Top Influencers

The individuals listed below represent the most impactful influencers from 2018. These individuals are making the most positive changes and have the greatest impact in the veteran political space through their service.

Kyleanne Hunter, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Major Kyleanne Hunter is the VP of Programs at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She is a former USMC helicopter gunship pilot and combat veteran. In addition to her 12 years of active service as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, Ky is an expert in international politics and diplomacy. She currently serves on the Defense Advisory Committee for Women in the Services and was a founding member of the Women in Service Change Initiative.

She is also an accomplished academic and university instructor and was named the 2017 Peace Researcher at the Joan B. Kroc School of International Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego’s Women Peacemaker Program. She is finished her Ph.D. at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

At Brady, she leads their overarching strategy and day-to-day management of various programs, including expanding Brady background checks, cracking down on gun dealers violating federal and state law, and educating the public on the risks of having unsecured guns in the home.


Kayla Williams, Center for New American Security

With over twenty years of service to others, including time as an active duty combat vet, and currently still a military caregiver, Kayla has made it her life to advocate for the veteran and military community in both her personal and professional life – sharing personal experiences through her two published books, rising to the top of the woman veteran community through her appointment as the Director for the Center for Women Veterans, and now in her continued focus on promoting visibility and solutions for the military community in support of strong national security.


Alex Gallo, Hacking for Defense, Inc.

Alex Gallo is the Executive Director of Hacking for Defense, Inc (H4Di), a university program that helps students develop a deep understanding of the problems and needs of government sponsors in the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. He is also a Principal with BMNT, a Silicon Valley start-up that conducts innovation work in national security and defense. 

Alex is also a Senior Associate with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and he recently completed a fellowship as the National Security Practitioner in Residence with START at the University of Maryland.

Prior to his CTC fellowship, Alex Gallo served as a Professional Staff Member with the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), full committee policy staff, from 2012-2017. In this capacity, Mr. Gallo was responsible for authoring National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation and conducting oversight of U.S. defense policy in the Middle East, Africa, and the Indo-Asia-Pacific regions. Additionally, he advised the Chairman of the HASC on these policy issues.

Prior to joining the committee, Mr. Gallo served as the deputy director of the CTC and as an instructor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point. In this capacity, he taught classes in American politics, terrorism and counterterrorism, and homeland security. His research at the CTC included the evolution of al-Qa`ida and U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

From 2001-2009, Mr. Gallo served as an active duty and reserve officer in the U.S. Army. While on active duty, he conducted operational deployments to Kosovo (2002) and Iraq (2004). While in the U.S. Army Reserves, Mr. Gallo served as an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science in American Politics from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. He has completed a Term Membership with the Council on Foreign Relations and is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Society of the First Infantry Division.

Derek Coy, New York State Health Foundation

Derek Coy is a former Sergeant in the United States Marine Corp and a Veterans’ Health Officer at the New York State Health Foundation. Derek is a strong champion for better understanding and addressing the needs of veterans in New York State and nationally. In 2018, Derek oversaw a high-profile study that identified strategies for ensuring that private health care providers are equipped to offer timely access to high-quality care that addresses the unique needs of veterans.

Derek is a sought after keynote and panelist speaker, featured at several conferences where he’s spoken on the needs of an increasingly diverse veteran population. Derek has been widely published, most recently in Health Affairs about innovative models for delivering mental health care. He is also leading advocacy efforts for universal access to Veteran Treatment Courts. Derek also gives back as a member of Team Red, White, and Blue and The Mission Continues.


Rye Barcott, With Honor

Rye Barcott is co-founder and CEO of, a movement to build a cross-partisan coalition of veterans in Congress who can help fix broken politics and put principles before politics. Barcott served previously in the U.S. Marine Corps where he first came across NDI’s courageous and important work enabling elections in Fallujah. Barcott co-founded Carolina for Kibera, an NGO that helps prevent violence and invests in young leaders in the Kibera informal settlement of Nairobi, and he has served as an NDI election observer in Kenya. After the Marines, he worked in the private sector at Duke Energy and co-founded and led the clean energy investment firm Double Time Capital. His book, It Happened on the Way to War, juxtaposes military service and social entrepreneurship.


Rudy Soto, National Indian Gaming Association

Rudy Soto currently serves as the Legislative Director for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). He joined NIGA after two years on Congresswoman Norma Torres’ (D-CA) staff as a Legislative Assistant, where he was responsible for energy, environment, agricultural, educational, and tribal affairs issues. Rudy is an alumnus of Portland State University, and he also attended George Washington University. He has also served as a Policy Analyst for the National Council of Urban Indian Health. Rudy is a Nampa, Idaho native and is a U.S. Army veteran and a member of the Shoshone Bannock Indian Tribe. He has served as both an Oregon and District of Columbia National Guardsman with Field Artillery and Military Police units.


Terri Tanielian, RAND Corporation

Terri Tanielian, senior behavioral scientist at RAND Corporation, has established herself as one of the finest, most renowned researchers studying veterans, their families and caregivers, and the health systems in which they are involved. Much of data used for advocacy on behalf of veterans is based on research unearthed by Ms. Tanielian, whose subject matter expertise encompasses veterans health policy, suicide, sexual assault, healthcare systems, and models of healthcare delivery for military personnel and veterans. Two of her most-read policy-relevant research reports are Invisible Wounds of War and Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers. Without her, our community would know far less about the real issues veterans face and be far less able to use those data to drive important policies at the state and federal levels.