The Operation Wounded Minds Leadership (OWM) team each have personal experience with PTS or have known someone close to them who has suffered from it. They have experience with various PTS treatments ranging from Western to Eastern medicine, including a variety of alternative therapies.
Dwayne Jones, Founder and Executive Chairman
A serial entrepreneur and avid risk-taker, Dwayne understands non-combat PTS firsthand as a former first-responder working as an EMT on a paramedic unit in the 1980’s and through his own personal experiences around trauma.
In addition to taking several companies from startup to market success, Dwayne brings a love of making things happen to every facet of work and life. He is the Founder of Four Corner Payments, a financial technology company that is building VillageUp, a mobile app that combines person-to-person payment with community engagement to support veterans transitioning to civilian life. He brings his entrepreneurial spirit, and tenacity to his leadership role with Operation Wounded Minds. As a producing Fellow at the American Film Institute (AFI), Dwayne discovered the art of creative collaboration and deepened his passion for bringing people together through the power of storytelling. An avid fan of campaign work, throughout the 1990s Dwayne participated in California politics on several gubernatorial and congressional races and became a producer of political commercials for a Washington, DC-based media consulting firm. Earlier, he worked in Cape Town, South Africa during the pre-revolution Apartheid era as an organizer for mixed-race social events, learning about oppression firsthand. A father of eleven-year-old quadruplets, Dwayne regards them as his greatest work, and credits Psalm 91 as a source of faith and trust in raising them.
Dwayne is a graduate of Pepperdine University with BA in Journalism, with a Political Science Emphasis.
We are a non-profit startup for the men and women who risked their lives and are now returning from the war in the Middle East with PTS, suffering from the hidden wounds of war. It’s my hope that we can really make a difference by challenging the way we have always done things and try to do better by our kids coming home.—Dwayne H. Jones
Jennifer Neeley, Interim Executive Director
Passionate about mental health and wellness issues, Jennifer is a C-level marketing executive and two-time Emmy©-nominated television journalist who has worked with troops in Iraq and served with the Peace Corps in Turkmenistan.
Jennifer Neeley is an Emmy-nominated management consultant and performance marketing agency founder and CEO, with extensive C-suite experience in interactive, digital and social media program development; strategic and tactical planning through to execution based on ROI; SEO and content marketing editorial program creation, development and management; ad and affiliate management, budgeting and buying; event management; promotional campaign development; creative and traditional marketing; media relations/PR/publicity; and journalism. Her global expertise has taken her from Iraq to the UK. Jennifer is a contributor to Social Media Today and B2Community. Jennifer holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a certificate from the American Conservatory Theater (ACT). Jennifer is also an experienced educator, helping to create the first social media marketing certificate program at San Francisco State University and Mediabistro.com. It’s teaching she finds this work the most rewarding of all. Jennifer is working on her first book, based on her early experiences as a woman in broadcasting and tech.
Andrew Morton, Foundation Legal Counsel and Advisor
A legal professional operating at the intersection of celebrity and philanthropy, encompassing all aspects of high-profile philanthropic engagement and branding—from initial formation of a tax-exempt organization, to ongoing oversight, compliance, governance and reporting consistent with legal requirements and nonprofit sector best practices.
Partner and Chair of the Sports and Entertainment Law Practice at Handler Thayer LLP, where he serves as philanthropy and public policy counsel to high-profile public figures engaged in the nonprofit sector. Prior to joining Handler Thayer, Andrew practiced with the Political Law and Government Relations groups of Latham & Watkins LLP, and Foley & Lardner LLP. In those roles, he advised the firm’s nonprofit and commercial clients in the areas of corporate governance, compliance and Board oversight, as well as legislative strategy and public policy engagement. A frequent speaker on international human rights and immigration law, Andrew has testified before the US Senate and House of Representatives, and appeared in national media outlets including CNN, ABC World News Tonight, National Public Radio, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Andrew earned his Juris Doctor (JD), cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as a member of the Board of Editors of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Co-Chair of the Equal Justice Foundation. Andrew also attended the University of Maryland, earning an Master of Public Policy (MPP) in international security and economic policy from the School of Public Affairs, and a BA, magna cum laude, in economics, and Spanish.
Newell Arnerich, Advisor
Parent of returning warrior and local business leader who personally knows how damaging trauma is to those fighting the war on families and our local communities
Newell Arnerich is a councilmember for the City of Danville, California, who has served multiple terms as the city’s mayor beginning in 1999. Noted for his sound fiscal policies and his strong support for local schools, Newell is also deeply involved in planning and transportation issues affecting Contra Costa County. A professional architect with a Master’s in Architecture and Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley, he is the President and owner of an architectural firm with offices in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. Newell is a passionate community volunteer with veterans, senior and youth organizations.
Lisa Chang, Advisor
Prolific fundraiser for many causes, issues and reasons who strongly believes we must be warriors for our troops when they return home.
Nick Vleisides, Advisor
Passionate about serving others Nick knows first-hand the need to be available when the call comes to help a first-responder or their family members because of what they see or experience on the job.
Nick is a law enforcement and fire chaplain serving several departments and districts in Contra Costa County, California. He serves the community as a resource during times of tragic and sudden death when called upon by law enforcement and the fire department.
In addition to providing peer support to several agencies, he is certified to lead Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) debriefings for law enforcement officers and firefighters who have experienced traumatic events in the field. Nick served as a pastor for over 23 years until he established his 501(c)(3), Community Chaplain Resources, in 2011.
Mark Carter, Advisor
A veteran’s parent sees the need to give returning soldiers more attention, respect and support—and resolves to take action.
Mark Carter, the father of Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Ty Carter, was on hand to greet his son when the younger Carter flew into Fort Carson, Colorado, on October 3, 2009, from active duty in Afghanistan. Only a short time earlier, Ty had participated in a horrific firefight against a much larger force of Afghan insurgents. Several of his comrades and friends fell in the encounter.
Mark’s presence at the airport wasn’t surprising. The two men were close. Ty, who entered the military directly out of high school, had come to live with Mark a few years after being discharged from the Marine Corps. Father and son stayed together for several years, until Ty re-enlisted in the Army.
What was surprising, to Mark, was the lack of any other parents or loved ones on hand to greet the returning soldiers. Nobody was present to escort them. No provisions were made for their comfort or rest. Nobody was available to tell them where to go or what to expect next. Granted, it was 2:00 in the morning, more than six hours ahead of schedule. But still, the scene stayed with Mark. Teaming with Dwayne Jones, he set out to make Operation Wounded Minds the connection these soldiers needed for the time between their return home and the beginning of their military benefits—and more.
An electrician by trade, Mark served his community for 35 years as a senior electrician with BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). As a business man he used his entrepreneurial drive by starting several businesses, including a motorcycle shop, real estate and mortgage banking company.
Charles ‘Chick’ Walsh, Advisor
Charles ‘Chick’ Walsh has brought success to many companies including GTech Sports, Walsh Wireless Solutions/Walsh Modus, Energy Sources Group Oil and Gas Syndication, TBA Financial Group, Connecticut General Life, and IBM. Chick served in the US Army Reserve from 1967 to 1969, after his graduation from the College of the Holy Cross with the BA in Political Science in 1966. He is the director of Next Level Sports Foundation a 501(c)(3) youth flag football organization. Chick has been married to Madeline for 46 years and resides in Danville, California.