November 17, 2016
Atlantic Council Announces 2016 Veterans Take Point Fellows and Welcomes Veteran Philanthropist and Entrepreneur Ken Falke onto the Council’s Next Generation Advisory Council, and Receives 2016 We Serve Award
Recognized as an innovative and forward-thinking leader on the subjects of wounded warrior care, military and veteran transition, counterterrorism, and training and technology development, Falke is a twenty-one-year combat veteran of the US Navy and retired Master Chief Petty Officer. This appointment marks a major step by one of Washington’s leading foreign policy think tanks to invest in young veterans as a core part of their work and recognizes the close partnership between the Council and Boulder Crest Retreat. As a distinguished philanthropist, entrepreneur, veteran, and thought leader, Falke brings tremendous expertise in advising the Council on its next generation programming and veterans outreach.
In joining the Advisory Council, Falke stated, “I am very proud of this generation of veterans and honored by this appointment to the Council. I look forward to adding value where I can and watching this group of fellows succeed.”
This announcement coincides with the selection of the 2016 Take Point Initiative fellowship class and the Council’s acceptance of the 2016 We Serve Award at We Serve, Inc’s Veterans Day Concert. Supported by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and held in partnership with Boulder Crest Retreat, Take Point is a new take on the traditional transition assistance program – it offers post-9/11 generation veterans a pathway to civilian careers as nonprofit and thought leaders where they can continue to support American national security and address global challenges. Now in its third year, the Council’s Take Point program has established a strong track record of backing rhetoric about the importance of veterans’ experience in foreign policy with action by providing world-class training and resources to its fellows.
“Post-9/11 veterans—including those with injuries—are an untapped resource in the foreign policy discourse, and they possess the potential to enlighten the national security debate with their insights. Veterans are uniquely poised to take on leadership roles in this space, having served on the frontlines of US foreign policy around the world, whether on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, fighting piracy off the horn of Africa, or combatting narcotics trafficking in Latin America.” – Atlantic Council Millennium Leadership Program
Through an intensive fellowship, the initiative provides executive-level training, networking, mentorship, and opportunities to meet with senior foreign policy heavyweights such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., General James Cartwright, and former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who serves as the chairman of the initiative. Fellows compete for seed funding to launch or accelerate foreign policy-related projects, such as nonprofit initiatives, films, research papers, or novels. Fellows will also attend a retreat and high-level workshop at Boulder Crest’s award-winning location in the foothills of the Blue Mountains outside Washington, DC.
Former classes of Take Point fellows include the founders and CEOs of HillVets, Defense Entrepreneurs Forum (DEF), No One Left Behind, Returning Caribbean Nationals Foundation, Veterans in Global Leadership, and VetImpact, as well as representatives of well-respected veteran nonprofits including VeteransCampaign, Service to School, and Team Rubicon.
Representing former officers and enlisted service members from the US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, the 2016 Take Point fellows are:
Nicole Baldwin – Founder, Biao Skincare/ IThrive Network, Biao Cosmetics and Companies, Inc.
Andrew Brennan – Founder and Executive Director, GWOT Memorial Foundation and MBA Candidate, University of Pittsburgh
Thomas Brennan – Founder and Publisher, The War Horse
Doreen Caminiti – Intelligence Integrator, The Wexford Group- CACI
Brian Donnelly – PhD Student, Geneva Graduate School of Governance
David Eisler – Research Associate, Institute for Defense Analyses
Eric Goepel – Legislative Fellow, US Senate
Alisha Guffey – VIP Fellow/Program Analyst, US State Department
Dan Misch – Federal Project Director, US Department of Energy
Thomas Smith – Program Manager, Team Rubicon
Take Point is made possible through a partnership with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF). BWF works to ensure that injured veterans and their families are able to thrive long after they have returned home.
The Council was honored to receive an award on November 12 alongside the Bob Woodruff Foundation from We Serve, a nonprofit founded by four generations of veterans that focuses on healing the spiritual wounds resulting from war. In announcing the award, We Serve Chairman John Kristoff said of the Take Point Initiative, “We Serve finds this initiative provides veterans a voice, and creates the all-important intimate community of peers whose shared experiences provide a safe and understanding environment to transition to the civilian world. The creation of this same environment is the foundation of the national We Serve Fireside Chat program.”
The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive US leadership and engagement in international affairs based on the central role of the Atlantic community in meeting today’s global challenges. The Council’s Millennium Leadership Program is dedicated to engaging and connecting the next generation of leaders in the Atlantic Community, and beyond, with unique professional opportunities and a platform for open dialogue. The Council’s young leaders have met with key global leaders including US President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Secretary Generals of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Lord George Robertson, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, and many others.