Behind the Change: Portraits of Women Leading VA’s Transformation

When I sat down with several of VA’s women leaders for Women’s History Month, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by their determination and passion; their sense of responsibility and gratitude; their focus on all things associated with women Veterans. And it’s led them to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs from the inside out.

For that reason, we want you—other women Veterans—to know who’s in your corner. These women have dedicated years of their lives to serving those like us. In Behind the Change: Portraits of Women Leading VA’s Transformation, I’ve highlighted eight of these leaders. (To view the Section 508-compliant version of this post, click here.)


Their backgrounds vary, from a young girl who realized her dream of joining the U.S. Air Force while picking cotton on a small farm in Aiken, South Carolina to a woman who entered the U.S. Air Force Academy as one of its first female recruits. From women who grew up with fathers who struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder to one who served as a caregiver for her Atomic Veteran father.

Irene Trowell-Harris is an Air Force Veteran and the Director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans. She put it this way, “America has dynamic stories of women who have shaped the past, the present and groundbreaking young women who will lead our future.”

The slideshow above highlights just a few of these dynamic women and their stories of service. While they have all reached VA in different ways, they are here and willing to do whatever it takes for today’s women Veterans. As you read their stories, I ask you to share your story and what you’d like them to know—help them transform VA to fit the needs of today’s women Veterans.

(Article by public affairs specialist and Iraq Veteran Kate Hoit. Photography by Robert Turtil.)

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4 Comments to “Behind the Change: Portraits of Women Leading VA’s Transformation”

  1. Great story…great women!

  2. Jalica says:

    We here allot of voices but when we look at our local communities and venture to the nearest VA we are treated like a heard of cattle all wanting, all needing but not respected as who we are to become more than what we were led to believe!

    Great women are usually those unaccounted for their service because they did not reach the podium for Commands that disenfranchized those who would not stand for indifference to serve. Ethics was nearly lost when small groups controlled without mention of their greed.

  3. Robin Jones says:

    This was a great article but who will see it besides other women veterans searching for more information and resources available to them. We,women veterans, need to be side by side with our male counterparts. Why is it that when they (MEDIA) speak of Medal of Honors and accomplishments they only show men? We fight side by side We should be recoginized side by side not as a after thought. As a State Women Veteran Coordinator planned on working really hard to change that vision! Great Article lets see more.
    Remember She Served Too!

  4. Angela says:

    Absolutely a great article….we served too! Working to change the vision is requesting due respect…it takes strongminded women to even consider the challenge….therefore we stand side by side with our male counterparts letting our voices be heard.