FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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. To counter various 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.
A recipient of the Purple Heart and Combat Action Badge, Chase has 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 Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. For her outstanding work both in and out of uniform, the U.S. Army selected her as a 2010 All American Soldier Hero. Recognized as an advocate for female veterans and for her knowledge and experiences in Afghanistan, Chase acts as a media consultant to major media outlets and publications.
ACTING DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Virginia ”Joyce” Irwin
Virginia Joyce Irwin is a Co-founder and the Director of Operations for 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 Bachelors 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 Sergeant with the U.S. Army Reserve and resides in Virginia.
DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY
Christina Cernansky, Director of Advocacy, worked on both the 2010 and 2011 Earth Day campaigns. In 2010, as Deputy Field Director, Christina contributed added insight on state policy issues and national security relating to the environment. In 2011, she most notably doubled the number of participating elected officials to more than 900 in over 250 events during Earth Day Network’s Global Day of Conversation Campaign.
Christina has a B.A. from the Florida Atlantic University, where she first developed a taste for politics. Prior to moving to the district area, she was the ‘Rock the Vote’ organizer for the State of Florida. Christina has also worked for the government affairs program at the Peace and Security advocacy group, Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND) where she implemented capacity-building programs and integrated WAND’s lobbying efforts into the state government affairs program. During her five years at WAND, Christina successfully doubled its membership and quadrupled the organization’s amount of political activity. She was also the Political Action Committee (PAC) Director for two election cycles and helped 10 women to Congress.
As the Director of Advocacy for AWV, Christina is applying her strengths and experience to women veterans advocacy by leading, (i) the outreach to elected officials and local leaders across the U.S. for them to take part in community, state and national level initiatives that support women veterans; (ii) AWV’s commitment to developing into a sustainable organization with proven strategies toward serving, honoring and empowering women veterans and their families; (iii) reaching out to and integrating various community-based organizations toward the common goal of empowering our nation’s veterans.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
WEB & NEW MEDIA MANAGER
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.
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.
BOARD OF ADVISORS
Mark Goulston, M.D.
Mark Goulston, M.D. feels a deep debt of gratitude to those who’ve served. He is an executive coach and advisor to high-potential women helping them to succeed and be more impact-ful in top heavy, male dominated organizations. Dr. Goulston is an internationally renowned speaker on interpersonal and interorganizational communications and is the best-selling author (#1 International and #1 Kindle) of five books including: PTSD for Dummies, Get Out of Your Own Way, Get Out of Your Own Way at Work and “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. You can find his most recently published articles online at: Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Fast Company and Business Insider and soon at American Women Veterans’ blog. Dr. Goulston has been a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles for more than 20 years and also advises and trains the FBI and local police departments in hostage negotiations.
Dr. Goulston will soon be joining the board of American Women Veterans.
Michelle is affectionately called the “Godmother of AWV” because of the dedication and passion with which she’s taken on the mission.
Ms. Racicot served in the US Army Reserve as a 91C or Licensed Practical Nurse from 1997-2000 and then was accepted into the “Green to Gold” program where the Army paid for her to pursue a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Pacific Lutheran University. She then served from 2004-2010 as an Army Nurse
Corps Officer deploying overseas to treat the severely combat wounded.
Ms. Racicot serves as the Secretary on the Board of Cuidando los Ninos, a grass-roots volunteer effort in Albuquerque, New Mexico that addresses the needs of homeless families to include veteran families. She recently graduated from the Masters Program at University of New Mexico as a Family Nurse Practitioner and was selected as one of New Mexico Business Weekly’s, 2012 – 40 Under 40.
Michelle will soon be joining the Board of Directors of American Women Veterans.
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.
Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski
Ms. Dicker Kadzinski is a senior executive management advisor to the US Department of State. Prior to working with the State Department, she spent 15 years in institutional finance, including 10 years at Morgan Stanley, where she was an Executive Director in the Investment Banking, Fixed Income and Prime Brokerage Divisions. Throughout her career in finance, she directly managed financings for transactions totaling tens of billions of dollars (US). Ms. Dicker Kadzinski builds businesses and platforms, both de novo as well as expands and improves existing lines of business and platforms. She is also an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve, currently assigned to the Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. She is Board Advisor for American Women Veterans, an Officer Sister and Audit Committee Member of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, a Board Advisor for the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation and is active in other charitable endeavors.
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 advisor to American Women Veterans.
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.
Cliff Michel, of counsel in the New York office, is a member of the Intellectual Property Group. Mr. Michel concentrates his practice on intellectual property and commercial litigation and licensing for technology companies. He regularly represents clients in matters concerning patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets litigation, technology licensing, Internet domain name disputes, securitization of intellectual property, privacy, document retention and information security.
Gino Cheng is a managing associate in the Orange County office and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. His practice focuses on patent litigation and patent prosecution.
Mr. Cheng has represented clients in various federal district courts, including those in the Eastern District of Texas and Northern District of Illinois. He has experience with a wide range of technologies, including telecommunication systems and signal transport protocols.
Mr. Cheng graduated with a B.S. in Engineering Sciences (Electrical) from Yale University in 2004 and attended the University of Oxford. In 2008, he received a J.D., with an Intellectual Property Concentration from Yeshiva University at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.