IAVA Staff & Board
Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive Officer and Founder. Paul served as a First Lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in the Iraq war from 2003-2004. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Chasing Ghosts and a nationally recognized authority on the war and issues affecting troops, military families and veterans. Prior to his deployment, Paul worked as a high school football coach and an Investment Banking Analyst on Wall Street. He received a BA in Political Science from Amherst College in 1998 and lives in New York City. Click here for more.
Derek Bennett, Chief of Staff. As Chief of Staff, Derek oversees management, operations, administration and all internal functions at IAVA. Derek is a former Army Captain and Special Assistant to General David Petraeus. Prior to joining IAVA, Derek served two tours in Iraq as a combat arms officer, including one as a troop commander. Following his military tenure, Derek transitioned to the private sector, bringing more than eight years of general and project management experience to The Boston Consulting Group. Derek earned his Bachelors in Science from the esteemed United States Military Academy at West Point, followed by an MBA from Harvard University.
Michael Carey, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director. As Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, Michael is responsible for coordinating internal and external interaction with the Executive Office, including scheduling, correspondence, and serving as an aide to the Executive Director. Michael previously worked at CNN, on Capitol Hill in the Office of Congresswoman Diana DeGette and for Vice President and Mrs. Gore at the Naval Observatory. Michael is a native of Massachusetts and graduated from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Brandon Willitts, Office Coordinator. As Office Coordinator, Brandon serves as an aide to the Senior Advisor, and is responsible for the administrative duties within the Executive office. Brandon is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy as an Intelligence Specialist, Second Class Petty Officer, where he worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon during the early weeks of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He later deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan between 2004 and 2005. Prior to joining IAVA, Brandon led trail crews for the National Park Service in both Montana and California. With the help of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program, Brandon graduated with Highest Honors from Marlboro College in Marlboro, VT with a B.A. in Literature and Writing.
IAVA’s Programs Division strives to build an empowered generation of veterans who provide leadership for our country and their local communities. The Programs Division develops and executes programs in four key impact areas: supporting new veterans in Health, Education, Employment and building a lasting Community.
Jessica Shearer, Chief Program Officer. As Chief Program Officer, Jessica leads development of the vision, strategic priorities and management of IAVA’s programming and member engagement, both online and offline. For fifteen years, Jessica has directed strategic planning efforts for organizations leading to rapid expansion and deeper member participation. For four years, Jessica directed New York State’s largest legislative advocacy organization, the Healthcare Education Project, where she worked closely with Hospital CEOs, staff, and government leaders to create an efficient and inclusive healthcare delivery system for New York State. Jessica’s passion for veterans dates back to her early years as an army brat living on Fort Bragg, and her work across Africa and the former Yugoslavia as a Conflict Management Major at Bryn Mawr College.
Kate Horner, Program Director. As Program Director, Kate leads the development, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of IAVA's online and offline programmatic initiatives. Prior to joining IAVA, Kate managed operations and programs for a small nonprofit serving seriously ill children and their families, and more recently, worked in grants and partnerships management with an international anti-human trafficking organization. She has worked on consulting teams to develop monitoring and evaluation tools and training materials for internationally-based public sector clients, and has served as a leader in grassroots organizing against human trafficking. Kate holds a Masters in Public Administration from NYU Wagner, a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Religious Studies from George Mason University. She is the proud sister of a US Marine veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2006.
Christina Kim, Senior Program Manager. As Senior Program Manager, Christina manages IAVA’s programmatic partnerships and initiatives. Prior to joining IAVA, Christina worked with nongovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations, as well as in broadcast journalism. She assisted The War Tapes filmmaker Deborah Scranton with the “Front Line, First Person: Iraq War Stories” conference, bringing together Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, journalists, academics and students to discuss the transformation of wartime media and storytelling. She is a graduate of Brown University with a degree in International Relations and Modern Culture and Media and recently completed her MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Jason Hansman, Senior Program Manager, Health. As Senior Program Associate, Jason executes health programs designed to serve membership, including referrals, mental health support and access to benefits. Prior to joining IAVA, Jason completed an 8-year enlistment in the Army Reserves as a Civil Affairs Sergeant. From 2004 to 2005, he was deployed to Mosul, Iraq as the Operations NCO of a Civil Affairs company and helped manage hundreds of reconstruction projects. Jason graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Near Eastern Language and Civilization.
Anthony Pike, Program Coordinator, Community. As Program Coordinator, Community, Anthony manages local events, leadership cultivation and member experiences. Anthony enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 2000. He served his first Iraq tour in Baghdad beginning in January 2004. In March 2006, Anthony deployed for a second tour to Ramadi, Iraq. He recently completed his bachelor's degree in Aviation at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
Laura Slusarczyk, Program Coordinator. As Program Coordinator, Laura supports the development of IAVA’s membership community including partnerships support, growth and retention. Prior to moving to New York, Laura worked with a nonprofit, mentoring military dependent youth in Germany and also spent time as a political field organizer and campaign manager. Most recently, Laura worked as a public policy and community outreach associate for homeless and at-risk veterans in Minnesota, and was a member of the Military Action Group at the Minnesota State Capitol. Laura is a Minnesota native and graduated from Hamline University with a Masters in Nonprofit Management.
Allison Chansky, Case Manager. As Case Manager, Allison supports members and families with mental health needs and provides referrals to social service resources such as housing, employment, childcare, financial assistance, and other veteran specific programs. Prior to joining IAVA, Allison provided counseling, group co-facilitation, and social service referrals to a variety of populations in New York City including individuals involved in the criminal justice system and municipal employee union members. Allison graduated with a M.S.W. from NYU Silver School of Social Work and with a B.A. in Psychology from Skidmore College. Allison’s clinical focus is in psychological trauma and PTSD.
Nicole Venutolo, Case Manager. As Case Manager, Nicole provides resource management and referral for New York City based veterans and their families, serving to connect them to area services for health, education, and employment. Nicole earned her Master of Social Work with a Clinical Healthcare Specialization at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and fulfilled her licensure requirements in inpatient combat trauma at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Armed Forces Retirement Home. Nicole traveled to Iraq in May of 2011 on an animal rescue mission as part of an effort to rescue abused and neglected dogs.
Ryan Weemer, Case Manager, Education. As Case Manager, Education, Ryan provides resource management, education, and referral services for New York City based veterans and their families. Prior to joining IAVA, Ryan worked as a primary counselor for chemically dependent and homeless veterans for another non-profit organization while completing his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He also served as a U.S. Marine with 2nd F.A.S.T. Company stateside and as an infantry squad leader. Ryan was wounded in action in the infamous Hell House fight in Fallujah, Iraq in late 2004, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation medal with combat distinguishing device for valor under fire.
Through new and traditional media, the Engagement Division works tirelessly to raise critical awareness about veterans’ issues, hold lawmakers accountable for policies impacting veterans and ensure the entire country is focused on providing a lasting network of care and support for this newest generation of veterans. The Engagement Division, comprised of Communications, Digital Engagement and Marketing is a leader in new media, technology and online organizing.
Dana Morrissey, Chief Engagement Officer. As Chief Engagement Officer, Dana is responsible for developing and establishing the organization’s internal and external communication strategy, brand and marketing development and membership and supporter engagement. Prior to joining IAVA, Dana worked at Citi and the Clinton Foundation. Dana graduated from the University of Virginia in 2004 with a BA in International Affairs.
Digital Engagement Department
Jacob Worrell, Product Strategy Coordinator. As Product Strategy Coordinator, Jacob is responsible for supporting the day-to-day maintenance of IAVA’s digital platforms, including web content and social media engagement. A former sergeant in the Army's 172nd Stryker Brigade, Jacob deployed to Iraq from August 2005 to December 2006. Jacob is a graduate of Amherst College where he received a BA in Economics and Philosophy.
Blake Henderson, Marketing Director. As Marketing Director, Blake is responsible for developing IAVA marketing strategy and brand consistency across all communications platforms. Blake joined IAVA in November 2007, and has worked in IAVA's Membership and Communications departments. Originally from Seattle, Blake graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and received his Master's Degree from the University of Sydney. He is also a stand up comedian and humor writer.
Located in Washington, D.C., IAVA’s Policy Division has been instrumental in the most significant veterans’ victories, winning major battles in Congress, like the passage of the New GI Bill, helping millions of veterans nationwide.
Tom Tarantino, Chief Policy Officer. As Chief Policy Officer, Tom provides strategic guidance for and leadership of IAVA's Legislative, Research, and Political Departments. He is responsible for ensuring that veterans’ issues remain a priority in the political landscape, and that IAVA's members have a strong voice in DC. Tom is a former Army Captain who left service in 2007 after 10 years. He returned from Iraq in 2006 after one year of deployment with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Tom served in combat as both a cavalry and mortar platoon leader, and was awarded the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star.
Christina Roof, Legislative Associate. As Legislative Associate, Christina supports the maintenance of Congressional and advocacy-related relationships. Christina also supports the execution of IAVA’s advocacy campaigns. Prior to joining IAVA, Christina worked as a consultant focusing on public policy and political analysis. Before that, Christina served as the National Deputy Legislative Director at AMVETS.
Nick McCormick, Legislative Associate. As a Legislative Associate, Nick supports the maintenance of Congressional and advocacy-related relationships and supports advocacy programs. Prior to IAVA, Nick worked as a Legislative Assistant for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and assisted with Congressional hearings, legislation, and research. Nick deployed to Iraq as a Human Intelligence Collector from 2008 to 2009. He holds a BA in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Indiana University Bloomington.
Kate O'Gorman, Political Director. As Political Director, Kate oversees the execution of IAVA’s policy agenda, campaigns, and relationships with government agencies. Prior to joining IAVA, Kate was a research assistant at New Partners Consulting. She received her BA in political science from Barnard College.
Ellen Marty, Office Manager, Washington, DC. As Office Manager, Ellen serves as the Receptionist and Office Manager for IAVA’s D.C. office where she provides support to the Policy and Research departments. Ellen graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BSB in Finance and Risk Management/Insurance, and is the proud wife of a U.S. Marine.
The Resources Division leads all fundraising initiatives for IAVA, including increasing and diversifying revenue from individual donations, foundation grants, special events, corporate contributions and sponsorships to support IAVA’s programs.
Linda Giammona-Julian, Chief Development Officer. As Chief Development Officer, Linda will lead fundraising strategy and partnership development for IAVA’s Resource division. Former Executive Director of New York Police and Fire Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund, Linda brings more than 15 years of experience in building and improving revenue generation programs. Linda also served as Director of Development at Coalition for the Homeless, has worked for Fordham University, and the NYC Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget. The proud sister of one of New York’s Bravest, Linda has a very close personal connection to the conflicts of the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran generation. Linda is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Political Science, and holds a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University.
Shannon Carey, Development Director. As Development Director, Shannon brings 18 years of experience in the fundraising and philanthropy world to IAVA, supporting all revenue-generative campaigns. Prior to coming to IAVA, she was Chief Development Officer at the Urban League of Broward County. She began her career with United Way of Dade County in Miami as an account manager and later joined Girls Incorporated of Greater Atlanta in 1999 as Vice President of Development and Public Relations. Earlier, in 2003, Shannon joined the Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, a nonprofit affordable housing organization as Director of External Affairs.
Samantha Heffner, Veteran Support Fund Campaign Leader. As Veteran Support Fund Campaign Leader, Sam oversees and develops major donor prospects and pipelines to support IAVA’s Veteran Support Fund. Prior to joining IAVA, Sam spent over six years as a structured finance attorney in private practice in Manhattan. In addition to securitization transactions, she has a background in federal housing finance policy and the reform of government-sponsored enterprises. She graduated from Yale University with a BA in History, and Fordham University School of Law with a JD.
Brian DiPaolo, Grant Writer. As Grant Writer, Brian is responsible for writing proposals, managing foundation relationships, and diversifying IAVA’s revenue through grant acquisition. Prior to joining IAVA, Brian worked in development for PHI PolicyWorks, helping to secure funding for direct-care workers and health programs directed at the elderly and disabled. Brian also wrote feature articles on social and political controversies for an educational periodical, and conducted freelance writing and editing work for several publishers. He holds a B.A. in English from SUNY Geneseo, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.
Derek Coy, Development Associate, Stewardship. As Development Associate, Stewardship, Derek maintains all donation records and manages relationships with individual donors. Born and raised outside of Houston, TX, Derek is a former Marine Sergeant and veteran of the Iraq War. Upon finishing his enlistment in 2008 as an Aviation Supply Specialist, he enrolled at the University of Houston Clear Lake where he received his undergraduate degree in American History with a minor in Philosophy. Following his graduation, he moved to New York City to attend graduate school at the City College of New York where he received his Masters degree in Middle Eastern History.
Kate Kelly, Development Associate, Events. As Development Coordinator, Events, Kate provides support for all fundraising special events and activities. Prior to joining IAVA, Kate was the Events Coordinator at the Podesta Group in Washington, DC, where she provided support to the firm’s special events team and managed event details and on-the-ground logistics. Before that, Kate worked in a U.S. Senate office on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Correspondence Manager. She also served as a Deputy Finance Director on a successful U.S. Senate campaign in 2012, where she facilitated fundraisers and oversaw events with major surrogates. Originally from the Boston area, Kate graduated from the University of Delaware with a BA in International Relations.
Strategic Partnerships Department
Pete Griffin, Strategic Partnerships Director. As Strategic Partnerships Director, Pete will manage relationships with partners, recruit and identify new opportunities, and oversee the execution and evaluation of partner programs. Pete previously managed Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs for MTV, served as CEO for the Energy Action Coalition and was President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. A graduate of Bucknell University, Pete holds a Bachelors degree in Business Management and was a Strategic Perspectives in Non-Profit Management Fellow at Harvard Business School.
Matt Colvin, Strategic Partnerships Associate. As Strategic Partnerships Associate, Matt manages and corporate partnerships, maintaining and growing cross-sector relationships that foster resources and build supportive environments for the veteran community. Matt joined the US Air Force on Sept 11, 2001 and served six years with the 41st Electronic Combat Squadron in Tucson, AZ as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist. During his military career, Matt served two tours at Bagram, AB in Afghanistan in 2004 and again in 2006. While there, he flew over 100 combat sorties conducting communications jamming and liaising with air and ground assets to coordinate raids. Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in Business and Marketing using the Post 9/11 GI Bill and plans to attend NYU's Stern School of Business in the coming year.
Michael Preston, Strategic Partnerships Associate. As Strategic Partnerships Associate, Michael cultivates partnerships with businesses and NGO’s to increase support for veterans across areas of Health, Education, Employment and Community. Prior to joining IAVA, Michael worked as a reporter for the New York Daily News and NBC Local in NY, as well as a freelance writer for True/Slant. Before moving to New York City, he worked at the Stanford Alumni Association for five years in the Alumni Communities Department with responsibilities covering event planning, club building and volunteer management. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Foreign Affairs and received his master’s degree in Journalism from the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The Operations Division is a critical component of the IAVA’s day-to-day and long-term ability to fulfill the organization’s mission. Comprised of Operations, Information Systems, Finance and Human Capital, the Operations Division is responsible for a diverse range of organizational responsibilities.
Devon Collins, Chief Operations Officer. As Chief Operations Officer, Devon is responsible for supporting and growing IAVA through development and execution of organizational budgets, talent management, information’s systems development and in-house management of IAVA. Devon has been with IAVA since 2005, working in both the Operations and Development departments. She graduated from Rollins College with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology.
Information Systems Department
Chris Zezza, Salesforce Architect. As Salesforce Architect, Chris is responsible for managing IAVA’s database, increasing internal efficiencies, innovating record maintenance and building systems to more effectively engage with IAVA’s membership. Chris comes with an extensive background in technology and nonprofit work, most recently working at The Climate Group, an international NGO set up to accelerate the transition to the low carbon economy. Before the Climate Group, Chris managed computer systems at National Semiconductor, Cingular Wireless in Puerto Rico, and the Strang Cancer Prevention Center. Chris holds a BFA in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College and is a Salesforce Certified Administrator.
Brian Graham, Finance and Operations Director. As Finance and Operations Director, Brian is responsible for managing financial controls and assists with IAVA’s financial reporting and budgeting process. Prior to joining IAVA, Brian worked as a Senior Accountant at PBS affiliate WNET. Brian graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in Communications and holds a certificate in Financial Analysis from NYU.
Jeff Park, Office Manager. As Office Manager, Jeff fulfills the operational needs of IAVA’s NY office, including technical support, vendor relationship management and office budgets. A Los Angeles native, Jeff has been serving in the California Army National Guard since 2004, and received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in 2005. He deployed with his battalion in 2007 to conduct convoy security missions throughout Iraq. Jeff is a graduate of the Army Infantry Officer Basic Course and the University of California, Berkeley where he received his BA in Political Science.
Milagros Scimia, Operations Coordinator. As Operations Coordinator, Millie supports both the Operations Department and the organization at large with various administrative functions. Millie is a graduate of Hofstra University with a BA in Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She holds certificates in Spanish Translation and Interpretation from Hunter College. Millie is the proud wife of an Army Sergeant.
Human Capital Department
Michael Houston, Human Capital Director. As Human Capital Director, Michael oversees all HR functions, from hiring and recruitment to benefits and staff development. Michael has been with IAVA since 2006, serving in a variety of roles, including Special Assistant to IAVA's Deputy Executive Director and Communications Associate. Michael is a graduate of Manhattan College in Riverdale, NY, where he earned a BA in History and Government.
Bill Cowher. Bill Cowher is one of the most successful coaches in NFL history. An accomplished student-athlete at North Carolina State University, he began his career in the NFL as a linebacker and special teams standout for the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. He began his coaching career as a special teams coach in 1985 for the Browns, then as defensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989. In 1992, he succeeded Chuck Noll as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Over the span of 15 years as head coach Bill Cowher’s accomplishments include eight division titles, 10 postseason playoff berths, 21 playoff games, six AFC Championship games (winning two) and two Super Bowl appearances, winning Super Bowl XL. He is one of only six coaches in NFL history to claim at least seven division titles and in 1995 at age 38, he became the youngest head coach to lead his team to the Super Bowl.
Coach Cowher resigned after 15 seasons as the Steelers’ coach on January 5, 2007. Later that year he joined CBS as a studio analyst on the program The NFL Today, a position he currently holds.
Les Gelb. Leslie (Les) Howard Gelb is a former correspondent for The New York Times and is currently President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Les was director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense from 1967 to 1969, winning the Pentagon’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. Robert McNamara appointed Gelb as director of the project that produced the infamous Pentagon Papers, on the Vietnam War. He was an Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979, serving as director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and winning the Distinguished Honor Award, the highest award of the US State Department.
He was a diplomatic correspondent at The New York Times from 1973 to 1977; between 1981 and 1993 he served in various positions, including national security correspondent, deputy editorial page editor, editor of the Op-Ed Page, and columnist. He was a leading member of the Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1986 for a six-part comprehensive series on the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Les became President of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1993 and is now President Emeritus. He received a B.A. from Tufts University in 1959, and an M.A. in 1961 and Ph.D. in 1964 from Harvard University. From 1964-1967 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University.
Rosanne Haggerty. Rosanne Haggerty is the founder of Common Ground Community, a not-for-profit housing development and management organization in New York City, which provides innovative housing opportunities for homeless adults. Common Ground is the largest developer of supportive housing in theUnited States. The organization’s work has been widely imitated both in the US and abroad.
Rosanne received her BA from Amherst Collegeand is currently pursuing an MA at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation. Prior to founding Common Ground in 1990, she was the coordinator of housing development at Brooklyn Catholic Charities. In addition to her role as executive director of Common Ground, Rosanne serves as a trustee of Amherst College and the Folger Shakespeare Library, a director of the Times Square Business Improvement District and of the Dwelling Place Women's Shelter. She is a board member of New York City’s Citizens Housing and Planning Council and the Centre for Urban Community Services.
Jim Hirschmann. James (Jim) Hirschmann is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Western Asset Management Company, Legg Mason’s largest subsidiary and one of the world’s largest fixed-income asset managers. Mr. Hirschmann joined Western Asset in 1989 in a business development capacity and was appointed president and chief executive officer in 1999. He has been a key driver in the impressive growth and major global position that Western Asset has achieved as one of the world’s leading bond managers.
Prior to his current position, he served as Director for Financial Trust Company (currently Invesco National Trust Company) in Denver, CO. Before that, he was a vice president at Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital Corporation in New York, NY. In addition to his current duties, Mr. Hirschmann is member of the Investment Committee of Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, the Board of Directors of Medical Simulation Corporation, the advisory Board of the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission and is Chairman of Rose Bowl Legacy Connections. Mr. Hirschmann is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Widener College, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Accounting.
Perry Jefferies. Perry Jefferies served as a First Sergeant with the Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. After deploying to Iraq and traveling with the cavalry through the Sunni Triangle, his unit moved to the Iran-Iraq border and set up Camp Caldwell, future home of the new Iraqi Army.
Perry joined the Army after enlisting in the Texas National Guard and served in Korea,Germany, and theUnited Statesbefore deploying to Iraq. He was awarded the Bronze Star for service inIraq. He has served in infantry, armor, and cavalry units as a cavalry scout, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, supply sergeant, and as an instructor at the Armor School at Fort Knox. He retired in 2004 and was awarded the Legion of Merit. He is a member of the Order of Saint George for service to Armor and Cavalry. A graduate of Pierce College in Washington, he works with the Armed Services Blood Program at Fort Hood and is a founding member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Yannick Marchal. Yannick Marchal is currently an exotic derivatives trader at Deutsche Bank in London in the Foreign Exchange Complex Risk group. He co-founded IAVA with Paul in 2004 and acted as IAVA’s Chief Operating Officer through December 2005. Prior to his time at IAVA, Yannick worked in the Investment Banking and Equity Research divisions at JPMorgan for over three years. He graduated cum laude from Stern Undergraduate Business School in January 2000 and received an MBA from INSEAD, class of December 2006, with distinction.
Wes Moore. Wes Moore is an investment professional for Citigroup, working directly for the head of the Global Banking Division. A Former White House Fellow, 2006-2007, Wes served as Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. A paratrooper and Captain in the United States Army, he served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. Wes spearheaded the American strategic support plan for the Afghan Reconciliation Program that unites former insurgents with the new Afghan Government. Wes completed an MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 with a degree in international relations. He is authoring a book published by Random House due for a highly anticipated 2010 release. Wes was recently named one of Ebony Magazine’s Top 30 Leaders Under 30 for 2007 and one of Crains New York top 40 young business leaders under 40.
Craig Newmark. A web-oriented software engineer by training, with 30 years of IT experience at companies such as IBM and Bank of America, Craig Newmark now spends his days working as a customer service rep at Craigslist.org.
In 1995, while Craig was working at Charles Schwab, he started craigslist as an email list for friends and co-workers about events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1999, Craig retired from IT consulting to work full-time on craigslist. What started as a fun side project in Craig’s living room has since grown into one of the busiest sites on the internet, helping people with basic day-to-day needs such as finding a job, an apartment and a date, all within a culture of trust.
Craig is involved with a variety of community efforts and is particularly interested in organizations promoting public diplomacy,Middle Eastpeace and new forms of media such as participatory journalism. He sits on the boards of Sunlight Foundation, OneVoice, FactCheckED and VotoLatino. Craig graduated from Case Western University.
Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive Officer. Paul Rieckhoff, a graduate of Amherst College (B.A. in Politics, 1998), enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves on September 15, 1998. In June of 2002, he volunteered for active duty and a place in the pending war in Iraq. Rieckhoff was working as an investment banker at JPMorgan prior to his deployment to Iraq. Rieckhoff was released from active duty in March 2004 and now serves in the New York Army National Guard. Paul Rieckhoff is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of IAVA.
Edward Vick, Board Chairman. Edward Vick is a former Naval officer who served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War and received two Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V”, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. His business career was spent in the marketing communications business, including most recently, the chairmanship of Young & Rubicam Advertising and its parent, Young & Rubicam Inc.
IAVA has helped thousands of veterans. Here are some of their stories:
On Sunday, March 18th, IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff and…
On August 5th, IAVA Member Veterans joined President Obama at the Navy Yard…