The purpose of the Policy Council is to serve as a source of ideas for new activities the Foundation might undertake and to advise the Trustees about overall policies and the direction of the Foundation. The Policy Council and the Trustees meet twice per year, and the meetings provide a forum to discuss the future of US diplomacy and how to best support the Foreign Service. Over the last several decades, we are fortunate to have had an impressive roster of distinguished diplomats, business executives, and philanthropists on our Policy Council.

Steven McGann, Chair (2021-2024)

Ambassador C. Steven McGann is the Founder of The Stevenson Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. that identifies opportunities in the defense/security sector and implements specialized advisory services which focus on strengthening public-private partnerships. 

 McGann, a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor, was Ambassador to the Republics of Fiji, Nauru, Kiribati, the Kingdom of Tonga and Tuvalu (2008-11). Ambassador McGann also was assigned as Charge d’affaires (ad interim) of the United States Embassy in Dili, Timor-Leste (2014). He previously served as the Deputy Commandant of the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University (NDU). McGann earned a M.S. from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and is a graduate of the Naval War College Joint Force Maritime Combatant Commander Course.  

Gabriel Escobar (2021-2024)

Gabriel Escobar is the Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing policy towards the countries of the Western Balkans and the Office of Press and Public Diplomacy. Previously, he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy Belgrade. His leadership positions in the Department of State include Economic Minister Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Coordinator for Cuban Affairs in the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2017-2018, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia 2014-2017, Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Peshawar, Pakistan 2013-2014, and Team Leader of the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kirkuk, Iraq 2009-2010.

A career diplomat, he has been awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award six times and the Meritorious Honor Award once. He has also been awarded the Department of State’s Expeditionary Service Award and the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award.  Gabriel is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and Cathedral High School in El Paso, Texas. He speaks Spanish, Russian, Italian, Serbian, Croatian, Czech, and Portuguese.

Yael Lempert (2021-2024)

Yael Lempert is the Acting Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.  She is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, and served as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in London from January through July 2021, and as Deputy Chief of Mission for the two years prior to that. Yael was Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Egypt and North Africa from June 2017 to December 2018, and the Senior Director for the Levant, Israel and Egypt at the National Security Council from 2014 to 2017, also serving as Special Assistant to the President from 2015 to 2017.

Yael earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and is the recipient of several State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor awards. She was awarded a Presidential Rank Award in 2019, and the National Security Council’s Outstanding Service Award in May 2017. 

Katherine Hadda (2023-2025)

Katherine Hadda is Senior Fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), where she advances U.S.-India sub-national understanding and cooperation.  She also serves as advisor to the Safe Water Network.  A prior FSO, Katherine was U.S. Consul General in Hyderabad U.S. from 2016-19, overseeing one of the busiest U.S. visa operations in the world and supporting over 130 U.S. companies based in the region. Earlier postings during Katherine’s three-decade diplomatic career include Italy, Afghanistan, New Zealand, the UK, Taiwan and China, as well as the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Trade Representative’s Office, and U.S. Congress.


Lisa Povolni (2023-2025)

Lisa Povolni is a career diplomat currently serving as Director of Orientation at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI).  Her overseas assignments include Rangoon, Burma; Shenyang, China; Beijing, China; and Mexico City, Mexico, as well as temporary duty in Port-au-Prince, Haiti immediately after the 2010 earthquake.  Her previous domestic assignments include Director of Executive Development and Deputy Director of Management Team Training at FSI.  Ms. Povolni graduated from Wellesley College and earned a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University and a Master of Clinical Social Work with a focus in trauma from Boston University. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation, as well as the recipient of several State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor awards.  She speaks Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

Pamela Spratlen (2021-2024)

Ambassador Pamela L. Spratlen is a diplomat, mentor, public speaker, and leader who served for 30 years in the U.S. Department of State, rising to be a career member of the Senior Foreign Service. Ms. Spratlen spent 10 years in Central Asia, of which she served eight as U.S. Ambassador, first to Kyrgyzstan (2011-14) and then to Uzbekistan (2015-18).

Ms. Spratlen graduated from Wellesley College and holds master’s degrees from the Army War College and the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.  Ms. Spratlen speaks French, Russian and Spanish and has received numerous awards.

Alice Wells (2021-2024)

Ambassador Alice G. Wells joined ExxonMobil as Senior Director in International Government Relations in June 2020. Previously, as a career U.S. diplomat, Ms. Wells served as Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia; Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Special Assistant to the President for Russia and Central Asia; Executive Assistant to Secretary Clinton; and Executive Assistant to Under Secretary William J. Burns. Ms. Wells also served in Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India, and Russia, and in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Ms. Wells has a B.A. from Stanford University and a joint M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles/Rand Corporation.


Past Policy Council

Anne Armstrong February 1983 – November 1984
Luis Arreaga December 2014 – May 2017
Diego C. Asencio December 1988 – November 1991
Alfred Atherton, Jr. December 1987 – November 1988
John Bass January 2013 – November 2014
Shirley Temple Black December 1984 – November 1987
Barbara Bodine December 2015 – November 2018
Paul H. Boeker November 1983 – November 1986
Stephen Bosworth December 1987 – November 1990; December 1993 – November 1996
Margo Branscomb December 2001 – November 2003
Charles W. Bray May 1988 – November 1993
Carolyn Brehm December 2012 – November 2016
Bridget Brink December 2017 – July 2019
Prudence Bushnell December 1993 – August 1996
Katherine H. Peterson Canavan December 2001 – May 2005
Frances D. Cook December 1988 – May 1991
Michael Dodman December 2015 – November 2017
James Gadsden December 2013-November 2017
John R. Galvin December 2003 – November 2007
Charles A. Gillespie December 2001 – November 2003
Louis W. Goodman December 2003 – November 2007
Marc Grossman May 2001 – November 2004; December 2006 – November 2010
Philip C. Habib November 1984 – November 1986
Herb Hansell December 1989 – November 1994
Arthur Hartman December 1999 – November 2002
Maura A. Harty December 2009 – November 2012
Tracey A. Jacobson December 2010 – May 2012
L. Craig Johnstone December 1996 – November 1999
A. Elizabeth Jones November 2005 – November 2008
John H. Kelly February 1983 – November 1985
Craig Kelly December 2008 – November 2010
Kristie Kenney May 2015 – September 2015
Faris A. Kirkland December 2007 – November 2011
Peter Krogh December 1995 – November 1998
Carol C. Laise February 1983 – November 1985
Carol Lancaster December 2011 – May 2014
Charles McC. Mathias May 1988 – November 1991
Deborah McCarthy December 2016 – November 2019
Kenton McDonald December 1994 – August 1999
James H. Michel December 1991 – November 1994
George E. Moose December 1986 – November 1989; December 1991 – November 1992
Langhorne A. Motley December 1985 – November 1988
Stephen Mull December 2010 – November 2012
Henry R. Nau July 2008 – November 2010
David Owen December 2015 – November 2018
Mark R. Parris December 1985 – November 1988
W. Robert Pearson December 2006 – November 2009
Thomas R. Pickering December 1997 – November 2000
Jo Ellen Powell December 2019 – November 2021
Rozanne L. Ridgeway December 1985 – November 1987
Charlie Ries December 2011 – November 2014
Marcie Ries December 2016 – November 2019
Carol Rodley June 2012 – October 2015
William D. Rogers November 1986 – November 1987
Peter Romero December 1998 – November 2001
Fernando E. Rondon December 1991 – November 1994
Carl T. Rowan December 1985 – April 1988
J. Stapleton Roy December 2002 – November 2006
Robin Sanders December 1998 – November 2001
Teresita C. Schaffer May 1989 – November 1992; December 1995 – November 1998
Enid C.B. Schoettle December 1993 – November 1996
Patricia Hanigan Scroggs December 2008-November 2011
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. December 2006 – May 2008
Walter J. Stoessel February 1983 – November 1985
H. Patrick Swygert December 1997 – November 2000
Frank X. Taylor December 2010 – November 2013
Lawrence P. Taylor December 1994 – November 1997
Harry K. Thomas, Jr. December 2001 – November 2004
Linda Thomas-Greenfield December 2004 – November 2007
Viron P. Vaky December 1984 – November 1987
Dian Owen VanDeMark December 1995 – November 1998
George C. Vest December 1991 – November 1994
Alexander F. Watson December 2002 – November 2006
Gretchen Gerwe Welch December 2007 – November 2010
Betsy Whitaker December 2013 – November 2016
Kevin Whitaker December 2019 – May 2022
John C. Whitehead December 1988 – November 1994
Shannon M. Wilde November 2007 – May 2008
Eddie N. Williams December 1994 – November 1997
Larry Wood June 2013 – January 2016
Casimir Yost December 1998 – November 2002
Johnny Young December 2010 – November 2013