CEO + Co-Founder
Richard Brookshire is the CEO and Co-Founder of the Black Veterans Project. As a storyteller, Richard leverages a background in political communications and digital advocacy to deliver strategic and dynamic social-impact campaigns. He is an alumnus of Morehouse College and a graduate of Fordham University. He holds an MPA in Urban & Social Policy with specialization in Media & Advocacy from Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs. A former infantry Combat Medic and U.S. Army veteran of the War in Afghanistan, Richard commentary and work has been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, PBS Newshour, theGrio and others.
Co-Founder + Board Chair
Zella Vanie is a multidisciplinary artist and strategist whose work is at the intersection of research, content strategy, and design. Zella has spent their career helping organizations build inclusive products, craft stories, and push creative ideas to their highest potential. They are the founder and lead design strategist at Seven Futures and previously served as a Senior Product Designer at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Zella is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Mary L. Tobin
Mary L.Tobin is the Director of Brickyard Chapters and Programs, where she manages all of the volunteer Brickyard leaders and leadership development programs at More Perfect Union. Most recently, she served in the Biden-Harris administration as the Senior Advisor for Wounded Warrior, Veteran, and Military Family Initiatives at AmeriCorps. She is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the New York Institute of Technology. Mary is a proud combat Veteran, having served 10 years in the United States Army as a communications officer, including two combat tours in Iraq. In her spare time, Mary serves as the Vice President of the West Point Women Alumni Organization, Committee member for the West Point Alumni Organization’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and Co-Founder of the West Point African-American Alumni Association. She is a proud Godmother and an avid sports fan.
Dr. Ravi K. Perry
Dr. Ravi K. Perry is a Professor of Political Science at Howard University and holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Brown University, each in political science. An expert on Black politics, minority representation, urban politics, American public policy, and LGBT candidates of color. Currently, Dr. Perry is finishing a book that introduces the lives and campaigns of Black, and openly lesbian and gay elected officials in the United States.The proud son, grandson, great grandson, and great nephew of generations of family members on the Armed Forces, including but not limited to Army and Air Force; and the following conflicts: World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam Wars, and formerly recommended by his hometown Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur to the Air Force Academy in 2001.
Daniel Walker is a former US Air Force F-22 Raptor Mission Commander and Fighter Fundamentals Instructor Pilot with over 1200 hours of combined training and combat flight time. Daniel is a 2010 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. While at the Academy, he was a four-year athletic letter winner in Baseball, as well as Track and Field. He is also a graduate of Old Dominion University with a master’s degree in Public Administration. Daniel has piloted the T-6, T-38, F-16, and F-22 from 2011-2021. Walker is attending Harvard Law School as a Juris Doctor Candidate in the class of 2024. At Harvard he is a Tillman Scholar, Black Family Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership, and a HLS International Legal Studies Chayes International Public Service Fellow.
Alexandra (Alex) Williams is an experienced social impact advisor. Most recently, she was a Senior Manager in The Bridgespan Group’s Boston office where she worked with a range of clients, including collaborative philanthropic platforms, advocacy and criminal justice organizations, and diverse coalitions and network organizations focused on issues ranging from youth development to climate change — helping them develop strategies to grow, scale, and sustain their impact. Alex holds a BA with distinction from Yale University in Political Science. Her passion for the Black Veterans Project work stems from her family. She is the proud granddaughter of two Black veterans and her brother served in the United States Marine Corps.