Dave Cooper – USN SEAL (Retired)
Phil Sussman – Army SOF (Retired)
Mark Shafer – USMC
Ali Whiting – Volunteer
Melissa Love – Founder of MOSAIC
Dave Cooper – USN SEAL (Retired)
Dave Cooper was born and raised in Manheim, PA. In 1987 he earned a BS (emphasis in Molecular Biology) and entered the military that same year specifically to become a US Navy SEAL. During his 25-year career, Dave spent nearly nineteen of those at the prestigious Naval Special Warfare Development Group, conducting combat operations throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
From September 2009 to September 2011, Dave served as the Command Master Chief (the senior SEAL Operator and principal advisor to the Commanding Officer) of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. During his tenure, the Naval Special Warfare Development Group successfully executed some of the most significant Special Operations missions in the history of the U.S. Military. In a role that took him from the battlefield one minute to the interagency boardroom the next, Dave’s influence, interpersonal skills and leadership were instrumental to the unparalleled success of this elite unit.
For his distinguished service, Dave was awarded numerous unit and personal awards, to include a Silver Star, 6 Bronze Stars with “V” devices, 2 Distinguished Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Meritorious Service Medals, 4 Presidential Unit Citations and numerous other joint and individual awards. But as he proudly notes: Every medal we wear on our chests belongs in no small part to our teammates, because it’s from our teammates—and for them—that we draw our measure of courage.
After successfully selling his first company, the Karakoram Group, Dave founded Verge, a boutique coaching and consulting company whose mission blends the profound experiences and lessons learned from the special operations arena with complex systems science to form a unique brand of organizational health consulting and coaching. Dave earned his master’s degree at the University of Oxford and HEC (Paris). He is featured in the best-selling book The Culture Code along with some of the most innovative business leaders and researchers in the U.S and has consulted on organizational health initiatives with Fortune 100 and 500 clients, from major oil and gas companies to nimble startups and tech firms. He is married to the inimitable Ms. Sonia Cooper, the Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. The couple has 3 boys, ages 18, 15, and 11.
Phil Sussman – Army (Retired)
Phil’s yoga journey started on the floor of an armored military vehicle as he reeled from two soon to be discovered broken vertebrae. As an active duty Soldier, he had never considered yoga an option until he began recovery from the worst injury of his life. After two weeks immobilized, he transitioned from a walker, to a cane, and eventually running again. He rehabbed enough to attend Special Operations Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection, but still dealing with incredible physical pain and the loss of some close friends, Phil’s wife suggested yoga to assist with pain management.
He took his first yoga class in 2016 and quickly became a studio regular. For the first time in his adult life, Phil had found a powerful tool to fight back against anxiety, depression, and physical pain.
When the Army brought Phil and his family to Fort Bragg, he continued to practice and attended YTT after the workday and on weekends. He taught his first class on a remote firebase in Syria and grew into his own as a yoga teacher among an international group of Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, and civilian contractors during an intensive six month deployment. Phil recently medically retired from the Army after spending a decade on the conventional and SOF sides of the house.
Phil is a RYT 200 and the co-founder of American Yogi, a company rooted in the goal of bringing healing to the veteran community and beyond. He’s worked with MOSAIC for the past year and is truly fulfilled by bringing yoga to our tribe.
Off the mat, you can find Phil on Instagram as @liveamericanyogi or online at www.liveamericanyogi.com
Mark Shafer – Former Marine
Born in Baltimore, Mark grew up in Fort Collins, CO. Mark enlisted in the Marine Corps right out of High School. On July 29, 2002 he set foot on the yellow foot prints of Paris Island, SC. Mark was assigned to 2D Amphibious Assault Battalion, Camp Lejeune, NC, The Basic School, Quantico, VA and Amphibious Assault Schools Battalion, Camp Pendleton, CA. During his time in the Fleet Marine Force he attended many secondary schools to include Marine Combat Instructor of Water Survival and Airborne Jump School. Mark has multiple deployments to Iraq, one in which he was wounded and received a Purple Heart for his injuries. After serving 12 years, Mark now resides in his home town of Fort Collins with his family. He is pursuing a job in the Fire Service to fulfill his passion to serve his community and help others as well as continuing to assist his fellow service members as being a part of the MOSAIC team.
Ali Whiting - Volunteer
Ali grew up in San Diego, CA surfing, free diving, playing soccer, and trying to keep up with her older brother. She credits her fearless love of anything outdoors from her brother’s influence as a professional action sport athlete and supportive teammate. Ali attended Princeton University where she graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience in 2019 and competed on the women’s soccer team for four years. During her time in college, Ali recognized a deep passion to serve her country in her highest capacity. Her shift in focus has led her to explore opportunities to learn more about the military through immersive service in the civilian sector. MOSAIC has provided an especially strong foundation of mentorship, guidance, and community for Ali as she prepares to begin her military service. At MOSAIC, she values supporting and uplifting those who have served before her and brings an enthusiastic energy to guide the physical training opportunities available throughout the retreats. She is passionate about empowering others to recognize and live out their highest potential in life.
Melissa Love – Founder of MOSAIC
Melissa Love is a serial creator, executive advisor, personal development coach and mom of three. Her professional experience spans HR consulting, leadership development, nonprofit operations and wellness education.
After earning a B.A. from James Madison University, Melissa served in various HR roles for global defense consulting firms and eventually co-founded MOSAIC Institute, a strategic services firm specializing in leadership development. A few years later, she created The MOSAIC Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit that supports the professional and personal development of veterans and active duty military. With over twelve years of experience to glean from, Melissa and The MOSAIC companies continue to successfully serve the complex needs of their clients both professionally and personally.
Melissa has advised a diverse range of corporate and military clients, accumulated over 4,000 hours of lifetime meditation practice and taught over 500 wellness classes to people from all over the world. She is most interested in collaborating with people who are hungry to evolve, reach their potential and serve the greater good. The guiding principle of her work is simple – change is a good thing!