Staff

  • Janessa Goldbeck
    Chief Executive Officer
    Janessa Goldbeck is CEO of Vet Voice Foundation, a national nonprofit organization with over 1.5 million members that mobilizes veterans to have a voice in our democracy. Goldbeck, a Marine Corps veteran, deployed overseas as a Combat Engineer Officer, managing engineering, logistics, and explosive ordnance disposal missions in support of NATO operations. She also served as a Uniformed Victim Advocate, providing care to service members who experienced sexual assault.   After discovering that some jobs in the military were closed to women due to the Combat Exclusion policy, Goldbeck volunteered to participate in Department of Defense-led research on gender integration in combat arms units. In the course of this research, she attended an infantry course officially closed to women. Following her experience, Goldbeck co-founded an advocacy campaign to repeal the discriminatory Combat Exclusion policy. In 2015, the Secretary of Defense opened all military occupations to qualified applicants, regardless of gender.   Prior to her military service, Goldbeck worked in Washington, DC, as a human rights advocate building political will for legislative and diplomatic efforts to protect civilians in conflict zones. Following her military career, she founded a firm that provides organizations with the tools to pass legislation, impact policy, and achieve meaningful change. She holds a B.S. from Northwestern University, an M.A. from the University of San Francisco, and serves on the boards of the Truman National Security Project, Equality California, and the Victory Fund’s Campaigns Board.
  • Major General (Ret) Paul Eaton
    Senior Advisor
    Major General (Ret) Paul Eaton served more than 30 years in the United States Army, including combat and post-combat assignments in Iraq, Bosnia and Somalia. As a Major General, he was assigned to Iraq from 2003 to 2004 as Commanding General of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT), where he designed, manned, trained and equipped the Iraqi armed forces for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and the security forces for the Interior Ministry. Prior to that assignment, he commanded the Army’s Infantry Center and was Chief of Infantry for the Army.    Eaton has appeared on a number of news and commentary programs including Face the Nation, Hardball, and all major networks. He is a frequent contributor to national publications including The Hill, Politico, and The Washington Post. He has advised candidates for congressional and presidential campaigns in multiple cycles and serves as a senior advisor to the National Security Network.    In 2020, Eaton participated in the Transition Integrity Project,  a series of political scenario exercises in the United States involving over 100 current and former senior government and campaign leaders, academics, journalists, polling experts and former federal and state government officials. In addition, he has partnered with the Department of Energy on nuclear non-proliferation work. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from West Point and a Masters in French Political Science from Middlebury College. He is married to PJ and has two sons and a daughter – all soldiers.
  • Lieutenant General (Ret) Jeff Buchanan
    Senior Advisor
    LTG Jeff Buchanan commanded US Army North (Fifth Army), and after a 37 year Army career, retired from active duty in 2019.  LTG (Ret) Buchanan was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry under the ROTC program after graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology in 1982.  He earned a Master of Arts in Leadership Development from the US Military Academy in 1992 and was the Distinguished Graduate of a year-long international security fellowship at the Geneva Center for Security Policy in 2002. He commanded at every level from Platoon to Theater Army, and his assignments include tours in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, 25th Infantry Division, 101st Airborne Division, the 10th Mountain Division, and I Corps. He served four combat tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. From 2016-2019, he served as USNORTHCOM’s Joint Forces Land Component Commander and led the operational-level military response in support of FEMA for five major hurricanes (Matthew, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence) and in support of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency for SW border security. Upon retirement, he and his wife moved home to Patagonia, Arizona, where he consults from his home office.  In addition to serving as a Senior Fellow for National Defense University’s CAPSTONE and KEYSTONE programs, LTG Buchanan serves as a Senior Mentor for the Department of the Army.  He currently serves on the following not-for-profit boards: Worldmaker International/The National Resilience Institute and 360 VA.  Jeff also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Arizona State Parks and Trails, and is an advisor to the Board of Directors for the Autonomy Institute.  He recently joined Entrustment Health as their Chief Learning Officer.  Jeff and his wife Laura have three adult children (all married) and seven grandchildren.
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Alexander Vindman
    Senior Advisor
    Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman (Retired) was most recently the Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Russia on the White House’s National Security Council. During his U.S. Army career, he served as an Infantryman and  Foreign Area Officer with assignments in Kyiv, Ukraine, Moscow, Russia and as a Political-Military Affairs Officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.    While on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, he authored the National Military Strategy for Russia and the Global Campaign for Russia. Vindman came to national attention in October 2019 when he testified before the United States Congress in the Trump–Ukraine scandal Impeachment hearings. His testimony provided evidence that resulted in the impeachment of Donald Trump for the charge of abuse of power. Commissioned in 1999 as an infantry officer, Vindman received a Purple Heart medal for wounds received from an IED attack in the Iraq War in 2004. He is the author of the bestseller, “Here, Right Matters: An American Story,” and is currently a doctoral candidate and a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and the Pritzker Military Fellow at the Lawfare Institute.
  • Mary Kaszynski
    Director of Government Relations
    Mary Kaszynski is VV Foundation’s Director of Government Relations. Prior to joining VV Foundation, Mary was the Deputy Policy Director at Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation focused on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament.
  • Rick Hegdahl
    Field Director
    Rick Hegdahl was born in Minnesota and raised on the Great Plains of South Dakota. He served for 24 years as an Operations Specialist in the US Navy Reserve from 1982-2006.   Hegdahl trained as a tradesman in his civilian life and became a member of Painters and Allied Trades Local 300, District Council 5 Seattle, WA from 1990 until he was recalled to active duty For Operation Noble Eagle following the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001. He then supported US Navy anti-terrorism/force protection missions in 2001-02 before deploying for the same mission in Kuwait twice for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and 2005.   After retiring from the Navy in 2006, Hegdahl returned to the trades and started his own business as a remodel contractor before being recruited by Vet Voice Foundation to become a veteran organizer in 2012. He has a daughter Roya, step-daughter Sarah, and lives with his wife Susan and their dog Jesse.
  • Peter Mellman
    Chief Financial Officer
    Peter Mellman is the Chief Financial Officer for Vet Voice Foundation. He brings many years of nonprofit and political finance experience, including 15 years working on nonprofit compliance. Prior to his work in the nonprofit space, Mellman worked on political campaigns around the country, as well as in government with the New York City Council. A former musician and current parent, Mellman resides in Portland, Oregon. He holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and has studied at Oxford University and The New School.
  • Sarah Wood
    Social Media Director
    Sarah Wood is the Social Media Director for Vet Voice Foundation. Born into a military family, Wood is a Marine Corps and Navy granddaughter,. an Army daughter-in-law, and the sister of a Marine.     Wood has worked in social media for over a decade, with a focus on  politics and current affairs. Previous clients include top-tier political  campaigns and political action committees. Her social media content, including both graphics and video, reach several million people daily.    In addition to  being a former special needs educator, Wood is an accomplished saxophone  player and comedic writer. She’s played at Lincoln Center in New York City and created a publication with a readership of over 25 million unique views. She earned her B.S. from the University of Rhode Island. 
  • Logan Pillard
    Deputy Field Director
    Logan Pillard is an Iowa native and the proud grandson of an Army reservist turned farmer. Pillard attended the University of Iowa and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, having been awarded the Matthew Shepard Scholarship and a fellow for the Iowa Biosciences Academy.    After graduation, Pillard interned with Let America Vote in Sioux City, IA, where he campaigned to expand voting rights in his home state. In the fall of 2018, he joined the Iowa Democratic Party as an organizer in Des Moines, IA, where he grew his passion for developing community through activism. Having honed his skills in the midterms, Pillard joined the Pete for America presidential campaign as a relational organizer, built a local volunteer community of over 100 volunteers, and secured a victory for the Buttigieg team in the 2020 Iowa Caucus. After the caucuses, Pillard road-tripped to South Bend, IN to assist in managing Buttigieg’s virtual volunteer program during the final days of the campaign.    In 2020, Pillard joined the Vet Voice Foundation’s team as a Digital Advocacy Associate. In his first year with the organization, Logan developed an online volunteer program of over 1,000 volunteers and participants from the veteran and military community. The program received two Reed Awards for its peer-to-peer voter contact efforts.   Pillard is now the Deputy Field Director and the organization’s go-to voting rights advocate. In 2022, he plans to continue expanding the online volunteer program and ensure that every American who fought to defend our democracy has equal access to the ballot.
  • Adrienne Michelson
    Data Director
    Adrienne Michelson is the Data Director for Vet Voice Foundation. Adrienne has eight years of experience in campaigns and technology startups specializing in operationalizing data and information systems to execute programmatic needs. Her last political role was at Alloy as the Senior Partnerships Analyst.

Board of Directors

  • Jon Soltz (USA)
    Chairman of the Board
    Jon Soltz is a leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans' community. He served twice in Iraq - in 2011 as a Major, helping train the Iraqi Army prior to the removal of U.S. Troops, and in 2003, as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. During 2005, Soltz was mobilized for 365 days at Fort Dix, New Jersey, training soldiers for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served his country with distinction in the Kosovo Campaign as a Tank Platoon Leader between June and December 2000. Soltz is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with a dual degree in Political Science and History. He has a Master's from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.   Soltz has become one of the most authoritative and visible figures on veterans' issues. He has been interviewed by national media outlets such as the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, TIME, and Newsweek, among others. He has made numerous media appearances, including PBS, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and ABC. 
  • Peter Kauffmann (USN)
    Treasurer
    Peter Kauffmann is the founder and principal of Bluejacket Strategies, a full-service strategic communications and public affairs firm in New York City. With more than two decades of experience in public affairs and public service, he has served in senior positions at the federal, state, and local levels of government.   At the height of the COVID pandemic in New York City, Kauffmann served as Senior Advisor to the Mayor, managing day-to-day operations at City Hall. He was Press Secretary for Senator Hillary Clinton; Deputy Press Secretary at the Democratic National Committee; lead communications advisor to Priorities USA; and Director of Communications for the Governor of New York.    Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, Kauffmann joined the United States Navy and spent five years on active duty as an Intelligence Officer. He deployed twice aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, serving as collections manager for the strike group during tsunami relief operations in Indonesia. At the Joint Intelligence Center-Pacific, he was a geopolitical analyst with a focus on the Pacific Rim region.   Kauffmann makes frequent appearances on MSNBC, NY1, and CNN as a political pundit and national security expert, and his columns have been published in the New York Daily News, Politico, and the Albany Times Union. He is Treasurer of the VetVoice Foundation, a member of the NYC Veterans Advisory Board, a Truman National Security Project Fellow, and a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College.
  • Major General Tammy Smith (USA, Retired)
    Tammy Smith is a retired Army Major General. At the conclusion of her 35-year career, she was the Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), responsible for developing innovative policy and providing oversight for the Army Quality of Life portfolio. She is an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran, serving in Afghanistan in 2010-2011 and served as the Deputy Commanding General, Eighth Army, Republic of Korea 2016-2017.    Smith is an advocate for LGBTQ+ workplace and societal equality, sharing her personal story of unexpected visibility as the US military’s first openly LGBT General/Flag officer and assisting organizations create inclusive workplace policy and cultures.
  • Brigadier General Steve Anderson (USA, Retired)
    Steven M. Anderson is a highly experienced logistician, environmental advocate, project manager, business developer, and service-disabled military veteran. He is the Executive Director of Business Development for the All Native Group, the government contracting entity of the Ho-Chunk Corporation and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, with annual revenues of over $200M and the #1 Small Business contractor for the US State Department.    Anderson has over ten years of service in challenging leadership positions since 2000 in overseas operational environments or combat zones, including Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. He has traveled extensively throughout the world advocating innovative logistics, security, and environmental services and possesses extensive experience in the Iraq and Afghanistan combat zones delivering expeditionary construction, energy demand reduction, and supply chain distribution support.    Anderson retired in April 2010 after a 31-year career in the US Army that included logistics command and staff assignments in Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Germany, Hawaii, and four tours in the Pentagon. His most notable military assignment was serving under General Petraeus as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Logistics for the Multi-National Force in Iraq for 15 months (Aug 06 – Nov 07) and was the chief logistics architect of the Five Brigade Surge of 2007. From 2004 to 2006 he served as the senior logistics staff officer for US Forces in Korea. His final active duty assignment was Director of Army Logistics Operations & Readiness in the Pentagon.    Anderson is a 1978 graduate of the United States Military Academy and was awarded a Master of Science degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1987. A graduate of the US Army War College and the Marine Command and Staff College, his military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Bronze Star. In November 2013, he was elected into the US Army Ordnance Hall of Fame.
  • Col. Teresa Townsend (USA, Retired)
    Col. (Ret.) Teresa Townsend was commissioned into the U.S. Army in 1985 through Tuskegee Institute’s (University) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Over her 30 year military career, she served in a myriad of command and staff positions in both the regular Army and U.S. Army Reserve.   Townsend’s awards and decorations include the Joint Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the GWOT Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass and M Device, the Korea Defense Service Medal, and the Army Service Ribbon. Townsend also holds a Master of Education-English from Alabama A&M University and earned master’s level certification in Educational Leadership at Troy University.   Although Townsend retired in 2015, she continues to serve our country as the Senior Army Instructor at Daleville High School JROTC. In 2016, she was inducted into the Tuskegee University ROTC Hall of Fame as a charter member.   Townsend volunteers extensively in her community and was recognized as Enterprise’s 2016 Woman of the Year. She is the president of the Daleville Education Association and was recently elected as the president of the JROTC Section of the Alabama Career and Technical Education and serves on the JROTC Program Advisory Committee for U.S. Army Cadet Command.
  • Karen Meredith
    Karen Meredith was born into an Army family: She is an Army granddaughter, Army daughter, Army sister, and an Army Gold Star Mom. Meredith is active in the Gold Star and Veteran’s communities as an advocate for military families and veterans.
  • Maia Hunt Estes
    Maia Hunt Estes co-chairs Invariant’s defense and appropriations practice, bringing more than two decades of deep local, state, and federal legislative and political expertise to Invariant’s clients. Hunt Estes bridges the gap between the public and private sectors to deliver solutions for their clients, navigating the evolving political landscape, from health care and defense to transportation and appropriations. She also helps clients build meaningful relationships with Democratic leadership and members of the Congressional Black Caucus.   Prior to Invariant, Hunt Estes served at the highest levels of leadership in local, state, and federal government. She not only served as chief of staff in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in Maryland but also as the policy and legislative affairs director for DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. Most recently, she served as chief of staff to Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD), where she was a trusted counselor and respected leader who facilitated and drove sensible policy solutions and forged bipartisan support.   Hunt Estes graduated from Spelman College and received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
  • Michael Riordan (USMC)
    Michael “Mike” Riordan is the president & CEO of Premier Health, based in Dayton, Ohio. Joining the health system in 2022, he brings an array of experience with proven success in previous leadership positions.    Premier Health, with a mission to build healthier communities, is one of the largest health systems in Southwest Ohio and offers a wide range of healthcare services. The system offers five hospital locations, primary and specialty care, home health care, urgent care, and behavioral health services.   During Riordan’s career, he has served in CEO positions for nearly 20 years with prominent health systems across the nation, including Greenville Health System/Prisma Health in South Carolina and the University of Chicago Medical Center. He served as an Independent Director with Owens & Minor from December 2019 to January 2022.   Riordan earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts/English and a master’s degree in education/psychology from Columbia University in New York, as well as a master’s degree in health systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Additionally, he served three years as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.   He has been an active leader on a number of professional and community boards, including the Health Sciences South Carolina, South Carolina Hospital Association, Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Urban League of the Upstate Board of Directors, and Furman University. He currently serves on the Vet Voice Foundation Board.   He and his wife, Susan, take great pride in their five grown children and one grandchild.
  • Walter Cahill (USA)
    Walter Cahill enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1969. After basic training, he went to Advanced Infantry Training, and then to the N.C.O. Academy. In December 1969, he deployed to Vietnam and was wounded later that year. In 1974, Cahill was medically retired as a Sergeant E-5.   In 1987, he was elected Vice President Local 22 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.), and served in that role until 2003. In 2016, he was appointed as the I.A.T.S.E.’s first Political and Legislative Director. In 2004, he was elected as Vice President of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO, where he currently serves.    Cahill retired from the I.A.T.S.E. in March of 2018. He currently lives in Bethany Beach, Delaware with his wife, Jeanne.
  • Paul DiNino
    Paul DiNino is a leading strategic consultant to organizations, corporations, municipal and international government as well as several political campaigns.   As the Founder and President of DiNino Associates, DiNino brings decades of management experience as a senior advisor to a number of Senators, Congressmen, and Governors. Under President Clinton, DiNino served as National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee.     His political counsel and trusted relationships with elected leaders across the country have resulted in several tangible achievements for his clients. These include several Fortune 100 corporations including Microsoft, General Dynamics, United Airlines, and Nike, as well as several national non-profit organizations in the areas of health care, tax, technology, telecommunications, and education. DiNino also federally represents the Republic of India and the Republic of Korea as well as the Cities of Dayton, OH and Des Moines, IA on Capitol Hill and the Administration. His representation and counsel deliver a deep understanding of policy, politics, and process to bring a consistent and persistent presence in front of decision-makers.     As an active voice and partner in the political process today, DiNino is an advisor and donor to dozens of federal and state campaigns. For the past several election cycles, he has been engaged with the funding, development, and deployment of third-party independent expenditure advocacy to support many Democratic candidates.   A native of Dayton, Ohio, DiNino graduated from Miami University and now resides in Chevy Chase, MD with his wife and three children.