2016 Victory Awards® Honorees

Bensten Schone- Former MedStar NRH Pediatric Patient

Bensten SchoneLife took a dramatic turn in the winter of 2015 for young Bensten Schone, when he was struck by a vehicle in his neighborhood while sledding. Bensten, age 7, was resilient through his rehabilitation and gained many admirers ranging from those who cared for him at Children’s National Health System and MedStar National Rehabilitation Network’s Inpatient Pediatric Unit – the National Center for Children’s Rehabilitation – a joint program with Children’s – to players with the Washington Capitals and Nationals. Through his rehabilitation and support from his parents, family and friends, Bensten is on his journey to being just a kid again and ‘Rocking the Red’ for his favorite hockey team – the Caps!



Mark French - President and CEO, Leading Authorities

Mark FrenchOne of the nation’s most prominent strategic event firms and lecture agencies. French founded Leading Authorities in December 1990 following more than a decade of achievement with two major national associations. French serves on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and has served on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB), the Associate Alliance of the American Society of Association Executives, and a special IASB-National Speakers Association (NSA) task force. He has participated as a speaker at numerous industry events and is considered a key leader in the speaking industry. His commentary on the speaking industry has been featured in numerous media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC News, and NBC News, to name a few. French is a member of the American Society of Association Executives, the City Club of Washington, and Meeting Professionals International.


RJ Mitte - Actor, Breaking Bad

RJ MitteBest known as Walter “Flynn” White, Jr for five riveting seasons of AMC’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning dramatic thriller “Breaking Bad,” Mitte, reemerged this year on the big screen in DIXIELAND, which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, portraying the deceptive CJ, in his first non-handicapped leading role. Following his “Breaking Bad” success RJ was thrust into the global spotlight as the celebrity face and model of GAP International’s 2014 “Lived in Spring” campaign. With his image appearing on mediums such as billboards, buses, and life-sized posters in cities across the world from Tokyo to Dubai and across the U.S., he has cemented himself as a face to know in the fashion world. In 2015 he was found walking in Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Berlin and New York City for Vivienne Westwood, soPopular and Ovadia & Sons.



Renato de Oliveira Leite - Brazilian Paralympian

Renato de Oliveira LeiteA motorcycle accident at age 17 caused a serious injury to his left leg requiring amputation. Renato already practiced volleyball, after his recovery he returned to the court. He was one of the pioneers of Sitting Volleyball. Main Accomplishments: Gold in the Parapan American Games in Toronto in 2015; Silver in the Parapan American Games in Mar del Plata in 2003; Gold at the Parapan American Games in Rio in 2007; Gold at the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011; Silver in the World Poland in 2004.