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MEET OUR FOUNDATION BOARD

Marie Tillman

Chair & Co-Founder

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

Vice Chair
CFO, Guidebook, Inc.

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.

Ian Sacks

Lead Director
Managing Director, TowerBrook Capital Partners

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.

Benjamin Hill

Treasurer
President, Hill Financial Advisors

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

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 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 Regional Sales Manager, Nutanix

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 Nutanix. He lives in California with his wife, Christine, and their sons, Ryan, Adam and Scott.

Sage Steele

Director

Sage Steele is one of ESPN’s most popular and respected commentators, currently serving as the lead host for SportsCenter on the Road. Steele’s lead role for SportsCenter on the Road includes on-site, day-long and pre-event coverage for the biggest sports events of the year, including the Super Bowl, World Series, the Masters, the College Football National Championship and many more. Steele was named SportsCenter on the Road host in September of 2016.

In addition to her ESPN position, Steele has co-hosted ABC’s and ESPN’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve coverage during the College Football Championship and has been a featured guest host on ABC’s The View. In 2015, Steele added ‘mommy blogger’ to her job portfolio, contributing several stories to Disney-owned Babble. She has also been a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live and has been profiled by Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, Vibe and Huffington Post, to name a few.

Previously, she hosted NBA Countdown from the 2013-14 NBA regular season until the end of the 2016-17 NBA regular season.

Steele, who joined ESPN in 2007, served as a regular anchor for SportsCenter, the network’s flagship news and information program, until 2013. She also hosted the Scripps National Spelling Bee from 2010-2013.

In addition to SportsCenter, she also contributed to First Take and Mike & Mike, and been a guest co-host of ESPN2’s SportsNation.

Prior to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400, the Indiana University graduate had the honor of driving the pace car at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Steele began her television career at WSBT-TV in South Bend, Ind., as a producer and reporter (1995-1997). She then moved to WISH-TV in Indianapolis where she was the beat reporter for the Indianapolis Colts, in addition to covering the 1997 NCAA Men’s Final Four, NASCAR and the Izod IndyCar Series.

In August 1998, Steele moved to Tampa and worked as a reporter, anchor, and host for WFTS-TV. She was the beat reporter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1998-2001 and covered the 1999 NCAA Men’s Final Four. In 2000, she joined Fox Sports Net in Tampa as a reporter and covered Super Bowl XXXV for the 2000-01 NFL season.

In April 2001, Steele became the anchor for the debut of Comcast SportsNet, serving the Washington DC/Baltimore region. She anchored the flagship show SportsNite for six years and was also a beat reporter for the Baltimore Ravens from 2001-2005, hosting a magazine show for all five seasons.

Steele graduated from Indiana University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science degree in sports communications. In her spare time, Steele volunteers with the Pat Tillman Foundation and is passionate about working alongside military veterans. She enjoys horseback riding and spending time with her husband and three children.

Lazar Raynal

Director

Lazar Raynal is an internationally recognized, preeminent trial lawyer and a proud Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. Lazar joined Quinn Emanuel in 2017. Previously, Lazar was the Global Chair of McDermott Will & Emery’s Litigation Practice Group, where he also served on the firm’s Management and Executive Committees and was co-chair of the Trust & Estate Controversy Practice. Lazar provides legal counsel to clients on fiduciary and complex commercial litigation, including management of litigation across U.S. and non-U.S. jurisdictions. He has been lead trial counsel in a number of “bet-the-company” cases before juries, judges and arbitrators. He also has led numerous internal investigations for clients in response to governmental investigations and civil suits. Lazar has represented some of the wealthiest families and well-known private businesses in the world as well. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (B.S., 1985) and the University of Notre Dame Law School (J.D., cum laude, 1988).

MEET OUR STAFF MEMBERS

  • Killjan Anderson

    Executive Director

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  • Sabrina Perales

    Director of Operations

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  • Jonathan Warzeka

    Pat's Run Event Manager

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  • Elizabeth O’Herrin

    Director of Programs and Scholarships

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  • Cara Hammer

    Program Manager

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  • Tina Bruenning

    Scholarships Manager

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  • Ellen McElligott

    Director of Development

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  • Christopher Cordes

    Development Manager

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  • Ethan Armstrong

    Development Manager

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  • Michelle McCarthy

    Director of Brand and Communications

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  • John O’Connor

    Art Director

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  • Shannon Speshock

    Communications Manager

    Read Bio

Killjan Anderson

Executive Director

Killjan “Kill” Anderson is the Executive Director of the Pat Tillman Foundation and served 21+ years of distinguished active-duty service in the U.S. Air Force. Prior to joining the Foundation, Kill’ served as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the 10th Air Base Wing at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. 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. Kill holds an MBA from Notre Dame and a B.S., Management/Government from the University of Maryland-University College. Kill’ and his wife Angela are the proud parents of two kids, Avery and Asia.

Sabrina Perales

Director of Operations

Sabrina joined the Pat Tillman Foundation team in November 2015 as the Operations Manager and assumed duties of Director of Operations in 2017. Sabrina oversees all 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.

Jonathan Warzeka

Pat's Run Event Manager

Jonathan “Zeke” Warzeka joined the Pat Tillman Foundation as the Pat’s Run Event Manager in June 2017. Zeke oversees the planning of all key activities for Pat’s Run.

A native of Lake Elsinore, California, Zeke received a football scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy. After graduating with a BS in Social Sciences in 2012, Zeke commissioned as a Security Forces Officer and was stationed at Luke AFB, Arizona. As the Operations Officer, Zeke was responsible for all law enforcement and security operations which included protecting over $6.4 billion in aircraft and resources while safeguarding over 5,000 active duty, retired, and civilian members. Zeke is currently a Security Forces Officer in the US Air Force Reserve.

Zeke earned his Master’s in Sports Administration from Ohio University. Zeke is an avid sports fan who currently resides in Arizona and spends his free time with his friends, family and dog.

Elizabeth O’Herrin

Director of Programs and Scholarships

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 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 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

Director of Development

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 TARAWA 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

Bio coming soon!

Ethan Armstrong

Development Manager

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 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 B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Notre Dame and M.A. in Media Studies at The New School.

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

John O’Connor

Art Director

Bio coming soon!

Shannon Speshock

Communications Manager

Shannon joined the Pat Tillman Foundation team as the Communications Manager in November 2017. In this role, Shannon focuses on building and strengthening PTF’s brand and communications by sharing the incredible impact made by Tillman Scholars in their communities through digital media and public relations.

A native Arizonan, Shannon comes from a long line of military service people, and was proud to cheer on her youngest brother during his time as an athlete at the Air Force Academy. She is a lifetime Arizona sports fan, and grew up watching Pat play during his days as a Sun Devil and later with the Arizona Cardinals.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Arizona State University and started her career at Donor Network of Arizona. After moving to Chicago and earning her Master’s in English from Northwestern University, Shannon continued her work in nonprofit marketing and communications at Stand for Children before jumping at the opportunity to join the PTF crew.

Shannon resides in Chicago and enjoys hiking, volunteering, and exploring the city’s excellent variety of independent bookstores.