In 1998, Kristen Kavanaugh chose the path less traveled and accepted an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. As she embarked on her military journey, she made a commitment to service that became the cornerstone of her life’s work.
At the Academy, she learned to live by the Navy’s core values: honor, courage and commitment. Like many college-aged Americans, Kristen also learned a great deal about herself. Two years into her commitment, her values and personal growth critically intersected when she began to understand and accept that she was a lesbian serving under the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy which prevented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) service members from serving openly.
Despite the moral dilemma of remaining “honorable” while hiding who she truly was, Kristen kept her oath to serve with “courage and commitment” by serving in silence under DADT at the Academy and as a United States Marine Corps officer. Although DADT prohibited her from advocating on her own behalf, Kristen fought for others throughout her 5-year Marine Corps career, which included one combat deployment to Iraq.
During the nationwide effort to repeal DADT in 2010, Kristen publicly shared her story in the hope that LGBT service members would find solace in their common struggles. After the repeal of DADT, she co-founded the Military Acceptance Project (MAP), a social justice organization, which promoted acceptance of LGBT service members, veterans, and their families.
Now, as majority owner and President of Trident Analytical Solutions, Inc., Kristen draws upon her military and personal experience to inspire and lead an expanding national management consulting and government contracting team.
Kristen holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Military Social Work from the University of Southern California. She currently serves as a member of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council.