William H. Ahmanson (Bill) was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended Harvard-Westlake School and Occidental College where he studied Political Science, Theater Arts and sculpture. During college he began a career in banking at Home Savings of America, where he worked for 17 years, beginning his career as a teller and ending his career there as the Chief Underwriter for Home's California Residential Lending Division, responsible for all high risk loans funded in the state. After 6 years in Union Bank’s Wealth Management Division, Bill retired from banking and is now President of The Ahmanson Foundation which concentrates its funding on cultural projects supporting the arts, education at the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels, medicine and delivery of health care services, programs related to homelessness and low-income populations, and a wide range of human services. In 1986 he began his service to the City of Los Angeles as a Los Angeles Police Reserve Line Officer. After 10 years of patrol he retired to focus on other areas of service. Today he is Trustee & President, The Ahmanson Foundation; Trustee and Board Chair, The Center Theater Group; Trustee, Vice-Chair of the Board, Chairman of the Audit Committee, serves on the Executive Committee at LACMA (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Trustee and serves on the Audit Committee, Loyola Marymount University; Director and Secretary, Petersen Automotive Museum; Director and Secretary of the Los Angeles Mounted Police Foundation; among others.
Ben Donenberg is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles (SCLA). As a director of populist interpretations of Shakespeare, Ben has built a reputation of creating excellent, accessible productions. And as a military and veteran family champion – Ben grew up as a U.S. Army family member – Ben leverages SCLA and his wonderful friends to create innovative partnerships benefiting those who serve, while bridging the military-civilian divide.
After selection by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta as a participant in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference and completing the immersive experience in all five branches of the U.S. military, he created The Shakespeare Center’s Veterans in Art program, a transitional technical theatre training and employment initiative for previously unemployed veterans enrolled in vocational rehabilitation programs. Veterans in Art provides participants with paid experience in entertainment industry production roles. In 2018, more than 40 Veterans in Art participants were employed by the nationally acclaimed, award-winning SCLA outdoor production of Henry IV, starring Tom Hanks, on the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Campus. More recently, Ben enlisted Al Pacino to partner with SCLA and the Veterans In Art, NAVSO and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts for a benefit revival of Al’s 1977 Tony Award-winning starring role in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel at The Wallis.
Ben has received local awards and national recognition from the Actors’ Equity Association, NAACP, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, California Educational Theatre Association, and the Mayor of Los Angeles. His 2006 six-year Presidential appointment to the National Council on the Arts was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate. He has lectured on theatre aesthetics at the University of Southern California (USC), and at the Huntington Library and SCLA’s award-winning Will Power teacher training seminars.
Ben received his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from USC, and is a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Drama Division.
Rear Admiral Sweredoski served over thirty years of military service with the U.S. Navy retiring in 2015 as the Admiral leading the HR Reserve community where she was responsible for the strategic growth, direction and well-being of the HR Reserve community. As a Flag Officer, she also worked for the Chief of Naval Personnel in the Military Personnel Policy office including Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).
As the Navy’s Lead in the Congressionally-mandated Women in Service Review, Rear Admiral Sweredoski oversaw the development of all the Navy’s studies and reports to the Secretary of Defense and provided expert testimony to Congress on Navy's plan to integrate women into 27,000 additional positions in 2016. Efforts directly led to the opening of over 16,000 submarine positions 17 months ahead of the required deadline and the opening of all positions to females (including Navy SEALS).
She served a three-year assignment on the Secretary of the Navy’s National Navy Reserve Policy Board, and as a member of the Human Resources Executive Board. She served in several Commanding Officer tours and a variety of staff tours including NATO, Navy Inspector General and the Chief of Naval Operations Management Analysis unit. She proudly served with Navy Command Center shipmates who were awarded a Meritorious Unit Commendation for actions during, and after, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
After retiring from the Navy, Rear Admiral Sweredoski used her extensive Human Resources background and experience in talent management, policy and strategy development, management consulting and multi-organizational collaboration as a Principal Executive Advisor within CEB’s(now Gartner) Human Resources (HR) Practice. CEB-HR Practice enables HR executives and their teams to execute efficiently, benchmark performance against best-in-class metrics and achieve critical business objectives through successful talent and functional strategies. CEB insights and global network help organizations work smarter and faster and deliver superior outcomes.
Rear Admiral Sweredoski received her Bachelor’s Degree in Geology from the University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. after completing the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) program. She has her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification and SHRM (CP) certification, has completed the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) program and is a graduate of Reserve Component programs at National Defense University and Naval War College.
Executive Vice President Dr. Kevin Vigilante is the Chief Medical Officer for Booz Allen Hamilton. He is a leader in Booz Allen’s health business, advising government healthcare clients at the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services, and the Military Health System. He provides insights and thought leadership relevant to biomedical informatics, life sciences and research management, public health, health system reform, and program evaluation.
Kevin is a former member of the National Committee for Vital and Health Statistics and a former National Kellogg fellow. His work is published in academic journals and top-tier media outlets including the New York Times on a broad range of topics, including research innovation and informatics, tax policy and healthcare reform, and care of underserved HIV populations.
Prior to joining Booz Allen, Kevin held appointments on the medical faculty at Yale and Brown Universities. At Yale he was Director of the Medical Emergency Dept. at Yale New Haven Hospital, and he was also Director of the Primary Care Center at the West Haven VA. At Brown, he was Director of Emergency and Ambulatory services at the Miriam Hospital and held an appointment in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.
Kevin has a B.A. in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, an M.D. from the Cornell University Medical College, and a M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health. He did his residency in internal medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Rosemary Williams most recently served as executive director of S.A.F.E. Project (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic), a national non-profit dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic. Prior to S.A.F.E., Rosemary served as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs where she was responsible for oversight for the department’s public affairs, community outreach and engagement including Veteran homelessness and chief liaison to county, state and Tribal Nations Veterans offices. She also represented VA on the executive committee of the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
Prior to her appointment at VA, Rosemary served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy. In that position, she was responsible for policy, advocacy and oversight of all community support to service members, their families and survivors, child care and youth programs, family violence prevention and intervention, casualty and mortuary affairs, military spouse career advancement, and state liaison office.
Rosemary previously worked in government as director for communications and public liaison at the Office of Personnel Management, and as the senior advisor for strategic communications to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. During her time at VA, Rosemary also served as the Department of Veterans Affairs representative to the White House Council on Military Families. Prior to her government service, Rosemary worked as communications director for the national non-profit, Blue Star Families.
Rosemary’s public service career follows a 25-year broadcast journalism career, during which she received numerous awards including a National Emmy Award for Team Coverage of the attacks on September 11th as Executive Producer at MSNBC covering Washington, DC and Politics.
Rosemary was awarded fellowships in Ethical Decision Making at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and in National Security at the Air War College. She has been published on the topic of mental health and today’s military families and is author of the local history book, Maritime Annapolis – A History of Watermen, Sail & Midshipmen.