MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Originally from Monroe, North Carolina, Commander Mark McGinnis began his celebrated military career at the United States Naval Academy where he was a four-year member of the varsity football team. After graduating from the USNA in 1993 Commander McGinnis went on to achieve a decorated 17-year career defending his country as a U.S. Navy SEAL. During his time as a SEAL, Commander McGinnis held all manner of leadership positions in what is considered the most highly trained and dedicated force in the field of global special operations. Following his time in the service, Commander McGinnis moved into the public sector working as a regional sales director for a Fortune 500 medical company. Drawing on his experiences from the military, athletics, and the corporate world, he founded SEAL Leadership LLC , through which he advocates a message of communication, accountability, and teamwork to his many clients. Recognized as an expert in the field of leadership and team-building, Commander McGinnis’ experience allows him to lead his clients through the process of attaining a SEAL-like level of elite performance that is equal parts inspiring, captivating, and challenging.
A 7th generation Texan, Holly Mills-Gardner was catapulted into the spotlight after being crowned Miss Texas USA 1998 and 3rd runner-up in Miss USA, and she has proven to be a force in the entertainment industry ever since. As an actress, Holly has appeared in Emmy nominated television shows, music videos and blockbuster movies like Miss Congeniality. As a model and spokesperson, she has graced the cover of countless magazines, emceed hundreds of events and hosted entertainment TV shows on The CW, ESPN, NBC & CMT, just to name a few . She's currently the national spokesperson and guest host on QVC and HSN for GO SMiLE and she recently finished filming "Style Queens" airing on AMC & “Face Off” airing on Netflix. Whether she's interviewing pro athletes or A-list celebrities, Holly is a natural in front of the camera; talking Fashion, Family, Philanthropy, or Football. In the sporting world, she has hosted nationally televised shows for The Longhorn Network/ESPN and is currently sidelines as the LIVE"Game Day" Host for Texas Longhorn Football. She also hosted "Speed City" on ESPN & Yahoo Sports, covering Formula 1 and MotoGP and she’s currently filming a new outdoor sports & adventure show with her family, airing in January on the Pursuit Channel. In addition to her notoriety as a TV Personality & Miss Texas USA, Holly’s passion for giving back remains, helping raise more than $4 million for Texas charities in the last 2 years alone.
GALA PRE PARTY RECEPTION HOST
Raised as a Navy brat in Maryland and South Carolina, Chef Rob McMahon grew up mainly in Gulf Breeze, Florida outside of Pensacola. He attended UGA in Athens where he studied Latin and Greek (he initially wanted to be a teacher). Realizing that he had a different calling, Chef Rob moved to New Orleans in 1991 and got an apprenticeship in a high-end French restaurant. Chef Rob worked in fine dining restaurants for the first few years of his culinary career before working as a Catering Chef and Garde Manger Chef at the Ritz-Carlton, and eventually winding up in the mountains of Virginia. He went back to school, attending Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Rhode Island and graduated Summa cum Laude with an Associates in Culinary Arts in 1995. He has been the Executive Chef at Whim since 2013. Chef Rob and his wife have three amazing children and enjoy going down to the lake, swimming, and chasing their Boston Terrier Mortimer around the shoreline. In his spare time Chef Rob loves to play golf with his Whim colleagues, listen to music, fly his parastunter kite, and catch up on his latest DVR obsessions.