Featured Speakers

Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program
May 19 - 25, 2020

Featured Speakers

Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program
May 19 - 25, 2020

During the seminar, you will have the opportunity to hear from national experts in grief, trauma, health and wellness and more. Below is a list of the speakers and presenters who will be in attendance.

Make sure to also download the TAPS Events app. Recommended session schedules for different grief programming and speaker information are all built into the easy-to-navigate app.


 

Tina Barrett

Tina Barrett

Since 1994, Dr. Tina Barrett has specialized in family systems, strength-oriented and outdoor-based support following grief and trauma. Co-founder and Executive Director of Tamarack Grief Resource Center in Montana, Barrett focuses on best practices of nature-based support with trauma survivors and family-systems. Barrett has directed various models of over 100 grief camps since 1996 in MT and six other states. She has facilitated bereavement groups since 1995 and has assisted with group facilitator training and supervision for over 20 years. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and serves as a Senior Consultant for the National Military Suicide Survivors Seminar. Barrett also serves on the Leadership Team of the Western Montana Suicide Prevention Initiative, and as Board President for the National Alliance for Grieving Children (NAGC). She provides interactive, inspiring trainings throughout the US and received the 2019 Community Educator Award from the Association for Death Educators and Counselors (ADEC).

 

Session: Rooted in Hope; Connected in Love

Audri Beugelsdijk

 

Audri Beugelsdijk

As the Vice President for TAPS Survivor Services, Audri oversees operations of immediate and long term survivor support including the National Military Survivor Helpline, Survivor Care Team, Peer Mentor Program, Online Community, and Youth Programs. With a Masters in Psychology, her work is a testament to her passion for the TAPS mission and her wish to offer a place of gentle understanding and comfort to military families. Through her dedication, Audri, a Navy veteran herself, honors the life of her first husband, CTRSN Jason Springer, USN.

 

Session: Finding the Meaning in Your Grief


 

Dr. Frank Campbell

 

Frank Campbell, PhD, LCSW, CT

Dr. Frank Campbell is the former Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center and the Crisis Center Foundation in Louisiana. He is currently the Senior Consultant for Campbell and Associates Consulting, where he works with communities on forensic suicidology cases. It was due to his more than 20 years of working with those bereaved by suicide that he introduced his Active Postvention Model (APM), most commonly known as the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). The model has now been replicated in countries as diverse as Australia, Singapore, Northern Ireland, Canada, and America. His work with survivors and victims of trauma has been featured in three Discovery Channel documentaries. Dr. Campbell received the Louis Dublin award at the 2010 American Association of Suicidology Conference. He is a past president of AAS and received the Roger J. Tierney Award for service. Dr. Campbell was also elected by the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) to receive the Dr. Norman Farberow Award for his international contributions on behalf of those bereaved by suicide. He was named Social Worker of the Year in Louisiana and was the first John W. Barton Fellow selected in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

 

Sessions: Saturday Wrap-up | Parenting Panel 


 

Susan Carron

 

Susan Carron

As a TAPS Survivor Care Team Advocate, Susan works in honor of her late husband Major Paul D. Carron who died by suicide while serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2010. They have two children together. Susan has her Bachelor's Degree in Nursing from East Carolina University, holds a Certification in Thanatology through the Association for Death Education and Counseling, and has worked in a variety of hospital settings. She is passionate about her work with other survivors and sharing vital support connections.

 

Session: Parenting Panel


 

Bob Delany

 

Bob Delaney

Bob is an NBA Cares Ambassador, member of the TAPS Board of Advisors, and currently the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Special Advisor Officiating Development/Performance. He has served as the NBA's Vice President of Referee Operations and Director of Officials for years, after 25 seasons as an NBA referee. Prior to his career in professional basketball, Delaney was a highly decorated New Jersey State Trooper who went undercover to infiltrate the mafia; causing his own post-traumatic stress journey. His firsthand experiences coupled with a passion to better understand mental health makes him an expert on the subject. His efforts to educate and bring attention to the topic of post-traumatic stress have entailed visits to military troops around the world, including multiple trips to Afghanistan and Iraq. Described by General Robert Brown, U.S. Army Four Star Commander of the Pacific, as the "person who related to soldiers better than any visitor I have seen in my 36 years in the military," Delaney authored a book on the topic, Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post Traumatic Stress. He is also the author of Covert: My Life Infiltrating the Mob. He is currently working on a new book, Leadership Lessons from the Boardroom, Locker-room, War-room. He has been the subject of numerous media articles and shows including Dr. Sanjay Gupta CNN.

 

Session: Out from the Shadows, My Healing Journey


 

Dr. Ken Doka

 

Ken Doka, PhD, MDiv

Dr. Doka is a Senior Vice President of Grief Programs at Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) and recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). He serves as editor of HFA's Living with Grief® book series and its Journeys bereavement newsletter and numerous other books and publications. He is a prolific author, editor, and lecturer; a retired graduate school professor at The College of New Rochelle; past president of ADEC; a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (IWG); and a member of the TAPS Advisory Board. In 2018, the IWG presented Doka with the Herman Feifel Award for outstanding achievement in thanatology. He received an award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Death Education from ADEC in 1998. Doka is an ordained Lutheran minister and a licensed mental health counselor in the state of New York.

 

Session: The Uniqueness of Your Grief


 

Kerry Garland

 

Kerry Garland

Kerry currently serves as the Logistics Coordinator for Youth Programs, she is also transitioning to Team TAPS as a Special Events Coordinator. Kerry is originally from Anchorage Alaska, both of her parents served in the Marine Corps and her father medically retired after 9-11. Kerry first came to TAPS in the summer of 2017, volunteering as a Mentor for our 23rd National Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp. She had volunteered many times in a variety of roles supporting different departments before she came on staff full time. Kerry holds a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition with an emphasis on Community Engagement, she also minored in Communication.


 

James Gordon

 

James S. Gordon, MD

Dr. Gordon, a psychiatrist and former National Institute of Mental Health researcher, is a Clinical Professor at Georgetown Medical School and was Chair of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He is the author of Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing. In his role as the founder and executive director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), Gordon has created and implemented the world’s largest and most effective program for healing population-wide trauma. He and his 150 international CMBM faculty have brought this program to war-traumatized populations in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa; to first responders, military personnel and veterans and their families in the U.S.; to communities that have suffered climate-related disasters, endured school shootings, and struggled with the opioid epidemic; and to Native American children and their families—as well as to stressed out professionals, stay-at-home mothers, inner-city children, White House officials, health professionals and medical students, and people contending with severe emotional and physical illnesses. Dr. Gordon has authored or edited ten previous books, including Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-stage Journey Out of Depression. He has written often for popular publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and The Guardian, as well as in professional journals. Dr. Gordon has also served as an expert for such outlets as 60 Minutes, the Today show, Good Morning America, CBS Sunday Morning, Nightline, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR.

 

Session: A Trauma Healing Diet


 

Bill Hoy

William G. (Bill) Hoy, DMin, FT

With more than 35 years of care for the dying and bereaved, Dr. Hoy is Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities at Baylor. He is widely regarded as an authority on the role of social support in death, dying and grief and his experience includes more than 20 years leading bereavement and pastoral care programs in hospice care. Though primarily a bedside clinician, Dr. Hoy has authored more than 125 articles and book chapters as well as six books. His books in print include Road to Emmaus: Pastoral Care with the Dying and Bereaved (Compass, 2007); Do Funerals Matter? The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective (Routledge, 2013) and Bereavement Groups and the Role of Social Support: Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice (Routledge, 2016). In addition to his role with students at Baylor, he is a frequent presenter among groups of professional colleagues in health care across the United States and Canada. Dr. Hoy is active in the Association for Death Education & Counseling on whose board he served from 2012 to 2020 including six years as an officer. He also holds advisory board positions with Our House Grief Support Center in Los Angeles, California, Pathways Volunteer Hospice in Long Beach, California, and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) in Washington, D.C.

 

Session: Grief after a Death from Illness


 

Rachel Hunsell

 

Rachel Hunsell

Program Manager for Outdoor Engagement, develops, implements and supports programming in the outdoors across the TAPS network, including our backcountry Expeditions. Rachel connects survivors with the healing power of the outdoors and encourages participants to reconnect with their inner strength by creating emotionally safe and understanding environments. As a survivor honoring the life and death of her brother, Marine Lance Cpl J. Kyle Price, she understands the valleys and mountaintops we experience along the journey after loss.

 

Session: When To Lead and How To Follow in Your Grief Journey


 

Rayanne Hunter

 

Rayanne Hunter

Rayanne Hunter is a Mind-Body Nutrition Coach, yoga instructor and wholehearted advocate of outdoor therapy in any form. A yoga enthusiast for most of her life, she enjoys sharing it with her son and daughter and in her work. Specializing in grief, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. She uses her knowledge from a variety of training backgrounds, interests and personal experiences to help people explore the person they are meant to be. Having grown up in a military family, she served in the Army National Guard and is the surviving spouse of SSG Wesley Hunter. Leading to a passion for working with military and their families, including gold star families. Hoping to guide those who are grieving, dealing with injuries, or struggling with everyday life stressors by using body movement, yoga, meditation, reiki, modern shaman techniques, woman circles, outdoor therapy, mind/body nutrition and eating psychology principles. Always looking for ways to inspire people to grow; in their lives, in their transitions, in learning to embrace, trust and love themselves again. Rayanne has hosted events, mentored, led workshops and grief care groups with TAPS since 2010. She also volunteers with Heroes on the Water, Horsepower Therapeutic Learning Center, and privately works with individuals and small groups.

 

Pre-Recorded Session: Introduction to Yoga - Benefits for Grieving and Stress Reduction

Erin Jacobson

 

Erin Jacobson

As the Co-Director of Women's Empowerment & Senior Advisor, TAPS Outreach and Engagement, Erin is a grief professional with over a decade of experience in the nonprofit space. Since she came on staff with TAPS in 2011, she has buillt transformative programing within the retreat and seminar programs with an emphasis in women's empowerment, art, mindfulness and nature based healing. Erin is the surviving fiancee of Army Ranger Cpl. Jason Kessler. Along with a degree in counseling, Erin's educational background includes Nonprofit Leadership, Religious Studies and Art History. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Erin currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia.


 

Judy Mathewson

 

Judy Mathewson

Judy Mathewson, PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor, has been a group leader, mental health lead, and Director of the Good Grief Camp. Judy is a retired special education teacher and school counselor, has done research on military families and volunteered for TAPS for over 25 years. She has also served as a Board Member of TAPS. Judy served in the Alaska Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force, retiring after 30 years. She served with Bonnie when Brig. Gen. Tom Carroll’s plane crashed in Alaska over 25 years ago. Bonnie asked Judy to “find a way to work with the children.” Since there was limited research on military children and death, Bonnie and Judy determined what services would help the children acknowledge the reality of their grief following their loved one’s death, honor their emotions and feelings, and support them with mentors as they search for ways to honor their loved one’s service to the USA. As TAPS has evolved to meet the needs of our families, so has her service.

 

Session: Parenting Panel


 

Renee Monczynski

 

Renee Monczynski

Renee serves as the Manager for the TAPS Young Adult Program, providing guidance and mentoring to military surviving children and siblings through service projects, experiences, campouts, and seminars. She served active duty in the United States Marine Corps and as a reservist in the United States Navy. Renee is the proud surviving spouse of Matthew S. Monczynski, who served faithfully in the United States Navy. After her military service, Renee earned a BA in Early Childhood Education and taught for 5 years. Ms. Monczynski then earned her BA in Psychology and served as a Veterans Advocate for American Legion, defending the rights and benefits of her fellow veterans. She volunteered as a group leader with TAPS for six years before joining the staff to continue her work with the bereaved children of our fallen military.

Emily Muñoz

 

Emily Muñoz

Emily joined the TAPS staff in 2014 following seven years of volunteer service as a Good Grief Camp Group Leader. As she outfitted young survivors in super coper capes at the National Seminar, she also worked on behalf of veterans and military families at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and for the Department of Veterans Affairs. A believer in the need for mental and physical connection and resilience, Emily uses her training in multiple fitness modalities to shape and inform TAPS programming for seminars, workshops, special events, and Women's Empowerment program. She lives in Boston, where she recently added a M.S. in Emergency Management from Massachusetts Maritime Academy to her academic work at Rhodes College (Memphis, TN) and Georgetown University (Washington, D.C). Laughter through years is her favorite emotion.


 

Robert A. Neimeyer

 

Robert A. Neimeyer, Ph.D.

Dr. Neimeyer is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, and maintains an active consulting and coaching practice, and also directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition. Neimeyer has published 30 books, including Routledge’s series on Techniques of Grief Therapy, and serves as Editor of Death Studies. The author of over 500 articles and chapters and a popular workshop presenter, he is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process. In recognition of his contributions, he has been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning.

 

Session: Finding the Meaning in Your Grief


 

Eileen O'Grady

Eileen O'Grady, PhD, RN, NP, PCC

Dr. Eileen O'Grady is a certified Nurse Practitioner and Wellness Coach who uses an evidence-based approach with people to reverse or entirely prevent disease. She has been in healthcare since age 11 and believes deeply that more attention must be paid to getting us unstuck from lifestyles that do not support wellness. She is an expert on intentional change in adults, emphasizing the importance of extreme self-care and how to identify and remedy a life that is out of balance. She is the founder of The School of Wellness, devoted to cultivating wisdom and self-leadership.

 

Session: Moving Forward with a Broken Heart


 

Tony Paz

 

Tony Paz

Tony came to TAPS in 2019 after serving 25 years in the U.S. Army. An experienced leader in special operations, training development, and an avid outdoorsman, Tony joined TAPS to continue serving everyone with ties to our military. He is dedicated to connecting the TAPS family to the therapeutic and transformative power of the outdoors.


 

Gabriel Rao

 

Gabriel Rao

Gabriel Rao is the Manager of the TAPS Men's Program and leads a variety of programming including workshops during Survivor Seminars, Men's Programs, Expeditions, and Special Events. Gabriel creates an environment that is safe and encouraging for all TAPS Survivors no matter where they are in their journey of grief. As a survivor who honors the life and death of his brother Elijah J.M. Rao and of his wife's late husband, Jack Martin III. Gabriel understands intimately well the challenges and gifts of life after loss.

 

Session: When To Lead and How To Follow in Your Grief Journey


 

Denise Rollins

Denise Hall Brown Rollins, PhD

Dr. Rollins is a master life coach, speaker and executive director of the Whole Heart Grief & Life Resource Center in Frederick, Maryland, where her team offers one-on-one coaching and group support services. She holds a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and a masters in thanatology. In addition, at the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home in Maryland, she partners with her husband, Gary, in managing the business and providing aftercare services. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate America, where her roles included training, human resources and diversity. Denise's personal experience with loss changed her career path. She is author of 2Grieve 2Gether: A Journal from the Heart Helping Survivors & Supporters Navigate the Healing Process, an autobiographical account of her own grief journey. Denise teaches a course on Death, Dying and Bereavement at Frederick Community College. She serves as a member of the TAPS Advisory Board and also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation Autism and Grief Project.

 

Session: Love After Loss


 

Kim Ruocco

 

Kim Ruocco, MSW

Kim Ruocco develops comprehensive, peer-based programs that offer comfort and care to all those who are grieving the loss of a service member to suicide. Kim also provides suicide prevention education and is an internationally renowned speaker, providing trainings to both military and civilian audiences. Kim is a military widow; her husband, Marine Major John Ruocco, was a decorated Marine Cobra helicopter pilot who died by suicide in 2005 while preparing for a second Iraq combat deployment. She holds a bachelor's degree in Human Services and a master's degree in Clinical Social Work.

 

Session: Traumatic Loss: Understanding and Healing


 

Joseph Silva

 

Joseph Silva

With 13 years in the financial services industry, including 5 at Prudential, Joe enjoys working with people from all walks of life to help prepare them for their financial future. He is an educator and a resource for his clients as he addresses their financial concerns in a collaborative manner. Joe hold a bachelor's degree from Campbell University. He served for 12 years in the United States Marine Corps.

 

Session: Managing Day-to-Day Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis

Heather Stang

 

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Heather Stang is a thanatologist and author of Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit, developed from her eight-week course, which uses mindfulness meditation, yoga, and journaling to help people who are grieving cope with loss, manage stress, and cultivate posttraumatic growth. Heather discovered yoga and mindfulness while she was the CEO of a web development company and diagnosed with a stress-related illness. These contemplative practices inspired her to live a life in service to others, and she became a suicide/crisis hotline call specialist in honor of her uncle who died by suicide when Heather was a child. Heather has led workshops for organizations including TAPS, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, and the Association of Death Education and Counseling. She is the founder of the Frederick Meditation Center in Maryland where she has a private practice and offers guided meditations.

 

Pre-recorded Session: 4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Start Feeling Like Yourself Again


 

Sharon Strouse

 

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT

Sharon Strouse is a board-certified art therapist and licensed clinical professional art therapist, author, teacher, facilitator, speaker, and survivor. Her world dramatically changed on Oct. 11, 2001, when her 17-year-old daughter, Kristin, ended her own life. Sharon's own process of meditation and collage making, in response to the trauma of loss, became a template for her work with others. She is a grief and bereavement specialist and national workshop presenter for TAPS. and the co-founder of the Kristin Rita Strouse Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting programs that increase awareness of mental health through education and the arts. She is a board member on the Johns Hopkins Medicine: Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In addition to national workshops, she leads weekly art therapy circles and spiritual and intuitive development circles for survivors of loss. She is the author of Artful Grief: A Diary of Healing.

 

Pre-Recorded Session: Artful Grief: Tapping into Creativity and Imagination

Carla Stumpf-Patton

 

Carla Stumpf-Patton, EDD, LMHC, NCC, FT, CCTP

Carla is the Senior Director, Suicide Postvention & Prevention for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. She has been with TAPS since 2008 and oversees programs and services provided to those impacted by suicide loss. She is the surviving spouse of Sgt. Richard Stumpf, an Active Duty Marine Corps Drill Instructor and Gulf War combat Veteran who died by suicide in 1994, several days before their only child was born. She is trained in Crisis Response Planning, Psychological Autopsy Investigations, and certified as an ASIST trainer in suicide first aid. Carla is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and Certified Fellow of Thanatology. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in professional mental health counseling, and a doctorate of education in counseling psychology for which she completed her dissertation research on military families bereaved by suicide. She is remarried to a retired U.S. Marine, also a suicide survivor widower, with whom she shares five children.

 

Session: Traumatic Loss: Understanding and Healing


 

Kimberly Taylor

 

Kimberly Taylor

Kimberly serves as the Manager of TAPS Youth Programs, providing direct support to families and children, developing age appropriate curriculum standards for grief work and coping skills, and creating and setting systems in place for Youth Programs. She has always had a love for the care of children having worked as a nanny, a dance instructor, supporting children on the autism spectrum in group home settings, and directing a Parent As Teachers program. Kimberly first came to TAPS as a survivor after her fiancee, SSG Josh Rath, was KIA January 8, 2009 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. After receiving much care and support from TAPS, Kimberly became a peer mentor to other survivors, and a volunteer. She earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology, and her Masters in Clinical Psychology with a focus on children and adolescents. Kimberly currently lives in Alabama where she enjoys outdoor activities and anything to do on the water.

 

Session: Family Project - The Legacy of Us


 

William Wagasy

 

William Wagasy

William Wagasy, a former Notre Dame football player under Coach Lou Holtz, William graduated with an accounting degree and a second major in philosophy in 1996. He went on to receive his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University in 2000 and his master’s in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine in 2001. Following the attacks of 9/11, he enlisted in the Navy. He is a decorated U.S. Navy SEAL, having completed four combat tours from 2002 to 2012, three to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. After his time in the Navy, he served as the Director of Veterans Outreach for the Gary Sinise Foundation and continues to be an official ambassador for the foundation as well as sitting on the Advisory Board for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, the Board Council for Hope for the Warriors, the West Coast Host Committee for the Navy SEAL Foundation and also on the Selection Committee for the Orange County Community Foundation's veteran initiative. Today he is the Vice President of National Sales, National Commercial Services for Commonwealth Land Title Company as well as for Fidelity National Title Group for Home Builder Services.

Justin Yopp

 

Justin M. Yopp, PhD

Dr. Yopp is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  As a member of UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program, Dr. Yopp offers psychotherapy, assessment, and consult-liaison services for both pediatric oncology and adult oncology populations at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital.  Dr. Yopp also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program, which supports parents who have lost a spouse or partner and are raising children on their own. In addition to offering support groups, the program has a website resource for parents and professionals and conducts research to learn how best to support grieving families. Dr. Yopp co-authored the book, The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life (Oxford University Press), which weaves together contemporary thinking on grief, adaptation and resiliency with the story of the men from their first parent support group.  After earning his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his doctoral degree from Central Michigan University, Dr. Yopp completed his internship and fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Yopp served as a psychologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

 

Session: Love After Loss