WHO WE ARE

ABOUT      TEAM      DIRECTORS      SUPPORTERS

OUR STORY

ABOUT

Today, there are over 350,000 service women and 2 million women veterans in the United States – the highest number ever in history. Their voices must be heard.

Women have served and fought in every conflict since the American Revolution. Despite their critical contributions to our national security, women continue to face barriers. These barriers exist both in the military and when they leave military service when accessing the VA benefits and services they have earned.

The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) is the voice of all military women – past, present, and future. We are a member-driven community network advocating for the individual and collective needs of service women. SWAN’s priorities are guided by our members, who include thousands of women and men, service members, and civilians alike.

We are committed to seeing that all service women receive the opportunities, protections, benefits, and respect they deserve. Our goal is to ensure all service women and women veterans have access to the information, tools, and support they need to reach their personal and professional goals.

Since our founding in 2007, SWAN has been the only organization that advocates for and supports the needs of both service women and women veterans, regardless of rank, military branch, or years of experience. With over 40,000 nonprofits in America working to serve the needs of veterans and military personnel, this is an important distinction. While women service members and veterans have benefited from many support programs, the majority of them are still designed, by default, to meet the needs of men. We’re making sure that changes.

SWAN has played a significant role in shaping the outcome of many important issues affecting military women. Our efforts include opening all military jobs to service women, expanding access to services for a broad range of reproductive healthcare services, working to hold sex offenders accountable in the military justice system and eliminating barriers to disability claims for those who have experienced military sexual trauma. But our work is not done.

OUR VISION

Our vision is to be the nation’s largest, most influential and effective network of service women–advancing their rights today, paving the way for their growth tomorrow.

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to support, connect and advocate for service women-past, present and future.

 

  • SUPPORT: SWAN has developed a network of vetted resources that are uniquely qualified to address challenges service women face including access to healthcare, housing, caseworkers, family and financial services, employment and transition, legal services, and alternative therapies. Learn more »
  • CONNECT: SWAN brings together military women and organizations across the country to amplify the voices of service women on a national scale through media, networking events, and founding and leading the Military Women’s Coalition. Learn more »
  • ADVOCATE: SWAN is the driving force behind laws and policies that seek to change military culture, increase opportunities for women, eliminate sexual violence, and adequately address the needs of women veterans.Our mission is to support, connect and advocate for service women-past, present and future. Learn more »

OUR TEAM

Our leadership consists of a talented staff and powerful volunteer council of reserve, veteran and retired service women.
Deshauna Barber, Captain, US Army Reserve, CEO

Deshauna BarberArmy Captain Deshauna Barber is Miss USA 2016, an award-winning international speaker, coach, and entrepreneur. Deshauna uses her experience as an Army officer, former Miss USA, and STEM graduate to impact the lives of people all over the world. Deshauna is a top-rated speaker who is widely requested as a speaker at Fortune 500 companies. She was born in Columbus, Georgia, the daughter of two Soldiers. Serving in the military is a family tradition. In 2016, Deshauna was crowned the first Soldier to the win the prestigious title of Miss USA. She spent her year-long reign as Miss USA advocating for men and women in uniform and continues her work advocating for servicemembers suffering from post-traumatic stress. She is dedicated to ensuring that service members and veterans receive the support and assistance that they need. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Virginia State University, a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems and Services from University of Maryland and she is currently pursuing a Diversity, Social Justice and Inclusion Certification at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Lory Manning, Captain, US Navy Retired, Director of Government Relations

Lory was the Director of the Women in the Military Project at the Women’s Research & Education Institute (WREI) for many years. She is a Navy veteran and served as a Telecommunications subspecialist including field tours in Iceland, Panama, and Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory where she commanded the Naval Telecommunications and Computer Station. She served at headquarters level on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Legislative Affairs, and Commander, Naval Forces Europe (London). A member of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Advisory Committee on Women Veterans for six years, she also served on the Military Advisory Council for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). Captain Manning has provided media commentary on military women for the PBS News Hour, the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, for all the major US networks, the BBC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has also been heard on numerous radio broadcasts in both the US and other countries and has provided in-depth background information on women in the military to national and international journalists for both print and electronic media. Captain Manning holds a BA in History from Trinity College, Washington, D.C., a certificate in National Security Affairs from the Naval War College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.

Martina Chesonis, Captain, US Air Force Reserve, Director of Communications

Martina separated from active duty after seven years as an Air Force Logistics and Acquisition Officer and has transitioned into the Air Force Reserves. Martina received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in International Relations and her master’s degree from Liberty University in Public Policy. Throughout her military career, Martina has been very active as both a trainer and coordinator for sexual assault prevention and response programs at several Air Force installations. She is proud to work for such a strong organization and to contribute toward positive change for our servicewomen and women veterans.

Jennifer Ventura, Director of Operations Intern
Jennifer is a current senior at the University of the District of Columbia, obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Throughout her college career, she has gained experience working for nonprofits that have advocated, assisted, and served those who are in a marginalized group. Jennifer has become an advocate for individuals suffering from PTSD. In hopes of starting her own organization that will serve all marginalized groups, she hopes to be able to help SWAN serve and advocate for servicewomen and women veterans to receive equal opportunities.
Brianna Holman, US Air Force Veteran, Case Manager
Brianna is an Air Force veteran of 4.5 years. She is currently working on her bachelor’s degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduation in Spring of 2021, Brianna has plans to enter an advanced standing Master’s of Social Work program. She hopes to use her personal and professional experiences to be a victim advocate for survivors of military sexual trauma (MST) by championing policy changes among areas of need for survivors of MST.
Ellen Haring, Colonel, US Army Retired, Military Women’s Coalition Administrator, SWAN Research Fellow

Dr. Ellen Haring is a West Point graduate and a retired Army colonel. She is also a senior fellow at Women in International Security where she directs the Combat Integration Initiative. Dr. Haring’s research and work focuses on women and gender in the military. She holds a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and she is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University where she has taught courses on Human Security and Women, and Peace and Security. Dr. Haring has published numerous articles and papers on a wide array of military and security related topics. She has been a guest speaker on foreign and domestic news shows, she guest lectures and has testified as a subject matter expert at Congressional hearings.

Dr. Kate Thomas, USMC Veteran, SWAN Research Fellow
Bio Coming Soon!

OUR DIRECTORS

Providing executive oversight for SWAN’s programs and services, our board includes influential veterans, business and civic leaders with decades of experience helping lead organizations in multiple sectors.
Jennifer Hogg, Co-Chair, US Army Veteran
Jennifer Hogg is a Co-Founder of the Service Women’s Action Network as well as the current Co-Chair of the Board of Directors. She served five years in the New York Army National Guard as a 63Y Track Mechanic and left in 2005 at the rank of Sergeant. Jennifer also participated in the 9/11 activation as part of the NYARNG. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Hunter College of The City University of New York in May 2009 and a J.D. from The City University of New York School of Law in May 2012.
Dawne Davis, Co-Chair, US Army Retired
Dawne Davis is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel. She is a senior analyst for a defense contractor. She attended West Point, Class of 1985. She became a member of the Army Acquisition Corps in 1994. Dawne received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida. She also earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. Dawne served in various tactical and acquisition positions during her 20 year military career. She retired 1 August 2005. Upon retirement she served as founder and CEO of Talon Associates, LLC providing consulting services for leading defense industry clients until 2017. She is married to Major General (Ret) Bruce Davis. They have two children and live in Newport News, Virginia.
Timothy Ross, Treasurer, US Marine Corps Veteran
Tim Ross is a tax partner in Core Tax Services Team within BDO’s Greater Washington DC office. Tim has significant experience serving both publicly-traded, and closely-held companies with operations in multiple international and domestic locations. This includes serving many clients that have private equity or venture capital investment. His technical specialties include business entity taxation, tax accounting (ASC 740), commercial transactions and structure, private equity, domestic and global taxation. Before beginning his career in public accounting, Tim served 10 years as a U.S. Marine attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant and is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Tim holds a B.S. in Accounting from Indiana University.
Flora D. Darpino, Secretary, US Army Retired
Flora Darpino is a retired Army Lieutenant General and military lawyer who served as the Army’s 39th Judge Advocate General (TJAG). General Darpino was appointed as TJAG on September 4, 2013, and served until July 14, 2017. She was responsible for the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, an organization with approximately 10,000 personnel. She was also the senior military legal advisor to both the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army. She is the first woman appointed TJAG since the establishment of the US Army in 1775. Prior to being selected as the 39th TJAG, General Darpino served as the Commander, The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, VA, Commander, The United States Army Legal Services Agency, Fort Belvoir, VA and, Chief Judge, United States Army Court of Criminal Appeals. Her last field assignments included Staff Judge Advocate, V Corps, in Heidelberg, Germany, followed by her second deployment to Iraq where she served as the Staff Judge Advocate, United States Forces – Iraq, in Baghdad, Iraq.
Robert Kaufman
Bob Kaufman is a law partner at Proskauer Rose LLP in New York. He has also been Chairman of the Board of Old Westbury Funds and Pirelli Cable and Tire Corporations. He was a director of the Alliance for National Defense (AND) and the Women’s Research and Education Institute (WREI) and supported its Women in the Military Project for over ten years. He was a member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services and the West Point Board of Visitors. Previously he served in the Department of Justice and as Assistant to a New York U. S. Senator.
Monica Medina, US Army Veteran
Monica Medina is the Deputy Director of the environment program at the Walton Family Foundation. Monica served as special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, advising him on all issues concerning the environment, energy, climate change, and natural resource management, as well as women in the military. She also served on the transition team for the Obama Administration and held positions at the Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. office of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She also served as the U.S. commissioner to the International Whaling Commission. Monica is a former member of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services; and sits on the Georgetown Sustainable Oceans Alliance advisory board. She is an honors graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia Law School.
Emily Miller, US Army Veteran
Emily Miller is a social entrepreneur, combat veteran, and LGBTQ activist. She is Co-Founder of Rumi Spice, a for-profit social enterprise that imports premium saffron directly from Afghan farmers. Rumi Spice was featured on Shark Tank and Emily was named one of the “Most Innovative Women” in Food & Wine. Previously, Emily served as a Captain in the U.S. Army. She led an engineer platoon in Iraq and served on two deployments to Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a Cultural Support Team member. Her team was the subject of The New York Times bestseller, Ashley’s War. She earned her Bachelor of Science from West Point and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Bonnie Schweppe, US Army Veteran
Bonnie Schweppe graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1983 and spent 8 years in the Army, as an Ordnance officer and AG officer. She was a platoon leader, battalion S1, company commander, DISCOM S1 and division protocol officer, serving in Germany and Fort Carson, Colorado. Upon resigning her commission, Bonnie became a territory manager for Pfizer, selling medications for heart disease and arthritis. She to Allergan and worked several territories to include Long Island, Manhattan and New Jersey, selling eye care pharmaceuticals and BOTOX. Bonnie was recruited to EyeSys, a start-up, and worked selling capital equipment to eye care specialists. She then went to Johnson and Johnson and sold an IV infusion product for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Crohn’s Disease. Bonnie founded a private farm animal sanctuary (Perros Locos Animal Sanctuary), and opened a compassionate boutique (Living Eden) selling vegan purses, ethically made clothing and carefully sourced gift items. She is a co-founder of the Hudson Valley’s first cat cafe (Morgan’s Cat Cafe) devoted to helping orphaned cats find homes. Recently, she opened up Wildflower Cafe in Red Hook, NY, a vegan cafe.
Melina Selimbegovic
Melina Selimbegovic is a Private Client Relationship Associate at Brown Advisory. She is a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor and has over 10 years of industry experience. Melina is responsible for managing relationships with high-net- worth individuals and families in the Washington, DC office. Prior to joining Brown Advisory, she was a founding member of Army and Air Force Mutual Aid Association Wealth Management and Trust where she spent 7 years working to build the trust company and later managing client relationships. Melina holds a BA in Psychology and International Relations from UNC Chapel Hill.
Charles Zielinksi
Charles Zielinski is an AV-Preeminent rated lawyer in the Lexis-Nexis/Martindale-Hubbell peer review system. He has focused his professional career on the legal and policy issues presented by economic, safety, reliability and environmental regulation in the energy and telecommunications industries. He served as a member and Chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission and has significant experience serving on boards and committees. He chaired a national committee that produced reports on implementation of the ground breaking National Energy Act of 1978, was a member New York State’s Environmental Board and of Governor Hugh Carey’s cabinet. Charles received his law degree from State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law.
Dee Ann McWilliams, US Army Retired
Dee McWilliams is a retired United States Army Major General who joined the Army in 1974. During 29 years of military service she held a variety of Human Resource positions, commanding four companies, a training battalion, and a personnel brigade. She also taught national strategic studies and leadership, and served as an Equal Opportunity Officer. She served as the Director of Military Personnel Management for the Department of the Army where she developed policy and strategy for staffing, salary compensation, and training for over one million soldiers. After retiring in 2003, she established the Lessons Learned Institute for the Director of National Intelligence, serving as Director for 4 years. In 2007, MG McWilliams joined the board of directors for the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, assuming the position of Chair in 2014. She formerly served as President of the Army Women’s Foundation, a Director on the Army Historical Foundation Board, and on the Lon Morris College Board of Trustees. She was the 2013 recipient of the American Veterans Center Lillian K. Keil Award for outstanding contribution to women’s service in the United States military and was named a Trailblazer by Women Veterans Interactive. In 2015, MG McWilliams was inducted into the Adjutant General’s Corps Hall of Fame. In 2016, she became second President of the Women In Military Service For America Memorial and stepped down in 2019. Dee holds degrees from Lon Morris College, Texas Woman’s University, the National War college, and Stephen F. Austin State University where she was named a distinguished alumnus in 1998.
Jeetander Dulani
Jeetander Dulani is a Special Counsel with the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Washington, D.C., where he represents leading public and private companies in global antitrust matters, government investigations, and complex litigation and appeals. His work has been recognized by Super Lawyers and The Legal 500. Jeetander maintains an active pro-bono practice focused on wrongful convictions and high impact public interest and civil rights litigation. Previously, he was an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, where he led a strategy consulting practice that helped government and commercial clients evaluate and develop operational plans through the use of predictive models and wargaming/simulation. At Booz Allen, he was awarded the Professional Excellence Award for leading a pro- bono project on HIV/AIDS in India that resulted in testing and treatment policy changes by the Indian government. Jeetander received a B.A. with honors in Political Science and Religious Studies from Grinnell College, a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Iowa, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School where he served as the editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. Jeetander is currently a member of the Grinnell College Alumni Council. He is also an active runner and committed father to two wonderful children, Uma and Siddhartha.

OUR SUPPORTERS

We are deeply appreciative of the support of our donors and partners that make all our efforts on behalf of military women possible.

Corporate and Foundation Donors

MKM Foundation

Partners