GWOT Memorial Foundation
Nate Boyer is what many would deem a renaissance man. The Army Green Beret is also a philanthropist, humanitarian, and former football player for the University of Texas Longhorns (despite never playing a down of organized football prior to the Special Forces), and later for the Seattle Seahawks becoming the oldest rookie in NFL history at age 34. Being a member of both the military veteran and athlete community, he saw an opportunity to team up both populations to tackle their transition struggles together through Merging Vets & Players (MVP), a charity he co-founded with Jay Glazer. Nate currently works in Film and TV as a producer, director, actor, and host. Among his many projects he recently directed his first feature film about the genesis of MVP, which will be released later this fall.
Joe DePinto is the President and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc. and leads the premier company in convenience retailing. Globally, there are more than 66,500 7-Eleven stores of which some 11,900 stores are in North America.
Before being appointed Chief Executive of 7-Eleven, Inc. in 2005, Joe was President of GameStop Corporation. He has also held executive positions at PepsiCo, Inc. and Thornton Oil Corporation.
Currently, Joe is a Board Director of 7-Eleven, Inc., Seven & i Holdings Co., Ltd. (TYO: 3382), and is the Chairman of the Board of Brinker International (NYSE: EAT).
In December, 2017, Joe was appointed a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army. He also serves on the Board of the Business Executives for National Security, the Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, the Southwestern Medical Foundation and the Dallas Citizens Council. Additionally, Joe is a Council member of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Military Service Initiative, the Kellogg School of Management Global Advisory Board, and the Dallas Stars Ownership Advisory Group.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Matt Gannon is the Head of Federal Affairs for Farmers Insurance. Volunteering for GWOTMF, Matt played a crucial role in passing the legislation, where he made introductions to key policymakers and advised on lobbying strategy and messaging. Gannon has also helped the foundation in the brand building among major donors and influencers since 2016. A financial services lobbyist for 16 years, he joined Farmers in 2013. Previously he lobbied for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and the American Financial Services Association. He began his career as a campaign fundraising director at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Gannon has an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and an MBA from Georgetown University. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and twin daughters.
Reverend Doctor Darius Holland, a pastor of 20 years, is a chaplain in the Army National Guard, currently attached to 1st Special Warfare Training Group at Fort Bragg. Holland was previously a pastor at True Life Church in Thornton, Colorado. Prior to entering the military, Holland played for ten seasons as a defensive lineman in the National Football League, winning a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1997. Holland has an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado Boulder, a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) in Pastoral Studies/Counseling from Golden Gate Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Jared Lyon was appointed National President & CEO of Student Veterans of America (SVA) in 2016. He leads the organization’s efforts to empower student veterans using the transformative power of higher education. Since he took office, Lyon has overseen SVA’s growth to a network of more than 1,500 chapters on campuses in all 50 states and three countries representing over 750,000 student veterans.
During his tenure, he co-authored the National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST), a comprehensive study of the first 854,000 student veterans to use the Post-9/11 GI Bill. In 2017 Lyon led SVA’s commitment to pass the “Forever GI Bill,” the largest expansion of college aid for military veterans in a decade with an economic impact of $3.4 Billion. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he served as a submariner and diver, taking part in multiple deployments in support of the Global War on Terrorism.
Prior to joining the headquarters team at SVA, Lyon previously served as the National Program Manager for the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and as Manager of Florida Operations for the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team. Lyon is a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran’s Advisory Committee on Education, and a commissioner for the American Council on Education’s Commission for Education Attainment. He also serves on the Florida State University Veteran Advisory Board and is a 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholar.
He holds an Associate of Arts from Eastern Florida State College, a Bachelor of Science from Florida State University, and a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where he is an adjunct professor at the Whitman School of Management. In 2011, SVA named Lyon the National Student Veteran of the Year. Jared and his wife Chayla reside in Alexandria, Virginia with their son, Campbell.
In 2010, Susana Martinez was elected governor of the State of New Mexico. She became New Mexico’s first female governor and the first Hispanic female governor in the history of the United States. Prior to being elected governor, Martinez was a prosecutor for 25 years along the nation’s southern border and served as Doña Ana County’s elected district attorney for over half that time. As governor, she prioritized keeping New Mexico’s communities safe, ensuring all students receive a high-quality education, and diversifying and growing the state’s economy.
When Governor Martinez took office in 2011, she inherited a nearly half-billion-dollar budget deficit, on a state budget that totaled just over $5.5 billion at the time. Through responsible spending and a commitment to expanding and diversifying the state’s economy, she turned the largest structural deficit in state history into a $2 billion surplus by the time she left office. She never raised taxes. In fact, she vetoed over $1 billion in proposed tax increases, and cut taxes and fees 61 times while in office.
Governor Martinez also made New Mexico’s economy more competitive for jobs and new investment. She established a robust closing fund and expanded job training incentives, streamlined regulations and cut red tape, lowered the business tax rate, and worked with governors in Mexico to build a bustling bi-national economic corridor along the border. When she left office, New Mexico’s job growth had reached a 12-year high and the unemployment rate had fallen from 7.8 to 4.6 percent. New Mexico became a national leader in export growth. And, as a result of these tools, reforms and investments, national and global companies like Netflix, Facebook, and SafeLite have moved major operations to New Mexico, while homegrown cutting-edge businesses like RS21, Skorpios, Risksense, Descartes Labs, and others have been able to expand and thrive.
The Governor also implemented bold education reforms to raise academic standards, improve student learning and school performance, and close persistent achievement gaps. On her watch, New Mexico’s graduation rate increased 10 percentage points – to an all-time high of 73 percent, fewer graduating students needed to take remedial courses in college, and the four-year college graduation rate at the state’s flagship university doubled. Governor Martinez raised the salaries of starting teachers, significantly increased funding for – and participation in – Pre-K programs and other early childhood education initiatives, expanded literacy programs and tutoring for at-risk students, and launched new teacher and principal mentoring programs that improved classroom instruction and student performance.
Ensuring that New Mexicans feel safe in their homes and communities was also a top priority for Governor Martinez. Her administration cracked down on repeat drunk drivers and launched various “ENDWI” initiatives that helped drive alcohol-related highway fatalities to record lows. She raised State Police officer salaries and fought to provide law enforcement officers and prosecutors with the tools they needed to get criminals off the streets. For example, as District Attorney, Martinez fought to pass “Katie’s Law,” which required a DNA sample to be taken from those arrested for certain crimes in New Mexico. As Governor, she signed the expansion of that law, requiring a DNA sample for all felony arrests. The law has matched felony arrestee DNA to more than 1,500 cold cases since 2007, saving countless lives and helping identify and prosecute murderers, rapists, and other serious offenders.
In 2014, Governor Martinez won re-election by the largest margin of any Republican gubernatorial candidate in modern history, earning substantial support from Democratic and Independent voters in rural and urban areas alike. She served alongside a Democratically-controlled Legislature throughout her time in office, with the exception of a two-year period of Republican control of one chamber. She has been named to Time Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World and served as a Chairman and long-time executive committee member of the Republican Governors
Governor Martinez comes from a hard-working, middle class family. Her father, a long-time boxer and descendant of Mexican revolutionary Toribio Ortega, started a security guard business with her mother, who did the paperwork for the business at their kitchen table. Martinez worked as a security guard in the family business while attending college. She was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley and has made Las Cruces, New Mexico her home since the 1980s. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and later earned her law degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Law, where she was recently elected into the school’s Hall of Fame.
Her husband, Chuck Franco, concluded his three-decade career in law enforcement serving as the Doña Ana County undersheriff. Her stepson Carlo is a veteran of the United States Navy’s special warfare combatant-craft crewmen and is currently working as a police officer. Carlo and his wife Tara have a one-year old daughter, Catalina. Martinez is also the caretaker to her older sister Lettie, who has cerebral palsy and is developmentally disabled.
Erica Jeffries Purdo is the North America Pharmacy Channel Leader for the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in the Strategic Customer Group (SCG). In this role, Erica creates and implements go-to-market strategies for Janssen therapeutics and vaccines through key pharmacy channels: Specialty Pharmacies, Retail, and alternate Pharmacy sites. Erica leads the cross-functional teams that drive these Pharmacy engagements and partners closely with the Janssen Therapeutic Areas to build strategies, and enhance the analytics and the patient journey overall. Erica also has responsibility for the SCG Learning & Development team that supports numerous channels across the Market Access ecosystem.
Most recently, Erica was the Portfolio and Process Management (PPM) Lead and Strategic Support Lead in Global Services. As PPM lead, Erica led a global team and was responsible for driving the development, implementation and execution of sustainable and cohesive Governance, Portfolio Management, and Project/Program Management to achieve goals defined by the overall strategic plan. Erica was a member of the Global Services Leadership Team (GSLT) and Sponsor for the LATAM Regional Leadership Council (RLC).
Prior to joining J&J, Erica had a successful career with roles in both the public and private sectors beginning
as an officer in the US Army to serving as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs(IDVA)
where she was responsible for over 1200 employees serving nearly 700,000 veterans and their families. At the Federal level, Erica had the privilege of serving as a White House Fellow where she focused on building public-private partnerships. In the private sector, Erica specialized in defense strategy and national security policy with assignments in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Erica is an ardent supporter of military service members and their families. She has been a member of President George W. Bush’s Military Strategic Initiative council since 2015; and in November 2019, she was sworn in by the Secretary of the Army to serve as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) for the state of New Jersey.
Erica earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Arts in Security Studies from Georgetown University, and a Master of Business Administration from Virginia Tech University. Erica lives in Westfield, NJ with her husband Derek, daughters Talia (4) and Brielle (2), and Cairn Terrier Sampson (15).
Dr. Shannon Slutman is the wife and Gold Star Widow of United States Marine SSGT Christopher Slutman. SSGT Slutman was a firefighter with the FDNY and was killed in Afghanistan in April of 2019 while serving as a reservist. Chris and Shannon were blessed with three amazing daughters. Together they enjoyed paying it forward by working with local and national foundations. She continues this legacy by proudly serving as an Ambassador for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
A lifelong educator, Dr. Slutman has worked as an elementary school counselor and is currently the Vice President of Grants, Compliance, and Development for charter schools throughout the country. For almost 20 years, she has helped schools to build rich academic programs through grant funding and to increase school choice opportunities for families. Dr. Slutman is passionate about educating our children on the service and sacrifice of our military.
As Senior Advisor for External Affairs at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Kevin Sullivan provides guidance and counsel on the Bush Center’s communications and marketing efforts and serves on the Bush Center’s leadership team.
Sullivan was appointed by President George W. Bush as Assistant to the President for Communications in July 2006, where he oversaw message development and communications planning. His responsibilities also included oversight of the White House website; the rapid response operation; outreach to regional and specialty media; and the production of Presidential events. Prior to working in the White House, Sullivan served as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach at the U.S. Department of Education. Before his move to Washington, Sullivan held senior leadership roles with NBC Universal, NBC Sports and the Dallas Mavericks.
Sullivan also consults with outside clients and provides media training and presentation coaching as part of the strategic communications practice he established after leaving the White House in 2009.
He holds a bachelor of science in management from Purdue University and a master of arts in mass communication from Iona College in New York.
Sullivan is the author of Breaking Through: Communications Lessons From the Locker Room, the Board Room and the Oval Office, an eBook published in June 2015. He and his wife, Jo Anne, have five children.
Mrs. Jennie Taylor is the wife and Gold Star Widow of Utah Army National Guard Major Brent Taylor, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in November of 2018 while on a leave of absence from his position as Mayor of North Ogden City, Utah. Major and Mrs. Taylor are the parents of seven children. She is the founder and director of the Major Brent Taylor Foundation, a founding member of Follow the Flag—North Ogden, and an active volunteer in her children’s public schools. A former secondary educator of history, government and psychology classes, Mrs. Taylor has a passion for helping today’s youth prepare to become tomorrow’s leaders. She is currently serving as the Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for the State of Utah and continually looks for ways to carry on her husband’s legacy of service to God, family and country.
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