Deborah Lee James is the US Secretary of the Air Force. She is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force, including the organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of its more than 690,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen and their families. She also oversees the Air Force’s annual budget of more than $110 billion. Ms. James has 30 years of senior homeland and national security experience in the federal government and the private sector. Prior to her current position, Ms. James served as President of Science Applications International Corporation’s Technical and Engineering Sector, where she was responsible for 8,700 employees and more than $2 billion in revenue. During the Clinton Administration, from 1993 to 1998, Ms. James served in the Pentagon as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. In that position, she was the Secretary of Defense’s senior advisor on all matters pertaining to the 1.8 million National Guard and Reserve personnel worldwide. In addition to working extensively with Congress, state governors, the business community, military associations, and international officials on National Guard and Reserve component issues, she oversaw a $10 billion budget and supervised a 100-plus-person staff. Prior to her Senate confirmation in 1993, she served as an assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. From 1983 to 1993, she worked as a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee, where she served as a senior advisor to the Military Personnel and Compensation Subcommittee, the NATO Burden Sharing Panel, and the Chairman’s Member Services team. Ms. James earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in comparative area studies from Duke University and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Eric B. Maddox is the recipient of the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement, Defense Intelligence Agency Director’s Award, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star, for his direct role in the capture of Saddam Hussein. During 1994-2004, Maddox served on active duty military service in the U.S. Army. He served as an infantry paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne Division and as an interrogator for the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 2003, while assigned to a special operations task force in Iraq, Maddox conducted over 300 interrogations and collected the intelligence which directly led to the capture of Saddam Hussein—of which the inside story and details of Maddox’s role is chronicled in his book, Mission: Black List #1. Since 9/11, Maddox has conducted over 2,500 interrogations while deployed eight times in support of the Global War On Terrorism, to include multiple tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Maddox served in government civil service with the Department of Defense for 10 years.
(All names appear in alphabetical order)
Anu Bhagwati ’97 is the founder of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), a non-profit organization that pioneered dozens of historic policy reforms within the United States Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs between 2009 and 2014. A former Marine Corps Captain and Company Commander, Anu served in uniform from 1999-2004 and was the second woman to complete the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer school, earning a black belt in close combat techniques. As SWAN’s executive director, Anu spearheaded national policy reform, legislation and litigation to overhaul the military justice system, end military rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment, eliminate the combat exclusion policy, improve VA services for women veterans, and guarantee reproductive health care to service women. She has advised Congress, the White House and the United Nations and testified several times before the Senate and House of Representatives. Anu is a regular media commentator on issues related to national security, women’s rights, civil rights, and health and wellness. She has been featured in hundreds of news outlets, and is the recipient of numerous awards. Anu has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she specialized in international security and human rights policy. She is also the founder of Yoga for Vets NYC, free weekly yoga and meditation classes that she has taught to veterans in NYC since 2008.
Adrian Bonenberger ’02 is a student at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA program for creative writing, from which he expects to graduate in May of 2016. He has degrees from Yale and Columbia. He joined the Army in 2005, and deployed twice to Afghanistan as an infantry officer, once with the 173rd Airborne (2007-08) and once with the 10th Mountain Division (2010-11). He has been featured in The New York Times, and has written military-themed essays for a variety of online and print publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, and Foreign Policy. He runs a satire blog that is consumed avidly in the Pentagon, and, along with two other veteran writers, an intellectual mil-vet affairs blog called The Wrath Bearing Tree. His war memoirs, Afghan Post, were released in January and have received critical acclaim within the military-veteran community.
Norm Bonnyman is a co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Veterans Campaign, a non-partisan non-profit political leadership program for military veterans. Prior to Veterans Campaign, he was a Fellow at the International Foundation, Associate & Researcher at the Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, travel writer, and North Face-sponsored mountaineer. He currently serves as a Reconnaissance Platoon Leader in the Pennsylvania National Guard and is a Board member of several seed-stage technology and social entrepreneurship ventures. He is a graduate of Princeton University.
Luke Bronin ’01, ’06 JD is a candidate for Mayor of the City of Hartford and is a Partner at Hinckley Allen Snyder, LLP. Prior to joining Hinckley Allen, Luke served as General Counsel to Governor Dannel P. Malloy. In that role, he served as the chief legal advisor to the Governor, providing advice and counsel on legal and policy matters to the Governor, his staff, and executive branch departments and agencies on all aspects of executive branch operations. From 2011 until his return to Connecticut, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he was responsible for coordinating policy and conducting diplomacy to combat illicit finance globally. He was deeply involved in the U.S. government’s efforts to isolate the Governments of Iran and Syria, to disrupt the flow of funds to the Afghan Taliban and other terrorist groups around the world, and to disrupt transnational organized crime. Luke began his service at Treasury in 2009 as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Neal S. Wolin. He supported and advised Deputy Secretary Wolin across the full range of Treasury's responsibilities, playing an active role in the development and passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Luke previously worked at The Hartford Financial Service Group as Chief of Staff to the President and Chief Operating Officer, Property & Casualty Operations, and previously as Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to the General Counsel. Luke served as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2010 to April 2011, serving on the ISAF anti-corruption task force, CJIATF Shafafiyat. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School, a Diploma in Legal Studies and an M.Sc. in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. in philosophy from Yale College. He has been a Scholar-in-Residence at NYU Law School’s Center for Law and Security, is a Lecturer at Yale College, and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the boards of directors of the Hartford Public Library and the Amistad Center for Arts and Culture.
Nathan Canestaro ’14 MA is an experienced CIA military analyst who has spent much of his career analyzing states with persistent internal conflicts. Over the last ten years, Nathan has focused on Iraq, including its insurgency, civil violence, and security forces. He spent 20 months serving in the Middle East, including several tours as a liaison officer to senior US military commanders. In previous assignments he covered counterterrorism and the Balkans. He has a BA and Juris Doctor from the University of Tennessee, a Master of Laws (LL.M) from Georgetown University, and an MA from Yale in International Relations. He has also published several articles on legal issues related to counterinsurgency and national security. .
Lieutenant Colonel Kevin Clark is a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer and Military Fellow in the International Security Studies Program, Yale University. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1989 from Kansas City, Missouri. Upon completing his Bachelor’s Degree in 1995, he was commissioned an officer. His operational experience includes deployments to Kuwait, Panama, Japan/Korea (2), Haiti, Iraq (2), and Afghanistan (2). He led Marines from squad to battalion level and most recently commanded 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. During multiple deployments, he worked closely with indigenous security forces and has experience in combat, crisis response, peace keeping, and humanitarian assistance operations. He served as a military planner at the tactical and operational level and is focused on Studies in Grand Strategy. Lieutenant Colonel Clark is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Kansas City; Command and General Staff College; and is a distinguished graduate of Marine Corps Expeditionary Warfare School. His personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal (3) with valor device, Meritorious Service Medal (2), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2), and Combat Action Ribbon (3). He is married to his high school sweetheart and together, they have three children.
Sam Cohen ’15 is a History major in Calhoun College at Yale University. He is also a Midshipman First Class in Yale Navy ROTC, and this semester he is serving as the Midshipman Battalion Commander. After graduating, Sam will commission as an Ensign, move to Yokosuka, Japan to join the crew and wardroom of the USS ANTIETAM (CG 54), and eventually qualify as a Surface Warfare Officer.
Colonel Liam Collins is the Director of the Defense and Strategic Studies Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He is a career Army Special Forces officer who has served in a variety of special operations assignments and has conducted multiple combat operations to both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as operational deployments to Bosnia, Africa and South America. He has graduated from numerous military training programs and earned several military awards and decorations, including two valorous awards for his actions in combat. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the United States Military Academy, a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and recently earned his PhD from Princeton University as well. His research centers on military innovation during times of war, and he has taught courses on homeland security and defense, international relations and American politics.
Major Meghan Cumpston currently serves as an instructor of International Relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy. Following her commissioning from Villanova University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps Program, she served in a variety of command and staff assignments, including multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meghan received her M.A. in International Relations and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Rob Cuthbert is the pro bono coordinator for the Urban Justice Center-Veteran Advocacy Project’s military discharge upgrade clinic in New York City. He is also a United States Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Rob holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago, and from 2011-2012 was a (non-degree) special student in the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of History. Rob is a fiduciary committee member of the Yale Veterans Association and the Secretary of the University of Chicago Military Affinity Group.
James Dao ’79 is the deputy national editor at The New York Times, helping oversee projects and coverage of health care, criminal justice, military and veterans affairs and the Midwest. He is also editor of The Times’ military affairs blog, At War. Between 2009 and 2013, he was a national correspondent covering military and veterans affairs, focusing on health care for combat veterans, the lives of deployed troops and military culture. In 2010-11, he reported and wrote a series about an Army battalion’s yearlong deployment to Afghanistan, “A Year at War,” that received a 2011 Emmy, a 2012 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University award, as well as honors from the American Society of News Editors, the Association of Military Reporters and Editors, the National Press Photographers Association and Pictures of the Year International. The following year, he produced a series of stories about the struggles of combat veterans to overcome the injuries of war entitled, “The Hard Road Back.” Mr. Dao has been with The Times since 1992. Between 2006 and 2009, he was deputy metropolitan editor for three years, overseeing columnists and beat reporters. Before that he served as a national correspondent roving through the south and mid-Atlantic states. From 1998 until 2003, he was a Washington correspondent with stints covering Congress, the Pentagon, the State Department and the 2000 presidential campaign. During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he embedded with Special Operations Forces in the Persian Gulf and Diwaniya Province, and has embedded with American forces in Afghanistan five times. Mr. Dao has also worked at the Daily News of New York, where his series profiling the changing neighborhoods of Queens was honored by the American Planning Association. In 1990, he was principal writer on a year-long investigation into the smuggling of people from China to America, focusing on a criminal ring that was later responsible for the calamitous Golden Venture voyage. Mr. Dao began his writing career at the New York Chinatown History Project, now known as the Museum of Chinese in America, where he raised funds, conducted oral histories, wrote radio scripts and developed programs about Chinese immigrants in America. Born in Buffalo, N.Y., Mr. Dao received a B.A. in history, cum laude, from Yale College.
Colleen Deere is the Vice President of American Corporate Partners, a nationwide non-profit organization based in New York City dedicated to assisting military veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce. By connecting veterans with leaders in the corporate sector, ACP offers veterans tools for long-term career development through mentoring, career counseling and networking opportunities. Prior to joining ACP, Colleen worked an instructor in the English Department at Kansas State University while she and her husband, a proud Army veteran, were stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas during his time in the service. Colleen joined American Corporate Partners in April 2010 and holds a master’s degree in English from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Colleen was born in Queens, New York and in her spare time enjoys long-distance running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Mark Dollhopf ’77 is Executive Director of the Association of Yale Alumni (AYA) and is responsible for the alumni affairs of Yale University, including the support and sponsorship of 187 domestic and international Yale Clubs, all Yale Class efforts, and the work of over 100 alumni associations. Prior to his appointment at Yale, Mark was founder and President of Janus Development, counseling global nonprofit institutions in strategic planning, leadership and board development, capital campaign management, major gift formation, donor research, and direct marketing. In 2001, Yale awarded Mark the Yale Tercentennial and the Yale School of Music Tercentennial Medals, and in 2004, Mark received the Yale Medal, the highest honor bestowed by Yale for volunteer service. Mark received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and also attended Harvard Business School.
Raymond DuBois is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he focuses on international security policy, civil-military relations, Joint Professional Military Education and defense management reform. He served as acting under secretary of the Army from February 2005 to February 2006. From July 2002 to May 2005, he was director of administration and management for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and concurrently the director of Washington Headquarters Services, aka the “mayor of the Pentagon.” From April 2001 through November 2004, DuBois served as the deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment. His prior service in the Pentagon was from 1973 to 1977 when he was a staff assistant to the Secretary of Defense, followed by his service on a special task force for South East Asia as the special assistant to the Pentagon Comptroller, followed by assignment as the special assistant to the Secretary of the Army and in 1976 he was sworn in as the deputy under secretary of the Army. Between 1978 and 1995 Mr. DuBois was in the private sector where he worked for Advanced Systems Inc., the National Education Corporation and Digital Equipment Corporation. From 1996 to 2001, Mr. DuBois was the president of Potomac Strategies International LLC. He served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969, including nearly 13 months in Vietnam as a combat intelligence operations sergeant in the Central Highlands, where he received the Army Commendation Medal. Mr. DuBois currently serves as a Global Senior Advisor to McKinsey & Co. and on the International Advisory Council of the U.S. Institute of Peace and lectures at the Marine Corps War College. Mr. DuBois received a B.A. degree from Princeton University in 1972.
Elizabeth Esty ’85 JD is the U.S. Representative for the 5th Congressional District of Connecticut. The district spans northwest and central Connecticut and includes Waterbury, Meriden, Danbury, Litchfield County, the Farmington Valley, and her hometown of Cheshire. In Congress, Elizabeth serves on the following committees: Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Highways and Transit Subcommittee; Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee; Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee; Science, Space and Technology; and Research and Technology Subcommittee. Elizabeth also serves as Vice Chair for the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Elizabeth served in the Connecticut General Assembly (2009-2011) and the Cheshire Town Council (2005-2008). Elizabeth graduated from Harvard University in 1981 and earned her law degree from Yale Law School in 1985. After clerking for U.S. District Judge Robert Keeton of Massachusetts, she joined the firm of Sidley Austin and served as a member of the Supreme Court bar. She later worked in healthcare and Medicare policy as a Senior Research scholar at Yale and taught as an adjunct professor at American University. Elizabeth lives in Cheshire with her husband of 30 years, Dan Esty. As a mother of three—Sarah, Thomas, and Jonathan—Elizabeth spent her evenings and weekends at PTA meetings, soccer fields, and hockey rinks. She is thankful for the opportunity to serve her church and her community, working with the local Chamber of Commerce, League of Women Voters, Land Trust, Cheshire Public Library, and the United Way.
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Faint ’13 MA is an instructor of international relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the United States Military Academy at West Point. A career military intelligence officer, he served extensively with Special Operations units in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world before graduating from Yale University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2013. He is a co-author of “Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror.” His research interests include civil-military relations and US intelligence policy.
George F. Fuller, MD, FAAFP, was appointed as Associate Chief of Staff for the VA Connecticut Healthcare System effective November 30, 2014. Prior to this appointment Dr. Fuller was the Chief Medical Officer for the VA New England Healthcare System (VSIN 1) in Bedford, MA. As CMO he served as the Physician executive and Principal Medical Advisor to the Network Director of a Veterans Affairs Healthcare System providing comprehensive services to a Veteran population in the six New England states. He functioned as the Senior Clinician in a Regional Headquarters supporting eight Medical Centers and their outlying clinics and community services supporting a population of over 252,000 beneficiaries with a budget of over $2.5 billion. From July 2009 to February 2012, he served as the Director, VA Primary Care Locum Tenens Program for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Dr. Fuller served as the Chief of Staff at VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System from March 2006 to July 2009 and had been the Service Line Manager for Primary Care / Specialty and Acute Care since March 2005. Dr. Fuller served as Medical Analyst / Medical Officer for the Central Intelligence Agency from 2003 to 2005. He was the White House Physician to President’s Clinton and Bush. He was also the Commandant and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps since 1977, retiring at the rank of Colonel in 2004. Dr. Fuller is a graduate of Fairfield University and received his Doctor of Medicine from USUHS. Dr. Fuller is a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine and holds a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatric Medicine. He is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.
Rodrigo Garcia serves as the National Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Student Veterans of America, an umbrella organization that provides military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and attain meaningful employment upon graduation on over 1,000 campuses in all 50 states and countries abroad. In his day job, Chairman Rodrigo Garcia serves as the Chief Investment Officer for the Illinois State Treasury. In this pivotal executive post, Garcia directs the treasury’s entire $27 billion investment portfolio. A Chicago native and Marine Corps veteran, Garcia served overseas on three separate occasions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and earned multiple decorations including the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Gold Star in lieu of a second award. He holds two post-graduate degrees, one in finance from the University of Illinois and one in public policy from Northwestern University and recently completed a senior executives program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Garcia was previously the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs and a member of the Illinois Cabinet, and has also worked for Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Garcia also serves as the Chairman of the National Hispanic Life Sciences Society and Board Vice President for Teatro Vista Theatre Company. Garcia has also been named one of the “Top 100 under 50” Executive Leaders by Diversity MBA Magazine and was recognized as a “Rising Star” by the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s.
Jeffrey E. Garten is the Juan Trippe Professor in the practice of international trade, finance and business at Yale. He is also chairman of Garten Rothkopf, a global consulting firm. He was dean of the Yale School of Management from November 1995 to June 2005. Prior to that he was undersecretary of commerce for international trade, 1993-1995. Before government service he spent 13 years on Wall Street. As a managing director of Lehman Brothers, he specialized in debt restructuring in Latin America, built up Lehman's investment banking business in Asia, and restructured some of the world's largest shipping companies in Hong Kong. Later he worked on mergers and acquisitions for The Blackstone Group. From 1997-2005 he wrote a monthly column for BusinessWeek on major challenges facing global business leaders. His articles have also appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and the Harvard Business Review. Garten is the author of four books on the global economy and business leadership, including The Big Ten: The Big Emerging Markets and How They Will Change Our Lives, and The Mind of the CEO. He holds a BA from Dartmouth College (1968) and a Ph.D. in international relations from Johns Hopkins University (1980). From 1968 to 1972, he served in the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Special Forces, and was a military advisor to the Royal Thai Army.
Glen Gechlik, MD ’05 MBA was appointed as Acting Chief Medical Officer of VISN 1 on December 1st, 2014. The VA New England Healthcare System is one of 21 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). From September 2014 to November 2014, Dr. Gechlik served as the Acting Associate Chief of Staff of VA Connecticut Health Care System. From October 2011 to July 2014, Dr. Gechlik served as the Acting Deputy Network Director of VISN 1. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing Administrative Service Lines: Human Resources, Finance, Capital Asset Management, Logistics, Biomedical Engineering, Business Office, FQAM, CBI Compliance, Strategic Planning, Communications, Voluntary Services, Police, and Nutrition. Dr. Gechlik also worked with the Network Contracting team on improving joint contracting processes within VISN1. Dr. Gechlik continues to serve as the VISN 1 Compensation and Pension lead and the Chief of VAHCS Compensation service. He also served the Associate Director of Emergency Services from 2009-2014 and the Administrative Director of the Dental Service for VA Connecticut HCS from 2009-2012. Dr. Gechlik previously worked as an associate analyst for the investment bank Needham & Co., LLC, from 2007 to 2009 where he provided financial modeling and rating analysis for biotechnology companies in the range of $100M - $3B market capitalization. From 2006 to 2007 he served as a major in the U.S. Air Force. Dr. Gechlik voluntarily deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom to Kuwait where he co-managed a medical facility. He also helped manage 913 MDs at Willow Grove Air Reserve Station in Pennsylvania prior to its base closure. Dr. Gechlik holds an MD from New York University School of Medicine and an MBA from Yale School of Management with concentrations in finance and health care management.
Congressman Brett Guthrie ’97 MPPM represents Kentucky’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Second District is home to Fort Knox, Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, and Mammoth Cave National Park. He serves on both the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce for the 114th Congress. Guthrie also serves on the following subcommittees for E&C: Subcommittee on Health, where he serves as Vice Chair; Subcommittee on Communications and Technology; and Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade. Recognized for his proven leadership, he was also appointed to serve as an Assistant Whip within the Republican Conference. Guthrie graduated in 1987 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, with a degree in economics and went on to serve as a Field Artillery Officer in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell. Guthrie later earned a Master’s Degree from Yale University in Public and Private Management. Congressman Guthrie comes from a small business, manufacturing background. Following his military service, he joined Trace Die Cast, the Bowling Green, Ky., based manufacturing business that was started by his father. First elected to public office in 1998, Guthrie represented the 32nd District in the Kentucky Senate before being elected to the US House.
Evan Guzman is a veteran advocate with two decades of experience in strategic talent acquisition and human resources who has dedicated his career to support fellow Veterans, transitioning service members, reservists, and military spouses across the country in finding meaningful careers. Currently working as a Head of Military Programs and Veteran Affairs for Verizon, Evan’s responsibilities include creation, development and oversight of Verizon’s global military strategic recruitment and national engagement across the enterprise. He serves as senior advisory to Verizon’s Veterans Advisory Board, Verizon Foundation and other senior level Veteran endeavors. He leads and manages high level public and private sector partnerships that help Veterans transition from military service into civilian careers. His focus is to create programs that allow transitioning military, Veterans and military spouses find employment in their local communities and across the nation. Evan’s passion and drive in supporting and employing Veterans across the nation has lead Verizon in receiving multiple award recognition such as: ranked Top 10 on Military Friendly Employers list by GI Jobs Magazine; ranked #2 on Best For Vets list by Military Times Edge magazine; ranked #6 on Military Spouse Friendly list by Military Spouse Magazine; Freedom Award from the Department of Defense; and the Colonel Michael Endres Award for individual leadership in Veteran & Military Spouse support and outreach by the US Chamber of Commerce/Hiring Our Heroes. Evan was most recently featured on a Linked-In video commercial for his work in using Linked-In as an effective sourcing tool in connecting service members to career opportunities that can be found on Veterans.Linkedin.com. He also created Recruiters 4 Veterans (R4V), a networking group on Linked-in as a resource tool and call-to- action to recruiters across the country to use their power of influence in allowing service members opportunities to be seen and heard by employers. He has also been featured on Fox News, NBC News, News-12, talk radio and has contributed to multiple media and reputable print publications across the country. Evan graduated from Baruch College and resides in Caldwell, New Jersey with his wife and four sons.
Anne Hamburger ’86 MFA is the Founder and President of En Garde Arts. She has a long track record for spearheading cultural innovation and entrepreneurship, internationally recognized for a distinctive approach to producing theatre where content, form, place, community and audience are all interwoven into the process. Her latest production was BASETRACK Live, a show about the impact of war on veterans and their families that has traveled to 25 cities and was named by The New York Times as one of the top ten theatrical productions for 2014. She is planning to develop a destination in New York called The Veterans Project, a destination for creative expression by, for and about veterans that marries quality artistic product with outreach that centers upon bringing together the general theatre-going public with the veterans community. The Wall Street Journal named her a person to watch for 2015. Anne graduated with an MFA from the Yale School of Drama and is the mother of 17-year old twins.
Laurie Harkness, Ph.D. is founder and Director of VA Connecticut Healthcare System’s Errera Community Care Center (ECCC). The ECCC is nationally recognized for its exceptional model of care that emphasizes evidenced-based clinical programs provided in conjunction with a comprehensive network of community partnerships. On average each year, this model has provided vocational support for more than 400 Veterans and in just the last two years the development of housing opportunities for more than 800 homeless Veterans and their families. The ECCC has repeatedly been awarded status as a VA Center of Excellence for the Care of Individuals with Mental Illness and has been designated as the model for psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery services in VA’s Veterans Integrated Service Network One. Dr. Harkness is well published in the areas of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Psychosocial Rehabilitation. She is the recipient of numerous local, state and national awards and recognitions: in 1999, Dr. Harkness received the Olin E. Teague Award, the highest VA clinical award given for her work in the rehabilitation of war injured Veterans. Dr. Harkness has been the distinguished recipient of the Eli Lilly Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in developing programs that assist Veterans with serious mental illnesses reintegrate back into their own communities. And she has received the “Excellence in Community Mental Health Services” award from NAMI: Dr. Harkness was the first non-MD recipient and first VA employee to be so honored. On numerous occasions she has been recognized by Vietnam Veterans of America for her service and dedication to Vietnam veterans and their families. She has lectured both nationally and internationally and regularly consults to other mental health systems around the provision of integrated community-based mental health care and the delivery of peer support services. In addition, Dr. Harkness is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.
Chris Harnisch ’15 SOM is a student at the Yale School of Management and Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where he is pursuing a joint MBA and Master’s in International Relations. Chris leads the Yale Student Veterans Council. Prior to attending Yale, Chris served as an Army intelligence officer on NATO’s counter-corruption task force during a 14-month deployment to Afghanistan. Previous to his active duty military commitment, Chris worked on the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, where he researched and wrote about al Qaeda’s emerging safe havens, focusing on those in Yemen and Somalia. Chris also spent two years working at the White House on the staff of the Vice President and one year working as the Assistant to the Director of the Peace Corps. He has published pieces on foreign policy in numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Middle East Journal, and National Review Online, and he has appeared as a guest analyst on various public panels and television and radio broadcasts. Chris continues to serve in the Army Reserve today.
Chris Howell ’14 is co-founder and executive director of the Warrior-Scholar Project, a non-profit organization that facilitates enlisted veterans’ transition from the military to college. He is a recent graduate of Yale University admitted under the Eli Whitney Students Program, a selective admissions program for non-traditional students with unique or exceptional backgrounds. Prior to that Chris spent almost nine years serving in the Australian Army, predominately in special operations with the 2nd Commando Regiment. He served in Afghanistan in 2006 with the Special Operations Task Group and subsequently in the Tactical Assault Group (East), Australia’s domestic counterterrorism and hostage rescue capability.
Brian Hughes ’00 is the Director of Administration for Prologue Strategies LLC, a strategic communications company based in New Haven. Brian was enlisted in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2004, where he served as an infantryman in the 75th Ranger Regiment. After leaving the Army, Brian worked in the U.S. Senate, and also worked as an activist for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don't Tell. Prior to joining Prologue Strategies, Brian practiced international tax law with Withers Bergman LLP, and he has represented needy veterans on a pro bono basis through the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center. He holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy from Yale College, a J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and he is a founding member of the Yale Veterans Association.
Alexandra (Lexi) Hurd is an Associate Dean of Admission at Amherst College in Amherst, MA. Since rejoining the Amherst community in 2010, Lexi’s titles include Director of Transfer Admission and Director of Veteran Recruitment. In these roles, she continues to develop Amherst’s Community College Transfer Initiative (CCTI) designed to recruit low-income community college students to Amherst as well as continue to shape relationships between Amherst College and nonprofits related to veteran access to selective institutions in higher education. In addition, Lexi coordinates Amherst Admission’s Alumni Outreach Volunteer Program and previously directed Amherst’s Telementoring Program. Before her time at Amherst, Lexi worked as an admission officer and Day Student Committee Chair at Phillips Exeter Academy and as a management consultant in Portsmouth, NH. She received her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and her B.A. from Amherst College.
Colonel Andrew J. Hyatt is currently assigned as a US Army War College Fellow with duty at Yale University. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY in 1993 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the US Army Infantry. He attended Airborne, Jumpmaster, Air Assault, and Ranger School and earned Expert Infantry Badge and Senior Parachutist Wings. He served as Infantry Officer in the 25th Infantry Division, 82nd Airborne Division, and 2nd Infantry Division, Initial Stryker Brigade Combat Team. He transitioned to US Army Functional Area 45 (Comptroller) and attended the Army/Defense Comptrollership Program at Syracuse University, earning both an MBA and MAPA. Following graduate schooling, he held two assignments on the Army Staff and a one year tour of duty in Iraq. He participated in the Army Training With Industry program in 2007 partnering with the CFO and Controller’s financial management team at General Electric’s Transportation business unit in Erie, PA. S He srved two years as the senior resource manager for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, KY. He served as Assistant Chief of Staff G-8 (Comptroller) for the 25th ID at Schofield Barracks, HI and deployed with the 25th ID to Baghdad, Iraq as the United States Division-Center G-8 in support of Operation New Dawn. In 2011, he assumed command of the Special Troops Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade and deployed to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. After command, he served as the Budget Operations Officer within the United States Army Pacific Headquarters.
Zach Iscol is the CEO/founder of Hirepurpo.se, an interactive career guide and digital marketing platform for companies to hire top military talent. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Headstrong Project, a NYC based non-profit, that delivers cost free, bureaucracy free, and stigma free state of the art treatment to military veterans with PTSD and TBI at Weill Cornell Medical Center. A combat decorated former Marine officer and Iraq veteran, Iscol served in the infantry and special operations. He built one of the first highly successful Iraqi military units in Al Anbar province in 2004 and fought in the second battle of Fallujah. Subsequently, he served as the first Officer in Charge of the Recruiting, Screening, Assessment, and Selection Pipeline for US Marine Corps, Special Operations. Upon leaving the service, he wrote, directed, and produced the WESTERN FRONT, a Tribeca Film Festival selection and co-founded Super Sprowtz, a children's nutritional edutainment company. Iscol graduated in 2001 from Cornell University, holds fellowships with the Truman National Security Project and the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University, and is a member of the 2013 Team USA for USA Triathlon.
Amy Kaplan is a licensed clinical social worker from Connecticut. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology & Criminal Justice from Southern Connecticut State University, and a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in New York. In addition to her clinical social work license, Amy holds an international certification in alcohol & drug counseling, a national certification in forensic social work, and trained as a problem gambling treatment provider for the State of California through the University of California, Los Angeles. Amy has been the Program Coordinator for the Veterans Integration To Academic Leadership initiative at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System since February of 2013. From 2007-2013 Amy was a risk management social worker at the Los Angeles VA medical center’s 300-bed residential domiciliary program. Prior to her work at the VA, Amy was an addictions program coordinator and medical social worker at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and a primary therapist at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California. When she is not working, Amy is involved with music and animals. She currently volunteers with North East Afghan Hound Rescue. Amy is the fund advisor for the Brenda H. Kaplan Music Fund, providing opportunities for children to enjoy music to alleviate the stress of illness, homelessness and trauma.
Kristen Kavanaugh is the majority owner and President of Trident Analytical Solutions, Inc., an expanding national management consulting firm in the defense and intelligence sectors. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served for five years as a Comptroller in the United States Marine Corps including one tour in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2012 Kristen earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California where she focused her studies on military social work. She also shared her personal experience serving under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell publically for the first time. She currently serves as a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council and the Service Women’s Action Network’s Military Advisory Council.
Major Rebecca S. Lange (USAF) currently serves as a Deputy Legislative Assistant for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Prior to her current assignment, she served as a Defense Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson. Her most recent operational tour was as the Director of Operations of the 30th Intelligence Squadron, Langley AFB, Va. Major Lange directed the exploitation, analysis, and dissemination activities of a 680- person squadron comprised of imagery, signals, and multi-source analysts, with a regional focus on U.S. Central Command. Major Lange has deployed for and supported Operations Noble Eagle, Joint Guardian, Iraqi Freedom, Unified Protector, and Enduring Freedom.
Benjamin Lotto ’82 is Dean of Studies and Professor of Mathematics at Vassar College. After graduating from Yale in 1982 with a double major in mathematics, he went on to the University of California at Berkeley, earning his PhD in 1988. He has been teaching at Vassar since 1993. He is the author or co-author on a number of articles primarily on operator theory and has served as a statistical consultant on two medical studies that were published in peer reviewed journals. Dean Lotto’s scholarship, teaching, and service to Vassar have been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Mathematical Society, the Consortium for Higher Achievement and Success, the Mellon Foundation, and Vassar College. Before becoming Dean of Studies in 2014, Dean Lotto served as the chair of the Department of Mathematics from 2004 through 2009, the Director of Academic Facilities Development from 2007 through 2010, and the Dean of Freshmen from 2009 through 2013. It was in this last role that Dean Lotto became involved with Vassar’s partnership with the Posse Foundation to matriculate and support groups of 10 veterans each year at the college. He served as the mentor to the first veterans posse in 2013–14 and is currently the institutional liaison to the Posse Foundation.
Jason Mangone ’13 MA serves as Director for the Franklin Project. Jason served as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps from 2006-2010. Jason then went on to work as a research associate in the Military Fellows program at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2010-2011. He graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Boston College in 2006, and an M.A. in International Relations from Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in 2013.
Colonel Scott E. Manning, USAF (ret.) is the Vice President for Norwich University Applied Research Institutes (NUARI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that serves the national public interest through the study of critical national issues and the development of related educational and training programs. Prior to this role, Colonel Manning, USAF (Retired), was a Professor (Adjunct) at Yale University and he successfully led the reintegration of the Air Force ROTC program to the Campus of Yale University after a 55-year absence. He is a Command Pilot with over 3,700 hours in the F-16C/CJ, A-10A, AT-38B, and T-38A aircraft. Colonel Manning’s distinguished career began in Reserve Officer Training Corps at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, where he earned his commission in the United States Air Force. He has served as an instructor pilot in four different aircraft, and an evaluator in two, supervisor of flying, executive officer, flight commander, operations officer for current operations, chief of combat operations, chief of strategy division for the United Kingdom Joint Force Air Component Headquarters (exchange posting), Director of Operations for both the 77th and 55th Fighter Squadrons, Commander of the 79th Fighter Squadron, Deputy Group Commander for the 20th Maintenance Group, Commanded USAFE’s Warrior Preparation Center, Commanded the Air Force ROTC at Norwich University and was the Dean of National Services at Norwich University. He holds a Master of Arts in International Relations/Defense Studies from King’s College, University of London, UK, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
Michael McDermott is President of Arcadia Group, a management consulting and executive coaching firm. Michael founded Arcadia Group after 20 years of working on Wall Street where he was Global Head of Talent at Goldman Sachs, Chief Learning Officer at Merrill Lynch and the Co-Head of Leadership and Talent for JP Morgan Asia. He also spent seven years in fixed income and equity sales and sales management with JP Morgan. Since 2011 Michael has worked as a Blackstone Advisor with Sandy Ogg, Operating Partner, and the Blackstone portfolio companies. One of his primary areas of focus has been the Blackstone Veterans Initiative, which he leads on a day-to-day basis. This initiative kicked off in May of 2013 and has already hired over 22,000 veterans and spouses as of February 2015. Through a public private partnership with key governmental agencies new and innovative programs to train and prepare veterans have been developed and piloted. A Veteran Playbook has been written and distributed across the portfolio and serves as a guide for creating and sustaining a highly effective veteran initiative. Blackstone has become recognized as a thought leader in the veteran space and continues to focus on improving hiring, development and retention strategies and scale these across the portfolio. Michael works with senior business leaders and their teams on leadership challenges and business transformation. He leverages his extensive business experience with a multitude of cutting edge methodologies to deliver a practical and effective solution to his clients through both coaching and consulting. This blended approach allows the greatest flexibility and customization to best fit the client’s needs and achieve the client’s goals. Michael is a certified ICF coach with a Leadership Coaching Certificate from Georgetown University and BA in History and Political Science from the University of Vermont. He is also an NLP Master Coach, Reiki Master Teacher, certified in Meyers Briggs and Conflict Dynamics, Co-Founder of the Program in Sustainable Living for Leaders and a coaching resource for the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science. Originally from Vermont, Michael lives in Connecticut with his wife and three children where he enjoys hiking, sailing, skiing and cooking.
Coleman Nee served as Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans’ Services from January 2011 to January 2015. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and Operation Desert Storm. He previously worked as Undersecretary of Veterans’ Services. The MA Department of Veterans’ Services oversees an over $120 million budget, including a unique locally administered municipal veterans’ benefits program, $40 million Veterans annuity program, two Veterans long-term care facilities and two Veterans’ cemeteries. During Secretary Nee’s tenure, the Department created a number of new initiatives to increase access to services available for veterans, including the over 47,000 returning Massachusetts veterans from the Global War on Terror. He oversaw the creation of the Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment (SAVE) program, a first-in-the-nation initiative to support veterans and their families coping with the stresses of returning from war and assist them in obtaining veterans benefits and services. His team successfully instituted many new veterans’ workforce development programs, student veteran support services, and led new outreach/case management efforts to significantly reduce the number of homeless veterans and families in Massachusetts. Secretary Nee also oversaw management of the MA Women’s Veterans Network, one of the most successful women veterans’ advocacy organizations in the Nation. Prior to his service with the Commonwealth, Nee worked in corporate and private-sector management for over 20 years. He is a graduate of The American University in Washington DC.
John D. Negroponte ’60 joined McLarty Associates as vice-chairman in 2009, following a distinguished career in diplomacy and national security. Ambassador Negroponte held government positions abroad and in Washington between 1960 and 1997 and again from 2001 to 2008. Since 2009, Ambassador Negroponte has also been the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy and Senior Lecturer in Global Affairs at the Jackson Institute of Yale University, his alma mater. He has been ambassador to Honduras, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Nations, and Iraq. In Washington he served twice on the National Security Council staff, first as director for Vietnam in the Nixon Administration and then as deputy national security advisor under President Reagan. He has also held a cabinet level position as the first director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush. His most recent position in government was as deputy secretary of state, where he served as the State Department’s chief operating officer. While in the private sector from 1997 to 2001, Ambassador Negroponte was executive vice president of the McGraw-Hill Companies, with responsibility for overseeing the company’s international activities. During those years he was also chairman of the French-American Foundation. Ambassador Negroponte serves as chairman of the Council of the Americas/Americas Society. He is also Co-Chairman of the U.S.-Philippines Society and a member of the Secretary of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Since 2013, he has been Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. Ambassador Negroponte has received numerous awards in recognition of his more than four decades of public service, including the State Department’s Distinguished Service Medal on two separate occasions, the highest award which can be conferred by the secretary of state, and on January 16, 2009, President Bush awarded Ambassador Negroponte the National Security Medal for his outstanding contributions to U.S. national security.
Thomas J. Opladen ’66 is the Executive Chairman of MMT, Inc and President and co-founder of the Yale Veterans Association. He was a Director of PB, Inc, a multi-billion dollar global engineering firm, from 1989 to 2009. He was Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Finance Committee for most of that period, Chairman/member of the Compensation Committee, member of the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee. Mr. Opladen was the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Graham Field Health Products, Inc., a manufacturer of durable medical products located in Atlanta, Georgia. He was previously a Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate Finance in the Investment Banking Group at Bank of America in New York. Prior to that, he was Director of Private Placements for Bank of America. Before joining Bank of America, he was a Vice President in the Investment Banking Department at Shearson Loeb Rhoades. Mr. Opladen served in the US Navy for four years, last serving as the Chief Engineer and third in command of a destroyer. He served as a Director of Burns and Roe, an engineering firm located in Oradell, New Jersey. He is a Director of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and Chairman of the Chapter’s Membership Committee. Mr. Opladen holds a Certificate of Director Education (CDE) from the National Association of Corporate Directors. He is Treasurer of the Yale Class of 1966 and co-chair of the annual class dinner and a member of the Athletics Committee of the Yale Club of New York City. He received a BS from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard University.
Colonel Steven Parker ’01 MA is the Executive Director of Joining Forces, a nationwide initiative calling all Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities. Prior to his current role he served as the Director of Operations, Plans, Training and Simulations for Fort Sill and the US Army Fires Center of Excellence in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. A qualified Foreign Area Officer, he has served as a United Nations Military Observer in Western Sahara and Morocco and studied counter-insurgency operations at the Zimbabwe Defense Forces College. As Chief, US Liaison Office and senior defense official at the American Embassy in Djibouti, Colonel Parker played a leading role in establishing the basing and status of forces agreement for the US military and Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa in the aftermath of attacks of September 11, 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He later served as Deputy Executive Officer and Aide de Camp to the Commander, US Africa Command. His commands and operational assignments include the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, NY. He served as Commander of the 10th Special Troops Battalion – leading an organization of nearly 1,000 soldiers and civilians, during year-long combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn. Colonel Parker was selected as a White House Fellow in 2005, where he served on the Domestic Policy Council and in the Office of the First Lady. Following the fellowship, he served as a speechwriter for the Chief of Staff of the Army. A graduate of the Defense Language Institute where he studied French, he also earned an MA in African Studies from Yale University and a BS from the United States Military Academy. Other awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, the United Nations Medal, the Presidential Service Badge, the Ranger Tab, the US State Department’s third highest Medal for Service and the Republic of Djibouti’s second highest award for contributions to that nation—the 27June Medal. He has four children: daughter, Zoe; and sons, Noah, Caleb and Eli. His wife Riva, a graduate of Yale Law School and accomplished corporate attorney now serves as a Department of the Army Civilian in the office of the Army’s Judge Advocate General.
Lisa Pollina ’99 MBA is the Vice Chairman for RBC Capital Markets, responsible for senior client coverage for multi-national financial institution clients worldwide. She was named Vice Chairman in 2012 after serving as the Sr. Advisor to the CEO for RBC International where she advised on strategic corporate development actions for multiple business units outside of Canada. Ms. Pollina was also RBC’s Shareholder Representative for the former RBC Dexia joint venture and its resultant Boards. Prior to joining RBC, she was at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she was the Global Financial Institutions Executive responsible for a global corporate banking division team in the US, Canada, EMEA and Asia. Previous roles include those as a founding partner in the Barclays Capital emergent business Bordeaux Capital and an operating executive for a Chase Capital Partners/Flatiron investment portfolio firm, appointed as part of a management team to complete an IPO. During the tenures of Presidents Clinton and Bush, Ms. Pollina has represented the United States of America at NATO as a Councillor delegate to the Atlantic Council of the United States and as a Fellow of the German Marshall Fund. Named by American Banker magazine as one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance, Ms. Pollina was appointed to the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States’ ‘Working Group on Global Markets’ and is also a member of the Financial Services Roundtable. Lisa Pollina serves on the Investment Committee and Finance Council for the Archdiocese of Chicago. An MBA graduate from the Yale School of Management, Ms. Pollina has also taught strategy at Yale and corporate finance at the University of Chicago. She was inducted into The Commercial Club of Chicago in 2014.
Josh Ray ’13 is a project manager at the McChrystal Group who oversees engagements with financial services clients in the Northeast Region. Previously, he worked in several technology start-ups in New York City and taught elementary school in Tijuana, Mexico. Josh served six years in the United States Navy working in AEGIS Ballistic Missile Defense. His deployments include Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a first responder to Indonesia following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. He received his BA from Yale University, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Yale Veterans Association and is an At-Large Delegate to the Association of Yale Alumni.
Kristen L. Rouse is an experienced leader, writer, speaker, and consultant, with career emphasis on military and disaster logistics. She serves as an advocate for military veterans and civilians affected by war. She blogs at TrueBoots.com on progressive issues related to national security, military policy, and NYC politics. She has appeared on MSNBC, BBC, Al Jazeera America, and NPR news programs, and her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, Talking Points Memo, and Salon. She is currently writing fiction depicting life during war in Afghanistan.
Peter Salovey ’83 M.S. ’84 M.Phil. ’86 Ph.D. is the 23rd President of Yale University and the Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology. Prior to becoming President, Peter served as Yale’s Provost from 2008 to 2013. As Provost, Peter facilitated strategic planning and initiatives such as promoting faculty diversity, creating the Office of Academic Integrity, developing the West Campus, and overseeing the University’s budget during the global financial crisis. After graduating from Stanford in 1980, Peter earned his M.S. (1983), M.Phil. (1984), and Ph.D. (1986) degrees in psychology at Yale. Peter has authored or edited over a dozen books and published hundreds of journal articles and essays, focused primarily on human emotion and health behavior. With John D. Mayer, he developed a broad framework called “Emotional Intelligence,” the theory that just as people have a wide range of intellectual abilities, they also have a wide range of measurable emotional skills that profoundly affect their thinking and action. Peter has won both the William Clyde DeVane Medal for Distinguished Scholarship and Teaching and the Lex Hixon ’63 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Social Sciences. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2013.
Dr. Linda Spoonster Schwartz ’84 MSN, ’98 DrPH was confirmed as Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the US Department of Veterans Affairs by the Senate on September 16, 2014. Prior to her confirmation, she served as State Veterans Affairs Commissioner of Connecticut since 2003 and was known for her strong advocacy for Homeless Veterans, Veteran Suicide Prevention, and Women Veteran issues. Dr. Schwartz served during the Vietnam War, was a member of the United States Air Force (1967-1986) and served on Active Duty and as a Reservist. She retired in 1986 after sustaining injuries in an aircraft accident while serving as a USAF Flight Nurse. After her military service she earned a Masters in Nursing from Yale and went on to achieve a Doctorate in Public Health from the Yale School of Medicine through the VA Vocational Education Program. She led several major research initiatives and served seven years on the VA Scientific Advisory Committee Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study. From 1989 to 1998 Dr. Schwartz served in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on several subjects including Veterans Mental Health and Women Veterans issues. She has been elected to the National Board of Directors of the American Nurses Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. She was also elected to the American Academy of Nursing in 2001. Dr. Schwartz was instrumental in the construction and 2008 opening of the John L. Levitow Health Center in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which provides care to Veterans with chronic diseases. Her many honors include the National Commendation medal of Vietnam Veterans of America for Justice, Integrity, and Meaningful Achievement; the Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains; and induction into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.
Yasmeen Shaheen-McConnell is the Program Manager for the Franklin Project. Yasmeen is an AmeriCorps alumna, and served in 2008 with the Arab American Resource Corps in a community support and cultural resource position. Before joining the Franklin Project, Yasmeen was a business development consultant with News Deeply, a new media and technology startup. She previously managed programs at the Arab American Institute, where she oversaw youth and advocacy efforts, fundraising galas, leadership summits, and the Arab American Census Information Center. Yasmeen earned a master’s degree in Religion, Ethics and Politics from Harvard Divinity School in 2013. Her graduate research focused on post-conflict programs, peacebuilding and relationship mapping, which included extensive personal interviews with Catholic and Protestant religious leaders in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She holds an undergraduate degree in International Affairs and Anthropology from George Washington University.
Dr. Thomas Sherlock is a Professor of Political Science at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He received his doctorate in political science from Columbia University, and teaches courses on comparative politics, democratization, and the post-Soviet region. Dr. Sherlock is the author of Historical Narratives in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Russia, and co-author of The Fight for Legitimacy: Democracy vs. Terrorism. His articles have appeared in numerous scholarly journals including Comparative Politics, Problems of Communism, Ab Imperio, Prepodovanie istorii i obshchestvovedeniia v shkole (Russia), and Commentaire (France). He has contributed chapters to several edited volumes, including most recently books sponsored by the Carnegie Council and by the United Nations University and the Centre for International Studies and Research (CERI, Paris). Dr. Sherlock’s research interests include the politics of identity in Eurasia and South Asia.
Rob Simmons has spent almost 50 years in public service at the local, state and federal levels. He currently serves as Selectman in his home town of Stonington. Rob enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1965 as a Private, graduated from Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1967, and spent 19 months in Vietnam, where he earned two Bronze Star Medals. In 1969 he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, working as an Operations Officer for a decade, including five years on assignment overseas in Vietnam and China. In 1979, Rob left the CIA to join the staff of Senator John H. Chafee (R-Rhode Island). In 1981, he was Staff Director of the Senate Intelligence Committee by Chairman Barry Goldwater (R-Arizona) – a position he held through February 1985. Rob has served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a Military Intelligence Officer since 1970, retiring as a Colonel in 2003 with over 37 years of active and reserve service. He is past commander of the 434th Military Intelligence (MI) Detachment (Strategic) in New Haven, CT. In 1996, Colonel Simmons’ unit received the Reserve Officers Association’s Outstanding USAR Small Unit Award as the best small unit in the Nation. In 1998, he received the Knowlton Award for "Integrity, Moral Character, Professional Competence and Selflessness" in recognition of his contributions to the Military Intelligence Corps. Colonel Simmons is a Member of the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame and the Infantry Officer Candidate Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA. He is a Life Member of The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Association of US Army Officers. Colonel Simmons is a recipient of both The American Legion’s Connecticut State Department and National Commander’s Awards. Rob represented Stonington and North Stonington in the Connecticut General Assembly for ten years, and was Congressman from Connecticut’s Second District from 2001-2007. He also served as Connecticut’s first Business Advocate. While in Congress he chaired the Veterans Health Subcommittee and the Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee. One of his proudest accomplishments as Congressman was serving on “Team Connecticut” to save the Groton New London Submarine Base from closure by the Base Realignment Advisory Commission (BRAC) in 2005. Rob Simmons is a 1965 graduate of Haverford College, PA. He earned a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 1979, where he was a Littauer Fellow; and was a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Connecticut. He is an Associate Fellow of Berkeley College at Yale University and taught undergraduate courses for a decade.
Paul Solman is a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at Yale. He has been a business, economics, and occasional art correspondent for The PBS NewsHour since 1985. At Yale, he co-teaches the Studies in Grand Strategy seminar, adding a dose of economics. He also teaches at New Haven’s Gateway Community College. The founding editor of the alternative Boston weekly The Real Paper (1972), Solman began his career in business journalism as a Nieman Fellow in the mid-1970s, spending the year as a student in the Harvard Business School MBA program. He taught in the school’s Advanced Management Program in the mid-’80s. His television work has won Emmys in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s, two Peabodys, and a Loeb for reporting on China, among other awards. He co-authored Life and Death on the Corporate Battlefield (Simon Schuster, 1983), which appeared in Japanese, German, and a pirated Taiwanese edition. With sociologist Morrie Schwartz, he helped create — and wrote the introduction to — the book Morrie: In His Own Words (Walker and Co., 1996), which preceded Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie, but failed to outsell it by several orders of magnitude. With two co-authors, he is currently finishing the manuscript of a book on Social Security – Get What’s Yours – and has been trying to develop a video game and/or apps to teach gratification delay: “Future Self.”
William (Will) Streitberger was appointed Director (Hartford Regional Office) of the Veterans Benefits Administration in December 2013. As Director, Will is responsible for administering roughly $25,000,000 per month in compensation and pension benefits to approximately 23,420 veterans and their dependents living in the state of Connecticut. He is also responsible for providing Vocational Rehabilitation Services, placement assistance and Independent Living Services to the disabled Veteran population of Connecticut. Prior to Will’s appointment as Director of the Hartford Regional Office, he served as the Deputy Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Operations Center in the Office of Field Operations. He was responsible for leading the business-operating model to support the implementation and sustainment of VBA Transformation Initiatives effecting People, Process, and Technology business processes and policy, and training in support of the Agency Priority Goals (APGs) to increase operational efficiency and productivity, improve quality, expand stakeholder access to benefits and services, and eliminate Veteran homelessness.
Brynn Tannehill graduated from the US Naval Academy with a B.S. in computer science in 1997. She earned her Naval Aviator wings in 1999 and flew SH-60B helicopters and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft during three deployments between 2000 and 2004. She served as a campaign analyst while deployed overseas to 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain from 2005 to 2006. In 2008 Brynn earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and transferred from active duty to the Naval Reserves. In 2008 Brynn began working as a senior defense research scientist in private industry, and is currently a Senior Project Associate with the Rand Corporation. She left the drilling reserves and began transition in 2010. Since then she has written for numerous publications on LGBT and military issues. She is the Director of Advocacy for SPARTA, and author of its policy research and recommendations on open transgender service. Brynn has been married for 15 years to Janis, and have three children together. She is originally from Phoenix, Arizona.
Nicholas E. Younker, Jr. is a Principal of Trident Group, a military veteran executive placement firm headquartered in New York City that specializes in placing the top echelon of transitioning military talent into the Fortune 500 and Wall Street. Originally from Kansas, he is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Business Administration. He served overseas for six years as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy and had assignments in Japan, Bahrain, and Italy. During this time he worked extensively with foreign governments and NATO. He also participated in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom while deployed to the U.S Fifth Fleet’s area of responsibility and was member of Joint Task Force Lebanon. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He is a member and regularly participates with military fraternal orders such as the American Legion, Surface Navy Association, Military Officers Association of America, and the Naval Order of the United States.