Chris Ford currently serves as CEO of the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO). His entrepreneurship, leadership, and passion moved NAVSO from theoretical concept to public launch in 2014 and have positioned NAVSO to answer the long-demanded call for a national collaborative association for the Nation’s 40,000+ veteran-/military-serving organizations. NAVSO serves as a trusted, neutral convener stitching together like-minded public and private organizations seeking to deliver more effective and efficient services to veterans and military families where they need them most. Chris has developed and implemented the strategic direction of the organization in response to evolving and often complex needs of veterans and military families.
He is a 20-year Air Force veteran retiring in 2014 from the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he served in the Chairman’s Office of Warrior and Family Support. In this role, Chris leveraged his broad and deep perspectives on veteran reintegration to assist communities across eighteen states seeking to improve their support for military families. He previously served in nearly a dozen countries around the globe supporting Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Chris holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the United States Air Force Academy, and two Master’s Degrees: one from the University of South Carolina and one from the Naval Postgraduate School. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Air Force’ Squadron Officer School, the FBI’s National Academy, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and Syracuse University’s Boots to Business Program.
Check out his Founder's Story on why he created NAVSO here: https://youtu.be/-rrsBtcX5bU
Kelly serves as the Chief Information Officer at NAVSO where she is responsible for communications, technology, strategy development and execution. Formerly the Chief Operating Officer of Warrior Gateway, she is passionate about continuing to serve to the military community. Kelly graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Arts and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. She reported to USS Antietam (CG 54) as the Communications Officer followed by the USS Cleveland (LPD 7) as the Navigator/Administrative Officer, both home ported in San Diego, California. Kelly’s final Navy tour was in Washington D.C. where she served as the White House Liaison to the Secretary of the Navy and as a White House Social Aide during the Bush Administration. Concurrent to this full time shore duty posting, she earned a Masters in Business Administration from The George Washington University. After completing her active duty service, Kelly worked as a consultant for McKinney Rogers. In this role, she specialized in business execution, bringing corporate strategies to life and creating high performance cultures. She worked with a multitude of organizations including: Walmart, HBO, Heineken, JP Morgan, Bacardi and the National Football League. Kelly is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, still serves as a military spouse and is a mom to three young boys.
A passionate career public servant with over 20 years’ experience in managing and leading local social service agencies faced with serving our nation’s most at-risk families. Jennifer has been the Director of the Summit County Child Support Enforcement Agency in Akron, Ohio since 2008.
In addition to her social service work, Jennifer served as the Finance Director for the Summit County Prosecuting Attorney from 2003 to 2008 where she was responsible for managing an annual budget of nearly $20 million. As Finance Director, she was instrumental in writing and securing grant awards of over $5 million during her tenure.
Jennifer received her BA in both Political Science and International Relations from Kent State University in 1994 and her MPA from the University of Akron in 2002.
She served as a member of the Executive Board of the Ohio Child Support Enforcement Agency Directors’ Association from 2009 to 2014, serving as President in 2013. She is also a member of the National Child Support Enforcement Association.
Jennifer’s commitment to volunteer service has solidified her devotion to assisting families in need. She is an active volunteer member of the Steering Committee for the Summit County Fatherhood Initiative in Akron and has also served as Treasurer for the Greater Akron Autism Society where she was instrumental in the development and initiation of an annual community run that continues to raise significant funds for the organization.
A military spouse of nearly 24 years with a first-hand understanding of the demands placed on today’s military families through over a dozen military moves and several extended combat deployments. Angie has volunteered in a wide-range of programs helping veterans and military families, such as: program director for the Officer’s Spouse Club, a volunteer at the Airman’s Attic, a teacher and facilitator in a variety of churches across America, and as a lead coordinator for memorialization efforts for fallen Airmen at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Most recently, Angie has served on the Air Force Charity Ball Planning Committee for the last 3 years generating nearly $2M in charitable donations for the Air Force Aid Society.
Matthew serves as the Service Dog Program Administrator acting as a liaison between the Service Dog program and key stakeholders. A seasoned salesforce administrator with professional experience in the federal government, private consulting and data analysis, Matthew’s skills bring a lot to the table.
Matthew received his BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Catholic University of America and currently holds a Project Management Profession (PMP) Certification from the Project Management Institute.
As a combat Army veteran, Matthew knows the needs of the veteran community and the unique challenges veterans face every day. As an animal advocate, Matthew knows first-hand the special bond humans and animals have and is honored to help improve the social mobility of veterans with service animals.
Nick is the Founder and CEO of GoodUnited, a venture backed messenger automation SaaS startup for mid to large sized nonprofits.
Nick has been an innovator and leader at the intersection of business and social impact for over ten years. The concept for GoodUnited came through Nick's work founding and leading Stop Soldier Suicide, a national 501c3 that serves over 500 veterans a year. Stop Soldier Suicide’s growth and impact resulted in Nick being selected as a Presidential Leadership Scholar.
Nick co-founded Stop Soldier Suicide stemming from his experiences leading Paratroopers as a Ranger qualified Army Officer with the 173rd Airborne during 27 months deployed to combat zones in Afghanistan. During Nick's six years of service he was awarded two Bronze Stars, an Army Commendation Medal for Valor and as a Field Artillery Officer, was repeatedly ranked 1st among 50 peer Officers in an Infantry Battalion.
Nick received a BA from The Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. He lives with his wife Amanda and two children.
Jeremy is a technology executive and entrepreneur. As the founder of GoodUnited, Jeremy works with nonprofits to help shape their digital strategy to raise more money through Facebook fundraisers.
Prior to founding GoodUnited, Jeremy was a product manager responsible for leading the go-to-market strategy for the Apple/IBM partnership.
Outside of work, Jeremy is the founder and director of Startup Grind Charleston and lives with his wife, daughter, and yellow lab.
Owner, The Grant Writing Company
A national grant writing expert, Suzanne launched her company out of deep desire to help more people across a wider spectrum of needs and challenges. Suzanne received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Deaf Studies from California State University, Northridge, where she began grant writing as a young student. After years of working as a daytime grant writer for a nonprofit, she began fielding constant requests to help other organizations secure funding after work and on weekends. Deeply moved by the sheer number of worthy causes, Suzanne envisioned a consulting arrangement that would allow her to simultaneously help dozens of nonprofits without artificial employment or exclusivity limitations. In the twenty years since the company was founded, it has raised tens of millions of dollars supporting national and regional programs for health, human services, education, the arts, disabilities, veterans, poverty, the environment, human rights, ethnicity, and culture. Whether she is writing grants to provide arts education to inner-city kids or to map the human brain, Suzanne believes that money can do incredible good in the world and her vocation is to move it where it can do the most good. She has served nearly 100 nonprofit organizations in her career, and her funded grant proposals have impacted the lives of more than one million needy people across the globe.