Executive Staff

 

Anu Bhagwati

Executive Director

Anu is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Service Women’s Action Network. 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 national policy reform, legislation and litigation to end military rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and to eliminate all barriers to equal opportunity for service women. Anu has testified numerous times before Congress, advised the White House and the United Nations, and has spoken to countless audiences on challenges faced by military women, including access to combat assignments, military sexual violence, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, reproductive justice and the VA health care and benefits system. A regular contributor to the media, Anu has been featured on Piers Morgan Tonight, The Situation Room, Fox News, MSNBC, CBS This Morning, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, NPR, BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time and Newsweek and is also featured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Invisible War. Her original work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Journal, Foreign Affairs, The Baltimore Sun and The Huffington Post. Anu founded and still teaches free weekly yoga classes to veterans in New York City. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale University and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where she focused on international human rights policy. Anu is a 2010 Petra Fellow and the recipient of the 2012 Legacy Award at the Working Mother Multicultural Women’s National Conference.

 

Janet Samuels

Deputy Executive Director/Development Director

Janet joins SWAN after several years of performing operations and development work for CONNECT, Inc., a NYC not-for-profit working to prevent and eliminate intimate partner violence. Before working with CONNECT, Janet provided a NYC law firm with a renewed marketing plan and public presence. She also spent over a decade providing legal counsel in all areas of corporate and business law including finance, regulatory, contract, employment, real estate, compliance and litigation matters and negotiated many deals to successful conclusion for a Fortune 500 company. Janet has a law degree from New York University School of Law and a B.A. in Theater from Beloit College with minor concentrations in economics and physics. She is the proud parent of three. As the parent of a veteran, Janet has a deep appreciation for the issues confronting the military and veteran communities as well as the civilian communities that surround them. Janet is now on the Advisory Board of CONNECT.

 

Hannah Cofalka 

Operations Manager and Executive Assistant

Hannah joins SWAN after serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA in Spartanburg, South Carolina, improving wellness policies and managing a county-wide health campaign and partnership program. She worked to strengthen access to wellness resources for low-income populations and served on the Spartanburg County Childhood Obesity Taskforce. Her past experience includes More than Me, a grassroots organization providing education for girls in Monrovia, Liberia, where she was a member of a development team that secured a million dollar grant from Chase Community Giving. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Northeastern University with a concentration in Public Policy and Administration. Before graduating, Hannah was able to participate in an intensive practicum on global civil society in Bali, Indonesia, working with local communities addressing the essentials of global citizenship, social entrepreneurship, and NGO development in response to local and global problems.

 

Policy Staff

 

Captain Lory Manning, USN (ret.) 

Senior Policy Fellow

Captain Manning served for over twenty-five years in the Navy where she was a telecommunications sub-specialist. Her field tours included service as Commanding Officer, Naval Telecommunications Station, Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory, Executive Officer, Naval Telecommunication Station, Balboa, Panama, Communications Department Head, Naval Telecommunications Station, Keflavik, Iceland and as Deputy Director of the Telecommunications Directorate of the London Staff of Commander, US Naval Forces Europe. Captain Manning also served several Washington DC headquarters-level tours on the Staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Naval Personnel and the Chief of Legislative Affairs.  Captain Manning currently is the Director of the Women in the Military Project at the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, DC. She is a recognized expert on the policies and laws governing women’s participation in US military both presently and over the past 110 years. She is often asked to provide background and history of the issues to members of Congress, their staffs and Executive Department officials. She has been a regular media commentator on military women and has appeared on the PBS News Hour, The O’Reilly Factor, all the major TV networks, NPR and other radio shows and has provided extensive background interviews to print and electronic media representatives from around the world. Captain Manning has spoken on the history and issues of military women and women veterans to many academic, civic, military and other audiences including conferences and symposiums at Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, National Defense University, the State Department, the Coast Guard and Air Force Academies, the Russell Sage Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Center.  She served as a member of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans for six years and she was a member the Military Advisory Council of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (which worked to repeal Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell) for three years. Captain Manning is a graduate of Trinity College, Washington DC; the Naval War College, Newport RI, and she holds a MALS from Georgetown University.  Her military decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal (with two gold stars) and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Greg Jacob

Policy Director

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.

 

Jason Lemieux

Policy Fellow

Jason Lemieux served as an 0351 Infantry Assaultman in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001-2006. During his service, he served three tours in Iraq. After his honorable discharge, Jason became a spokesperson and board member for Iraq Veterans Against the War. He has been featured on The Henry Rollins Show, PBS Newshour, Fox and Friends, Al Jazeera English, and other media outlets. In 2008, he spoke before the Congressional Progressive Caucus on the humanitarian implications of the Iraq war. Jason has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science (Cum Laude) and a Master of International Affairs in Human Rights and Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis from Columbia University. As part of his graduate study, Jason interned with the United Nations Development Programme in Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. While in Bougainville, he researched the implications of WWII-era abandoned munitions for peacebuilding in the wake of Bougainville’s 1989-2001 civil war. He also drafted a UN Human Rights Council shadow report on the human rights situation of women and girls in the years following the war.

 

Communications Staff

 

Barbara L. Brown

Communications Director

Barbara is Communications Director for the Service Women’s Action Network. She is responsible for leading SWAN’s media and outreach strategies. She has nearly 20 years of experience designing and managing best-of-breed public relations and strategic communications programs to create understanding and acceptance of missions, policies, new products, and/or services as well as, increase business success, performance, stakeholder alignment, and identity of organizations, in the Non-Profit, Government, Media, High Tech, and Telecom industries. Barbara spent the last 12 years as a management consultant identifying solutions to help her clients achieve transformational and programmatic goals. Her work includes multi-faceted project management activities that include strategic planning, needs assessments/stakeholder analyses, content development, design, production, delivery, and evaluation. While serving as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and ICF International, Barbara worked primarily with federal agencies and non-profits to manage and support communications initiatives associated with new policy and key organizational transitions. Barbara has managed multiple federal communications projects and accounts for the Departments of Energy, Defense, Labor, State, Homeland Security, Treasury (IRS), and Veterans Affairs. She has made key contributions to the VA’s strategic initiatives to improve services to veterans including supporting MyCareer@VA, the VA Learning University’s – Career & Employee Development program, VA HR Academy, and the Women Veteran Toolkit for the Department of Labor’s Veteran Employment and Training Service and Women’s Bureau at Department of Labor. She was also responsible for delivery of key communications products to promote continuous change within the Department of Defense – Office of the Secretary, Business Transformation Agency. Ms. Brown developed and executed the Strategic Change Communications Plan for the Defense Business System Acquisition Executive (DBSAE) Directorate which included strategies for internal and external communications for programs including but not limited to the Defense Travel System (DTS) and Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS). Barbara has Bachelors in Print Journalism from American University and a Change Management Advanced Practitioner certificate from Georgetown University. She resides just outside of Washington, D.C. with her two sons, Tre’ and Jackson.

 

Matthew Richter 

Webmaster

Prior to working with nonprofits, Matthew had a long history of multimedia production and documentary filmmaking.  Working independently and with a wide range of collaborators, he has traveled extensively to build the capacity of social justice organizations through multimedia content. Many of his projects have been featured at international film festivals, used as educational tools, and served as centerpieces for grassroots and international advocacy campaigns.  Today, his work also includes strategic development and fundraising as well as advising on a wide range of technical topics including best practices for production, digital workflow, and the utilization of new-media tools.