Get to know Benes Aldana

The NJC’s new president fills in the blanks

When I was a kid I wanted to be a … priest, inspired by my maternal grandparents, who were both destined to enter the religious life until they met each other. That all changed when I turned 13. Then I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.

A favorite childhood memory: catching blue crabs and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay

Benes family

President Aldana (right) with his wife, Rowena, and son Ehrik on a family vacation in Porto, Portugal

When I’m not thinking about judging and the law, I like to …  plan our next vacation destination with my wife.

Most people don’t know that I … climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (halfway in a day) with my wife.

My heroes: Rosa Parks, Bill Gates Jr. and Fr. William Sullivan, S.J.

Favorite food: paella

Favorite beverage: Starbucks coffee

Favorite vacation spot: Kauai, Hawaii

Favorite sport to play: tennis

Favorite sport to watch: college basketball during March Madness, and football (Go Seahawks!)

Favorite movie: American: The Godfather; foreign: Cinema Paradiso

Favorite TV show: Better Call Saul

Favorite books: classic favorite: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; nonfiction American history: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow; leadership: Onward by Howard Schultz

Favorite judge: Too many to pick one, but historically, someone everyone should know about is Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr., who served in the military prior to becoming a judge and whose landmark civil rights rulings helped end segregation.

Last book read: Donor-Centered Leadership by Penelope Burk

The best thing to happen to me in the past year: attending the annual Rehnquist Dinner at the Supreme Court and learning that a search was under way for the new president of the NJC.

The worst thing to happen to me in the past year: Nothing—it’s been a wonderful year!


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