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.
Lida Citroën is an international reputation management and branding specialist, often featured in MSNBC, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Forbes.com, Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, and CBS Moneywatch.
As founder of LIDA360, Lida is passionate about helping our nation's veterans navigate the military-to-civilian career transition. She is a popular speaker at military installations and events on veteran hiring, sits on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations (NAVSO), volunteers with ESGR, and teaches in the TAP program at the US Air Force Academy, and the EBV-F program at IVMF. Lida also leverages her 20 years in corporate branding to help employers recruit, on board and grow veteran employees.
Lida's second book, Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for the military-to-civilian transition, is a powerful resource for transitioning military members.
Lida is a regular contributor for Military.com and Entrepreneur.com on the topic of military transition, and is the recipient of many awards for her service to our veterans.
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 attract and national branding efforts. In leading the Veterans employment initiative at Verizon, he is 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 is to create an environment in which thousands of military veterans can find meaningful employment in their local communities and across the United States.
A key area under his direction was working with executive leadership and managing strategic & high-level collaborative partnerships in an effort to elevate Verizon’s brand visibility and recognition in military communities and other consumer markets.
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.
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.
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.
After serving in the military for a distinguished 24 years, Anne Sprute founded and scaled a Washington State based 501(c)3 non-profit; RallyPoint/6 (RP/6). The mission focused on connecting transitioning service members and their families to opportunities in the private sector after military service. In 2015, RP/6 formed a strategic partnership with the USO integrating the best-in-class model of the RP/6 Transition Mission across the USO enterprise. In January 2017 under Anne’s leadership, RP/6 effectively merged with the USO becoming the USO Transition Mission Strategic Business Unit. Joining forces brought the agility, innovation, programmatic and technical expertise and experience of RP/6 increasing the USO’s capabilities and commitment serving the military. As Senior Vice President of Transition Strategy and Innovation Anne is responsible for spearheading and scaling the overall transition mission and a portfolio of related programs across the USO enterprise.
During her military service Anne served in leadership roles overseas and stateside. Sprute is a graduate of the U.S. Army Warrant Officer and Army Aviation School(s). She is qualified in three Army Airframes, UH-1 Huey, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior and the UH-60 Blackhawk. Anne is a graduate from the inaugural Presidential Leadership Scholars class, a unique leadership development program developed by the U.S. Presidential Centers of Lyndon B. Johnson, George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, and George W. Bush. The presidential centers partnered to bring together a select group of diverse leaders who have the desire and capacity to take their leadership strengths to a higher cause in order to help their communities and our country prosper. Anne is married to an Army Veteran, and has two children attending college in Montana and Colorado.
Diana Tsai 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.
Ray is a retired Executive Leader and Marine Veteran with more than 35+ years of success in a variety of operational and leadership positions across several industries including financial services, technology, transportation and the United States Military. Ray is the former Vice President of Veterans Initiatives at Prudential Financial, a position he held from October 2010 until he elected to retire in October 2014.
Ray is from a military family. His father served in the Marine Corps from 1940 -1947, his sister and brother-in-law are both former Naval Officers. His two dearest friends (both retired Marines) have 5 children currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Military.
Ray is currently the Vice President of Development at US Military Endurance Sports, a 501 c(3), and an amateur athlete in their program. He is also serves on the Advisory Council of the Military Families Research Institute at Purdue University and is a volunteer leader with Team Red, White & Blue.
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.