The AMPA leadership team is made up of a truly diverse and talented group of dedicated, 100% volunteers!
Board of Directors
Founder and President Emeritus: Stephen Peters (Washington, DC) proudly served in the United States Marine Corps for four years. After being honorably discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Stephen undertook an unprecedented effort to advocate for the families of LGBT service members and veterans. As the partner of an active duty Marine, Stephen led a small group of same-sex military spouses in what was then called the “Campaign for Military Partners” and turned it in to the nation’s largest and most influential organization of its kind — the American Military Partner Association — today with over 40,000 members and supporters.
Under his leadership, AMPA grew dramatically and sparked a national dialogue on the exclusion of same-sex partners and spouses of service members from military benefits and support systems. Through incredible hard work, strategic social and earned media outreach, and extensive grassroots organizing, Stephen placed the organization on a national stage. Even beyond fighting for full equality for LGBT military families, Stephen also set the organization on an important path forward in education, advocacy, and support for our nation’s modern military families. He has been sought after as a speaker and in the media on the issues and policies impacting LGBT military spouses and their families.
Stephen now works as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, has served on the Military Spouse Advisory Council of the Military Officers Association of America, and was elected Military Spouse Magazine‘s 2014 Pentagon Spouse of the Year. He and his husband, a Marine Corps major stationed at the Pentagon, live in Washington, DC. Stephen has a BA from Pensacola Christian College, an MBA in International Business from Liberty University, and an MS in International Relations from Troy University. To contact him directly, email him at email@example.com.
President: Ashley Broadway (Fort Bragg, NC) was born in Montgomery, Alabama, but as a child she moved all over the South. After settling in Columbus, Georgia, she attended Columbus State University for her undergraduate studies and then completed her masters degree at Troy University. It was during this time that Ashley met her spouse, Heather, who was stationed at Fort Benning. In late 1997, Ashley and Heather began their life together and spent the next 14 years under the threat of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
After 13 years in the classroom, Ashley walked away from teaching to be a stay-at-home mom. Living in the shadows as the same-sex partner of a service member under the threat of DADT, Ashley found the Campaign for Military Partners and became a founding board member of the American Military Partner Association (AMPA). It was through AMPA that Ashley found her new passion to assist other LGBT military families by working through the existing inequalities we face. Through her over 17 years as a military spouse, she is able to combine the traditions of the Army, while moving towards its vision of tomorrow. She is honored to serve as the President of AMPA where she leads the organization in a strategic mission of education, advocacy, and support for our modern military families.
Ashley lives near Fort Bragg, NC, where Heather is currently stationed. Besides being “Momma” to their two children, she is the 2013 Fort Bragg Spouse of the Year, volunteers with Equality NC, and serves as family readiness group treasurer for Heather’s unit. To contact Ashley directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Cassidy (San Diego, CA) is originally from Westerly, Rhode Island. After graduating from Westerly High School, Jim enlisted in the United States Navy. Serving within the confines of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Jim had a successful career and retired as a Chief Hospital Corpsmen and settled in Southern California.
Jim’s spouse, John, is active duty in the Navy. Looking for support during separation from his spouse due to an overseas duty station, Jim found the American Military Partner Association (then called the Campaign for Military Partners). Starting out first as a member of its National Steering Committee and then a member of the Board of Directors, Jim has grown progressively more involved in the work of AMPA. In addition to his role on the board, he actively leads AMPA outreach efforts in helping to reach and connect LGBT military partners, spouses, and their families.
Jim is also currently the Director of Programs and Community Resources with the largest HIV/AIDS Service Provider in San Diego. To contact Jim directly, email him at email@example.com.
Adrianna Domingos-Lupher (Tampa, FL) is the co-founder and CEO of MSB New Media. Honored recently by the White House as a Champion of Change, Adrianna is the creator of MSB New Media’s flagship online magazine, NextGen MilSpouse. She was also profiled by Glamour Magazine as one of “50 Phenomenal Women of the Year Who Are Making a Difference.”
Adrianna has contributed to CNN, NBC Latino, the Military Saves Blog, the New Latina Online Magazine (and even AMPA’s own Modern MilSpouse Blog prior to joining the AMPA team). Adrianna is a passionate advocate for military spouse employment, entrepreneurship, and political engagement and has played a significant role in launching ground-breaking programs for military spouses including the Military Spouse CEO Experience and Homefront Rising.
She and her spouse Michael, an officer in the United States Air Force, currently live in Tampa, Florida.
All Volunteer Staff
National Press Secretary: Heather Reed-Heard (Huntsville, Alabama) graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication. In 2011, she graduated from the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, and is a spokesperson for the Missile Defense Agency as a DoD Civilian.
Heather has been a long-time advocate for equality. She served as the campaign manager for several state and local candidates, and worked on multiple campaigns for presidential, U.S. Senate, and governor races. Heather’s most recent work is with marriage equality in Alabama. She served as the spokesperson and coordinator of Wedding Week, a weeklong celebration of the legalization of marriage equality in Alabama. The team coordinated over 160 weddings in Huntsville in 5 days. The couples came from multiple states and covered the entire spectrum of the LGBT community, including ally straight couples.
Heather continues her advocacy by working to create an environment where dialogue regarding equality can exist in a non-hostile setting online, in the news, and in her community. Heather is married to Chaplain LTC Paige Heard. Heather and Paige reside in Huntsville, Alabama with their two sons, Dylan 12 and Jaden 6. To reach Heather directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director of Research & Policy: Dr. Lori Hensic (San Diego, CA) is originally from Sonoma, California. After completing her undergraduate studies at UC Santa Barbara, she earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy (PharmD) with an emphasis in Health Policy & Management from UC San Francisco. Lori has specialty clinical training in Ambulatory Care, HIV/AIDS Clinical Care, Designing Clinical Research, and provided direct patient care for several years in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Shortly after the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT), Lori relocated to be with her partner, stationed in San Diego. She found the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) after her move when struggling to figure out how to “survive military life,” and since then has been determined to give back to the organization that helped her so wholeheartedly.
Lori has over 5 years of teaching experience at medical and pharmacy schools, and currently works as a Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor at UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. There she designs and instructs the Health Policy curriculum and serves as a research advisor for doctoral candidates. She is also the Safe Medication Practice Pharmacy Specialist for Sharp HealthCare’s Mesa Vista Hospital and Memorial Hospital locations. Lori’s wife, Shaina, is an active duty U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot and squadron department head, as well as player on the USA Women’s Eagles (USA Women’s National Rugby Team). They currently live in San Diego, California, with their energetic dog, Toby.
Lori is dedicated to critical educational efforts aimed at strengthening LGBT military families’ representation and engagement in policy changes. She is working to expand AMPA’s research platform and designing a database of vital information and statistics about our LGBT military families to ensure they are well represented within the larger military community. Lori has appeared in media interviews on local and national broadcasts, and has been invited to speak at several conferences on behalf of our LGBT military families. Her educational outreach campaigns and collaborations with other national advocacy organizations help inform LGBT military families, elected officials, and the general public about disparities in our families’ access to services and benefits – as well as how to assist with means to change them. To contact her directly, email her at email@example.com.
Organizational Advocate: Bianca Strzalkowski (Jacksonville, NC) is the Senior Editor at Elva Resa Publishing. Proud Marine Corps wife of 13 years, she was named the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year by Military Spouse magazine. As a mother of three, Bianca has spent her time volunteering with various organizations, such as the National Military Family Association and the Marine Corps’ Family Readiness program. Because of her volunteerism, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James Amos, awarded her with a Certificate of Commendation.
In July 2011, utilizing her own student experience as a reference, Bianca became an advocate for the Military Spouse Education Initiative. She believes that it is possible for spouses to achieve their own goals around the diverse obstacles of military life. To date, she has worked with officials from the Departments of Defense and Labor, Congressional leadership, and the Joining Forces Initiative to work on the increasing need of educational opportunities for her peers.
In addition to advancing programming for spouses, Bianca has appeared in media interviews, such as Fox & Friends, CNN Newsroom, and Oprah, and is a guest writer for The Huffington Post, SpouseBuzz, and Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). Currently, she is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, Jacksonville, NC where she is a Consultant for Lifetime Television.
Bianca is honored to join forces with the American Military Partner Association to advocate for universal support programs for all military families who give so much in the name of freedom for this country. She actively works to highlight and advocate for the mission of AMPA. United we stand as a community of one! To contact Bianca directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Family Readiness: Chris Rowzee (Louisville, KY) began her active duty career after graduating in 1984 from the US Air Force Academy. She served for 8 years (much of it pre-DADT) before leaving the active force and joining the NC Air National Guard as a traditional guardsman where she continued her service. She eventually went to work full time for the Arkansas Air National Guard, and it was there that she met her wife, who is currently an active duty guardsman for the Kentucky Air National Guard. It was also in Arkansas that she became active in advocating for LGBT rights as a founding member of Arkansans for Equality, working completely behind the scenes since DADT was still in full effect. Chris, her wife, and their toddler son currently reside in southern Indiana, near Louisville, KY.
Following her military retirement at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after 28 years’ service, Chris became actively involved with AMPA in supporting and advocating for our military families. With expertise in National Guard affairs and a strong commitment to helping our families achieve full equality in every state, Chris puts her military knowledge and experience in Public Affairs and Personnel to good use in keeping the media and public informed of the issues LGBT military spouses and their families still face. As both a retired military member and the spouse of an active duty member, she brings unique insight to the issues our families face and she uses that knowledge in her role as Director of Family Readiness. She has appeared in both print and broadcast media interviews at the local and national levels speaking on behalf of our LGBT military spouses and their families. To contact Chris directly, email her at email@example.com.
Development Director: Andy Blevins (Salem, OR) is originally from Denver, CO. He enlisted in the United States Navy, where he served as a Cryptologic Technician, a few short weeks after graduating from high school. Serving under the archaic DADT law, Andy had a successful career and was named his command’s “2010 Sailor of the Year” before being honorably discharged. He attended the University of Colorado for his undergraduate degree in English and Urban Education, continued at the same university while studying for his Post-Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration, and will be attending Willamette University’s School of Law this fall.
Andy served as an intern in First Lady Michelle Obama’s office, through the White House Internship Program; and a Mission Continues Fellow with Junior Achievement, where he focused on project development/implementation and education policy. He is no stranger to the LGBT military community, and had served in various capacities with OutServe-SLDN and the Military Partners and Families Coalition before joining the American Military Partner Association as their development director.
Outside of the military community, Andy has worked as an advocate and advisor for LGBT youth through DeMolay International, OneColorado, and the Special Olympics; he co-founded Genders and Sexualities Alliances/Quorums through his cohort in the White House Internship Program and at several high schools and colleges around the state of Colorado; and has delivered dozens of cultural competency sessions to help educators and school officials better support and represent their LGBT students. In his free time, Andy likes to spend as much time as possible with his husband and their fur-child (a dachshund and basset hound mix), aptly named “Sir Reginald, the Earl of Puppydom”. When they get tired of him, he likes to moonlight as a wedding officiant, “get his nerd on” at local libraries and museums, and work on his own literary pieces. Ever proud of his husband’s Army career, he can’t help but ALWAYS root for Navy! To contact Andy directly, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Outreach Coordinator: Nick Stone (Washington, DC) is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. When his partner of 6 years decided he wanted to join the military, Nick found AMPA in his search to learn more about what it would mean to be a supporting partner for a gay service member. When section 3 of DOMA was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Nick and his now husband, Cort, wasted no time. With Nick still living in Utah, and Cort stationed in Washington, DC, Nick caught the next plane to the Capitol, and they were married in front of the Lincoln Monument.
Nick is responsible for a wide variety of tasks in developing and promoting the organization’s mission for our military families with key stakeholders. Outside of his work with AMPA, Nick works as a freelance photographer and designer in the greater DC area. His clients and projects take him all over the country. He loves living in DC and will probably go kicking and screaming when his husband gets his next PCS orders.
Nick attended Brigham Young University and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts & Communications. Now with AMPA’s members and supporters in the tens of thousands, Nick is excited to be working with the nation’s largest resource and support network for LGBT military partners, spouses, and their families. To contact Nick directly, email him at email@example.com.
National Outreach Coordinator: Shannon Simpson (West Point, NY) grew up as the daughter of a college basketball coach and moved around the country her entire childhood. After graduating from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2008, she moved to Philadelphia, where she met her wife, Ellen – a Captain in the Army Nurse Corps.
Shannon and her wife are currently stationed at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where they reside with their dog, Anson. In November 2012, Shannon and Ellen were the first same-sex couple married at West Point. Shortly after their wedding, Shannon joined AMPA, and immediately found the sense of community and support for which she had been searching.
Shannon is responsible for a wide variety of tasks in developing and promoting the organization’s mission for our military families with key stakeholders and educating LGBT military families about all of the important resources that AMPA and our allies have to offer. To contact Shannon directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans Affairs Coordinator: Gene Silvestri (Sacramento, CA) is a U.S. Army disabled transgender veteran, and he received an honorable medical discharge in 2003. Since then, Gene has been active as an advocate and serves on the board of the Sacramento Valley Veterans (SVV), his local chapter of the American Veterans For Equal Rights (AVER). He is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). In 2009, Gene became involved with the Sacramento County veteran service organization (VCSN) as a local transgender veteran liaison. He has a wide array of knowledge on VA claims processes and benefits information. In August 2013, Gene was appointed to the role of Vice-Chair of the Committee on LGBT Veterans of the Veterans Caucus of the California Democratic Party. In November 2013, he was nominated and elected to the Executive Board of the Veterans Democratic Club of Sacramento.
Gene is very excited and honored to be a part of the AMPA team. Over the past 4 years, he has committed his life to advocating for the rights and benefits for LGBT veterans and their families. As a married transgender male veteran, he brings a unique perspective and awareness concerning VA benefits and LGBT veterans and their families. He stands committed to the core values of AMPA as well as welcomes the challenge to implement change on a larger level by connecting our veteran families with the benefits they earned and deserve. To contact Gene directly, email him at email@example.com.
Communications Assistant: Nicole Reno (San Antonio, TX) is a native Texan. She and her wife, U.S. Army SPC Liz Reno, married in May of 2014 and are currently stationed in San Antonio, TX. She works as the lead transportation coordinator for a mid size crude oil transportation company and is currently pursuing a degree with American Public University in Sports and Health Sciences.
Nicole was introduced to the American Military Partner Association by her wife Liz in the hopes she would be able to make connections with other military spouses to help her integrate into this new lifestyle. Having found so many answers to questions she didn’t even know she should be asking, she found a passion for helping to educate and inform new spouses of the ins and outs of life as a military spouse.
Nicole is excited to contribute as a communications assistant. During her internship, she hopes to add her talent for blogging and usage of social media to help continue the success of AMPA’s support of the LGBT military spouse community. To contact Nicole directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Assistant: Lance Buchanan (Naval Base, Guam) is originally from Lake Santeetlah, North Carolina, and currently lives in Guam with his husband, Kyle Bandermann, a Clinical Psychologist in the U.S. Navy.
Lance has a passion for making other people smile and learning about other cultures. He works as a freelance photographer & as a retail associate. Lance has an Associate of Arts degree and will be pursuing his Bachelors degree next year. Two of his many hobbies include French and traveling.
Lance is looking forward to learning a great deal while interning with AMPA. He is deadline oriented, well disciplined, and has an eye for detail, which makes him a great fit for our communications team. He is ecstatic to be apart of the AMPA team, and cannot wait to help change the world. To contact Lance directly, email him at email@example.com.
Membership and Development Assistant: Verita Richardson (Peoria, IL), daughter of a retired Marine & Navy nurse, has traveled all over the country while growing up in a military family. While she currently attends Bradley University in Peoria, IL, during the summer months, Verita lives in Portland, OR, near her partner, Christina, who is in the Army Reserves.
During her studies in marketing and sales, she has grown to enjoy event planning, and hopes to pursue the field upon graduation in 2015. AMPA has provided support for Verita during her partner’s service to our nation, and she hopes to be able to give back by helping connect LGBT military spouses and their families. To contact Verita directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.