2023 Gala Committee Co-Chairs 

Jayne Herring

Dr. Mark Chapin Johnson


cordially invite you to


WACOC’S 2023 Gala

“Regaining Strategic Competence”


LTG H.R. McMaster (Ret.)

25th National Security Advisor (2017-2018)


Date & Time:

Saturday, December 16th, 2023 

5:30 PM Reception

6:30 PM Dinner & Program



Westin South Coast Plaza

686 Anton Blvd. 

Costa Mesa CA 92626



Early Bird Registration! Don’t wait until the last minute!

Discounted ticket prices listed below: 

Members: $150

Non-Members: $200

Table of 10: $1,500


Sponsors include:





Contact Programs Manager, Krista Seitz, krista@worldaffairscouncil.org, for further details for sponsorship.

Join the Gala Organizing Committee!

Would you like to be a part of the planning process? Join Co-Chairs, Dr. Mark Chapin Johnson, Jayne Herring, and our Committee members in making this year’s Gala unforgettable! We welcome everyone’s participation and support in our efforts to plan WACOC’s biggest event of the year!

Gala Committee Members: 

Dr. Mark Chapin Johnson (Co-Chair)

Jayne Herring (Co-Chair)

Victoire Auguste-Dormeuil

Souzan Baaj 

Alex Barker

Alex Bolourchi

Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham

Beatrice de Salles

Judge James Gray (ret.)

Helen Haig

Jeff Hobert

Diana & Yan Killy

Debra Leahy

William London

Denise Mainero

Nikki Minagar

Rima Nashashibi

Rick Putnam

Naseem Qader

Anita Sokolsky

Rose Tsai

Nora Valenzuela

Cay Varholick

Tim Welch

Tracy Wu


Gala Organizing Committee Sub-Committees: 

1. Development (Sponsor) Committee:

Generate sponsor leads from businesses and individuals; solicit sponsors over the phone or in-person; track sponsorships from lead to completion and put their contact info into a database

2. Silent Auction Committee: 

Reach out to various Consulates in Southern California and invite them to put together a silent auction basket with goods/gifts from their respective country to be sold at the Gala; create an auction catalog; create item donation spreadsheet keeping track of the various baskets from the Consulates; printing and mailing thank you letters

3.  Media & PR Committee:

Create media packages–which includes video, pictures, press releases, and more to provide to news and media outlets; help with creating infographics, flyers, and other social media content to advertise Gala.

4. Entertainment & Décor Committee:

Find and hire entertainment prospects (student music groups/instrumentalists); deciding the order of events for entertainment; decide on theme and corresponding décor in advance; create centerpieces, order flowers, place orders for any other décor that the event will require; help on the day-of with placing and arranging décor in the banquet rooms. 


Speaker Bio:

Lieutenant General (ret.) H.R. McMaster

H. R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.  

Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army for thirty-four years. He retired as a Lieutenant General in June 2018 after serving as the 25th assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. From 2014 to 2017, McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general, futures, of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. He has commanded organizations in wartime including Commander, Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan from 2010 to 2012; Commander, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006;  and Commander, Eagle Troop, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  

McMaster holds a PhD in Military History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an Assistant Professor of History at the United States Military Academy. He is author of the bestselling books Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The Atlantic,  Foreign AffairsForeign PolicySurvivalNational Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post,  and the New York Times.
McMaster is the host of Battlegrounds: International Perspectives on Crucial Challenges and Opportunities and is a regular on Goodfellows. He is a Distinguished University Fellow at Arizona State  University.