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

Session: Rooted in Hope; Connected in Love

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).


 

Audri Beugelsdijk

 

Audri Beugelsdijk

Session: Finding the Meaning in Your Grief

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.


 

Dr. Frank Campbell

 

Frank Campbell, PhD, LCSW, CT

Sessions: Saturday Wrap-up | Parenting Panel 

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. 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.


 

Susan Carron

 

Susan Carron

Session: Parenting Panel

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.


 

Bob Delany

 

Bob Delaney

Session: Out from the Shadows, My Healing Journey

Bob Delaney was a highly decorated New Jersey State Trooper who infiltrated organized crime in the 1970's. He experienced post-traumatic stress as a result of that three (3) year undercover investigation. His healing journey came as a referee of the game he played in high school and college - basketball. Delaney became an NBA official (1987-2011), having officiated more than 1,600 regular season games and 210 playoff games, including nine NBA Finals and the 1998 and 2011 NBA All-Star games. Delaney served in a variety of management roles and as NBA Vice President Referee Operations / Director of Officials (2012-2017). He currently serves as an SEC Special Advisor and an NBA Cares Ambassador. He has received the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award; Armed Forces Foundation Leadership Award; President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award; U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal; National Association Sports Officials Gold Whistle award. Additionally, Delaney, a 2006 New Jersey City University Hall of Fame inductee, was honored with the NCAA's most prestigious lifetime award during the 2020 NCAA Convention. The "Teddy" is the highest honor the NCAA may confer on an individual and Delaney was the first-ever recipient from a college or university in the state of New Jersey, the 10th from an NCAA Division III institution and only the second from a Division III public school. The award had previously been presented upon four United States presidents—Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Other notable winners of the award include politicians, presidential cabinet members, Olympians, astronauts, sports commissioners and professional head coaches. The award is given annually to an individual who exemplifies the ideals of college sports. First presented in 1967, past recipients include some of the most well-known Americans of the last 100 years. Delaney has published two books: Covert: My Years Infiltrating the Mob released in 2008, and Surviving the Shadows: A Journey of Hope into Post-Traumatic Stress followed in 2011. Bob Delaney has presented around the world on leadership and post trauma experiences. He earned a Master of Arts in Leadership from St. Mary's College of California 2010 and completed studies at The Harvard University Global Mental Health Trauma and Recovery Certificate Program 2020.


 

Dr. Ken Doka

 

Ken Doka, PhD, MDiv

Session: The Uniqueness of Your Grief

Dr. Doka is Senior Bereavement Consultant to Hospice Foundation of America and a TAPS Advisory Board member. He is the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC). He is a prolific author, editor, and lecturer; past president of ADEC; and a member and past chair of the International Work Group on Death, Dying, and Bereavement (IWG). 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.


 

Kerry Garland

 

Kerry Garland

Session: Virtual Family Campfire, S’mores, and Stories

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 Gordon, MD

Session: A Trauma Healing Diet

James Gordon, a Harvard educated psychiatrist, is a world-renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School, and served as Chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Dr. Gordon has created groundbreaking programs of comprehensive mind-body healing for physicians, medical students, and other health professionals; for people with cancer, depression and other chronic illnesses; and for traumatized children and families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, Gaza, Haiti, and Syrian refugees in Jordan; in post-9/11 New York and post-Katrina southern Louisiana; with Native Americans on Pine Ridge Reservation, and for veterans and active duty military. He is the author of The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma and Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression.


 

Bill Hoy

Bill Hoy

Session: Grief after a Death from Illness

William G. Hoy, DMin, FT, has taught at Baylor University since the spring of 2012. Bill is widely regarded as an authority on the sociocultural history of funeral rites, the topic of his most recent book: Do Funerals Matter: The Purposes and Practices of Death Rituals in Global Perspective (Routledge, 2013). He brings nearly 20 years of clinical experience in palliative care to the Medical Humanities faculty, having directed pastoral care and bereavement programs at two southern California hospices. From 1985 to 1995, Dr. Hoy served as a pastor in the Los Angeles area. Besides teaching at Baylor, he is a popular lecturer for groups of caregiving professionals around the United States and Canada, delivering about 40 keynote presentations and workshops every year. His books include Guiding People through Grief (Compass, 2007) and Road to Emmaus (2008). He has also authored more than 100 book chapters, educational pamphlets and journal articles over the last 25 years, including a chapter on African American celebrity funerals for a forthcoming book to be published by University of Quebec Press.


 

Rachel Hunsell

 

Rachel Hunsell

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

As TAPS Expeditions Coordinator, Rachel leads and facilitates backcountry Expeditions, where she connects survivors with the healing power of the outdoors and encourages participants to reconnect with their inner strength by creating emotionally safAe 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.


 

Rayanne Hunter

 

Rayanne Hunter

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

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 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 their self again. Rayanne has hosted events, mentored, led workshops and grief care groups with TAPS since 2010. She also volunteers with Heroes on the Water, and privately works with individuals and small groups.


 

Erin Jacobson

 

Erin Jacobson

Sessions: Rooted in Hope; Connected in Love | Integration and Inspiration: Lessons from the Women's Empowerment Program

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

Session: Parenting Panel

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.


 

Renee Monczynski

 

Renee Monczynski

Sessions: I Served, Too | Goals, Grief & How Things Change | Family Project - The Legacy of Us

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

Session: Integration and Inspiration: Lessons from the Women's Empowerment Program

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.

Session: Finding the Meaning in Your Grief

Robert Neimeyer is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Memphis, where he also maintains an active clinical practice. Since completing his doctoral training at the University of Nebraska in 1982, he has published 30 books, including Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. Robert is currently working to advance a more adequate theory of grieving as a meaning-making process, both in his published work and through his frequent professional workshops for national and international audiences. The recipient of the MISS Foundation’s Phoenix Award: Rising to the Service of Humanity, Robert served as Chair of the International Work Group for Death, Dying, and Bereavement and President of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. He has been granted the Eminent Faculty Award by the University of Memphis, made a Fellow of the Clinical Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association, and given Lifetime Achievement Awards by both the Association for Death Education and Counseling and the International Network on Personal Meaning.


 

Eileen O'Grady

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

Session: Moving Forward with a Broken Heart

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.


 

Tony Paz

 

Tony Paz

Session: Virtual Family Campfire, S’mores, and Stories

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

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

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.


 

Denise Rollins

Denise Rollins, PhD

Session: Love After Loss

Denise Rollins is a master life coach, speaker and 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. In addition, she partners with her husband Gary in managing the business and providing aftercare services at the Gary L. Rollins Funeral Home in Maryland. She holds a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and a masters in thanatology. Dr. Rollins 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 and Supporters Navigate the Healing Process, an autobiographical account of her own grief journey.


 

Kim Ruocco

 

Kim Ruocco, MSW

Session: Traumatic Loss: Understanding and Healing

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.


 

Joseph Silva

 

Joseph Silva

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

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.


 

Heather Stang

 

Heather Stang, MA

Pre-recorded Session: 4 Things You Can Do Right Now To Start Feeling Like Yourself Again
Heather Stang is a thanatologist and mindfulness speaker along with the author of Mindfulness & Grief. Her focus on teaching others to use mindfulness-based techniques to reduce stress, cope with grief, and cultivate personal growth is inspired by her own journey of love, loss, and post-traumatic growth. She is best known for using present-moment awareness to relieve suffering, cope with loss, and eventually re-engage with life.  Heather developed a “Yoga for Grief” course, an 8 week program uniting yoga, meditation, journaling, expressive arts and death education.  She has a master's in Thanatology from Hood College and is the founder of the Frederick Meditation Center in Maryland. Heather is a public and keynote speaker, presenting for organizations such as National Fallen Firefighter’s Foundation, National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, LiveOnNY Organ Donation Network, Association of Death Education and Counseling, and the Maryland Library Association.


 

Sharon Strouse

 

Sharon Strouse, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT

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

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.


 

Carla Stumpf-Patton

 

Carla Stumpf-Patton, Ed.D., LMHC, NCC, FT, CCTP

Session: Traumatic Loss: Understanding and Healing

Carla 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 has been with TAPS since 2008 and oversees programs and services provided to those impacted by suicide loss. 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.


 

Kimberly Taylor

 

Kimberly Taylor

Session: Family Project - The Legacy of Us

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.


 

William Wagasy

 

William Wagasy

Session: Mental Resilience and the Courage to Be where You Are

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 ambassador for the foundation. 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

Session: Love After Loss

Dr. Yopp is a psychologist and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. Yopp directs the pediatric psycho-oncology consultation service within UNC’s Comprehensive Cancer Support Program. He also co-leads the Widowed Parent Program at UNC and is co-author of The Group: Seven Widowed Fathers Reimagine Life. Prior to UNC, Dr. Yopp worked at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.