Thene grew up in Minnesota and moved East after law school to escape the bitter winters. She practiced corporate law for twenty years, retiring as a partner from Hogan & Hartson LLP in 2010. A spinal cord injury survivor, she is passionate about improving the lives of the disabled and remembers fondly how her dog Winnie provided much comfort during many months of physical and occupational therapy. She has served on the Board of Directors and as Secretary and Treasurer of MedStar National Rehabilitation Network (where she was an inpatient following her injury). Thene earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and got her BA from the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus (a colder school there never was). She lives on a farm in Sandy Spring, Maryland with her husband George, springer spaniel Lucy and five horses.
Randi was born in NYC and as an adult has lived in NJ, Orlando, Roanoke, VA and now Maryland. She has served in Financial Management positions the majority of her professional career. She earned an MBA and is a licensed Certified Management Accountant (CMA). She recently received her Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) license. Randi has experience in several types of accounting, including non-profit accounting. Randi grew up with dogs and has always been owned by rescues and dogs just short of becoming rescues. Her current owners are Lexi, a retired Havana Silk dog, and Layla, a rescued beagle/bassett mix. She looks forward to working with Hero Dogs and supporting the mission!
Ken retired in April, 2018 after 35 years with IBM, Aspen Systems Corporation, Lockheed Martin and Posterity Group where he held Chief Information Officer, Chief Security Officer, and Chief Technology Officer positions providing information technology strategy, planning, implementation, and operations to U.S. defense and civilian agencies. Ken holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Binghamton University in NY.
Following retirement, Ken researched volunteer opportunities with organizations that offered services to address veteran homelessness, suicide prevention and education. He found that Hero Dogs’ mission to help improve the quality of life of veterans and first responders through placement and support of service dogs positively contributes to all issues veterans face.
Marian Block is a retired lawyer who served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Lockheed Martin Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland prior to her retirement. In that position, she was responsible for providing and overseeing legal advice on corporate governance, employee benefits, executive compensation, federal securities laws, general corporate matters and subsidiary management.
Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, she worked in private practice and for the U.S. government.
Marian has served as a visiting professor at the University of Vilnius (Lithuania) Faculty of Law and at the Szcecin University (Poland) Faculty of Law where she taught U.S. corporate and benefits law.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Bethesda Urban Partnership.
She is the past president of the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA) and is a member of the Employee Benefits Committee and Business Law section of the American Bar Association. She was Chairman of the Employee Benefits Committee of the District of Columbia Bar from 1988 – 1990. She has spoken at conferences sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, CompensationStandards.com and webcasts sponsored by law firms and trade associations. She was a contributing editor to a 2009 American Bar Association publication on acquisitions of defense contractors and is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Employees Benefits Journal.
Marian received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia and her Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College. She also has a Master’s of Arts degree in history from Brown University. Her interests including biking, running, golf, theatre and cooking.
Jim is a native New Englander that moved to the Maryland countryside in 2006 along with his wife, Shannon, and their black lab, Zora. He is a Navy veteran, having spent five years in the submarine force on USS San Juan (SSN-751). Jim has spent the past fifteen years as a business strategy and acquisitions professional, working in management roles in the energy and industrial manufacturing fields. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife have been active with Hero Dogs since its inception, and were the first puppy sitters for the organization.
Being puppy sitters turned into being puppy raisers for Theodore Roosevelt and Dudley Morton. Jim, Shannon, and their kids continue to sporadically puppy sit, and enthusiastically support Hero Dogs and its mission.
Tara is SVP of Business Development and Strategic Marketing at Boston Common Asset Management, an ESG investment firm dedicated to the pursuit of financial return and social change. She has worked in business development roles across the financial sector since 2011, working in both private equity and fixed income previously. She holds a BA in English and American Literature from Middlebury College and is currently pursuing her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.
Tara is a lifelong distance runner, a native New Yorker, and a grateful US civilian.
Mikayla Bouchard Hensler
Her teams produce breaking news, exclusive enterprise, explainers and analysis on the biggest stories of the day in Washington.
Mikayla worked at The New York Times for almost seven years, where she was responsible for the digital operation of the Washington bureau, including live breaking news coverage, and where she worked closely with The Times’s audio team on both “The Daily” and “The New Washington” podcasts.
Originally from Michigan, she earned degrees in international relations and theatre from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University. Mikayla is a proud military spouse, married to an active-duty Air Force officer. They live in Virginia with their Labrador-vizsla mix.
Irene grew up in Cleveland and received her doctoral degree in accounting from the University of Michigan. She is a Certified Public Accountant. Irene has served on the faculty of Duke University, George Washington University and Catholic University. At Catholic University, she is Associate Professor of Accounting and Finance, Finance Director, and the Edward Przybyla Chair in Accounting. Irene has rescued dogs from North Carolina and the Washington DC area, and currently lives in Arlington VA with her dog, Sam. She greatly appreciates the opportunity to work with Hero Dogs and serve to support their mission.
Wilder J. Leavitt is an attorney in private practice in Bethesda, Maryland, providing legal counsel for general legal matters. His prior legal experience includes transactional and litigation practice as an environmental attorney with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and as an intellectual property attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Washington, DC.
He served as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (“EMT”), Ambulance Driver and Paramedic for 11 years with the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad in Bethesda, Maryland. He was a member of the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps providing COVID-19 virus testing response during the first year of the pandemic.
Wilder’s prior experience includes working as a management consultant with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), designing and implementing process improvement initiatives for the United States Army, the United States Postal Service, and private-sector clients. He served seven years in the United States Air Force as an Aircraft & Munitions Maintenance Officer maintaining and generating sorties for A-10, F-5, F-15, and F-16 fighter aircraft.
He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Ocean Foundation, the DC Sustainable Business Network, and the Airedale Terrier Club of Metropolitan Washington, DC.
Wilder holds a Juris Doctor degree from American University, a Master of Science in Management degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering degree from Syracuse University.
Wilder is married to Mary Morningstar and they share their home with their beautiful Airedale Terrier, Juno. His interests include mountaineering, hiking, woodworking, beekeeping, and writing.
Alex is a Director of Capture Management at Amentum, a Maryland-headquartered Government contractor. He is an Army Veteran, serving 6 years on Active Duty and 2 years in the Maryland National Guard. He holds a BA in Psychology from Virginia Wesleyan University, where he played Men’s Lacrosse, and is currently pursuing an MBA from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina. Alex, his wife, and children live in West Virginia with their black Lab, Bella.
D’Ann is a Texas native that found her way to Maryland in 2017. She has a degree from The University of Texas at Austin in Communication Studies, with an emphasis on Human Relations. D’Ann is a residential real estate broker licensed in DC, MD and VA and loves giving back to the community in her free time. She has previously served on the Board of Directors for BvB Dallas and Blondes vs Brunettes DC tackling Alzheimer’s Disease. The daughter of a retired Fort Hood firefighter and granddaughter of a Navy vet, she has been involved with other Veteran Service organizations, serving as an NHL Ambassador for the United Heroes League, volunteering with Team RWB and giving back to the Homes for Heroes program through her real estate business. She and her husband Andrew were puppy raisers for Hero Dogs Monty and live in Rockville.
Cassandra is passionate about helping veterans, after witnessing the challenges of her disabled vet stepfather, and spending time in the VA hospital where he worked during her childhood.
Cassandra spent many years training dogs in obedience and conformation, but now spends her down time with her rescue Min Pin mix, Kalini. Her hobbies also include golf and being an amateur foodie.
Victoria Van de Vate
Victoria Van de Vate manages federal government affairs at the Urban Institute. She develops and maintains strong relationships with policymakers in the federal executive branch, on Capitol Hill, and other government leaders to elevate the research of Urban’s experts. Before joining Urban, Van de Vate worked on a variety of policy issues including affordable housing and maternal and child health. Most recently, Van de Vate managed federal government affairs at Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based home visiting program that serves first-time parents.
Van de Vate holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University. She is a member of the Junior League of Washington and volunteers weekly as a mentor with Northstar Tutoring. A Knoxville native and proud Tennessean, Victoria spends her weekends in the fall cheering on the Vols.