Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
IAVA official logo.jpg
Abbreviation IAVA
Formation 2004
Type War veterans organization
Purpose "IAVA's mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans."
Headquarters New York, New York
Executive Director
Paul Rieckhoff

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. This organization doesn’t just support veterans, they empower them.

IAVA is the voice of the 2.8 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, raising awareness in the media, on Capitol Hill and among the general public. They provide valuable resources and empower veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community. Through education, advocacy and community building, IAVA strives to create a country which honors and supports veterans of all generations.

IAVA addresses critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health injuries, a stretched VA system, inadequate health care for female veterans and GI Bill educational benefits.

Chief executive officer and founder[edit]

Paul Rieckhoff is the founder and chief executive officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), America’s first and largest organization for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. A nonpartisan, nonprofit founded in 2004 with over 150,000 members in all 50 states, IAVA’s mission is to improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

Rieckhoff enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in 1998 and completed Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort McClellan, Alabama. He then served in the U.S. Army Reserves, as a specialist with the 812th Military Police Company. While working on Wall Street at J.P. Morgan in 1999, Rieckhoff transferred to the New York Army National Guard, graduating from Officer Candidate School in June 2001, where he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate. Rieckhoff selected infantry as his branch and joined A Company, 1/105th INF (Light). Rieckhoff served as a first lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in the Iraq war from 2003 to 2004. He is also the author of Chasing Ghosts. Prior to going to Iraq, Rieckhoff worked as a high school football coach and on Wall Street. He received a B.A. in political science from Amherst College in 1998 and lives in New York City.

Rieckhoff left Wall Street on September 7, 2001, with plans to travel and complete additional military schooling. Those plans would change dramatically when on the morning of September 11 he heard the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Seeing the smoke from his rooftop, Rieckhoff immediately joined scores of volunteers serving in the rescue effort at Ground Zero. His National Guard unit was formally activated for rescue and security operations later that evening.

In February 2002, Rieckhoff began Infantry Officers Basic Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating in June of 2002. In January 2003, Rieckhoff received the call to deploy to Iraq. Two days later, he joined the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia, where he was assigned as a platoon leader for 3rd Platoon, B Company, 3/124th INF (Air Assault) FLNG.

The unit was attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division and spent almost a year conducting combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq. Third Platoon conducted over 1,000 dismounted and mounted combat patrols. All thirty-eight of the men in Rieckhoff’s platoon returned home alive.

Rieckhoff was released from active duty in March 2004 and the National Guard in 2007. He is a staunch political independent, and his organization is not affiliated with a political party or candidate. A 1998 graduate of Amherst College, he currently resides in New York City.

Rieckhoff’s first book, Chasing Ghosts, a critically acclaimed account of his experiences in Iraq and advocacy on behalf of veterans, was published by Penguin in May 2006 and released in paperback in May 2007.

Legislative victories[edit]

On November 18, 2015, IAVA celebrated the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. This legislation permanently extended the World Trade Center Health Program and September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

IAVA members campaigned for 18 months to combat veteran suicide. On Feb. 12, 2015, their efforts paid off when the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act was signed into law by President Obama at a ceremony at the White House.

IAVA shepherded passage of the New GI Bill in 2008, was instrumental in getting Advanced Appropriations signed into law in 2009, made critical advances in VA Disability Reform in 2010, was a major player in passing the Vow to Hire Heroes Act in 2011 and is focused on defending attacks to the New GI Bill in 2012.

Board of directors[edit]

Greg D'Alba, president of global sales and marketing, WME/IMG.

Mr. D’Alba previously worked as president of CNN News Networks and Turner’s digital ad sales and marketing. In that position, he oversaw all domestic ad sales, marketing strategies and business operations for the CNN portfolio of networks and Turner’s digital portfolio of news, entertainment, sports and animation properties.

Mr. D’Alba also sits on the boards of directors of the Cable television Advertising Bureau (CAB) and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and serves as board secretary of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). He is also board chairman of the Ghetto Film School – including The Cinema School, the nation’s first film high school – and Digital Bodega, which, in addition to providing college scholarships to disadvantaged high school students, strive to connect those students who are interested in filmmaking with the entertainment and media communities. Additionally, Mr. 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.

Mr. 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.

Peter Berg, actor, film director, producer, writer, film 44

Peter Berg is an American actor, film director, producer, and writer. He directed Very Bad Things (1998), The Rundown (2003), Friday Night Lights (2004), The Kingdom (2007), Hancock (2008), Battleship (2012), and Lone Survivor (2013). The film Lone Survivor is based on the 2007 nonfiction book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. Set during the war in Afghanistan, Lone Survivor dramatizes the failed United States Navy SEALs counter-insurgent mission Operation Red Wings, during which a four-man SEAL reconnaissance and surveillance team was tasked to track Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.

Mr. Berg also developed the television series Friday Night Lights, which was adapted from the film he directed. As an actor he is best known for his role as Dr. Billy Kronk on the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope. After graduating from The Taft School in 1980, Mr. Berg attended Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he majored in theater arts and theater history.

Les Gelb, vice chairman of IAVA board; chairman emeritus of Council on Foreign Relations

In the universe of foreign policy, Dr. Gelb has lived and worked in three worlds.

He has lived in the government world: he has worked in the Senate, on the team of Senator Jacob Javits. He has worked at the Defense Department as the director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs, where he also served as the director of the Pentagon Papers Project. And he has worked at the State Department, where he was Assistant Secretary of State, serving as the director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs. He has lived in the journalism world, where he worked for The New York Times as a diplomatic correspondent, national security correspondent, deputy editorial page editor, editor of the op-ed page, and columnist. As national security correspondent for the Times, Dr. Gelb was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism.

And of course, he has lived in the think tank world, where he has worked as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has also been a visiting professor at Georgetown University and an assistant professor at Wesleyan University. He was president of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 2003 and now serves as the board senior fellow and president emeritus at the council.

Rosanne Haggerty, treasurer of IAVA board; president of Community Solutions

Rosanne Haggerty is the president and chief executive officer of Community Solutions. She is an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities. In 1990, Rosanne founded Common Ground Community, a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and research-based practices that end homelessness. To have greater impact, Rosanne and launched Community Solutions in 2011 to help communities solve the problems that create and sustain homelessness. Rosanne is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, an Ashoka Senior Fellow and a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover. In 2012, she was awarded a Jane Jacobs medal for new ideas and activism from the Rockefeller Foundation. She also serves on the boards of the Alliance for Veterans and Citizens Housing and Planning Council.

Jim Hirschmann, chairman of IAVA Board; CEO of Western Asset Management

James (Jim) Hirschmann is the president and chief executive officer at the Western Asset Management Company, Legg Mason’s largest subsidiary and one of the world’s largest fixed-income asset managers. Mr. Hirschmann joined Western Asset in 1989 in a business development capacity and was appointed president and chief executive officer in 1999. He has been a key driver in the impressive growth and major global position that Western Asset has achieved as one of the world’s leading bond managers.

Prior to his current position, he served as director for Financial Trust Company (currently Invesco National Trust Company) in Denver, Colorado. Before that, he was a vice president at Atalanta/Sosnoff Capital Corporation in New York, New York. In addition to his current duties, Mr. Hirschmann is chair of the Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation 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 University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in accounting.

Michael Leven, former president and COO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Michael Leven is president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp and has served on the board of directors since 2004.

Mr. Leven 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 chief executive officer 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. Mr. Leven is a native of Boston, Massachusetts, and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts University and Master of Science from Boston University.

Yannick Marchal, exotic derivatives trader for Deutsche Bank

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, Mr. Marchal 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.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist and CraigConnects

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

In 1995, while Mr. Newmark 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, Mr. Newmark retired from IT consulting to work full-time on craigslist. What started as a fun side project in his 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.

Mr. Newmark 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. Mr. Newmark 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.

Ed Vick, chairman emeritus of IAVA; former CEO of Young & Rubicam, Inc.

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.

James Wright, president emeritus and Eleazar Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College

James Wright is a historian, President-Emeritus of Dartmouth College and a former Marine. He is the author of the widely acclaimed Those Who Have Borne the Battle: A History of America’s Wars and Those Who Fought Them (2012). Wright is the son of a World War II veteran, and served in the Marine Corps before entering college. He received a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1969. He then joined the faculty of Dartmouth and from 1998 to 2009, served as the college’s 16th president. He began visiting military hospitals in 2005. In over 30 visits since then, he has encouraged the injured servicemen and women to continue their education. Wright worked with the American Council on Education to create an educational counseling program for wounded U.S. veterans. It has served several hundred injured veterans since 2007. Wright was involved in developing the Yellow Ribbon Program that provided for private institutions to be included in the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Wright is currently working on a book on the Vietnam War. He serves on the Board of the Semper Fi Fund/America’s Fund and is on the Campaign Leadership Committee of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

Jamie Horowitz, president of FOX Sports National Networks

Jamie Horowitz is president of FOX Sports National Networks, a role he assumed in May 2015. Horowitz oversees all programming, marketing and scheduling for FOX Sports 1 and 2. His responsibilities also include management and development of original programming and day-to-day operations for FS1’s news and studio programs. Prior to joining FOX Sports, Horowitz served as executive producer for Film 45, working with acclaimed director and fellow IAVA board member Peter Berg on a documentary series for HBO.

Horowitz is the grandson of a decorated World War II veteran, Walter Bachenheimer, and previously served on the New York Leadership Council for IAVA. He also serves on the advisory board for the Compass Charter School, a progressive elementary school in Brooklyn, New York. Horowitz graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, with a bachelor of arts in political science. He and his wife Kara reside in Santa Monica, California, with their three boys, Jake, Will and Cooper.

Command Sergeant Major (R) D. Wayne Robinson, education advocate and former CEO of Student Veterans of America

Wayne Robinson is a powerful leader for the new veterans movement who served in the U.S. Army for over 20 years, rising to the rank of command sergeant major. Robinson started his career in artillery and was twice a member of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta (Delta Force), where he served as an operations sergeant. After completing his bachelor's degree while on active duty, he enrolled in New York University to prepare for an MBA. He earned his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, becoming the first senior enlisted (E-9) to do so.

While at Booth, Robinson led presentations in the Global New Venture Challenge Business competition. After placing first they continued on to build a company in Silicon Valley to develop a wireless device that identifies and treats sleep apnea. In 2015 they won FDA approval to begin clinical testing. Upon graduation he headed to Wall Street where he joined a hedge fund and rose to lead the New Business Development division. After seeing veterans struggle in the education and employment realm of transition, he accepted a position to serve as president and CEO of Student Veterans of America. During his tenure the organization made major infrastructure investments, revenue doubled and chapters increased by 45 percent. Robinson has served as a board member for Chicago Jesuit Academy and currently serves on the Committee on Education appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Ryan Manion Borek, president of Travis Manion Foundation

Ryan Manion Borek has dedicated her life to supporting our nation’s military, veterans and families of fallen heroes. She is inspired by the leadership and sacrifice of her brother 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC, who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Al Anbar province of Iraq while drawing fire away from his wounded comrades on April 29, 2007. Serving as the president of the Travis Manion Foundation since 2012, Manion Borek leads a national movement focused on assisting veterans and families of the fallen. As a highly regarded advocate for the military community, she is a nationally recognized speaker appearing on major media outlets and speaking to students across the country on leadership. Manion Borek was recognized in 2015 with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service. She also serves as a board member for the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations, was the recipient of the 2014 Joseph D. Helton, Jr. Award for Leadership, the 2013 Hillier (Ignite) Warrior for Warriors Award, and the 2011 Commodore John Barry Distinguished Citizen Award, among other honors. Manion Borek has been a trusted advisor to IAVA on issues related to military families and leadership development.

Dan Streetman, senior vice president of worldwide strategic sales and operations for BMC Software

Dan Streetman is the senior vice president of worldwide strategic sales and operations for BMC Software, joining the company in 2015. Streetman is responsible for BMC’s global strategic sales, inside sales, alliances, channels and sales operations. Prior to joining BMC, Streetman was senior vice president of alliances and channels for Salesforce, where he developed and led the go-to-market programs for all consulting, reseller, and solution partners. Streetman previously led sales, consulting, marketing and operations for several leading companies, including C3 Energy, Hanson McClain, Amdocs, and Siebel Systems. Streetman is an expert at developing new programs and leading through transformational change, skills he also honed during his service as an Airborne Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer. Streetman served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was awarded the Bronze Star, and he was selected by the Army Chief of Staff to receive the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.

Streetman serves on the advisory boards of the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans Association, the Wounded Warrior Project, and several technology companies. He is an avid athlete, having completed multiple Ironman triathlons and marathons. He particularly enjoys guiding visually impaired marathon runners each year in the Boston Marathon. Streetman was a distinguished graduate and regimental commander of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Adam Clampitt, president of The District Communications Group

Adam Clampitt is a founder and president of the District Communications Group (The DC Group), a boutique public relations firm that serves federal contracts with the United States Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, State, and U.S. Coast Guard and Small Business Administration. Prior to founding The DC Group, Clampitt was a recalled Navy Reserve officer serving in Afghanistan, where he worked for Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the director of public affairs planning and social media for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Clampitt is a commissioned reserve public affairs officer in the United States Navy.

Bonnie Carroll, president and founder of Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors

Following the death of her husband, Brigadier General Tom Carroll, in an Army C-12 plane crash in 1992, Bonnie Carroll founded the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to provide peer based emotional support, grief and trauma resources and information, casualty casework assistance and crisis intervention for all those affected by the death of a loved one serving in, or in support of, the armed forces. Carroll currently serves on the Defense Health Board and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, and has served on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation, the Board of Directors of the Association of Death Education and Counseling, the Department of Defense (DOD) Military Family Readiness Council and, recently, she co-chaired the DOD Task Force on the Prevention of Suicide in the Armed Forces. She retired as a major in the Air Force Reserve, where she has served as chief of casualty operations, HQ USAF. Prior to joining the USAFR, Major Carroll served 16 years in the Air National Guard as a transportation officer, logistics officer and executive officer. She is a trained Critical Incident Stress Debriefer and member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the American Association for Death Education and Counseling. Carroll is the leading voice on issues impacting families of the fallen. TAPS has been one of IAVA’s closest allies and the two organizations have partnered on programs and efforts over the past decade that have already impacted countless lives.

Steve Costalas, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Vencore, Inc.

In his role at Vencore, Steve Costalas leads the company’s legal and ethics and contracts, pricing, procurement and property management (CP3) functions to ensure Vencore remains an ethical business leader. Vencore has more than 40 years of proven experience providing information solutions, engineering and analysis to the U.S. intelligence community, Department of Defense and civilian agencies. Prior to joining Vencore, Costalas was Counsel at Dechert LLP, an international law firm, where he led teams structuring corporate acquisitions and dispositions, equity investments, complex collaborations and other arrangements. He also represented boards of directors on public company disclosure issues and fiduciary duty matters. Previously, he served as general counsel and head of corporate development of Pharmacopeia, Inc., a public biopharmaceutical company.

Eli Elefant, CEO of PBC USA

Eli Elefant is the CEO of PBC USA, a global real estate investment firm based in New York City. He is a seasoned real estate investment executive focused on entrepreneurial, corporate and asset based investment opportunities. Elefant holds executive advisory positions at a number of companies where he advises on investment strategy and real estate transactions. He holds a B.A. from The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management. He formerly served as a captain in the Israeli Defense Forces and is an active board member on a number of non-profit organizations.

Bruce E. Mosler, chairman of global brokerage of Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Bruce E. Mosler is chairman of global brokerage of Cushman & Wakefield Inc., the world’s largest independent real estate services firm. As CEO from 2005 to 2010, he secured IFIL Investments, S.p.A. (now EXOR) as the firm’s new majority shareholder. As Chairman, Mosler advises major tenants and investors on strategic real estate matters, taking a senior role in managing and developing key client relationships on behalf of Cushman & Wakefield on a global basis. He continues to advise Brookfield Properties, Vornado, JP Morgan Chase, NYU University Hospital (The Langone Center), Citigroup, Madison Square Garden, the Brooklyn NETS and MetLife, amongst others.

General (Ret) David H. Petraeus, member, chairman of KKR Global Institute

General (Ret) David H. Petraeus is a partner in the global investment firm KKR and chairman of the KKR Global Institute. He is also a visiting professor of public policy at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, and a member of the advisory boards of a number of veterans organizations. Gen. Petraeus previously served more than 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six straight commands, five of which were in combat, including command of coalition forces during the Surge in Iraq, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan. Following his service in the military, Gen. Petraeus served as the director of the CIA. Gen. Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy and subsequently earned M.P.A. and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Gen. Petraeus has received numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO, and United Nations medals and awards, and he has been decorated by 13 foreign countries. Petraeus was an IAVA 2012 Veteran Leadership Award honoree and has been a valued supporter of the organization.

Jeff Marshall, director of West Coast community operations for Uber

Jeff Marshall recently joined the ride-share giant Uber as director of community operations. Mr. Marshall previously served as a member of the Facebook Corporate Development team, focused on mergers and acquisitions the company does throughout the technology industry. He previously managed global business and customer operation teams focused on supporting over a billion people, developers and advertisers who use Facebook. Prior to Facebook, Mr. Marshall was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in the technology banking group working with companies in the consumer internet, communications, semiconductor and software sectors.

“Jeff is a brilliant, rising star in Silicon Valley. As a post-9/11 Air Force veteran himself, Jeff knows our issues, how technology can empower veterans and the true value of a veteran to the business sector. He is at the forefront of technology innovation at Uber and his experience and connections to the tech community will serve as an integral part of IAVA’s future. He has already galvanized tremendous support for veterans all across the Bay Area and as a member of Mayor Lee’s Veterans Advisory Board. As a digital-born organization, the addition of Jeff Marshall to IAVA’s board will bring incredible strategic vision and execution experience that will be essential as we scale our programs in the next decade,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff.

J.R. Martinez, actor, author, motivational speaker, and army veteran

Jose Rene “J. R.” Martinez is an American actor, author, motivational speaker and former U.S. Army soldier. In March of 2003, Martinez was deployed to Iraq. In April he sustained severe burns to over 34 percent of his body when his humvee hit a roadside bomb. Since his recovery, Martinez has since become a highly sought-after motivational speaker. He has traveled around the country speaking about his experiences to corporations, veterans groups, schools and other organizations.

Many also know Martinez as Brot Monroe, on the Emmy Award winning daytime drama “All My Children.” Martinez can currently be seen costarring on the syndicated action series, “SAF3.” He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength, and Spirit.” Martinez serves as a spokesperson for Operation Finally Home, as well as for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors, Glasswing International, Free the Children, and the Viscardi Center.

“J.R. represents the best in all of us. From ‘All My Children,’ to winning ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ to receiving IAVA’s 2009 Veterans Leadership Award, J.R. has always led from the front for IAVA veterans. As a spokesman for IAVA and Operation Finally Home for almost a decade, J.R. has inspired our veterans and supporters around the world. His energy, passion and experience are an outstanding addition to IAVA’s board and will help propel our programs to amazing new heights. J.R. shows every veteran in America what is possible,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff.

Norman Lear, film and television executive producer, writer and director, social activist

Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film, and as a political and social activist and philanthropist.

Mr. Lear began his television writing career in 1950 when he and his partner, Ed Simmons, were signed to write for The Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley. After only four shows, they were hired away by Jerry Lewis to write for him and Dean Martin on The Colgate Comedy Hour, where they worked until the end of 1953. They then spent two years on The Martha Raye Show, after which Mr. Lear worked on his own for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show and The George Gobel Show.

In 1958, Mr. Lear teamed with director Bud Yorkin to form Tandem Productions. Together they produced several feature films, with Mr. Lear taking on roles as executive producer, writer, and director. He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1967 for his script for Divorce American Style. In 1970, CBS signed with Tandem to produce All in the Family, which first aired on January 12, 1971 and ran for nine seasons. It earned four Emmy Awards for Best Comedy series as well as the Peabody Award in 1977. All in the Family was followed by a succession of other television hit shows including Maude, Sanford and Son, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Concerned about the growing influence of radical religious evangelists, Mr. Lear decided to leave television in 1980 and formed People for the American Way, a non-profit organization designed to speak out for Bill of Rights guarantees and to monitor violations of constitutional freedoms. People for the American Way remains an influential and effective voice for freedom.

Mr. Lear’s business career continued in 1982, when Tandem Productions and his other company, T.A.T. Communications, were folded into Embassy Communications, which was sold in 1985. He then created and is currently chairman of Act III Communications, a multimedia holding company with interests in television, motion pictures, and licensing.

In addition to People for the American Way, Mr. Lear has founded other nonprofit organizations, including the Business Enterprise Trust (1989- 2000), which spotlighted exemplary social innovations in American business; the Norman Lear Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication (2000-present), a multidisciplinary research and public policy center dedicated to exploring the convergence of entertainment, commerce and society; and with his wife, Lyn, co-founded the Environmental Media Association (1989-present), to mobilize the entertainment industry to become more environmentally responsible.

In 1999, President Clinton bestowed the National Medal of Arts on Mr. Lear, noting that “Norman Lear has held up a mirror to American society and changed the way we look at it.” He also has the distinction of being among the first seven television pioneers inducted in 1984 into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

In 2001, Lyn and Norman Lear purchased one of the few surviving original copies of the Declaration of Independence. During the decade that they owned it, they shared it with the American people by touring it to all 50 states. As part of this Declaration of Independence Road Trip, Mr. Lear launched Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan youth voter initiative that registered well over four million new young voters in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections.

Mr. Lear is married to Lyn Davis Lear and resides in Los Angeles, California. He has six children: Ellen, Kate, Maggie, Benjamin, Brianna, and Madeline, and four grandchildren: Daniel, Noah, Griffin, and Zoe. Mr. Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get To Experience, was published in October 2014 by The Penguin Press.

“Norman is a titan in American culture. And as a World War II veteran himself, he has been a life-long supporter of veterans issues and a passionate supporter of IAVA since our founding. For the last decade, Norman has played a pivotal role in expanding Hollywood’s support for veterans. There is no finer example of the Greatest Generation and the potential of veterans than Norman. We are humbled to have him now helping lead IAVA’s bright future as a board member,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff.

Patrick J. Kennedy, co-founder of One Mind, founder of Kennedy Forum, former US Representative, Rhode Island

Representative Patrick Kennedy served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is predominantly known as author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This dramatic piece of legislation provides tens of millions of Americans who were previously denied care with access to mental health treatment.

Now, Representative Kennedy is the co-founder of One Mind, a national coalition seeking new treatments and cures for neurologic and psychiatric diseases of the brain afflicting one in every three Americans. One Mind for Research is dedicated to dramatic enhancements in funding and collaboration in research across all brain disorders in the next decade. This historic grassroots endeavor unites efforts of scientists, research universities, government agencies, and industry and advocacy organizations not only across the country, but throughout the world. Representative Kennedy is bringing everyone together to design the first blueprint of basic neuroscience, to guide efforts in seeking cures for neurological disorders affecting Americans.

Representative Kennedy is the founder of the Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health which served as a vehicle to celebrate the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the Community Mental Health Act, the landmark bill that laid the foundation of contemporary mental health policy and provided Representative Kennedy with the platform to launch a bold, ongoing effort to advance the work President Kennedy began. The Kennedy Forum continues to advocate for mental health parity.

Representative Kennedy has authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills to increase the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, and the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act.

Representative Kennedy is a winner of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Distinguished Service Award, the Society for Neuroscience Public Service Award, the Peter C. Alderman Foundation Humanitarian Award, Centennial Award from the Clifford Beers Foundation, the Autism Society of America Congressional Leadership Award, the Depression and BiPolar Support Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award, the Epilepsy Foundation Public Service Award and has been recognized by many organizations for his mental health advocacy. In 2014, he is being recognized by the Society of Biological Psychiatry, The Samaritan Institute, and The Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA).

He is also founder of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and the 21st Century Healthcare Caucus, as well as an honorary advisor to SAM-Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Representative Kennedy lives in Brigantine, New Jersey, with his wife, Amy, and their three children.

“Patrick Kennedy has always been a tremendous supporter of IAVA and the veterans community. In IAVA’s early days on Capitol Hill, Patrick was one of the first members of Congress to understand the urgent issues facing post-9/11 veterans. During his time on the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Patrick worked tirelessly for better mental health care for our vets and closely with IAVA on the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act. Now, his innovative work with OneMind is setting the standard for care and support around issues like TBI and PTSD. He follows in the footsteps of his uncle President John F. Kennedy, a decorated World War II vet, and his father Senator Ted Kennedy, in keeping veterans support a top priority for the entire Kennedy family. We are thrilled to have Patrick now leading IAVA’s future as a board member,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff.

Scott Feldmayer, partner at Barbaricum

Scott Feldmayer is a global strategic communications and public affairs advisor with some 15 years of public and private sector experience. A serial entrepreneur, he has helped create and grow five media-related startups. At Barbaricum, he oversees business development and overall corporate growth in addition to executive duties including finance, management, and performance. Scott served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Captain and was Airborne Ranger qualified. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Scott is a graduate of the University of Colorado with a degree in finance. He completed executive education in innovation at Harvard. Scott resides in Washington, D.C.

“Scott represents all the potential of the IAVA generation of post-9/11 leaders. His personal experience as a post-9/11 vet and his business experience as an entrepreneur serve as an inspiration to our entire community. We’re thrilled to have his deep connection and extensive experience added to the IAVA board,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff.

Kenneth Fisher, partner at Fisher Brothers, chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation

Kenneth Fisher is a senior partner at Fisher Brothers, based in New York City, and is part of the third generation of leadership, overseeing the leasing, management and marketing of more than five million square feet of class-A commercial space in Midtown Manhattan covering the Park, 6th and 3rd Avenue corridors and 1.5 million square feet in Washington, D.C.

Ken is a member of the executive committees of New York’s Board of Governors of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), as well as the Washington, D.C. based Real Estate Round Table. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Strategic Hotels and Resorts, a publicly traded REIT. Ken is a member of the executive committee of City Investment Fund, a $770 million multi-year plan established in 1996 to mobilize the city’s financial and business leaders to help build a stronger and more diversified local economy.

As a philanthropist, Ken is chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that constructs “comfort homes” for families of hospitalized military personnel and veterans. Founded in 1990 by his late uncle Zachary Fisher, the program has built 63 houses to date in the United States and Germany, and partnered with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Help for Heroes to open a Fisher House for British Families in the United Kingdom. Fisher Houses serve more than 22,000 families each year and have saved more than $200 million in lodging and travel costs since inception. The foundation also administers the Hero Miles program, allowing frequent flyers to donate their unused airline miles to provide free tickets to military families, and the Hotel for Heroes program.

Ken also serves as co-chairman of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City, which welcomes nearly 1 million visitors every year. The Intrepid Museum is home to more than 30 military aircraft, the nuclear submarine Growler, and the NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise.

He sits on the board of directors of the New York’s Finest Foundation and the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the General Command and Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, as well as a trustee of the AHRC New York City.

For his philanthropic endeavors and humanitarian efforts, Ken has been named an honorary Army Green Beret (2004) and an Honorary Marine (2011). He has been twice awarded the Army distinguished Service medal as well as the Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the second with Bronze Palm, presented for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to national security or defense of the United States, and is the nation’s highest non-combat related military award and highest joint service decoration. He has also received the Highest Civilian Honor awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, The Secretary’s Award.

In 2007, Ken was appointed by George W. Bush the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, which conducted a comprehensive review of the care provided to soldiers who return from the battlefield. Later that year, he joined the ranks of an elite few to be named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report and Harvard University.

Ken has also received George C. Marshall Medal, The Association of the United States Army Highest Civilian Award.

Among other honors, he received the Public Awareness award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit. He has also received the Arts & Entertainment television network’s prestigious “Lives That Make a Difference” Award.

This January Ken gained recognition by his industry peers, receiving The Real Estate Board of New York’s prestigious Harry B. Helmsley Distinguished New Yorker Award celebrating a lifetime of exceptional achievement in the real estate industry and civic welfare.

“Few Americans have done more for our military and veterans than Ken Fisher. He and his family are the standard-bearers for veterans support in our country. He is world-renowned for this incredible patriotism and a passionate dedication to our veterans. We are honored and humbled to have Ken join the IAVA board,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff.

Joe Abruzzese, president of advertising sales for Discovery Networks

Joe Abruzzese oversees all advertising sales for Discovery’s suite of U.S. networks, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, ID: Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Velocity and Discovery Life Channel. He also directs advertising sales efforts for Discovery Communications digital sales platforms.

Abruzzese also played an integral role in leading the launch sales strategy for the transition of Discovery Health Channel to OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

Under Abruzzese’s leadership, the Discovery Communications advertising sales team has been consistently ranked as the #1 cable sales organization in overall service, sales representative competence and Upfront presentation (Beta Research Advertising Executive Study).

Before joining Discovery in 2002, Abruzzese held the top sales post at CBS for 11 years, responsible for all network sales efforts on behalf of CBS entertainment, sports, daytime, news, late night, the UPN networks and CBS Internet sales. He restructured and expanded the CBS network sales division, integrated the UPN sales force and quarterbacked landmark deals, most notably the corporate sponsorships necessary to launch the “Survivor” series.

Abruzzese joined CBS in 1980 and held key sales positions in divisions such as daytime, children’s, sports and late night before taking the helm for overall network sales. Before joining CBS, he worked for NBC for 10 years in sports sales, planning and business affairs. He launched his sales career at the J. P. Stevens Company in New York.

Among his many industry honors, Abruzzese was inducted in to the Broadcasting & Cable’s “Hall of Fame” in 2011 and has been named a “Media Maven” and a “Media All-Star” by Advertising Age and Mediaweek respectively. His civic and industry commitments include board positions on the National Kidney Foundation, Seton Hall Board of Regents, Louis Carr Foundation, Boys Hope Girls Hope, International Radio and Television Society Foundation, Inc., Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, Family Reach Foundation, and NAPTE (National Association of Television Program Executives). Abruzzese has also been honored in the Newark Athletic Hall of Fame.

A native of Newark, N.J., he earned his bachelor's degree in marketing and finance from Seton Hall University.

“Joe has a deep commitment to the veterans community, sharpened by his outstanding and patriotic work with the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel),” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “We are thrilled to have his leadership on our board.”


From their website, the group "addresses critical issues facing new veterans and their families, including mental health injuries, a stretched VA system, inadequate health care for female veterans, and GI Bill educational benefits. IAVA also provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community."[1]

The group uses Facebook and other forms of social media to connect veterans.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About IAVA". IAVA. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  2. ^ Ryan, John (November 21, 2010). "Facebook, similar media draw veterans together". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-06-28. 

External links[edit]

Williamson, Published on IssueLab