Board of Directors
- Michael YaguchiBoard of DirectorsSeattle, WAMichael YaguchiBoard 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.
- 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.
- Uma Mishra-NewberyBoard of DirectorsGeneva, SwitzerlandUma Mishra-NewberyBoard 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 BlevinsBoard of DirectorsWashington, D.C.Andy BlevinsBoard of Directors
Andy Blevins (he/him) is the Executive Director of the Modern Military Association of America, the nation’s leading association for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) military and veteran community. A key member of the organization’s staff for the past several years, Andy originally joined the organization as the founding Chapter Leader for Guam and the Marianas Islands before working with the national conference and legal departments. Andy also serves on the Board of Directors for Minority Veterans of America and on the Executive Advisory Committee for the KindRED Pride Foundation.
Prior to joining MMAA, Andy served as a law clerk for Military Disability Lawyer, LLC and the child advocacy section of Oregon’s Justice Department. He also had the opportunity to work as the First Lady’s scheduling and advance associate under the Obama White House. A Navy veteran, Andy spent most of his career working as a cryptologic technician in Guam, where he would ultimately end up reaching out to OutServe-SLDN for assistance while being investigated under the now-defunct “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military law. Andy studied law and business administration at Willamette University’s College of Law and Atkinson Graduate School of Management, as well as writing, with an emphasis in community-based pedagogy, at the University of Colorado.
While in graduate school, Andy helped to found, and eventually serve as the Editor-in-Chief, for the Pacific Northwest’s first law journal focuses exclusively on social justice and equity issues. He also had the honor of being named the first runner-up for the National LGBT Bar Association's 2017 Student Leadership Award, a Shepherd Scholar through OGALLA: The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon, and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management's first ReachingOut MBA Scholar.
In his free time, Andy likes to spend as much time as possible with his partner, Kai, and their fur-child, a dachshund and basset hound mix aptly named “Sir Reginald, the Earl of Puppydom.” Ever proud of his partner’s Army career, he can’t help but ALWAYS root for Navy!
- Lindsay ChurchExecutive Director, Co-Founder
Lindsay is a Navy veteran who served from 2008-2012 as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (Linguist). During her time in the service, she attended language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA where she learned Persian-Farsi. After spending two years at a cyber intelligence command, she left the Navy and returned home to Seattle.
Upon returning home, Lindsay attended the University of Washington where she earned her BA in Near Eastern Language and Civilization and Islamic Studies and an MA in International Studies – Middle East. After grad school, Lindsay began to work with veterans, helping them successfully transition to higher education and on to meaningful employment. Through her work, she noticed that there were many people being left out of the narrative of the U.S. military veteran.
In 2017, Lindsay resigned her position as the Commander of an American Legion post to, along with Katherine Pratt, start the Minority Veterans of America to ensure that there is a community of support around the underrepresented veterans so that we may see the true diversity of the U.S. military reflected in our veteran communities.
- Kiersten DownsBoard of DirectorsTampa, FLKiersten DownsBoard 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.