Protégés of LEAD Cohort 3
Tonya Banks Brown
Tonya Banks Brown is a Marketing and Public Relations professional managing communications strategies and developing marketing plans for public and private sector companies. She currently manages Event Planning and Marketing at the General Services Administration. Tonya’s previous position at the United States Mint involved making recommendations on the development and execution of an enterprise-wide marketing strategy for the U.S. Mint. Before joining the U.S. Mint, Tonya was responsible for advertising, public relations, events and promotions with clients such as McDonald’s, Chevrolet, and General Motors, just to name a few. Tonya received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Marketing from Miami University in Oxford, OH. As an avid learner, Tonya attended both Harvard University and Northwestern University to earn a dual graduate degree in Business Administration and Marketing Communications. She is a proud Military Spouse and loves swimming and salsa-dancing.
I was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. Up until 9/11, I expected my life path to be much different. I had every intention of moving to New York and becoming a stockbroker. Following that tragic day, the course of my life changed forever. After completion of my Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Houston, I was compelled to join the Army and serve my country. I deployed to Mosul, Iraq and served a 13-month tour as an Army Officer. During my deployment, I learned the true value of patriotism as well as what it means to be an American. After seven years in the Army, I worked in the oil and gas industry from 2013-2015 and focused on strategic planning. From 2015-2018, I went back to my roots and worked as a civilian for the Department of Defense. In 2018, I joined Grant Thornton and have since supported organizational transformation efforts for government clients such as Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs.
Born in Memphis, TN, Christon served for a total of 8 years in both the Navy and Coast Guard as an international vessel inspector, plane captain, and as a guard for detainees in Guantanamo Bay. After suffering homelessness prior to embarking on his military career, Christon decided to get back on his feet, first enlisting in the Navy and subsequently earning his bachelor’s degree from texas Southern University and master’s degree from Columbia University using the Post 9/11 GI Bill. Christon has grown from his past experiences and lives by the motto, “the reason we appreciate life’s sunny days is because we’ve endured our fair share of rainy days.”
A native of Denver, Colorado, LCDR Dolan earned his commission from the United States Naval Academy in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science. He has served as the Defense Fellow for Senator King of Maine since December 2018. Prior to his current assignment, he served as Operations Officer at HSC-25 and Officer in Charge of Detachment Six aboard USS Bonhomme Richard. Beginning his flying career in 2005, he earned his wings of gold on July 13th, 2007. Previous operational assignments include HSC-25 and HSC-4. In 2011, he earned his Seahawk Weapons and Tactics Instructor patch in Fallon, NV and remained at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center as the SEAWOLF Program Manager. LCDR Dolan’s personal decorations include the Air Medal (Strike/Flight Award), Army Commendation, Navy Commendation, Navy Achievement Medal, and various unit and campaign awards. He has accumulated over 2,500 flight hours, primarily in the MH-60S helicopter.
Maddie Dolan has more than a decade of experience in reporting, copy editing, teaching, and creative writing. Most recently, she has had several articles published in Military Families and Reserve & National Guard Magazines focusing on vereran, active duty, and military spouse topics. She has a bachelor’s in English-Writing from Fort Lewis College and a master’s in English-Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University. While reporting for the Lahontan Valley News, she was awarded Best Spot New Story by the Nevada Press Association, and received a commendation from the Associated Press for breaking news coverage. At Fort Lewis College, she obtained high achieving awards from the editorial staff for reporting and copy editing for the school newspaper, The Independent, where she ultimately served as the chief copy editor. One of her favorite achievements was raising $5,000 for the Southern California German Shepherd Rescue as a result of a short story she wrote about how her dog, Phoebe, positively impacted her military spouse life. Not conclusively, she also received awards for her volunteerism with USO Guam and is a recipient of the ANA Dorothy Flatley Award – COMNAIRPAC 2019. When Maddie isn’t working, she prefers to be outside running, biking, or hiking.
Mojisola Edu, is an individual with a vision, the voice of the people, Disabled US Army Veteran, and a force to be reckoned with. She has a BA in Business Administration from Keiser University. She Has Certification for Business Administration from Georgetown University Business School. She is an Alumni of the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship. She was a former board of the directors for WINC: for All-female veterans. She is a philanthropist and a former elementary school, high school and special education teacher. She is an award-winning media personality. She is also, an ambassador for Challenge Aspen CAMO. A program serving disabled veterans. She has been in the media industry for 19 years.
Logan Isaac served in the United States Army as a forward observer in the 82nd Airborne and 25th Infantry (Light) divisions. For his service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, he received an Army Commendation Medal, a Valorous Unit Award, and a Meritorious Unit Award while attached to 1-14th Infantry Regiment. After six years he was honorably discharged and began using his GI Bill to earn degrees from Hawaii Pacific University (BA, 2010), Duke University (MTS, 2013), and the University of St Andrews (M.Litt, 2015). As an author and editor Logan has over 20 publications to his name, including “Reborn on the Fourth of July,” awarded a Publishers Weekly Starred Review, and “Ponder Christian Soldiers,” named the Best Article Series of 2016 by the Evangelical Press Association. Following several years as a professor at Methodist and Duke Universities in North Carolina, Logan moved to DC metropolitan area to form the #GIJustice civil rights campaign for soldiers and veterans.
My name is MSgt Michael Mackay I am a 17 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps, a Marine Raider, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, and a Graduate Student at American University. My previous assignment was, Operations Chief for the Special Operations Command and Control Element – Sahel and Maghreb. My current assignment as a Congressional Defense Fellow is serving as the appropriations liaison to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict . I look forward to many more years of continued service to the nation.
U.S. Air Force Veterans Tom Mitchell was a noted photojournalist while serving at Vandenberg Air Force Base in CA from 1981-1983. During this period Tom photographed ballistic missile facilities, space shuttle launch facilities construction and other support missions that were seen by the Pentagon, Senate and House Committees. Tom received Letters of Appreciation from the Pentagon and 1369 Audiovisual Squadron Headquarters in 1983 for his work. Tom recently moved to the DC Metro area to conclude a successful one-year tenure as a State Department’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Veteran Alumni Ambassador this past July. His achievements documented when he received a Proclamation from the City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett on May 17, 2019. Mayor Barrett applauded Tom’s passion and efforts in promoting, recruiting, advising and supporting students from diverse and under-served groups (including veterans) to study abroad and apply for the Gilman International Scholarship.
Upon graduating from Georgetown, Jacqueline worked at the U.S. Department of State (Political/Military Bureau) and in the Washington office of U.S. Senator Howell T. Heflin (D-AL), where her responsibilities included defense and military related issues. Commissioned as a Naval Officer, she trained in the T-34C, the T-1 and the E-2C Hawkeye prior to earning her wings as a Naval Flight Officer. Ms. Natter has deployed and lived throughout the world, to include deployments onboard the JOHN F. KENNEDY (CV 67), and the USS BOXER (LHD-4), as well as to Paktika province, Afghanistan as the Executive Officer of a Provincial Reconstruction Team. She served in the Pentagon, in Bahrain, in the U.S. Embassy, Dakar, Senegal, and on senior personal staffs. Jacqueline has an MA in Political Science from Villanova University, and an MA in National Security Studies, sub-Saharan Africa concentration from the Naval Postgraduate School. She recently retired from the Navy and returned to Washington D.C.
Ursula is a Certified Project Management Professional with more than 15 years of experience in project management, marketing, operations, policy and procedure. Her prior jobs include Program Manager for Links to Freedom, a non-profit that uses golf as a rehabilitation tool for Wounded Warriors and Disabled Veterans; and Director of Marketing for Auction Brokers, a real estate auction company. Ursula graduated Summa Cum Laude with a graduate degree in Communication Law, and Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications. She also holds a M.A. in Intercultural Communication. Currently married to COL Timothy Palmer, Senior Resource Integrator in the Pentagon for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. She is the surviving spouse of SFC Collin J Bowen, a MDNG Soldier who died on 14 March, 2008 of wounds incurred in action while serving in Afghanistan. Ursula is the co-founder and Board Vice President of the Gold Star Wives, Arlington Chapter.
Jason has been serving in federal law enforcement for almost 20 years. Jason is a former special agent and supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security. Jason patrolled trafficking corridors as a U.S. Border Patrol agent near the San Diego and Mexico Border. Jason then went on the disrupt major narco-smuggling organizations to ultimately landing an assignment to the prestigious White House Security Council’s Human Smuggling Cell. Jason is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran (U.S. Army Infantry Captain) serving as the Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Officer for the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. Jason also served as an enlisted member in the 1990’s. Jason is an active volunteer with veteran hiring and mentorship organizations; and with many other veteran/law enforcement-based organizations. Jason earned a B.S. in Law Enforcement, Master of Forensic Science, and Doctorate in Strategic Security.
Melissa is finishing four and a half years in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. At Fort Hood, she was a Legal Assistance Attorney, Administrative Law Attorney, and Trial Counsel. She worked directly with soldiers and retirees as legal assistance clients, advised a logistics command on ethics and investigations, and prosecuted felony-level courts-martial. Melissa then served as a National Security Law Attorney at Fort Sam Houston, where she advised the three-star command on military operations supporting U.S. disaster relief efforts and operations on the southern border. Melissa graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she studied international law and the law of armed conflict. She was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in both Music and Linguistics. Melissa is continuing her military service in the Virginia National Guard while pursuing a civilian career in national security policy and advocacy.
Johnathan Rose enlisted in to the U.S. Marine Corps in August 2001. He has served as Logistics Vehicle System Operator, Logistics Chief, Operation Chief, Recruiter and a DoD Congressional Fellow. Johnathan has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured on May 15, 2010 by an Improvised Explosive Device and was Medevac’d to Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, TX. After recovering from his injuries, he was approved for Extended Permanent Limited Duty (allowing him to remain on active duty). GySgt Rose is currently serving as the Senior Enlisted Adviser and Special Assistant, Wounded Warrior Care for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA). He is from Turnerville, Alabama and is married to Colleen Gilmartin.
Shaun served in the United States Navy from 2010-2014, deploying twice to the Persian Gulf aboard USS HUE CITY as part of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. As a Communications Watch Officer, Shaun trained junior Sailors in developing skills as communications operators while driving the necessity for critical and strategic thinking. After leaving the active duty in 2014, he moved the National Capital Region to support the Intelligence Community on contracts with GDIT and CSRA while earning his MS in Analytics from Kogod School of Business at American University.
My name is Pat Spaulding and I currently work as a Congressional Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security- Customs and Border Protection. I grew up in Ohio and attended The Ohio State University for my undergrad while majoring in International Studies: Security and Intelligence. During my junior year I deployed with my National Guard unit to Afghanistan. I returned to school to complete my degree and began working for the Ohio Statehouse. After deploying for a second time, this time to Guantanamo Bay for a year, I completed my Masters degree from American Military University in Intelligence Studies. I then moved to the D.C. area to work for a legislative monitoring firm covering trade issues. This led me to my current position with CBP that covers specific focuses in intellectual property rights, e-Commerce, and international agreements. My wife and I currently live in Silver Springs but are building a home in the Annapolis area and hope to move in early 2020.