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MIC Announces its First Round of Speakers for 2023

With 2023’s rendition of the Military Influencer Conference just months away, the anticipation is growing for the event’s highly sought-after content, top-tier speakers, and endless professional networking opportunities. MIC is proud to announce the first round of speakers who will be making the trek to The Formation.

Deshauna Barner is a former Miss USA and award-winning international speaker, coach, and entrepreneur. She has served as a Captain for over eleven years in the Army Reserve and is the first Miss USA to actively serve in the United States Military. Barber has spent much of her career focused on advocating for soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

She is also the author of the self-care and self-improvement book “Pretty Ugly Lessons,” and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Service Women’s Action Network.

The Honorable Cheryl L. Mason served for five years as the fourth Senate-confirmed Presidential appointee and the first woman and military spouse Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board), US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She regularly speaks on veteran and military spouse employment- why it is so vital to our nation; the transition of the service member and family to Veteran status – a family affair; and Suicide Awareness and Prevention – a personal perspective. Recognizing her fierce commitment and actions around military spouse employment, she was awarded the Hiring Our Heroes 2022 Bonnie Amos Lifetime Achievement Impact Award.

Chris Cassidy, retired U.S. Navy SEAL and former Chief Astronaut for NASA, serves as the President & CEO of the National Medal of Honor Museum. Cassidy leads the NMOHMF’s project to build the National Medal of Honor Museum and Medal of Honor Leadership Institute in Arlington, Texas, and the National Medal of Honor Monument in Washington, D.C.

GySgt Tee Marie Hanible USMC (Retired), TV Personality, Activist, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Author of Best Seller “The Warrior Code: 11 Principles to Unleash the BadAss Inside Of You”. Tee is also the founder of Operation Heroes Connect, a nonprofit whose mission is to partner veterans and service members as mentors to at-risk youth. Tee Marie Hanible spent 20 years actively serving in the Marine Corps. But this former foster kid from Chicago was raised in grit long before becoming a Marine helped her define it.

Ashley Gutermuth is a New Jersey-based stand-up comedian, actor, and military spouse. She appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, where Jerry Seinfeld chose her as the winner of the ”Seinfeld Challenge.“ In 2021, Ashley won the headliner category of the US Comedy Contest. Ashley regularly posts on social media, and her hilarious videos of her stand-up and life as a spouse of a U.S. military veteran have exploded to over 250 million views. Ashley’s comedy has been featured in Military Times,, and Yahoo News. She has appeared on shows with Mark Curry (Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper), Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live), Steve Hytner (Seinfeld), and Michael Winslow (Police Academy, America’s Got Talent), among many others.

R.J. Jenkins is an educator, higher education administrator, and institutional consultant specializing in organizational capacity development and cultural transition. As Director of Education for the Columbia University Center for Veteran Transition and Integration, R.J. develops resources and programs that help thousands of veterans and active-duty service members each year achieve success in the college classroom and the civilian workforce. R.J. also works closely with private and public institutions nationwide to build a more inclusive professional culture and foster better communication and greater resilience among individuals and teams.

CAPT Dan Goldenberg, US Navy(Ret.), is the Call of Duty Endowment’s Executive Director and a Vice President at Activision Blizzard. Under his leadership, the Endowment has funded the placement of more than 118,000 veterans into high-quality employment. Goldenberg served 27 years in active duty and reserve military roles, including as a carrier-based Naval Flight Officer, Special Assistant to four Secretaries of the Navy, Intelligence Officer, and four-time Commanding Officer; this is on top of 18 years of leadership roles in the commercial sector. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy and Harvard Business School.

Matthew Purkey serves as the Vice President, Regional Operations at The Mission Continues. He joined the Marine Corps in 2007, and after multiple deployments, meritorious promotions, and honorable discharge, Matthew led numerous United Ways in Ohio, Georgia, and Indiana. Matthew is a two-time recipient of the 40 Under 40 award and a TedX featured speaker. In addition to advocating for military veterans’ mental health services, Matthew has served on numerous volunteer boards, including Fisher House and The Victory Project, and is a Team Rubicon Grey Shirt.

MIC will continue to announce speakers in the weeks ahead. For more information on how you can meet our all-star cast of speakers, head to our website for event information and tickets.




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