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MEET OUR FOUNDATION BOARD

Marie Tillman

President & Co-Founder
marie

After the nationwide outpouring of support following Pat’s death in 2004, Marie, along with family and friends, established the Pat Tillman Foundation. Actively involved, first as a board member and now as the President, Marie led the effort to redefine the Foundation’s mission in 2008 by starting the Tillman Military Scholars program. This major initiative aims to create the next generation of leaders by helping exceptionally talented veterans, active service members and their spouses achieve academic dreams.

A native of San Jose, California, Marie graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and worked in Marketing and Production at The Arizona Republic and ESPN before focusing full-time on philanthropy.

Marie is passionate about supporting and encouraging young veterans to continually serve their communities. She has been a featured speaker at the United States Air Force Academy Center for Character Development, the University Of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, Harvard Kennedy School and the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Also a writer, Marie has contributed to a variety of projects. Her memoir about love, loss and life, entitled The Letter, was released in June 2012 by Grand Central Publishing.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe, their four boys – Joey, Johnny, Sam and Mac – and their daughter, Francesca.

Chris Hart

Chair
CFO, Guidebook, Inc.
chris

Chris first met Pat through his wife, Gina, first cousin to Pat’s wife, Marie. Their friendship grew over the years, inspired by common interests and a shared passion for debates. In 2006, Chris joined the board to honor Pat’s legacy. The Chief Financial Officer for Guidebook, Inc. in Palo Alto, CA, Chris has a BA in English and Philosophy from Emory University. He also has an MBA in Finance from the University of San Francisco, where he graduated summa cum laude.

Chris enjoys the Bay Area’s many outdoor activities with his wife, Gina, and their daughters, Maya and Zoe.

Benjamin Hill

Treasurer
President, Hill Financial Advisors
benjamin

Benjamin and Pat grew up together. They were friends since kindergarten. Over the years their friendship deepened and grew stronger. Benjamin always admired the genuine interest and care that Pat put into his relationships, and he joined the board to honor his great friend’s legacy.

President of Wealth Enhancement & Preservation, Inc., a financial planning practice based in California, Benjamin graduated with a BS in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He also holds three designations: the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and the Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG) from the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies.

Although he’s an avid triathlete and golfer, his most cherished times are enjoyed with his friends, his wife, Jamie, and sons Camden Patrick, Parker Daniel and Gavin.

Michael Bidwill

Director
President, Arizona Cardinals
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Michael joined the Pat Tillman Foundation board of directors in April 2010. After practicing law for six years as a federal prosecutor, Michael joined the Cardinals organization in 1996 as Vice President/General Counsel. He has been influential in steering the organization on its path to an eventual NFC Championship.

In addition to guiding the Cardinals, Michael has also taken on an ever-increasing role in both the National Football League and the greater Phoenix business community. In 2007, Michael was appointed to the league’s Business Ventures Committee; one of the NFL’s most prominent committees. In September 2008, he took over as Chair of the influential Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC). He is also a member of Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), an organization composed of the region’s top business and civic leaders.

A licensed pilot and flying enthusiast, Michael donates his time and resources as a volunteer for “Flying Samaritans,” a group of volunteers, including doctors and other medical personnel, who offer free medical clinics in Mexico.

Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from St. Louis University and a Law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Joe Browne

Director
Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, National Football League
joe

Joe joined the Pat Tillman Foundation board of directors in September 2010. He is senior advisor to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Joe is focused on Congressional and political issues in Washington, D.C., as well as local legislation in NFL markets. He manages the league’s philanthropic and youth football endeavors. He is the longest serving employee ever at NFL headquarters, a job he started full-time after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

His other current nonprofit endeavors include serving on both the board of directors of USA Football and the board of trustees of the NFL Youth Football Fund.

A native of New York City, Joe and his wife, Karyn, live on Long Island and have two sons.

Alex Garwood

Director
Founding Executive Director, Pat Tillman Foundation and Sales Manager, Cleversafe
Alex Garwood_WEB

Alex has been a board member since the Foundation’s inception in April 2004. Pat and Alex became friends when they both courted and later married sisters Marie and Christine. Alex played football at Leland High School and at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he was named Student Athlete of the Year following his senior season. At Cal Poly, Alex earned both his BS in Marketing and his MBA graduating cum laude.

Alex worked for five years with a large high-tech company in various sales and management roles before leaving to establish and lead the Pat Tillman Foundation. Alex returned to high-tech and works for Cleversafe (an IBM Company). He lives in California with his wife, Christine, and their sons, Ryan, Adam and Scott.

Ian Sacks

Director
Managing Director, TowerBrook Capital Partners
ian

Ian joined the Foundation’s board of directors in April 2010. He is the Managing Director at TowerBrook Capital Partners specializing in healthcare and business related investments. Previously, Ian served as Chairman and CEO at HelpCare, a healthcare services business, and was a partner at the investment and advisory firm MESA Partners. Prior to MESA, Ian was a consultant with APM, North America’s largest healthcare management consulting firm.

Ian has a BS in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University.

MEET OUR STAFF MEMBERS

  • marie

    Marie Tillman

    President & Co-Founder

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  • Kill WEB Ready

    Killjan Anderson

    Chief Operations Officer

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  • Sabrina Perales

    Sabrina Perales

    Operations Manager

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  • oherrin-1

    Elizabeth O’Herrin

    Director of Programs and Scholarships

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  • cara

    Cara Hammer

    Program Manager

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  • Tina Bruenning_WEB

    Tina Bruenning

    Scholarships Manager

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  • Ellen McElligott_WEB

    Ellen McElligott

    Development Officer

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  • Cordes Headshot

    Christopher Cordes

    Development Manager

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  • ethan-armstrong-headshot

    Ethan Armstrong

    Development Manager

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  • Michelle McCarthy_WEB

    Michelle McCarthy

    Director of Brand and Communications

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  • Jill Walsh_WEB

    Jill Walsh

    Communications Manager

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  • Flynn_Web_Ready

    Sandy Flynn

    Pat's Run Event Director

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  • Havrilla_Web Ready

    Ashley Havrilla

    Pat’s Run Event Manager

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Marie Tillman

President & Co-Founder
marie

After the nationwide outpouring of support following Pat’s death in 2004, Marie, along with family and friends, established the Pat Tillman Foundation. Actively involved, first as a board member and now as the President, Marie led the effort to redefine the Foundation’s mission in 2008 by starting the Tillman Scholar program. This major initiative aims to create the next generation of leaders by helping exceptionally talented veterans, active service members and their spouses achieve academic dreams.

A native of San Jose, California, Marie graduated with honors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and worked in Marketing and Production at The Arizona Republic and ESPN before focusing full-time on philanthropy.

Marie is passionate about supporting and encouraging young veterans to continually serve their communities. She has been a featured speaker at the United States Air Force Academy Center for Character Development, the University Of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, Harvard Kennedy School and the Clinton Global Initiative University.

Also a writer, Marie has contributed to a variety of projects. Her memoir about love, loss and life, entitled The Letter, was released in June 2012 by Grand Central Publishing.

She lives in Chicago with her husband, Joe, their four boys – Joey, Johnny, Sam and Mac – and their daughter, Francesca.

Killjan Anderson

Chief Operations Officer
Kill WEB Ready

Killjan Anderson (pronounced Killian AKA Kill’) serves as the Chief Operations Officer for Pat Tillman Foundation after 21+ years of distinguished active-duty service in the United States Air Force.

Prior to joining the foundation in September 2014, Kill’ served as the Command Chief Master Sergeant assigned to the 10th Air Base Wing at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. As the senior enlisted advisor to the base commander, he provided day-to-day oversight on all aspects of security, financial management, communications and logistics for over 25,000 military and civilian personnel. His military career has spanned stateside assignments in California, Colorado and Arizona and overseas tours in Korea, Japan and England. He has deployed in support of Operations Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom, earning a Bronze Star in 2007 while conducting ground combat operations with the United States Army in Tikrit, Iraq.

Throughout his military service, Kill’ has remained active in the veteran space supporting the USO, Team Rubicon (Colorado State Program Coordinator), Team RWB, and the Pat Tillman Foundation. While stationed at Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix from 2008-2011, he generated hundreds of volunteers in support of Pat’s Run, and has been part of the Tillman Military Scholar regional and final selection process dating back to 2010.

He earned his B.S. in Management/Government from the University of Maryland-University College, and he is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership’s “Leadership Development Program.” He holds professional memberships with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Kill’ and his wife Angela are the proud parents of two kids Avery and Asia.

Sabrina Perales

Operations Manager
Sabrina Perales

Sabrina joined the Pat Tillman Foundation team in November 2015 as the Operations Manager and oversees office operations and monitors day-to-day internal functions.

A native of Colorado Springs, Sabrina enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in May 2008 as a member of Security Forces, working as a Dispatcher and Patrolman until deployment to Kuwait in 2010. Following her deployment, Sabrina worked as the lead of the Standardization and Evaluation section, where she evaluated troop and squadron readiness, ranging from day-to-day responsibilities to catastrophic events.

After medically retiring in 2012, Sabrina worked for her family business, Perales Consulting Group, where she developed educational instructional material, researched technical data, and acted as the Office Manager/Executive Assistant to the CEO, in support of defense contracts and subcontracts for the satellite communications industry.

Sabrina currently resides in Chicago and is currently working towards her BA in Management with an emphasis in Leadership from American Military University.

Elizabeth O’Herrin

Director of Programs and Scholarships
oherrin-1

A proud member of the 2010 class of Tillman Scholars, Elizabeth O’Herrin serves as Director of Programs and Scholarships–overseeing scholarship selection, engagement, and opportunities. She served with the Wisconsin Air National Guard from 2001-2008, assembling and transporting conventional weapons for F-16 fighter jets. She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MA from the Johns Hopkins University, where her research focused on the federal government and veteran reintegration.

She has worked on a wide range of issues facing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for nearly a decade. She co-founded the Student Veterans of America and fought with a dedicated team of veteran advocates to successfully pass the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2008.

She is passionate about learning people’s stories, promoting all things Wisconsin, her faith, and coffee.

Cara Hammer

Program Manager
cara

Cara joined the Foundation in May 2011 to support scholar selection and community engagement for the Tillman Scholar program. Previously, she worked for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America as a liaison to veterans and their families, helping them resolve problems related to housing, legal issues, employment, physical and mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and financial planning.

Cara enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1997, serving with the 348th Transportation Company based out of Phoenix, AZ, and the 310th TACCOM in Fort Belvoir, VA. In 2002, she joined the active-duty Army, serving with the First Infantry Division in Germany, before deploying to Iraq.

She is a proud graduate of Arizona State University, where she earned a BS in Family and Human Development. Cara resides in Arizona with her husband and two young daughters.

Tina Bruenning

Scholarships Manager
Tina Bruenning_WEB

Tina Bruenning joined the Pat Tillman Foundation as Scholarships Manager in October 2015 after recently earning her degree from Roosevelt University. Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Tina’s parents both served in the Army National Guard, instilling in her a life of service to others.

Prior to joining the Pat Tillman Foundation staff, Tina spent time in the work force at St. Alexius Medical Center in the Emergency Room unit, served as a Teacher’s Aide, volunteer in the community and most importantly, dedicated her time as a mother to her two children. Tina has always put others before herself, including raising her family first before making the decision to pursue her degree full-time in 2013.

In December 2015, Tina will participate in Roosevelt University’s graduation ceremony with her son Nick after earning a degree in Hospitality and Tourism with a concentration in meetings and events. Married to her husband Matt for 22 years, Tina enjoys traveling and exploring new places and spending time with her adult children.

Ellen McElligott

Development Officer
Ellen McElligott_WEB

Ellen McElligott joined the Pat Tillman Foundation staff as Development Officer in January, 2016 and is responsible for leading fundraising efforts for the Tillman Scholar program.

McElligott is a 2004 graduate of The College of the Holy Cross and upon graduation, served in the United States Navy from 2004-2010 as a Surface Warfare Officer. Her service included two overseas deployments onboard USS TAWARA and USS OSCAR Austin, and in 2008, returned to her hometown Chicago to work at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes.

After separating from the military , she completed her MPA from DePaul University with a focus in non-profit management, and her career since has been focused on serving the military community in a variety of roles both in Washington D.C. and Chicago. Most recently, she worked at the Road Home Program at Rush as member of both the community engagement and development team.

Ellen is a die-hard Chicago sports fan who currently resides in the city and spends much of her free time with her dog, friends or at FlyWheel.

Christopher Cordes

Development Manager
Cordes Headshot

Ethan Armstrong

Development Manager
ethan-armstrong-headshot

Ethan joined the Pat Tillman Foundation in November 2016 as a Development Manager, a role in which he manages all aspects of the Foundation’s stewardship program and is responsible for managing the Team Tillman fundraising program, grants, third party events as well as foundation events.

A native of Wheaton, Minnesota, Armstrong earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Communication Studies from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2009 and a Master of Arts degree in Sport Management from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2012. Upon graduation from Gustavus, he began a graduate assistantship as the Assistant Athletics Communications Director under Tim Kennedy at his alma mater. In the fall of 2011, Ethan was promoted  to Athletics Communications Director where here served as the marketing, media, and public relations director in charge of day-to-day communications for Gustavus’s 23 intercollegiate sports.

In the summer of 2015, Armstrong resigned from Gustavus and moved to Chicago where served in several contract roles with organizations such as Careers In Nonprofits, Chicago Public Schools, the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences Development, and the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. Most recently, Ethan worked as a Project Manager/Event Planner for startup social media photo marketing company called Tagkast.

Residing with his wife Anna in Chicago, Ethan is an avid volunteer committed to service and community. He is deeply involved with organizations such as the Special Olympics, Back On My Feet and Live To Support, and serves on the planning board for the Strides For Peace Run/Walk To End Gun Violence held annually in Chicago.  Passionate about all things pop culture, working out and spending time with his friends, Armstrong stays true to his Minnesota sports roots yet lives and breathes University of North Dakota hockey.

Michelle McCarthy

Director of Brand and Communications
Michelle McCarthy_WEB

Michelle joined the Foundation in April 2013. As director, she’s responsible for driving internal and external strategic communications for the Tillman Scholar program, Pat’s Run and other foundation initiatives. Previously, she served as the Director of Communications for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) in New York City. She earned her BA in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Notre Dame and studied Media Studies at The New School.

A New Jersey native, she loves college football and the Fighting Irish.

Jill Walsh

Communications Manager
Jill Walsh_WEB

Jill Walsh joined the Pat Tillman Foundation in September 2014 as the Gifts and Grant Coordinator supporting the Development team before transitioning to the role of Communications Manager, focusing on strategic partnerships, social media and web content, including the weekly Tillman Tuesday feature.

Prior to joining the foundation Walsh served as the Communications Manager at Intersport in Chicago. Relocating to Chicago in early 2014, Walsh served as the Milwaukee Bucks Community Relations Manager where she oversaw the department’s day-to-day operations including planning and implementing programs throughout the Milwaukee community with non-profit organizations in conjunction with the NBA. Most notably, Walsh worked with the Bucks Corporate Sponsorship team in piloting the Seats for Soldiers and Hardwood Homecoming programs.

Before joining the Community Relations field, Walsh served three years as the Assistant Director for Athletics Communications at her Alma Mater, University of Wisconsin Green Bay where she served as the media relations contact for six varsity sports, including the nationally-ranked women’s basketball team.

Earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Processes, Walsh also has seven years of experience working in the television industry as a sports reporter, photojournalist and anchor, covering her favorite team the Green Bay Packers.

An avid runner, Walsh has a passion for giving back to her community and supporting our nation’s bravest as her husband is a 34-year veteran of the Army, serving as the Command Sergeant Major of the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade.

Sandy Flynn

Pat's Run Event Director
Flynn_Web_Ready

Since July 2010, Sandy oversees all planning and execution for Pat’s Run, the signature annual fundraising event to support the Tillman Scholar program. Sandy has served as Program Coordinator for the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

Before moving to Arizona, Sandy spent several years in Colorado where she worked for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Colorado Republican Party. Sandy’s political experience started in Washington, D.C., where she served as a legislative correspondent for United States Senator Jon Kyl. Sandy also worked with the National Republican Senatorial Committee in the development department, planning events and managing donor databases.

She earned her BA in Government from the University of Redlands, and an MA in Political Science from the University of Colorado. Sandy resides in Arizona with her husband and two young sons.

Ashley Havrilla

Pat’s Run Event Manager
Havrilla_Web Ready

Ashley joined the Pat Tillman Foundation in October 2013 as Event Manager for Pat’s Run. In Tempe, she is responsible for cultivating relationships and building community impact to make Pat’s Run a success, every year. Ashley previously worked with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Arizona Chapter.

Ashley graduated Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a BA in Psychology. She loves sports, hiking, movies, and enjoys spending time with her husband and dog.