Meet Our 2024 Fellows

mpu   |   June 10, 2024

It’s neither an easy nor a small feat to pick up the mantle and dig in for a road of hard work. For a community to grow and prosper, a solid foundation must be built first, and our Brickyard leaders aim to do just that. We are delighted to introduce our 2024 cohort for the +MPU Fellowship convening June 20-24 at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana.

15 Fellows across 10 states will aim to start new Brickyard chapters in their area. They come from diverse backgrounds, including veterans and service-minded individuals. They lead with indomitable spirits and have the tenacity to inspire change in their local communities and bring together people who would not have had a chance to meet before.

We applaud and thank them for their journey and eagerly await what Brickyard events they’ll host upon graduation! If you want to know more about each Fellow, we will soon add their profiles with their full bios:

Headshot of Christopher Legier.

Christopher Legier (📍 Houston, TX) is an Army Combat engineer veteran, father, government employee, and active in his community. He is a graduate of the University of Houston and Houston Christian University, formerly Houston Baptist University, where he received his degrees in psychology. He is also a former talk show host, current producer of a weekly social issues show, and currently works at the Department of Veterans Affairs / Baylor University in the research department.


Headshot of Dee Clancy.

Denise ‘Dee’ Clancy (📍 Moncks Corner, SC) was raised in a family who embodied the spirit of service. Between the Veterans, teachers, and nurses, Dee grew up with the idea that serving others should be part of everyday life. That’s why she spent a decade in the Navy as a cryptologist, then found herself working disaster response as part of a veterans service organization while raising 6  children. She went back to school to finish her college degree so she could become a teacher. Two years later, Dee is teaching American Lit to high schoolers and is again in school herself, this time to earn her Master’s degree.


Headshot of Nicholas Horton.

Nicholas Horton (📍 Orlando, FL) is a veteran of both the United States Army and a seasoned corporate operator. Following graduation from West Point in 2004, Nick was commissioned as an Officer in the Medical Service Corps branch of the Army, serving in the 82d Airborne Division during the first phase of his professional career. In his transition to corporate America, Nick has been fortunate to operate in increasing positions of responsibility in a variety of functional specialties including Information Technology, Project/Program Management, Retail Sales/Service, Human Resources, and Cannabis cultivation and processing.


Headshot of Lawrence Tuider.

Lawrence Tuider (📍 Las Vegas, NV) is a veteran living the American dream. His parents fled a small West African Country, Liberia, before settling in Harlem, NY. Growing up in New York City imbued him with a deep reverence and love for people and their many differences. He’s been a team builder my entire life, and the team building aspect was ultimately what made his five years in the Army such an experience.


Headshot of Janett Cordoves.

Janett I. Cordovés (📍 Miami, FL) is a civic leader,  interfaith scholar, higher education consultant, and digital pedagogy specialist. Janett serves as the Senior Program Director for the Presidents Consortium at the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (C&S), where she researches, writes, and creates opportunities for individuals and groups to work across lines of ideological difference. In addition, she leads a series of projects and events with a range of leaders in higher education, diverse in institutional type and ideology, who believe that civic preparedness for the next generation is crucial to their work and are hopeful about our democracy.


Headshot of Gabrielle Newell.

Gabrielle Newell (📍 Washington, DC) is proudly born and raised in Washington, DC. She organizes with neighbors to create community-led affordable housing. She believes that everyone deserves a robust support system and organizes a practice called mutual aid, where neighbors come together to support one another. In her paid work, Gabrielle works within the federal government to make programs for children and families more equitable and effective. Gabrielle is pleased to participate in her personal capacity and looks forward to organizing gatherings in Washington DC.


Headshot of Jackie Harris.

Jackie Harris (📍 Houston, TX) is a proud native Texan who has significantly influenced the sales industry in wireless technology, insurance, and financial services. Over the past two decades, she has also been a local advocate for climate action and domestic violence awareness. Hailing from the Lone Star State, Jackie has expertly combined her deep environmental passion and commitment to literacy with a successful career in sales and entrepreneurship.


Headshot of Joshua Wheeldon.

Joshua Wheeldon (📍 Puyallup, WA) comes from a long line of Veterans; his great-grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles, and cousins all served as well. Like his family, he served in the Army for five years, traveling to Korea and Iraq. After getting out of the military, he traveled to Afghanistan as a contractor. He worked for the Veteran Benefits Administration on the Public Contact Team, developing strategic outreach for the Seattle Regional Office. Six years ago, he came to work as a Transition Coordinator for the US Army Soldier Recovery Unit (WTB) at JBLM, WA.


Headshot of Lyndsey Meyer.

Lyndsey Meyer (📍 Jacksonville, FL) graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) in 2005. Over the next six years, she served with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division as a logistics officer, deploying twice to Iraq in platoon leader and company commander roles. After company command, she attended Georgia Tech, where she graduated with a Master of Science in Public Policy. Following graduation, she returned to USMA as the West Coast Regional Director of Admissions and obtained her MBA from Emory University. In 2018, she transferred to the Army Reserves and joined Johnson and Johnson’s Human Resources Leadership Development Program. Lyndsey currently works at Citibank as a Senior Human Resources Advisor.


Headshot of Melissa Sims.

Melissa Sims (📍 Philadelphia, PA) serves as the Chief Information Group for the Human Resources Division of the National Park Service. In this role, Melissa ensures that the NPS is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations related to Human Resources. Melissa is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, earning a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Systems Engineering, and where she was commissioned as a Medical Service Corps Officer in the United States Army. Melissa served as a hospital administrator for a field medical unit, a personnel officer at both the Battalion and Brigade level, the Chief of Human Resources for a large Army hospital and as a personnel officer for the Surgeon General of the Army. Melissa also holds a Master of Science in Human Resources and an MBA. She most recently completed her PhD in communication. Melissa serves as the Country Lead for Change Management Institute, USA and is a founding member of the Greater Philadelphia Area’s Association of Change Management Professionals. She is also a past Vice President for Philly SHRM, where she served as the Co-Chair for Thought Leadership.


Headshot of Rebecca Connell.

Rebecca Connell (📍 Underhill Center, VT) served as a CIA case officer for 14 years, traveling extensively and embracing a life filled with unique and transformative experiences. This journey allowed her to develop a deep understanding of international cultures and complex security landscapes. She recently completed a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Boston College. In her current role at Dell Technologies, she has been leading transformational cybersecurity programs, infusing security into the product development life cycle, and enhancing incident response capabilities. Her work at Dell has not only improved the company’s security posture but also fostered a culture where every team member feels empowered to be the first line of defense against cyber threats.


Headshot of Roxanne Shepherd.

Roxanne Shepherd (📍 Coupeville, WA) moved into the nonprofit world 40 years ago after realizing that the money she was earning as the manager of a long-distance re-seller wasn’t feeding her soul. She has never looked back since. In addition to that campaign, Roxanne has served through three decades as an active Rotarian by leading a K-12 schools foundation and fundraising for the University of Washington, several arts organizations, and a community hospital. Today, she and her husband, Jerry Kröon, serve on several nonprofit boards to actively foster the health and vitality of Whidbey Island.


Headshot of Rebecca Kern.

Rebecca Kern (📍 Tehachapi, CA) is a Department of Defense (DoD) professional with over 20 years of government service supporting the Air Force, Navy, and Joint programs. Rebecca is currently assigned to Edwards Air Force Base in California, where she leads the Continuous Improvement and Innovation (CI2) program for the 412th Test Wing. In this role, she heads Edwards’ spark cell, where she fosters a culture of innovation through educational workshops, base-wide events, and the development of Airmen-inspired innovation projects.


Headshot of Matthew Taylor.

Matthew Taylor (📍 Austin, TX) is currently an Operating Partner at Chicago Atlantic, a private investment firm focused on lending. Matt leads the firm’s Aerospace and Defense lending and serves as a liaison to the firm’s portfolio of borrowers. Matt currently serves on several investment committees and is an active early-stage investor. Before becoming a business leader, Matt served in the United States Marine Corps for almost 10 years, completing his service as a Major. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan, primarily focusing on the training and mentoring of local security forces. Matt has a B.A. in Political Science from Indiana University, an M.S. in Finance from Southern Methodist University, and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


Headshot of Paul Tiede.

Paul Tiede (📍 Missoula, MT) is a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who joined the Marine Corps upon graduation. He served as an infantry officer in the Fleet Marine forces for nine years before leaving service to move out West. He has worked as a fireman, an EMT, a teacher, a therapist, and a business owner in Montana. To give back to his community and fellow Veterans, he embarked on a PhD in clinical depth psychology. He is currently on that journey and also actively working with Veterans who are suffering from PTSD and Moral Injury-related type problems.