Seminar Special Guests
Seminar Special Guests
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.
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López
SEAC Ramón "CZ" Colón-López is the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the most senior enlisted service member, by position, in the United States Armed Forces, and the principal military advisor to the Chairman on all matters involving joint and combined total force integration, utilization, health of the force, and joint development for enlisted personnel. SEAC Colón-López enlisted in the United States Air Force in December 1990. He has held assignments in U.S. Air Forces Europe, Air Combat Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Education and Training Command, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Special Operations Command, and Air Forces Central Command. He has deployed numerous times in support of operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, Resolute Support, Inherent Resolve, and to several other classified locations. Prior to assuming his current position, he served as the Command Senior Enlisted Leader for United States Africa Command.
Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks
Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks serves as the 35th Deputy Secretary of Defense; she was sworn into that office on February 9, 2021. Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, Dr. Hicks held the position of senior vice president, Henry A. Kissinger Chair, and Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. From 2009 to 2013, she served as a senior civilian official in the Department of Defense. Confirmed by the United States Senate in 2012 as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, she was responsible for advising the secretary of defense on global and regional defense policy and strategy. She also served as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces, leading the development of the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review and crafting guidance for future force capabilities, overseas military posture, and contingency and theater campaign plans. Prior to becoming the DUSD for SPF, from 2006 to 2009 Deputy Secretary Hicks was a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Deputy Secretary Hicks launched her career as a civil servant in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, serving from 1993 to 2006 in a variety of capacities and rising from Presidential Management Intern to the Senior Executive Service. Dr. Hicks holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.A. from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Affairs, and an A.B. magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Mount Holyoke College.
General Daniel R. Hokanson
General Daniel R. Hokanson serves as the 29th Chief of the National Guard Bureau and as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he serves as a military adviser to the President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and is the Department of Defense’s official channel of communication to the Governors and State Adjutants General on all matters pertaining to the National Guard. He is responsible for ensuring the more than 453,000 Army and Air National Guard personnel are accessible, capable and ready to protect the homeland and provide combat ready resources to the Army and Air Force. General Hokanson served previously as the Director of the Army National Guard, and earlier as the 11th Vice Chief of the National Guard Bureau. General Hokanson graduated from the United States Military Academy and served on active duty in Air Cavalry, Attack Helicopter and Aircraft Test organizations prior to joining the Oregon National Guard. He has commanded at the company, battalion and brigade combat team levels, and served as the 30th Adjutant General of the State of Oregon. General Hokanson also served as the Deputy Commander of U.S. Northern Command, and Vice Commander, U.S. Element, North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. His combat deployments include Operations JUST CAUSE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. He commanded the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team in Iraq and served as Chief of Staff for Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix in Afghanistan. General Hokanson was also a member of the United States World Helicopter Team and founded the National Guard’s first Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) and Military Air Rescue Team (MART) program where he commanded nearly 100 air rescue and fire-fighting missions throughout the Pacific Northwest.
RX (Robert) Fogarty
RX (Robert) Fogarty founded Dear World in 2010 and is now a sought after advisor to companies, non-profit organizations and universities who believe a requirement to high performing teams is an individual’s ability to share and listen to stories with skill and sincerity. Fogarty has traveled the world interviewing, coaching and photographing extraordinary people including Syrian refugees, Boston marathon bombing survivors, national champion athletes, Fortune 100 CEOS, college students and even his elementary school’s current students. Fogarty is a graduate of the University of Oregon, was born in Omaha, Nebraska and tells people he came of age in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Chef Robert Irvine
Robert Irvine is a 16 year Navy veteran, world-class chef, fitness authority, and philanthropist. He seeks to inspire people to live better through all his endeavors. A tireless supporter of our veterans, he gives back to those who defend our freedoms. Robert pioneered a new genre of programming for Food Network with his extreme cooking challenge show, Dinner: Impossible, which ran for 7 seasons and over 100 episodes. He parlayed that success into the even more popular Restaurant: Impossible, which ran for 13 seasons and 160 episodes. Robert didn’t just renovate restaurants and retrain staff in record time, he counseled owners through personal problems that were destroying their businesses. At its peak, 1.2 million viewers tuned in on a weekly basis. Robert has also hosted or appeared on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, Next Iron Chef, Restaurant Express, Chopped: Impossible, Guy’s Grocery Games: Impossible, A Hero’s Welcome, Food Network Star, ABC’s Body of Proof, ABC Family’s Melissa and Joey among others.
Secretary Denis R. McDonough
Denis R. McDonough serves as the 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Secretary McDonough served in the Obama Administration as the 26th White House Chief of Staff from February 2013 to January 2017. Mr. McDonough was Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from October 2010 to January 2013. He also served as the Chief of Staff of the National Security Staff and as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications. He chaired the National Security Council’s Deputies Committee, leading the multiagency team to address complex challenges including crisis management and national security policymaking. And throughout his service in the White House, Secretary McDonough helped lead the Obama-Biden administration’s work on behalf of military families and Veterans. Before his eight-year tenure in the White House, Secretary McDonough served in senior leadership and policymaking positions in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Professional Staff Member on the International Relations Committee and in the U.S. Senate for Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Ken Salazar. Since his White House tenure, Secretary McDonough was Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame, Senior Advisor and Senior Principal at the Markle Foundation, and on the board of directors of the National Democratic Institute, the Tent Partnership for Refugees, and the SAFE Project, a national nonprofit working to end the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic. Secretary McDonough grew up in Minnesota in a family of 11 children, graduated from St. Johns University in Collegeville, Minnesota, and earned his master's degree from Georgetown University.
General Mark A. Milley
General Mark A. Milley is the 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, and the principal military advisor to the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council. Prior to becoming Chairman on October 1, 2019, General Milley served as the 39th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. A native of Massachusetts, General Milley graduated from Princeton University in 1980, where he received his commission from Army ROTC. General Milley has had multiple command and staff positions in eight divisions and Special Forces throughout the last 39 years to include command of the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division; the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division; Deputy Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Commanding General, 10th Mountain Division; Commanding General, III Corps; and Commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command. While serving as the Commanding General, III Corps, General Milley deployed as the Commanding General, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command and Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. General Milley’s joint assignments also include the Joint Staff operations directorate and as a Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. General Milley’s operational deployments include the Multi-National Force and Observers, Sinai, Egypt; Operation Just Cause, Panama; Operation Uphold Democracy, Haiti; Operation Joint Endeavor, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq; and three tours during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. He also deployed to Somalia and Colombia. In addition to his bachelor’s degree in political science from Princeton University, General Milley has a master’s degree in international relations from Columbia University and one from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies. He is also a graduate of the MIT Seminar XXI National Security Studies Program.
Kyra Phillips in an Investigative Correspondent for ABC News. She joined the network in April, 2018. An award-winning journalist, Phillips joined CNN in 1999 anchoring Live From, CNN Newsroom, American Morning, and moved to HLN in 2012 to anchor Raising America with Kyra Phillips, a daily interactive, investigative program that focused on news impacting the modern American family. She also led the network's 2012 election coverage. Throughout her career, Phillips has garnered exclusive interviews with some of the world's most public figures. Phillips has won two Peabody awards, six Emmy awards, and two Edward R. Murrow awards for investigative reporting. Additionally, she has won numerous Golden Microphones and other honors including the Bill Stout Memorial Award for enterprise reporting. Kyra Phillips has been a supporter of TAPS for many years most notably the co-host of TAPS Honor Guard Gala.
The U.S. Army Band Downrange
Downrange supports the men and women of the Armed Services through popular music while reaching all audiences, young and old, with their continuously up-to-date repertoire of rock, pop, country, R & B, and inspirational signature patriotic arrangements that are popular with all listeners.