Our Team

Senior Leadership Team

Elizabeth O'Brien Liz O'Brien Rollover

Elizabeth O’Brien

CEO

Elizabeth O’Brien is an accomplished, high-energy leader with expertise in national partnerships, non-profit relationship building, program development, and community engagement. Elizabeth O’Brien currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Freedom Learning Group – an educational content and services provider powered by a global remote network of Military Spouses and Veterans.

Elizabeth, a Military Spouse, sits on The Blue Star Families Advisory Council, The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network Advisory Council, and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. She chairs the state of Virginia Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Previously, Elizabeth served in significant leadership roles as a Senior Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and as Chairwoman for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, the first Military Spouse named to the role. Prior to joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, O’Brien spent over a decade coaching college women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Hofstra University, and The University of Hawaii.

Elizabeth resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her family. On any given day, she and her family can be found competing or cheering one another on at a sporting event.

Jen Bibby Headshot Jennifer Bibby Rollover

Jennifer Bibby

SVP, Public Affairs

Jennifer Bibby currently serves as the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Freedom Learning Group. Her corporate experience includes leading the Military and Veterans Affairs, Community Affairs and Civic Engagement portfolio for Starbucks Social Impact group. In this role, Bibby developed and maintained key relationships with Veteran and Military Spouse non-profit organizations increasing engagement, cross promotion and customer campaign awareness year over year. In addition, she launched the Coffee with a Cop program. Partnering with key stakeholders, Coffee with a Cop brought together thousands of employees, customers and law enforcement officials in store across the country. Bibby also led a non-partisan strategy to connect employees and customers to their communities through voting and community service.

Prior to her time at Starbucks, Bibby spent fifteen years in association management, culminating with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Hiring Our Heroes program (HOH). As a Senior Director, she oversaw operations of the nationwide effort to connect Veterans, transitioning service members, and Military Spouses with meaningful employment opportunities. Bibby led cross functional teams overseeing more than 100 events annually, including Mission Transition; a national summit on Veteran employment, HOH Awards Gala and various hiring and networking events throughout the world.

Jennifer is married to Derek, a Retired Marine Corps Harrier Pilot. They live in the Pacific Northwest with their son, Elijah and their three dogs. Traveling, hiking, and skiing are often enjoyed together as a family.

Anna Christen Headshot Anna Christen Family

Anna Christen

SVP, Content Operations

Anna Christen is excited to join Freedom Learning Group as part of the Content Operations team. Prior to joining FLG, she was the Director of Events & Engagement at Hiring Our Heroes. In that role, she led a motivated team committed to advancing opportunities for military spouses, veterans, and transitioning service members. In addition to conducting military spouse hiring and workforce development events, her team led the Military Spouse Professional Network, Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zones, a three-year hiring initiative called “Hiring 100,000 Military Spouses”, and curated workshops.

Previously, Anna served as a Human Resources manager after graduating from West Point. While on active duty, she completed a combat deployment before transitioning to finance in the civilian sector.

Anna continues to serve in the Army Reserves, working as a part-time Assistant Professor of Military Science at Princeton University. She earned her MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Anna is also a proud military spouse with 3 daughters.

Jason Howe Jason Howe Rollover

Jason Howe

VP, Business Development

Jason Howe joined Freedom Learning Group in October 2021 and serves as our Vice President of Business Development. Jason comes from a family of service members as his father is a Coast Guard Academy alum, his father-in-law is a Vietnam War Marine Veteran and both of his grandparents served in World War II. He brings years of sales and leadership experience in both the educational technology industry and the SaaS Applications sector. Most recently, Jason served as the Applications Sales Manager for ERP Cloud Applications at Oracle. Prior to that role, he was the Director of Digital Solutions at Cengage and Sales Leader at Pearson.

Jason is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, double majoring in Business Management and Marketing with a minor in Advertising. He also studied abroad at the University of Queensland in Australia, which sparked his interest in travel. In his time away from work, Jason spends as much time outdoors and with his family as possible. He is always looking for ways to stay active. Coaching his kids’ sports, home improvement projects, hiking, basketball and golf are common activities. Jason and his family love to travel and experience new places every year.

Joey Phillips Headshot Joey Phillips Rollover

Joey Phillips

Senior Systems Administrator

Joey Phillips is the Senior Systems Administrator for Freedom Learning Group. Since joining in 2019, his role is to lead and support the IT Systems of a remote workforce spanning over 36 states and 10 countries.

Joey entered the IT world in 2007 initially with a small business start-up. Here, he built a dynamic remote IT department in its entirety learning the industry from the inside out.

Joey is passionate about FLG’s unique social mission along with its exciting work environment. He believes the future of work is built around the opportunities a remote workforce has as it is driven by technology with an eye toward innovative internal and external solutions.

Joey and his wife, Lauren, are proud parents of two beautiful girls. They are also proud to be siblings, children and grandchildren to active duty members and Veterans of the Military.

Melissa Al-Shaer Melissa Al-Shaer

Melissa Al-Shaer

Executive Director, Content Operations

Melissa currently serves as the Executive Director of Content Operations. She joined Freedom Learning Group in 2019 as an Information Technology Subject Matter Expert. She has also served as a Project Manager and a Senior Project Director for FLG.

Melissa is a retired U.S. Air Force Veteran where she worked in the Information Technology field. While on active duty, she was assigned to various IT sections before being assigned as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of a training department. It was here that she found her passion for content development and training. She also enjoyed working in IT Operations with a focus on continuous process improvement.

Melissa holds a Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Management and Leadership, and several Information Technology certifications.

Melissa is married to Joseph, an Army veteran, and they have one son.

Board of Directors

Elizabeth O'Brien Liz O'Brien Rollover

Elizabeth O’Brien

CEO

Elizabeth O’Brien is an accomplished, high-energy leader with expertise in national partnerships, non-profit relationship building, program development, and community engagement. Elizabeth O’Brien currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Board Member of Freedom Learning Group – an educational content and services provider powered by a global remote network of Military Spouses and Veterans.

Elizabeth, a Military Spouse, sits on The Blue Star Families Advisory Council, The Military Spouse Corporate Career Network Advisory Council, and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council. She chairs the state of Virginia Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Previously, Elizabeth served in significant leadership roles as a Senior Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes and as Chairwoman for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs, the first Military Spouse named to the role. Prior to joining the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, O’Brien spent over a decade coaching college women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Hofstra University, and The University of Hawaii.

Elizabeth resides in the Washington, D.C. area with her family. On any given day, she and her family can be found competing or cheering one another on at a sporting event.

Nathan Ecelbarger Headshot Ecelbarger Family Rollover

Nathan Ecelbarger

Co-Founder & Board Member

Nathan Ecelbarger is the Co-Founder of Freedom Learning Group. Nathan is a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Adjunct Professor, former Law Enforcement Officer, and has contributed to many fields with a diversified resume of accomplishments, increasing training and education effectiveness through innovation and creativity.

Nathan and his Military Spouse founded Freedom Learning Group with a mission in mind; to not only virtually employ qualified Military Spouses and Veterans but keep them in their respective fields providing exceptional content delivery in every imaginable discipline.

Nathan finds escape in carpentry, traveling and family adventures with a calling for philanthropy. Nathan and Stacey are blessed with four amazing children.

Stacey Ecelbarger Ecelbarger Family Rollover

Stacey Ecelbarger

Co-Founder & Board Member

Stacey Ecelbarger Is the Co-Founder of Freedom Learning Group. Stacey is an accomplished Real Estate Broker with a background in Criminal Justice specializing in training, recruiting, and quality assurance. Stacey is a true entrepreneur at heart with a passion for philanthropy and serving the community.

Stacey and her Service Member founded Freedom Learning Group with a mission in mind; to not only virtually employ qualified Military Spouses and Veterans but keep them in their respective fields providing exceptional content delivery in every imaginable discipline.

Stacey was named 2020 Armed Forces Insurance US Army Garrison Stuttgart Spouse of the Year. Stacey finds freedom in writing, photography, traveling and making memories with her family. Stacey and Nathan are blessed with four beautiful children.

Ryan Craig Ryan Craig

Ryan Craig

Board Member

Ryan is a Managing Director at Achieve and University Ventures. Ryan’s commentary on where the puck is going in higher education regularly appears in the Gap Letter, Forbes, TechCrunch, Inside Higher Education, Fortune, HR Dive, and VentureBeat, among others. He is the author of A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College (Ben Bella, 2018), which describes the critical importance of last-mile training and the emergence of bootcamps, income share programs, staffing and apprenticeship models as preferred pathways to good first digital jobs and was named in the Wall Street Journal as one the Books of the Year for 2018. He is also the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), which profiles the coming shift toward competency-based education and hiring.

Previously, Ryan led the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus where he was the founding Director of Zovio (NASDAQ: ZVO), originally Bridgepoint Education, the fastest growing online university in the U.S. His prior experience in online education was at Columbia University. From 2004 to 2010, Ryan founded and built Wellspring, a national network of boarding schools and summer camps for overweight and obese children, adolescents, and young adults. He began his career at McKinsey & Co.

Ryan received bachelor’s degrees summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School.

Cassidy Leventhal Cassidy Leventhal

Cassidy Leventhal

Board Member

Cassidy Leventhal is a Vice President at Achieve and University Ventures where she was named a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education. Previously, Cassidy was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she served public and private sector clients across strategy, organization, and technology initiatives. Key experiences included developing a cost strategy for a leading education company, managing an agile development team of 10+ as a Digital Product Owner (DPO), and leading the Firm’s women’s recruiting at multiple college campuses. Cassidy received her bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Future of Learning Advisory Board

Gen. Robert B. Brown BW Gen. Robert B. Brown

Gen (Ret.) Robert B. Brown, M. Ed., MS.

Advisory Board Member

Gen (Ret) Robert B Brown, M. Ed., MS. is a proven and innovative leader with distinguished experience at the highest levels of the military. Gen (Ret) Brown has been announced as the next President and CEO of the Association of the U.S. Army. Well known for building trust in organizations, he is an authentic leader and team builder with impeccable integrity and broad experience in the operational, strategic, and educational areas of the military, including a role as the Commanding General of US Army Combined Arms Center Home of Command and General Staff and School of Advanced Military Studies. His Army career took him to over 28 countries where he held diverse assignments, including deployments in support of: Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti; Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia-Herzegovina and two combat deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom. In his last assignment, Gen (Ret) Brown was responsible for the largest service component command, the U.S. Army, Pacific. Gen (Ret) Brown retired in October 2019 after over 38 years of dedicated service to the Nation.

Lakesha Cole Lakesha Cole

Lakesha Cole

Advisory Board Member

Lakesha Cole is the Owner of she PR, Milspo Media. With over 12 years of experience in communications and public relations, Ms. Cole is a highly regarded communications and media expert having been featured by the Today Show, PBS, NBC News, PBS, CBS This Morning, Fox & Friends, Bustle, Black Enterprise, Military Families Magazine, Military Spouse, and Military.com. Ms. Cole founded she PR at the intersection of her advocacy efforts, media expertise, and new life as a retired Marine spouse. In addition, her business portfolio includes advocating for the military community and shedding light on the many challenges that Military families face, most notably Military Spouse employment.

Angela Jackson Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson, Ph.D.

Advisory Board Member

Angela Jackson, Ph.D. leads New Profit’s Future of Work Initiative, which seeks to close the career-readiness gap for Americans from low-income backgrounds. Her passion and background lie in answering the question: if multinational companies can deliver their products consistently and with quality at scale, what would it take to deliver social interventions like education and health in a similar manner? She began to tackle this question by founding Global Language Project, a social venture aimed at how we prepare students with skills to succeed in a global economy and workforce. Dr. Jackson’s work and writing has been featured in CNN, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Stanford Social Innovation Review and Harvard Business Review.

Ann Thomas Johnston Ann Thomas Johnston

Ann Thomas (AT) Johnston

Advisory Board Member

Ann Thomas Griffin (A.T.) Johnston is the Former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Ms. Johnston is an experienced senior government official with twenty-five plus years of service at the highest levels in two federal agencies, Congress and the White House. Ms. Johnston was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for MPFC, which included the MSEP portfolio. She is an inclusive, mission-driven leader who demonstrates a heart for supporting people and organizations in service to others. In addition, she is passionate about growing the next generation of leaders.

John Lowry John Lowry

John Lowry, MBA

Advisory Board Member

John Lowry, MBA is a member of Egon Zehnder’s Industrial Practice, with more than 15 years of experience in the industrial sector. He led the firm’s U.S. Supply Chain and Operations Practice in Chicago until taking a leave of absence to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment. The U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment with unanimous consent. Under Mr. Lowry’s leadership, veteran employment improved significantly relative to the non-veteran cohort.

Joe May Joe May

Joe D. May, Ed.D.

Advisory Board Member

Joe D. May, Ed.D. serves as Chancellor of Dallas College. He brings a strong commitment to improving the Dallas economy and growing regional jobs. Under his leadership, the College is taking responsibility for many of the community’s most challenging issues, including regional workforce needs, growth of minority-owned businesses, the negative impacts of income disparity, and providing opportunity equality. As a community leader and educator, Dr. May strongly believes in collaborative efforts and has worked closely with public school districts, sponsored charter schools, career academies, early college high schools, and P-TECH high schools.

Marcia Nuffer Marcia Nuffer

Marcia Nuffer, MBA

Advisory Board Member

Marcia Nuffer, MBA is a global leadership and talent executive, who brings a deep knowledge of learning and development, a strategic business and people perspective, and direct operating experience. Ms. Nuffer started her career as a strategy consultant at McKinsey & Company. In 2003, she became McKinsey’s Global Chief Learning Officer. Today, Ms. Nuffer is the founder of BlueShor; a company focused on accelerating capability building of managers in fast-growth organizations providing individualized, relevant, on-the-job skill-building.

Freedom Learning Group Team