Nelson Balido | Chairman & CEO
As Chairman and founder of the Border Council, Nelson delivers strategic management expertise and cross-sector consulting to public and private entities on matters of U.S. Border trade and security relations, communications, international public relations, marketing, Fortune 500 business leadership, politics, art and cultural affairs, entertainment, media, and government relations.
His sought-after, multicultural expertise is also frequently called upon by domestic and International media outlets, and Nelson has been featured as a commentator for Univision, TheHill.com, Fox News, and many others.
BORDER, TRADE & ENERGY:
- Nelson also chairs the Border Commerce and Security Council and is the founder of the Energy Council of the Americas, which has a mission to improve North American competitiveness by supporting public policies which increase cross-border cooperation among businesses and governments. He has led both of these councils along with their American, Canadian, and Mexican public and private sector members to become the nation’s two premier organizations for fostering cross—border relations that enhance North America’s economic health, cultural understanding, and security.
- Nelson has also been a key catalyst in improving border security and trade issues in North America by establishing effective relationships among U.S., Mexican, and Canadian diplomats and government officials.
- Nelson has also testified before Congress and is a frequent speaker at border security and trade symposiums educating the public on new trade policy and security initiatives.
- His efforts in part have enabled the passage of various legislative rule-change initiatives and major appropriations at the state and federal levels.
- Furthermore, since 2010, the United States Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce have appointed Nelson to the U.S. Department of Commerce Industry Trade Advisory Council every four years based on his expertise and success. In this capacity, he currently advises the secretaries on issues concerning trade agreements such as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA, Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and various others.
GOVERNMENTAL & EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP:
- In 2007, the secretary of Homeland Security, with a recommendation from the Whitehouse, appointed Nelson to the Department of Homeland Security Senior Advisory Council. Based on his strategic and actionable advice, Nelson received the department’s highest civilian award, the Outstanding Public Service Medal.
- Nelson later founded the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s private sector division. His efforts in creating this division, alongside his ongoing work to build strong public-private relationships, resulted in Nelson earning the Secretary’s Award for Excellence.
- In 2020, Nelson was appointed as a Special Government Employee/Consultant to the Undersecretary of Intelligence and Analysis for the Department of Homeland Security, focused on trade, travel, and security issues for U.S. land and maritime borders.
- The Governor of Texas appointed Nelson as Commissioner of the Texas Commission of the Arts and later the Texas Historical Records Advisory Board, where he developed a receptive climate for six artistic disciplines, driving an increase in grants and international cultural exchange programs while establishing Cultural Arts districts and landmark grant programs for Texas and arts industries.
- As the Chairperson of the Cultural Arts Board for the City of San Antonio, Nelson increased the number of grants by more than 60% by creating a solid marketing and execution plan.
- As a past National Alumni Board Member and Campaign Cabinet member for Texas Tech University, Nelson helped to generate more than $500 million in funding for the University. Texas Tech recognized Nelson as the first Hispanic to be awarded the Texas Tech Silver Medallion and invited Nelson to deliver the keynote address for the 2006 Commencement Ceremony.
- As a recognized political leader, Nelson has made critical contributions to bridging the gap with Hispanic voters, leading to successful Presidential and gubernatorial elections. Based on his success, Nelson has served as a Texas delegate at three national conventions.
- In addition to these roles, Nelson is currently serving his country as an active U.S. Navy Reserve Public Affairs and language officer at U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, NE.
Nelson has built a remarkable record in the private sector by leveraging his public sector experience to help companies succeed.
- After his appointment to the position of Director of Multicultural Marketing for SBC Communications / AT&T by the company’s former Chairman and CEO, Nelson built and managed a new division targeting multicultural Hispanic and international market segments. He grew the division’s revenue from $3 billion to $6 billion in one year through direct mail campaigns, introducing new wireless plans, long-distance programs, and media subscriptions services while improving Hispanic-market advertising, developing Spanish-language websites, expanding operations to more than 150 languages, and increasing brand awareness with event-driven grassroots initiatives.
- Before his work for SBC Communications, Nelson received several Small Business Administration awards, including Small Business of the Year and a Hispanic Business 500 listing as the General Manager of Southwest Entertainment, a privately held Latin American music, video, and music producer and distributor with worldwide sales.
- He also served as President and Managing Partner for two successful music production companies.
- He remains a Lifetime Voting Member for the Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards for his numerous commercially released productions.
- Nelson, born in California to Cuban immigrants, learned the value of hard work, dedication, perseverance, and education early in his life.
- His degrees and certificates include a Masters-Level Graduate Certificate in Advanced International Affairs from the Bush School of Government at Texas A&M University; a Certificate in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Houston; a Certificate in Public Affairs from Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo in Spain; a Certificate in Governmental Relations from Instituto Universitario De Investigación Ortega Y Gasset in Spain; a Certificate in Community Minority Business Advancement from McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin; and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics and Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Texas Tech University.
Sandy Brooks | Board Member
Sandy is widely acclaimed for her achievements as an inspirational leader, and organizational and technological innovator that has positively advanced our national security posture and interests. She is widely recognized and respected for developing highly effective partnerships within DOD, Interagency, coalitions, partner nations, industry, academia and private consortiums. Ms. Brooks has a long and successful history of leading highly dynamic and innovative technological change and providing the motivational and inspirational leadership that fosters a sense of urgency and passion at every level she engages. She is actively sought out by senior DOD, Intelligence and Interagency leaders for her advice and counsel.
Ms. Brooks has extensive experience in leadership positions to include almost a decade as a DOD senior civilian leader in Intelligence and a 28 year military career as a Naval Cryptologist/Information Warfare Officer that included command at senior levels. She accumulated a record of successes in progressively challenging assignments at the National, strategic, operational, and tactical levels and more recently as a private sector consultant.
Ms. Brooks was recognized nationally for her remarkable achievements as the 2010 recipient of the Service to America “Samuel J Heyman” Homeland Defense Medal. “By providing technical and intelligence support to the military, law enforcement agencies, and partner nations. She was selected from a field of 30 highly qualified candidates for her unprecedented work in enabling National authorities to better combat threats to our National security interests” In 2016, Ms. Brooks was awarded the Office Director National Intelligence coveted National Intelligence Superior Service Medal for “contributions to the National Intelligence Community; distinguishing herself through meritorious actions to the betterment of national security in the United States of America, through sustained and selfless service of the highest order.”
Her military and civilian accomplishments illustrate highly effective motivational leadership and innovative “thinking” that serve this Nation well in countering the greatest challenges facing our national and global security interests.