My Featured Guests
Karalyn (Kara) Martin is a Marine Corps veteran from Texas. She enlisted in the USMC at age
17. Kara was an Aviation Hydraulic Structural Mechanic. She served 5-1/2 years, one forward
deployment to Iwakuni, Japan and one combat deployment - Operation Enduring Freedom in
2011. She overcame many obstacles while in the military and upon her honorable discharge she
obtained a cosmetology license, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in
Social Work, concentrating on veterans’ services and mental health issues. She is an ambassador
for Air Power Foundation and active in many other veteran non-profits throughout Dallas-Fort
Worth to include being a veteran’s resource officer in the criminal justice system. She is a wife, a
mother of Irish twins and is a great mom to her two dogs. Helping her fellow veterans is truly her
passion in life.
Annette Whittenberger is a military spouse of 22 years, mother and veteran who served in the Army for seventeen years and 4 months as a Chemical officer including a deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Annette commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army as a Chemical Officer from the ROTC Program at Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ). She has a B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University and an M.S. in Environmental Management from Webster University.
She retired in Nov 2016 and fell into being an Accidental Entrepreneur in order to be able to make up for lost time with her children and use her voice to share her story about real life after the Army and living with mental illness. Since her retirement she has decided to focus on her business, podcast, speaking, mentoring, volunteering and now her book (due to come out in 2021).
Dr. Seku Gathers, a former emergency room physician, works as a trauma coach with actors, entrepreneurs, athletes and high-performers, to help elevate their greatness through his company, Freedom Road. As a sexual assault survivor, Gathers has created a break through program, derived from work as a ER doctor dealing with physical trauma and his own psychotherapy and coaching experiences.
After being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Dr. Gathers discovered the truth, that he had lived life for others. After this realization, he decided to pursue the passions he suppressed over the years. He attended Lee Strasberg Theater and the Film Institute in New York City and has written, directed, and produced several films that have been shown at various film festivals across the country.
Katherine McGibbons is a wife, mother, author, and playwright who has overcome the dark world of sex-trafficking. After many years of living in silence, Kathy decided to journal what happened to her as a way of dealing with the surreal experience. That journal became a book. That book became a stage play. Thus, she has mustered the strength to join the movement against human trafficking. Partnering with several nonprofit organizations, Kathy’s goal is to raise awareness, fight for those who are being trafficked, and mentor those who have overcome it. .She is now using her voice to inspire others to join the fight against such a horrible atrocity. She has spoken to faith-based organizations, educators, students, medical professionals, and politicians. In 2018, Kathy was invited into The Oval Office to witness a bill she advocated to be signed into law. During her time as a Program Director, Kathy developed a trauma-informed restorative care program for adult survivors of human trafficking. She is now Co-Founder and Executive Director of Twelve11, an organization committed to supporting survivors of trafficking. As a Lived Experience Consultant, Kathy continues to provide training to various groups dedicated to the anti-trafficking movement.
Melissa Hoppmeyer, Esq. has assisted in drafting numerous legislative bills and has testified before the Maryland General Assembly on numerous occasions to help implement stronger criminal laws for crimes of violence and to ensure that domestic violence and sexual assault victims are treated fairly throughout the civil and criminal judicial system. She also serves as a technical trainer for law enforcement, fellow prosecutors and the community on issues including consent education, sexual assault laws, child abuse investigations and prosecutions, domestic violence, criminal procedure, and how to properly conduct trauma-focused investigations. Hoppmeyer is also the co-founder of Right Response Consulting, focused on sexual assault/harassment/title IX training and investigations and co-host of No Grey Zone Podcast.
Samantha Sweeney, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in the District of Columbia. She has a Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Maryland-College Park, where she was also a fellowship recipient. Dr. Sweeney earned her undergraduate psychology degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Sweeney has been a preschool teacher at St. Columba's Nursery School in Northwest, DC, a consultant and researcher in DC Public Schools, and a School Psychologist in Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. Dr. Sweeney also taught several undergraduate classes during her time at the University of Maryland-College Park. Additionally, while in college she headed up an organization that provided college guidance and enrichment to students in the Philadelphia public schools. She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents with significant emotional and behavioral challenges. During her summers in college, Dr. Sweeney worked for the Wediko Children's Services Summer Treatment Program with children and adolescents with significant emotional and behavioral issues.
Melanie Holland Orr oversees K-7 youth development curriculums & essential programs to support social, emotional, and academic needs. Prior to joining Horton’s Kids, she coordinated lunch-time literacy programs in DC, an after-school program in Brooklyn, NY, and social-emotional curriculum implementation at an after-school program in Charleston, SC. Melanie holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, Politics, and Advocacy from New York University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the College of Charleston.
Dr. Helen Hsu PsyD, is a staff psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University where she is the liaison to the Asian American Activities Center. Prior to Stanford, Dr. Hsu was a manager and clinical supervisor within the Human Services Department of the City of Fremont overseeing Youth and Family Services. Dr. Hsu has been a director of clinical training supervising psychology and counseling students since 2003. Dr. Hsu began her clinical supervision and program coordination career at Asian Community Mental Health Services in Oakland, Calif., where she had first interned as a bilingual (Mandarin) clinician. In addition, Dr. Hsu completed a three-year term on the American Psychological Association Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns (2011-14). Her current work primarily explores cultural adaptations to improve access to psychological care for diverse under-served communities, mentorship of future leaders in multi-cultural mental health, and grief support. She is a past president of the Asian American Psychological Association and an advisory board member of the JED Foundation. Dr. Hsu was an advisor for the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why and has presented nationwide on topics relevant to youth and young adult and Asian American mental health.
Teresa Amelia is a trauma survivor and an infertility warrior. She had two family members die by suicide and came out of infertility treatments in an unusual way- deciding not to have kids. Two years ago, she found herself not recognizing who she was when she looked in the mirror. It was in that moment she realized she had lost her inner voice- that guide that tells you who you are and what you want in life. She spent time in therapy, delved deep into personal development and focused on self-care as a way to heal her body, mind, and heart. Teresa is passionate about supporting female trauma survivors to live their life authentically and unapologetically based on their inner voice. Through her business, Own Your Voice, Teresa provides group wellness coaching to women that aims to enhance the health of their body, mind and heart through self-care. Teresa facilitates free and paid workshops through her Facebook community called Living You. Lastly, Teresa is working on publishing a journal series 1) Words Have Power: A journal for growth mindset and 2) Living you: A journal for developing self worth.
Matthew Bocchi currently resides in New Jersey. After completing long term treatment, Matt began speaking at schools in hopes to deliver a story that inspires, as well as provide hope that there is a way out. His speaking led to writing his premiere memoir, SWAY, which is the first story told by a child of 9/11. He is in long-term recovery and attends twelve step meetings regularly, with plans to continue more writing and speaking in the future.
Chad Moses has worked for To Write Love on Her Arms since 2008, primarily collaborating with musicians, festivals, and entertainment companies to cultivate conversations about mental health. Over the years, he has traveled thousands of miles to represent TWLOHA at hundreds of events. Chad has been invited to speak at music venues, high schools, and on college campuses throughout North America and Australia. As a resident advisor at the University of Virginia, Chad was equipped with ways to care for peers struggling with isolation and mental illness, but he never imagined that he would wind up needing the help he was trained to offer. Chad’s personal story involves depression, self-injury, and substance abuse, but it also involves healing and hope. It’s a story that serves as a launching point for confronting the college-specific stigma surrounding mental health, identity, and community.
Melissa Dobbs is the Founder of Metropolitan School of the Arts in Alexandria, VA, volunteer dance teacher at Childhelp, passionate arts educator, advocate for children and dedicated mother to her three incredible children. At the age of 12, Melissa was sexually assaulted by a stranger in her home in Virginia. After developing a severe eating disorder and attempting suicide, she was admitted into a psychiatric hospital for treatment at the age of 15. During her stay there, her deeply held secret of childhood sexual trauma was revealed inadvertently in a group therapy session. Since then, Melissa has been on a lifelong journey of healing, one that has led to a remarkable and life changing transformation. Melissa has dedicated her adult life to preserving childhood by raising her own children in a safe and loving environment, creating a school for all children to thrive and grow as young artists and volunteering for Childhelp. Melissa shares her story as a part of her own healing journey and hopes to inspire others who have experienced similar traumas to 'never give up.' Life is beautiful on the other side.
Michael Medoro leads the national fundraising and business development efforts for one of the largest and oldest, national nonprofit organizations dedicated to the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse – Childhelp. With a dual Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications from Seattle Pacific University, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Michael’s more than 20 years of nonprofit career experience consists of responsibilities that expanded into more than 126 countries worldwide, including two years managing an orphanage for children in Guatemala.
Nellie Galindo, MSW, MSPH, is a public health social worker and disability advocate. Her background includes working as a direct service provider for individuals with severe mental illness, leading a youth program for young adults with disabilities, and managing the training and development for a large behavioral health and IDD organization. She has also created and facilitated training for individuals with disabilities on the topics of sexual health education, violence and abuse prevention, healthy relationships, consent, and self-advocacy. She currently works for Relias, a software company that creates online learning and other tools for health and human service providers.
Anna Myers is a trauma survivor and a learning disabled genderqueer or non-binary person.
Anna is an English Major and graduated from the University of Missouri – St. Louis with plans to continue education into American Studies after a year break to learn Sign Language. Anna also has a blog on Medium called Sock Thoughts,.
Dale DeNunzio earned his Master and Doctorate degrees from Syracuse University in Marriage and Family Therapy and Family Studies. Over the course of his over 35-year career, he has employed a number of different modalities in helping people. But basic to all of his work has been an appreciation that one's family of origin dynamics contribute to one's emotional growth. Working to understand one's family dynamics allows for insights and healing to take place. In the last five years, Dale has focused on trauma healing work through the Somatic Experiencing Institute, where he earned his certification. This has added another dimension to his work with clients. The somatic focus on the body in this work has allowed a complementary avenue in which to facilitate healing. A central theme in healing is understanding that waking the Inner Healer within each person holds unique and powerful wisdom and impact.
Suvrat Bhargave, M.D. is a renowned and respected educator, speaker,and board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in child and adolescentpsychiatry. His uncanny ability to relate to a multi-demographic audiencehas allowed his practice to reach an unparalleled level of success based onempathy, education, and empowerment. Affectionately known for his“relatable expertise”, Dr. Bhargave is highly sought after to lecture locallyand nationally on a broad range of topics pertaining to personal growth,effective parenting, relationship satisfaction, and mental health conditions.After completing his residency training and specialty fellowship fromDuke University, Dr. B (as he is lovingly called by his patients) continuedhis practice in hospitals, community health, and private practice settings.
Trevor Charlston is a former Wall Street bond trader turned mental health advocate. After graduating from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Trevor spent almost a decade working for banks and private investment firms. Feeling unfulfilled, he decided to leave the world of finance to pursue a career in mental health. Trevor is now the CEO of Freely Health, an emotional support network where people struggling with mental health issues, addiction issues and loneliness can find support. Users are able to connect with trained listeners 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Freely aims to create an easily accessible environment where safe, anonymous conversations are readily available.
Dr. Crystal McLeod, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who is currently the Chief of the Family Advocacy Program and Disaster Mental Health Team at Ellsworth AFB. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California where she received her doctorate of Social Work. With a recent feature in Forbes Women's Magazine, Crystal also serves as the South Dakota's, Western Regional Representative for the Board of Directors for the National Association of Social Workers and is very involved with her local community in Rapid City where she was recently featured in a TV special called "Race Matters." In her spare time, she is a published writer, blogger and youtuber.