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Our North Star

Give an Hour envisions a society in which every individual is equipped with the knowledge, resources, and opportunities to take charge of their mental health journey. We promote self-awareness, self-care, and self-advocacy that empowers individuals to make informed decisions and actively participate in their own mental well-being. Together, we will ensure every individual has the opportunity to live a mentally healthy, fulfilling, and meaningful life.

Our Mission

Give an Hour’s mission is to develop resilient individuals and communities; to grow our social impact through responsive, scalable, individualized mental health programs aimed at closing access and delivery gaps to mental health care.

“Being part of a team of staff and volunteers working to address the mental health crisis our country is experiencing is profoundly humbling and motivating.”

Dr. Trina ClayeuxCEO of Give an Hour

Staff

Program Manager

Amanda Abrenillo-Oliveira

Amanda’s background is in people services and resolutions across a range of industries. In recent years, her education in Psychology and Conflict Management drew her to the non-profit world where she has dedicated herself to delivering unique learning and connection experiences. From navigating organizational change, to empowering students and volunteers, leading daring conversations, and building diverse communities, Amanda has piloted a variety of adventures and is excited to contribute to Give an Hour’s impact.

Amanda finds joy in building relationships, promoting progress and inclusion, and creating safe spaces for expression and being. As an advocate for success through wellness, she strives to amplify achievement and fuel positive transformation in others.

Amanda is a developing foodie, enjoys creative projects, and nothing makes her laugh harder than dance parties with her young son.

Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Trina Clayeux

Dr. Trina Clayeux brings a wealth of executive experience in workforce development and mental health to her role as CEO of Give an Hour. With a proven history of visionary leadership and innovation, she has made significant contributions in enhancing access and the delivery of vital services within her field. Her career spans various impactful roles, including tenure as Chief Operations Officer for social impact organizations, director and assistant dean for community college systems, and multistate coordination of a Department of Defense base realignment event and a national corporate network for military spouse employment. Having herself been a military and veteran spouse for many years, she possesses an innate understanding of the distinctive challenges and opportunities inherent in this community, making her a dedicated advocate for their personal and professional growth.

Dr. Clayeux holds a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University, a Master of Public Administration from Portland State University, and multiple certifications that underscore her commitment to excellence in her field. She has received recognition from esteemed organizations such as the National Association of Development Boards for her innovative approaches and the Sailing Award for leadership excellence.

Moreover, Dr. Clayeux's fervent dedication to knowledge sharing and catalyzing positive change has led her to present at numerous state and national conferences. Her presentations have covered topics that include optimizing employer and employee performance through person-centric design, to cultivating trauma-informed workplaces, and implementing contextual mental health practices that foster social connections and high-performance outcomes.

In her present role at Give an Hour, Dr. Clayeux continues to harness her executive acumen, profound expertise, and unyielding commitment to enhancing lives, grounded in the belief that each one of us can contribute to the betterment of mental health. For Life.

In her downtime, she enjoys athletic activities and completed a full Ironman, two half Ironman’s and hundreds of running events. She remains active with her husband, a retired veteran of 26 years, and two children.

Program Manager Provider Relations

Andrea Cobb Jenette

Andrea started her position as program coordinator, providers relations, in November 2021. She is passionate about seeing growth in the mental health field and is excited to join the provider relations team.

Andrea has always had an aptitude for assisting others from a young age. Throughout her life, she recognized how important mental health awareness is to our society. With life experience combined with professional experience, she strives to improve the mental health field nationally. For the past ten years, Andrea has been dedicated to aiding providers in our community by offering support, resources, training, and information. Andrea has an extensive background working with mental health providers, assisting with practice setup and policy mandates. She has conducted several volunteer seminars on a state level and has held leadership roles through government-mandated programs. She thoroughly enjoys making a positive impact on the world and hopes to accomplish even more with the Give An Hour team.

In her free time, she searches for ways to better her community and likes to paint, read, go on nature walks and spend time with her family.

Chief Operating Officer

Jessica Grove

Jessica Grove is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Give an Hour. She joined the Give an Hour team in 2009, but her role has grown and changed in many ways over her time here. Jess currently oversees the day to day operations of the organization to include finances, human resources, program management and much more.

Her people skills and deep knowledge of all things Give an Hour and our many volunteer providers, partners, and collaborators make her the perfect person for this leadership role. Jess came to Give an Hour from the professional theater world where she spent many years as a professional Stage Manager and Production Manager. She considers herself a compassionate and dedicated self-starter. Jess is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a very proud Tar Heel. When she’s not working, she and her husband are strong advocates for families built through adoption and for families with children with all types of special needs. And they enjoy traveling and watching baseball, especially the Baltimore Orioles, with their three children.

Program Manager

Ashley Keaton

Ashley Keaton is a dedicated Program Manager at Give an Hour. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from North Carolina State University, Ashley is motivated by her passion for mental health growth and community development. 

In her role as Program Manager, Ashley excels in strategic implementation and collaborative partner engagement. Her primary goal is to ensure that her work at Give an Hour is not only effective but also deeply impactful. With a natural talent for leadership and a steadfast focus on measurable outcomes, she is committed to making a tangible difference in the lives of those served by the organization. Ashley is deeply committed to mental health advocacy. She has completed courses in Racial Equity, ACES, trauma-informed care, and more, all aimed at enhancing her ability to support individuals and communities in their mental health journeys.

Beyond her professional responsibilities, Ashley is often spotted with a generous cup of coffee in hand. She’s an avid reader, a passionate writer, and a courageous explorer of new places. These personal interests align seamlessly with her professional mindset, where she constantly seeking to learn, adapt, and grow. As Program Manager at Give an Hour, Ashley Keaton’s dedication to improving lives through community outreach and support shines through in every facet of her work. 

Program Manager

Molly Maurer

Molly was first introduced to Give an Hour by attending our weekly support groups for Route 91 and Borderline Bar and Grill survivors. In March 2020, she became the Peer Lead for the Route 91 Heals TIPS Peer Support project. During that time, she helped guide a group of fellow survivors through Peer Support training and continues to co-facilitate this group in the program. In January 2021, she became the Project Coordinator for the Route 91 Heals project. In this role she provided psycho-education opportunities, co-facilitated Peer Support groups, and uses her own experience with mass shootings to help support the Route 91 Heals team to expand and grow. In July 2023, Molly transitioned to a Give an Hour Program Manager – using her expertise in peer support training and facilitation to impact all priority populations.

She enjoys doing anything outside and loves to show her daughter the beauty of the outdoors.

Director, PR & Communications

Kristin Richardson, MA

Kristin joined Give an Hour in 2012 and has served a number of roles during her tenure.  Kristin has an MA in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University and a BA in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Before joining the GAH staff, she was the Senior Analyst in the Background Check Unit at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  She lives with her husband, five children, and dog in Greenville, S.C.

Director, Program Development

Julie Wells

Julie Wells joined the Give an Hour team in August 2022 as a consultant exploring the impact of peer support in the healing of survivors of mass violence. In May 2023, she returned to Give an Hour to elevate the supports for rare caregivers and in September 2023, transitioned into the role of Director of Program Development.

For 30 years, from community advocacy to institutional change, Julie has immersed herself in non-profit culture and issues that affect disenfranchised populations.She began her career working with students with developmental disabilities, moved into work with students in the criminal justice system and has created replicated models of programs that support the most vulnerable populations in central North Carolina. Julie is also the founder of the UNITY Fellowship, a capacity building and strategic leadership development program for nonprofit leaders designed to address the over-saturation and underdevelopment of the non-profit community. Through the creation of the UNITY Fellowship, she worked with 30 small non-profits- mostly led by women and BIPOC Executive Directors- to define their theory of change, their impact, and how to create funding strategies and growth metrics that are sustainable. She has led 2 successful non-profit mergers and spent 18 months with the Latino Community Credit Union leading community impact and partnership development.

Julie is also the mother to two powerful young women and spends every moment she can in the mountains of North Carolina around backyard fires, hiking local trails and living as simply as possible.

Content & Design Manager

Rebekah Wilbur

Originally from the UK, Rebekah joined Give an Hour as executive assistant to the CEO in July 2019 and more recently has expanded her role as a graphic designer for the nonprofit.

With a Bachelors’s degree in Music Performance, Rebekah is currently enrolled in the University of West London Online where she is studying for a post-graduate certificate in Music Therapy. An avid musician and songwriter, Rebekah spends her free time teaching piano as part of a virtual teaching academy and writing with a songwriting team for sync placement opportunities in TV, Film, and Advertising.

Marketing & Social Media Manager

Ryan Young

The story of Ryan Young is one defined by a passionate commitment to mental health advocacy, a journey shaped by both personal experiences and professional expertise. Ryan’s career began amidst the bustling streets of New York City, where he honed his skills in retail management and NYFW events, and later, in the vibrant city of Tampa, Florida. His educational background in Art and Digital Movie Production studies infused his career with creativity and a knack for storytelling.

However, it’s life’s profound moments that fuel Ryan’s dedication to mental health advocacy. The tragic loss of a close loved one to suicide and the heartbreaking experience of losing friends in the Pulse Mass shooting became transformative chapters in Ryan’s life. These experiences ignited a deep-seated desire to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and ensure accessible care for all.

Ryan’s journey ultimately led him to Give An Hour, where marketing became his vehicle for change and community connection. At Give An Hour, he strives to make mental health care accessible and stigma-free. Moreover, Ryan’s extensive experience as a board member for organizations like Balance Tampa Bay, where he served for eight years with five of those years in executive roles, including President, demonstrates his profound dedication to community leadership. He has also contributed his insights during his three-year tenure on the board of Empath Partners In Care (EPIC) and is currently serving as a board member of the Epilepsy Services Foundation of Tampa where his focus is on the mental health of youth through art. In 2023, his remarkable achievements were further recognized when he received the prestigious Voice Award from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and was appointed as the Grand Marshal of St. Pete Pride, the largest pride parade in Florida.

Beyond his career, board roles, and recent accolades, Ryan and his partner share a love for exploring the world. In his spare time, he finds joy and purpose in volunteering for numerous nonprofit organizations across Tampa Bay, giving back to the very community that has supported his journey.

Program Manager for Data, Evaluation, and Technology Integration

Robert Zarate Morales

Robert is the Program Manager for Data, Evaluation, and Technology Integration at Give an Hour. Known for his customer-first approach, he has led teams to modernize internal systems and external-facing platforms using new technology all while ensuring their impact. He is proficient across a wide range of technical tools and aims to integrate technology to expand mental health services for all.

Throughout his career, Robert has applied his expertise in data analytics and project management to drive positive change. His ability to leverage technology has resulted in innovative solutions that have advanced the missions of the various organizations with which he’s worked. Robert holds a degree in Psychology from Middlebury College and is a Certified Project Management Professional.

Board of Directors

Board Member

James Byrne

The Honorable James M. Byrne is the Vice President of Ethics & Business Conduct at Lockheed Martin Corporation. He was appointed and later confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs on August 28, 2018. He retired from federal service on February 3, 2020. As the Deputy Secretary, he led modernization initiatives and worked closely with the Secretary as the chief operating officer leading operations of the federal government’s second-largest Cabinet department, with some 385,000 employees in VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, national cemeteries, and other facilities throughout the country.

Previously, Mr. Byrne served as VA’s General Counsel, leading VA’s nationwide team of nearly 800 attorneys, paralegals, and staff who support VA’s mission and priorities by providing sound legal expertise, representation, and, as needed, critical problem-solving skills and risk-management advice to the Secretary and other senior VA leaders.

Before arriving at VA, Mr. Byrne served as Associate General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at Lockheed Martin Corporation, where he was also the company’s lead cyber and counterintelligence attorney. He served for several years on the board of directors for Pacific Architects and Engineers. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Mr. Byrne served in the career Federal Senior Executive Service as Deputy Special Counsel with the Office of the United States Special Counsel, and as both the General Counsel and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Soon after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mr. Byrne was recalled to active duty for 18 months with the U.S. Marine Corps in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Lieutenant Colonel James Byrne was assigned as the Officer-in- charge of the Marine Liaison Office at the then-National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Byrne led teams of Marines in DC-metro-area military hospitals and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, that were responsible for supporting injured and deceased Marines, Sailors, and their families.

Mr. Byrne has over 25 years of experience in the public sector, including service as a forward deployed Marine Corps Infantry Officer and a U.S. Department of Justice international narcotics prosecutor. Mr. Byrne’s professional honors include several DOJ awards and The Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator’s Award for Exceptional Service. He is also a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism and several military decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal.

Volunteering in his community, Mr. Byrne has extensive experience on several non-profit and advisory boards. Until August 2017, Mr. Byrne’s most recent professional engagements included service on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Board and the International Association of Privacy Professionals Board of Directors. For ten years, Mr. Byrne volunteered on the Executive Board of Give an Hour, a non- profit organization that has developed national networks of volunteer professionals capable of providing complimentary and confidential mental health services in response to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society, beginning with the mental health needs of post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families.

Mr. Byrne is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received an engineering degree and, ultimately, held the top leadership position of Brigade Commander. Mr. Byrne later earned his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, and started his legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Malcolm J. Howard, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina.

Board Treasurer

Patricia L. Bowditch

SVP, U.S. Operations, Kolaghassi Capital. Former president of Dinwiddie Enterprises, Inc, a single- family office dedicated to providing wealth management and estate planning services. From 2002 through 2010, she was the principal of Bowditch & Associates, LLC, an outsourced financial services company, providing CFO and management services to businesses, primarily in the family wealth management, real estate, and association industries. Prior to founding Bowditch & Associates, Ms. Bowditch was the chief financial officer of several companies in the real estate and construction industries. She has also been responsible for the financial oversight of nonprofit organizations and private charitable foundations. She began her career in public accounting, spending 12 years at Arthur Andersen in its Commercial Audit Division. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Indiana University and is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).
Chairman of the Board

Sean Howard

Sean Howard, Global Managing Director, WPP Government & Public Sector Practice: Give an Hour Chairman of the Board. He responsible for identifying and pursuing government business worldwide within WPP. The WPP Government and Public Sector Practice works with governments and public sector organizations around the world, pioneering the application of excellence in public communications to the challenges of public policy delivery. He advises WPP agencies on federal, national and provincial, or statewide bid opportunities and manages the acquisition process that is specialized for successfully placing WPP agencies with government agencies in need of their services.

Sean also acts as the WPP Team Lead for the U.S. Navy business and regularly meets with senior Navy personnel to advise them on non-traditional marketing programs to further define the Navy brand and ultimately drive to the Navy’s annual recruiting mission.

Sean has worked across the marketing spectrum from small digital agencies to global digital, CRM, and traditional agencies and networks.

Board Member

Vice Admiral John Nowell, Jr. (Ret.)

John Nowell is a Senior Principal at McChrystal Group, an industry leader in management and leadership development consulting, where he leads the firm’s Federal practice.

John retired from the U.S. Navy in 2022 as a Vice Admiral after more than 38 years on active duty.  His experience includes multiple overseas tours leading large joint and multinational teams and conducting international negotiations.  His operational tours spanned the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets to include commanding forward deployed naval forces homeported in Europe and the Western Pacific.  A Surface Warfare Officer, he commanded at every level including command of an AEGIS Guided Missile Destroyer, a Destroyer Squadron, Combined and Joint Task Forces and an Expeditionary Strike Group.  Ashore, he has extensive experience on Capitol Hill with congressional liaison and coordination as well as the development and operationalization of the Navy’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Programs.  Significant experience in Human Resources culminating as the Chief of Naval Personnel in charge of all talent acquisition, management, and workforce development for over 400,000 personnel with a global workforce of 26,000 and an annual budget over $35B.  Led transformation and modernization of Navy’s workforce development and HR Service Delivery process and service-wide efforts in leveraging Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as the Navy’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.  He conceptualized and effected a focus on Cultural transformation.

He sits on the Boards of the Abrams Marine Group, the Navy Memorial Foundation and the Give an Hour Foundation.

John is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering, and he holds a Master of Science in Weapons Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.  He is a published author in the U.S. Naval Institute’s PROCEEDINGS journal, a keynote speaker at the UVA Darden School’s “Strategic Thinking Course” and was recognized by the 2021 Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) Legacy in Leadership and Vision Award.

Board Member

Edward Schiff

Edward Schiff is currently Senior Counsel at the law firm of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP in its Washington, D.C. office.

Ed was born and raised in New York City, starting his educational career at Pennsylvania State University, where he was a member of the Skull & Bones Honor Society and Chairman of the Student Judiciary Board. He continued his education at the School of Law at Washington and Lee University, where he earned his law degree, Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif. In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, he was also President of the Law School Student Body. After graduating from law school, Ed clerked for the Honorable John Minor Wisdom, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, La. Ed led the opening of the Washington, D.C. office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, a 700 person international AM LAW 100 law firm with offices in California (7), New York, Illinois, Washington D.C., London, Brussels, Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul. Mr. Schiff served as the Managing Partner of the Washington, D.C. office for its first ten years. Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Ed was a partner in the Corporate Practice Group of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in its Washington, D.C. office and then, after leaving that firm, was Managing Partner for the D.C. office of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, a Philadelphia-based law firm. Mr. Schiff is a frequent guest speaker and panelist on finance structuring, mergers and acquisitions, and negotiating strategies.

Board Member

Robert Scott

Rob Scott joined Birdon America in November 2021 as the President of their operations in the U.S. Prior to that he held a variety of executive management and operational roles with Bechtel Group Inc. In his last role with Bechtel, Rob helped set up and lead Bechtel’s Operational Technology Cybersecurity Business Unit. In addition, during 2020 he also led Bechtel’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Team answering a national call for help in planning and responding to the pandemic through Alternate Care Facilities.

Prior to joining Bechtel in 2011, Rob had a distinguished 21-year career in the United States Marine Corps. Rob graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science, from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He is also a certified Project Management Professional from the Project Management Institute and served as a Commandant of the Marine Corps Fellow (Executive Fellowship) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Rob has also received numerous honors and awards including the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star medals. Rob volunteers to help transitioning veterans find apprenticeships in the construction field.

Rob currently lives in Houston, TX with his wife Gabriela and together they have four children.

Board Member

Patricia Toledo

Patricia Toledo built her career at the intersection of product innovation, business development, leadership, and tech at financial services, education technology, and social impact companies.

Successfully launching and managing for-profit businesses, and non-profit organizations of $10M – $1B+ P&L, in the US, Europe, and Latin America. She brings 20 years of experience as a strategic & operational leader with a demonstrated track record of building successful products and high caliber teams. Patricia is a lifelong learner. A self-starter with an entrepreneurial mindset, ability to scale businesses, and great passion for mission-driven organizations.

In 2022, she believes we will see a larger focus on ensuring quality mental health care reaches all populations in need, with greater emphasis on access and cost-effectiveness. Now is a good time to expand GAH’s program portfolio, reach, and social impact.

Board Member

Ross K. Whitmore

Ross Whitmore (Lt. Colonel, USAF, Ret.) was the first openly gay Commander at the Air Force Special Operations Headquarters. He faced many personal and professional challenges because of this deliberate decision, but still successfully fulfilled his duties as a Commander. His openness provided a safe space for many colleagues to share their own struggles and led to a public speaking invitation by the Gay-Straight Alliance to share his struggles of living under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

During his career as an officer in the Air Force Medical Corp, Ross provided Command level leadership, policy development, and disaster intervention. Ross has served as Medical Commander in the 1st Special Operations Wing, additionally, he created the 27th Special Operations Wing Clinical and Operational Psych Support Program and was the first-ever Air Force Social Worker selected for both the elite Survival Evasion Resistance Escape training and the Special Operations Combat Rescue Officer Selection Cadre. Overseeing screening and selection of elite operators to rescue US service members stranded behind enemy lines.

As a member of the Surgeon General’s staff for the largest Major Command, Ross was responsible for all mental health services for 13 Bases. Concerned with the rising suicide rate within the Air Force, Ross assembled a task force to develop policy and protocol for the command to care for suicidal and other high-risk service members and their families. This policy mandated close coordination with the base mental health clinic, civilian medical resources, and the supervisor and Commander of the service member. This policy and protocol were then adopted as the standard of care for the entire Air Force in managing high-risk service members.

Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in Educational Psychology with a Major in Special Education from Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from The Ohio State University. After joining the Air Force, he continued his education with Graduate Level Senior Professional Education at the Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. Ross retired from active duty in 2016. He is the proud father of two daughters.

Founder

Founder

Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.

Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen is the founder of Give an Hour and the former executive director of the PREVENTS Presidential Executive Order Task Force. She is currently the chief executive officer of WeBe Life, a digital health company focused on improving global mental health and well-being.

Named to TIME magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, Dr. Van Dahlen is a renowned clinical psychologist and mental health consultant who built the first all-of-government and whole-of-nation effort focused on suicide prevention for Veterans. As a key element of the PREVENTS effort, Dr. Van Dahlen developed the first national public health campaign focused on suicide prevention for all Americans.

Dr. Van Dahlen is widely recognized for her work in changing the culture associated with mental health to remove barriers and increase access to care. She has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and TIME and has been interviewed by major media outlets such as AP, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, USA Today, CNN, NPR, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Newshour, and such military media outlets as Stars & Stripes, AUSA Magazine, and the Pentagon Channel.

Ambassadors

Filmmaker- Messenger of Hope

ERIC CHRISTIANSEN

Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who has built his life’s work around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires and most importantly heals. Christiansen, a seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, explores the impact of trauma; how we adapt to grief; the resilience of the human spirit; and how a powerful platform for hope can help trauma survivors begin the vigilant journey of healing. A trauma survivor himself, Christiansen worked through the loss of his home and possessions in the Painted Cave Fire by creating his first film Faces in the Fire over 25 years ago.
All of his films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually and physically by trauma. Leveraged as educational tools by top mental health institutions, Christiansen’s films migrate from the entertainment arena into environments that help additional audiences navigate the profound collateral damage trauma creates not only on the individual, but the family and community as well.  
Christiansen’s current feature documentary “unMASKing HOPE” premiered on public television October 2022.
Throughout his career, Christiansen has worked on both commercial and cause-driven projects, and produced for major networks including Discovery, TLC, PBS, MTV and an Imax film. He’s appeared on 50 podcasts in 10 countries discussing his work.
unMASKing Your HOPEFilm Resources
Special Operations Veteran

NICK O’KELLY

Nick O’Kelly is a Special Operations veteran, whose life is marked by dedication, adaptability, and resilience. Originally from Washington State, Nick’s journey began with a Special Forces enlisted contract, where he served as a Green Beret in the prestigious 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). His commitment to excellence led him to attend flight school, ultimately ascending to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3.

 

Nick’s versatility became evident as he transitioned from an enlisted Green Beret to a Warrant Officer and later served as a Special Operations Blackhawk Pilot in the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). With multiple combat and non-combat deployments worldwide, Nick honed invaluable skills in teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership in high-stakes environments.

 

Beyond his military achievements, Nick’s personal journey also highlights his resilience in facing mental health challenges. Nick went through a deep and dark depression in the latter years of his career, and he struggled alone for far too long. This experience ignited a passion in Nick to combat the stigma surrounding mental health in both military and civilian communities.

 

Residing in Charlotte, NC, Nick is not only a dedicated professional but also a family man. Married with two children, he finds joy in sports, outdoor activities, fitness, and quality time with friends and family. Nick brings a unique perspective and resume, combining diverse Special Operations experience, business acumen, and a commitment to fighting the stigmas surrounding mental health.

Passionate Advocate for Military and Veteran Family Caregivers

SHAWN MOORE

Shawn Moore serves as the Program Manager, Financial Wellness for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation where she supports financial and employment related initiatives, to include the Employer Task Force and emergency financial relief offerings. Shawn is an Alumna 2017 Dole Caregiver Fellow for Missouri, and has also assisted with the Foundation’s Respite Relief program.

 

Prior to becoming a caregiver to her husband who served for 23 years in the U.S. Army, Shawn served as a police officer for nearly 15 years with Kansas City, Missouri. She then obtained a Master of Social Work degree from Park University and is a Licensed Master Social Worker in both Missouri and Kansas. Prior to joining the Foundation, Shawn founded Operation Frontline Families (formerly Caregivers on the Homefront) where she stood up for mental health programming for veteran and military caregivers and their children.

 

Shawn is passionate about advocating for military and veteran caregivers and utilizes both her lived experience and education by presenting to national audiences on how communities can best support the family members of our veterans.

A Caregiver's JourneyThe Masks We Wear: I'm Fine
Former Two-time World Champion Boxer

SHOWTIME SEAN PORTER

Sean Christian Porter is a former American professional boxer. As a stand out amateur boxer, he represented the US on multiple world teams. He was a 2007 Pan-American Team Member, as well a 2008 Olympic Team Member. He is a former two-time welterweight world champion, having held the IBF title and the WBC title. He was particularly known for his aggressive pressure fighting style, physical strength and high work rate.

Outside of the boxing ring, Sean has a flourishing career as a boxing analyst and ringside commentator, working on multiple networks (FOX and NBC) and other platforms. He created The PorterWay Podcast in 2020 with two of his best friends and it is rapidly growing to become one of the best boxing podcast around. Sean Porter is heavily involved with the Las Vegas community and has stated “God gave me a heart to help and after boxing that’s what I intend to do… HELP”.

Beating the Odds
Play Video

Shawn's NFL Ad for Give an Hour

Author and Motivational Speaker

ALLEN SIMMONS

Allen Levi Simmons is a U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a survivor of a rocket propelled grenade blast. Allen is using his battle with PTS and suicidal thoughts to inspire and encourage survivors of trauma to live a purposeful life.

Upon completion of his B.S in Electrical Engineering Technology from UNC Charlotte, Allen began his career at IBM in 2021. His first role as a Software Support Engineer ended in 2023 and he has since taken on a new role as an AIOps Technical Sales Specialist for the Federal and Public Sector. In 2022 Allen was awarded by the Black Alumni Chapter of UNC Charlotte, the Excellence in Leadership award for his impact in the community and for inspiring purpose through The Purpose Pod podcast.

Allen’s published collection of poems titled Can I Speak? tells of stories from the lives of characters who face different adversities. He has evoked empathy and has inspired his readers to reflect on their own unique story. His motto has moved the hearts of those who desire motivation as they journey through life; it is a lifestyle and a mindset. “Never Stop, Never Quit, Repeat!”

Allen is the Founder of Live N Love Incorporate, Persist Motivational Clothing Co., Brunch and Ties, Brunch and Heels and AllenLeviSpeaks and creator of The Purpose Pod podcast.

A Veteran's ExperienceBeating the Odds
Play Video

Allen's NFL Ad for Give an Hour

Actor and Author

DON STEWART

Don Stewart, hailing originally from northern New Jersey, boasts a wide-reaching background that spans across the United States. He honed his skills as a Wide Receiver, competing in NCAA Division 1 football for both Stanford University and Wake Forest University. Beyond the gridiron, Don dedicates his off-season and spare time to coaching and mentoring high school athletes, guiding them towards success in both their athletic endeavors and personal lives.

Recently, Don has shifted his focus towards gaining a deep understanding of the potential of name, image, and likeness in empowering young student-athletes within his community. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in science and technology with a specialization in sports technology, supplemented by a Masters of Arts degree.

Adding to his diverse repertoire, Don showcased his talents beyond the field by portraying Reggie King in Season 2 of HBO’s Winning Time. Furthermore, he has made his mark as a published children’s author, demonstrating his multifaceted passions and talents.

Don’s decision to serve as an ambassador for Give an Hour stems from his dedication as a servant leader with a fervent commitment to sports, mental health, and community service. Recognizing the vital importance of prioritizing mental well-being, he embraces Give an Hour as a supportive platform that enables him to extend his reach to a wider audience in need of understanding the significance of mental health.

Actor and Author

STEPHANIE SZOSTAK

Stephanie Szostak, is an actress and author and speaks on overcoming failure, being an outsider and living with authenticity.

Szostak left her native France to study business and play varsity golf at the College of William & Mary. At 29 years old, after a few years at Chanel in NYC she took a leap and gave the acting world a try. Soon after she landed a role opposite Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Her most notable projects include the ABC hit series A Million Little ThingsIron Man 3, and Dinner for Schmucks.

As her career gained momentum, she battled with Impostor Syndrome which pushed her to address her mindset and develop her own ‘Playbook’ as a daily practice of Mental Fitness. In her book, Self!sh: Step Into a Journey of Self-Discovery to Revive Confidence, Joy, and Meaning, she guides readers in creating their own Personal Playbook for life—a tool to cultivate a resilient mindset and empower them on their unique journey of self-discovery, learning, and growth.

As part of her commitment to mental health, she donates half of her proceeds from the book to the mental health organization, Give an Hour.

SELF!SH
SELF!SHA Morning Boost for Your Mind

Once an Ambassador, Always a Supporter

Take a look at previous Ambassadors and how they made a difference during their time with Give an Hour.

BRYAN ABRAMS

Singer-Songwriter

Bryan Abrams is an internationally-recognized, two-time Grammy-nominated, American Music Award and two-time Soul Train Award-winning, R&B/pop singer-songwriter with over 12 million albums sold worldwide, three Billboard #1 Hot 100 and R&B hits and is an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame inductee. Bryan is best known around the world as the original lead singer, frontman and founding member of the 90’s crossover hit group Color Me Badd.

Having faced many public challenges including substance use disorders, a life-long battle with obesity and tensions within the group he founded, Abrams is painfully aware of the toll that being self-sacrificing can take on a person’s mental health. Abrams found himself at rock bottom due to his addictions, and was inspired to take his power back only by the desperation and disappointment he witnessed in the eyes of his wife and daughters. Having lived with addiction for over 25 years, Abrams has now put his focus on his mental and physical health, and is proudly in his third year of recovery. Abrams’ zest for music has returned and prompted him to dive into the vault of songs written and set aside over the decades.

KIMBERLY ABRAMS

Empath

Kimberly Abrams is an alumna of the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and a Honors graduate with a degree in Diversified Studies from Oklahoma City Community College. Kimberly spent her early career working as a national educator for a Fortune 500 company and, eventually, as business manager to her husband, R&B/pop singer-songwriter Bryan Abrams.
As a young girl, Kimberly was already familiar with what mental illness can look like. She witnessed the many struggles certain family members suffered as a result of being unfortunate recipients of antiquated mental health treatments, while others simply fell through the cracks of a broken, mental healthcare system. Later, as a married woman, Kimberly saw yet another ugly manifestation of untreated mental illness as she watched her husband battle substance use and eating disorders. She realized she would have to do something different than she ever had, that is, if she expected her husband to survive. She would need to become an active participant in his recovery, rather than wait for a sick person to get well alone . . . . and, it worked.
Mentally stronger than ever, Kimberly and her now-recovered husband Bryan reside in Oklahoma with their two daughters. Kimberly is a proud tribal citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a documented descendent of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Dr. CELESTINE LAVAN

Veteran, Champion and Servant Leader

Dr. Celestine LaVan is a member of the International Board of Directors of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated, where she serves as the Regional Director of the Southeastern Region. Dr. LaVan oversees the operations and membership activities of over 170 chapters in the United States, the Bahamas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Celestine holds a Psychology degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.

As part of her executive leadership training, Celestine had the privilege of attending the BB&T Leading Change Executive Institute and Closing the Achievement Gap Institute at Harvard University. As a public educator, Dr. LaVan considers herself a servant leader passionate about advocating for marginalized and underserved populations.

Uniquely situated as a Navy veteran and daughter, wife, and sister of combat service members, Celestine understands the importance of attending to the socio-emotional well-being of military families. Through leadership role within Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Dr. LaVan engages with over 400 active duty, retired, and prior servicewomen.

Multiple Hats, Influencing ManyHow Culture Impacts our Emotional Wellbeing
Mary-Ella Majetich, rare-disease caregiver and Give an Hour ambassador

MARY-ELLA MAJETICH

Mom, Wife and Advocate

Mary-Ella is a mom of three boys, two with medical issues growing up, but one who had much more serious medical needs when he was younger. Caring for her son and working with in-home nurses, she often found she didn’t know what questions to ask and had so much to learn. With the encouragement of a doctor and some nurses, Mary-Ella decided to earn her nursing degree and quickly fell in love with pediatric nursing.

After meeting her husband, who was severely injured in combat, Mary-Ella decided to leave pediatric nursing and applied to work at Veterans Affairs (VA). She couldn’t understand how the VA system worked and did not want to criticize what she didn’t know. Mary-Ella now serve as the Quality Manager for North Florida/South Georgia Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service.

She is finishing up Nurse Practitioner school, and proudly serves as an Elizabeth Dole Alumni. As an Elizabeth Dole Fellow Mary-Ella had the opportunity to participate in many projects, the Campaign for Inclusive Care (CIC) was one of them.

ELLE MARK

Dog Mom and Difference Maker

Gabrielle “Elle” Mark is an honors graduate from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse with her bachelor’s degree in Public Health & Community Health Education. During her undergraduate career, Elle spent a significant amount of time researching and performing health education programming surrounding the topics of mental health and wellness as well as the prevention of mental health crises.

Elle’s passion for promoting mental wellness stems from her personal experience with mental health disorders. In efforts to help others through the struggles she encountered with mental illness, Elle utilized her role as a local titleholder within the Miss America Organization to share her mental health journey and help to guide others through theirs.

Taking Care of Emotional HealthChildren Have Mental Health Too

ANNA SHINODA

Author

Anna Shinoda was raised in a mountain town so small it lacked a stoplight. She used to escape into the high branches of trees to read and dream of stories, out of reach from her own family skeleton. Eventually she climbed down with her debut novel, Learning Not to Drown, a story about a young girl who struggles to preserve her own identity amidst a chaotic, dysfunctional family unit.

Anna married musician Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park in 2003 and has led efforts with the band’s non-profit, Music For Relief, in the U.S. and abroad.

As a mental health advocate, before becoming an Ambassador she served as a senior advisor to Give an Hour for the Books Change Direction initiative, a campaign that strives to inspire responsible representation of mental health and illness in stories.

BOB STEAD

Husband, Father and Friend

Bob Stead earned his Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  Prior to earning his Master’s Bob served proudly in the United States Army as a Combat Medic.  A combination of life experience and academic endeavors have allowed Bob the ability to interact with people from all walks of life.

Bob has a unique perspective in today’s divided world in that he sees all people equally and works hard to maintain openness and honesty in all his relationships.   His passion is working with children that come from difficult places, and those struggling with trauma.  However, Bob has experience working with children, adolescents, teenagers, and adults.

Bob enjoys helping individuals overcome the myriad of conflicts they deal with in today’s ever evolving society.  Bob also has extensive training and experience in Crisis and Trauma with training in Disaster Response, Psychological First Aid, and Individual and Group Crisis Intervention.

Watch a Trauma DiscussionVolunteer Pulls Double Duty as Provider and Ambassador