Our Team & Advisors
KaLea Lehman is the Founder, Executive Director, and President of the Board of Directors at the Military Special Operations Family Collaborative. She has a broad range of experience working in healthcare advocacy, communications, and education. KaLea completed her undergraduate education at The George Washington University in 2007 and earned her Master of Education in 2018 from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Her work and interests are policy research, analysis, and development. Her research interests include organizational behavior in matrix and high reliability organizations and their intersection with well-being. KaLea and her husband have been part of the Special Operations community for over 10 years and have six beautiful children. In their free time, they enjoy running adventures and traveling to new places.
As the daughter, wife, and mother of U.S. Army soldiers, Kerry Irvin has an authentic voice to lend to the issues facing military families. She serves as the Director of Development for Operation Healing Forces, a national non-profit supporting special operations service members and their families. Kerry is a longtime advocate of military families and has appeared as a guest on national television, syndicated radio shows, webinars, and podcasts, sharing the trials and tribulations of military family life. Her bi-weekly column, The Home Front, featured in the Military Times, shines a light on challenges military families face, as well as resources available to help them thrive. She is a certified Master Resilience Trainer, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) facilitator, and a Transition Assistance Program facilitator, providing workshops and support to military service members, spouses, and caregivers throughout their careers and during transition. She has held numerous leadership positions in military-related organizations and her efforts to forge together impactful collaborations in support of military and veteran communities have been recognized at the highest level. Her honors include: The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, U.S. Secretary of the Army’s Superior Public Service Medal, North Carolina Military Spouse of the Year (2020 & 2021), US FORSCOM Well-Being Award, U.S. Army War College Military Spouse of the Year, and Fort Bragg Iron Mike Gold Star Award. Kerry and her husband have four children and currently call Tampa, Florida, “home.”
Born and raised in Miami, FL to a family who always instilled service to others, Lauren has worked solely in the nonprofits space with a passion to strengthen the community she lives in. Her work has supported numerous organizations – some of the most notable are Special Operators Transition Foundation, Green Beret Foundation, Camillus House, Zoological Society of Florida, Alonzo Mourning Charities and Wade’s World Foundation. She is an enthusiastic Board Member of the Military Special Operations Family Collaborative as well as the Bennie Adkins Foundation and continues dedicating herself to other organizations within the Special Operations community. She is happiest with her husband raising their two children, Liv and Jack and exploring the PNW.
Barbara Nagata is an attorney and former adjunct law professor at the University of Georgia and George Mason University. Barbara is married to a retired 37-year Army Special Forces officer. Having served as a volunteer and board member of many charitable organizations, Barbara has had the opportunity to improve effectiveness and expansion of organizations charitable mission. Whether working as a senior advisor of military family support groups, president of high school parent groups, or member of interfaith charitable organizations, Barbara’s focus is on providing the best support while effectively using all available resources.
Dr. Jeffrey Tiede
Jeffrey Tiede, M.SS, M.D., D.ABA-PM, is a pain management physician who serves as Director of the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center, JBSA - Ft. Sam Houston, TX. After completing his doctorate from Saint Louis University, he completed residency and fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. He has a broad practice and research experience in academic, industry, and military settings. The Center for the Intrepid is one of three DHA Advanced Rehabilitation Centers mandated to care for and rehabilitate Service Members with catastrophic limb injuries. The CFI also executes the Special Operator Performance and Recovery (SPaR) program which addresses human performance, MSKIs and comorbid conditions such as PTS and post-concussive symptoms.
COL Tiede commands 5th BDE (HS), 94th Training DIV, and is responsible for NCO professional development and combat medic recertification in the USAR. He is a distinguished graduate of the Army War College, and his operational experience includes service as 7th MSC Command Surgeon and BTN SGN, 2-502 IN BTN, 101st AA.
KaLea Lehman, Executive Director
KaLea Lehman is the Founder, Executive Director, and President of the Board of Directors at the Military Special Operations Family Collaborative. She has a broad range of experience working in healthcare advocacy, communications, and education. KaLea completed her undergraduate education at The George Washington University in 2007 and earned her Master of Education in 2018 from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. Her work and interests are policy research, analysis, and development. Her research interests include organizational behavior in matrix and high reliability organizations and their intersection with well-being. KaLea and her husband have been part of the special operations community for over 10 years and have six beautiful children. In their free time, they enjoy running adventures and traveling to new places.
Shayla Hayward-Lundy, Development Manager
Shayla Hayward-Lundy is a mental health counselor and art therapist in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Shayla earned a bachelor’s degree from The City College of New York and a joint master’s degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from Eastern Virginia Medical School. She has provided mental health services to patients in hospitals and psychiatric facilities, and contributed to research at New York University and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Shayla is the daughter of a Marine Corps veteran and her extended family has served in the Air Force and Army. She has volunteered and helped fundraise for organizations including the USO, Exhale to Inhale, The Art Therapy Project, Home Base, Code of Support Foundation, and Blue Star Families.
Lynnsy Snook, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Lynnsy Snook is an Air Force veteran and 20-year Special Operations spouse with a passion for supporting military families and connecting them with resources across all levels to meet their diverse needs. An advocate of continuous learning, she earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Master of Arts in International Relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Lynnsy brings experience in leadership, analysis, training, and volunteer management to achieve the MSOF mission. In her personal time, she enjoys exploring new locales, sampling her husband’s cooking, and leisurely bike rides with her two sons.
Erick Miyares, Service Member & Veteran Program Fellow
Sergeant Major (Ret.) Erick Miyares is an accomplished special operations and intelligence professional with 29 years’ combined experience in the United States Army and United States Marine Corps. Erick served within the United States Special Operations Command and Intelligence Community for 23 years in a variety of leadership positions and operational assignments.
A native of Hialeah, Florida, Erick enlisted the Marine Corps in 1991. Since retiring in October 2022 from the military, he focuses on preventing Veteran suicide and sharing his experiences, journey, struggles, and healing process.
Erick has numerous combat deployments supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and highly sensitive missions and tasks of national significance. He has deployed numerous times throughout his career supporting operations and training across SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and EUCOM.
While on active duty, Erick earned his Associates of Art in Foreign Languages, Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security, Master of Science in Cyber Security, and is currently focused on a Doctor of Philosophy in Cyberpsychology (expected 2026).
Erick and his spouse have one child and currently reside in the National Capital Region.
Dr. Christi Luby, Research Volunteer
Dr. Luby is the daughter of a lifelong Law Enforcement Officer, and wife of a B-52 combat Veteran and Homeland Security federal civilian servant. She strives to understand the issues that affect US Service members (active and Veteran), First Responders, their spouses, and their families. She provides a voice in support of their biopsychosocial well-being, resiliency, and post-traumatic growth. As a published author, she offers guidance to civilian community leaders and providers to promote and improve military and First Responder culturally competent care. Christi received her Bachelor’s degree with Distinction in Psychology, Biology, and Sociology and her Masters of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma. As Top Graduate, she received the Outstanding Student Award from both the College of Public Health and Dept of Health Promotion Sciences, as well as, the Joan K. Leavitt Commissioner of Health Award. She is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist and Compassion Fatigue Educator. She received her PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Her dissertation, Health Assessment for Loved Ones: Development and validation of a new instrument to measure well-being in military spouses, focused on the effects of indirect exposure to trauma, and received the Outstanding Dissertation Award.
Bridget Orr, Program Assistant
Bridget Orr is currently finishing her undergraduate education at Creighton University, double majoring in Criminal Justice and Medical Anthropology with focuses in public health and forensic anthropology. She plans to continue her higher education through the acquisition of a MD and masters in forensic anthropology. Bridget currently works with veterans facing dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other psychiatric diagnoses.
Her interests include studying non-western medicine and the intersection of societal and cultural structures on medicine and the human experience of health. She is currently doing research in suicide and suicide prevention and caring for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Previous research has included the attributing factors to recidivism and the attainment and implementation of knowledge of nutrition, diet, and exercise in undergraduate students. When not working at the VA, studying, or working on MSOFC projects, she enjoys hiking, reading, and watching Bones.
MSOFC enables families to achieve and sustain their maximum potential. This requires efforts as diverse and meaningful as the symbolic capacity of the poppy flower. The red poppy is broadly used to recognize fallen service members – the most paramount tradition in our community. It became the symbol for Remembrance Day because it flourished on battlefields following WWI. Poppy flowers also signify sentiments of rest, recovery, imagination, beauty, success, consolation, and hope. Poppies are beautiful flowers that thrive in tough conditions – just as the men, women, and children who make-up the special operations community.
The blues and teal of the primary MSOFC color palette evoke comfort, possibility, and the energy of members of our community. They work together to create an identity that feels modern and inspiring. The secondary palette of mint and gold brings warmth and groundedness, as we add certainty to the SOF journey for families.
Frequently Asked Questions
MSOFC incorporated as a nonprofit organization in Florida in December 2018. It was founded by a diverse group of special operations families as a public health initiative for the special operations community. MSOFC achieved tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity status in 2019.
MSOFC supports SOF service members, veterans, and families from selection, through transition, and into life after service. To help support community needs, MSOFC works with organizations, healthcare professionals, and other entities or individuals directly serving the special operations community. Uniting our community enhances support for our force and families.
Unlike existing organizations that provide direct crisis and/or benevolent support, MSOFC focuses on gaps and barriers to well-being and readiness at the systemic level that impact the whole SOF community. For this reason, MSOFC collaborates with partnering organizations and experts to provide resources capable of adding certainty to the special operations family journey. We work to meet the needs of our community – securely expressed and compassionately heard – through an informed collaborative of individuals invested in strengthening the special operations community.
To tackle systemic gaps and barriers impacting the health, success, and happiness of the special operations community, MSOFC seeks to strengthen, support, and enable other organizations providing programs, resources, and care for SOF at the individual, family, subcomponent, and community level. Any nonprofit organization that actively collaborates with MSOFC or engages in our initiatives, programs, and services is considered an active partner.
MSOFC is a separate entity – unaffiliated with any military or Department of Defense entity – that seeks to enhance and inform any effort that contributes to the health, success, and happiness of the entire special operations family. MSOFC specializes in developing effective and relevant resources, based on best practices, designed specifically for the special operations community. We strategically connect and partner with existing organizations to enhance and support families wherever they are.
Privacy and security of our families, our collaborators, and our force is a paramount concern. We take several precautions to secure our efforts and collaborate in a manner that collects minimal personal or identifying information. If you still have a concern, or know of a precaution we should be taking, please reach out and let us know. Trust is critical to our community and our mission.
MSOFC launched an online, searchable resource directory in 2023 to serve the special operations community. Learn more about our directory, Connecting SOF, here where we address Frequently Asked Questions.
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