Advisory Team


Vocational Advisory Team

Sean Passmore impacts transitioning service members and military spouses daily by leading military hiring and retention programs at USAA and coaching transitioning veterans and military spouses on career readiness. As a retired service member, he is familiar with the challenges of leaving the military and finding a second career. Many people helped him along that journey and he enjoys paying it forward. Sean’s greatest work satisfactions are having a role that allows him to use his skills to help his company hire and retain amazing military talent, and hearing from veterans and military spouses when they land their dream jobs, whatever and wherever those might be.

A prior enlisted soldier, Non-Commissioned Officer, and graduate of Officer Candidate School (OCS), Sean served 22 ½ years in the Army before retiring in June 2014 as a senior Presidential Communications Officer in the White House Communications Agency where he provided direct and personal support to the President of the United States and led teams supporting Presidential events around the world. Sean earned his Master of Science degree in Project Management from The George Washington University and holds several project management certifications, including Project Management Professional (PMP), SAFe® 4 Agilist, and SAFe® 4 Product Owner/Product Manager. He is also a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and has earned SHRM’s Talent Acquisition Certification and the SHRM Foundation’s Veterans at Work Certificate.


Gregory “Greg” Lengyel, Retired U.S. Air Force Major General is a senior national security executive with significant global experience leading in the U.S. military’s special operations community and within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  He has achieved measurable operational results in the most challenging environments through transformational organizational management in operations, finance, strategic alliances, logistics, and human resources responsibility for organizations with multi-billion-dollar budgets and thousands of employees.  He is a recently retired U.S. Air Force Major General with 33 years of service, and currently runs a consulting company with business management and national security clients.  Greg and his wife of 28 years, Diane, live in New Braunfels, Texas, and are the proud parents of two sons currently serving as pilots in the Air Force and Marine Corps.


Chief Master Sergeant Emily E. Shade Dr. Emily Shade, a 25-year Air Force veteran, continues to serve the enlisted members of the Air Force as the curator of the Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute and Enlisted Heritage Hall.  Her passion for military history and public speaking assists with ensuring Air Force enlisted contributions are not forgotten.  In 2017, she co-founded Iron Porch Ministries which highlights the need for Christian women to have space to “sharpen one another” without fear of judgement.  She is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and is a board advisor to the Air University Foundation.  Dr. Shade received her B.S. in American History from The University of Maryland and her M.A in History from American Military University.  She completed her Doctoral in Adult Education from Capella University.


SEAC(r) Joe Gainey is a Trident University graduate and was the first Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC). SEAC(r) Gainey enlisted in the Army in 1974, and went on to hold leadership positions ranging from gunner to Command Sergeant Major. He served in Operation Joint Endeavor (IFOR), Operation Joint Guard (SFOR3) and Operation Joint Forge (SFOR 8) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. SEAC(r) Gainey retired in April 2008 after 33 years of honorable service.

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Kristen Smith, M.A.E.D., SMSgt, USAF (Ret) is a Trident University graduate where she earned her Master’s degree in Education.  She enlisted into the Air Force in 1994 and held several leadership roles throughout her career. The last duty position she held was Superintendent, 43d Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina. She served as the key adviser to the Commander and assumed responsibility for the combat readiness and professional development of 160 unit members. She retired September 2017 after serving for 23 years of honorable service. Kristen is now a Realtor® with Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper, REALTORS®. 


Jeffrey J. Snow - Retired as Major General of the U.S. Army in October 2018 after a 30+-year career serving in a variety of senior roles and staff assignments in the U.S. and globally. Jeff has led geographically-dispersed organizations of up to ~13,000 people, built strong and cohesive teams that succeeded in challenging environments, and oversaw budgets of up to $1B. His expertise lies in strategic planning and policy development, productivity and efficiency improvement, team building and partnership development, end-to-end operations/operational design, recruiting and marketing, and project planning. He also has expertise in sexual assault prevention/response.

Jeff joined the United States Army in 1983 and held various leadership assignments in Kuwait, Germany, the Pentagon, Fort Drum, NY, and West Point. His later Command assignments included battalion and brigade leadership during Operation Joint Guardian and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has received numerous awards and decorations (the most recent is the Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters) and has a Top-Secret security clearance.

Jeff earned a B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point, an M.A. from Michigan State University and an M.S. from the United States Army War College.

Paul Gallagher, SPHR, CMSgt USAF (Ret) - CMSgt (r) Paul Gallagher is a 29 year Air Force veteran and graduate of American Military University where he earned a BA in Management.  He is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and co-Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Operation Vet NOW  Paul has over 23 years of recruiting, marketing and human resource management experience within Air Force Recruiting Service (AFRS) culminating as the Superintendent of Inspector General Programs for Headquarters, AFRS.  After positively affecting lives by contributing to tens of thousands of civilians becoming Airmen, he is now passionate about helping military members to be wildly successful in their transitions to civilian life.  Paul and his wife, Valerie, live near San Antonio, TX.


Educational Advisory Team

Rafael Paredes - Rafael believes every American should have the opportunity to make positive contributions to our country and their communities.   As such, he volunteers his time with several local and national organizations, such as Service Year Alliance, Team Rubicon, The Mission Continues, New Politics Leadership Academy, LeftRightStep.Org, and Interfaith Welcome Coalition, amongst others. His passion for service stems from a sense of gratitude and responsibility.   He is pursuing a second career in service where he can put to use his leadership skills and experience to inspire others to give back to our country and their communities.


William Branum - William is a former Navy SEAL with 26 years of service who holds a Bachelor Degree in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Leadership.  He has lead teams from 4 to 400 personnel to conduct Special Operations around the world providing leadership and mentorship to junior personal and senior officers alike.

During his last three years of service, William built teams to solve operational deficiencies by creating strategic coalition partnerships with industry, academia, and government R&D funding organizations. Through these partnerships, he secured over $16M that went to the development and creation of technologies that did not previously exist. Since retiring from the Navy, William has started a professional firm, NALU Strategic Solutions, to help companies with product development, problem solving, create strategies, and bring a different perspective to their organization.