2021 CCME Symposium Speakers
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Senior Program Manager for Veteran Economic Opportunity
Amy Bernard serves as the Senior Program Manager for Veteran Economic Opportunity as part of the Military Service Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. She manages strategic efforts to promote the partnerships, collaboration, and alignment among organizations that focus on employment, higher education and meaningful career pathways that are crucial to the economic success of post-9/11 Veterans.
Through her work with the Military Service Initiative team to integrate research findings and policy recommendations, Amy leads the Veteran Higher Education Task Force, a convening of 35 organizations to coordinate and work together to address the gaps and challenges for veterans and military affiliated students attending Institutions of Higher Learning. She has also led the strategic policy and programmatic planning of the Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program military curriculum. This program highlights the latest in employment, higher education, entrepreneurship, health and well-being and ongoing policy work in the veteran community. This program also spotlights national thought-leaders in veteran transition research. These efforts are crucial to the work that improves veteran transition outcomes and builds up the veteran population as future leaders across the nation.
Major Amy Bernard retired from the United States Marine Corps in the Spring of 2019, where she served as a Logistics Officer in a myriad of domestic and global Command and Staff positions. She last served as the Executive Officer of a Battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. She deployed in 2005 and 2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and most recently in 2017 in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. She was selected to represent the United States Marine Corps as the first female Officer to attend Command & Staff College in New Zealand, earning a Master of Arts degree in International Security from Massey University.
Amy Bernard is a Dallas/Fort Worth Ecosystem Ambassador for Bunker Labs, focusing on building strategic relationships between veteran entrepreneurs and the local city and business leadership. She is also a City Leader for the Dallas/Fort Worth U.S. Veterans Chamber of Commerce where she continues to build a network amongst veteran business owners.
Amy Bernard is originally from Irving, Texas and completed her undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University. In the spring of 2019, she also completed a second Master of Arts degree in Athletic Administration from Concordia University. In her spare time, Amy is a WSET 2 Sommelier and enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of wine amongst friends.
Executive Director, Education Service Veterans Benefits Administration
Charmain Bogue was appointed the Executive Director of Education Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on May 26, 2019. In this role, Ms. Bogue is charged with providing strategic direction to over 2,000 education employees across the nation. She is responsible for providing oversight to ensure efficient field operations and administration of five education benefit programs and retaining accountability for a $200MM annual budget. These collective efforts ensure the successful execution of nearly $12BN in education benefit payments to nearly one million GI Bill beneficiaries each year. She provides oversight and administers a portfolio of outreach initiatives designed to bolster the global visibility of education programs offerings among Servicemembers, Veterans, dependents and other key stakeholders. She formulates highly effective strategies to improve and streamline benef access to programs, including increased online services, enhanced customer experience, and integrated information campaigns. She also serves on the Coordination in STEM Education Committee to expand investments in STEM education programs across federal agencies.
Prior to her current appointment, Ms. Bogue served as the Deputy Director of Operations for Education Service and was responsible for managing education field operations and overseeing
the functionality of multiple IT systems used to process education claims. Ms. Bogue also served as the Senior Assistance Act (commonly referred to as the Forever GI Bill).
Ms. Bogue started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2007 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in the New York City Regional Office. After serving in this role, she held various positions in VBA Central Office and participated in the design and execution of several national initiatives which helped to expand and improve economic opportunities for Veterans and their families.
2019 Present Executive Director (SES), Education Service
2018-2018 Deputy Director (SES) (Interim), Compensation Service
2014 - 2018 Deputy Director, Operations, Education Service
2013 - 2014 Assistant Director (Interim), Program Management, Education Service
2011 - 2013 Senior Analyst, Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
2010 - 2011 National Training Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service
2007 - 2010 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, New York City Regional Office
Ms. Bogue earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, and a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York.
Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt
The Center for Excellence in Public Leadership Senior Leader Program George Washington University
Director, DoD Voluntary Education Program
Ms. Dawn Bilodeau is the Director, DoD Voluntary Education Programs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, Force Education, and Training. In this capacity, she is responsible for oversight and administration of adult, non-traditional, continuing, and higher education programs for a global enterprise valued at nearly $700M annually. Ms. Bilodeau champions DoD policies, programs, and partnerships that enable access to quality educational opportunities, empower informed Service member decision-making, shape meaningful personal and professional pathways, and drive success in careers for over a half-million service members each year.
During her over 20 year career in military voluntary education, she has served from Kentucky to Kosovo with multiple assignments to the Washington, DC area. She grew through the ranks of Army Education as a Guidance Counselor, Education Services Specialist, Deputy Director/Chief of Budget & Finance, and Senior Education Program Analyst prior to becoming the Director for DoD Voluntary Education Programs. Her military ties are strong as the spouse of a Marine Corps and Army Veteran and the daughter of an Air Force Veteran. Ms. Bilodeau holds a Master's Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Arizona State University and is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society program.
DR. JOSEPH W. WESCOTT II
National Legislative Liaison of the NASAA
Joseph W. Wescott II (Joe) is the National Legislative Liaison of the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA). He also serves on the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Advisory Committee on Education and is the National Higher Education Consultant for the American Legion. Previously, he served as NASAA President, Vice President and Legislative Director. Wescott was Executive Director of the North Carolina State Approving Agency (NCSAA) for almost a decade. Prior to his service at the NCSAA, Wescott served in various leadership roles in higher education including director of the office of Planning, Policy and Evaluation at Brunswick Community College, federal relations analyst/government relations representative for Duke University and an adjunct instructor at several colleges and professional organizations.
Dr. Wescott is a veteran, having served on active duty as a combat officer in the US Army. Earlier, he attended Wake Forest University on a four year Army ROTC scholarship, graduating with honors. He holds advanced degrees from Wake Forest University and North Carolina State University, including the doctorate in Higher Education Administration. In addition to other duties, Wescott serves as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Leadership, Policy, Adult and Higher Education at NC State University.
He serves on several national boards including the Southeastern Council on Military Education, the George W. Bush National Task Force on Higher Education and the Wake Forest National Alumni Council. Dr. Wescott has written several articles and books on history and higher education topics including veterans employment and the history of the North Carolina Community College System. In 2010, he was elected to the North Caroliniana Society for service to his home state and in 2013 to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels for service to the state of Kentucky.
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López
Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the United States Armed Forces, and the principal military advisor to the Chairman on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel.
SEAC Colón-López enlisted in the United States Air Force in December 1990. He has held assignments in U.S. Air Forces Europe, Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Education and Training Command, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Special Operations Command, and Air Forces Central Command. He has deployed numerous times in support of operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Resolute Support, Inherent Resolve, and to several other classified locations. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for United States Africa Command.