Meet Our Executive Team

 

President and Founding Director

kristen.jpgKristen L. Rouse served in the United States Army during three Operation Enduring Freedom deployments, leading troops and logistical operations for a total of 31 months in Afghanistan. She served as a non-commissioned officer both as a reservist and during three years of active service with the 10th Mountain Division before she was commissioned as an officer. She currently serves as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve. In her civilian career, she worked for nearly six years at New York City Emergency Management, where she was a Senior Logistics Planner. She designed and managed logistics programs, authored and edited plans, and coordinated vital programs for movement of supplies and equipment for city emergencies. Her academic background is in literature, humanities, history, and government, and she holds degrees in English from Loyola University New Orleans and Florida State University. She has taught college-level composition and literature and authored articles on U.S. history and culture for encyclopedias published by SageScribner’s, and Oxford University Press. Her essays on military, veterans, and national security issues have appeared in The New York TimesThe Daily BeastTalking Points MemoTampa Bay Times, and Salon. She has also spoken about veterans and national security issues on ABC’s “The View,” NY1’s “Inside City Hall,” MSNBC’s “All In” with Chris Hayes, WNYC radio’s “The Takeaway,” and other television and radio programs. She has been an active member of several veteran service organizations and an outspoken advocate for NYC veterans, as well as an advocate for refugees and civilians affected by war. Her advocacy work led her to take charge of the initiative to establish the NYC Veterans Alliance. She currently lives in Brooklyn. Email her at kristen@nycveteransalliance.org.


Board Member

sam.jpgSamuel Innocent is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He served in the United States Army as a Combat Medic. While deployed in Afghanistan, he witnessed both the need for cutting-edge medical care in combat theater and the full lack of healthcare in the developing world, and he discovered a deep desire to serve in the medical field and care for others. It was this love for medicine that pushed him to re-enlist twice and serve seven years in the U.S. Army as a medic. During his Army service, Innocent obtained his associate degree in science from Jefferson Community College and following his honorable discharge from the Army, was admitted to the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned his bachelor's degree in Political Science as a Tillman Military Scholar, a Colin Powell Fellow, and a Mercer Scholar. Centered in the community, he served as a mentor in the In Arms Reach program for underprivileged urban youth, he was also an assistant coach to the A.P. Randolph High School boys’ lacrosse team and later served as their head coach. While working for the City University of New York he pioneered many initiatives for veterans of CUNY colleges. Intent on next pursuing his Master’s degree, he plans to become an advocate for better transition services for veterans, quality education and affordable healthcare in low-income neighborhoods like his own in Brooklyn. He credits the knowledge and training that he received while in the military with helping him to better understand systems of leadership and how they can produce positive results in the areas which they serve. Through his government studies and advocacy work, Innocent wants to ensure that local and federal policies are put in place so healthcare remains affordable, quality education is a right and local communities have a say in how the system is managed. With proper representation, he wants Americans throughout low-income communities like his own to realize that real change is possible and that they are not stuck with the status quo, especially when the wellbeing and livelihood of the next generation is at stake. Earlier this year, Innocent was appointed to the Veterans Advisory Board for the City of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio. He currently sits as the Vice-Chair for the Veterans Advisory Board and develops policy initiatives for the NYC Veterans Alliance.


Board Member

kent.jpgKent Eiler is an attorney, veteran, and a Major in the United States Air Force Reserve.  Mr. Eiler serves as the Director of the Veterans Assistance Project for the New York City Bar’s Justice Center.  The Veteran’s Assistance Project, with over two hundred participating volunteer attorneys across the city of New York, assists veterans with claims and appeals of disability benefits, pension applications, survivor benefits, and overpayments before the Department of Veterans Affairs for low-income veterans across the city.  The Project also participates and assists in advocacy litigation on behalf of veterans in the New York City area and across the country. After leaving active duty, prior to heading up the Veterans Assistance Project, Mr. Eiler worked in private practice and served as Counsel to The Constitution Project’s landmark, blue-ribbon, independent, nonpartisan, Task Force on Detainee Treatment which investigated the federal government’s detention policies over the last twenty years.  Task Force members included: high level officials from the Clinton and Bush administrations, former members of Congress, a former director of the FBI, and two retired U.S. Army generals.  He has discussed his work on numerous national television and radio programs including CSPAN’s Washington Journal, the Geraldo Rivera Radio Show, and the Michael Signorile Show.  Articles Mr. Eiler has written have appeared in The LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.


Board Member

molly.jpgMolly Pearl is the Program Manager for Service Together at Intersections International, a program dedicated to connecting veterans and civilians through mutual dialogue and community service. Molly is a licensed social worker and specializes in community organizing. She has a passion for social justice and believes all work should be focused through an anti-oppressive lens. In her former life Molly taught middle school mathematics and art in South Louisiana. She then went on to work with soldiers at Fort Polk as a FAST instructor and education counselor. As the spouse and caretaker of a veteran, Molly believes bridging the military-civilian divide is crucial to building a more compassionate and responsible body politic.


 

OurVeterans Program Manager

adrienne.jpgAdrienne Brammer joined the United States Air Force as a broadcast journalist in 1998. She was assigned to American Forces Network broadcasting detachments around the world and was recognized for her production and broadcasting achievements with awards from the Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, and base commands. Adrienne was later assigned to the 1st Combat Camera Squadron and deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2011 as a combat videographer, documenting humanitarian missions, infantry-led patrols, and army/police graduations with joint and international military services. Adrienne completed her Associate of Applied Science in Public Affairs from the Community College of the Air Force. She separated in 2012 with an Honorable Discharge as a Technical Sergeant and moved to New York City shortly after to achieve her dream of acting and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting at Marymount Manhattan College (MMC). She participated in a six-week veterans externship program with The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and works as a freelance assistant editor at 48 Hours on CBS. Adrienne is an Executive Board Member and Executive Secretary for the Society of Artistic Veterans. Email her at: adrienne@nycveteransalliance.org.


Operations Manager

olivia.jpgOlivia Meier is an attorney who is currently overseeing operations, development, and fundraising for the NYC Veterans Alliance. She attended Bryn Mawr College where she studied international and comparative politics and graduated with a B.A. in Political Science. She then moved on to Brooklyn Law School where she received her J.D. and her Certificate in International Law (Human Rights, Litigation and Law of Nations). During law school, she interned at several women’s rights organizations and spent almost a year working in the United Nations’ internal justice system at the Office of Staff Legal Assistance. She also participated in Brooklyn Law School’s Military Legal Practice Clinic, which included an internship at the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Regional Counsel at the Brooklyn VA Hospital. Olivia is a member of the New York State Bar. Though she never served in the military, she’s eager to bring her experience as an advocate to the community and join in the work the Alliance is doing. She can be contacted at olivia@nycveteransalliance.org.


Founding Advisor

coco.jpgCoco Culhane is the founder and director of the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center. She is an adjunct professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches the Veterans' Rights Clinic. From 2011-2013 she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the CIGNA Foundation and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  She was formerly on the Steering Committee of the Veterans' Mental Health Coalition and chaired the Communications Committee in New York City for two years. She has presented on veterans' legal issues and conducted trainings for attorneys, social workers, and students at conferences across the country. Culhane received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she was the symposium editor of the Brooklyn Law Review and president of the student health law association. Prior to law school she was an editor at The New Republic for six years. She received a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University.


 

Meet Our Members

Below is a listing of our current members. Members may opt to keep profiles private, so this is not a complete listing.

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