David L. Albright is the Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health at The University of Alabama. He is a military veteran and former research fellow with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the RAND Corporation’s Center for Military Health Policy Research. His scholarship primarily focuses on the health promotion and education of military personnel, veterans, their families and communities, and the organizations that support them, with a particular interest in the role of the social environment on mental health and mental illness. David leads a team that is integrating alcohol and drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment practices into the standard delivery of primary health care in two Federally Qualified Health Centers and a VA Medical Center in West Alabama. David was appointed by Governor Bentley to both the Alabama Executive Veterans Network, in which he serves as the Health committee chair, and to the Alabama Council on Opioid Misuse and Addiction. He also chairs the Military Social Work track for the Council on Social Work Education and served as a military social work consultant to the National Association of Social Workers. David lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama with his wife, Jami, and their four daughters, Avery, Camille, Elizabeth, and Maren. He practices Pilates, and he enjoys running, watching college football, and the ongoing challenge of his improving his golf game.
Ms. Antoinette Balta is Executive Director of Veterans Legal Institute (VLI), among the first military specific public interest law firms in the nation. At VLI, Ms. Balta is tasked with the responsibility of business development, outreach, and strategic planning. She serves at VLI with a long-held passion to serve at-risk veterans and has dedicated her career to that end.
Ms. Balta is a JAG Officer with the California State Military Reserve, assigned to the Installation Support Group at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, where she holds the rank of Captain. She is VA accredited and regularly lectures on legal topics affecting veterans, where she is known for providing innovative solutions aimed at veteran empowerment and self-sufficiency. Ms. Balta is a member of the Orange County Veterans and Military Families Collaborative and Chairwoman of its Legal/Re-Entry Working Group. Further, she is a board member for the Warren J. Ferguson Inn of Court and the Villa Park Community Services Foundation. In recognition of her commitment to veteran-related projects, she was selected as one of Senator Lou Correa and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk Silva “Women of the Year” and was the recipient of the 2014 Community Leadership Award from the OC Black Chamber of Commerce. Previously, Ms. Balta served as an Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellow focusing on Veterans civil legal issues. Prior to dedicating her career to public interest law, she practiced general civil litigation.
Ms. Balta graduated cum laude from Chapman University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with minors in marketing and management. She holds a juris doctorate from Chapman University School of Law, with a special certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution. She also holds a Masters of Law (LLM) from Chapman University School of Law with an emphasis in business and economics.
Dr. Sonja Batten is a licensed clinical psychologist with a Secret security clearance, who provides senior behavioral health leadership for Booz Allen Hamilton. Prior to joining Booz Allen, as the Deputy Chief Consultant for Specialty Mental Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Batten supervised the development of all VA mental health policy related to the specialty areas of women’s mental health, military sexual trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, substance use disorders, and collaboration with the Department of Defense. While at VA Central Office, she was also the first Deputy Director for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. She also led VA’s innovative, nationwide mental health public awareness campaign, Make the Connection, winning over 50 awards in 2 years. Additionally, Dr. Batten established the VA Maryland Health Care System’s first mental health outreach and clinical program for Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and led the PTSD outpatient and residential programs for the VA Maryland Health Care System. Prior to that position, she served as the Associate Director for Women’s Health Research at Yale.
Evan is a nationally recognized leader with over two decades of experience in strategic corporate development, talent acquisition, employment marketing & employer branding and other special projects. Evan is a Chief Veteran Advocate, and he is highly sought-after by major companies, news media, and veteran service organizations to share leading practices in military recruiting and engagement programs.
Evan’s success has been attributed to leveraging his creativity, innovation, and key partnerships to attract and retain the strongest talent in order to achieve organizational success. His strategic approach has been recognized by other industry leaders and has earned multiple recognition awards for his diversity efforts especially in attracting and recruiting veterans, military spouses and wounded warriors. Evan has dedicated his life to assisting Service Members early in his career in finding sustainable employment and advancing corporate branding efforts through unique military engagement concepts. He left the corporate sector to pursue and build his own start-up business: The MiLBRAND Project.
As former Global Head of Military Programs and Engagement for Verizon; Evan’s responsibilities included creation, development and oversight of Verizon’s new military talent attraction and national branding efforts. In leading the Veterans employment initiative at Verizon, he was responsible for managing public and private sector partnerships to help veterans and their families transition from military service to civilian-corporate life. The program’s objective were to create an environment in which thousands of military veterans could find meaningful employment in their local communities and across the United States.
Joshua Jabin graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2001 and served 12 years active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2013 in various leadership and operations management roles. He earned a M.S. in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School in 2009 and taught Mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy from 2009-2013. Following his transition from active duty, Josh spent a year and a half as a management consultant working with healthcare leaders to develop strategy and improve performance. Currently, Josh is the Chief Operating Officer with Travis Manion Foundation and a Major in the Marine Corps Reserves. He is married and has two daughters.
Deb Kloeppel is the Founder and President of Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), two unique nonprofits and nationwide military-affiliated employment referral, job training, and placement organizations. The sister companies use online and offline products to connect employers in all industries and with men and women who have a military affiliation. CASY focuses on the needs of returning National Guard members,Reservists, transitioning military, and Veterans of all wars; whereas, MSCCN focuses on military spouses and caregivers to war wounded Veterans.
Deb is a writer, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, savvy business woman, nurse, military family activist, and military spouse. She writes and speaks about career passion, military family strength, patriotism, what employers want, and military job seekers’ struggles in the corporate workforce. As an innovator in military spouse, war wounded, and their caregivers’ job referral services, Deb has remained a strong advocate for the military-affiliated job seeker’s need for vocational training and extended support.
Prior to MSCCN, Deb built her executive corporate career within American Airlines and Concentra Health Company as Senior Vice President, Operations. Deb also founded and maintained a graphics art and sporting goods retail store for thirteen years, in southern Illinois.
Deb’s awards include the Department of Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award, ESGR 5 Star Plaque for Support of the Reserve and Guard, the HOMEFRONT Diversity Award for Diverse Employment Support and the first Office of Global Maritime Situational Awareness Coin. Deb was also selected as a Who’s Who of Military Spouses in 2007. In March 2016, Deb Kloeppel was honored to receive the prestigious National Guard Minuteman Award on behalf of CASY & MSCCN.
Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University, where she also directs the Military Family Research Institute and the Center for Families. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth holds an M.B.A. in Management and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on relationships between job conditions and family life, with special focus on military families. Her research has been published in scientific outlets including the Journal of Marriage and Family and the Academy of Management Journal, and has been funded by a variety of federal, state, and philanthropic organizations. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth is a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations, and a recipient of the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute and the Violet Haas Award for Leadership on behalf of women at Purdue University. Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth has served on federal advisory committees for the Department of Defense and the Institute of Medicine, and has testified in Congress regarding military and veteran families. In 2012, Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth received the Morrill Award from Purdue University in recognition of outstanding career achievements that have had an impact on society, and in 2016, Purdue University received the Kellogg Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and the Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from the Washington Center in recognition of the work of the Military Family Research Institute.
Jane joined Finn Partners to lead the Global Sustainability & Social Impact Practice. She is an award-winning authority on ESG (environmental, social and governance) policy, performance and communications with over 25 years of experience.
Jane is a trusted advisor to Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries including tech, finance, and consumer products on environmental and social impact, executive positioning, stakeholder engagement and ESG reporting. She also has extensive sustainable development expertise from working in more than 30 countries, including Afghanistan, China, Ghana, Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Previously, Jane was the US Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Practice lead at Burson-Marsteller and was as a Partner and the Sustainability Practice Leader at Environmental Resources Management (ERM) where she focused on corporate sustainability policies and strategy, green technologies, energy efficiency, ESG reporting and supply chain issues.
Jane launched the Chicago CSR & Sustainability practice at Edelman Chicago as Executive Vice President. Prior to her role at Edelman she served as a World Bank official for 12 years advising governments on ESG policies, stakeholder engagement and public-private partnerships. Jane served on the Bank’s Community Outreach Committee, the Development Marketplace assessment team and was the World Bank representative to the International Literacy Network. Early in her career, Jane held positions at CARE, UNICEF and the European Union.
Jane is a sought-after speaker on sustainability issues, particularly innovation, ESG disclosure, investors and conflict minerals. She has spoken at the Milken Global Conference, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Jonas Salk Centenary Symposium on Sustainability and the United Nations Global Compact LEAD Symposium. Jane is a guest lecturer for the U.S. State Department and has completed educational tours in Moldova and Mongolia to share best practices on Corporate Responsibility in emerging economies.
Jane is the Board Chair of The Seldoms, an issues-based, contemporary dance company in Chicago. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of the National Association of Veterans’ Associations (NAVSO) and Project C.U.R.E. She has served on the Board of I-Go (Chicago’s, non-profit car sharing company), Global Communities, The Sustainable Business Network of Washington and The Washington Literacy Council.
Jane has been named CSR Professional of the and PR Professional of the Year by PRNews.
Diana (Tsai) Rau is the CEO of Veterati.com, a digital platform for veterans & military spouses to access mentorship-on-demand from successful professionals across the nation. Since more than 80% of jobs are unpublished and exist solely within personal networks, Veterati focuses on mentorship as a primary means to exploring career options and securing real jobs. Our mission is to create mentorship conversations between 1.5 million transitioning veterans to the 100 million Americans currently employed across America to secure meaningful post-military careers for our veterans. The Global Head of Military Programs of the #1 Veteran Employer in the United States calls Veterati “The Uber of Mentorship, a game-changer.” Prior to Veterati, Diana founded startups in areas of social impact, design, and branding.
David is Managing Director of Forward Motion Strategies, a social enterprise with a mission of building fundraising, program and strategy execution capacity for VSOs. He is also IAVA’s immediate past Chief Development Officer, where he handled the day-to-day management and operations of the Resources Staff. David was also responsible for developing strategic alliances with American companies that are comprehensive, integrated, and based on shared values. He views his work with NAVSO, IAVA and other veterans organizations as the best, most important way that he can at last serve those who have served. Recent tenures include the American Cancer Society, Orbis International and Lighthouse International. David has a masters degree in nonprofit management from the New School.
Brandon Shelton is a strategy leader, a problem solver and a relationship builder. He led the grassroots effort that became Task Force X, a driven network of experts and advisors that evaluate and develop Veteran entrepreneurs and businesses. A veteran entrepreneur himself, Brandon first founded T2 Growth Advisors to help teams design and activate strategic frameworks to reach their goals.
Brandon developed his financial, strategic and operational skills through various experiences in high intensity and change environments from the military after 9/11 to Wall Street in 2008. Using military principles, Brandon helped client teams grow while a partner at a boutique strategy consulting firm with his largest client hiring him to drive growth, expansion and technology changes at a multi-billion dollar company in North America. Brandon founded T2 Growth Advisors to connect these skills to startups and small businesses.
Nathan Smith graduated with distinction from the Virginia Military Institute in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Political Science. Following his commissioning as Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, he served as an Infantry Officer in rifle and weapons platoon commander billets during two deployments in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from 2005 to 2007, where he was twice decorated for exceptional performance in combat.
After deployment, Mr. Smith assumed duties as a strategic weapons guard platoon commander and a Recapture Tactics Team commander at Marine Corps Security Force Battalion, Bangor, Washington. Mr. Smith completed seven years of service in the Marine Corps in May 2010 and immediately assumed the position of Deputy Director at Hire Heroes USA; he was promoted to Executive Director in 2011 and Chief Operating Officer in 2012. Mr. Smith is a nationally recognized expert on military transition and veteran employment, with appearances on PBS NewsHour, Comcast Newsmakers, and in the Wall Street Journal, Stars and Stripes, and other prominent news outlets.
John Williams is the Principal and founder of Powell Strategies, a full-service communications and management company providing custom-tailored solutions to challenges organizations face in the national security sector.
Through a career as a U.S. Marine, John served as an infantry officer, an intelligence officer and as a Foreign Area Officer with combat deployments in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In growing Powell Strategies, John not only capitalizes on his military experience, he combines other best practices from his time as faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy, from his service as the Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Study of War and as a Program Manager in the National Security Analysis Department at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.
A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, John also holds a Masters of Arts degree in National Security Affairs from the Naval Postgraduate School and completed the MIT Seminar XXI Program. John is a certified Project Management Professional, is a graduate of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Veteran Institute for Procurement and an alumnus of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Babson College.