Board of Directors
Brent Johnson has over 15 years of experience in the shipping industry and holds an MBA from Eastern Michigan University. Brent conceptualized Giving Songs after learning how few resources are available to parents with children like his son, Jack. Brent was fortunate to have been raised in a small town outside of Detroit, where he approached lifelong friends to assist in the launch of the foundation. Brent considers it a true blessing to combine music, friends, family, and community in a positive way that provides resources to an under-serviced group of children. He enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, and volunteering for Giving Songs.
Jaime Johnson grew up in Northville, Michigan. She graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science and is a Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist at Beaumont Hospital. She has been married to Brent Johnson for ten years and they have two children, Jack and Ava. When Jack was born he passed his newborn screening tests with flying colors. It wasn’t until he was two months of age that they noticed he was having seizures and realized that he wasn’t tracking with his eyes. It took 6 years of doctors’ appointments and extensive testing to learn that Jack is the first to be diagnosed with his rare disorder, an amino acid substitution on gene TUBB3. Jack is legally blind, has cerebral palsy, microcephaly, dysgenesis of the corpus callosum and is severely developmentally delayed. Ava is a typical five-year old who keeps them on their toes. Jaime and Brent continue to survive this journey with the help from family and friends. They started Giving Songs to provide support to other families like theirs.
Jim O’Doherty is an attorney for Masco Corporation and lives in Plymouth, Michigan. Jim is a graduate of the University of Michigan and of Duke University School of Law. When not spending time second-guessing Brad Ausmus, Jim enjoys going to more concerts than a man his age should be attending. As a lifelong friend of Giving Songs’ President, Brent Johnson, Jim is excited to be involved in helping families like the Johnsons and Jim looks forward to many more years working with Giving Songs.
Megan Spillane is an advertising and marketing professional located in New York City. She has spent 15 years in the advertising business including copywriting, planning, strategy and media sales across the digital, television and mobile industries. She currently works in advertising partnerships at Flipboard, after nearly four years in mobile media at Apple. She has a passion for connecting brands with the right audience to make an impact in the cluttered media landscape. Megan holds a B.A. in Organizational Studies from The University of Michigan and is a passionate Wolverine fan! Outside of the office she likes to travel – exploring everything from new countries to new neighborhood restaurants and cocktail bar gems in NYC. When she’s not hitting the road, she enjoys seeing live music, sporting events, reading and volunteering. Megan initially joined the board of Giving Songs to support her close friends, Jaime and Brent Johnson. After helping one family improve their daily life, she is hooked on giving.
Matthew Dennis Swindall lives in Dearborn Heights Michigan with his wife Stephanie and their two children Cade and Cescily. Matt graduated from Lawrence Technological University with honors in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree. Matt has been employed with UPS for over 20 years with management experience over 15 years. While at UPS Matt has held various operations management assignments, currently Matt has the position of Health and Safety for the Central Division within the Metro Detroit Area. Also while at UPS Matt has been a leadership giver to the United Way for over 15 years. When not working Matt likes to spend time with family and friends and enjoys spending time with his children’s activities in tee ball, baseball, and Cub Scouts.
Chris Vanderveen is the Vice President of Giving Songs. He is a Certified Safe Quality Foods Practitioner who is currently working in the snack-food manufacturing industry. Chris lives in Plymouth, Michigan with his wife Jenn and their two sons, Elliot and Keaton. Chris is a long-time friend of Giving Songs’ President Brent Johnson and he is enthusiastic about helping Giving Songs in its mission to assist families in need.
Craig Akers is a senior financial analyst at Con-way Freight’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. Craig is the newest board member joining in the fall of 2013 and is supporting the financial accounting and reporting of Giving Songs. Craig has a BS from Cornerstone University in Management Economics and an MBA from Grand Valley State University. Craig and wife Danielle are eager supporters of Giving Songs and enjoy seeing how music can be utilized to speak to both families in need and to our community of supporters.
Lawrence Thurman joined the board of Giving Songs in February of 2016, assuming the role of Treasurer. Lawrence was drawn to Giving Songs not just for its noble purpose of helping the families of blind, multi-disabled children, but also for the genius of its operating model that supports and fosters the development of musicians while leveraging their talents and desire to give back and drive fundraising efforts. This hyper-efficient model allows everyone involved – artists, donors, volunteers, and supported families – to derive significant benefits from the organization, and it is in keeping with Lawrence’s own philosophy regarding the need for charitable organizations to be both sustainable and efficient. Lawrence organized his own company, Charity Cleaning, a maid service serving the Detroit suburbs, to follow this philosophy by building a commitment to give back to the community and local charities into the business model. He is thrilled to work with a charity like Giving Songs with a similar vision for how philanthropy can operate. Before leading Charity Cleaning, Lawrence spent fifteen years as a strategy consultant. He holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Oklahoma. Lawrence lives in Novi, MI, with his wife, Punita, and three children.