Sergeant Major (Retired) Chris Thomas, USMC, and world-renowned marketing and business leader, Jan Brandt, join the nonprofit’s Board of Directors
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Vet Voice Foundation is announcing two new members of its Board of Directors who bring a depth of experience with veterans’ issues, communications, and philanthropy. The new board members are Marine Corps’ Sergeant Major (Retired) Chris Thomas and philanthropist and business leader, Jan Brandt.
“We are pleased to welcome both SgtMaj Thomas and Ms. Brandt to Vet Voice Foundation’s board,” said Janessa Goldbeck, CEO of Vet Voice Foundation. “Ms. Brandt’s deep experience in marketing and communications and SgtMaj Thomas’ experience in recruiting and retaining talent will be invaluable to Vet Voice Foundation as we continue to expand our programs and reach.”
Founded in 2009, VV Foundation is a veteran-led 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with more than 1.5 million members. VV Foundation empowers veterans and military families by providing education, training, and tools to shape policy and engage in civic processes, harnessing the energy and drive of those who have served our country to create new civic leaders nationwide.
Since VV Foundation’s inception, veterans and military family members have been critical voices advocating for policies that contribute to a safer and more equitable world – including ending the “forever wars” in the Middle East, strengthening democratic systems here at home, fighting disinformation from malicious actors, tackling the climate crisis, protecting public lands, and ensuring all Americans have the freedoms that we swore an oath to protect and defend – including the right to vote, organize at work, and access reproductive health care.
Jan Brandt is among the best-known and most innovative marketers in the online space—a reputation earned as one of America Online’s key executive leaders during the company’s explosive growth during the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Brandt is currently an angel investor who brings her business savvy and marketing expertise to the task of identifying and scaling exciting technology ventures. As Vice Chair and Chief Marketing Officer for America Online, Inc. from 1993-2002, Jan Brandt oversaw the companywide strategic focus on marketing for America Online, the world’s leading interactive service, and the rest of America Online, Inc.’s family of brands.
Brandt was responsible for growing AOL’s worldwide membership from 250,000 from the time she joined the company in 1993 as an officer and Vice President of Marketing, to over 30 million by 2001, when subscriber revenue accounted for an annual revenue of over $5 Billion. Known as the most innovative marketer in the Internet online world, Brandt was named President of Marketing in September 1997. Brandt developed and implemented the “ubiquity strategy” which resulted in AOL becoming the mass market consumers’ choice for Internet online service, and her innovations included the first mass mailing of software disks, disk bundling on newspapers and magazines, and software giveaways at such diverse locations as banks, football games, amusement parks, on airplanes and in cereal boxes.
When she retired from active management at AOL in 2003, she was named Vice Chair Emeritus and continued to advise the company. Brandt was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in American Business,” in 1999 and 2000 and Direct Marketer of the Year by the Direct Marketing Association of America in 2000. In 2008 she was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame.
Brandt served on the national board of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) for seven years. She has been active in national and international philanthropy efforts and currently serves on the Board of the Wolftrap Foundation, a national park dedicated to the performing arts.
SERGEANT MAJOR (RET) CHRIS THOMAS
Chris Thomas is the founder and owner of Elite 9 Veteran Talent Acquisition Services, LLC, a recruiting and management consulting firm located in Upstate New York. He is a strategic and thoughtful senior executive leader with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the United States Marine Corps emphasizing innovation and creativity in solving complex problems.
He has proven success in developing and leading diverse talent acquisition teams that achieve outstanding results. Through human resource management concepts and innovative leadership methodologies, he has delivered impactful results for managing large-scale organizations of several hundred personnel.
Chris is a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and is the treasurer of the Marine Corps League Memorial Detachment 2 located in Hudson Falls, NY. Additionally, he holds a Master’s in Public Administration, is a Resilience-Team Building Leadership Professional Trainer, an adjunct instructor for the United States Marine Corps where he teaches professional leadership development, and is the graduate of numerous executive level leadership courses.