Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
 

St. Paul Regional Office

Meet Our Leadership Team

 

 

Kim Graves

Executive Director: Kim Graves

Kim Graves was appointed Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) St. Paul Regional Office (RO) effective October 19, 2014. The St. Paul Regional Office delivers more than five billion dollars annually in compensation and pension benefits, in addition to administering Loan Guaranty and Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors. In her current position, Ms. Graves is responsible for establishing policies and procedures consistent with VA guidelines, providing executive leadership and direction to approximately 900 employees, managing available financial and human capital resources, directing programs for quality control in regional operations, as well as actively participating in outreach efforts in Veteran communities.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Graves served as the Director of VBA's Eastern Area for nearly five years, where she provided direction and oversight in administering the full suite of VBA benefits to a Veteran population in excess of 8 million across 14 states. She was selected as a Veterans Claims Examiner at the Lincoln Regional Office in 1991. Since coming to VA, Ms. Graves has served in a number of diverse roles in various VBA organizations, including implementing VBA’s Office of Business Process Integration. While serving in these positions, Ms. Graves participated in the design and implementation of numerous national initiatives, including the National Automated Response System (NARS), VBA's Balanced Scorecard, Operations Center, the Inventory Management System (IMS), VETSNET Operations Reports (VOR), the VETSNET suite of software applications, and VBA’s paperless benefits delivery initiative.

Ms. Graves began her career in public service in 1985 by enlisting in the United States Army. As the result of an early in-service injury, Ms. Graves entered VA's Veteran Readiness and Employment Program to continue her education and gain experience in federal service, working in the VA Regional Office in Lincoln, NE.

CAREER CHRONOLOGY:

2014 – Present Director, St. Paul Regional Office

2010 – 2014 Director, Eastern Area

2008 – 2010 Director, Office of Business Process Integration

2007 – 2008 Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Benefits

2005 – 2007 Director, St. Louis Regional Office

2003 – 2005 Director, Providence Regional Office

EDUCATION:

MPA Masters in Public Administration (MPA), University of Nebraska

BA Psychology & Sociology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE





Assistant Director: Ron Sackett

Ron Sackett was selected as Assistant Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) St. Paul Regional Office (RO) in October 2019. The St. Paul Regional Office delivers more than five billion dollars annually in compensation and pension benefits, in addition to administering Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors. The St. Paul Regional Office also oversees one of three Pension Management Centers, a national non-rating claims processing team, and serves as the primary Restricted Access Claims Center (RACC). The RACC processes claims from VBA employees, Veterans Service Officers, high-level government officials and other sensitive claimants.

In his current position, Mr. Sackett is responsible for assisting the Director in establishing policies and procedures consistent with VA guidelines, providing executive leadership and direction to approximately 900 employees, managing available financial and human capital resources, directing programs for quality control in operations, as well as actively participating in outreach efforts in Veteran communities.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Sackett served as the Chief of Support Services for the St. Paul Regional Office since 2012. In this role he provided direction and oversight in administering the second largest Support Services Division in VBA which provides payroll and administrative support to the employees of the St. Paul, Sioux Falls and Fargo Regional Offices as well as a variety of financial services in support of Veterans and Beneficiaries. He also served on the VBA’s National Support Services Council whose purpose is to facilitate innovation and refine policy within the Administration. 

Prior to joining VA in 2012, Mr. Sackett worked for General Dynamics where he served as the Commander’s Operations and Training Advisor for the 1/34th Armor Brigade Combat Team. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and executing training for the Brigade and its seven subordinate battalion staffs and developing pre-deployment training plans for the Brigade’s 5,000 soldiers in preparation for several deployments.

Mr. Sackett began his career in public service in 1979 by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, serving four years and attaining the rank of Sergeant. In 1986, Mr. Sackett was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and continued to serve in various assignments with the U.S. Army and on active duty with the Minnesota Army National Guard until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2005. Assignments included, Deputy Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation, U.S. Embassy Croatia; Commander, 1/194 Armor Battalion; Deputy Chief, Military Liaison Team-Croatia; and Assistant Professor of Military Science, St. John’s University. Amongst Mr. Sackett’s awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Order of St. George.

EDUCATION:

BA      English, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN





Jessica Gillette

Assistant Director: Jessica Gillette

Jessica Gillette was selected as Assistant Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) St. Paul Regional Office (RO) in April of 2020. The St. Paul RO delivers more than five billion dollars annually in compensation and pension benefits, in addition to administering Veteran Readiness and Employment benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors. The St. Paul RO also oversees one of three Pension Management Centers, is a National Non-Rating Special Mission processing site, and serves as the primary Restricted Access Claims Center (RACC). The RACC processes claims from VBA employees, Veterans Service Officers, high-level government officials, and other sensitive claimants.

In her current position, Ms. Gillette is responsible for assisting the Director in establishing policies and procedures consistent with VA guidelines, while providing executive leadership and direction to approximately 900 employees, managing available financial and human capital resources, directing programs for quality control in operations, and actively participating in outreach efforts in Veteran communities.

Ms. Gillette began her career with VA in 2002 as a Rating Veterans Service Representative, subsequently holding positions of increased responsibility in service to Veterans and their families. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Gillette served as the Veterans Service Center Manager (VSCM) for the St. Paul Regional Office. As the VSCM, she provided direction and oversight to the 400 employees within the Veterans Service Center, Restricted Access Claims Center, and National Non-Rating Special Mission Team. She also served on the Veterans Service Center Manager Advisory Committee, as well as the Appeals Advisory Committee. While serving on these committees, Ms. Gillette provided feedback and recommendations to VA Central Office leadership on proposed changes to regulations, policies, and procedures.

Prior to starting her career with VA, Ms. Gillette earned a degree as a Registered Nurse and worked at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. She specialized in infectious disease and wound care and successfully collaborated with the hospital and local business partners to create instructional videos on wound care techniques for national use.





Joanna Yanez

Pension Management Center Manager: Joanna Yanez

Ms. Yanez was selected as the Pension Management Center (PMC) Manager in August 2018. She leads a division of approximately 350 employees. Prior to being selected in this position, Ms. Yanez served as an Assistant PMC Manager in St. Paul.

Ms. Yanez began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2001, as a student intern in Veteran Readiness and Employment at the St. Paul Regional Office. She was then selected as a Veterans Service Representative in the St. Paul PMC in 2001. Since that time, she served in multiple roles to include Veterans Claims Examiner, Assistant Coach and Coach.





Deana Chase

Veterans Service Center Manager: Deana Chase

Deana Chase was selected as the St. Paul Veterans Service Center Manager (VSCM) in February 2021.  Ms. Chase is responsible for leading over 250 employees in providing timely resolution of rating claims and appeals.  Additionally, Ms. Chase oversees the activities of the Restricted Access Claims Center.  Ms. Chase began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2009 as a Veterans Service Representative in the Pension Management Center.  She later joined the leadership team in the Veterans Service Center (VSC) as an Assistant Coach, Coach, and then served as an Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager.  Following her time in the VSC, Ms. Chase served as the Benefit Eligibility Support Team Manager prior to her selection as VSCM. 

Ms. Chase received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Media Studies from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.





Linda Steffensmeier

Veteran Readiness and Employment Officer: Linda Steffensmeier

Linda Steffensmeier is the Veteran Readiness and Employment Officer (VREO). Ms. Steffensmeier has been serving in this capacity since May of 2016; previously she served in the same capacity from December of 2009 to May of 2012 in the Wichita Regional Office and from May 2012 to October 2014 in the Montgomery Regional Office. Ms. Steffensmeier started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in November of 2002. She served in the capacity of a Veteran Readiness and Employment Counselor in the St. Paul, St. Petersburg and Houston Regional Offices. Prior to joining VA, Ms. Steffensmeier was self-employed in the private rehabilitation sector as a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor. She also holds the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) licensure.

Ms. Steffensmeier obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and her Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN.





Kimberly Girard

Loan Guaranty Officer: Kimberly Girard

Kimberly Girard was appointed Loan Guaranty Officer at the St. Paul VA Regional Loan Center in July 2014.  In this position, she leads 81 employees in providing oversight of Loan Guaranty benefits for the St. Paul VA Regional Office.  Ms. Girard began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2003.  Since that time, she has served in a variety of leadership positions at the St. Paul VA Regional Office including Servicing Officer, Assistant Valuation Officer, and Acting Veteran Readiness and Employment Officer.  Prior to her appointment as the Loan Guaranty Officer, Ms. Girard served as the Loan Administration Officer assisting service members and Veterans in avoiding foreclosure.

Ms. Girard is an alumna of 2012 Leadership VA (LVA).  She also received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, and Minors in Communication and Office Administration, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota.