Executive Director and Co-Founder, Service Women’s Action Network
Anu is SWAN’s first Executive Director. A former Captain and Company Commander, Anu served as a Marine officer from 1999-2004 and was the second woman to complete the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program instructor trainer school, earning a black belt in close combat techniques. Under Anu’s leadership, SWAN has spearheaded legislative reform and litigation to end military rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence, and to eliminate all barriers to equal opportunity for service women. Anu has testified before Congress, advised the White House and the United Nations, and has spoken to countless audiences on challenges faced by military women, including the Combat Exclusion policy, Military Sexual Trauma, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, and the VA health care and benefits system. A regular contributor to the media, Anu has been featured on Piers Morgan Tonight, the CNN Situation Room, MSNBC, NBC Nightly News, NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time and Newsweek. Anu founded and still teaches free weekly yoga and meditation classes to veterans in New York City. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Masters of Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government, where she focused on international human rights policy. Anu is a 2010 Petra Fellow.
Rovika oversees all of SWAN’s fundraising initiatives. Rovika has eight years of experience working in the nonprofit field as a fundraiser. Her expertise includes strategies for increasing revenues and diversifying funding streams, individual donor and board stewardship, and maintaining and establishing relationships with foundation and corporate grantors. She has held previous positions at The HOPE Program, as Development Director for four and a half years and The Doe Fund, where she worked on individual donor campaigns, grant writing, and events planning. She has also consulted for the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition and the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. She has a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Barnard College.
Operations Manager and Executive Assistant
Emily Dake is the Operations Manager and Executive Assistant for Service Women’s Action Network. Emily holds a BA in English from Vassar College where she worked as a writing consultant, editing and mentoring writers across disciplines and preparing faculty articles for publication and grant and fellowship applications. She also served as a teaching assistant for the freshman writing seminar. Emily has also served as a volunteer for the Bellevue Hospital Rape Crisis Program. She is the proud granddaughter of WWII Army Nurse Corps veteran Emmy Jane Thomas Dake.
Greg is the Policy Director at the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and a former U.S. Marine with 10 years of experience serving both as an enlisted infantry Marine and an infantry officer. Since joining SWAN in 2010, Greg has successfully established SWAN as a leading voice in developing extremely effective solutions to the tough issues facing service members and veterans through legislation, litigation, policy changes and regulatory reform. Greg holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Kentucky and worked as a media professional prior to joining the Marine Corps. After graduating from Parris Island, Greg held leadership billets in the Marines ranging from Fire Team Leader to Company Commander. Greg’s numerous deployments with the Fleet Marine Force and Joint Special Operations Command have taken him to every continent except Antarctica. He had been in Harm’s Way several times and received numerous decorations, including the Combat Action Ribbon. It was during Greg’s last assignment as a Commander of an integrated training company that he witnessed the discriminatory treatment and sexual trauma experienced by service members and learned firsthand the military’s failure to effectively prevent and prosecute these crimes. A solid researcher and prolific writer, Greg has a deep understanding of the challenges faced by members of the military and the veterans’ community and has appeared in media outlets worldwide as a powerful advocate for institutional change. Greg is a member of the Miniconjou Lakota tribe.
Policy Research Associate
As the policy research associate, Estefania conducts in depth research, writes on relevant policy issues, and presents at conferences. Estefania is also a cultural anthropology doctoral student at The Graduate Center (CUNY). Her doctoral research focuses on the ways in which US women veterans understand and experience “women veteran identity” in opposition to and in accommodation to the hegemonic construction of said identity. Furthermore, her research explores how women veterans are actively contesting the hegemonic understanding of “women veteran identity,” developing social meanings and strategies based on local contexts, social networks, and positionality. Estefania is also a City University of New York (CUNY) writing fellow at the College of Staten Island (CUNY) and an adjunct lecturer in the department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at the College of Staten Island (CUNY). Additionally, Estefania is the program director and instructor at Xiaolin Martial Arts, a Chinese kung fu school located in Staten Island, NY.
Legal and Direct Programs Staff
Rachel F. Natelson
Legal and Programs Director
Rachel is the Legal Director and Programs Director at SWAN. She was formerly a board member for the organization and a staff attorney at the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. She founded and directed the Veterans and Servicemembers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City. She has provided pro bono outreach, advice, and representation to numerous claimants before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the military Discharge Review Boards and Boards for Correction of Military Records. Experienced in family law, Rachel has worked with underserved populations in New York City for years, including the homeless, children and the elderly. Rachel graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History, and was elected Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her law degree from the New York University School of Law.
Outreach and Education Coordinator
Rebekah is a former Sergeant and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician in the United States Army. She was stationed at Fort Riley, KS and deployed to Afghanistan in 2006–2007. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Policy with a certificate in Veterans Services from Empire State University and has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in Sociology with honors from Drury University in Springfield, MO. Rebekah has presented at numerous hearings and panels on the issues facing women veterans including Yale Law School, Rutgers University, Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Work and the New York Mental Health Coalition and is a member of the Mayor’s Office for Veterans Affairs (MOVA) Women Veterans Action Panel in New York City. She has also appeared on several television and radio shows including CNN’s Piers Morgan, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry and the NPR syndicated Diane Rehm Show. Before working at SWAN, Rebekah was a crisis counselor and victim advocate for a domestic abuse shelter in Missouri.
Helpline Case Manager
Dalinda has a B.A. in Forensic Psychology and a minor in English from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She earned her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She worked at the NY Harbor Health Care System for over 8 years, first as the Infectious Disease Social Worker and then as an Addiction Therapist in several VA treatment programs. Prior to that, Dalinda spent time working on the Hotline at Victim Services Agency, helping crime victims and those affected by domestic violence, rape, incest and elder abuse. She then went on to work at a battered women’s shelter, first as a counselor and then as the recreation/education coordinator. Dalinda has also co-facilitated educational groups for mandated batterers through a program called Alternative to Violence.
Katy Otto is the Communications Director for SWAN. She graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park, and later received a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Trinity University in Washington, DC. She comes to SWAN with over a decade of experience in communication around violence prevention, women’s issues, youth development, and the arts. While in DC, where she grew up, she worked for The Empower Program and Men Can Stop Rape. Three years ago she moved to Philadelphia and began focusing on her communications consulting work. She is the daughter and granddaughter of two veterans. Ms. Otto runs her own independent record label Exotic Fever Records and has toured internationally with her band, Trophy Wife. She co-founded the national Visions in Feminism conference. She has done sexual assault prevention workshops and survivor solidarity work.
Sam McCord is the Website Coordinator for the Service Women’s Action Network. He is currently in his final year at New York University where he majors in New Media and Journalism. He is focused his studies on the nature of social networks and online communities and how the internet has redefined what it means to communicate and transmit ideas. Sam has worked with web development since a young age, and supplements it with a background in ex-patriot news networks and college newspapers, such as Prague.tv and the RIT Reporter. After college, Sam hopes to go into digital advertising, creatively approaching new technology in an effort to reach out to untapped audiences.