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Who We Are

Board & Staff

Board of Directors

The Growing Veterans’ Board of Directors are a working board and have begun to focus on strengthening fundraising channels, board structure, and long-term governance strategies. If you have a passion for Growing Veterans’ vision and possess the professional skills that would enhance our board, please contact our President.

  • President. Co-Founder of Growing Veterans. PTSD counselor for combat veterans. Purple Heart recipient. The Mission Continues Alum. AmeriCorps Alum. Currently practicing in a clinical PTSD setting and studying for his LICSW license.

  • Bill Smith, Ph.D..
    Bill Smith, Ph.D..

    Vice President (2020). Veteran family member (Son of WWII 1st Marine Division Veteran). Professor Emeritus of Western Washington University. Taught Professional & Technical writing and disability studies.

  • Richard Forsell.
    Richard Forsell.

    Secretary. Attorney at Law. Practices business law in Kirkland, WA. Does various pro bono work for non-profits that he is passionate about.

  • Tonneli Gruetter
    Tonneli Gruetter

    Board member. Military spouse. MKTG, Inc. Community Manager. Focuses on global reach and experiential marketing. Private farm owner and liaison with Whidbey Island farms and Farmer’s Markets.

  • Arie Greenleaf, Ph.D.
    Arie Greenleaf, Ph.D.

    Board member. Marine Corps veteran. Researcher and Professor at Seattle University.

  • Tony Cafferelli
    Tony Cafferelli

    Marine Corps Veteran turned accountant with 3 years of auditing experience. Tony served 8 years in the Marine Corps, 3 of which were serving alongside Christopher Brown. Upon transitioning to civilian life, he studied at The George Washington University & earned his Bachelors Degree in Accountancy. Tony is currently studying for his CPA license.


  • Executive Director
    Michael is a Marine Corps veteran with 20 years of organizational leadership and development experience in the public and private sectors.

  • Farm Manager
    Joel was an Airborne Combat Medic in the US Army. He served active duty from 2007-2011. He deployed to Afghanistan 2009-2010. After getting out in 2011, he used his GI Bill at Western Washington University and received a Bachelors in Outdoor Recreation. He started part time at Growing Veterans, with little to no experience, and now manages our Certified Organic Farm in Lynden, WA. Joel wants to pass on the knowledge he gains to other veterans and to reconnect them with nature as a source of healing.

  • Communications and Outreach Manager
    Sean served in the United States Airforce from 2005 to 2009 as a Security Forces airman. He deployed to Iraq in 2005, 2007 and Kuwait in 2008. After being honorably discharged from active duty service, Sean completed a Bachelors in Arts in Human Services at Western Washington University. Growing Veterans provides Sean the opportunity to share his passion for sustainable agriculture and veteran advocacy.

  • Operations Manager
    Angela is the daughter of two veterans and comes with years of experience in sustainable agriculture and non-profit administration.