2023 Fall Gala Graphic Landing Page


The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

Dr. Alex Karp

The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC
1150 22nd Street, NW | Washington, D.C. 20037

Screenshot 2024 05 13 At 13.50.06

the bens eisenhower award honors the contributions of public servants and private citizens who safeguard our freedom as well as the balance, as president Eisenhower said in his prophetic farewell address over five decades ago, “between the actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future.”

like the nation’s 34th president, “we want democracy to survive for all generations to come.”

Screenshot 2024 05 13 At 13.57.20


The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Dr. Alex Karp

Co-Founder and CEO, Palantir Technologies, Inc.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Cocktails 6:30 pm
Dinner 7:30 pm

The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC

1150 22nd Street, NW | Washington, D.C. 20037

1BENS Logo 2023
Screenshot 2024 05 13 At 14.24.06

The Honorable Gina M. Raimondo

Gina M. Raimondo serves as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce and was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on March 3, 2021. As Secretary of Commerce, she is focused on a simple but vital mission — to spur good-paying jobs, empower entrepreneurs to innovate and grow, and help American workers and businesses compete.

Secretary Raimondo was formerly the 75th Governor of Rhode Island and its first woman governor. She grew up in Smithfield in a tightknit Italian-American family, the youngest of Joseph and Josephine Raimondo’s three children. Her family history and her childhood experiences shaped her core beliefs in hard work, opportunity for all, and the importance of financial security.

After arriving from Italy at age 14, Secretary Raimondo’s grandfather learned English studying in the Providence Public Library and later lived with her family. Her mother was a homemaker, who dedicated her life to teaching her children about the importance of hard work and determination. Her father was a World War II Navy veteran from a family of butchers and became the first in his family to attend college thanks to the GI Bill. After working for 26 years in manufacturing, Joseph lost his job along with hundreds of others when the factory moved overseas, and the Raimondo family lost their sense of financial security.

As a teenager, Secretary Raimondo rode a public bus to LaSalle Academy in Providence, where she was valedictorian of her graduating class. She went on to graduate with honors from Harvard, where she was recognized as the top economics student in her class. She won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University where she earned a doctorate and met her future husband Andy Moffit. She later graduated from Yale Law School. Secretary Raimondo clerked for US District Judge Kimba Wood and served as founding employee and senior vice president at Village Ventures.

Wanting to start her own business and be close to family, she returned home to Rhode Island and founded Point Judith Capital, a venture capital firm. In November 2010, Secretary Raimondo was elected to serve as General Treasurer of Rhode Island, receiving the largest number of votes of any statewide candidate. When she took office as General Treasurer, she tackled the state’s $7 billion unfunded pension liability. Secretary Raimondo was sworn into office as Governor in January 2015 and won a second term in 2018. She also served as chair of the Democratic Governors’ Association in 2019.

During her time as Governor, Secretary Raimondo kick-started the state’s economy and made record investments in infrastructure, education, and job training. She focused tirelessly on creating economic opportunities and good-paying jobs for all Rhode Islanders. Early in her administration, she launched an innovative workforce development program that develops business-led partnerships to address unique workforce challenges.

Secretary Raimondo is married to Andy Moffit and they have two children, Ceci and Tommy, and a rescue dog, Sparky

Alex Karp

Dr. Alex Karp

Alex Karp is co-founder and chief executive officer of Palantir Technologies Inc. He attended Haverford College (B.A., 1989), Stanford Law School (J.D., 1992), and Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany (Ph.D., 2002). Dr. Karp is an elite cross-country skier (classic and skating).

Securing America’s Future

Founded in 1982 by business executive and entrepreneur Stanley A. Weiss, nonpartisan and non-profit Business Executives for National Security (BENS) applies best business practices to develop, for government officials, solutions to our nation’s most challenging problems in national security, particularly in defense and homeland security.

For more than 40 years, BENS has served as the primary channel through which senior American business leaders contribute special experience and talent to help build a more secure nation. With regional offices across the country and from our headquarters in Washington, DC, our membership has earned the trust and respect of leaders in government.

BENS’ early work focused extensively on U.S.-Soviet threat reduction initiatives and on widespread inefficiencies in support functions in the Department of Defense (DOD). These activities ultimately saved DOD billions of dollars. After championing base realignment and closure, BENS worked to find and develop opportunities at the affected bases. We have widened our focus in recent years to encompass a range of new threats that challenge American security. We have also broadened our government partnerships to include: the Departments of State, Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security (including FEMA and the Secret Service), Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the CIA. In addition, BENS works with the combatant commands.

BENS believes that the defining strengths of the American private sector – ingenuity, innovation, and efficiency – should be applied to our nation’s security by working with government partners to develop creative, new approaches to deal with the challenges they face today.

BENS members engage with government partners in a myriad of ways, including conversations with national security leaders; first-hand national and international experiences with key military and civilian personnel on the ground; work with government partners to impact policy solutions to selected national security challenges; and continuing influence by pressing for implementation of BENS policy solutions over the long-term.

Now in our fifth decade, the BENS membership continues to represent a broad range of industry sectors and political views. We remain united by a commitment to apply, pro bono, best business practices to find solutions to government’s most challenging problems.

business leaders in action. results for america.

diamond sponsors

Patricia C. Barron
Mary and David Boies
Howard E. Cox, Jr.
Steve and Kathy Darnell
Mark J. Gerencser
Edwin M. Kania, Jr.
Paul Marcus, Marcus Partners
David C. McDonald
Mark and Sharon Newman
Thomas F. Stephenson

platinum sponsors

Robert Akin, Akin Holdings
Amazon Web Services
Samuel A. Cole
Christopher W. Collins
Nick Cortezi
John P. Driscoll
GardaWorld Federal Services
G.S. Beckwith Gilbert
Andrew B. Hersh
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Ramon P. Marks
John P. Morgridge
Gregory and Belinda Nixon
Palantir Technologies
The Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Roger S. Shedlin
Donald V. Smith
Jim Smith, TheIncLab
Underwriters Laboratories

gold sponsors

Advanced Management Strategies Group (AMSG)
Airbus U.S. Space & Defense, Inc.
Lauren Bedula, Beacon Global Strategies LLC
Sam Meek, Sandboxx
Bruce E. Mosler, Cushman & Wakefield
World Kinect

silver sponsors

AB Facility Services
Brown Advisory
Fiserv, Inc.
Motorola Solutions
SeaCube Containers

bronze sponsors

Michael Attman, Acme Paper & Supply Co.
Bellator Recruiting Academy
Cailabs US Inc.
Ted and Terrie Carter
Cherry Bekaert
Deloitte Consulting
Domelabs AI
Francis A. Finelli
Justin Freeh
GE Aerospace
Grays Peak Capital
Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP
Johnson & Johnson
Dan Kunze
PW Communications, Inc.
Rampart Communications Inc.
Unmanned Systems and Solutions

Tribute Committee

Raanan Horowitz
Richard S. Kendall
Anthony W. Weiss
W. Patrick Wilson

As of June 5, 2024

Board of Directors

Mark J. Gerencser


Stanley A. Weiss

(1926 - 2021)
Founding Chairman

General Timothy M. Ray, USAF (Ret.)

President & CEO


Paul J. Bain
Rhonda Germany Ballintyn
Patricia C. Barron
Lauren Bedula
Raphael Benaroya
Mary M. Boies
Denis A. Bovin
Samuel A. Cole
Christopher W. Collins
Howard E. Cox, Jr.
Steven E. Darnell
Donald R. Dixon
Pete Dordal, Jr.
John P. Driscoll
Ezra S. Field
Francis A. Finelli
G.S. Beckwith Gilbert
Michael D. Hankin
Andrew B. Hersh

Thomas J. Higgins
Edwin M. Kania, Jr.
William C. Kunkler, III
Paul R. Marcus
Ramon P. Marks
David C. McDonald
Samuel Meek
Brian Monks
Bruce E. Mosler
Mark S. Newman
Gregory S. Nixon
Stuart B. Parker
Kristi M. Rogers
Roger S. Shedlin
Mark R. Shenkman
James Shira
Donald V. Smith
Thomas F. Stephenson
David P. Storch

Karp (1)