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VA announces Biden administration appointees

VA announces Biden administration appointees

Jan. 20, 2021, 12:01:00 PM

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VA announces Biden administration appointees

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the names of several key Biden administration political appointees joining the department. 

Paula Molloy, PhD, Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration/ Operations, Security and Preparedness. Dr. Paula Molloy rejoins VA after serving as the Chief Administrative Officer for the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), an independent federal agency, since 2017. Prior to joining the DFC, Molloy served as the VA Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Workforce Services, leading the strategic integration of initiatives to support human capital systems for more than 320,000 VHA employees and over 120,000 health professions trainees. 

Kayla M. Williams, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to rejoining VA, Williams was most recently Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program at Center for a New American Security. Williams previously served as Director of the Center for Women Veterans at VA, where she was primary adviser to the secretary on department policies, programs and legislation affecting women Veterans. Williams also spent eight years at RAND researching service member and Veteran health needs and benefits, international security and intelligence policy. 

Chris Díaz, Acting Chief of Staff, White House Liaison, Office of the Secretary. Chris Diaz is the founder and former executive director of the award-winning, Veteran-led non-profit, Action Tank, whose mission tackles the toughest challenges facing the community. He has sat on numerous boards in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, helping to shape the future of the region. For leading these efforts, Diaz has received national recognition earning the SXSW Community Service Award, Aspen Ideas Fellowship and the prestigious Pat Tillman scholarship. Diaz is a successful entrepreneur whose company, Performa, supported clients focused on implementing positive lifestyle changes, increasing their capacity for self-awareness and actualization. 

Meg Kabat, Senior Advisor for Families, Caregivers, and Survivors, Office of the Secretary. Meg Kabat is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 25 years supporting America’s service members, Veterans and their families. Early in her civilian career with the U.S. Navy, Kabat served as a case manager. From 2011-2019, Kabat served in leadership roles at the VA Caregiver Support Program. Most recently, Kabat has been a senior director at Atlas Research, supporting the Department of Defense (DoD) Sexual Assault Prevention Office (SAPRO), as well as facilitating the COVID-19 Nursing Home Commission in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Kabat is the recipient of multiple awards including a Special Recognition Award from Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a VA Exemplary Service Award and a VA Exceptional Service Award. 

Raymond C. Kelley, Veteran Service Organization Liaison, Office of the Secretary. Prior to his appointment to VA, Kelley served as the Majority Staff Director for the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. In this role, Kelley served as the primary day-to-day Veterans’ portfolio legislative and political advisor to Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif) and oversaw the daily operations of the Committee staff. Prior to his work on the Committee, Kelley was the director, National Legislative Service for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), where he was responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of VFW’s priorities that were presented to Congress, federal departments and agencies, and other organizations. Kelley also served as the National Legislative Director for AMVETS (American Veterans) before his work at the VFW.  

Ya Wei (Jenny) Wang – Director of Mission Operations, Office of the Secretary. Jenny Wang recently served on the Biden-Harris Transition Team. She has served in various foreign policy and national security positions throughout the government. From 2013-2017, Wang served as special assistant and advisor to the White House Chief of Staff, where she managed executive operations. Prior to her time in the White House Chief of Staff’s office, Wang held different positions in the National Security Council, to include special assistant in the Counterterrorism Directorate. 

Tahmika Ruth Jackson, Special Counsel, Office of General Counsel. Prior to her appointment to VA, Tahmika Jackson served as the National Security Agency (NSA) senior representative to the National Counterterrorism Center in McLean, Virginia. Jackson also served as a counterterrorism senior leader in the Counterterrorism Operations Cell of the National Security Operations Center, acting as NSA’s primary coordinator for real-time counterterrorism situational awareness and crisis response. Jackson formerly represented the Department of Defense as an attorney in the NSA Office of the General Counsel working national security and intelligence law issues. 

Terrence L. Hayes, Press Secretary, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Prior to assuming the role of VA Press Secretary, Hayes served as the national director of communication and public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Hayes has served in critical executive-level public affairs positions throughout his 24-year civilian and military career. Hayes formerly served as a public affairs professional at the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs, where he was responsible for answering all national, regional and local media queries on behalf of then Secretaries David Shulkin and Robert Wilkie. He also served as public affairs adviser and spokesperson to the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from November 2011 to January 2016.  

John Santos, Special Assistant, Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. John Santos previously served as the Asian American and Pacific Islander outreach director at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) where he led the DNC’s efforts to mobilize Asian American and Pacific Islander voters through close partnership with the Biden-Harris campaign and community leaders across the country. In addition to his organizing work, Santos has extensive experience in public affairs and communications having served as Western Region press secretary at the DNC and as the deputy spokesperson for the international anti-ISIS coalition in Baghdad, Iraq. 

The department will announce further additions to the team in the near future.



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