Mike Kelly, USAA and State Representative Philip Cortez

Mike leads USAA’s Military Affairs Advocacy Group, which develops and executes military advocacy strategy and initiatives empowering proactive support for the military community in alignment with USAA’s business objectives and corporate responsibility strategy. He directs collaborative engagements with key strategic military, government, non-profit and for-profit advocacy groups to ensure USAA is a leading corporate citizen serving the military community. He also manages enterprise-wide programs and projects that sustain relationships between USAA, external partners and military leaders/influencers to promote and enhance USAA’s brand and reputation. Mike most recently led the development and execution of the USAA’s Influencer Engagement strategy.

He’s been with USAA since 2003 when he established USAA’s military communications program; partnering with military media outlets and online military communities to provide financial readiness content and subject matter experts to help service members and their families make good financial decisions through all stages of their military careers.

Mike spent 25 years in the Air Force, both as a noncommissioned officer and officer, before retiring in 2002. While in the military, he served as a base newspaper editor, command newspaper consultant, installation chief of public affairs and staff officer at several major military commands in the United States and overseas. He also served as an associate professor of communications at the Defense Information School where he taught future military public affairs communicators.

Mike has a BAAS degree with an emphasis in journalism and public relations from Southwest Texas State University and a Masters degree in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. He serves as the 2017 Chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council.

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A south side San Antonio native, Representative Philip Cortez was first elected in 2012 and returned in 2016 to serve his lifelong community as State Representative for District 117. He earned his associate’s degree from Palo Alto Community College in 2000 and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2002. Representative Cortez later earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2007. He recently earned his PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Texas at Austin last December.

Prior to his position as State Representative, Representative Cortez was elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2009 to the San Antonio City Council. As Councilman, he represented District 4, focusing on the development of the district’s neighborhoods and on improvement projects citywide. He fought to improve police and fire departments, clean up parks, and modernize libraries throughout the district. Mayor Julian Castro selected Representative Cortez to serve as chairman of the Audit, Infrastructure and Growth Committees, President of the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corporation, and as a member of the Governance Committee.

Since 1999, Representative Cortez has proudly served his country in the U.S. Air Force. He served for seven years as an enlisted airman with the 433rd Airlift Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, eventually rising to Staff Sergeant. In 2006, Representative Cortez was commissioned as Second Lieutenant. Cortez was deployed to the Middle East in April 2016 for six months in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He was awarded a Commendation Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) for Outstanding Achievement during his deployment. In 2013, during the 83rd Session, Representative Cortez was named a “Top Freshman Legislator” by Capitol Insider Publication. Representative Cortez’ priorities for the 85th Session included veterans services, public schools, senior citizen care, and job creation.


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