Today the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation announced two personnel additions and a transition:
- David Bearden, an experienced lawyer, former presidential administration official, energy executive, and U.S. Naval Reserve Officer, has joined the team as the Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer.
- Jennifer Ballou, a decorated Global War on Terrorism veteran and former Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Army Resilience Directorate, who was previously the Foundation’s Gold Star Fellow, transitions to become the full-time Chief of Staff.
- Krista Simpson Anderson will become the Foundation’s Gold Star Fellow. Krista is a Gold Star wife and founder of The Unquiet Professional, a non-profit organization supporting our Nation’s grieving, wounded, and active-duty military families.
“The Foundation team continues to grow by welcoming people of high character, unquestioned dedication, and proven selfless service,” said Foundation President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez. “David and Jennifer will undoubtedly enhance our efficiency and overall mission effectiveness, while Krista’s passion for connecting with Gold Star family members and veterans will help continue to grow our coalition of supporters. We are proud to have all of them supporting our sacred work.”
“It’s an incredible privilege to join the Foundation and honor the sacrifices of past, present, and future Global War on Terrorism personnel,” said David Bearden. “We will continue to maximize efficiency in our operations and ensure that every dollar is put to optimal use.”
“The opportunity to support the Foundation as its Chief of Staff is a special privilege,” said Jennifer Ballou. “As a veteran and Gold Star family member, I’ve always strived to honor those who have sacrificed for the greatest nation on earth, including my late husband. I’m eager to work hand-in-glove with our executive leadership team to help military families and all Americans honor, heal, be empowered, and unite.”
“I’m deeply grateful for the chance to support the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation as its Gold Star Fellow,” said Krista Simpson Anderson. “I’m eager to connect with Gold Star families like mine and get their input on how the Memorial can reflect their experiences and honor their loved ones. We at the Foundation are striving to build a Memorial that will tell the story of thousands of heroes who have given their all for freedom.”
About David Bearden
David Bearden is the Chief Operating Officer of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation. With experience in sales, operations, and law, and leading start-ups, turnarounds, and strategic transactions, he elevates companies to their next stage of growth through expectant, uplifting leadership.
David served as general counsel and corporate secretary of a $6 billion, privately held energy business that became the world’s largest producer of bioethanol. While there, he helped mature and prepare the company for IPO. Concurrent with that role, he held the same positions with the ethanol industry’s largest and most influential trade association, based in Washington, D.C. In that capacity, he led the industry’s legal strategies to defend domestic and international markets threatened by regulation and competitor industries.
At other stages in his career, David served in management in an automotive group that set the industry standard for customer service and as a senior leader in a presidential administration. As Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, he helped transform a bureau with a $2.5 billion investment portfolio of economic development grants and loans. David also served as the Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Navy, overseeing the legal matters of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and the Deputy General Counsel of the Commerce Department.
From 2005-2014, David also proudly served as a U.S. Naval Reserve Officer.
A native Texan, David holds degrees in economics and law from The University of Texas at Austin, where he became a three-year letter winner on the Texas Longhorn football team as a walk-on. He also holds an Executive MBA degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
About Jennifer Ballou
Jennifer R. Ballou is originally from Mentor, Ohio. In June of 1994, three weeks after her high school graduation, she enlisted in the United States Army as a Dental Assistant. Jennifer served for almost 21 years, retiring in May 2015. She held numerous leadership positions throughout her Army career, culminating as the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Army Resilience Directorate, Army G1, Pentagon. She also served as First Sergeant, 257th Dental Company (Area Support), 44th Medical Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. It was during this assignment, while deployed to Afghanistan, that her husband, SSG Edwardo Loredo, was Killed in Action.
Some of Jennifer’s awards and decorations include the Secretary of the Army Public Service Award and the Legion of Merit. She is currently enrolled at Maryland University of Integrative Health, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Yoga Therapy. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and is an alumnus of the 2022 Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program through the President George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Jennifer originally joined the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation as the Gold Star Fellow. She was previously the Deputy Chief of Staff for the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio. Additionally, she is a Certified Professional Life Coach, and a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, specializing in trauma-sensitive, therapeutic, and adaptive yoga.
Jennifer is the wife of Omari Ballou, Command Sergeant Major, US Army Retired, and is the proud mother of Alexis, Eddie, and Sophia.
About Krista Simpson Anderson
Krista Simpson Anderson is proud to serve as the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation’s Gold Star Fellow. In this role she has the privilege of educating present and future generations on the impact the Global War on Terrorism has had on our community, our nation, and our Gold Star families.
Krista is herself a Gold Star family member. Her late husband, U.S. Army SSG Michael Harrison Simpson, passed away on May 1, 2013 from wounds sustained in an improvised explosive device attack in eastern Afghanistan while serving with the Army 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). Their boys were one and three years old when Mike passed away and the support from the military community was nothing short of extraordinary.
To give back to the military community, Krista co-founded The Unquiet Professional, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our nation’s grieving, wounded, and active-duty military families. Krista currently serves on advisory boards for Newrez and USAA. She has also participated in working groups with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Army addressing casualty reform. Krista continues to consult on casualty cases to ensure families understand the resources that are available to them.
Due to Krista’s dedicated service to the military community, she was recognized as the 2018 Armed Forces Insurance Army Spouse of the Year, overall Military Spouse of the Year, and the 2019 Green Beret Foundation Keeper of the Brave. She has also earned the Department of the Army Superior Public Service Medal.
Krista’s family legacy of service has inspired her own commitment. Her father, John D’Orazio, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, and her grandfather fought in World War II. Krista’s husband, Gus Anderson, is a retired Green Beret who served 22 years in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Michael’s father, brothers, grandfathers, and grandmother (as a WASP) have also all worn the uniform and served in various conflicts.
A Massachusetts native, Krista earned her BA from Catholic University of America. She currently resides in Virginia with Gus and their two boys.