Dog Tag, Inc. Fellowship Program Alumni
WINTER CLASS OF 2017
Dog Tag Inc. fellows represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the veteran community. Success looks like the faces and stories below now gainfully employed in government, non-profit and corporate enterprises, or entrepreneurs launching their own endeavors!
Leslie Caleb is native from Verona, Italy and grew up in Munich, Germany, where she graduated with a certificate in Event Management in 2009 and achieve several professional successes for two decades. After moving to the United States in 2013, Leslie graduated with honors in 2016 with an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration Marketing at Fayetteville Technical Community College. In 2015, she was rewarded for excellent achievements with a military spouse scholarship. Leslie is also an active member of the Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa. Leslie is fluent in four languages.
Leslie Caleb has been actively involved within the Army Community since 2013 by volunteering among others, for the Army Community Service and the Fort Myer Thrift Shop at Joint base Myer-Henderson Hall. Most recently, Leslie has worked with the executive office team for the National Military Family Association in Alexandria, VA. Prior to being selected for the Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship, she was given the opportunity to work in a three-months internship with the Global Federation of Competitions Councils in Washington, D.C.
Leslie has been happily married since 2012 to her husband, David, an active duty paratrooper serving over 21 years in the U.S. Army. He is currently serving in the “Training with Industry Program” at theHR Certification Institute located in Alexandria, Virginia.. Leslie is excited to be part of the Dog Tag Bakery fellowship and she looks forward to using the knowledge gained from this Fellowship Program to start, develop, and enhance her small business idea while successfully achieving her family dream.
Charles C. Carolus Jr. is originally from San Antonio, Texas where he enlisted into the United States Navy on the 12th of February 2007. Charles learned a broad spectrum of management skills, offering 10 years of proven experience within the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He accomplished incredible results while leading teams of 40 members in dynamic, fast-paced environments. Charles is currently transitioning out of active duty and is currently in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Charles deployed twice during his military career first supporting Operation Continuing Promise on the USNS Comfort, a 6 month long humanitarian mission where he provided free health care in Caribbean, Central, and South American countries in 2009. His second deployment was in support of Operation Enduring Freedom while attached with the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, from 2010 through 2013. Charles Carolus proved his valor and is the recipient of multiple awards including the Navy Marine Corps Medal (Awarded for Heroism), selected as the 2013 Sailor of the Year, and is an inductee to the Military Times Hall of Valor. Charles continues to serve by volunteering with the Adaptive Sports Program at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he instructs non-contact boxing drills for combat wounded and mental health patients. For his efforts, he received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for serving over 4,000 hours of community service. This award was presented by both the President and Vice President of the United States directly and is one of Charles’s proudest accomplishments.
Looking towards the future, Charles wants to utilize the knowledge gained from the Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship Program to start an entrepreneurial venture in the field of video production and is highly motivated to rise to all the challenges. He is happily married to his loving wife Yolangel Carolus since 2009, a DMV Native who supports him entirely and wholeheartedly. They currently reside in Silver Spring, Maryland and plan to take their talents to San Antonio, Texas where friends and family are waiting with open arms.
Michael Gephart is originally from Seattle, Washington. He is passionate about the outdoors to include backpacking, mountain climbing, biking, and backcountry skiing. Michael was a Boy Scout, and from this experience he gained his passion for the wild places, eventually earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
Michael enlisted in the Army in 1987, joining the 75th Ranger Regiment upon completion of initial entry training and the Ranger Indoctrination Program. In December 1989 instead of going home for Christmas, Michael went to Panama as part of Operation Just Cause. Shortly after, he exited the service to return home and pursue a college degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Over the next twenty years Michael would serve in many locations across the globe in both training and combat operations. Michael is most proud of his time spent in the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 1st Special Forces Regiment. He has worked in numerous positions throughout his career from front line leader to policy implementation and development. Michael is a military spouse as well, he and Michele have three active and energetic boys: Connor, Teagan and Brenen.
Upon departure from the US Army in 2014, Michael has been looking for adventure and ways to share his love of the outdoors with his three sons and today’s youth. He is an Assistant Scoutmaster in Connor’s Boy Scout troop. He works closely with the den leaders of Teagan and Brenen’s Cub Scout Pack. Michael completed courses to become a Leave No Trace Trainer, with a desire to become a Leave No Trace Master Educator. He is also a Level 1 International Mountain Biking Association Ride Guide, next summer he plans to complete the Level 2 course.
As a Dog Tag Bakery fellow Michael feels incredibly honored to be a part of this program. He is excited to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities in the outdoor recreation industry. After several years of working outdoors for the US Army he would like to continue to explore and share the wild, natural spaces.
Rachael Harris grew up in Haymarket, Va and is the oldest of two. Her family always celebrated life surrounded with food and laughter. Rachael developed a passion for cooking from her Dad, both maternal and paternal grandmothers, and her paternal grandfather. Rachael comes from a professional baseball family. Her grandfather played for the NY Giants and the Detroit Tigers, and her Dad currently works for the Washington Nationals. She enjoys baking for the Nationals players and taking snacks down to the field before games where she has become known for the gallon bags of chocolate chip cookies that are always in tow.
She enlisted in the Navy in 2006, and served with ACU-5 in Camp Pendleton, California, attended San Diego Culinary Institute while enlisted, and participated in several military cooking competitions. She left the Navy in 2009 and has been cooking locally in DC for eight years. Rachael’s mother always pushed her to cook and follow her passion, and was her biggest champion. Unfortunately she passed away in May of 2014. Rachael knew that she wanted to push to start her own business and cook great food that would make her mom proud. Her Grandfather once told her that, “you can’t hand someone a hot biscuit and not have them smile.” And that philosophy is what Rachael would like to impart into her business and food.
Rachael found the Dog Tag Fellowship while researching small business resources for Veterans and applied. She is very excited about the opportunities that Dog Tag Inc. will bring to catapult her dream into a reality and allow her to create a place where people can come together through food and fellowship.
Major Victor F. Hogan resides in Bethesda, MD with his wife, Major Jasmine Hogan and two sons, Victor and Joshua. He is currently assigned to the Wound Warrior Transition Unit at Walter Reed National Medical Center and plans to retire in June 2017. He is a native of Purvis, MS and graduated from Stillman College with a degree in Business Administration and commissioned from the University of Alabama Reserves Officer Training Program. Upon graduation, he entered military service and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Field Artillery.
Major Hogan’s military education includes the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course, Northern Warfare Training Course, US Army Airborne School, Contract Management (3C certified) and Combined Logistics Captain Career Course. His civilian education includes a Masters of Profession Studies from The George Washington University, Masters of Business Administration, Indiana University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill certificate of Strategic Management, and a graduate of the Masters Negotiations Program from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Major Hogan served in the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Alaska, the 1st Sustainment Command (Theater) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and the 55th Sustainment Bridge at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Major Hogan deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom several times. Major Hogan is also a Wounded Warrior Project Alumni, and Wounded Warrior Mentor at Walter Reed Wounded Warrior Transition Unit.
Major Hogan learned about the Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship program while attending a veterans seminar at George Washington University. He is excited to expand his knowledge and experience with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. He hopes to use the knowledge gained to explore entrepreneurship opportunities that will help impact veterans with service connected disabilities with their benefits and transition.
Aundrea is a US Army Reserve Captain, and prior US Air Force Active Duty Airmen. After redeploying from Afghanistan in 2011 and while a patient at Walter Reed, Aundrea, began reviewingmedical records for other Service Members to help determine eligibility for medical care at Military Treatment Facilities.
After numerous referrals, a manageable treatment schedule, the support of the Red Cross and the Walter Reed Military and Civilian staff, Aundrea became a full-time volunteer Transition Service Officer (TSO) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) for the full spectrum of Uniformed Service Members (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps) that are in various stages of medical treatment or transition.
She plays an integral role in working with Service Members, Family Members, Treatment Teams and Community Advocates to develop transition strategies based on the growing needs for comprehensive transition plans that incorporate the long-term needs and quality of life for the service member based in part on the service connected injuries and illnesses, the goals of the Service Member and the many resources available to them. One of her most consistent referrals remains The Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship.
Aundrea's last transition plan for 2016 was her own. As a result of her awareness of the growing need for uniformed service member benefit advocacy and transition planning, and the unique background to be able to meet that need, Aundrea decided to apply for her ownDog Tag Inc. Fellowship to support the goal of making her Uniformed Service Members' Assistance Center (USMAC) proposal into a real working entity.
Vince Loran is originally from Bronx, NY and Puerto Rico, and currently resides with his lovely wife Ana in Alexandria, Virginia. He served in the United States Air Force for over 21 years in two distinct career fields. Initially as an Aircraft Electrical/Environmental Systems Technician and later as a Military Equal Opportunity Specialist. He completed a special duty assignment at the Inter-American Air Force Academy as an International Military Training Leader. Vince culminated his active duty service as the Military Equal Opportunity Superintendent at Bolling AFB, DC and retired with the rank of (E-7) Master Sergeant.
Since his retirement, Vince worked as a contractor for Customs and Border Protection as a Senior Technical Trainer. He served as the Diversity Program Manager for USDA/Food Nutrition Service and later was given an opportunity to stay in the Agency part-time as a Management Analyst while he pursuing his degree. Shortly thereafter, Vince left the Federal Government to explore the nonprofit arena and entrepreneurial opportunities. He was accepted to be part of the Board of Directors for the Fifty Shades of Purple against Bullying nonprofit organization and received his bachelor degree with highest honors in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resource Management from Strayer University.
Vince learned about the Dog Tag Bakery Fellowship program while attending one of the wonderful and informative 100 Entrepreneur luncheons; however, was already committed to be part of the Mission Continues Bravo Class fellowship at the United Way. He jumped on the next opportunity and was accepted to be part of the Dog Tag Fellowship fifth’s cohort.
Vince is also an active Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) Alumni, and WWP Peer Support Group facilitator in Northern Virginia. He is 110% committed in continuing his service to others and believes the Dog Tag Fellowship program will be instrumental in assisting him become a brilliant citizen leader with resilience. He hopes to actively lead and motivate others to the advancement of the common good in humanity and continue to aspire respect, value and appreciation of all walks of life. He lives by his personal motto “Building Bridges of Understanding and Tearing Down Walls of Separation”.
Cassaundra Martinez grew up in a very small town in Erin, Tennessee. She served as Human Intelligence Collector for the Army Military Intelligence branch, deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom on a 15-month long tour, and attended French Language Studies at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. During this time, she continued her college education and her passion for understanding people, cultures, and organizations bloomed. Cassaundra was honorably discharged after five years as a Sergeant and immediately took an assignment in Maryland working in Human Resources for the Department of Defense.
Cassaundra completed an Associates in French, one year later a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a Certificate in Applied Behavioral and Social Sciences, and only eighteen months later a Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology with a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Systems Design. Since then Cassaundra has worked in nonprofit, private and government agencies in an Organizational Development or Human Resources Consulting capacity.
Cassaundra is not only an Army Veteran, but also a military spouse. She and her husband, First Sergeant Phillip Martinez have six crazy cute kids: Ariana (17), Ella (13), Noemi (6), twins Calais and Elise (4), and their son, Tobias (2). The family loves spending time together – bowling, hiking, fishing, boating, swimming, etc. There's never a dull moment!
Wherever Cassaundra has lived, she makes time to be an active volunteer in the community. She is currently a Girl Scout Leader, Service Unit Welcome Specialist on Fort Belvoir, and serves on the Connections Team at National Community Church. One of her heart strings is military spouses. Cassaundra has felt deeply impacted by the military lifestyle and when she discovered the outrageous percentage of unemployed and underemployed military spouses, she formed a local women's group that holds monthly meetings. Cassaundra's hope is to connect diverse women in the community, network, and support their small businesses through regular events.
Looking towards the future, Cassaundra hopes the experiences and education as a Fellow at Dog Tag Bakery will allow her to explore the possibility of entrepreneurship and take her career to the next level, as well as provide her the tools to be able to positively impact her community on a grander scale. Cassaundra looks forward to discovering more ways to support and enable military spouses to rise to their potential and gain fulfilling portable careers.
Nnana Obioha was born in Camden England where he is the youngest of five siblings. He grew up however, in Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia. He is a sports enthusiast with basketball being his favorite sport. He plays pickup games and is part of a recreational league.
Nnana joined the Army in 2009 and served during the OIF/OEF era. He spent his first year in the Army after basic training in Iraq with 4th Infantry Division leading fuel operations for a Joint Security Station. He earned is Bachelors in Communications from the University of Colorado shortly after his time in the service. Nnana is currently working on his Masters in Information Technology at Marymount University.
Nnana understands some of the adversities veterans go through when transitioning out of service, which has led him to his future goal of starting a non-profit to help veterans reintegrate after separation through social and leisure activities in the DMV area.
His hope is that the Dog Tag, Inc. fellowship program can help guide him in his transition to a successful career. In 2017 he hopes to become more knowledgeable about what career path to take and will gain the skills to work in the civilian sectors as well. Nnana hopes to gain knowledge about starting his own business through this experience as a Dog Tag Fellow.
Laura Reda, is an Army Veteran originally from the great state of Texas. She currently lives in Maryland with her service dog, Cole. Laura joined the Army after attending the early commissioning program through the New Mexico Military Institute. Laura’s interests are biking, hiking and volunteering with veteran service organizations in the Washington metro area. Laura joined the Dog Tag Fellowship Program to learn about small business opportunities so she can become a successful entrepreneur. Her business will help fund her “dream non profit” of giving high school and middle school low income youth of color the opportunity to become involved in American politics. By participating in this program, young men and women will build their inner strength and leadership qualities and become more aware of their impact in our communities as future leaders. At the end of the program the youth would visit Washington DC on fully funded scholarships.