers for her advocacy for veterans. Her work in the southern Illinois region was recognized by Racial Harmony with her selection as One of the Phenomenal Women of the Year for 2011.
Lynn K. Hall is an author, speaker, and activist in the movement to end sexual violence. Her memoir, Caged Eyes: An Air Force Cadet’s Story of Rape and Resilience, was published in 2017 by Beacon Press/Penguin Random House. Her writing has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, among other publications. She lives in Leadville, CO.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Hall of Fame basketball player, successful businessman, author and AIDS activist. During his 13-year career Johnson was one of the most accomplished basketball players of all time. He won the Most Valuable Player Award and the Finals MVP Award three times each, and was a 12-time All-Star. He is an accomplished businessman, which includes real estate holdings, movie theaters and Starbuck Franchises. Upon learning he had the AIDS virus, Johnson established the Magic Johnson Foundation to support HIV/AIDS research efforts and awareness programs. In 1992, he wrote the educational guide What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS.
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, US Army (ret.) was the first woman to receive this flag rank. She served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Headquarters, Wash. DC. During her career, General Kennedy received numerous awards and decorations including the Legion of Merit, The Defense Meritorious Service Medal, The Army Commendation Medal, and the Living Legacy Patriot Award presented by the Women’s International Center.
Scott Love is the President of the Attorney Search Group, a legal recruiting firm based in Washington, DC, which focuses on partner-level placement and group and law firm mergers for international law firms. Love is the author of Why They Follow: How to Lead with Positive Influence and is a popular speaker at business meetings and conventions on the topic of employee loyalty. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and two children.
Diane Mazur is a retired University of Florida law professor and former Bigelow Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She now works for the Palm Center, an independent research institute that sponsors scholarship on gender issues in military personnel policy. She is also an advisor to the National Institute of Military Justice and a past Senior Editor for the Journal of National Security Law and Policy. Professor Mazur is a former aircraft and munitions maintenance officer in the US Air Force and the author of an Oxford University Press book on civil-military relations and military equality, A More Perfect Military: How the Constitution Can Make Our Military Stronger.
BriGette McCoy, US Army veteran and survivor of military sexual assault, is a nationally recognized veteran advocate. McCoy served in the US Army during the Gulf War Era as a Data Telecommunications computer operator. McCoy founded Women Veteran Social Justice Network, a non-profit that connects and empowers the women’s military and veteran community through electronic and mobile technology education programs. McCoy currently holds volunteer positions as Executive Board Member with Warrior Songs and as Veteran Arts Trainer with The ArtReach Foundation, Inc. Her story is chronicled in the 2011 documentary Service: When Women Come Marching Home, broadcast nationally on PBS. McCoy is known nationally for raising awareness about solutions to better equip veteran women on issues of sexual assault/trauma in the military, homelessness, suicide prevention (serving on the Surgeon General’s Suicide Prevention Task Force in 2012), socio-economic empowerment, and therapeutic arts and recreation. She is frequently interviewed on TV and radio, and has testified on Capitol Hill on women veterans’ issues including military sexual assault.
Marine Colonel Pete McCloskey, USN (ret.) was a Congressman and is a decorated war hero. McCloskey voluntarily served in the US Navy at the end of World War II and in the US Marines during the Korea War. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Silver Star for heroism in combat and two awards of the Purple Heart. He retired in 1974 having attained the rank of Colonel. McCloskey served as a member of Congress from 1967 – 1983. An avid environmentalist, he was co-founder of the first Earth Day and co-author of the Endangered Species Act.
Lieutenant Colonel Terry Moore, USAF (ret.) served as an aircraft maintenance, support, and staff officer in stateside and overseas locations for 20 years from 1983-2003. She assists women veterans in navigating federal, state and community services through hometown outreach. Her veteran advocacy includes speaking engagements, multimedia broadcasting, and e-writing. A past Maine Women Veterans Commission Chair and Veterans’ Home trustee, she is currently a Stateside Legal advisor and lifetime affiliate with military and veteran organizations.
Terri J. Odom, US Army and Navy veteran and survivor of military sexual assault, serves on Protect Our Defender’s Peer to Peer Support Network, Advocacy Committee, and Advisory Board. Currently Terri is a full time volunteer veteran adviser with the VA St. Louis Health Care System. She conducts veteran outreach, trains VA staff to serve veterans more holistically, and speaks to troops before and after deployments. Terri currently serves as a Missouri women veteran’s liaison to Governor Jay Nixon. In 2013 Terri was selected as one of 12 women to receive the St. Louis Hellenic Spirit Foundation Award for her accomplishments and enthusiasm for community spirit. She is an active volunteer with The St. Vincent Veteran Homeless Program, the Missouri Director of Veterans Homes, The Fisher House and the Happy House, which all provide housing to veterans and their families. Terri is a peer support leader for veteran crisis-modes through The Red Cross. From 2009-2011 she served on Congressman Russ Carnahan’s Veteran’s Advisory Committee.
Colonel James S. Overbye, US Army retired as an Army Colonel following a distinguished 29-year active duty military career as an Infantry and Counter Proliferation Officer. During his career, Col Overbye held numerous command and staff positions including overseas and operational deployments in Germany, Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. His numerous awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and Combat Infantryman Badge. Col Overbye received his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and holds Master’s degrees from Central Michigan University and George Mason University.
Jane Pauley, television journalist, and community and mental health advocate. Pauley served a distinguished career in television journalism, including 13 years as co-host of NBC’s Today Show, co-host of Dateline NBC and The Jane Pauley Show. She led an important PBS discussion on depression titled Depression: Out of the Shadows, which aired in 2008. Since 2009, Pauley has led a Community Health Center in Indiana. The center serves the local community regardless of insurance or ability to pay. It focuses on integrating medical, dental and behavioral health. Also, in 2009 Pauley joined the Board of Directors of The Mind Trust and is also AARP’s Ambassador of “Your Life Calling.” She is affiliated with the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and has spoken publicly about her experience with bipolar disorder.
Miranda Petersen worked at Protect Our Defenders from 2013 to 2017 while also attending the Evening Program at Georgetown University Law Center, where she received her J.D., magna cum laude, in 2017.
Since joining POD in 2013, Miranda worked to advance POD’s mission to uplift and support survivors of military sexual assault and to improve and reform the U.S. Military’s processes for addressing rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. As Executive Director, Miranda oversaw the development and execution of POD’s policy reform, legal advocacy, and public education initiatives, and managed POD’s Pro Bono Network to connect survivors of military sexual assault with legal representation, advice, and assistance.
Prior to joining Protect Our Defenders, Miranda spent two years as the paralegal for attorney Susan Burke in Washington, D.C., where she worked on several historic lawsuits against the Department of Defense filed on behalf of military sexual assault survivors who experienced abuse and retaliation after reporting. The cases are the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary film, The Invisible War. Miranda previously worked as an organizer for the Feminist Majority Foundation. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Heath Phillips served in the United States Navy from 1988-1989. He became a victim of sexual assault while onboard the USS BUTTE AE27 in 1988 upon first reporting to duty. He reported the assault, but was not believed, and the assaults became worse. Phillips went AWOL several times to escape the mental and physical torture he had been enduring. After many years of feeling like he was living in shame, Phillips came forward about this horrific crime. Phillips has been a volunteer advocate with Protect Our Defenders since its founding in 2011 and now speaks publicly about his experience with the press and other survivors. He works to make sure that other survivors know it is okay to come forward and speak about their experiences.
Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize winning author and New York Times guest columnist. Schiff has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was a Director’s Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Center for Scholars and Writers. In 2000, Schiff won the Pulitzer for biography for Vera, and in 1995 she was a Pulitzer finalist. She received the Ambassador Award in American Studies for A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France and the Birth of America, which also won the George Washington Book Prize. Her most recent biography, Cleopatra: A Life was on the New York Times bestseller list for six months. In 2006, she received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2009 received an EMMA award for journalistic excellence.
Major General Robert D. Shadley, U.S. Army retired as an Army Major General and is the author of The GAMe: Unraveling a Military Sex Scandal. During his leadership career, he guided more than 3,500 military men and women in combat and over 20,000 students in training. He retired from active duty following a distinguished 33-year military career. His numerous awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. Major General Shadley received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from Purdue University. One of Major General Shadley’s most heroic acts of his military career was exposing the Military Sex GAMe at the U.S. Army Ordnance Center and Schools at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, where he served as its Commanding General. As a result, the GAMe was also found at multiple locations in the military.
Charles B. Sowell is an accomplished military, government and industry leader and a nationally-recognized subject matter expert on security clearance reform issues. Charlie worked with Protect Our Defenders to create an exemption for military sexual trauma victims on the government’s security clearance application when he was the Deputy Assistant Director for Special Security at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. He retired from the Navy in 2015 following 27 years of active duty and reserve assignments in the intelligence field as an officer and enlisted member. Charlie received his bachelor’s degree from Old Dominion University and his master’s degree from the Joint Military Intelligence College. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer for iWorks Corporation in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia.
Patricia Lee Stotter is an Emmy award winning composer and writer. She and Marcia Rock produced, SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home, a multi-platform documentary addressing the unique challenges facing women who serve. Patty came to this project after working through theatre and art with the widows of Viet Nam Veterans and student veterans at City University of New York. From Sesame Street to HBO/PBS documentaries to SERVICE, Stotter is all about the right voice at the right moment.
Rose Styron, poet, journalist, human rights activist. Rose Styron has been at the forefront of international human rights activism since 1970 when she joined the Board of Amnesty International USA and subsequently became the chair of Amnesty’s National Advisory Council. She has also chaired PEN’s Freedom to Write Committee and the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Awards. She currently serves on the board of PEN and Human Rights Watch. She also served on The Reebok Human Rights Awards and the Association to Benefit Children. Ms. Styron has published four books as well as essays on international human rights. She serves on the advisory board of Families for Depression Awareness as well as a number of other boards. In addition, she is a highly regarded and well-published poet.
Stacey Thompson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at age 17. She volunteered for her first overseas duty station to Okinawa, Japan in 1999. Shortly after her arrival to Okinawa, Stacey experienced sexual harassment in her workplace from a senior Marine in her direct chain of command. In December 1999, she was drugged and violently raped by her superior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO). After reporting the rape, she was retaliated against and eventually separated from the Marines with an “Other Than Honorable” (OTH) discharge. She has since become a public advocate for survivors of military sexual assault. Stacey uses creative arts, poetry, and public speaking to share her story of survival. She educates and informs others of the complications which arise from invisible wounds such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) resulting from Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
Although a disabled veteran herself, Stacey is her husband’s full-time caregiver. She assists him with recovering from his three combat deployments and PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) diagnoses following 20 years’ service in the Marine Corps. In 2013, Stacey joined Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles for a press conference where she shared her story publicly for the first time. Her powerful speech led her to be invited by Senator Kristen Gillibrand in 2014 to speak in Washington, DC in support of the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA). Stacey graduated with honors and has a Master’s of Science degree from the California University of Pennsylvania. Stacey belongs to the Veteran Writers Group (VWG) of San Diego County, and she recently became a published author. She was featured in a documentary (June 2016), in conjunction with PBS, of short films that depict the struggles disabled veterans face after coming home and reintegrating back into society. In January 2016, after four years of litigation, Stacey received a discharge upgrade from the Department of Defense (DoD) which finally acknowledged her honorable military service, and she is now receiving her veteran benefits. Her tenacity and perseverance is apparent in not only her character, but in her advocacy work as well. Stacey can gracefully articulate her experiences with MST and PTSD offering a unique understanding from both the disabled veteran and caregiver perspective. Throughout her healing process, she has inspired and advocated for veterans and survivors of MST. Stacey continues to lead others by example. Her success and commitment to healing thus far is certainly an indication of things to come.
Garry Trudeau is an American cartoonist, best known for the award winning Doonsbury comic strip. In 1975, his work on topical political and social commentary garnered him a Pulitzer Prize. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Trudeau continues the legacy of his father, Dr. Francis Trudeau by working with the Trudeau Institute, a research organization founded by his father in 1964, which specializes in biological research dealing with the body’s immune system including AIDS research. In October, 2007 Trudeau created “The Sandbox: Dispatches from Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.” And, in 2012, he co-authored an op-ed for the Washington Post titled, “Breaking the cycle of Sexual Assault in the military.”
Sigourney Weaver is an accomplished actress, environmentalist and humanitarian. Weaver is an American actress with an extraordinary career spanning four decades. She is especially known for her role in the Alien Films series and Ghostbusters. In 1988, she received critical acclaim for her performances as Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist. During her career Weaver was nominated for three Academy Awards, three FAFTA Awards, two Emmys, seven Golden Globe Awards and two Lifetime Achievement Awards. Her career in acting is distinguished by challenging the gender role in cinema. Weaver is an environmentalist. In 2006, she spoke before the United Nations General Assembly policy deliberations outlining the threat to ocean habitats. She has been honored by the Explorers Club for her work with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and in 2011 received the Rachel Carson Award for environmental activism. Weaver received the Trevor Life Award in 2008, for being an inspiration to LGBT youth for her involvement in Prayers for Bobby. And has supported the mission of the Trickle Up Program, a non-profit focusing on mostly women and the disabled in extreme poverty.
Congressman Vin Weber, retired. Weber served as a member of Congress from 1980-1992. He is founding member of the Project for the New American Century and Chair of National Endowment for Democracy. Weber currently serves as a senior policy advisor to Mitt Romney for President and formerly served as Co-Chair of McCain for President campaign. He is a member of the board of the Humphrey Institute, the Aspen Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations.