- Mike ErwinPresident and Co-Founder
Mike ErwinPresident and Co-Founder
Mike Erwin is the co-founder and President of The Positivity Project. A 2002 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served in the Army on Active Duty for 13 years, to include three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserves. In 2010, Mike founded Team Red, White & Blue (Team RWB), a non-profit organization that enriches veterans’ lives by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. He serves as on the Board for the organization, now 198 chapters and 114,000 members strong. Mike earned his master’s degree in positive psychology and leadership, under the tutelage of Chris Peterson, from the University of Michigan — and taught leadership at West Point. He is the co-author of Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude. Mike and his wife, Genevieve, live in the Village of Pinehurst, NC, with their four children.
- Jeff BryanCOO and Co-Founder
Jeff BryanCOO and Co-Founder
Jeff Bryan is the co-founder and Vice President of The Positivity Project. A 2004 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he served in the Army for five years, to include two tours in Iraq. In 2006, Jeff was a platoon leader in Saba al Bour and in 2008-09, he was an engagements officer in southern Baghdad. After leaving the military, Jeff earned a master’s degree from the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He was subsequently a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) in Washington and Jerusalem with the U.S. Department of State. A native of Niskayuna, New York, Jeff developed a passion for sports at an early age, leading him to serve as a lacrosse team captain and earn all-America honors twice while at West Point. He and his wife, Patti, an elementary school teacher, and their daughter live in Niskayuna, NY.
- Janene RitchieContent Manager
Janene RitchieContent Manager
Janene Ritchie is the Content Manager for the The Positivity Project. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Ohio State University, and dual Masters in Environmental Education and Outdoor Leadership from Ohio University. She spent 10 years in the outdoor and environmental education field, including 3 years as the director of a residential environmental learning center that used outdoor experience to teach a rigorous science curriculum. Janene is also a 2017 Team Red, White & Blue Eagle Leader Fellow, through which she has a hand in planning and facilitating leadership development experiences for local community leaders in the Midwest. An avid lover of all things outdoors, Janene has completed a number of trail races up to the 50k distance, and also enjoys backpacking, Crossfit, and traveling. Janene lives in Dayton, OH with her husband, Anthony, and son, Blane.
- Thaddeus SetlaChief Storyteller
Thaddeus SetlaChief Storyteller
Thaddeus is the Chief Storyteller and creative mind behind Setla Films. Since starting his own company in 2006 he has worked with Fortune 500 companies, broadcast networks and nonprofits to connect with audiences around the world through story. With over two decades of corporate communications and over 12 years working as a Cinematographer his attention to detail, camera motion, lighting and storytelling abilities has helped clients understand their storytelling eco-system and get the most out of the visual medium. Thaddeus has three kids from elementary school through high school and is passionate about helping his kids understand the #OtherPeopleMatter movement.
- Frank AdamoEd Tech Coordinator
Frank AdamoEd Tech Coordinator
Frank Adamo has been a public school teacher in Niskayuna, NY since 2001. He earned a master’s degree in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from the University at Albany, and has earned National Board Certification for Professional Teaching Standards in Early Adolescent English-Language Arts. Frank has worked with middle school English students throughout his career to build strong reading, writing and communication skills. He has developed curriculum to help students build an understanding of social media and the role that each of us takes in creating and maintaining our own digital footprint. Frank has presented to parents, students and teachers and administrators on the benefits of using technology in the classroom as well as the opportunities and drawbacks of social media in the digital age. He lives in Glenville, NY with his wife and two children.
- Esohe Osai, Ph.D.Pittsburgh Coordinator
Esohe Osai, Ph.D.Pittsburgh Coordinator
Esohe Osai is The Positivity Project's Pittsburgh Coordinator. After graduating from the Detroit Public School system, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Esohe served as a classroom teacher in Detroit and, after successfully graduating a cohort of high school students, returned to the University of Michigan where she completed a doctoral degree in education and psychology. For over 15 years, she has operated as an educator, collaborator, and researcher-practitioner serving in urban communities. Esohe employs a positive strengths approach in her community engagement practice, looking to identify innovative and practical solutions to challenges in schools and communities. She currently resides in the Homewood community of Pittsburgh, PA.
Board of Directors
- Kerri Walsh JenningsU.S. Olympian
Kerri Walsh JenningsU.S. Olympian
Kerri Walsh Jennings is a professional volleyball player and 3-time Olympic gold medalist in Beach Volleyball. In route to those 3 gold medals, Kerri and Misty May-Treanor won 21 consecutive Olympic matches. She is a 2001 graduate of Stanford University, where she was four-time All-American for The Cardinal. A big believer in the power of positive thinking, Kerri is pursuing her fourth gold medal in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She is married to fellow American volleyball player, Casey, and they live in Manhattan Beach, CA, with their three young children—Joseph, Sundance and Scout.
- Jake WoodCo-founder and CEO, Team Rubicon
Jake WoodCo-founder and CEO, Team Rubicon
Jake Wood is co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization that utilizes the skills of military veterans to deploy disaster response teams. Under Wood’s leadership, Team Rubicon has responded to over 100 disasters since the 2010 Haiti earthquake and grown from eight to 35,000 members. Wood is a leading veterans’ advocate who has briefed President Obama on veterans’ issues, met with former Presidents Bush and Clinton on disaster response and testified before the Senate. As a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Wood deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan as a Scout Sniper and earned the Navy-Marine Commendation Medal.
- Will ReynoldsSenior Consultant, Deloitte
Will ReynoldsSenior Consultant, Deloitte
As first generation U.S. Citizens, Will Reynolds’ parents used strong character development to help their five children assimilate and succeed. That upbringing led Will to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation, he served for six years as an Army infantry officer and was severely wounded in Iraq while serving as Chief of Reconnaissance and Sniper Employment. After medical retirement, Will earned a dual Master’s in Business Administration and Public Health from the University of Rochester, leading to his career as a Manager in Deloitte’s Federal Healthcare practice. During this time, he gained experience in non-profit leadership as a charter Board member for Team Red, White & Blue. Will lives in Bethesda, MD with his wife, Cassandra, and their four children.
- Kelly BooneManager, Bain & Company
Kelly BooneManager, Bain & Company
Kelly Boone is a Manager in the San Francisco office of Bain & Company and a member of the firm’s Private Equity Practice. Prior to Bain, Kelly served as an engineer officer in the U.S. Army, completing two deployments to Ramadi and Baghdad, Iraq. While at Bain, Kelly has worked extensively with private equity clients, conducting transaction due diligence and projects for portfolio companies. Kelly’s projects have included portfolio strategy, growth strategy, performance improvement and business unit full potential. She has worked across a number of industries to include education, retail, restaurants, technology, healthcare, and industrial goods & services. Kelly earned an MBA from Columbia Business School in 2012 and a BS in Economics from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2005 where she also played Division 1 soccer.
- Elisabeth HasselbeckTelevision Host
Elisabeth HasselbeckTelevision Host
Elisabeth Hasselbeck graduated from Boston College in 1999, where she played on their Division I softball team while majoring in Studio Art. After graduating, Elisabeth designed footwear for PUMA. In 2002, she competed in Survivor: The Australian Outback, taking fourth place. For the next ten years, she co-hosted the daytime talk show, The View on ABC, and became and Emmy Award recipient. In 2013, Elisabeth joined FOX & Friends, where she served as a co-host for two years. As a gluten-free celiac, Elisabeth has written two New York Times best-selling books. She has also founded a gluten-free food company named nogii. Elisabeth is married to former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst, Tim Hasselbeck, and they have three children, Grace, Taylor and Isaiah.
- Kate Ryan Kuhlman, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, University of California Irvine
Kate Ryan Kuhlman, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, University of California Irvine
Kate’s purpose in life is to mitigate the negative health impact of childhood adversity on health across the lifespan. Kate is a clinical scientist and child & adolescent psychologist who studies the impact of childhood adversity on physical and mental health across the lifespan. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology & Social Behavior at the University of California Irvine and in the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. Dr. Kuhlman's research is currently funded by the National Institute of Mental Health through a career development award that will allow her to continue to examine how the mind and immune system work together. Kate is also the Founder of ScienceForWomen.org — an organization dedicated to the honest public dissemination of recent findings in psychology and women’s health. In the past two years, ScienceForWomen.org has reached thousands of readers across six continents. Kate grew up in Southern California, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at New York University, her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA.
- Tova Walsh, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
Tova Walsh, Ph.D.Assistant Professor, Rutgers University
Tova Walsh is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She was previously a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She teaches on social work interventions with children and families, and development over the life course. As a researcher, Tova seeks to identify ways of strengthening parent-child relationships and improving child and family wellbeing. She has worked with children and families in a variety of settings in the U.S. and abroad. She holds a joint Ph.D. in social work and psychology from the University of Michigan, and completed postdoctoral training in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Tova’s research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Kellogg Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Tova and her husband Elias, an education policy researcher, live in Highland Park, NJ with their two children.
- Seth BodnarPresident, University of Montana
Seth BodnarPresident, University of Montana
Seth Bodnar is the President at the University of Montana. Prior to that, he was the Chief Digital Officer of GE Transportation and the president of GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions business. Before joining GE, Seth was a special forces officer in the U.S. Army. Over the course of his career, Seth served multiple overseas deployments. His duties included: rifle platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division; detachment commander in the Army’s 1stSpecial Forces Group; and special assistant to the commanding general of Multi-National Force — Iraq. He also served as an assistant professor of economics at West Point. A native of Franklin, Pennsylvania, Seth graduated first in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He is a recipient of both the Rhodes and Truman scholarships and holds two master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. He and his wife, Chelsea, live in Missoula, Montana, with their three children.
- Lou NemecMajor, U.S. Army
Lou NemecMajor, U.S. Army
Lou Nemec is an active duty Soldier stationed at Fort Benning, GA. He became interested in positive psychology while studying Cognitive Psychology at the University of Washington. Lou also helped Mike Erwin start a positive psychology project for cadets while an assistant professor at West Point. Together they worked to keep cadets optimistic and selflessly serving others from the foundation of their character strengths. Lou feels that he was raised with the tenets of positive psychology by optimistic and supportive parents and wants other children to have the same advantages. Lou and his wife Lindsay work hard raising their 3 boys with the notion that “Other People Matter”. Lou enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, spending time outdoors, and volunteering as a youth sports coach and with Team Red, White & Blue.
- Emily Núñez CavnessCo-founder and CEO, Sword & Plough
Emily Núñez CavnessCo-founder and CEO, Sword & Plough
Emily Núñez Cavness is the co-founder and CEO of Sword & Plough and an active duty U.S. Army officer. Sword & Plough is a quadruple bottom line fashion brand that incorporates military surplus into its products. The brand works with American manufacturers who employ veterans, and donates 10% of profits back to veteran organizations. Sword & Plough is committed to empowering veteran employment, strengthening civil-military understanding, and reducing waste. Emily is also an Afghanistan war veteran and currently serves with 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Emily earned her B.A. in International Studies from Middlebury College. She is a White House Champion of Change and Forbes 30 Under 30 Fellow. Emily and her husband, Cully, live in Denver, CO.