Board of Directors
- Michael YaguchiChair - Board of DirectorsSeattle, WAMichael YaguchiChair - Board of Directors
Mr. Yaguchi served 27 years in the military and retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. Post military he was appointed to be the Director, Nuclear Policy in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and supported the intra- and inter-agency efforts to develop a new strategic nuclear arms control treaty with the Russian Federation. He later served as Director, Human Capital for Policy.
Mr. Yaguchi also served as the Deputy Director for Strategic Planning, Office of Strategic Planning, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
He later served as a Director, Veterans Affairs Programs; program and project manager with SRA Inc, and CSRA, Inc. He is currently a member of the board of directors with Armed Forces Insurance (AFI), Leavenworth, KS and is the chairman of AFI’s Innovation in Information Technology Subcommittee.
Mr. Yaguchi has served on the Board of Director for many non-profit organizations such as the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation; The Alzheimer’s Association-NE Chapter; Japanese American Veterans Association; Board of Governors, Go For Broke National Education Center. He was a founding member and former Executive Director for the Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM) organization from 2006 to 2015.
He is also a recipient of the 2016 Who’s Who in Asian American Communities PPALM Leaders and Legends award, as well as numerous other Department of Defense civilian and military awards and decorations.
- Kiersten DownsVice Chair - Board of DirectorsTampa, FLKiersten DownsVice Chair - Board of Directors
Dr. Kiersten Downs is a Qualitative Researcher and Applied Anthropologist. Currently, Dr. Downs serves as the Research Director and program lead for Scout Insight, market research division with ScoutComms, a Certified B Corporation, and the nation's leading communications and marketing firm dedicated to providing services that support veterans and military families. She has over a decade of experience managing projects that focus on Veteran policy, transition and integration, suicide prevention, military sexual trauma, and employment needs. Dr. Downs is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and New York Air National Guard.
- Uma Mishra-NewberySecretary - Board of DirectorsGeneva, SwitzerlandUma Mishra-NewberySecretary - Board of Directors
Uma Mishra-Newbery is the Executive Director of Women’s March Global. Uma has been with Women’s March Global since March 2017, initially as a volunteer and then as the former Director of Global Community. Prior to Women’s March Global, Uma was a high-school Chemistry teacher, worked in the medical field as a Medical Lab Technologist and served in the United States Army as an active duty soldier (E5/SGT) for nearly six years. Uma has been awarded numerous commendations and achievement awards for her leadership and duty during her time in service. She is a proud first generation Indian American, U.S. Army veteran, and forever will be a Science nerd.
Uma has spoken at conferences, TedX and has been interviewed on CNN, Aljazeera and other international outlets. (Strategic Advocacy for Human Rights) a grassroots group of legal defenders working to support and defend survivors of sexual violence in the Middle East and and South Asia. The motto that fuels Uma as an activist and community builder is by Alice Walker: “Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet.” Uma is excited to join the Board of Directors for MVA because even though she resides in Switzerland - investing in, advocating for and supporting minority veterans is a necessary part of her activism.
- Andy BlevinsTreasurer - Board of DirectorsWashington, D.C.Andy BlevinsTreasurer - Board of Directors
Andy Blevins (he/him) is the Managing Partner at Blevins Strategies, LLC, a boutique policy and management consulting firm. Andy has a decade of experience rooted in veterans policy and trauma-informed frameworks. He has facilitated agency-wide certification programs for the New York Department of Veterans Services, the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, the Maine Department of Labor, and several service-oriented businesses. Andy is presently pursuing a PhD in business administration, with an emphasis in public policy and administration. He also holds a JD and an MBA. Andy is a veteran of the US Navy, where he served as a nuclear electronics technician and a cryptologic technician.
Andy previously served as the Executive Director for the Modern Military Association of America (formerly OutServe-SLDN), the nation's leading organization for the LGBTQ and HIV+ military and veteran community. Previous appointments include the Oregon Department of Justice, the Obama White House, and as a City Commissioner and Vice Chairman for human rights and relations for Oregon's capital city.
- Katherine PrattCo-Founder, Advocacy ManagerSeattle, WAKatherine PrattCo-Founder, Advocacy Manager
Katherine Pratt is an Air Force veteran who holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington. She served for four years in the Air Force, spending most of her time at Edwards AFB as an operational flight test engineer on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Her motivation to help establish MVA is strongly based in her own experience leaving the military. When she separated in 2012, she consciously decided to not identify as a veteran, solely because she didn’t conform to the veteran stereotype perpetuated in society. It was only after meeting Lindsay Church that she understood the only way to defeat the stereotype is to speak out and upend the stereotype that truly does not represent the diversity of the veteran community. She is now more vocal about her experiences in the military and hopes she can help others who were like her embrace their veteran identities.
- Perry GruberBoard of DirectorsPortland, ORPerry GruberBoard of Directors
Perry Gruber’s lively career compliments an equally lively personal and public life. In the last 30+ years, they were a US Marine print journalist for nine years, a spokesperson for the Bonneville Power Administration, and a seven-year executive at Intel Corporation. An identity crises in 2008 had Perry leave behind their financially rewarding career path to pursue purposes aligned with their passion to make the world a better place.
They launch several social enterprises designed to have a massive effect on human society: Copiosis, a socially responsible organization designed to transform global socioeconomics, The Transamorous Network, designed to transform human relationships in the transgender community, the Tiny House Podcast, a media company focusing on housing and Positively Focused, an organization designed to transform personal consciousness.
Early in their life, Perry’s fascination with where matter and consciousness come from drove their private interest in meditation, esoteric budo lineages, Ayahuasca ceremonial practice and the development of connections with non-physical intelligence. Through these disciplines, Perry received their matter and consciousness-related answers. Insights from these personal interests guide Perry’s entrepreneurial approach.
In addition to their non-traditional background, Perry earned their MBA in Business Ethics and Organizational Leadership from George Fox University, has extensive ontological study through Landmark Education. They are thrilled to bring all their expertise to MVA. That’s because it represents an opportunity to bridge and reintegrate much of their personal experiences in a way that also gives back to Minority Veterans.