At the recent meeting of VA’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, four new members received certificates of appointment and began their service on the committee. A new chair of the committee also took the helm:
Moses McIntosh of Hephzibah, Georgia, is a retired chief warrant officer and the immediate past national commander of Disabled American Veterans where he served as the official spokesman for the organization and provided leadership to the National Executive Committee.
Yareli Mendoza of Iowa City, Iowa, is an Air Force Veteran is currently pursuing a doctorate of philosophy degree in higher education and student affairs, with a specialization in higher education administration and policy.
Keronica Richardson of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is an Army Veteran, with deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She currently serves as the assistant director for women and minority Veterans outreach at The American Legion.
Wanda Wright of Tempe, Arizona, is a retired Air Force colonel, currently serving as the director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, where she is a state cabinet member and provides leadership and direction for administering benefits and services to Veterans and their dependents.
Current member Octavia Harris, a retired Navy master chief petty officer, was appointed chair of the committee. She is the first prior enlisted member to hold the position. Under her able leadership, the committee held a productive meeting, receiving numerous briefings and voting on a series of recommendations. The minutes and report will be published online in coming months.
The committee was also honored to host Joy Ilem, national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans. She presented Dr. Elizabeth Yano with DAV’s Special Recognition Award for her extensive research and work on behalf of women Veterans.
Chartered in 1983, the committee conducts meetings and site visits in order to make recommendations to VA’s secretary for policy and legislative changes. The contributions of a variety of subject matter experts from a wide range of backgrounds are a key component of VA’s overall strategy to achieve stakeholder and public engagement in its efforts and commitment to serve Veterans, their families, and survivors. I encourage those interested in serving in this capacity to visit the VA Advisory Committee Management Office website to learn more.