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.
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.
Jacob Worrell, Director of User Experience. As IAVA's Director of User Experience, Jacob leads the development, implementation, monitoring, reporting and evaluation of IAVA's member-focused digital products. 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.
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, Senior Program Associate, 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 Associate. As Program Associate, 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.
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.
Phoebe Gavin, Outreach Coordinator, New York. As Outreach Coordinator, Phoebe creates and executes targeted outreach strategies for veterans and their families in New York State. Prior to joining IAVA, Phoebe volunteered at IAVA while completing her B.B.A. in Management from LIM College in New York City. She is a Army veteran, having served in Iraq for 15 months during the surge from 2007-2008.
Julienne Williams, Case Manager, New York. As Case Manager for New York, Julienne is responsible for providing referral services to veterans and their families in order to connect them with internal and external service providers to address housing, employment, child care, financial assistance, mental health, and other needed services. Julienne is an Air Force veteran. She obtained a Master of Science in Psychlogy from Walden University, and is currently pursuing a Master of Social work from Touro College.
Alexandra Masciotti, Case Manager, New York. As Case Manager for New York, Alexandra is responsible for providing referral services to veterans and their families in order to connect them with internal and external service providers to address housing, employment, child care, financial assistance, mental health, and other needed services. Alexandra obtained her Master of Social Work from CUNY’s Lehman College, where her studies included the effects of PTSD on returning veterans and the challenges of reintegration.
Hannah Sinoway, Case Manager, New York. As Case Manager, Hannah 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, Hannah provided counseling and overall case management to veterans in a residential drug treatment facility in NYC. Hannah brings seven years experience as a counselor, case manager and advocate serving various populations in both Washington, DC and NYC. Hannah graduated with a M.S. in Counselor Education from Queens College and with a B.A. in Sociology from University of California, Santa Cruz.
Gila Wieder LMHC, Case Manager, Los Angeles. As Veteran Transition Manager, Gila provides resource management and referrals for education, employment, financial, mental health and other veteran specific referrals for California State veterans and their families. Prior to joining IAVA, Gila worked at The Military Wellness Program at The Holliswood Hospital in Queens, NY where she counseled inpatient and outpatient active duty and veteran service members from all branches of the military who were experiencing PTSD, depression, anxiety, TBI, substance abuse issues, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, suicidal ideations, and marriage, family and relationship issues. Gila received her Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology and in Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Her father is a veteran of the Israel Defense Force.
Claire Lawless, Case Manager, California. As a case manager, Claire is helping to expand our support efforts to California veterans. Claire provides members and their families with referrals for social service resources for health, mental health, education, and employment. Claire earned her M.S.W. from the University of Southern California, focusing on mental health and military social work. Prior to joining IAVA, Claire worked at the West Los Angeles VA conducting research on ways to help veterans and their communities better connect. Claire did her clinical internship at the Hollywood Veteran Center, where she delivered residential mental health services to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, focusing specifically on grief, trauma, and moral injury. Claire has also worked for the American Red Cross, where she coordinated projects for their Service to the Armed Forces division and provided disaster relief for victims of the 2011 Alabama tornadoes.
Gerard Skiles, Case Manager, California. As a Case Manager for California, Gerard is responsible for providing referral services to veterans and their families in order to connect them with internal and external service providers to address housing, employment, child care, financial assistance, mental health, and other needed services. Prior to joining IAVA, Gerard provided counseling and referral services for veterans at San Diego City College (SDCC). Gerard also helped implement the Veteran Support Network at SDCC to help transitioning veterans who are pursuing their education. Gerard is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, and obtained his MSW from the University of Southern California with a concentration in community organizing, planning, and administration.
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.
John Reid, Chief Communications Officer. As Chief Communications Officer, John is responsible for IAVA's external communication strategy, brand and marketing development and overall constituent engagement. Most recently John was partner and managing director of international development for DC based Qorvis Communications. He spent three years traveling overseas offering strategic political and communications counsel to governments and corporate clients in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. John also spent three years as Communications Director to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member and former Virginia Governor George Allen and also was elected as President of the bi-partisan Senate Press Secretaries Association. Later Reid was chosen to lead the U.S. Chamber of Commerce editorial communications department where he served as executive editor of the Chamber's flagship member magazine. Reid has extensive experience and insight into media culture having worked for 10 years as a television reporter and as the long time morning and noon news anchor at the ABC affiliate in Richmond, VA. He also has the distinction of having begun his career as an intern and staff assistant to former President Ronald Reagan in Los Angeles. Reid graduated from St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, Virginia and earned his degree in political science from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of communications at Virginia Commonwealth University and has lectured and spoken on politics and communications across the country.
Zach Goldberg, Communications Director. As Communications Director, Zach will lead communication strategies around all organizational campaigns, increase the visibility of IAVA in the national media space and coordinate with the teams to leverage media around key policy and issue related campaigns. Zach brings 11 years of PR experience, worked in communications for the American Diabetes Association, and has worked for two members of Congress - retired U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) and U.S. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). Zach holds a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Gretchen Andersen, Press Secretary. As Press Secretary Gretchen supports the execution of the IAVA’s press strategy, works with reporters to develop stories on IAVA’s issues, and cultivates a national roster of veteran spokespeople. Gretchen previously interned and worked part-time with IAVA. Prior to joining IAVA full-time, Gretchen worked as an account coordinator for communications and marketing firm in New York City.
Digital Engagement Department
Amina Sow, Digital Engagement Director. As Digital Engagement Director, Amina leads the Digital Engagement department with web development, design, and new media initiatives. Prior to joining IAVA, Amina worked as a senior digital media manager for Home Front Communications, a Washington, DC based digital media consulting firm.
Mina Farzad, Online Communications Coordinator. As Online Communications Coordinator, Mina is responsible for developing and maintaining campaigns to engage members and supporters through email and the web. Before coming to IAVA, Mina worked for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and in the office of Senator Claire McCaskill. She has also worked on several state, local, and Congressional campaigns throughout Oklahoma and continues to train campaign staffs on online media strategy. Mina graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a BA in International Security Studies and Political Science and also attended the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan. She is a native of Washington, DC and an established musician, NBA fanatic, and taco enthusiast.
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.
Chelsea Augustine, Office Manager. As Office Manager, Chelsea fulfills the operational needs of IAVA's DC office, including managing schedules, vendor relationships, technical support and various administrative functions. Prior to joining IAVA Chelsea was a Sales Coordinator at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. Chelsea is a graduate of University of Maryland with a BA in Government and Politics. Chelsea is the proud daughter of a 100% disabled, Purple Heart recipient, Vietnam Veteran.
Alex Nicholson, Legislative Director. As Legislative Director, Alex will help shape IAVA’s legislative strategies and priorities throughout the year. He is responsible for developing relationships, assisting in advocacy efforts, and implementing IAVA’s Policy Agenda. After serving in the Army, Alex helped to lead the largest network focused on repealing DADT. He spent seven years with Servicemembers United leading political advocacy, community development, and member services. Alex is working on completing his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of South Carolina, and holds an MPA from the University of North Georgia and a BA in International Affairs from South Carolina.
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.
Lauren Augustine, Legislative Associate. As Legislative Associate, Lauren maintains Congressional relationships and supports advocacy programs. Lauren is an Army veteran, and prior to IAVA she worked for a Virginia-based contractor that helps match Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with federal job opportunities.
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.
Jackie Maffucci, Research Director. As Research Director, Jackie leads the development of the organization’s short and long-term research initiatives and policy recommendations on veterans’ issues. Prior to joining IAVA, worked with the Provost Marshall General and other senior leaders at the Armed Forces Services Corporation to develop, implement and monitor research programs and opportunities to address the needs of the military.
Chantell Frazier, Research Coordinator. As Research Coordinator, Chantell utilizes social, economic and demographic data to conduct policy research and execute IAVA’s veteran-focused research initiatives. Prior to joining IAVA, Chantell worked as a Research Associate at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families in Syracuse, NY. Chantell is working on completing her Ph.D. in Medical Sociology, holds an MA in Sociology from Syracuse University, and a BA in Sociology and Biology from DePaul University.
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.
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.
John Gorman, Major Gifts Officer. As Major Gifts Officer, John develops and recommends policy and actions in all areas of fundraising and outreach for the Veterans Support Fund and Major Donor Initiatives for IAVA. John has nearly twenty years of experience in philanthropy, working both as a consultant and a Director of Philanthropy for a variety of organizations, primarily faith-based. For the past five years under his own consulting practice, John worked with many grassroots organizations helping build their development efforts, especially through planning and executing major gift and capital campaign efforts. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, with concentrations in Marketing and Economics, and minors in Philosophy and Religion.
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.
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, Senior Strategic Partnerships Associate. As Senior 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.
Dustin Shryock, Strategic Partnerships Associate. As Strategic Partnerships Associate, Dustin works with companies to implement internal and external programs that support new veterans. Dustin comes to IAVA from the finance industry. He initiated his financial services career by co-founding a small fund specializing in new issue equities including IPO's and secondaries. Prior to University, Dustin spent five years in the United States Army where he served as an Intelligence Analyst – spending three years’ operating in Baghdad, Iraq where he was awarded the U.S. Army Bronze Star Medal for exceptional and meritorious service. Dustin received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Economics from Pace University, where he graduated in August 2012 after an internship at The White House.
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.
Nazreen Laffir, Salesforce Coordinator. As a Salesforce Coordinator Nazreen supports ongoing data cleaning, maintenance, quality assurance and integrity of IAVA’s CRM (Salesforce), while helping to improve the system overall. Prior to joining IAVA, Nazreen worked as data integrity manager at a NYC-based tech firm.
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.
- Greg D’Alba
- Dick Beattie
- Bill Cowher
- Les Gelb
- Rosanne Haggerty
- Jim Hirschmann, Chairman
- Michael Leven
- Yannick Marchal
- Craig Newmark
- Paul Rieckhoff, Chief Executive Officer
- Ed Vick, Chairman Emeritus
Greg D’Alba, a long-time supporter of IAVA, is President of CNN News Networks & Turner Digital Ad Sales and Marketing. Starting with his support for IAVA’s Ad Council campaign in 2008, D’Alba has been championing IAVA’s mission and its members through his role at CNN at every turn.
D’Alba also sits on the Boards of Directors of the Cable television Advertising Bureau and Interactive Advertising Bureau and serves as Board Secretary of the American Advertising Federation. He is also Board Chairman of the Ghetto Film School and Digital Bodega. Additionally, D’Alba pioneered the Turner Diversity Fellowship program with Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications to provide scholarships to students in their masters program. D’Alba earned a degree in communications at the University of Buffalo, and was also honored to deliver the commencement address to the University’s graduating class of 2005.
Dick Beattie is Partner and Chairman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Beattie has a long record of public service – starting with his time in the military. Prior to law school, he served four years in the Marine Corps as a jet pilot after graduating from Dartmouth College in 1961. During the Carter Administration, he served as general counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and in 1980, he was in charge of organizing the U.S. Department of Education. During the 1980’s, Mr. Beattie served on the New York City Board of Education. He has served as a special advisor to the secretary of state and during 1995-1997 was President Clinton’s emissary for Cyprus. Beattie joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1968 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Beattie is also Chairman and Founder of New Visions for Public Schools, member of the Board of Directors of Harley-Davidson, Inc., Heidrick & Struggles, the Carnegie Corporation and the National Women’s Law Center, as well as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Vice Chairman of the Board of Overseers and Managers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Chairman of the Board of Managers of Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases.
Bill Cowher, between his many successes in the National Football League, has traveled to the Middle East twice with the USO to spend time with our troops. Coach Cowher’s commitment to the men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan is unwavering – from missing holidays with his family to be in Iraq to his decision to join IAVA’s Board, the newest generation of veterans has in him an unwavering advocate.
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.
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 Civilian 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 1964-1966 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University. .
Rosanne Haggerty is the President of Community Solutions, a national not-for-profit that directs national and local initiatives to end homelessness and strengthen communities.
Community Solutions partners with communities to design solutions to complex problems affecting vulnerable people, including veterans from all generations. Using data, Community Solutions’ targets places of extreme need to demonstrate new approaches to human and community development that are more successful for families and communities and use available resources more efficiently. Prior to founding Community Solutions in 2011, Haggerty founded and led Common Ground, a New York not for profit that she built into a leader in the development of supportive housing and other research based practices that end homelessness.
Haggerty attended Amherst College, Columbia University and New York University. She was a 2001 MacArthur Foundation Fellow, an Ashoka Senior Fellow, and a Hunt Alternatives Fund Prime Mover. She is also a Board member of the Center for Urban and Community Services, the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, and is a Life Trustee of Amherst College.
James (Jim) Hirschmann is the President and Chief Executive Officer at 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 CEO 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.
Michael Leven is currently President and Chief Operating Officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp and has served on its Board of Directors since 2004. He is a veteran hospitality executive with nearly 50 years of experience in the business and a distinguished and well-recognized record of success. He was formerly President and CEO of US Franchise Systems, Inc., the company he founded in 1995, which developed and franchised the Microtel Inns & Suites and Hawthorn Suites hotel brands. He was previously the President and COO of Holiday Inn Worldwide, President of Days Inn of America, and President of Americana Hotels. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Hersha Hospitality Trust. Leven holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and Master of Science from Boston University.
Yannick Marchal is currently an exotic derivatives trader at Deutsche Bank in London in the Foreign Exchange Complex Risk group. He helped create IAVA with Founder Paul Rieckhoff in 2004 and acted as the organization’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.
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 East peace and new forms of media such as participatory journalism. He sits on the boards of Sunlight Foundation, OneVoice, FactCheckED, and Voto Latino. Craig received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer and information sciences from Case Western Reserve University in 1975 and 1977, respectively. He is extremely committed to new veterans and finding ways to utilize technology to further IAVA’s mission.
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.
Ed Vick is a former Naval officer who served two tours of duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. During his second tour he led over 100 combat missions throughout Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and along the Cambodian border. He received two Bronze Star Medals with Combat “V”, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. In 2003, he published the historical novel Slingshot based on his experiences during the war.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966, his business career was spent in the marketing communications business, including most recently, as CEO of Young & Rubicam Advertising and its parent, Young & Rubicam Inc. Ed has been recognized as one of the most creative, innovative executives in the advertising world. During his tenure, Young & Rubicam won numerous creative awards and was named Agency of the Year on several occasions. He retired in 2001.
He is active in veterans’ causes, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Vietnam Veterans of America for his volunteer work, which includes serving on the Board of the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Commission. Beyond veterans’ causes, he has served on a number of other boards including The American Foundation for Aids Research, the United Negro College Fund, The Advertising Education Foundation, and The American Association of Advertising Agencies.
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…