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Upon completion of two tours in Iraq and leaving the military, Vernice launched VAI Consulting and Training, LLC. By applying the Zero to Breakthrough™ Success Model to her own company, Vernice produced over six-figures in revenue within the first 12 months and over a million in the first 5 years! Her passion is helping others create similar results.
As featured on Oprah Winfrey, CNN, Tavis Smiley, NPR, and others, Vernice Armour’s fresh style and presentation methods have inspired hundreds of organizations and individuals.
Vernice ultimately impacts organizations and individuals with an understanding of the passion and leadership required to excel. Through her keynotes, executive and group coaching, seminars, and executive retreats, Vernice convey messages of Zero to Breakthrough™ through her unique insight and life strategy: “You HAVE permission to Engage!”
Vernice travels extensively in order to create a global movement based on the Breakthrough Mentality mindset. In order for us to change the current conditions, we are going to need to think and execute differently. We are going to need leaders to step up, lead, and Get Gutsy. Our society and the global community need people to take personal responsibility and accountability. We win or lose together. One Mission, One Goal, One Team™.
Her signature book, Zero to BreakthroughTM (Penguin 2011) chronicles the process she utilized to transition from beat cop to America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot. She is an internationally recognized inspirational leadership keynote speaker for premier leadership conferences and Fortune 500 companies.
Vernice has two honorary doctorates, been featured extensively in the media to include Oprah Winfrey, CNN, MSNBC, and The View, and is a member of the COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council. She has also received awards as a pioneering pilot, including her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). She was the Marine Corps’ first African American Female pilot, first African American woman on the Nashville Police Department’s motorcycle squad, Camp Pendleton’s 2001 Female Athlete of the Year, two-time titleholder in Camp Pendleton’s annual Strongest Warrior Competition, and a running back for the San Diego Sunfire women’s professional football team.
Learn more: https://vernicearmour.com/meet-flygirl/
Nathaniel Smith serves as Founder and Chief Equity Officer of the Partnership for Southern Equity (PSE), which advances policies and institutional actions that promote racial equity and shared prosperity for all in the growth of metropolitan Atlanta and the American South. Among PSE’s notable accomplishments was the creation of the American South’s first equity mapping and framing tool, the Metro Atlanta Equity Atlas, and co-authored numerous reports including: “Growing the Future: The Case for Economic Inclusion in Metropolitan Atlanta”, and “Employment Equity: Putting Georgia on the Path to Inclusive Prosperity”. PSE also led a coalition of diverse stakeholders to support a $13 million transit referendum that expanded Atlanta’s metropolitan transit system into a new county for the first time in 45 years.
Smith’s advocacy activities were instrumental in the ratification of a 15 percent set aside of Atlanta Beltline Tax Allocation District (TAD) dollars for the development and maintenance of affordable workforce housing within the Atlanta BeltLine Planning Area – $250 million dollars over the 25-year lifespan of the Atlanta BeltLine TAD.
A child of the Civil Rights Movement and Atlanta native, Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Morehouse College and a Master of Science from the New School.
Among his many accomplishments, The Huffington Post honored Nathaniel as one of the eight “Up and Coming Black Leaders in the Climate Movement” in 2017. Nathaniel was also named to the Grist 50 by Grist Magazine in 2018 and the Atlanta 500 by Atlanta Magazine in 2019 and 2020, and designated one of the 100 “Most Influential Georgians” by Georgia Trend magazine in 2018, 2019, and 2020. His work was also featured in the U.S. News and World Report, Chronicle of Philanthropy, Nonprofit Quarterly, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Voice, and others.
Jeremy Butler is the Chief Executive Officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) but joined the staff in 2015. In that time, he worked in various capacities with the Development Team helping with fundraising, in 2018 he transitioned to Chief Operating Officer and in 2019 took over as CEO.
Jeremy served on active duty in the Navy from 1999 – 2005 as a Surface Warfare Officer. He transitioned directly to the Navy Reserves and has remained there since. Coming off of active duty, he started working for a DC-based government contractor and served in a variety of roles to include work for the Department of Homeland Security, the Joint Staff, and the Department of the Navy. Throughout that time, he spent several years back on active duty both overseas and in the US.
He has a BA in International Relations from Knox College in Galesburg, IL and a Masters in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College.
Lindsay Church (she/her, they/them) is the Executive Director and co-founder of Minority Veterans of America. She served in the Navy as a Persian-Farsi linguist from 2008-2012 as an LGBTQ service member under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’. During her time in service, Lindsay attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, before being medically retired in 2012 after complications from surgery.
Upon returning to Seattle, Lindsay attended the University of Washington and obtained a BA in Islamic Studies and MA in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East. Her work began with veterans in 2014 and has now included serving veterans in higher education, traditional veteran service organizations, through Congressional advocacy, and more.
In 2017, Lindsay resigned her position as the Commander of an American Legion post to co-found Minority Veterans of America (MVA), an organization dedicated to creating community belonging and advancing equity for minority veterans. MVA serves veterans of color, women, LGBTQ, and (non)religious minorities.
Rodney is Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Executive Director of the Chick-fil-A Foundation where he leads the company’s corporate community and philanthropic strategy, which is focused on fostering youth and furthering education. Prior to Chick-fil-A, Rodney served as an Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting complex criminal cases. For his service, the United States Attorney General presented him with, one of the Department of Justice’s highest honors, the Director’s Award. Prior to this role, Rodney was selected as a White House Fellow, the nation’s most prestigious public-service Fellowship. As a White House Fellow, Rodney was placed at NASA working directly for the NASA Administrator. A decorated veteran, Rodney also served in the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps eventually working at the Pentagon as a Congressional Legislative Liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.
Rodney is an alumnus of the United States Air Force Academy, Duke University School of Law, the University of Georgia’s Terry School of Business and the Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
Rodney currently serves on several national and local boards of directors to include: the Salvation Army National Advisory Board of Directors, the University Of Georgia Terry School Of Business Board of Directors, the Junior Achievement USA National Board of Directors, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE) Foundation Board of Directors, The National Fellowship of Christian Athletes Board of Directors, and the Leadership Atlanta Board of Directors.
A few of Rodney’s recent recognitions include Recognition by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Georgia’s top young Business Leaders for 2013; by the Atlanta Business League as one of the 2013 Men of Influence; The University of Georgia’s 2013 listing of the 40 alumni leaders under the age of 40; The Georgia Trend Magazine’s 2011 listing of the 40 Best and Brightest Leaders Under 40; Leadership Atlanta; Leadership Georgia; and, as one of 10 Outstanding Young Leaders in Atlanta for 2010.
Stewart Williams is the Vice President, Operations at The Warrior Alliance and is responsible for the operational excellence, strategy, financial, administrative, and technology functions of the organization. Mr. Williams brings over two decades of comprehensive nonprofit leadership experience serving veterans and the Atlanta community. His most recent position was with the national veteran organization, The Mission Continues, where he led the Atlanta chapter before taking the Executive Director, Southeast Region role. Prior to this, Mr. Williams also served as Vice President of Operations for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, CEO of The Butler Street YMCA, and worked as Deputy Director for the Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Civic Site. Mr. Williams is passionate about working to empower individuals, organizations and communities in the spirit of collaboration that fosters long term generational impact. He is a decorated war veteran of the US Marine Corps and served his country during Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He has degrees from St. Leo College, Hampton University and has additional post-secondary studies at New York University in the area of Public Administration and Non-Profit management. He is an alumni of Leadership Atlanta class 2010.
Sue Schmidlkofer is the Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion at UPS. In this role, Sue helps oversee the company’s diversity and inclusion strategies, ensuring UPS leverages the unique perspectives of an inclusive workforce.
Throughout her 26-year career at UPS, Sue has held a variety of roles primarily within Human Resources in Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Georgia. Sue is on the board of the Georgia Diversity Council and the Atlanta Diversity Management Advocacy Group (ADMAG). Sue was named as one of the “2018 Top Ten Champions of Global Diversity” by DiversityGlobal Magazine.
A native of Wisconsin, Sue holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Spanish, and a Master’s Degree in Business Management and Human Resources. She is also is SPHR certified through the HR Certification Institute.
Vivian Greentree, Ph.D., is a Senior Vice President and Head of Global Corporate Citizenship and President of the Fiserv Cares Foundation at Fiserv, where she has created award-winning employee-centric programming while driving diversity and inclusion and community investment efforts and culture-development. In her current role, Vivian oversees the strategy and implementation of Fiserv’s strategic philanthropic, diversity and inclusion, employee, and community engagement efforts. Vivian joined Fiserv through the Fiserv acquisition of First Data in 2019, where she served in the same capacity. Before launching First Data’s Office of Corporate Citizenship, she joined First Data as the Head of Military and Veteran Affairs in February 2014. In that role, Vivian created First Data Salutes, a company-wide military engagement strategy to provide the military community with access to career opportunities and best-in-class education resources, while offering premier business solutions to veteran-owned businesses. In recognition of First Data’s success under Vivian’s leadership, First Data was ranked #1 on Military Times’ Best for Vets: Employers in 2017 2018, and again in 2019. Prior to joining First Data, Vivian co-founded Blue Star Families, the largest national military family organization in the country where she created and oversaw BSF’s groundbreaking and now annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, which examines a broad spectrum of issues affecting modern-day military families, including a military community civic health index.
Vivian is a Navy veteran and military spouse with nearly 2 decades of leadership experience across public, non-profit, and private sectors. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Dog Tag Bakery, a veteran entrepreneurship incubator, is on the Board of Advisors for Girl Scouts of America’s Greater Atlanta Council, and the Alumni Association Advisory Board for the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. Most recently, she joined the Board of Directors for the Red Cross of Georgia. She is a proud military spouse, married to a Naval Aviator, and together they have two boys, ages 16 and 13.
Mary Tobin is the Executive Director, East Region for The Mission Continues and has over 17 years of leader development, community engagement, and public speaking experience. She is passionate about addressing social justice issues and works with leaders and organizations to develop solutions that will positively impact communities. Mary is active in the world of advocacy and focuses on addressing race and gender biases in the military and society at large.
Mary’s public relations campaigns in the media have established her as a thought leader concerning diversity and inclusion and civil-military relations. She also lectures at universities on social justice and consults for corporations concerning diversity and inclusion. Notably, she was a featured speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018 speaking about the usage of data and analytics to solve poverty.
Mary is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and the New York Institute of Technology. She is a proud combat Veteran, having served 10 years in the United States Army as a communications officer, including two combat tours in Iraq. Mary serves as the Vice President of the West Point Women Alumni Organization and is a Co-Founder of the West Point African-American Alumni Association.
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