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Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 125,000 veteran members and civilian supporters nationwide. Founded in 2004 by Paul Rieckhoff, a First Lieutenant in the United States Army who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, its mission is to improve the lives of this country's newest generation of veterans and their families.

Staff and board

  • Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder. Paul is the Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Paul served as a First Lieutenant and infantry rifle platoon leader in the Iraq war from 2003-2004. He is also the author of the critically-acclaimed Chasing Ghosts, and a nationally recognized authority on the war in Iraqmarker and issues affecting troops, military families and veterans. Prior to going to Iraqmarker, Paul worked as a high school football coach and an Investment Banking Analyst on Wall Streetmarker. He received a BA in Political Science from Amherst Collegemarker in 1998 and lives in New York Citymarker.


  • Vanessa Williamson, Policy Director. Vanessa develops the IAVA Legislative Agenda, oversees the work of our legislative staff, and produces the organization’s policy reports on veterans’ issues. She received her MA from New York Universitymarker.


  • Todd Bowers, Director of Government Affairs. Todd works with the Chief Legislative Counsel as IAVA’s liaison to members of the United States Congress, to Veterans Service Organizations, and to other government agencies. Todd served two tours in Iraq as a Civil Affairs Team Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor. He studied Middle Eastern Affairs and Arabic at George Washington Universitymarker in Washington, D.C., and continues to serve his country as a Staff Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves.




  • Devon Collins, Director of Operations. Devon is responsible for growing the organization through development initiatives and in-house management of IAVA. She graduated Rollins Collegemarker with a degree in Sociology.


  • Chrissy Stevens, Communications Director. Chrissy is responsible for increasing media outreach and executing the message of IAVA. Before joining IAVA, Chrissy spent two years working for Governor Eliot Spitzer, with one year on Spitzer’s 2006 Gubernatorial Campaign and the second as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the First Lady in the Governor’s Executive Chamber. Chrissy graduated from UC Berkeleymarker with a BA in Legal Studies and a minor in Public Policy.


  • Paayal Mahajan, Membership Director. Paayal is responsible for IAVA’s overall membership strategy. Prior to joining IAVA, Paayal managed diversity initiatives for the United States Tennis Association, and multicultural membership for the Girl Scouts of the USA. She also has an extensive background in radio and broadcast media. She graduated from Rutgers Universitymarker with a BS in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior.


  • Daniel Atwood, Director of Online Strategy. Daniel is responsible for expanding IAVA’s online visibility to reach both veterans and civilian supporters using new media platforms. Daniel graduated from Trinity Collegemarker with a BS in Computer Science.


  • Katie VanLangen, Director of Strategic Partnerships. Katie oversees all of the organization’s relationships with external partners, with a special focus on IAVA’s veteran outreach campaign with the Ad Council. Prior to joining IAVA, Katie managed marketing for teacher recruitment at the NYC Department of Education and directed the development and production of various PSA campaigns at the Ad Council. She graduated from New York Universitymarker with a Masters in public administration and a BS in marketing, management and journalism.


See also



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