Patsy Woods Martin
Executive Director, Annie’s List

Patsy Woods Martin is currently the Executive Director of Annie’s List, a group working to “change the face of power in Texas” by targeting, recruiting and supporting courageous women to run for elected office in the state. Prior to joining the Annie’s List staff, Martin founded and was the executive director of I Live Here, I Give Here, the Central Texas Campaign for Philanthropy, a collaboration of individual philanthropists, nonprofit organizations, family foundations, local businesses and religious leaders. The group works to increase awareness of the needs in Central Texas and the role all Austinites can play in creating solutions to those needs. I Live Here, I Give Here also created and produces, Amplify Austin, 24 hours of online giving where they raised $5.8 Million last March 23.

Prior to launching I Live Here, I Give Here, Martin served in various leadership roles. In 1992, the Governor of Texas selected her to serve as a Regent at her alma mater, Texas Tech University. From 2002 to 2006, Martin served as vice president of resource development for United Way Capital Area, where she managed a team that raised tens of millions of dollars on an annual basis and where she launched the Women’s Leadership Council.

Martin currently serves on a number of boards, including the Long Center for the Performing Arts, and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Junior League of Austin, Leadership Austin, and is a founding member of Impact Austin and UWCA’s Women’s Leadership Council. Martin was slated as the incoming board chair for Annie’s List, but resigned the board to take the position of executive director.

Earlier in her career, Martin was trained and worked as a chemist. A fourth generation rancher in Montague County, Texas, Martin is active in her family ranching and oil business.

Doug O’Connell
Attorney at Law
O’Connell & Associates, PLLC

Doug O’Connell is a licensed attorney with over 20 years of experience in criminal and military-related law. A former prosecutor who is also an Army Special Forces Colonel (Green Beret), Doug currently represents people accused of state and federal crimes. He maintains a general criminal practice but specializes in weapons and firearms offenses, and defending service members who may also face collateral consequences in their military careers due to criminal charges.

Doug is the youngest of six children and attended college on a ROTC scholarship. After several years of Active Duty at Fort Hood, Doug became a reservist and went to law school, graduating from Wake Forest University, and has been licensed to practice in Texas since 1994. Doug began prosecuting crimes that year in Austin, TX, as a misdemeanor prosecutor with the Travis County Attorney’s Office. Later Doug served as a felony prosecutor with the Travis County D.A.’s Office, before moving to the United States Attorney’s office in Austin where he was a Special Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting federal crimes. Over the years, Doug prosecuted countless cases including over 100 jury trials in county, state and federal court including capital murder. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Doug returned to Active Duty. He deployed to Iraq with U.S. Army Special Forces-10th Group and Afghanistan with the US Special Operations Command. Later, Doug became the Director of Operations (G3) for the Texas Army National Guard, overseeing the training and operations of 19,500 Texas guardsmen. From 2011-13, Doug served in Washington, D.C., New York, and other locations with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and served on the FBI’s Manhattan, NY based Joint Terrorism Task Force which investigates terrorism-related cases arising out of the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Along the way, Doug earned two Master’s degrees, one in Homeland Security from the Naval Post Graduate School and the other in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Doug currently Commands a Special Operations Unit in the Texas Army National Guard focused on enhancing the counter terrorism capacity of African Countries facing threats from Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda and other violent extremist groups.

Doug uses mission-focus, strategic analysis, and extensive experience in criminal and military-related law to benefit his clients now in federal and state court, including Travis County Veterans Court. He also consulted on complex, multi-jurisdictional cases where service members face state and military charges with career and family implications. Doug serves on the Vestry of his Episcopal Church and as a Director of the Texas Lyceum.

Mark LambertMark Lambert
Chief of Staff, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Mark Lambert is a start-up, scale-up and turn-around specialist who has, for 20 years, led for-profit endeavors and mission-driven philanthropies. Commercial entities have included media companies, web service providers and a design & light manufacturing operation. Others ventures focused on novel anti-microbial compounds for use in processing potable water, advanced mixing/reacting technologies accelerating the production of biofuels and development of a medical device for regulating the human immune response. Mr. Lambert’s primary focus has been service to organizations supporting education, behavioral health and improved medical care in both the developed and developing worlds.

At the emergence of the home video phenomenon, Mr. Lambert served as Senior Vice-President of Development and Production at Karl-Lorimar Home Video (Jane Fonda Workout) where he crafted the first convergence models of home video and nationally distributed print media. He developed and produced the industry’s first “sponsored” home video projects with significant financial contributions and marketing support from Ford, General Foods, Dunlop and others.

While at Lorimar, Lambert created a video translation of, what was at that time, the best-selling book in history (except for the Bible) The Power of Positive Thinking. At the invitation of its author, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Lambert became the founding President and COO of Positive Communications, Inc. which created award winning written, audio, and video life skills programming for children, parents and teachers. Distribution through statewide systems of education was financed by Lambert’s seven-figure fund-raising efforts through the Positive Thinking Foundation.

Supported by 50 state systems of education, the federal government and 15 industry & philanthropic leaders, Lambert founded Outdoorsman Audio, Inc., an edutainment vehicle for inspiring ethical behaviors afield. Lambert also developed a life skills program with the National PTA, was a new media strategist to Hallmark and developed a life-long learning program with IBM. Lambert became President & COO of premier video producer/distributor Wood, Knapp & Company where he also co-developed an early interactive project for the Starbright Foundation and Children’s Hospice International in support of terminally ill children and their families.

For 8 years, Mr. Lambert worked with Big Picture Investors, LLC, a prominent, Los Angeles-based angel investing entity offering early- stage financing, assistance in the formation of growth capital and management expertise to science and engineering companies producing revolutionary technologies. Concurrently, Mr. Lambert launched a prize-winning custom motorcycle business from which he successfully exited. He invented a unique email marketing and sales technology and crafted a spin-out business model for a major record company. Serving as a board-appointed Interim President, Lambert led a “bricks-to-clicks” retail/web technology company and, later, the successful turn-around of an award winning digital design firm producing enterprise-scale applications for Fortune 100 Companies. Mr. Lambert also consulted to UCLA’s Graduate School of Education where he structured for-profit spin-out scenarios of software assets and authored a coaching system for use by Naval personnel training in virtual combat environments. He subsequently served as Chief Operating Officer of Therapheresis, Inc. a medical device company preparing to seek FDA approval for a platform technology addressing multiple indications through manipulation of the immune system.

Before becoming its Chief of Staff, Mr. Lambert, for more than 5 years, provided strategic planning and outreach services to the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. He is a Senior Partner with Platt & Associates, a San Francisco-based entity providing consulting services to both for-profit and charitable organizations. He serves as the Founding CEO Emeritus of the Sepsis Alliance, an internationally respected patient advocacy group dedicated to the early detection and treatment of sepsis, and as the Founding Executive Director Emeritus of the Global Sepsis Alliance which, within 18 months of inception, came to represent more than 600,000 caregivers in 63 countries.

Mr. Lambert began his business career managing press relations for award-winning artists and major films. Transitioning to Rogers & Cowan Public Relations, Lambert specialized in executive coaching, event staging and crisis management for Fortune 500 companies.

Lambert “started life” as an actor/singer/writer/director. Along with many guest-starring roles on television, he was featured in Bob Fosse’s Academy Award-winning “Best Picture”, Cabaret. In the same year, he originated a principal role in the Tony Award-winning “Best Musical,” A Little Night Music, for Harold Prince and Stephen Sondheim. He earned acceptance into the Director’s Guild of America while apprenticing at CBS Television City. Lambert continues to write in narrative forms and is a singer, songwriter, guitarist signed to RainFeather Records, a boutique label based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jo Ann PlattJo Ann Platt
President, Platt & Associates, Inc.

Jo Ann Platt is an operations expert specializing in enhancing the performance of organizations through effective administration, operations improvements, strategy development, communications networking, and best practice implementation. Mrs. Platt’s experience spans for profit and non-profit environments, start-ups, turn arounds and receiverships.

As the President and Founder of Platt & Associates, Inc., she has served many clients including a $30 million not-for-profit foundation and the second largest not-for-profit secular health system in the US. She has served her clients through strategic planning, operations and compliance initiatives and program creation and support. Mrs. Platt has also incubated new non-profits based on disease centers, emerging medical threats and service to medical societies.

Mrs. Platt’s early carrier includes two successful start-ups and exits in the technology sector, consensus building in the digital music industry, a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), national marketing and communications programs and brand/product/technology launches.

With a background in accounting, marketing and public relations, and legal issues, Mrs. Platt is able to view the needs of each client through multiple lenses and take a global approach to each initiative.

In her personal time, Mrs. Platt enjoys travel, photography, music, movies and exploring international cuisine. She is an avid fan of several professional sports including football, baseball, golf and more.

todd-hannaTodd P. Hanna
A native Austinite, Todd graduated from Austin High School and the University of Texas at Austin. After working several years in the commercial construction and insurance industries, he served four years on active duty as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, including a combat tour in Iraq and participation in Operation Unified Assistance (Indonesia Tsunami Relief). Upon his return to Austin, Todd joined Strategic Forecasting, Inc., where he served as Chief of Staff and Vice President of Corporate Relations. Recalled to active duty military service in 2007, Todd returned to Iraq as a Marine Advisor to the Iraqi Military in Al Anbar Province. He returned to Austin in 2008 and became President/CEO of Explore Austin, a 6-year program designed to change the lives of underserved youth through mentoring and outdoor adventure. During his tenure as CEO, Explore Austin received several awards, including the 2009 “Learning in Action Award” from Greenlights for Nonprofit Success and the 2011 John Covert Watson award for “Vision” from the Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin.

Although still an active board member of Explore Austin, Todd moved back to the for profit sector in October 2012, joining AQUILA Commercial, a full-service commercial real estate firm in Austin. Todd is now President of AQUILA Commercial, dividing his time between leading the company’s day-to-day operations and business development.

In addition to his work with Explore Austin, Todd is active with several other Austin area nonprofits. He sits on the Board of Directors of Trinity Episcopal School, The Red Cross (Central Texas Chapter), Songwriting With: Soldiers, Aware Awake Alive, and the LBJ Future Forum. In addition, he serves as the Co-Chairman of the Children In Nature Collaborative of Austin. He is the 2012 winner of the Austin Under 40 Award (Youth & Education Category), is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School and is an Outward Bound instructor.

A.J. MerrifieldA.J. Merrifield
Disabled Veteran (former Staff Sergeant) A.J. Merrifield is a writer, artist, photographer, and creative thinker known throughout the military for the comics he created while deployed to Iraq, BOB on the FOB Comics. Prior to enlisting after the events of 9/11, A.J. had spent over a decade working in the IT field as a consultant and senior manager responsible for designing and implementing large-scale solutions for clients as diverse as Schlumberger, Ford, Toyota, the Federal Reserve Bank, and numerous small businesses.

Feeling called to serve his country following the attacks of September 11th, A.J. enlisted in the Army and served multiple tours in Iraq in a number of positions ranging from the bodyguard for the Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) to the Detention Operations NCO for Multi-National Division – North and the Personal Security Officer to the Deputy Commanding General – Operations for U.S. Forces –Iraq. When not deployed, A.J. served stateside and in Korea as a Military Police Investigator, Special Reaction Team member, Team Leader, Squad Leader, and Platoon Sergeant.

Upon leaving the military, A.J. has returned to the IT field and currently serves as the Director for Network and Security service delivery management for State of Texas datacenters. In addition, A.J. continues his creative outlets through his comics, photography, and writing, all of which have been published in numerous outlets. A.J. is a previous participant and Veteran mentor of the SongwritingWith:Soldiers program, having taken part and guided other Veterans through the process at the retreats in Belton, TX and Rennsaelerville, NY.

Stacy L. Pearsall
Stacy L. Pearsall is former participant in SongwritingWith:Soldiers who continues to work with the organization as an advisor, photographer and peer support at retreats when she is available.

Pearsall got her start as an Air Force photographer at the age of 17. During her time in the service, she traveled to over 41 countries, and attended S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Now combat disabled and retired from military service, Pearsall continues to work worldwide as a freelance photographer, and is an author, educator, military consultant, public speaker and founder of the Veterans Portrait Project.

Pearsall was one of only two women to win NPPA’s Military Photographer of the Year competition, and the only woman to have earned it twice. She’s been honored as the Air Force Veteran of the Year by the Air Force Band and PBS, presented the Trojan Labor American Hero Award, honored with the Daughters of the American Revolution Margaret Cochran Corbin Award, lauded by the White House as a Champion of Change, and holds an honorary doctoral degree from The Citadel.

The release of her first photography book, Shooter: Combat from Behind the Camera, received worldwide praise as “A book of the highest levels in the annals of combat journalism.” And her second book, A Photojournalist’s Field Guide: In the Trenches with Combat Photographer Stacy Pearsall, is “A must have for every aspiring photographer out there, and even pros can pick up a few new tricks to help them become better photographers.”

We are honored to have Stacy as part of the SW:S team!

About the Veterans Portrait Project:

Some are smiling. Others gaze at a distant point. All are veterans. The Veterans Portrait Project began while Stacy Pearsall recovered from combat injuries sustained in Iraq. Spending hours in VA waiting rooms surrounded by veterans from every generation and branch of service, Pearsall was compelled to honor and thank them in the only way she knows how, photography. The Veterans Portrait Project totals 3,000 veterans and grows daily.