FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Virginia “Joyce” Irwin
V. Joyce Irwin 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 by being part of an organization that would serve to empower her fellow servicewomen, veterans and supporting community as well as provide 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 Candidate with the U.S. Army Reserve and resides in Nevada.
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.
Patricia served 9.5 years in the active Army as a Military Intelligence Officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 66th Military Intelligence Group and 6th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. During that time, she served as a Cavalry Squadron Assistant Intelligence Officer, Division Rear Intelligence Officer (S2/G2), Document Exploitation Team Leader, Tactics Instructor and Company Commander. In 2006, Patricia embarked upon a new career as a civilian where she worked as a defense contractor and federal senior law enforcement intelligence research specialist within the Department of Homeland Security. Her focus areas included counterterrorism, maritime counterdrug and counter-proliferation intelligence analysis. Patricia graduated from Norwich University in 1997 with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies. She possesses a Masters Degree in Management and Leadership and an M.B.A from Webster University. Patricia is currently a volunteer advisor to American Women Veterans.
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 & NEW MEDIA
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 BAmagna cum laude in English and Secondary Education. She also spent a year studying literature and creative writing at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.
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 new puppy.
Antonieta Rico served in the U.S. Army for more than six years as a military journalist/ public affairs soldier. She joined the Army in October 2001 and her first duty station was at Fort Drum, N.Y., where she enjoyed the warm weather and proximity to New York City, just like her recruiter promised her. Climb to Glory! She was also stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., where she deployed to Iraq in 2006-2007 with the 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. During her tour in Iraq, she spent almost a year embedding with infantry troops and other Army units during combat operations, helping to tell the stories of soldiers serving their country in war.
She left the Army in 2008 to pursue her degree and graduated magna cum laude from George Mason University in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. She has interned at National Geographic Magazine and has worked as the deputy news editor at Army Times and at Navy Times, where she also covered the Coast Guard beat.
She is currently a Master’s of Science in Foreign Service candidate at Georgetown University. Antonieta is a proud Army wife and mother to two wonderful kids. She has been volunteering for American Women Veterans since 2014.
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 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.
James C. Brooks, a partner in the Los Angeles office, is a member of the Intellectual Property Group. His current practice focuses primarily on intellectual property disputes, including patent and trade secret lawsuits, between various U.S. and foreign technology companies.
During the course of his legal career, Jim has had substantial experience litigating and trying complex cases in federal and state courts around the country and in Europe, involving technologies ranging from microprocessor architectures, hardware logic emulation systems, fax and e-mail systems, telephony systems, scanning electron microscopes, automated assembly machines, disk drive operating systems, semiconductor memory chips and semiconductor process flows to pneumatic earth boring tools and pallet storage racks. He has also litigated for medical device manufacturers and blood products companies.
Jim has successfully presented appellate arguments in the United States Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Second Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit. He has significant experience before the Federal District Courts, as well as in the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) in Section 337 proceedings, where he has been involved in all phases of an ITC practice, including Temporary Exclusion Order trials, Permanent Exclusion Order trials, sanctions proceedings, advisory opinion proceedings, Commission appeals and appeals to the Federal Circuit.
Jims is registered to practice before the United States Patent Office, where he has engaged in patent prosecution, re-examinations and litigated reissue proceedings. In addition to helping his clients manage their patent portfolios, he has prosecuted a number of key patents which have later proved vital to those clients in maintaining and enhancing their market position.
Jim continues to successfully represent various other U.S., Asian and European technology companies in complex patent infringement and antitrust lawsuits. He also continues to serve as intellectual property counsel to several of these companies in the areas of patent procurement and technology licensing.
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.