Speaker Gallery

DBSA is honored to have these inspirational mental health advocates as our speakers at the DBSA I to We Weekend.

Keynote Presenters

Barry Bradford
Barry Bradford
Larry Fricks
Larry Fricks
Mariel Hemingway
Mariel Hemingway
Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
Dese'Rae Stage
Dese'Rae Stage
 

Special Performances

Shannon Curtis
Shannon Curtis
David Granirer
David Granirer
Jennifer Marshall
Jennifer Marshall
SonicSoul
SonicSoul
   

Biographies

Learn more about this amazing group of educational and inspirational speakers and performers. Scroll down the page to read their biographies, listed in alphabetical order, in the following three categories:

 


 

Keynote Bios

Barry Bradford
Barry Bradford

Barry Bradford is a public speaker and educator from Chicago who is best known for leading national movements to reopen two cold cases from the Civil Rights Era―including the notorious “Mississippi Burning” case. Through his commitment to justice and belief in the power of every individual to affect history, Barry brings conviction and passion to his message of leadership and personal empowerment. He inspires audiences to claim their voices and speak up to create a change in the world around them while motivating teams and individuals to accomplish unprecedented results. Barry has earned national media recognition and has been interviewed by nearly every major media outlets including The Today Show, The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, ABC, CBS, and NBC Evening News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN and more. (Keynote on Sunday)

Larry Fricks
Larry Fricks

Larry Fricks currently serves as the Director of the Appalachian Consulting Group and Deputy Director of the SAMHSA-HSRA Center for Integrated Health Solutions operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health. For 13 years Larry was Georgia’s Director of the Office of Consumer Relations and Recovery in the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. He is a founder of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network that now has some 4,000 members and a founder of Georgia’s Peer Specialist Training and Certification. He served on the Planning Board for the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Carter Center Mental Health Journalism Fellowships.

He has a journalism degree from the University of Georgia and has won journalism awards from the Associated Press, the Georgia Press Association and Gannett Newspapers. He is the 1995 recipient of the Clifford W. Beers Award given annually by Mental Health America and the 2001 recipient of the American Association for World Health Award for significant contributions to improving community mental health. In 2004 he received the Recovery Award from International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services and in 2008 the Lifetime Achievement Voice Award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the development and adoption of multiple innovative, recovery-oriented programs and services. In 2015 ACMHA: The College for Behavioral Health Leadership presented Larry with the Timothy J. Coakley Award for improving the lives of those in recovery from mental illness. 

Larry’s recovery story and life’s work to support the recovery of others was published by HarperCollins in the New York Time’s best-selling book Strong at the Broken Places by Richard M. Cohen and was featured on the Today Show in 2008. (Keynote on Sunday)

Mariel Hemingway
Mariel Hemingway

Mariel Hemingway is not only an iconic Academy Award nominated actor from a celebrated family, she is a prolific author, healthy lifestyle brand entrepreneur, and a tireless mental health awareness and suicide prevention program advocate, recently sharing the stage with Hillary Clinton, Patrick Kennedy, and other world-class Keynote speakers.

Mariel’s much sought after purpose-driven presentations entertain, educate, engage and enrich, focusing on topics including: mind-body-spirit optimization, purposeful living, and mental health related issues. She shares her own evocative story about growing up in a home where there were great challenges in order to inspire others to do the same, thereby cultivating compassion and understanding and breaking down the stigma so often associated with the discussion of mental illness.

In a high-tech world, Mariel is considered an expert in high-touch solutions which facilitate finding one’s authentic voice and experiencing the greatest sense of personal power, life balance, joy, fitness, authenticity and peace of mind. 

Mariel Heminway's on camera film and television accomplishments include starring roles in: Manhattan, Lipstick, Personal Best, Star 80, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and appearances in television shows including Roseanne, Civil Wars and Central Park West. She’s narrated several programs and films including the documentary Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life. In 2014, Mariel and Oprah Winfrey executive produced, Running from Crazy, the Emmy nominated documentary focused on the 7 most recent suicides in the Hemingway family. It is available on Netflix.

Mariel’s best-selling books include: Finding My Balance, reflecting her life’s journey through the lens of her yoga and meditation practices. Healthy Living from the Inside Out, a how-to guide to finding a greater sense of balance and meaning through self-empowering techniques and strategies. Mariel’s Kitchen is a healthy lifestyle cookbook offering creative gluten and sugar free recipes. Running With Nature, co-written with her life partner, provides insights into the import and impact of making good choices based on an awareness of and respect for nutrition, meditation, mindfulness, movement, silence, compassion and connectedness to self and earth.

Her 2015 book releases include her memoir: Out Came the Sun: Overcoming the Legacy of Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide in My Family and Invisible Girl, a tender engaging book written in diary form for teen and tweens. Mariel and famed children’s book illustrator, Edward Hemingway will collaborate on a children’s book in 2016. (Keynote on Friday)

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon is a writer of remarkable talent and intellect. In his books and essays he explores the subjects of politics, culture and psychology with extraordinary humanity. In 2001 he received the National Book Award for The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. The book was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was a worldwide bestseller published in more than twenty languages. The New York Times described The Noonday Demon as "All-encompassing, brave, deeply humane…a book of remarkable depth, breadth and vitality…open-minded, critically informed and poetic all at the same time…fearless and full of compassion."

His newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children & the Search for Identity, was released in November of 2012 and is an examination of the means by which families accommodate children with physical, mental and social disabilities and how these unusual situations can be invested with love. Andrew spent ten years researching the book, interviewing more than 300 families and generating more than 40,000 pages of notes! President Bill Clinton has called the book "remarkable" and Vanity Fair said, "Andrew Solomon's empathy, heart, and vast intelligence are in abundance in Far from the Tree."

A regular contributor to NPR, The New York Times and many other publications, Andrew Solomon graduated from the prestigious Horace Mann School in New York City cum laude and from Yale University magna cum laude. He also attended Jesus College in Cambridge where he received the top first-class degree, the only foreign student to ever be so-honored.

Beyond his writing Andrew is an outspoken activist and philanthropist for many causes in LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts. He is the founder of the Solomon Research Fellowships in LGBT Studies at Yale University and is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University. He lives with his husband and young son in New York and London. http://tuesdayagency.com/andrew-solomon. (Keynote on Saturday)

Dese'Rae Stage
Dese'Rae Stage

Dese’Rae L. Stage is a photographer, writer, suicide awareness advocate, and the creator of Live Through This (http://livethroughthis.org). She was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder in 2004. She struggled with self-injury for nine years, and survived a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. 
Live Through This is a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told in their own voices. It encourages survivors to own their experiences publicly, thereby working to re-connect with the humanity of the issue by putting faces and names to the statistics that have been the only representation of attempt survivors in the past.

In 2013, Dese'Rae raised $23,000 via Kickstarter to take Live Through This on the road. She has collected the stories and portraits of 120 attempt survivors in 14 US cities.  Dese'Rae has spoken at universities, professional, and academic conferences nationwide about Live Through This, crowdfunding, and suicide prevention in social media. She has appeared on The Glenn Beck Program and Fox News, and has provided commentary for BBC Radio, HuffPost Live, and Mental Illness Happy Hour. In January 2015, she was recognized as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week. She was also the winner of the inaugural Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Content. Live Through This has been featured in the New York Times, Associated Press, NPR, and The Boston Globe, among others. 

Dese'Rae is trained in ASIST and QPR, and holds a BS in Psychology from East Tennessee State University. Her writing has been published by Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, TED Weekends, and XoJane. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her wife. You can see more of her work at http://deseraestage.com.


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Performer Bios

Shannon Curtis
Shannon Curtis

Shannon Curtis is an American dreampop singer, songwriter, pianist, and author. Curtis has released 7 EP and albums as a solo artist. Sannon's song Before the Sun, from her Boomerangs & Seesaws album, was featured on MTV's hit show The Hills. Grammy-winning producer Charlie Peacock produced Curtis's third EP Why Don't You Stay?, which was released in July 2009. On June 18, 2013, Curtis released her debut full-length album of downtempo dreampop, Cinemascope, produced by her husband, Jamie Hill. Cinemascope was subsequently nominated in the 2014 Independent Music Awards in the category of Best Producer.

David Granirer
David Granirer

David Granirer is a counselor, stand-up comic, mental health keynote speaker and author of The Happy Neurotic, How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success. He performs, maintains a counseling practice and teaches Stand-Up Comedy Clinic at Langara College in Vancouver, where he takes people from all walks of life who have had a secret desire to do stand-up comedy and after eight weeks has them on stage performing at a comedy club. Many of his students have gone on to become professional comics, performing at festivals such as Just For Laughs, and on TV shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

A pioneer in the use of humor to increase wellness, reduce stress, and cope with change, David, who lives with depression, has also taught stand up comedy to recovering addicts and cancer patients. His work was profiled in the Global TV documentary Laughing through the Pain and in the Voice Award winning documentary Cracking Up.

He founded Stand Up For Mental Health, a program teaching stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building self-esteem and fighting public stigma. Stand Up For Mental Health has groups across Canada and the U.S.

David is the recipient of a Champion of Mental Health Award, recognizing individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the mental health agenda in Canada;  a Life Unlimited Award from the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance, honoring individuals who exemplify a life unlimited by depression or bipolar disorder actively working to help others do the same; and a Welcome Back Award from National Council for Behavioral Healthcare for his work using comedy to de-stigmatize mental illness.

In addition, David also gives laughter in the workplace presentations to hundreds of organizations across North America, helping them use humor to decrease stress, increase wellness and cope with change. (Performing Friday)

Jennifer Marshall
Jennifer Marshall and Anne Marie Ames

Jennifer Marshall lives in a suburb of Washington, DC and is a married mother of two small kids. She has been living with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder for nearly ten years. In 2011, she began blogging about her journey on her personal blog, BipolarMomLife.com. What began as an anonymous blog became the catalyst for Jennifer to become a mental health advocate. Anne Marie Ames lives in the same suburb with her husband and three teenage sons. She has had depression her entire life, but became a mental health advocate when her eldest son was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  

Together the two launched the non-profit organization, This Is My Brave in 2014. The mission of This Is My Brave is to share true stories of lives affected by mental illness on stage through poetry, personal essay and original music to break down the stigma. To date, Jennifer and Anne Marie have led teams of volunteer producers to create unique This Is My Brave performances in six cities, with plans for new shows this fall in NYC and Los Angeles. (Performing Friday)

SonicSoul
SonicSoul

SonicSoul is one of Chicago's premiere bands delivering a unique musical gumbo of raw blues, searing rock and tasty jazz seasonings, all with a funky twist. Each member of the band has decades of experience performing locally and internationally. SonicSoul is a sonic force that grabs you from the first note and holds you until the last! The band’s debut album "Never Too Late" was released July 22nd 2015. (Performing Saturday)


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Educational Presenter Bios (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)

LaGenia Bailey, PharmD, BCPP, RYT-500, is the director of East West Integrative Healing in Chicago Illinois. She serves as a bridge between eastern practices and western medicine. She holds a doctorate in pharmacy, has taught and run clinics at University of Illinois in psychopharmacology and works as a director for drug development. She has taught yoga and meditation at Cook County Jail, Yoga Now, Unity Church in Chicago and led classes and seminars nationally and internationally. She has assisted Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute, one of the leading schools of yoga therapy in the United States. People often ask her how she can be both a Yogi and a neuropharmacologist. Her reply is “it is all about the energy”. (Presenting Saturday)

Bret Bohlin serves as Mental Health Parity Education and Outreach Consultant—Midwest Region, DBSA. Bret brings over 10 years of Fortune 500 consulting and leadership experience to his role as a Mental Health Parity Education and Outreach consultant for DBSA. Early in Bret's career, he forged many beneficial relationships as a National Account Representative for Commonwealth Edison. Bret further developed his skills of work with others toward a common goal as a software consultant, a manager and leader in his consulting firm. Bret was blinded by Bipolar disorder at the age of 36, which gave him new insight in the struggles of people with mood disorders. Since then, he has educated himself on the various treatments of this disorder. He became a certified Peer Support Specialist, a certified Mental Health First Aider, and Founder and President and Executive Director of a charity (Falret House). From this vantage point of a consultant to large companies, person living with a disorder, and an Executive Director Bret has a many viewpoints and approaches to understand the heart of an issue and an ability to present information in a way that people can understand in a language they can understand.

Nancy Bollinger serves as the Executive Director of Self Help Center/DBSA Self Help Center in St. Louis where she also serves as a Certified Missouri Peer Specialist, a Licensed Procovery Facilitator, and a QPR Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor. Nancy has presented at conferences from coast to coast; presenting on topics such as Suicide Prevention, Hoarding, Procovery, and Moving Forward from Trauma. Nancy was recognized in 2014 by the Missouri Suicide Prevention Project with the Outstanding Community Service Award for her continued educational efforts in suicide prevention. Nancy graduated from University of Phoenix in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Business with an emphasis in Management and has 30 years of experience working in areas of finance and policy development for both corporate and non-profit agencies. (Presenting Sunday)

Timothy J. Bono, PhD, is an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, where over the last seven years more than 1,000 students have enrolled in his courses on the Psychology of Young Adulthood and the Science of Happiness. He is the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence at Washington University and also received the Outstanding Research Award from the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education. (Presenting Friday)

Phoebe Carleton is a marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of experience. As a founding partner of PWR New Media, she has drawn on her project management, media and marketing background to provide PR and marketing services for clients including Budweiser, The Joint Commission, The American Academy of Dermatology, McCormick and Build-A-Bear Workshop. She helps brands successfully combine audience, message and platform to improve on-line engagement and utilize more effective strategies for content creation and brand storytelling. In her efforts to help brands maximize their digital presence, Phoebe also works closely with public relations professionals, helping them develop and deliver media-friendly digital assets and improve their media presence. Prior to joining PWR, Phoebe earned her BA from Boston University, and completed several graduate-level classes at Harvard University. She also worked in the Chicago media market for over 10 years, including roles at Major Networks, Strategic Media Research and NewsWire One. She currently lives in Wilmette with her husband, three lovely children, and a rescue dog. (Presenting Sunday)

Angie Day is the Chapter and Volunteer Services Coordinator for DBSA. Angie came to DBSA after having a wide array of experiences in development and volunteer services.  Some career highlights include increasing revenue through grant opportunities, reinvigorating a volunteer board, and finalizing a small capital campaign in order to build a brand new outdoor classroom and playground. Angie enjoys working with individuals who are seeking to help others, and is looking forward to continuing this role at DBSA. Angie earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies and Master’s Degree in Public Service Management, both from DePaul University. (Presenting Sunday)

Jean Dukarski is a certified Peer Support Specialist and consumer advocate who has trained peer specialists since 2005, including more than 800 in Michigan. She is the Program Director for the Justice in Mental Health Organization (JIMHO) in Lansing, Michigan and also serves as Senior Trainer with Appalachian Consulting Group, Inc. Jean is extremely passionate about empowering people to take control of their lives and an ardent believer in the possibilities that exist in everyone. (Presenting Sunday)

Nathalie Edmond, Psy.D, RYT-200, is a staff psychologist at Princeton University, a yoga teacher and in private practice in Central New Jersey.  She spent over a decade working at Princeton House Behavioral Health in different capacities. Most of those years she was clinical and administrative director for the Women's Trauma program. This is a partial hospital and intensive outpatient program focused on treating women who have experienced trauma.  She is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and has opened DBT programs for adults, adolescents and inpatient units.  She was trained in Sensorimotor psychotherapy because she saw the importance of understanding how the body holds trauma and supplementing traditional talk therapy with other approaches.  She has trained clinicians on using evidenced based practices to treat depression, bipolar, anxiety, trauma, self-harm behaviors, and addiction issues.  She utilizes mindfulness and meditation in her personal life and clinical work.  She also became a yoga teacher because she believes in the mind-body-spirit connection. She loves the quote "the issues lie in the tissues" because so much change can happens in someone's life as they start to move and connect with their bodies in moving meditations. (Presenting Friday)

Paula Cozzi Goedert, JD, is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP where she chairs the Associations and Foundations Practice Group. She concentrates her practice on the representation of non-profit organizations, including professional societies, trade associations, public charities and private foundations. Ms. Goedert was listed as a 2014 Leading Lawyer in Association and Non-Profit Law by Leading Lawyers Network. Since 2007, she has been listed inThe Best Lawyers in America® in Non-Profit/Charities area. Ms. Goedert has also been named an Illinois Super Lawyer® every year since 2005 in the Non-Profit, Business/Corporate and Tax practice areas. (Presenting Sunday)

Lisa Goodale, MSW, is Vice President of Peer Support Services for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) where she develops and implements wellness-centered training initiatives for peer specialists, clinicians, and the general public. Part of the DBSA team for 16+ years and a licensed social worker, Goodale holds an MSW degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is her joy and special privilege to have been invited along on the recovery journeys of so many courageous people. (Presenting Sunday)

Linea Johnson is a graduate from Seattle University, with a major in English and Creative Writing. Prior to transferring to SU, she completed three years at Columbia University, Chicago, in a musical performance program. Linea is currently working as a research coordinator at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA―the very same center where she was treated for bipolar disorder. Previously, she worked as an intern at the World Health Organization in the Mental Health department. She is a national speaker and writer, advocating for understanding and support for people with mental illness and the elimination of stigma. She is co-author with Cinda Johson of Perfect Choas, A Daughter's Journey to Survive Bipolar, a Mother's Struggle to Save Her. Linea is currently attending Brown’s Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership program. She has a website, http://www.lineacinda.com and can be found on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, advocating and writing about mental health. (Presenting Sunday)

Megan Kashner is the founder and CEO of Benevolent, a philanthropic platform that invites donors to step in and fill gaps in the safety net for low-income families. Kashner is additionally an independent consultant and change-maker currently working with the University of Chicago’s Center for Data Science and Public Policy including its Data Science for Social Good program. A self-proclaimed ticked-off social worker with more than 20 years of strategic management, community partnership building and organizational planning experience, prior to founding Benevolent, Kashner served as an Executive Director at the Taproot Foundation. Kashner and Benevolent have been featured at the White House, at national conferences on philanthropy and entrepreneurship, on CNN Headline News, in FastCompany, Mashable, MSNBC, the New Yorker and more. Kashner holds a B.A. in Public Policy from Brown University, an MSW from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. (Presenting Sunday)

Susan Ling is a Family Consumer Specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Mental Health/Child & Adolescence Services for DMH Region 2 which covers seventeen counties in Northern Illinois not including Chicago.  In this role she represents families at the state level where policies are formed for children’s mental health in the State of Illinois. Prior to this she worked as a Family Resource Developer in McHenry County working with families involved in the Wraparound process. (Presenting Sunday)

Rev. Cheryl Magrini is a United Methodist minister serving a large urban church in downtown Chicago. Her family founded the DBSA Chicago Loop Chapter in 2011 that includes a lived experienced group and a family/friends group. She began on the Board of Directors in 2012 and Chair in 2014. She speaks about being a clergy person with bipolar disorder and about her son Dan, whom they lost at age 23 from bipolar disorder. She knows firsthand the feelings of helplessness as a parent with a family in crisis and the ways in which family and friends can and do support one another. (Presenting Sunday)

Hakeem Rahim, EdM, MA had the honor of being the first African-American male valedictorian in his high school’s history. He graduated with a BA in psychology from Harvard University, and dual masters from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. In 2012, Hakeem began openly sharing his journey with mental illness. Since then he has testified in front of Congress, been featured in USA Today and has shared his journey with over 16,000 college, high school and middle school students. Hakeem is a certified National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) In Our Own Voice speaker, the NAMI Queens/Nassau Let’s Talk Mental Illness TM presenter, a member of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s national board and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program’s Advisory Committee. Hakeem is the owner of Live Breathe, LLC as well as an author and recorded spoken word artist. You can learn more about him and his first book Magenta Your Conscience at hakeemrahim.com and more about LTMI at btslessonplans.org. (Presenting Sunday)

Eric Scharf is President of Kelsey Consulting. Eric’s career has focused on assisting nonprofit organizations with issues of business process improvement, public policy advocacy and governance issues. He has more than thirty years of experience in association management and a background in health policy and human rights advocacy. Eric has a lived experience with depression, is active in the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance National Capital Area chapter and provides a national perspective to the DBSA mental health parity program. A Washington, DC resident, Eric currently lives in Columbia Heights.

Holly A. Swartz, MD, is professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where she is the Medical Director of the Depression and Manic Depression Prevention Program.  She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.   She completed her psychiatric residency training at New York Hospital/Cornell University School of Medicine. Dr. Swartz’s research focuses on understanding and optimizing psychosocial and pharmacologic interventions for for mood disorders. She is well known for her work in evaluating Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) as treatments for depression and bipolar disorder. She is an internationally recognized IPT and IPSRT trainer.  Her research has focused on the role of IPSRT and pharmacotherapy in the management of bipolar II depression as well as IPT in the management of maternal depression. She is the author or co-author of over 90 peer reviewed articles, chapters, and invited articles. Dr. Swartz has received grant support from NIMH, the Depression and Bipolar Alternative Treatment Foundation, and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD). She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Reader’s Digest Research Fellowship from Cornell University Medical College, a Junior Faculty Scholar Award from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry, a New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit (NCDEU) New Investigator Award from NIMH, and the Gerald L. Klerman Young Investigator Award from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.  From 2014-17 she is serving as the scientific program co-chair for the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (formerly NCDEU). Dr. Swartz has presented her work at numerous local, national, and international workshops, conferences and scientific meetings. (Presenting Friday)

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