Veteran Benefits Guide Expands Executive Leadership Team to Serve America’s Veterans

U.S. Army Veteran Donato Clay appointed Chief Operating Officer, and co-Founder and military spouse Lauren Smith named to the newly created role of Chief Culture Officer.


LAS VEGAS, NV (July 6, 2023) – Veteran Benefits Guide (VBG), which helps guide veterans across the U.S. with navigating the Veterans Administration’s (VA) disability compensation benefits process, today announced the appointment of two new executive roles that will help to drive the company’s long-term growth strategy and overall mission of supporting America’s military Veterans.

Donato Clay, a U.S. Army Veteran, has been named the company’s new Chief Operating Officer (COO). Clay joins VBG from Ethos Veterinary Health, where he was the Director of Divisional Operations. He brings over 13 years of experience in operational management, finance and law to fuel VBG’s strategic growth plan and enhance business performance. In addition to his many years of experience in the private sector, Clay served in the U.S. Army as the lead Human Rights and Rule of Law attorney and military adviser based in Kandahar, Afghanistan and practiced as a senior trial defense attorney, Reservist Judge Advocate Major in the Army National Guard. Donato holds a law degree from Southwestern Law School, a Master’s in Public Health from UCLA, an MBA from Yale University School of Management and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies from Whittier College.

Lauren Smith, who co-founded VBG with her husband, Josh, will transition from her current role as COO to the newly created position of Chief Culture Officer (CCO). In this role, Lauren will be responsible for all strategy related to employee performance, developing and implementing strategy for culture management, and leading the organization’s efforts to create a culture that supports its purpose, mission, and values.

“We are thrilled to have Donato and Lauren’s expertise as part of VBG’s executive leadership team,” said Josh Smith, Founder and CEO of Veteran Benefits Guide. “Their roles will be central to the work we are doing to advance the company’s long-term growth and our services to support the Veteran community.”

“As a Veteran, I know first-hand how important VBG’s services are to ensuring that Veterans receive the full disability benefits they have earned,” said Clay. “It is a privilege to join such a talented team to carry out the company’s core mission.”

“VBG was founded with the goal of helping Veterans and their families, and our services could not be provided without the commitment of employees,” said Lauren Smith. “I am excited to step into this new role that allows me to be a champion for them.”

Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, with an additional office in San Diego, California, VBG’s workforce has grown to about 200 employees since it was founded in 2015. VBG’s expertise has enabled the company to help more than 35,000 veterans nationally receive an average increase in annual benefits of$15,000 -- benefits they likely would not have received without VBG’s support.

About Veteran Benefits Guide

Veteran Benefits Guide (VBG) enables Veterans to receive the full disability benefits they have earned from their service in a timely manner. Since its founding in 2015, VBG has helped more than 35,000 Veterans to receive a combined increase of $5.5 billion in lifetime benefits. VBG’s trusted, national network of independent and credentialled medical service providers ensures that Veterans submit fully developed, accurate claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which avoids the need for appeals, speeds up the final benefits decision and reduces the VA case backlog. VBG is based in Las Vegas, Nevada and also has offices in San Diego, California. Learn more at


Media Contacts

Lisa Kalkes, VBG


Christine Dunn, Seven Letter

T. 617.646.1044