Archive for category: Press


Veterans Service Organizations and The Media

Alex Mack and Mark Brenner at LA Metro Event
Alex Mack and Mark Brenner at LA Metro Event

For the past 30 months I have worked in the non-profit Veterans arena as Founder and CEO of Veterans Career Xchange (formerly Silhouettes for VETS). I have met numerous people and partnered with organizations that do an excellent job of working with Veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life. I have become part of many committees that assist those Veterans in need of civilian employment – we not only assist these Veterans but guide them toward a career.

In these 30 months I have watched and read as the Media all but trashes Veteran non-profits because of those few organizations that take advantage of our transitioning Veterans for their own financial gain – they have become the “man bites dog” lead headline for the media. Yet the real stories of Veteran Service Organizations are those of us who are making a difference – but still no recognition or media headlines!

Over the past year, there have been media reports about Veteran non-profits organizations spending up to 50% of the funds that are donated on their overhead which includes: parties, lavish organizational meeting, salaries, and other unnecessary cost that do not help our Veterans. Some of these organizations raised hundred of million of dollars only to see the donations used not for Veterans but for their own self gain. I have seen politicians tout the accomplishments of Veterans organizations only to find out that these organizations are not actually non-profits who are helping Veterans or in some cases are not even approved non-profit organizations!

Unfortunately these are the stories that make news! The few non-profit organizations that take advantage of transitioning Veterans have made all of us who are committed to seeing the unemployment rate for Veterans decrease, eliminate homelessness, and address the substance abuse and PTSD issues look like we are doing this to make money off of our donors.

Perhaps the Media should seek out those Veterans Organizations who are making a difference for our Veterans and who spend the majority of the funds raised to help Veterans.

To every media outlet that has reported on these few Veterans non-profits who take advantage of Veterans I ask you to take a deeper look! Those of us who are helping and assisting Veterans as they transition to the civilian workforce, who become homeless and have substance abuse or PTSD issues, are doing this work with limited funding and just a simple commitment to assist our returning heroes.

Veterans Career Xchange is an organization that is dedicated to educating, coaching and preparing Veterans for the civilian workforce. Our experience coupled with our commitment to putting a Veteran into a civilian career is unmatched when compared to other Veteran Service Organizations. In 30 months we have placed over 80% of the Veterans we have coached! We have been able to retain an astounding percentage of over 82% of those Veterans placed in career positions.

So to all the broadcast media, print media and Internet bloggers who have reported on those Veteran organizations who are taking advantage of our Veterans, I challenge you to take a look at Veteran non-profit organizations that are making a difference by working to decrease Veteran unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse or PTSD issues!

The Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative by USC (Center for Innovative Research for Veterans and military families) is an initiative that addresses Veterans issues – employment, housing, legal, faith based and substance abuse and PTSD. A scheduled monthly meeting discusses the issues and the solutions for transitioning Veterans with Veteran Service Organizations. It is time that recognition is given to initiatives that take pride in addressing the plight of our transitioning Veterans and the companies that make up the support for our transitioning Veterans, like Veterans Career Xchange.

Perhaps you, the media, could for once not just consider the headline – instead address the real story! Organizations like Veterans Career Xchange are making a difference by putting our transitioning Veterans to work in a civilian career! Please visit our Website at:


Listen to VCX Mark Brenner on LA Talk Radio

On June 22nd, CEO and Founder of VCX Mark Brenner was a guest Christina Silva’s Show on LA Talk Radio, the topic was “Educating Our Veterans”.


Click to listen to the show here

Christina Silva — The career path is made more seamless with the Veterans Career XChange one-on-one coaching and ten step program implemented by Mark Brenner and the team of professional coaches at  Find out more about the ten key components necessary to find the right position and the commensurate salary as you transition out of military uniform into corporate professionalism.  Be encouraged by resume writing skills, networking strategies and an all new strategy of  improvisation role playing necessary to earn the interview. Understand the workforce and learn how to use social media to Get a Job!  Also maintain an active lifestyle, family time and Remember Everyone Deployed. Each week we remember each service member  in our sports entertainment segment entitled: “R.E.D. Balls” by CRS with co-host Larry “The Sand Man”. Congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers historic NBA Finals Championship 2016. #BEESAFE




I take great pride in announcing that Silhouettes for VETS is changing our name!

After many months of research and surveys with our Board of Directors and other Veteran organizations we have taken the first step in scaling our operations by changing our name to: VETERANS CAREER XCHANGE.


During our first two years it has become evident that there were some issues with our previous Brand name – Silhouettes for VETS. It was obvious that it is just too hard to spell but more importantly we saw that the brand did not effectively communicate the essence of who we are and what our mission is. It became obvious that it did not communicate to Veterans the quality coaching and educating service the organization could provide to them.

We wanted to distinguish ourselves from other Veteran Service Organization and preclude words or expressions that have, in some circles, been overused! Words like Heroes or Warriors were disqualified. We also did not want our unique services to be confused with other organizations that are also doing great work. Veterans Career Xchange, first suggested by Alex Mack, Executive Director, was the one name that stood out.

Transitioning military personnel who have been familiar with the Post Exchange (PX) or the Base Exchange (BX) can now work with the great coaches of the Career Xchange (CX)!

We are not just working to put Veterans in jobs! We are coaching and preparing each Veteran for a career position in the civilian workforce.

To that end we have also changed the descriptor for our core program from “GET YOUR JOB” to, “Xchanging a Military Uniform for a Civilian Career”. Our unique and customized model of educating, coaching and preparing Veterans for the workforce remains the same. Our other Programs (Veterans Improv and our Woman’s Veteran Program – WANTED) remain the same.

General Ruth Wong (Ret) Director Military and Veterans Affairs – County of Los Angeles and Mark Brenner

We are excited about our new Branding and how it will reach and impact the Veteran community. Our Programs depend upon you – our supporters! Our analysis has revealed that our cost to put a Veteran to work is right around $1000.00. Just imagine what $1000.00 can do? A Veteran working at or above a living wage decreases homelessness, decreases the amount of assistance they receive from the Government, decreases the suicide rate among Veterans, increases the taxes for both the State and Federal government and stimulates our consumer based economy by injecting spendable dollars.

We are asking for your continued support by making a donation (donations start at $5.00). Just as the presidential candidates receive millions of dollars through small donations, imagine if the Veteran Career Xchange could received just $20.00 from 50,000 supporters? That would put over 1250 veterans to work generating over 60 million dollars of spendable income for the economy. Donations to the Veteran Career Xchange are crucial to the goal of expansion throughout the United States and would enable the Veteran Career Xchange to all but eliminate Veteran unemployment.

Our mailing address and phone number will remain the same however our email and website will reflect our new name:


Veterans Career Xchange


Mark Brenner



Alex Mack



Thank you everyone for your support!


2015 in Review…

It has been a while since my last Blog and I wanted to update all of our supporters about all the great work we accomplished in 2015.

We have completed two years of working with Veterans throughout Southern CA. In twenty-four months we have coached and prepared over 200 Veterans for the civilian workforce. Our placement percentage of the Veterans we have coached is over 80%! In 2015 we coached 140 Veterans and placed 114 Veterans into positions that are at or above a living wage with an average annual salary of close to $50,000.

The results have been rewarding and far above those of other Veteran Service Organization. Our percentage of placement coupled with a retention rate of Veterans in new positions for over 6 months has exceeded our goals. The work of our Executive Director, Alex Mack a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, our staff of Volunteers has allowed us to achieve our goals.

The Veterans we have worked with are working across all industries from aerospace, to entertainment to technology companies. Our 10-Component Program has shown that it works and we will continue to improve our process. Our Veteran Improv Program has been developed and we are undertaking a Pilot Program with the assistance of USC (CIR). Once completed, we are sure that this program will become an industry standard for interview preparation.

Over the course of 2015 we have added three key members to our Board of Directors. Sal Esparza, PhD and assistant Director of the Center of Health and Wellbeing for CSUN, Lisa Phalen a nationally recognized coach and motivational speaker and Mary Gomez, a senior executive and Human Resources expert. We welcome our new Members and are confident that together with the rest of our Board we can become the Premier Veterans coaching organization in the nation.

Due to other commitments two Board Members, Marvin Rapaport and Nancy Butler has decided to step down as Board Members. We wish them both well in their endeavors.

We are pleased to announce that we have received Grants from both The United Way and The MVAT Foundation. We have currently submitted 7 other Grants for consideration. Further we have received donations from over 100 individuals who have been generous and supportive.

And finally we are in the process of migrating to a new Brand… Silhouettes for VETS will be changing it name in the course of the next few weeks to “Veteran’s Career Xchange” – I am sure you all remember the Post Exchange (PX) or the Base Exchange (BX)? Well now every Veteran will have access to the Career Xchange (CX). I will be notifying everyone once the new name is official and the new Website in up and running. Of course we will soon have a new Facebook page and Twitter handle

For 2016 we have developed our goals and results that will further benefit and impact the Veteran unemployment rate. I will be sending out Blog each week to give you updates and our results.

Thank you all for your support. In order to impact today’s unemployed Veterans we still need your help. Based upon our analysis for every $1000.00 received in donations we can put a Veteran’s to work! Think about it. That a Veteran going to work for just $1000.00 decreases State and Federal assistance, adds dollars to the economy and improves to the health and well being our Veterans! Our donations start at $5.00 – please help us help our Veterans…

I will look forward to hearing your comments and receiving your donations.



sfv_portrait_mark_brenner-1In the past 18 months Silhouettes for VETS has become a driving force in working with Veterans as they search for a job. Our Programs that educates, coaches and prepares Veterans for the workforce has resulted in an 80% success rate – 80% of the Veterans we have coached have gained an understanding of the hiring cycle and been offered employment. Not just a job but also a career as each of the Veterans who have completed our 10-Component Program is working in a position that is at or above a living wage.

Recently, Silhouettes for VETS has been featured in an interview on LATalkLive and received mention in a segment with one of our partners, Makeovers that Matter, on KTLA

And that is just the start for we are developing the outline for a one-hour radio call-in talk show that will feature Silhouettes for VETS, REBOOT and Makeovers that Matter. We all agree that it is time that we create a positive media image for Veterans who transitioning and are getting “job ready” – preparing each Veteran in every way for the workforce. Move to follow on our progress.

As I mentioned in a previous Blog, the synergy created by the partnership of REBOOT, Silhouettes for VETS and Makeovers that Matter is the entire package for Veterans who are transitioning from the military. This collaboration covers every aspect of transitioning Veterans so once the Programs are completed each Veteran will be “job ready”!

Silhouettes for VETS has also made some very important additions to our Board of Directors. In recent months we have added 7 new members who will be instrumental in our successes in the coming months. Along with our current members, Mark Brenner, Dennis Forst and Marvin Rapaport, MD, I am proud to welcome the following new Board Members:

  1. Anthony Cuculo, Major General (Ret)
  2. Stuart Gross, Retired TV Producer and M&A and Branding Expert
  3. Maurice Wilson, President of NVTSI (REBOOT)
  4. Melissa Metz, Director of Human Resources for Exelis Inc.
  5. Kelly Logan, Executive Director of Silhouettes for VETS
  6. Nancy Butler, Fundraising Expert
  7. Sari Drucker, Business Woman and Owner

A Board meeting with all our Directors will be held on Friday June 19, 2015 at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall at 9 am.

Silhouettes for VETS has been asked by The Chamber of Commerce – Hire our Hero’s Program to present our 10 Component Program to three military installations throughout the United States. We are excited for this opportunity to work with more Veterans as they transition to civilian life.

Stay tuned as we are producing a series of Videos that will run our Website and Facebook pages. These Videos will include testimonials from a few of our Veterans along with an introduction to our programs.

We have come a long way in a very short period of time – and this is just the beginning. Once fully funded, Silhouettes for VETS will be expanding throughout California so we can have a greater impact on decreasing Veteran unemployment…One Veteran at a time.

And of course, our efforts need your support. You donations will help us increase the number of Veterans we serve and expand our coaching capabilities. Donations start at $25.00. Thank you for your support





SYNERGY – Silhouettes for VETS, REBOOT and Makeovers that Matter!


There are thousands of organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, that support our Veterans. In fact there are over 44,000 non-profit organizations that in some way or another work with Veteran related causes. Of these thousands a great many work with Veterans as they transition from the military to civilian life from adjustment to life outside the military to identifying a similarity between a military occupation and a civilian job, workshops that discuss all aspects of this sometimes difficult transition. Organizations like Silhouettes for VETS coach and prepare Veterans for the workforce. And finally there are organizations like Makeovers that Matter that physically prepare these Veterans for civilian life.

I am proud to announce that a Partnership has been formed that will cover the facets of the transition of Veterans to civilian life. Silhouettes for VETS, National Veterans Transition Services (REBOOT) and Makeovers that Matter have joined forces to make available a “transition collaboration” that prepares Veterans for civilian life both mentally and physically:

REBOOT: National Veterans Transition Services, Inc., lead by Maurice Wilson, (US Navy Ret.) prepares Veterans for their Transition to civilian life through a 3-week workshop that reintegrates our Veterans and prepares them for life outside the military.

SILHOUETTES FOR VETS: A premier customize coaching organization, lead by Mark Brenner (Vietnam Veteran and Career Coach) that educates, coaches and prepares Veterans for the workforce. Each program is customized to the needs of each Veteran.

MAKEOVERS THAT MATTER: Lead by one of Los Angeles’ leading stylists Makeover that Matter (MJ Derricott) works with both Female and Male Veterans to assist in making the outside appearance of each Veteran look as good as the inside. Makeover that Matter further takes the final step in the transition by hosting a 9- week, 36-hour program called The Mind Set Program.

It is the goal of our organizations to prepare transitioning Veterans for both civilian life and the workforce. By combining our specific areas of expertise we will be a major factor in eliminating the issues that face our Veterans as they prepare for civilian life. We all have taken our responsibilities to our Veterans a step further by establishing partnerships with other organizations that work to eliminate Veteran homelessness, mental health and substance related issues.

With thousands of organizations who dedicate themselves to working with Veterans, the collaboration of REBOOT, Silhouettes for VETS and Makeovers that Matter stands out as a one of a kind working relationship that not only acts to prepares Veterans for civilian life but is effective in getting the job done.

Please make sure you visit our Websites at:

Our mutual goal is to ensure that all Veterans have the tools necessary to transparently transition from military to civilian life. By combining our areas of specific expertise we can meet our goals.


Thank you for your service

It has been over 4 decades since I returned from Vietnam. Over 40 Veteran Day’s have past and now I find myself honored by each and every Veteran who has served our Country.

The work of Silhouettes for VETS over the past year has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Though our unique Coaching Program we have helped over 75 Veterans find gainful employment.

As we continue our efforts in educating and coaching veterans and their families in gaining an understanding of how to…”GET A JOB” Silhouettes for VETS will have a dramatic impact in decreasing veteran unemployment throughout the United States.

Silhouettes for VETS is honored to have created partnership with all the organizations that support our Veterans. My thank you to the LA Mayors Office, The Salvation Army, EDD, US Vets and Volunteers of America as your support and efforts has made a difference.


Edward James Olmos (pictured) with Silhouettes For Vets Mark Brenner

I would also like to thank the companies who have created Veterans hiring initiatives as your organizations hold the keys to offering veterans a career.
For those who individuals support our veterans like Edward James Olmos (pictured), Gary Sinise, James Caan and many others thank you for your continued support.

So to all Veterans from every era – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!


Silhouettes for VETS has been approved!

Silhouettes for VETS has been approved by the IRS as a Tax Exempt Nonprofit 501 (c) (3) Corporation.

The approval allows Silhouettes for VETS to solicit and accept your donations in order that we can better service the Veteran community both in Los Angeles and throughout the United States.

Over the course of the past year Silhouettes for VETS has experienced growth and most importantly success beyond our expectations.  The results are astounding, as our work with over 60 Veterans has resulted in a 75% success rate as Veterans are finding gainful employment.

With the recent addition of Kelly Logan as Silhouettes for VETS Vice President of Operations and Ann Henzgen, Volunteer Coach we can now service more Veterans throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan region.

Silhouettes for VETS has gained national recognition as one of the premier Coaching services for Veterans.  Our one on one customized 10 Module Coaching Program is a one of a kind model that empowers each Veteran to find their “Dream Job”

Your donation will allow us to increase the number of Veterans that we service.  Deceasing the Veteran unemployment rate “…one Veteran at a time”

Please help us by making a donation by clicking the link below.  Or you may send a Personal or Business Check to:

Please help us by making a donation by clicking the link below.


Or you may send a Personal or Business Check to:

Silhouettes for VETS
17412 Ventura Blvd., Suite 218
Encino, CA 91316 Thank you for your support!


Silhouettes For Vets in Las Vegas Review Journal


Mark Brenner, president and CEO of Silhouettes for VETS Inc., discusses the importance of eradicating misconceptions about PTSD with Kelly Logan, director, Veterans Advocacy Network, Santa Clarita, Calif. Brenner’s West Hills, Calif., organization offers a free program that empowers veterans from transition until they settle into the civilian workplace.

Syndicated Columnist Milred Culp, PhD for the Knoxville New Sentinel, has written an article that appears in the Las Vegas Review Journal (September 15, 2014) that highlights and discusses the great work being done by Silhouettes for VETS. Silhouettes for VETS works with transitioning Veterans as they search for gainful employment by coaching each Veteran in one on one customized sessions so that they can gain a complete understanding of the hiring cycle – in other words “…how to get a job…

To read the entire article online go to Las Vegas Review Journal Click here


Charter College Veterans Day Event

On August 21, 2014 Charter College held a Veterans Day Event at Robinson Ranch Golf Course, Santa Clarity, CA.

The purpose of the event was to bring together Companies with Veteran hiring initiatives, Veteran Services companies and of course our Veterans. Over 50 companies and non-profit service organizations attended this very successful event.

IMG950445_smSilhouettes for VETS was honored to be asked to give a presentation to Veterans who are searching for gainful employment. Along with Kelly Logan, Business Development Manager for Volunteers of America , we presented an overview of all steps required in preparing for the workforce. There were 100’s of Veterans present at the event who are looking for their first position or a new job.

Mina Creswell of Charter College and Mark Brenner

Although there was no golf that day the day was an unparalleled success. The feedback I received from the Veterans was complimentary and shows the necessity of all of us working to make sure that our Veterans not only transition from Military to Civilian life but that they have the guidance of companies to ensure that they find gainful employment (Companies like Silhouettes for VETS).

charter_certThere many events that take place almost weekly throughout the Greater Los Angeles area that support Veterans as they search for a position. Silhouettes for VETS has been a part of many of these Career events knowing that we are make a difference – having Veterans find a career…one Veterans at a time.