The 2019 HeroZona National Veteran Summit will consist multiple events spanning three days and two separate venues.

Tuesday, November 5

The Bridge Forum U.S. Veteran Edition

Venue: Sheraton Phoenix Crescent Hotel

The Bridge Forum U.S. Veteran Edition will focus on current efforts within the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Arizona Coalition for Military Families, Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, Arizona Fire District Association, and community resources to ensure our first responders who have served in the military have the capabilities to maximize healthcare and benefits decision making throughout their career after military service. Presenters from the VA will highlight current clinical and research activities to demonstrate strategies as they pertain to both male and female first responders to enhance readiness for their work, as well as optimize support for family members, illustrate comprehensive strategies for optimizing whole health, describe innovative, evidence-based ways to maintain psychological health and resilience incorporating individual, unit-level and leader approaches and define best practices for measuring health and performance outcomes and maximizing human performance. The VA will also discuss additional services and benefits available to our first responders who have served in the military. Members of the community will present resources available in the community for first responders and their families to include the Be Connected program, which connected veterans and their families to resources and benefits. The final presentation will be from first responders and fire and police department clinicians to discuss support and services within the departments that can assist first responders and their families.

We welcome all first responders who served in the military and their leadership to attend this content-filled day to understand all of the resources and services available to them as they continue to serve.


  • Post-deployment adjustments, PTSD, TBI
  • De-escalation and practical tips
  • Suicide prevention and law enforcement response
  • Addressing the stigma of mental health
  • Help for first responders under stress
  • VA & non-VA programs and resources

7:30 am – 8:00 am – Registration / Check-in

8:00 am – 1:00 pm – Programming – lunch will be served.


  • VA Panel
    Dr. Kris Kratz, Ph.D., Chief of Psychology, Phoenix VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics
    Maggie Talamantes, Triage Registered Nurse, Jade Opal Clinic, Phoenix VA Health Care System | U.S. Army Veteran
    Rosa Jacobsen, Registered Nurse, Assistant Nurse Manager for Outpatient Mental Health, Phoenix VA Health Care System
    Dr. Kathryn Doyle, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Phoenix VA Medical Center
    Moderator: Brandi L. Luedtke, Psy.D., HSPP, Psychology Section Chief and Program Manager of the PTSD, Clinic Phoenix VA Health Care System
  • Community Resource Panel
    Kelli Donley Williams, Suicide Prevention Specialist, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS)
    Christopher Tafoya, Deputy Administrator, Reemployment Assistance Administration Arizona Department of Economic Security | U.S. Army Veteran
    Patricia George, Prosecutor, Phoenix Municipal Court Veterans Court
    Kelly Anne Wilde, Network Manager & Lead Trainer, Arizona Coalition for Military Families – Be Connected | U.S. Army National Guard Veteran
    Tenasha Hildebrand, Crisis Services Director, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care | U.S. Army Veteran
    Moderator: Wanda Wright, Director, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services | U.S. Air Force Col (R)
  • First Responder Panel
    James W. Warriner, Lieutenant, Office of Inspector Generals Operations Commander, Arizona Department of Transportation Arizona Statewide Public Safety Peer Support Association
    Angela Harrolle, President & CEO, 100 Club of Arizona Marie Dryer-Kircher, President Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) Arizona
    Geoff Leggett, Assistant Chief of Police, Surprise Emergency Responders Assistance Program
    Mike Wold, Regional Coordinator, Arizona Institute of Healing of Memories – North America | U.S. Navy Veteran
    Moderator: Dan Brown, Chief of Police Winslow Police Department | U.S. Marine Corps Veteran


Wednesday, November 6

Military Employment Summit and Veteran Chambers Luncheon

Venue: Sheraton Phoenix Crescent Hotel

Arizona is not just military friendly, it is military ready. Over 18,000 active duty service members are stationed in Arizona with almost 15,000 Arizonans serving in the Reserves and 5,000 in the National Guard. To ensure the state remains a leader in quality of life, industry, and education, it must retain top talent for its workforce and provide economic opportunity to military families through meaningful employment and successful entrepreneurship. In order to effectively engage with the military community and further educate local stakeholders, it is imperative to leverage public-private partnerships and focus on grassroots efforts to spark a statewide call to action to ensure our nation’s heroes continue to call Arizona home before, during, and after service.

This event is for public and private sector supporters of veterans, business leaders, nonprofit entities, small business owners, educational institutions, associations, military and civic officials, and advocates of our veteran communities.

10:30 am – 11:00 am – Registration / Check-in

11:00 am – 2:00 pm – Program

Speakers, Guests & Panels

  • Mona Dexter, Senior Director, Hiring Our Heroes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Chris Norton, Director, Department of Veterans Affairs Phoenix Regional Office
  • Emerging trends in leveraging public-private partnerships. Nonprofits and public sector collaboration.
    Karl Himes
    , Director, West Region FourBlock | U.S. Marine Veteran
    Tony Forbes, Regional Veterans’ Employment Coordinator, Department of Labor-Veterans’ Employment and Training | U.S. Army LTC (R)
    Wanda Wright, Director, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services | U.S. Air Force Col (R)
    Dan Standage, Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion Student Veterans of America | U.S. Marine Corps Sgt (R)
    Moderator: Michael Schoeneck, National Program Director, Onward to Opportunity Syracuse University, IVMF
  • Military Spouse Employment Challenges
    Amanda Scott, Military Spouse
    Amanda Conrad, Military Spouse
    Lindsay Bradford, Military Spouse
    Moderator: Sharon Grassi, Dole Caregiver Fellow, Arizona Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Keynote: State of Veteran Employment
    Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO, Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • State of the Veteran/Military Community Support Sector in Arizona: Understanding Trends and Perspectives
    Wanda Wright, Director, Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services | U.S. Air Force Col (R)
  • Military Caregivers: We Serve Too
    Sharon Grassi, Dole Caregiver Fellow, Arizona Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Fireside Chat: The Breaking Down Barriers to Work Act Making it easier for military members and their families to continue to work by ensuring their professional licenses are universally recognized when they move to a new state.
    Victor Riches, President & CEO, Goldwater Institute
    Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., President & CEO, National Newspaper Publishers Association
    Moderator: Glenn Hamer, President & CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce
  • Special Announcement
    Michael Veysey, Director of Veterans Program, Cisco Systems | U.S. Marine Corps Col (R)

HeroZona Foundation Awards Banquet

Venue: Sheraton Phoenix Crescent Hotel

5:30 pm – 6:00 pm – Check-in

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Reception

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Awards Presentation / Dinner

2019 Award Honorees

  • HeroZona National Veteran Summit Entrepreneurship Award | Jerry Moyes, Founder, Swift Transportation
  • HeroZona National Veteran Summit Employment Award | Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President & CEO, Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • HeroZona National Veteran Summit Education Award | Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick, Maricopa Community Colleges
  • HeroZona Foundation Hon. John S. McCain III Maverick Award | Danelle McCusker Rees, President of Human Resources for Domestic U.S. Operations, UPS
  • HeroZona Foundation The Mission Continues Award | Jason Rowley, President & CEO, Phoenix Suns
  • HeroZona Foundation, Cesar Chavez Award | Ricardo Carlo, President, Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona

The Awards Dinner is Sold Out.

Thursday, November 7

Phoenix Hiring Expo powered by Hiring Our Heroes | U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Venue: Talking Stick Resort Arena

At the Phoenix Hiring Expo, join the Phoenix Suns, HeroZona Foundation, and Hiring Our Heroes to connect directly with recruiters and hiring managers from local and national companies of all sizes. Service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers will gain the tools to successfully navigate the civilian hiring process to find a meaningful career. The events feature workshops on professional development, entrepreneurship, and job search tools as well as networking opportunities with HR experts and hiring managers. The day will culminate with a hiring fair with dozens of employers seeking military connected talent.

This event is free and is open to active duty service members, Guard and Reserve, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers. Even better? All registered veteran and military spouse job seekers who attend the hiring expo are eligible to receive up to two free tickets to attend the evening’s game between the Phoenix Suns and the Miami Heat.*

9:00 am – 11:45 am – Job Seeker Workshops & Resources

12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Hiring Fair

7:00 pm – Phoenix Suns vs Miami Heat Game


Please check back soon for further details. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to receive all the event updates.

*while supplies last. Tickets are non-transferable.


Get Notified of Updates

Subscribe to receive news and event updates. Your email is covered by our privacy policy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • APS
  • USAA
  • Hiring Our Heroes
  • Goldwater Institute