Board of Directors

erik therwangererik therwanger

Erik Therwanger, President

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Erik enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served our nation from 1987-1991. After being honorably discharged, Erik attended Orange Coast College and the University of Southern California with the dreams of becoming a filmmaker. Life had different plans and Erik left the entertainment industry to be his wife’s caregiver during her first bout with cancer.

After four years in the financial services industry, Erik returned to the entertainment industry and worked his way from entry level scheduler to vice president as he helped the company develop a leadership team, sales system, and a plan that would elevate their results to over 300% sales growth. He founded Think GREAT in 2008 and draws from his experiences as a U.S. Marine, executive business leader, sales professional, and entrepreneur to help organizations achieve new levels of success. He now delivers dynamic keynote speeches and presentations, based on the contents of his book series, The Think GREAT Collection.

Erik has provided motivational and inspirational training sessions and workshops for the spouses of the United States Marines Corps and the Air National Guard through their Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program. Erik has long-held the desire to create a foundation that allowed him to achieve his desire to “enrich the lives of military families.” The Think GREAT Foundation is the culmination of years of working with military families and understanding their unique challenges and needs.

Erik now lives in Minnesota with his family.

Gina TherwangerGina Therwanger

Gina Therwanger, Secretary

Born and raised in Southern California, Gina began working at the age of 16 after her father (a Marine Corps veteran)passed away. Her early experiences range from working alongside attorneys, estate planners, and financial services representatives. In 2005, Gina helped to run the accounting department of a media company in Southern California. For four years, she fulfilled the role of Accounting Supervisor and enhanced workflows, worked directly with top-tier clients, and collaborated with leaders throughout the entire company to increase margins.

Gina met Erik in 1995, and would eventually marry him in October of 1998. Just ten months into their marriage, Gina was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She has also survived three other bouts with cancer and an incident of cardiac arrest.

In 2008, Gina and Erik co-founded Think GREAT, to share their inspirational message and powerful business concepts with others. In 2011, Gina and Erik relocated to Minnesota to be closer to family.

Nancy Peterson, Treasurer

Nancy Peterson is the owner of Display Sales Company since 1999. Nancy has worked in all aspects of the company’s business operations and has been instrumental in accomplishing sales growth and updating the company’s long-term strategy. Display Sales is a certified women owned business that delivers custom imprinted banners, flags, promotional and event products to help personalize and convey customers brand messages. Prior to Display Sales, she has experience in the printing and banking industries.

Nancy holds a BA in accounting and her Executive MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

She is a member of Small Business Owners advisory group, CEO Roundtable Advisory Group, Leadership Link Roundtable, and the current President of the Alumni Board of Directors at the University of St. Thomas.

Nancy holds a black belt in Taekwondo and is a 200 hour RYT certified yoga instructor.

Douglas J. Wortham, MNNG Liaison

Command Sergeant Major Wortham assumed duties as the Minnesota National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor on August 21, 2014 and is responsible for overseeing the activities of nearly 13,000 citizen Soldiers and Airmen serving in 63 communities statewide.

As the Senior Enlisted Advisor, Command Sergeant Major Wortham is responsible for managing the military aspects of all full-time and traditional National Guard members. He serves as the primary advisor and spokesperson regarding issues related to the analysis and enforcement of established policies and standards for enlisted personnel. His oversight has particular emphasis on readiness, morale, welfare, discipline, performance, training, awards and recognition, recruiting, equal opportunity, promotion, assignment and reassignment and administrative needs. He will interact routinely with the Air and Army National Guard by performing frequent year-round visits for the purpose of observing units and activities of the Minnesota National Guard.

Command Sergeant Major Wortham is a native of Minnesota. On December 30, 1987, he enlisted in the Minnesota Army National Guard to serve as a Military Police Officer in the 257th Military Police Company.

During his more than 30-year career, Command Sergeant Major Wortham has served in a wide variety of leadership roles. He most recently served as the Command Sergeant Major for the Recruiting and Retention “Raptor” Battalion. Other senior leadership assignments include Command Sergeant Major for the 175th Regiment (Regional Training Institute), Command Sergeant Major for the 34th Infantry Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, First Sergeant for the 851st Vertical Engineer Company and First Sergeant for Joint Force Headquarters. In addition to serving as the Recruiting and Retention Command Sergeant Major, other AGR (Active Guard and Reserve) assignments include J3 Operations Sergeant Major, G3 Operations Sergeant Major, State IDT Manager, State Ammunition Manager, Battalion Operations NCO, Unit Readiness NCO and Recruiting and Retention NCO.

Command Sergeant Major Wortham has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Desert Shield/Storm. He has also served on several overseas deployments for training missions including Egypt, Korea, Norway, Honduras, and Panama.

Command Sergeant Major Wortham’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC), Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (6th Award), Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (1 OLC), National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Southwest Asia Service Medal (2 Campaign Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (1 Campaign Star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (Silver Hourglass and 2 “M” Devices), NCO Professional Development Military Ribbon (4th Award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd Award), Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbon (Numeral 6), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army National Guard Master Recruiter Badge, and Career Counselor Badge.

Command Sergeant Major Wortham and his wife Lori reside in Elko, MN. They have two children, daughter Kelley and son Brandon.

Jeff Gonsales

One of the original sales and marketing executives hired by the NBA Expansion team, Minnesota Timberwolves in June of 1988. Started career in Radio in 1996 for WCCO-AM, selling integrated sports sponsorships around the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and University of Minnesota sports. Became the Regional Director of Business Development for Chancellor Media, which today is iHeart Media. Was hired by Hubbard Radio in 2003 to lead the sales efforts for KSTP-FM/KS95. In May of 2010, was promoted to Direct of Sales for Hubbard Radio Twin Cities. As such, I lead a team of 30+ people to achieve topline revenue goals by creating an integrated campaign to grow our clients’ bottom line.

I am a 1988 graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. I reside in East Bethel, MN with my wife, Kim. We have 3 daughters, Jennifer, Claire and Lydia.

Sahar Ismail

Sahar is the Co-founder / CEO LegacyArmour.com and has a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and a master’s Degree in Security Technology from the University of Minnesota. She is multi-lingual and has worked for Multiple fortune 50 companies throughout her career such as Microsoft & United Health Group. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she was the enterprise architect of a global, online university that provides advanced degrees to thousands of students worldwide. Sahar is the co-founder, CEO, and driving force behind LegacyArmour; a life planning and asset protection platform with offices in the US & Europe.

Michael Lester

Michael is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a decorated U.S. Marine Corps pilot and an IT and leadership instructor at the Naval Academy. He is currently the CISO for a multinational software development company and the co-founder and chairman of the board of LegacyArmour, a security and privacy protection and assurance firm that has offices both in the U.S. and in Europe. He is a member of MENSA, holds Bachelor’s degrees in History and Electrical Engineering, a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, and an MBA with emphasis in Leadership Development. He is a Certified Information Privacy Professional for both the U.S. and Europe (CIPP/US, CIPP/E), a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association in the Midwest and is on the Advisory Committee for the University of South Florida Cybersecurity Executive Program. Michael speaks frequently throughout the country on topics of both security and privacy.

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