New Directions for Veterans Names Colonel Yvette Kelley President and Chief Executive Officer
Aug 23, 2016 | By Bob Helfant | No Comments
LOS ANGELES – New Directions for Veterans (NDVets), a nonprofit organization that helps our nation’s veterans successfully address the challenges after military service, has named Colonel (Retired) Yvette Kelley as President and Chief Executive Officer, it was announced today by Board chair, Rudy E. Grimaldo. Ms. Kelley succeeds Ted Howells, a long-time board member who served as interim CEO for the past six months.
Colonel Kelley comes to NDVets after a long and distinguished career of military service. In 1983, she began as a platoon leader and company commander in the 2nd Infantry Division (Korea) and has since served in a multitude of critical command and staff positions. From 2001-2003, she served as a Battalion Commander during both Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Her unit was responsible for providing logistical support to the coalition land forces headquarters overseeing combat operations following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. From 2008-2010, Kelley served as the Garrison Commander for the Army’s helicopter training base, Fort Rucker, AL, responsible for performing mayoral duties and city services for over 16,000 people located on the installation. She completed her military career in 2013 while serving in the Pentagon. Kelley is a senior Army aviator rated in the Blackhawk, Huey, and Kiowa aircraft; her decorations include both the airborne and combat action badges. Kelley received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and holds three graduate degrees, including a Master of Business Administration (MBA).
“Colonel Kelley brings the perfect combination of military experience, advanced academic credentials and proven leadership and management capabilities to take New Directions for Veterans to the next level. Her commitment to the well-being of our vets will have a direct impact on our mission to help them become productive members of society once again,” said Board chair Grimaldo. “At this time, we would like to thank Ted Howells for his invaluable guidance during the past six months and look forward to his continuing contributions on our Board.”
According to the LA Homeless Services Authority, Los Angeles has the largest population of homeless military veterans in the nation with more than 3,000 living on the streets. Many of these men and women suffer from co-occurring disorders, including substance abuse, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic medical problems.
Recognizing this need, NDVets was launched in 1992 from one rented house that initially served only a handful of homeless Vietnam veterans. Today, NDVets, based on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration, partners with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and many other public and private funders to provide more than 1,000 homeless and at-risk veterans each year with the housing and support services they need to get their lives back on track. The agency operates four Transitional Housing Programs, a rapid re-housing and homeless prevention program called Supportive Services for Veteran Families; The West LA VA Welcome Center, which is the only program of its kind on the West Coast that offers a 24/7 drop-in center for immediate housing and services; and six permanent Supportive Housing facilities in Los Angeles county with more projects in the pipeline.
“My 30 years of Army service has taught me to never leave behind a fallen comrade and New Directions puts this into practice every day by helping veterans achieve fulfilling lives,” Kelley said. “I am proud to be part of this organization and I look forward to working with the dedicated staff and board to continue this vital work and expand efforts to help even more veterans in our community.”