5 Star Ballroom
Founder & President of National Military Spouse Network
Sue Hoppin is a nationally recognized expert on military spouse and family issues working to bridge the cultural gap between government, private and public groups and military communities. She is an advocate, published author and consultant with more than 20 years of experience and expertise in military community programs. She has a proven record of developing programs focusing on military issues, serving as spokesperson for various organizations and committees, and reaching out to train top tier military-affiliated groups, veteran/military services organizations, and key leadership within major military commands. She frequently speaks around the country at conferences and leadership training programs.
In 2012, Sue was appointed by President Obama to the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy. In 2010, Sue founded the National Military Spouse Network, a professional development and networking membership organization supporting the professional career and entrepreneurial goals of military spouses. Before founding the NMSN, Sue served as the first deputy director for spouse outreach for the Military Officers Association of America, charged with creating and spearheading military spouse initiatives for the 375,000 member association. In 2007, Sue co-authored, “A Family’s Guide to the Military” for the popular Dummies series; the book was selected for First Lady of the Marine Corp’s Recommended Reading List in 2012. In recognition of her accomplishments, Military Spouse Magazine named Sue on both their 2007 and 2008 Who’s Who of Military Spouses list recognizing those who have made significant contributions in the military community for all military spouses; making her the only person to be named on the list two years in a row.
Sue is an avid volunteer having served on the Board of Visitors of the United States Air Force Academy (2012-2016), Board of Directors for Blue Star Families (2010 – 2013) and as Military Family Liaison to Fairfax County School Superintendent’s Business and Community Advisory Council (2009-2012). Recognition for her volunteer efforts include: nominee for USAF’s Joan Orr Spouse of the Year (2007); 76th Airlift Squadron Spouse of the Year, Germany (2002); Volunteer of the Year at McConnell AFB, KS (1999). She continues to serve the Air Force community with her work on the board of the Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club. For 9 years, she also served as the Publicity Chairman on the Air Force Charity Ball Committee that has raised over $7 million for the Air Force Aid Society since its inception in 2004.
Sue holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Oklahoma and a certificate in nonprofit management from Georgetown University.
Hear from Allstate, Starbucks, Capital One, and Amazon on what they DO to empower military-affiliated employees!
Joseph Pennington is the Director of Military and Veteran Programs for Allstate and a dedicated advocate for veteran employment in the military community. In his role, he leads the development and execution of a broad strategy, including aspects of corporate social responsibility, employee engagement, communications and recruitment. Following his 12 years as a U.S Navy Seabee, Joseph served as the Veteran Employment Director for the Veteran Outreach Program of Illinois and has created and led numerous military hiring programs in the private sector. Joseph continues to be a strong voice for service members and Veterans through board memberships of various charitable organizations.
Tom Downs, retired U.S. Army, is a leader on Capital One’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Team where he is the D&I strategy lead for the Women’s, Military and CapAbilities Associate Business Resource Groups (BRGs) which includes over 25K Associates. Tom’s role also includes providing strategy to the BRG’s on their recruiting and retention initiatives. Tom has been instrumental in Capital One being a recurring addition to G.I. Jobs magazine’s annual list of the Military Friendly® Employers, Military Spouse Friendly® Employers, and The Military Times “Best for Vets Employers” as well. Additionally, Capital One was recognized in 2016 as the “Military Spouse Employer and Mentor Award” winner by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes program. Before joining Capital One, Tom served in the U.S. Army for 21 years and retired with the rank of Master Sergeant. Tom and his family reside in Alexandria, Va.