Our Executive Leaders

WID Palmetto Chapter

Kelly Russ


Kelly Russ is an active participate in the Charleston Defense community, holding leadership positions on the WID Palmetto Chapter board as well as a member and committee participant for CDCA and AFCEA.  Over her last six years supporting the Defense community, Kelly has held various positions including Vice President, Treasurer, and Fundraising Co-Chair for WID-PC as well as membership sub-committee lead for CDCA. With a passion for helping others, Kelly has assisted with the coordination and event management for WID’s signature Military Woman of the Year event and annual Oyster Roast. During her time on the WID Leadership Board, Kelly has helped the organization raise over $14,000 for the WID PC STEM Scholarship Program as well as $12,000 for the VA and newly established Harbour House project.

Outside of the Defense community, Kelly has served as the Vice President for Follypalooza for the last seven years. An annual fundraiser for Folly Beach locals in need of financial support due to medical ailments, primarily cancer, Follypalooza has raised over $31,000 since its inception.

To pay her own bills, Kelly is the Business Development Manager for Secure Mission Solutions LLC. In this position, Kelly has been responsible for overseeing and coordinating all BD activities across the $100 million company including management of their BD support personnel, and budget. Specializing in process improvement, relationship development, contract management, proposal development, and marketing, Kelly’s diverse experience set is complimented by a can-do attitude and motivation to learn new skills. Over the last five years, Kelly’s accomplishments include capture, proposal, and/or strategic support to over 80 proposals with a personal prime win rate of 66% and subcontracting win rate of 59%. Her efforts have resulted in over $9.7 billion in IDIQ contract ceiling as well as the development and integration of new processes to streamline BD activities across the company.

Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication from the College of Charleston with a minor in Political Science.

Rachel Link

Vice President

Rachel Link is a Strategist, Creative, Innovator, and Entrepreneur. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a focus on Visual Communication, Rachel became passionate about the power of visual story telling that leverages big data visualization to facilitate executive communication. Over time, Rachel has become a trusted client partner creating strategies and communication messages that allow executives to accelerate change and communicate effectively to large audiences up and down the chain.

As Maga Design’s Director of Client Services, Rachel Link leads focus group engagements with executive-level stakeholders to achieve consensus, create strategy, roadmap a vision or way forward, or help articulate a technical solution deployment. Rachel leads the creation of visualization strategy per engagement to deliver innovative information design products including infographics, user and customer experiences and interactive tools. These strategies support a myriad of enterprise challenges including continuous process improvement, change management, strategic planning and enterprise architecture.

Rachel is passionate about building relationships and designing customer experiences. Clients include the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR); Naval Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems; Department of Veterans Affairs and a variety of commercial clients including Cisco, Pepsico and Dell.

Rachel is active in local community initiatives including the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston, SC where she resides, as well as Department of Defense industry groups. She currently serves at the Vice President of the Palmetto Chapter of Women In Defense and sits of the executive board of the Charleston Defense Contractors Association C5ISR Summit Committee.

Amanda Stewart


Amanda Stewart brings over 14 years of experience across all aspects of business, with heavy emphasis on Financial Management and Program Management.  Beginning her career with Fluor Corporation in the Commercial sector as an Accountant, Ms. Stewart then diversified into the Defense sector supporting organizations such as General Dynamics Land Systems, Textron, and Sentar, primarily within the areas of Program Planning & Controls, Financial Management, Program Management & Business Development.  Ms. Stewart currently holds the position of Founder and CEO of an EDWOSB, Iron Horse Solutions LLC.

Amanda holds a current PMP certification and is an active member of the Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA) and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA).  Additionally, she is currently serving her second term on the Executive Board of Women in Defense (WID) Palmetto Chapter as Treasurer. Amanda holds a BS in Accounting from Valdosta State University and an MBA in Business from The Citadel.

Ms. Stewart resides in West Ashley, and enjoys volunteering for the Miracle League, the Arthritis Foundation, and Pet Helpers, in an effort to give back to the community.  She believes in a positive work/life balance and enjoys such hobbies as scuba diving, hiking, and canoeing.


Samantha Horner


Samantha Horner is a graduate of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a former Government Civilian with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) where she cultivated and expanded her extensive experience in Program Management and government acquisitions. She is expert in process development, Information Technology (IT) Operations and a proven leader. She successfully managed a team of engineers and IT professionals, overseeing the engineering and deployment of a standardized Navy Medicine enterprise infrastructure. Her success directly contributed in providing the Department of Defense Military Health Community and the American Warfighter with innovative engineering solutions to improve access to care for our military medical community.

Samantha currently works for Spinvi Consulting, LLC  which is an 8a Virginia-based small business as the Director of Charleston Operations.  Samantha leads the business capture and business development for emerging opportunities in Charleston, South Carolina. Samantha is committed to developing relationships and delivering solutions based on customer requirements and expectations. Customers include the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR); Defense Health Agency (DHA); Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA); Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and a variety of commercial clients.

Samantha is active in local community initiatives including support for the Charleston Animal Society in Charleston, SC where she resides, as well as donating her time as a volunteer youth softball coach. She currently serves at the Communications Committee Co-chair of the Palmetto Chapter of Women in Defense.


Maura Christensen

Immediate Past President

Ms. Christensen is the Vice President, Business Development for clearAvenue, LLC and also serves as the President for the Palmetto Chapter of Women In Defense (WID-PC). Prior to clearAvenue, Ms. Christensen served as the Portfolio Manager, Engineering Services Division with Strategic Operational Solutions, Inc. (STOPSO) and served as the Strategic Operations Manager for SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic’s (LANT’s), Senior Executive for Network Centric Development and Integration, 5.0 Engineering Competency Lead.

Ms. Christensen returned to the Department of Defense (DoD) Industry following an 11 year hiatus to raise her 3 children. She was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Public Policy from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1991. Ms. Christensen is ITIL v3 Foundation and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Green Belt certified. She recently completed her first year as President of the Women In Defense (WID) Palmetto Chapter (PC) after serving a two year term as the Vice President for the WID-PC. She has held numerous Charleston County School Parent Teacher Association and School Improvement Council Board positions. Ms. Christensen is also actively involved in the Low Country Chapters of Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA), the Charleston Defense Contractors Association (CDCA) and the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).