OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM
Founder and Chairman
Jayson is the Founder and Chairman of Veterans in Global Leadership. He formerly served as a Presidential Management Fellow at The White House, Office of Management and Budget. Jayson is a U.S. Air Force and Iraq War veteran, a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Turkey, Socrates Scholar at the Aspen Institute, Defense Council Member at Truman National Security Project and a Carnegie New Leader at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Relations. Previously, he served as a Military Advisor to U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke and as an Adjunct Junior Fellow at the American Security Project. His analysis on national security and foreign policy issues has been published in numerous media and think tank organizations such as Asia Times, NPR, Carnegie Council, Foreign Policy Journal and Partnership for a Secure America. Jayson holds a Global Executive MPA from New York University and the University College London and was awarded 40 under 40 Latinos in Foreign Policy from the Huffington Post in 2016.
Special Assistant to Chairman and Director of Special Projects
Samuel Akers is a graduate of Rice University with a BA in Economics and minors in Financial Computation and Business. During undergrad he completed the General Course at the London School of Economics in the Economics department as a Gateway International Ambassador and worked at the Nehemiah Neighborhood Center in Houston. His previous experience includes internships with Bain & Company, The Federal Reserve Bank, Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, and Snagajob. He will start as an Associate Consultant at Bain & Company in Houston in the fall.
Director of Partnerships
Mr. Cowsert is currently a Master of Business Administration candidate at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business and a Stern Military Veteran Scholar. He is a U.S. Army and Afghanistan War veteran. Prior to Stern, he was a budget analyst for U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) Exercises and Contingency Operations division in Hawaii where he optimized the financial planning and analysis process of their $75MM exercise portfolio. Mr. Cowsert is also an MBA Ambassador for Service to School, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that provides free application counseling to military veterans. He holds a BS in Business Administration from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Chelsea and son Jack.
Director of Strategy
Kellen is a 2019 Masters of Business Administration candidate at George Washington University and a 2009 US Air Force Academy graduate. During his eight years in the US Air Force, Kellen served as a weapons systems procurement officer and completed multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan. Following his MBA program Kellen will join J.P. Morgan as a full time associate. In his capacity as Director of Strategy, Kellen will help VGL achieve its best in class potential through strategic organizational planning and development.
Director of Leadership Programs
Thomas is the Director of Leadership Programs for Veterans in Global Leadership. Thomas brings decades of leadership experience in consulting, professional services, and global enterprises. His client experiences range from not-for-profit, start-ups, defense, religious, military and global commercial giants. In short, he brings the combination of depth in leadership development and breadth across professional domains and roles that help drive the VGL mission. Thomas is the founder of a consultancy that focuses on development and performance of individual leaders from the front-lines to the executives, and on the collective development performance of teams, organizations and communities. He has authored learning experiences from executive teams to front-line managers. He is on the faculty of Schouten-Global and the Center for Leadership and Development. Thomas holds an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.
Director of Finance
Mr. Nadel is a CPA in the State of New York and worked as an auditor for BDO USA, a top public accounting firm. Prior to pursuing an accounting career, he worked on several political campaigns and a boutique management consulting firm. He is Treasurer of Four Freedoms Democratic Club, the premier progressive club representing the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. Mr. Nadel holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Law from Binghamton University, and an MBA in Accountancy from Baruch College Zicklin School of Business. He is a lifelong New York City resident and has a brother serving in the United States Air Force.
Co-Director of Mentorship Programs
A Master of Public Administration candidate at New York University's Robert Wagner Graduate School for Public Policy. Brock is an Afghanistan veteran who served in the U.S. Army National Guard. He was awarded a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in 2012 and was named a Truman-Albright Fellow in 2014 at the Administration for Children and Families. Brock has interned for the US House of Representatives, Center for International Policy, and Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Brock holds a BA in History and Sociology from the University of Maryland and promotes the free expression and support of veterans through numerous organizations and campaigns.
Co-Director of Mentorship Programs
Cristine Pedersen is a Marine Corps veteran and rising first-year Master’s student at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. After enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2010, Cristine served for five years as an Arabic linguist deploying once to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Cristine left the Marine Corps in 2015 and began school at Georgetown University just two weeks later as an undergraduate student at the School of Foreign Service. In 2017, Cristine was selected as both a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a Pat Tillman scholar- both scholarships for public service. Since arriving at Georgetown, Cristine has interned at the Department of State, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the US Embassy in Kosovo, and various NGOs including Mercy Corps and CARE. Her internships and experiences in the Marine Corps have helped shaped her academic focus on post-conflict stabilization in the MENA region.
Co-Director of Women's initiative
Katherine Pratt received her B.S. in aerospace engineering from MIT in 2008, where she received the MIT Women’s League Laya Weisner Award for public service to the university, and the MIT Aero/Astro James Means Memorial Award for Space Systems Engineering. She completed several internships with the private space venture Blue Origin, working in systems and propulsion engineering. After graduation, she served four years in the United States Air Force, working primarily as an operational flight test engineer on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. She is now a PhD Candidate in the BioRobotics Lab in the Electrical Engineering department of the University of Washington, and currently spending six months in Congress as a Congressional Innovation Scholar. Her work focuses on the privacy, ethics, and policy of neural data. In addition to research, Katherine is the co-founder of the 501(c)3 Minority Veterans of America. She also competes in triathlons as a member of the Husky Triathlon Club and iracelikeagirl teams.
Co-Director Women's Initiative
Rebecca Peters is a current DPhil (PhD) candidate at the University of Oxford in the School of Geography and the Environment. Her research focuses on economic development pathways and urban water security in Asia. She recently completed a year working at the Asian International Rivers Center in Yunnan Province, China where she was a 2016-17 Luce Scholar. Rebecca received MS in Poverty and Development Economics with distinction from the University of Manchester, and n Sc n Water Science and Governance at King’s College London, both s a Marshall Scholar. She gradua Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014 as the University Medalist with degrees in Society and Environment (B.Sc.) and International Development Economics (B.A.), and a minor in Global Poverty. She also a ruma and a Udall Scholar. assionate about community leadershi, service, and athletic, she as erved s a VGL mentor for the past two years n currentl ows for Green Templeton College.
Ted was a participant in the 2016 Veterans in Global Leadership’s Fellowship. He served as a Patriot Missile operator while on Active Duty, and is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Inherent Resolve. Ted continues his military service today as an Army Reservist and currently holds a Company Command. As a civilian, Ted works as an Intelligence Analyst for the Department of Defense and resides in Washington DC. He recently completed the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University, earning a Master of Arts (MA) with a concentration in Terrorism and Sub-State Violence.
Social Media Strategist
Maureen Elias is an Army veteran, Army military spouse, mother of three, and veteran advocate. She serves as the Assistant Director of The Veterans Health Council of Vietnam Veterans of America. Maureen served as a Counterintelligence Agent in the United States Army from 2001-2006. Maureen graduated in December 2017 with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Bowie State University. In 2017 she was selected for the High Ground Veterans Advocacy Fellowship, received the 2017 Armed Forces Insurance Fort Meade Base Spouse of the Year Award, received the BSU Presidential Student Leadership Award, selected as a Veterans in Global Leadership Fellow, performed in the 2018 Atlas Intersections ‘More Than a Uniform’ show and selected for the 2017 Class of Hillvets100.
Co-Director of Strategy
Ben is an Associate in Palladium International’s New York City office, where he supports multinational corporations and investors in their global strategy and corporate development efforts in emerging markets. He also frequently advises international donors, multilateral organizations and foreign governments on better understanding, working effectively with and leveraging the expertise and resources of the private sector. Ben has worked in multiple countries across Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia; he speaks Spanish fluently and is conversant in French. He holds a Masters in International Business & Diplomacy (MIBD) from New York University, where he studied at the Stern School of Business, the School of Law, and the Wagner School of Public Administration, and an A.B. in International Political Economics from the Williams School of Commerce, Economics & Policy at Washington & Lee University. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Microfinance Club of New York (MFCNY), and is a member of the Carnegie Council’s New Leader’s (CNL) program.
Data & Solution Analyst
Xin Yuan is the Data & Solution Analyst for Veterans in Global Leadership. Xin is a recent graduate of the George Washington University with a master degree in Business Analytics. While at university, she focused more on the analytical side by conducting different projects in data mining, machine learning, and statistical modeling with cutting-edge analytics tools and programming languages. She believes working as a data analyst at VGL is a great opportunity to create a win-win situation with her academic accomplishment, for people she respects and herself. Meanwhile, Xin is volunteering at AsylumConnect, as a Data Manager, to help LGBTQ asylum seekers find life-saving resources in the U.S. #loveislove