Meet the Team

Our mission is to empower military and Veteran families to thrive by connecting them with their civilian neighbors — both people and organizations — to create strong communities of mutual support.

Blue Star Families Leadership Team

© 2020 | Kristina Sherk Photography | www.Kristinasherk.com

Kathy Roth-Douquet

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Roth-Douquet

Chief Executive Officer

Kathy Roth-Douquet is a non-profit executive, author, commentator, strategist, and attorney.

As Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Star Families, she is a national spokesperson for military-connected families. Kathy is a commentator on patriotism, civil-military affairs, the value of service, and the experience of military families. She has appeared on the Today Show, Fox and Friends, NPR, CNN, and other media outlets. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers across the country. She is a frequent speaker at universities, policy forums, military audiences, and civic groups. She is the co-author of two books, including AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America’s Upper Classes from Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country, (HarperCollins, 2006), with Frank Schaeffer.

Kathy has served in the White House and in the Department of Defense. In the latter role, as Principal Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Acting), she received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service for her work on defense reform. She is also a recipient of President George H. W. Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award, and received the Chief of Staff of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award. She has served on a number of boards including Princeton University’s Board of Trustees, and was named the first nominee into the Ford Hall of Heroes at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

She currently holds appointments to three government boards or commissions - the Reserve Forces Policy Board at the Department of Defense reporting to the Secretary of Defense, the Commission to select the Under Secretary of Benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs, reporting to the Secretary of the VA, and an advisory board to the Export-Import Bank of America, reporting to the Chair.

Kathy is also a military spouse of 24 years, four deployments, and 9 moves. She lives with her husband and two children in Northern Virginia.

Noeleen Tillman

Noeleen Tillman

Chief Operating Officer

BSF-Noeleen-Tillman

Chief Operating Officer

Noeleen Tillman

Chief Operating Officer

Noeleen Tillman is COO of Blue Star Families (BSF), a not-for-profit organization that supports and serves military families. Ms. Tillman leads and oversees BSF’s operations as the nation’s largest military family support organization.

Prior to joining BSF in 2010, Ms. Tillman was Executive Vice President of the Global Environment & Technology Foundation (GETF), a non-profit devoted to promoting sustainable approaches for government and businesses. While at GETF, Ms. Tillman managed a portfolio in excess of $30M and founded the International Institute for Sustainable Seaports (I2S2), a non-profit that provides technical support to the global maritime industry. Additionally, Ms. Tillman was a principal at TEC, Inc. responsible for leading the company's seaport environmental sustainability/engineering practice. Early in her career, Ms. Tillman served as Chief of Environmental Compliance for the 21st Space Wing; US Space Command where she managed civilian and military personnel responsible for environmental engineering activities at 32 geographically separated units located around the world.

Brian Whiting

Brian Whiting

Chief External Affairs Officer

BSF-Brian-Whiting

Chief External Affairs Officer

Brian Whiting

Chief External Affairs Officer

Brian Whiting joins Blue Star Families as the Chief External Affairs Officer. He was previously the Chief Executive Officer of the Mediflix Veterans Channel, an online platform designed to be the single source for trusted information to address an expanding array of Veterans health and wellness issues.

Brian served by the side of our military and their families for 16 years, as Chief Executive Officer of the USO of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (USO). Prior to USO, he has held leadership positions in the U.S. and abroad with PricewaterhouseCoopers and a national trade association.

Brian is a passionate supporter of our military and their families, and he continues his service by volunteering with several military support organizations including serving on the board of Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza. Brian was recognized with the US Coast Guard Public Service Commendation and is a recipient of the U.S. Army Freedom Salute Commendation. Brian has been a highly visible spokesperson for important military and Veterans issues, appearing in forums ranging from NBC’s Today, CBS’s This Morning, and Fox & Friends.

Lindsay Knight

Lindsay Knight

Chief Impact Officer

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Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay Knight, PhD

Chief Impact Officer

Lindsay is an applied social impact geek and leader with over ten years of on-the-ground expertise in strategic planning and implementation; youth and community engagement; applied research; pilot program design, scaling, and evaluation—and spends most days figuring out how to design and embed equity practices within organizational structures. Her niche area of expertise is creating ways for public, non-profit, philanthropic, and private sector stakeholders to discover and achieve collective ends. She comes to Blue Star Families most recently from the private sector where she was responsible for designing and leading a Global Equity Strategy at a multinational firm.

She has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago, with an area focus on civic responsibility and duty, institutional change, and research methodologies. Lindsay is a mentor in the Institute of Politics’ Women in Public Service program, and serves on advisory boards for SXSWedu, People for Bikes, and Future Founders. Her work has been recognized with awards and fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and the United Nations Association - Chicago for achievements in “Innovation, Industry, and Infrastructure” in social development. Though a midwesterner at heart, Lindsay lives in Santa Cruz Mountains near Woodside, CA. with her husband, David—where they ride and race bicycles... a lot.

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Vin Duncan

Chief Financial Officer

BSF-Vin-Duncan

Chief Financial Officer

Vin Duncan

Chief Financial Officer

Vin Duncan serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Blue Star Families. Previously, Duncan led the finance organization for Frito-Lay’s Foodservice Division.

He has over 30 years of experience in various financial leadership roles, including financial planning and analysis and transformation projects, serving at PepsiCo/Frito-Lay. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington and holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University. While at PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, Duncan founded the PepsiCo Valor Employee Resource Group, focusing on supporting PepsiCo Veterans and their families. He received two PepsiCo Chairman’s Awards for his commitment to supporting Veterans.

Duncan’s background and experience in finance will support Blue Star Families’ commitment to nonprofit excellence and financial stewardship. Duncan is also a retired U.S. Army Reservist, serving for 30 years, with his last role as Brigade Commander of the 333rd Military Police in New York.

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Jennifer Akin

Chief of Staff

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Chief of Staff

Jennifer Akin, MPA

Chief of Staff

Jennifer Akin is Blue Star Families’ first Chief of Staff, serving as a trusted advisor and brainstorming partner to the CEO and executive team as they lead Blue Star Families through a critical high-growth period. In her former role as Senior Director of Policy and Social Impact Research, Jenny was responsible for overseeing Blue Star Families’ policy, social impact, member research, and program evaluation efforts. She is a national thought leader on military life issues and led groundbreaking, first of their kind research studies to understand the unique experiences of military and Veteran families of color, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on military and Veteran families, perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine, and barriers to seeking financial assistance, among other things.

Prior to joining Blue Star Families in 2018, Jenny acquired nearly a decade of experience in the private sector and academia, supporting national security-related programs at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serving as a military policy fellow for the University of North Carolina system, and working in business development for a small defense contractor.

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John Barr

Vice President, Accounting and Finance

BSF-John-Barr

Vice President, Accounting and Finance

John Barr

Vice President, Accounting and Finance

Assisting organizations’ expansion in their Accounting & Operational functions John utilizes his past experiences in professional services to implement processes improvements, controls and financial data sharing systems.

John currently provides consulting services to Non-Profits and Government Contractors with areas of proficiency in Accounting System design-procedures & workflows, Applications integration (Accounting ERP, Payroll-T&A, purchasing, banking, etc.), Operations and HR tie-ins, financial analysis-reporting, budgeting & proposals, grants and Government contracting, Net Assets, compliance and Tax & Audit management.

John has collaborated with all levels of organizational staff in strengthening Finance & Accounting operations during his career, from the C-Suite and Board to the Summer Intern.

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Penny Bolden

Vice President, Brand Partnerships

BSF-Penny-Bolden

Vice President, Brand Partnerships

Penny Bolden

Vice President, Brand Partnerships

Combining a career in business development, strategic marketing and entrepreneurship, Penny is currently Blue Star Families Vice President, Brand Partnerships. An experienced and adaptive leader she brings an entrepreneurial flair to her role in soliciting support for military families from the private sector.

A graduate of the University of New South Wales, Australia, Penny managed strategic marketing efforts for Otis Elevator in Australia/New Zealand and later for their regional headquarters in Singapore. Her proven business acumen led her to a partnership with Sunchi Capital Corporation, an international consulting firm assisting US international expansion.

After marrying a US Marine she settled into a more “domestic” role stateside, as director of economic development for a non-profit organization, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation. Later she accepted a business development director position with PRA International, a clinical research organization, where she closed more than $30 million in new business.

While stationed with her family in Madrid, Spain, Penny established a new business venture in leadership consulting and motivational speaking. She also founded and managed an international distribution business in the sporting goods industry.

An 18-year Marine Corps spouse, Penny seeks unique opportunities to contribute to her community. She has served on committees for the San Diego World Trade Center, the MIT Enterprise Forum, and the Marine Corps Key Volunteer program. She was a founding board member of non-profit GetGear.org, and is currently the Yearbook Committee Chair at Haycock Elementary School. As an officer’s spouse she has served alongside her husband in his command roles and is a member of the Marine Aviation Spouses Club, Washington DC.

Penny resides in McLean, VA with her husband, Col Ché Bolden (USMC) and their three daughters.

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Ryan Callahan

Executive Vice President, Digital Innovation

BSF-Ryan-Callahan

Executive Vice President, Digital Innovation

Ryan Callahan

Executive Vice President, Digital Innovation

Ryan joins Blue Star Families (BSF) as the Executive Vice President of Digital Innovation. He is a social impact leader who is passionate about connecting military families with information and resources. Before BSF, Ryan served as Vice President of Marketing at RallyPoint, the world's largest online military social network. He holds a Master of Science from Boston University in Advertising and a Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University in New Media. Ryan is a 2022 graduate of the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program, where he honed his work to help veterans access VA health care, benefits, and services. Ryan is a mentor and board advisor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts, where he was recognized as Massachusetts Big Brother of the Year in 2020. He is a recipient of the Patriot Award from the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. He also serves on the board of directors for Kids in Tech. Ryan is the son of a USMC Veteran. He lives in the North Shore of Massachusetts with his wife and two children.

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Michael Kang

Vice President, Technology and Analytics

BSF-Michael-Kang

Vice President, Technology and Analytics

Michael Kang

Vice President, Technology and Analytics

Michael Kang is the Vice President, Technology and Analytics at Blue Star Families. Prior to BSF, Michael worked in the corporate sector for almost two decades in various roles such as technology implementations, project management, finance, process improvement, strategy, and analytics. Some of the companies he has worked for include IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Reuters, and Live Nation.

Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Economics with a Minor in Computer Science from UC Irvine and an MBA in Finance from the University of Southern California (USC). Michael lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

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Susan Messina

Vice President, Development

Susan Messina

Vice President, Development

Susan Messina

Vice President, Development

Susan Messina is a fundraising professional with a long career in health and human services. She joins Blue Star Families after 10 years in aging services, most recently at the Jewish Council for the Aging in Rockville, MD. Prior to her work in aging services, Susan worked at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association and the American Association of Health Plans and spent many years as a freelance grant writer.

A committed volunteer, Susan currently serves on the board of a hyperlocal aging services organization and on the executive board of the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Association. Susan graduated from Bryn Mawr College, holds two master’s degrees from the Bryn Mawr School of Social Work & Social Research, and earned a master’s in library and information science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Susan and her wife, Maryann, live in Washington, DC, and are empty nesters with their daughter graduating from college in May 2023. She and Maryann both have fathers who served: Susan’s father was a First Lieutenant in the Army in the early 1960s and Maryann’s father received a Purple Heart during his Army Air Corps service during WWII. Susan loves to read and is a reviewer of Young Adult literature for Kirkus Reviews.

Tom Porter, Blue Star Families Vice President, Government Affairs

Tom Porter

Vice President, Government Affairs

Tom Porter, Blue Star Families Vice President, Government Affairs

Vice President, Government Affairs

Tom Porter

Vice President, Government Affairs

Tom Porter is Vice President, Government Affairs at Blue Star Families in Washington, DC. He leads the organization’s national advocacy to empower and improve the lives of military and veteran families.

Porter comes to BSF with nearly three decades of Washington, DC experience as Congressional staff and as a government relations leader. Focusing first on national energy, water supply, and natural resources policy, he has spent the last nine years exclusively representing the interests of veterans and military families, primarily for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Porter played a lead role in passing significant legislation benefitting veterans and servicemembers, including the Honoring Our PACT Act to establish unprecedented new benefits for those who suffered military toxic exposures and their families, the Deborah Sampson Act which was the most comprehensive women veterans legislation in history, and reforms to the military justice system to protect victims of sexual assault and other serious crimes. He also was instrumental in defending the Post-9/11 GI Bill from cuts and abuse, among other accomplishments.

In addition to being a longtime Washington advocate on Capitol Hill and in front of federal agency leaders, Porter has also communicated on behalf of the military and veteran community through national, regional, and local media, including CNN, Fox News, NBC, ABC, Washington Post, NPR, and many others. He has testified numerous times before House and Senate veterans and armed services committees.

Porter is also a US Navy Captain (Ret.) with 27 years of reserve and active service around the world as a public affairs officer for US and Coalition forces, including during deployments to Afghanistan and the Middle East.

He is married to Northern Virginia attorney Jennifer Porter and has three teenage daughters.

Ashley Saville photo

Ashley Saville

Vice President, Development

Ashley Saville photo

Vice President, Development

Ashley Saville

Vice President, Development

Ashley joins Blue Star Families after serving in fundraising and sales roles for the past 15 years. She has led development, event, and gift planning departments, where she coordinated and directed initiatives for principal-level partnerships with individuals, corporations, and organizations to advance philanthropic endeavors.

As the daughter of two senior master sergeants in the Air Force, Ashley was led to serve upon graduating from Kennesaw State University, commissioning as a second lieutenant in 2009. While on active duty, Ashley was a platoon commander in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, leading convoy operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Her last duty station was Marine Barracks Washington.

Ashley currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband, LtCol Mark Saville, U.S. Marine Corps, and their son, Robert.

Sheila Stevens

Vice President, Chapter Impact and Outposts

Vice President, Chapter Impact and Outposts

Sheila Stevens

Vice President, Chapter Impact and Outposts

Sheila Stevens joined the Blue Star Families (BSF) team in 2010 as a chapter director and volunteer in Jacksonville, Fla. She now serves as Vice President, Chapter Impact and Outposts. Sheila is an experienced executive in military family affairs.

Sheila grew up in a military family; her father is a retired U.S. Navy officer. Years of deployments and moves helped her transition from Navy daughter to Navy spouse and now Navy mom. She is a strong leader with a history of successful planning and executing military family events. She continues to work with nonprofit organizations developing and managing programs for military members and their families, as is evident in her volunteer role as vice president of family matters for the Maritime Patrol Association, for which she developed and oversees the scholarship program for military dependents. She is passionate about military family readiness during times of war, constant deployments, and defense budget cuts. She has volunteered as an ombudsman and has supported several other VSOs and MSOs. She and her husband, U.S. Navy Captain Mark Stevens, live in the DC Metropolitan area. She is the mother of naval aviator Madeline Stevens stationed in Jacksonville, FL, and University of Arizona junior Zachary Stevens.

Meredith Terrian

Meredith Terrian

Executive Vice President, Chapter Impact

Meredith Terrian

Executive Vice President, Chapter Impact

Meredith Terrian

Executive Vice President, Chapter Impact

Meredith Terrian is the Executive Vice President of Chapter Impact at Blue Star Families. She has worked exclusively in the nonprofit industry for 14 years as a front-line fundraiser and consultant guiding strategic planning, capital campaigns, and leadership development. Meredith is an Instructor at National University’s Fundraising Academy and host of “The Nonprofit Show” podcast. She founded a consulting firm in 2018 called The Allied Group and has worked almost exclusively with military and Veteran nonprofit organizations, including the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation, Naval War College Foundation, Marine Corps University Foundation, and Space Force Association, among others.

Meredith was a USMC spouse for the past 13 years, has three children, and lives in Tampa, FL. She loves traveling, the beach, exercise, and public speaking. Meredith is also a self-proclaimed “cat lady” and animal lover.

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Britany Thomas

Executive Assistant

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Executive Assistant

Britany Thomas

Executive Assistant

Britany Thomas is a senior level Executive Assistant, with a strong foundation in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims before the Board of Appeals. Britany has been working in the field of Veteran's law and advocacy for nearly a decade. She spent over five years assisting veteran's and/or their dependents in applying for available federal benefits from the United States Department of Veterans by initiating and reopening claims.

In addition to her advocacy for Veterans and their families, Britany attained an immense amount of administration and editorial experience gained through interning, volunteering, and working for education and community enrichment organizations such as, Associates in Renewal for Education and The Children's Defense Fund. She wrote an article highlighting her role and some progressive changes that was featured in the February 2019 issue of Purple Heart Magazine.

Britany, is a mother of one and caregiver to her father, who is a proud Marine and Vietnam Veteran. She is located in Washington, D.C.

Blue Star Families Staff

All
  • All
  • External Affairs
  • Finance
  • Impact
  • Operations
BSF-Brooke-Blaalid

Brooke Blaalid

Associate Director, Policy
BSF-Penny-Bolden

Penny Bolden

Vice President, Brand Partnerships
BSF-Marisa-Donovan

Marisa Donovan

Senior Manager, White Oak Collaborative and Policy
BSF-Tom-Hausman

Tom Hausman

Senior Manager, Brand Marketing and Events
BSF-Daniela-Hines

Daniela Hines

Manager, Brand Marketing
BSF-Leah-Love.

Leah Love

Director, Brand Marketing and Community Engagement
BSF-Maria-Mahoney

Maria Mahoney

Coordinator, National Experience
Tom Porter, Blue Star Families Vice President, Government Affairs

Tom Porter

Vice President, Government Affairs
BSF-Brian-Whiting

Brian Whiting

Chief External Affairs Officer
BSF-Meghan-Wieten-Scott

Meghan Wieten-Scott

Senior Director, External Affairs