Past Chairmen Bios
2019 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Prior to becoming a board member four years ago, Traci Hoffman enjoyed attending An Affair of the Heart Luncheon as a guest. It was at those luncheons where she became fascinated by the grant recipients’ research, and thus began her personal interest in becoming an active member with the Heart Board. She is passionate about fitness and nutrition; two keystones in a healthy lifestyle and heart.
Traci grew up in Southern California until a move to Northern Virginia in 1989. She has served on many PTA’s, in various positions, throughout her three children’s upbringing. She has chaired for several years the Potomac United Methodist Church Women’s Group Strawberry Festival, which raised funds for both local charities and abroad. Along with her church, she has participated in mission trips for Habitat for Humanity. Her professional career is rooted in accounting, as she has worked for W.A. Lane, Kirkland & Ellis, Dale Denton Real Estate, and P.N. Hoffman where she was the original account for her husband’s development business; keeping records in the basement of their home with toddlers in tow.
Currently, Traci is a student at Montgomery College in Gaithersburg, where she is studying landscape design. This past spring, she received her Certificate in Landscape Technology, as she furthers her education. She has been a member of the Little Farms Garden Club of Potomac for over 16 years, and she helps facilitate community beautification initiatives within the club. She is excited to co-chair this event, as she believes that “our hearts are in good hands” with the grants gifted to each recipient.
Daphne Keshishian, MD
2019 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Daphne has enjoyed the Affair of the Heart as a member of the Women’s Board for the past five years and is delighted to co-chair the event this year. As a general internist practicing in Bethesda who focuses on prevention and wellness, she fully embraces the mission of the luncheon to support the advancement of cardiovascular research. Daphne has considered DC home since she graduated medical school at Georgetown and currently acts as an Associate Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at the School of Medicine as well as serving as an executive member of the Medical Board. Her mission practicing medicine is to help patients optimize wellness through life-style interventions. She has studied at the Goldring Center of Culinary Medicine at Tulane University and helps patient regard “food as medicine.”
She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and enjoys helping individuals learn how to prepare food and follow a heart-healthy Mediterranean-based diet. She authors the website “diningwithadoc.com” which highlights evidence-based nutritional research while providing simple-to-prepare, unique recipes. Daphne resides in Potomac, Maryland with her husband, Lee, and three children. In her spare time, she enjoys golf, cooking for family and friends and cheering for her youngest daughter’s lacrosse team.
2018 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Angie is a native of Utah, but has called Washington, DC home for over 30 years. She has attended every An Affair of the Heart luncheon during the last 30 years. Angie joined the Women’s Board in 2012 and is delighted to be co-chairing this year’s 70th Anniversary of An Affair of the Heart luncheon and fashion show. She is a graduate of the University of Utah and raised three daughters. Over the years, she developed a passion for charitable work and has volunteered in several schools in the Washington, DC area–serving as a Trustee, member of the Parents Association, and as an advancement committee member. Now that her animals are out of the house, she has time to raise awareness for wildlife conservation by serving on the Smithsonian’s National Zoo Advisory Board and co-chairing their first ever capital campaign. Additionally, Angie has provided support to her church by serving in a variety of positions. She is a former board member of the Best Friends Foundation and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Mid-Atlantic chapter. She has recently moved to Chevy Chase where she can leave the car in the garage and walk or bike into Bethesda, making her full heart stronger.
2018 Luncheon Co-Chairman
For years, Melanie Farrell Colton enjoyed An Affair of the Heart Luncheon and Fashion Show as a guest. In 2011, her niece gave birth to a baby girl, Darla Jane, who was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Her condition became a compelling reason to join with women she had long admired and take up the cause of heart research. In the spring of 2011, Melanie joined the Women’s Board of the American Heart Association. She is honored to co-chair the Luncheon this year.
Melanie received her BA in humanities with a dance emphasis from Brigham Young University in 1985. Since then, she has lived in Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, and Maryland where she currently resides. She briefly taught dance, parented her four children, served as PTA President, organized youth activities for her church, and now coordinates workers at the LDS temple. She recently served as Vice-Chair of the Women’s Board of the AHA.
2017 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Nell joined the Women’s Board in 2009 and served on several committees before co-chairing this year’s An Affair of the Heart Luncheon. She is excited to lend her time and energy to this longstanding and extremely worthy event.
Nell has been an active fundraiser for her college and her children’s schools, co-chairing the annual Scholarship Auctions at National Cathedral School and Beauvoir Elementary School and serving as the co-chair of the St. Albans Christmas House Tour for two years. She is also a member of the Executive Board of Washington Hebrew Congregation and is currently serving as the First Vice President. She is involved in numerous community and charitable efforts including Sibley Hospital Gala and the Washington Antiques Show.
Nell moved to the Washington, DC area after graduating cum laude from Wellesley College and receiving her J.D. from Northwestern University Law School. She worked as an associate for several years at Latham & Watkins before electing to raise her children full-time.
Nell and her husband Ed, a partner at Latham & Watkins, live in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with their three children: Jack (19), Griffin (17), and Dorothy (15).
2017 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Mimi joined the Women’s Board in 2015, and jumped in whole-heartedly to co-chair this year’s An Affair of the Heart luncheon and fashion show.
Her volunteer experience dates back to her years spent in Paris, where she was an active member of the American Women’s Group and taught English at her children’s school. While living in France, she created a bespoke concierge business, ‘Personalized Paris’.
After moving to Chicago, her passion for fundraising took root while serving on the Women’s Board of Boys Hope Girls Hope, where she twice co-chaired the annual ‘Evening of Hope’ gala and created the BHGH Art and Wine fundraising event.
When she relocated to the Washington, D.C. area, she joined the Women’s Leadership Group of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, and continues to serve on its Steering Committee. She graduated from Pine Manor College and Southern Methodist University.
With her grown children Nicolas, Alexander and Francesca successfully launched, she now focuses her energy on writing her blog ‘Just So Mimi’.
She currently resides amongst the squirrels, chipmunks and deer in the woods of Great Falls, Virginia, with her husband, businessman Richard Lawless.
Kaye Willis White
2016 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Kaye is a business development strategist with over 17 years of experience working with professional services firms supporting organizational growth and raising brand awareness both internally and externally. Kaye has worked closely with some of Washington’s’ top law firm leaders driving the integration of lateral acquisitions with a focus on client introductions and enhanced profile development. As a business development executive at Mayer Brown LLP, Kaye creates and implements client relationship plans that foster revenue growth and help cross-sell practices. Kaye is at her best creating synergy between organizational leaders and developing high-value opportunities for partners in a global law firm.
Kaye is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a proud Tarheel! Her success began as a college student when she joined the Southwestern Company in Nashville where she excelled as a Sales Manager helping college students run their own businesses. She won the company’s prestigious Wall of Greats award three years in a row for recruiting, training and managing top sales teams in the company. Following her graduation and a trip around the world, Kaye settled in Washington, DC and worked at the United States Senate where she served as a Staff Assistant to the Sergeant at Arms. In this job, Kaye worked in a bipartisan manner interacting with all 100 Senators.
Kaye lives in Alexandria, VA with her husband, retired USMC Colonel Art White and stepdaughter, Mary Rose who is a student at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
2016 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Joan joined the Women’s Board in 2009. Currently she co-chairs fundraising activities for the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, The Neediest Kids, and this year’s An Affair of the Heart Luncheon and Fashion Show.
A constant presence in her life has been her dedication to hands-on charitable organizations. As a mother of four children including a daughter with congenial heart defect, she experienced first hand the impact helping others can have on people in need.
Joan also served as a board member at St. John’s Episcopal School and The Bullis School, concentrating on governance and development. She is involved in numerous community and chartable efforts including: Catholic Charities and Wounded Warriors.
A Maryland native, Ms. Vassos attended The University of Maryland where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. She is a member of Delta Gamma sorority. As young professional, Ms. Vassos worked as a computer analyst for AT&T until she started to raise her children full time.
Joan and her husband John live in Bethesda, Maryland. They have four children: Nick (25), Erica (24), Allison (21) and Luke (19).
2015 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Katherine holds a degree in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Marketing and Advertising from Emerson College, Boston. She is a professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers. In 2004 Katherine moved from Boston to Washington, D.C. She currently manages her own design firm, KVJ Designs in Georgetown.
Projects undertaken by Katherine’s company, “KVJ Designs” have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Northwest Current and Home & Design Magazine. In 2013 KVJ Designs in conjunction with Katinas-Bruckwick Architecture received an ASID Commercial/Unique Space First Place Award for a neuropsychology office design.
Katherine has been an advocate for the American Heart Association for more than 15 years. She chaired the Auction Committee for the Greater Washington Region Heart Ball in 2008. In the same year she joined The Women’s Board of the American Heart Association. Katherine and her husband Dr. Richard Jonas, a congenital heart disease surgeon, are passionate about issues like heart research. They are also active members of Children’s National Circle of Care and the Meridian Gala Committee.
2015 Luncheon Co-Chairman
Frances Railey is a senior vice president and an equity partner of Ames & Gough. She oversees the firm’s service to numerous mid-size to large design-firm clients and is considered an expert at underwriting and service issues for these firms. Frances also coordinates many of Ames & Gough’s back-office administrative services and serves as the firm’s human resources director in the D.C. office.
Frances joined Ames & Gough in 1993. Previously, she worked at Victor O. Schinnerer, where she eventually rose to the position of assistant vice president with responsibilities for providing service to numerous large architect/engineer clients.
Frances holds the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and is a 1984 summa cum laude graduate of Duke University and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She serves on the Women’s Board of the American Heart Association and is co-chair of the Legislative/Government Affairs Committee for the National Capital Chapter of CMAA. She is fluent in Spanish.