The COMMIT Foundation’s mission is to change the way Veterans and Americans think about military transition.
We are dedicated to providing individual and sustained attention to high value Veterans as they move from military service to the professional civilian world. Our goal is to create opportunities for Veterans by fostering mentorship, extending and growing networks, promoting familiar camaraderie, and inspiring and accelerating Veterans into leadership roles, post-service.
COMMIT started from a group of friends, Veterans, and patriots wanting to help their battle buddies as they separated from the Armed Services. Recognizing a great need, we decided to formalize our efforts and vow to respond to one piece of this puzzle: Veteran career transition. COMMIT believes that Veteran service organizations do themselves a disservice by trying to solve too many pieces of the puzzle. With that in mind, we focus on doing what we do best: people, networks, and relationships. We invest significant time and attention on individual Veterans to assist with their professional realignment after their service to our country.
The COMMIT model was tested for the first time in late 2011 with the execution of a mentoring workshop for high value Veterans in Washington, DC. We then began working individually with Veterans on their transition. The organization was officially founded in April 2012, gaining its non-profit status that summer. Since then, COMMIT has conducted numerous mentoring workshops throughout the U.S, affecting hundreds of Veterans and executives. Every year, COMMIT brings over one hundred of our Nation’s most high value Veterans through its one-on-one transition program, which includes a series of services tailored to the individual to include mentoring, coaching, informational interviews, and, at times, job placement. In the Summer of 2014, COMMIT sent 25 high performing Veterans to Stanford Graduate School of Business for a certification program in general management and innovation. This was the first time Stanford GSB partnered with a Veteran service organization. Due to the success of the program, COMMIT is expanding this initiative with other top tier business schools across the country. We are committed to working for the best and with the best to ensure that our Nation’s most talented Veterans are reinvested into our communities, companies, and lives in a meaningful way.
The COMMIT Foundation works with post 9-11 military Veterans from all services, branches, and ranks. We believe Veterans already have the unique skills required to succeed in the civilian world but may need assistance navigating their new path. COMMIT typically finds that Veterans face three gaps as they transition: an information gap, a confidence gap, and an imagination gap.
We educate Veterans on the value of their knowledge, skills, and abilities. We help them understand how they translate to a civilian career so they can better understand their options.
We help Veterans get their individual confidence back. Having worked as a collective unit for a collective mission in the service, we provide the resources for Veterans to once again self-identify and understand their unique and personal value.
We help Veterans broaden their aperture in order to rethink and redefine what is possible. We encourage Veterans to set their sights and goals high rather than aiming simply for what they know or what seems clear.
We are Veterans. We are military spouses. We are business professionals. We are on your team through your transition and beyond.
The COMMIT Foundation was founded by Anne Meree Craig and Guy Filippelli. The team is constantly growing in response to the demand for expansion of COMMIT's services, impact, and outreach. In addition to COMMIT's full-time staff, a tremendous network of Veterans and patriots volunteer to serve as advisors and mentors when called upon for program support.
Anne Meree Craig
Anne Meree served as a civil servant deploying around the world in direct strategic and operational support to the interagency. In 2010, after having her second child, she left the government and founded Maxemi LLC, a consulting business aimed at relationship navigation, strategy development, and research. She has worked as the Chief Administrative Officer at McChrystal Group and as the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Berico Technologies. Her clients included Deloitte and General Dynamics. Anne Meree feels blessed to have not just served at the tip of spear but to also have married into it. She believes it provides her a unique understanding for the work she currently does at COMMIT. Anne Meree is gifted at connecting dots in creating serendipity for our Veterans and works to grow the enduring relationships necessary to enable real success. Anne Meree sits on the Board of Advisors for Infragard and Things We Read. She holds an M.A. from Middlebury College and a B.A. from Wofford College. Anne Meree hails from the deep south but now calls Bozeman, Montana home. She and her husband continue their own transition, growing their family, and raising their three awesome kids.
Michele Olive is pleased to join the COMMIT Foundation staff, bringing with her expertise in clinical counseling and a wealth of experience in both the military and civilian sectors. She has assisted military service members and their families as a board certified Licensed Clinical Social Worker via the DoD and Naval Special Warfare for over 10 years. Michele brings her background in assessment and her knowledge of high performing teams to help others achieve their goals. Her experience providing leadership development consulting in the private sector also compliments her role as the Director of Veteran Services. She shares COMMIT's passion to connect transitioning veterans with opportunities that match their caliber of talent and vision. Michele and her husband Joel enjoy the sunshine and lots of baseball in Virginia Beach with their three sons and two Labs.
Julie Kaufman joined The COMMIT Foundation in 2015 and brings many years of experience in the nonprofit and public sectors. She is an experienced fundraiser and grant writer. Prior positions include Director of Development for a Charter School, Grant Specialist for the Children’s Museum of Denver, Development Director at a local Big Brothers Big Sisters, and as a Deputy Director for Policy Analysis for the City of New York, Dept. of Administrative Services. Julie shares a deep respect for the experience and sacrifice of our Nation’s Veterans and military families and is proud to be part of the high-impact team at COMMIT. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Government from Lehigh University and a Masters in Public Administration, specialty in Nonprofit Management from New York University. Julie and her husband Erik live in Colorado with their two daughters, where they enjoy time in the outdoors and spend many Saturdays watching youth soccer games.
Phil joined the COMMIT team in 2015 to pursue his passion for making a positive impact on Veterans, especially the critical challenges of transitioning from military service to civilian life. Through COMMIT, Phil is able to make a difference in the lives of Veterans by helping them develop meaningful networks to capitalize on their skills and experiences. Phil has over seven years of service to the U.S. Air Force and intelligence community, including two deployments to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Phil is a candidate for JD and MBA degrees from Harvard University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering from Cornell University.
Ashley Bickerstaff joins the COMMIT Foundation after numerous years of experience as an elementary school educator and head of school. She is the daughter and granddaughter of Army Veterans and is thrilled to be a part of the Veteran community. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development with a minor in Psychology from The University of Georgia. She has extensive training in Montessori education from the American Montessori Society. Ashley and her husband live in Bozeman, Montana raising two young children, where she enjoys hiking, camping, and skiing in her free time. Most importantly, she enjoys spending time with her family.
Special Veteran Advisors
Francis is a Navy veteran and currently serves as the Director of Online Operations at Facebook. Previously, he was the Director of Business at Postmates, an on-demand delivery startup based in San Francisco. Before joining Postmates, Francis was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting, focusing on Strategy & Operations, and continued his career with Apple, leading teams in Business Operations, focused on supply chain management, operations, and contract negotiations. While on active duty, Francis served for six years in the Navy as a Supply Officer, where he led teams in Business & Operations functions in Japan, Africa, and Washington D.C. Francis holds a B.S. in General Science from the Naval Academy, and an MBA from the George Washington University School of Business. Francis is passionate about being able to share his experiences with fellow veterans, and to also help facilitate connections and growth for veterans as they transition from service.
Nina D’Amato, a Lieutenant Colonel in US Marine Corps (Reserve), is a Deputy Director of Programs at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California as well as a doctoral student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education. Her research focuses on innovation and increasing workforce capacity to leverage technology.
While serving in Afghanistan with the US Marines during 2009-2011 she, in coordination with the Government of Afghanistan, US State Department, multiple agencies and partners, implemented Afghanistan’s National Education Strategic Plan over the two southwest provinces of Helmand and Nimrooz. Upon leaving, approximately 22,000 Afghan students were beginning school for the first time in 40 years—including close to 1,000 Afghan girls.
Earning a Meritorious Service Medal for exemplary performance in a combat zone, she was selected to serve as a US Department of Defense Congressional Fellow with United States Senator Robert Casey of Pennsylvania where she collaboratively managed a $120M defense appropriations portfolio. She currently serves on the San Francisco Fleet Week Association and UC Berkeley Alumni Association Boards of Directors. She lives in San Francisco and is a native of Santa Rosa, CA.
Les is an entrepreneur and US Army Veteran who officially joined the COMMIT team in 2014. In 2015, he was appointed to be the Director of the Blackstone Launchpad at Montana State University, where he works to passionately encourage students, alumni, and veterans to pursue entrepreneurial careers. In 2012, he co-founded RedOwl Analytics and served as VP of Client Services and Analytics before starting a data science services company in 2014 called The Twenty. After his honorable discharge in 2008, Les served as a Technical Operations Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Les considers his time as an Infantry Platoon Leader (173rd Airborne Brigade and 1st Ranger Battalion) as the most critical and formative years in learning what it means to serve others and build cohesive teams. As a member of the COMMIT team, Les is dedicated to identifying with and encouraging veterans to take similar risks in order to expand beyond military service – helping build communities and businesses nationwide. He currently focuses on facilitating workshops as well as scaling COMMIT's outreach via information technology and informational products. He is most thankful for his wife who gave him three beautiful children - they make it all worth it.
Bradley Snyder began his Naval career in 2002 when he was selected to attend the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. While earning a degree in Naval Architecture, Brad earned Varsity honors for the four seasons he was a member of the team. He culminated his experiences on the swim team as the Captain during his senior year.
Upon graduation in 2006, Brad began training to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer. After spending 13 months in the panhandle of Florida, he was assigned to his first duty station in Charleston, SC. After another eight months of follow-on training, he made his first deployment to Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upon safe completion of this deployment, Brad was transferred to a new unit in Little Creek, VA. From there, he made his final deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In September of 2011, Brad functioned an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that was buried in the ground in front of him. As the only lasting injury of this incident, Brad was blinded by the blast.
During his rehab, Brad was convinced to return to the pool. After 7 months of training Brad earned a spot on the US Paralympic Swim Team, and was invited to compete in the London paralympic Games of 2012. Brad competed in 7 events, winning two gold medals and one silver. After interning for a Baltimore based start-up, Brad began his journey into the business world and is putting his entrepreneurial spirit to test consulting for a handful of new companies as well as advising for a few established ones. Brad is a public speaker nationally and is currently training for the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Amber Schleuning is a Veteran. As a US Army Engineer based out of Germany, she proudly led soldiers through multiple combat tours of duty to Iraq. After five years of service, she left active duty in 2007 and began her own transition. She spent four months on the road with a backpack and boots traveling throughout Asia and eventually ended up back at school to study post-conflict mental health. She’s since dedicated herself to efforts propelling our next greatest generation. Amber holds a B.S. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an M.P.H. from Emory University, and has studied at Georgetown University under their Security Studies Program. She has worked supporting the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict, redesigning how big data is operationalized and shared. She currently consults for public sector and veteran related efforts seeking to innovate and redesign. She was fortunate to participate in The COMMIT Foundation’s Female Veteran Workshop in Palo Alto.
Amber is the proud daughter of a retired US Army Paratrooper and holds her own set of Airborne wings. Amber lives in Alexandria, Virginia.
Prior to joining General Dynamics in 2009, Mike served 22 years on active duty in the US Army. He held leadership positions from platoon to battalion in both conventional and special operations units. Mike served two tours of combat in Iraq, as well as deploying numerous times in support of other military contingency operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.
Mike received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and a Master of Arts degree in Special Information Operations as part of the Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflict curriculum at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA.
Mike is a Centurion in the Order of Saint Maurice, a US Army Europe Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award recipient, and a Bronze Star Recipient for valor in combat.
Mike is a trusted advisor and serial connector in the Special Operations and Defense Industry communities. He is committed to building trusted business relationships, corporate responsibility and social good. He is committed to helping veterans transition the right way through individual attention and lasting relationships which is why Mike supports COMMIT.
Tom Peddicord is a Partner and Managing Director with the Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm. Tom is leader in the firm’s Aerospace and Defense practice, and works companies including defense contractors, OEMs, systems, and component suppliers on revenue and profit growth strategies and operations improvement strategies. Prior to joining BCG, Tom worked as a Principal with A.T. Kearney in its Aerospace and Defense practice, and Tom has worked as an engineer with Ford Motor Company, Pratt & Whitney, and Lockheed Martin. Tom received his MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, and he graduated from the University of Virginia with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. At BCG, Tom has helped many veterans transition into commercial industry and served as the veteran integration lead for the firm’s Washington DC office. He believe that veterans are valuable source of talent for commercial industry and is committed to helping veterans make meaningful transitions. He currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and two daughters.
Guy Filippelli is CEO of RedOwl Analytics, a Baltimore-based software company, and a managing member of Oxpoint Holdings. He proudly served as a US Army Intelligence Officer in Korea, Germany, Italy and Afghanistan. He finished his Army career as a special assistant to the Director of the National Security Agency. In 2008, he was awarded the National Intelligence Medallion for his analytical and intelligence work as a civilian in Iraq. Guy hails from Cleveland, Ohio, holds a B.S. in Economics from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, and a B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland where he and his wife Raina raise their two beautiful children, Sienna and Luca. Guy’s transition from Army officer to software CEO was heavily influenced and accelerated by friends, mentors, and business partners. He is committed to paying it forward by enabling lasting and meaningful transitions for our current generation of Veterans through The COMMIT Foundation.
John C. Rudella
John is a veteran and technology investor. Prior to joining Silver Lake, a technology-focused private equity firm, John spent 21 years as a SEAL officer. John served in a variety of leadership roles in the SEAL Teams, worked in technology development, and made multiple deployments to Africa and the Middle East. In his last Navy assignment, he worked on special operations proposals bound for consideration by the Secretary of Defense and the President. Inspired by his grandfather’s naval service during World War II, John set a goal to attend the Naval Academy at the age of 5. He graduated 17 years later with a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. John has a master’s degree in Resourcing National Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. John enjoyed his recent transition to the private sector, thanks in large part to the support provided by the COMMIT Foundation. He benefited from Guy and Anne Meree’s willingness to provide advice and guidance. John also attended a COMMIT Veteran Mentorship Workshop in Menlo Park which provided valuable insight and one-on-one interactions with the technology industry. He aspires to help veterans see the transition process as a deliberate mission planning process with an unlimited number of branches and sequels. John was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Kristen, and two boys, Matthew and Thomas. When he has extra free time, he likes to exercise.
Charles is a Senior Managing Director and Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Guggenheim Partners. He specializes in organizational and executive leadership and is responsible for the development and implementation of firm-wide Diversity and Inclusion strategies and Equal Employment Opportunity compliance. Charles serves on Guggenheim’s - Steering Committee of the Women’s Innovation and Inclusion Network; the Veterans Initiative Advisory Committee; and the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.
Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners, he was the founder and principal of Tucker Spearman and Associates, Inc., an EEO and Inclusion management company. A frequent speaker and author for industry on compliance and inclusion trends, his clients have included corporations, universities, government institutions and associations such as Guggenheim Partners, Footlocker, Mitsubishi, Volkswagen Group of America, the Mid-Atlantic Coca Cola Bottling Group, American University, DOJ, HUD, U.S.P.S., the Urban Land Institute, and the National Association of Attorneys General. Charles is a founding member and trustee of the Alliance of Securities and Financial Educators (ASAFE), an alliance of volunteers that facilitates and provides design and delivery of securities and finance curriculum to diverse student and faculty audiences. He served on the faculty at Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources Management and has taught courses at Cornell University’s Industrial and Labor Relations School. Charles is a former President and Board Member of SCAN, Stop Child Abuse Now of Northern Virginia. He served as a senior advisor to an EEOC Commissioner and to leaders at the Texas Department of Commerce and the US Department of Commerce.
Matt is a Partner at Andreessen Horowitz in executive talent management, leading development of the firm's executive network across the G&A and operations functions and consulting with and counseling the firm's portfolio investments around executive hiring in these areas. Before joining Andreessen Horowitz in 2012, Matt was a Client Partner in Korn/Ferry International's Global Technology Practice delivering executive search and executive development solutions for venture-backed, private equity-owned, and public technology companies.
Prior to his six years with Korn/Ferry, Matt was Vice President of Corporate Finance for Clarus Systems, an enterprise IP communications management software firm, where he managed G&A operations including accounting, finance, human resources, legal, and information technology. Earlier in his technology career, Matt was Director of Corporate Finance and Business Development for WorldChain and Director of Business Development for NightFire Software where he led the development and execution of NightFire’s wireless strategy and established NightFire’s alliance program with systems integrators.
Matt holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a MBA from Wharton. Outside the office, he loves spending time in Tahoe and is a passionate Philly sports fan.