Saturday, July 31, 2021

Our Team


FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Genevieve Chase

Genevieve Chase is the founder and Executive Director of American Women Veterans and a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom VII. After enlisting in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2003, Chase volunteered to serve with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). While deployed to Afghanistan as a Sergeant in 2006, her vehicle was attacked by a suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. The passengers survived the attack, but suffered varying degrees of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress (PTS). To counter symptoms of TBI and PTS, Chase dedicated herself to veterans advocacy.

Since returning from active duty service, Chase has worked tirelessly to bring to light the issues faced by today’s veterans. While advocating on their behalf, she discovered a need for a focus on women veterans and their families from all eras and branches of service. From that void, Chase created American Women Veterans and began, in earnest, the 21st-century women veterans’ movement.

Chase is a recipient of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Badge. She’s testified before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about her experiences in Afghanistan as well as the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee concerning women’s health care. In addition to her role as executive director of AWV, she serves as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. For her outstanding work both in and out of uniform, Chase was inducted into the Army Women’s Hall of Fame in 2016.

Following her last deployment to Afghanistan in 2013, Chase moved to a beautiful and remote mountain town in Idaho with her two dogs, Diesel and Rumi, where she has been writing a memoir for five years.

BOARD MEMBERS

Virginia  “Joyce”  George

V. Joyce George is a Co-founder of American Women Veterans. After enlisting into the regular Army in 2003, Virginia completed two rotations to Korea as a Military Intelligence professional. While stationed at Army bases in Seoul and later Pyongtaek, Virginia volunteered her time with the Red Cross in Emergency Medical Care units. Upon completing five years of active duty service, she felt the pull to continue her service and joined the US Army Reserve. She deployed to Afghanistan in 2013 where she received a Combat Action Badge and Army Commendation Medal.

Joyce helped create American Women Veterans because she wanted to be part of an organization that would serve to empower her fellow servicewomen and veterans while also supporting our communities and providing opportunities to take part in philanthropic projects.

Virginia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee and while in active service, she completed a graduate level certificate in Conflict Resolution from Kansas State University.

She currently serves as a Warrant Officer with the U.S. Army Reserve and resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Jason Crain

Jason Crain manages the finance and legal teams for Say Media. In this role, he oversees all banking matters, audits, commercial and strategic transactions, litigation, Board and stockholder matters and intellectual property. Prior to joining Say Media, Jason was an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and Venture Law Group. He has also served in the Judge Advocate General Corps and as a nuclear submarine officer in the US Navy. He holds a law degree from Yale Law School, a masters in Operations Research from Stanford University and degrees in Marine Engineering and Marine Transportation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Leslie Benz

Leslie Benz received a BS degree in Economics from Stanford University in 1982. She spent a year in the financial world working for Paine Webber and then decided to pursue a career in the restaurant industry. After several jobs and internships, she became a managing partner in a restaurant in Sun Valley, Idaho for 14 years.

In 2006 Leslie was invited to serve on the Board of Directors at Community School, also in Sun Valley, where she chaired the Facilities Committee for five years during a major Capital Campaign. She was also a Board member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation during that time. In 2010, Leslie joined the Board of Sagebrush Equine Training Center (now Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center) where she has chaired the annual fundraiser, co-chaired a Capital Campaign, and served as President of the Board for two years. After taking a one-year break, to serve as the Treasurer for Word of Honor Foundation, she has recently rejoined Swiftsure’s board as chair of Strategic Planning.

Leslie has been an avid supporter of American Women Veterans for three years and is the newest addition to the board. Leslie raised two sons and continues to live in Sun Valley, Idaho with her dog, Bella.

ADVISORS

Geralyn Genung

Geralyn Carreon is a research advisor and writer for American Women Veterans. Geralyn enlisted into the Army in 2004 as a Military Intelligence Professional and has served in both tactical and strategic assignments. She completed multiple overseas tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, and a tour supporting NATO in Spain.

While on active duty and despite multiple deployments, Geralyn completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Intelligence Studies from American Military University. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in International Relations from American University.  

In June 2016, Geralyn separated from the Army and currently works as for the government in Washington, DC.

William Felder

Will Felder was commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 2004. He served in the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and the Ranger Training Brigade (Airborne). He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a rifle platoon leader, during which time he experienced first hand the contributions of heroic American women in combat. In 2009, Will left active duty to become a student at Emory University pursuing a Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration, as well as continuing to serve as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve. He has been awarded, among others, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Bronze Star, and the Ranger Tab. Will is currently a volunteer adviser to American Women Veterans.

WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER

Miyuki Kauffroath

Miyuki Kauffroath commissioned as a Naval Flight Officer in the U.S. Navy following her graduation from the University of Colorado’s ROTC program in 2010.  After completing flight school, she served in Patrol Squadron FOUR as a P-3C Orion Tactical Coordinator Instructor and Mission Commander.  During her time in the squadron, she completed two SIXTH Fleet (European/African) deployments.  Miyuki finished her career on active duty with OPNAV N97 as the Submarine Security Requirements Officer.  In 2018, she transitioned to the Naval Reserves and continues her service as a Watch Officer with the Mobile Tactical Operations Center Detachment in Washington, D.C.  Currently, Miyuki is completing her Masters of Arts in Communications with a New Media & Marketing emphasis and is employed by Karthik Consulting, LLC. as a Senior Executive Assistant.

Alicia D. Large

The granddaughter of a WWII veteran and daughter of a Vietnam veteran, Alicia’s involvement with American Women Veterans began as a volunteer with a strong desire to give back to those who have given so much to our country. Alicia is a graduate of Arcadia University with a BA magna cum laude in English and Secondary Education. She also spent a year studying literature and creative writing at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. She has now been an integral member of our team since 2010.

Alicia’s experience includes corporate work as an executive assistant to the Vice President of a large property acquisitions group, small business work as a veterinary technician and several years as a per diem teacher in eight elementary schools that span the socioeconomic spectrum. She also has experience in the field of web and graphic design for various nonprofit and for-profit clients and is a freelance writer with published editorials on politics, society, and culture featured in literary journals, popular online venues and local publications.

Alicia is pursuing a graduate degree in counseling and resides near Philadelphia with her husband and three sons and a new Brussels Griffon puppy.

LEGAL ADVISORS

Orrick

Stephen C. Lessard

Mr. Lessard is an associate in Orrick’s New York office, is a member of the Tax Group.  Mr. Lessard focuses his practice on the taxation of debt and equity offerings, collateralizations, reorganizations, cross-border transactions and municipal finance.  Mr. Lessard also has experience counseling nonprofit organizations on federal tax law and corporate governance. Prior to joining Orrick, Mr. Lessard was a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy. Publications: Co-author, “IRS Proposes New Regulations on Contract Manufacturing and Subpart F Income,” Practical U.S./International Tax Strategies, Mar. 21, 2008 Giving Life to LIFO: Adoption of the LIFO Method of Inventory Valuation by the Income Tax Code,” The Tax Lawyer, Spring 2007 “Playing the Economic Substance Trump Card: Black & Decker v. United States,” The Tax Lawyer, Summer 2005.  Related Practice Areas, Corporate Transactions (Tax), International Tax, Nonprofit Organizations (Tax), Public Finance Tax.

Rene A. Kathawala

Rene Kathawala serves as Orrick’s firmwide pro bono counsel, responsible for managing and initiating the firm’s pro bono activities, including all administrative and legal aspects.

Rene works with other pro bono counsel and legal services nonprofits to increase the quantity and quality of pro bono representation that is being provided to indigent clients in each of the cities worldwide where Orrick has a presence. In addition, he supervises and directly works on cases in such diverse areas as immigration law, family and matrimonial law, housing law, public benefits law, employment law counseling, impact litigation and nonprofit advice and counseling. Rene has worked on many substantial matters in the federal and state systems over his career that are reported as precedent. He also works with firm attorneys to strengthen the firm’s innovative Impact Finance team that he founded and that provides representation in diverse transactional areas to nonprofit, for profit and hybrid organizations dedicated to providing basic services to poor persons around the world in areas including microfinance, water, education, energy, housing and health.

Immediately prior to joining Orrick in his current position, Rene served as a law clerk to the Honorable I. Leo Glasser, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, between September 2004 and August 2005. He was an associate in Orrick’s employment law department between October 1996 and July 2004 where he practiced in general labor and employment counseling and litigation, with a focus on trade secrets. During that time, he initiated a formal pro bono program in the New York office and served as the pro bono coordinator for the office.

Eileen Z. Aghnami

Eileen Aghnami, a Managing Associate in Orrick’s San Francisco office, is a member of the Intellectual Property Group. Her practice focuses on U.S. and international trademark and copyright counseling and prosecution, advising on branding strategies, and resolving trademark and copyright related disputes and litigation.

Prior to joining Orrick, Eileen worked as an associate for a boutique intellectual property law firm in the Los Angeles area. Her practice focused on U.S. and international patent, trademark, and copyright prosecution, counseling, and litigation as well as filing UDRP Complaints and handling Internet Domain Name disputes and cybersquatting related matters.

Eileen also worked as a civil/field engineer for a General Contractor based in California and Hawaii, prior to attending law school.