Sarah Bernes,, MPH, LMSW
Harnessing electronic health records for suicide prevention in primary care
As the Director of Suicide Prevention at the Institute of Family Health, Ms. Bernes oversees all activities related to providing care for suicidal patients, including training and education, policy, and research, as well as providing technical assistance other organizations aspiring to Zero Suicide. Ms. Bernes serves as Project Director on the Institute’s SAMHSA-funded Suicide Prevention Lifeline Crisis Center Follow-Up Grant and Co-Investigator on an NIH-funded Applied Research Towards Zero Suicide Healthcare Systems grant. Ms. Bernes joined the Institute in July 2016.
Prior to joining the Institute for Family Health, Ms. Bernes managed the Zero Suicide Institute at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Education Development Center, which provides training and technical assistance to health and behavioral health care organizations seeking to reduce suicide among their patients. At the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Ms. Bernes coordinated the Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention, managing a team that reviewed programs for listing on the Registry and providing technical assistance to program developers. Ms. Bernes also volunteered for many years taking calls on a crisis hotline. She received her master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public and her master’s in social work from the University of Maryland.
Major General (retired) Mark Graham and his wife, Carol, are tireless champions of military and civilian efforts to promote mental health and suicide-prevention awareness, and to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health care. To honor the memory of their sons, 2LT Jeff Graham who was killed by an IED in Iraq in February 2004, and their son Kevin a Senior Army ROTC cadet who died by suicide in June 2003 while studying to be an Army Doctor at the University of Kentucky. The Graham’s story is featured in the award winning book, “The Invisible Front: Loss and Love in an Era of Endless War”, by YochiDreazen.
General Mark Graham is currently serving as the Senior Director, Rutgers UBHC National Call Center and the Director of Vets4Warriors, a 24/7 confidential stigma free peer support program for veterans, anyone currently serving, and their families. MG Graham retired from the US Army after almost thirty-five years of service. His final position was as the Director (G-3/5/7) U.S. Army Forces Command, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In this position, he oversaw the plans, operations and training for Army forces (active and reserve component) stationed in the Continental United States and ensured conventional forces were prepared for worldwide deployment and combat.
John (Jack) Jordan is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pawtucket, RI, U.S.A., where he specializes in working with loss and bereavement. He was also the Founder and the Director until 2007 of the Family Loss Project, a research and clinical practice providing services for bereaved families. He has specialized in work with survivors of suicide and other losses for more than 35 years. As a Fellow in Thanatology from the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC), Jack maintains an active practice in grief counseling for individuals and couples. He has run support groups for bereaved parents, young widows & widowers, and suicide survivors, with the latter running for over 13 years.
Jack is the Clinical Consultant for Grief Support Services of the Samaritans in Boston, where he is helping to develop innovative outreach and support programs for suicide survivors. In 2011, Jack was the co-recipient of the Leaders in Suicide Prevention Award from the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention for his work with the Grief Support Services at the Samaritans. Jack is also the Professional Advisor to the Loss and Bereavement Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). He is co-chair of the Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, where he is helping to write new national guidelines for suicide postvention in the United States. In 2006 Jack was invited to become a member of the International Workgroup on Death, Dying, and Bereavement, and was the recipient of the ADEC 2006 Research Recognition Award. Jack has also been involved in several research projects on the needs of people grieving after a suicide, and in 2004 received research funding from AFSP.
For over 30 years, Jack has provided training nationally and internationally for therapists, healthcare professionals, and clergy through PESI Healthcare/CMI Education, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and as an independent speaker. He has also helped to organize and lead dozens of healing workshops for suicide survivors. Jack has published over 50 clinical and research articles, chapters, and full books in the areas of bereavement after suicide, support group models, the integration of research and practice in thanatology, and loss in family and larger social systems. He has published in professional journals such as Omega, Death Studies, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Psychiatric Annals, Crisis, Grief Matters, and Family Process. He is the co-author, with Bob Baugher, of After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief, a self-published book on suicide bereavement for surviving friends and family that will soon be available in a second edition. He is the co-editor, with John McIntosh, of the book Grief After Suicide: Coping with the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors (Routledge, 2011), a professional book on the impact of suicide and interventions to help suicide survivors. He is also the co-author with William Feigelman, John McIntosh, and Beverly Feigelman, of Devastating Losses: How Parents Cope With the Death of a Child to Suicide or Drugs (Springer, 2012), a book on the results of the largest study ever conducted of bereaved parents who have lost a child to suicide, drug overdose, accident, and natural causes. He is also the co-editor of the newly released Attachment Informed Grief Therapy – The Clinician’s Guide to Foundations and Applications (Routledge, 2016).
Teri V. Krull, LCSW, LLC
Teri V. Krull, LCSW, LLC, received her Masters of Social Work degree from Michigan State University in 1978 with a focus in family systems and resource development. She has completed postgraduate training in hypnosis, EMDR, child play therapy, social work, family and child intervention specific to divorce, childhood transition and resource development.
Ms. Krull has been in private practice for over 32 years serving as a parent coach/educator and a treatment specialist for children, adolescents and families. She is the Director of The Center for Positive Regard, a professional education center for the training and consultation of play therapists and social workers. Her prior work experience included: infant mental health; medical social work; school social work; parent education; coordination of community education programs; university graduate instruction and juvenile probation.
She has been a member of The Association for Play Therapy (APT) since 1985 and was APT’s Arizona’s statewide membership chair for ten years. Ms. Krull was a founding member of the Arizona branch of APT (AzAPT), and was its first President in 1993. In 2003, Ms Krull was awarded the honor, Arizona’s Leader in Play by the Arizona Association for Play Therapy. In 2007 she received the Distinguished Service Award by the same organization. Teri was recently recognized by the Arizona National Association of Social Workers with the Metro Phoenix – Branch 1, 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award followed by the Statewide NASW 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for her service to clients and the profession of Social Work and Play Therapy in Arizona.
Ms. Krull served on the national board of APT from October of 1996 to October of 2002. She was national President in 1999 – 2000 and was the Co-Chair of the International Play Therapy Association Conference in 2000. She served on several national committees and headed the group that completed APT’s brochure designed for Managed Care. Ms. Krull continues to remain active in APT as a speaker for both state/national conferences and also serves on the APT Foundation Board.
Ms. Krull has taught and developed courses for Arizona State University’s Graduate School of Social Work in Play Therapy and Child and Adolescent Assessment. She lectures nationally on a variety of play therapy and social work topics and co-facilitates Camp PlayMore, a play therapy professional retreat, in collaboration with Joyce Mills, Ph.D. She also collaborates with Kevin O’Connor, Ph.D in facilitating European based therapy instructional intensives. She has provided staff and parent instruction for Charter Schools, supervisory services to counseling staff at local high schools and is a faculty instructor providing play therapy training to Child Psychiatric Residents.
Leslie S. Zun, M.D., M.B.A. is the System Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Sinai Health System in Chicago, Illinois and Chairman & Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois. His background includes a medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and a business degree (M.B.A.) from Northwestern University’s JL Kellogg School of Management. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Zun was a chief operating officer and acting chief executive officer for a 200 bed hospital in Chicago. Dr Zun’s research interests include healthcare administration, violence prevention and behavioral emergencies. His publications have addressed the administration of the hospitals and emergency departments, physicians’ bonus and incentive plans and quality improvement topics. He has presented his research and lectured on these topics both nationally and internationally. He is a board member of American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the President Elect for the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry. He is the chief editor of the Behavioral Emergencies for Emergency Physicians textbook and course director for the past five years for the National Update on Behavioral Emergencies conference.
Mario A. Aguirre is an Army Veteran of 11 years, having done two tours of Operation Iraqi Freedom he is well aware of the issues and barriers our returning veterans face today. He spent 3 years working with the AZ National Guards Yellow Ribbon Program assisting veterans and their families reintegrate back into civilian life. He has spent over four years working with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families and has held multiple roles. In addition to his current role as operations manager and lead trainer he has also been an employment outreach coordinator running an employment resource center helping veterans, service members and their families with resumes, interview skills and job searching. He also assists the community to better understand the military culture to better equip them in navigating the systems of care.
Duane Armitage is a Certified Yoga Teacher and veteran of the United States Navy who served three tours in Vietnam from 1968-1972. He retired from the Phoenix Police Department after 30 years in 2009. During his time with the department, he was a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team for 12 years. As a trained CISM member, he assisted and offered counseling to officers and civilian employees who had been exposed to traumatic events.
He completed the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and 300 hour Master Class Program through Inner Vision Yoga. He has followed his passion for teaching and currently has over 4500 hours of teaching experience. He believes strongly in the spiritual, emotional and physical foundations of yoga and is constantly searching for more knowledge. He has studied Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley, Yoga Anatomy with Martin Kirk, Sanskrit and Ayurveda with Nicolai Bachman and Core Stress Release with David Berceli and Jeff Martens.
Duane is also a Gong master, having studied under Don Conreaux. Combining his hatha yoga training and knowledge of the vibrational effect of the Gong, he created the practice of Hatha-Gong™ using movement and vibration to enhance the expression of the yoga practice and provide a healing modality during asana postures. Duane has taught the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts along with Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Energy Anatomy, Hatha-Gong Certification, Yoga for Post Traumatic Stress and Yin Yoga in the schools advanced Teacher Training program.
Jaime Arthur, MPH Candidate, B.S.
Zero Suicide Model in Indian Country
Jaime is the Behavioral Health Services Prevention Administrator for Gila River Health Care in Sacaton, AZ. She has worked and provided services to the American Indian children and their families for more than 10 years in the field of education. The Gila River Health Care Prevention Program includes, early childhood parenting education, suicide prevention education, substance abuse prevention education, coalition building, and community coordination with addressing suicide response. Jaime is a Master ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) trainer and has training experience for Mental Health First Aid, SafeTalk, QPR). Jaime loves working with people of all ages and believes in promoting nurturing caregiving practices and positive interactions with children and families.
William Beverly, Ph.D.
Creating Connections: The Importance of Individual, Family, and Community Connectedness in Suicide Prevention
William D. Beverly, PhD, LMFT, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member in the counseling department at South Mountain Community College, were he also serves as Coordinator of the Behavioral Health Sciences program. Dr. Beverly has held leadership positions in a wide array of behavioral health settings overseeing numerous behavioral health programs across the state of Arizona, including residential treatment for teens, therapeutic group homes for adults with serious mental illness, forensic psychological services, sex offender treatment, and general outpatient counseling and psychiatric services. He was previously the Lead Psychologist for the Maricopa County jail system, where he co-developed a trauma-informed model for training officers working with inmates with mental illness and cognitive impairment. Dr. Beverly has conducted numerous workshops and published on the topic of suicide prevention and intervention with vulnerable populations. Dr. Beverly is also an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University, where he has taught in the educational psychology department for the last 10 years.
Rev. Tamira Burns served as the Cultural Competency Chairperson for EMPACT Suicide Prevention Center from April 2015-January 2017 and is an active member of the LGBTQ/GSM Arizona State Advisory Board, and a volunteer with Peacework Medical. Tamira has been a vocal human rights advocate for over a decade. She is a passionate advocate for competent therapeutic service models for LGBTQ youth, young adults and their families; working to affect policy changes at the local and State level. Tamira became a vocal advocate for the Trans and Non Binary Gender community when her child ‘came out’ as transgender at age 14. As a member of the faith community, Tamira leads mindfulness and meditation workshops, working within the community to assist individuals with releasing fear based programming and accepting love. Tamira’s favorite quote sums up her view of the world: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi
Isaac Akapnitis, LMSW has worked with LGBTQ populations for over ten years, serving in various volunteer and employment capacities. He is currently the Lead Community Development Coordinator with Safe Out. Safe Out is a program of Terros Health and a subcommittee of the LGBTQ Consortium focused on substance use and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth and young adults in Maricopa County. Isaac also supports the community as a teen group facilitator with the Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization (AZ TYPO). Isaac earned his BA in Sociology from the University of North Florida, where he completed a thesis on intersections and identities among trans individuals. He then earned his MSSW with a concentration in Community and Administrative Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin. In all settings, Isaac strives to promote equity and create access to high quality health care for LGBTQ individuals.
Balancing the Three-legged Stool, A Community Perspective on Postvention
Pre-Conference: LivingWorks Regional Trainer Conference
Heather is the Prevention Administrator for Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, the Regional Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) for Central AZ. With 16 years of experience in Prevention in Arizona, and 21 years of behavioral health experience, Ms. Brown has expertise in substance abuse and suicide prevention effective practices, coalition and community development, grants and contracts, program development and implementation, strategic planning, program evaluation, and training. Heather was the first Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the state of Arizona and was instrumental in Arizona receiving national recognition for its work as one of the first 14 states to receive Garrett Lee Smith federal funding for youth suicide prevention in 2005. She is the former Vice President of and served on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, Inc. from 2005-2015. Heather is certified to provide ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and safeTALK (suicide alertness for everyone) and is also an ASIST Training Coach and safeTALK Instructor for LivingWorks Education, Inc. Through these roles, she trains community members and professionals worldwide to become more alert to persons with thoughts of suicide and more comfortable and confident in intervening with persons at risk, mentors fellow trainers, and trains people to become trainers. She received the AZSPC “Heart of a Champion” Award in 2015 for her work locally and internationally. She has written and received multiple grants, independently consulted with a variety of local and national organizations, and has helped develop several programs that were accepted for listing on the SPRC/AFSP Suicide Prevention Best Practices Program Registry. She received her degree in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and worked as a social worker in Southern California before moving to Arizona 16 years ago.
Mary Delaney, Ph.D., ACS, is a licensed Psychologist with 32 years experience as a Psychotherapist in private practice. She is a practical intuitive specializing in teaching clients how to listen to and apply their intuition and inner guidance. Mary has taught graduate classes at Arizona State University, been published in the Journal of Psychotherapy, and lectured nationally on a variety of topics which focus on healing the body, mind and spirit. She is co-author of the children’s book, “Moose, Bear and hummingbird,” and has produced the breathing, relaxation and meditation CD, Sacred Spaces.
Major (Retired) Cassandra V. Facciponti is from New York City, NY. She graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 2003 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, Military Police Regiment.
During her career, CaS was stationed in Mannheim and Ansbach, Germany, Fort Leonard Wood, MO, and West Point, NY. She deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from February 2005-March 2006. While in Afghanistan, CaS was chosen by the Commanding General to develop a law enforcement training plan for the Afghanistan National Police; the first of its kind, the program trained over 23,000 officers and led to the creation of a National Police Academy. CaS was awarded the Bronze Star for her actions on deployment, to include commanding and managing over 160 Military Police Officers at nine different locations, providing field training, equipment, supplies, and personnel in support of over 500 combat operations against terrorist forces. On one of those combat operations she was injured, fracturing her neck and back during joint combat operations with the Afghanistan National Police, Afghanistan National Army, and United States Navy Seals.
Following her assignment as the Deputy Director for Emergency Services at West Point, CaS was medically retired in July 2013 due to complications from the injuries sustained in Afghanistan.
As a civilian, she worked at the Office of the Provost Marshal General, Pentagon for over two years as a Program Analyst. In 2015, CaS moved back to New York City to work as the Director of Security for the National Basketball Association. She now serves Operation Shockwave, a Non-Profit that empowers Veterans and Service members to choose life and become examples of success in their community. In addition to a B.S. in Sociology from USMA, CaS earned a M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University and a M.A. in Business and Security Management from Webster University. In her spare time she studies for the MCAT. CaS and her wife, Casey, live in Gilbert, Arizona with their four-legged children Skylurr Jude and Delilah.
Nikki is the Clinical Director for Teen Lifeline, a local non-profit dedicated to providing a safe, confidential and crucial crisis service where teens help teens make healthy decisions. She has been working in the field for the past 16 years including work on a crisis mobile team, postvention intervention and assessment for hospitalization. Nikki possesses a Master Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University and specializes in mental health issues, crisis intervention, suicide prevention/postvention and education, and adolescence. She currently is a state Licensed Master Social Worker, a certified crisis worker through the American Association of Suicidology, field instructor for the Social Work Department at ASU, and serves as the President on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition.
My time with the LivingWorks family began when I attended an ASIST workshop in early 2007. I was amazed by the experience and knew I wanted to be a trainer. That opportunity came along in June 2007 when I was accepted into a T4T in Phoenix. In 2008 I attended a safeTALK T4T. After several years of training ASIST and safeTALK in Arizona, I was invited to attended a Consulting Trainer Camp in Fayetteville, NC in the spring of 2012. In 2014 I was accepted into a Training Coach Camp in Denver. Since then I have been enjoying my role as a 3-Day Training Coach; working with extraordinary folks on the T4T Teams has been a remarkable time in my life.
I live in Tucson with Jana, my beautiful bride. I am blessed to have both of my children and three grandchildren within a twenty mile drive from my home. I sort of retired July 2014; although a better word may be “repositioned” because I am finding it easy and fulfilling to continue to work at those things that have the most meaning to me. It’s a good life.
Brenda Manthei, MS, MA, LAC, NCC
Zero Suicide Model in Indian Country
Brenda is an experienced and passionate teacher, trainer, facilitator, and licensed counselor. She brings over 25 years of experiences to suicide prevention having worked in northeast Arizona in higher education, with civic organizations, and diverse populations and cultures. She is currently working at Native Americans for Community Action in Flagstaff, Arizona promoting Zero Suicide and workforce development as Brief Intervention Coordinator/Psychotherapist.
Ann Maxwell, LMSW was worked and volunteered with various LGBTQ organizations in the greater Chicago and Phoenix areas for over 6 years. She is a Community Development Coordinator with Safe Out, a Terros Health Program that is a member of the LGBTQ Consortium. Ann earned a BA in Organizational Leadership from North Central College in Naperville, IL and her MSW from Arizona State University. She aims to create and support safe and healthy spaces for LGBTQ youth and young adults in all communities.
Sandra McNally is a Master-level counselor and Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor in the State of Arizona. She has worked in a variety of inpatient, outpatient, and school settings as a counselor and administrator for over 27 years. In addition, she has been an adjunct faculty instructor for Rio Salado College for over 22 years, and Grand Canyon University for the past 10 years.
For the past 16 years, Sandra has been employed at EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center in their Prevention Department. In addition to overseeing the agency’s suicide prevention and postvention programs, she serves on the Board of the Arizona Suicide Prevention Coalition, EMPACT’s Suicide Prevention Task Force, and the Special Interest Group for Postvention for the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
Stephanie Michael is the Military Family Relief Fund (MFRF) / Minority Veterans’ Program Coordinator for the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS), located in the Directors Suite in Phoenix, Arizona. Stephanie is the Program Coordinator of MFRF, Veteran Supportive Campuses, and hosts the three regional Women Veteran and Minority Veteran Summits and Expos throughout the state.
Before taking this position in March of 2017, Ms. Michael was the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Case Coordinator for a Non-Profit Organization, Save the Family in Mesa, Arizona, where she also ran Transitional, Rapid Rehousing, Healthy Families Intervention Project (HFIP) and Eviction Prevention homeless housing programs during her three years with the company. Ms. Michael has experience working in the medical field with dual diagnosis populations, specifically those individuals with a Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI) and substance abuse diagnosis.
Prior to graduating from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (BSW), Stephanie Michael begin her post-secondary education at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, working predominantly with the homeless veteran population. She will return to Arizona State University in the fall of 2017 to obtain a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration on Urban Management.
Stephanie was an Army wife at Fort Bragg for eight years, and was actively involved in the Family Readiness Group (FRG) while her husband deployed twice during his time in the 82nd Airborne; the first time for fifteen months and the second time for eighteen. Because of her life experiences and her time engaged with the United States Army, Stephanie feels like an advocate and ally to those who are currently serving or have served in the United States Armed Forces. She strives to be the voice that brings awareness to Women Veterans and the unique issues they face, remain a public resource for Veteran Suicide Prevention and Awareness and educate the public about alternative treatment modalities.
Kate Shipp, ERYT500, specializes in using yogic practices to reduce physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual suffering, thus increasing peace and vitality in daily life. Kate is a trained yoga therapist under Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and also holds certifications in Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and Reiki. She co-owned a yoga studio in Glendale, AZ for 5 years, and sees private clients through her private practice, The Window Within, LLC. Over the past 5 years, Kate has worked with hundreds of clients to help ease the symptoms of chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, grief, cancer pain, auto-immune conditions, and more. Kate is the Director of Yoga Education at The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ, and currently teaches in their Yoga Teacher Training program.
Shelley Tom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Yoga Teacher who has specialized in working with teens, women and families in healing from various forms of trauma in residential treatment, wilderness therapy, and outpatient therapy. Shelley has served as the Clinical Director of a residential program with an integrative approach to healing as well as has held clinical positions in a myriad of community settings. Currently, Shelley is the Dean of Students at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and she supports students with their somatic focus on healing through alternative modalities such as yoga. Shelley is passionate about helping others find their personal path to healing and is honored to support the development of a Veteran friendly program next year that includes the integration of trauma-sensitive yoga, coaching, psychology, nutrition and other healing art modalities. Shelley’s hope is to normalize and empower others in their healing in order for them to share their knowledge and gifts with the world.
Mr. Winkel is the Director of the Arizona Coalition for Military Families. He is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army National Guard. His service included tours in Japan, the Philippines, and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm during the first Gulf War as a combat infantryman. He is a licensed professional counselor in the State of Arizona and a Nationally Certified Counselor.
Mr. Winkel was part of the team that designed and implemented the Arizona Coalition for Military Families, a nationally recognized public/private partnership dedicated to systems change, strategic planning/partnerships, and training and equipping organizations to better serve the military and veteran population. These efforts center on a “no wrong door, no wrong person” statewide approach and connecting every service member, veteran and family to the right resource at the right time.
Be Connected: Suicide Prevention for Arizona Service Members, Veterans, and Families
Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Director Wanda Wright is the third generation of her family to serve in the U.S. military. She has three decades of military experience. As a 1985 United States Air Force Academy graduate, Colonel Wright began her military career as Deputy Budget Officer with the Tactical Air Command at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with a follow-on assignment to Davis-Monthan AFB as the Budget Officer.
Leaving active duty in 1990, Colonel Wright joined the Arizona National Guard. During the next 21 years, she served in various positions including accounting and finance officer, communications officer, executive officer and, finally, as the Director of Staff for the Adjutant General in Phoenix. Among her proudest achievements was to serve as Air Commander of Operation Jump Start from June 2006 – December 2008 during which she commanded more than 4,000 airmen from 52 states and territories on our Southwest border.
Colonel Wright holds a B.S. in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a M.B.A from Webster University in South Carolina, a M.P.A. from the University of Arizona, and is completing her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University.
Colonel Wright’s decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Kelly Anne Beck is an Iraq War Veteran, serving seven years in the Arizona Army National Guard as a Public Affairs Specialist. After her tour in Iraq, she worked for the Arizona National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, a Department of Defense effort to connect National Guard and Reserve service members and their families to resources before, during and after deployments. She then worked for the Arizona National Guard’s State Public Affairs office. Once earning her degree of Communications from Arizona State University, she moved to Chicago and worked as a copy writer. Missing working with veterans, service members and their families she returned to Arizona to work with the Arizona Coalition for Military Families as the Lead Trainer and Network Manager.