Author, consultant, advisor to three U.S. presidential administrations, and assistant professor, Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D., has studied, researched, written about, and implemented drug policy for more than 20 years, when he started reporting on drug issues as a junior high school student in Orange County, California.
As a junior at UC Berkeley, he was asked to work in the Clinton Administration as a researcher on drugs, and was a speechwriter in the Bush Administration (2002-2003). In 2011 he stepped down after serving more than two years as the senior advisor to President Obama’s drug control director, having been the only drug policy staffer to have ever served as a political appointee in a Democrat and Republican administration.
He has appeared since at the Aspen Ideas and New Yorker festivals, at the Puebla Ideas Conference to debate the former presidents of Mexico and Colombia, on the Organization of American States blue ribbon commission advising hemispheric drug policy, and in hundreds of forums and discussions promoting the ideas outlined in his first book, Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana, published by Beaufort. He has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and in virtually every major media publication and news channel on the subject of drug policy.
In 2013, he co-founded, with former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), which advocates for a public health based marijuana policy. He is the President of SAM and leads an advisory group comprising the most prominent scientists in the field of marijuana research. He is also the Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Addiction Medicine and the author of numerous monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles.
Dr. Sabet also regularly advises foreign governments, several non-governmental organizations working to reduce drug abuse and its consequences, and serves in an international role as an advisor, in various capacities, to the United Nations and other multi-national organizations.
Dr. Sabet’s regular blog is housed at the Huffington Post and he regularly contributes to opinion-editorial pages, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times. Two of his op-eds published since 2011 have earned him a “Five Best Columns” distinction by The Atlantic. He is the winner of the 2014 Nils Bejerot Award for Global Drug Prevention, given at Stockholm City Hall by the anti-drug organization chaired by H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and the John P. McGovern Award for Drug Prevention given by the Institute for Behavior and Health, and Robert DuPont, the founding director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
He received his Doctorate of Philosophy and Masters of Science from Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar in 2007 and 2002, respectively, and his B.A. with high honors in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001.
What do you get when you combine comedic talent with corporate know-how? A couple of funny motivational speakers who understand your people.
A long time ago (in a galaxy not so far away) Tim and Kris O’Shea honed their comedic skills in comedy clubs and theaters by night, while working in sales, training, and HR by day. They learned the importance of laughter to connect with others, and to deal with the stress of a constantly changing work environment.
Their experience in the workplace now enables them to use these skills to engage meeting attendees internationally. Their mission is to boost morale among employees while motivating them to thrive in a challenging world.
Laurie Wood joined the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in November 1991 as a writer/researcher for what is now the Intelligence Project, the investigative arm of the SPLC, and then served as the department’s research manager. She now acts as director for investigations and training. In that role she oversees the intelligence gathering and analysis of domestic extremist groups and also trains local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on hate group and radical antigovernment activity.
She has served as a secondary instructor for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC)’s Domestic Terrorism/Hate Crime Training course, a faculty instructor for the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Hate Crime Curricula, a certified instructor for the California POST Robert Presley Institute for Criminal Investigation and a member of an international advisory board for an online hate crime training program sponsored by the SPLC, FLETC and California State University – San Bernardino, where Wood was an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice; of the board of directors for the Gulf States Regional Center for Public Safety Innovations and for the California Hate Crime Investigators Association.
Nancy Pommerening graduated summa cum laude from the Honors College at Kent State University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education. She became a teacher for the Lakewood City Schools, where she was honored as both Lakewood Teacher of the Year, and the Ohio PTA District 11 Teacher of the year. Her teaching career led to her interest in substance abuse prevention.
After retiring from teaching in 2008, Nancy founded the nonprofit, Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc. (DAP), with a mission to lessen the demand for illicit drugs. DAP is a 501©(3) nonprofit, and an Ohio-certified Prevention Agency.
In addition to being a professional educator, Nancy is also an internationally certified Prevention Specialist. As the Executive Director of Drug Awareness and Prevention, she directs prevention initiatives in school systems, businesses, and local communities. Currently, DAP provides classroom-based prevention programs for children, Drug-Free Workplace training, and community awareness presentations. Nancy was honored by the DEA for outstanding contributions in the field of Drug Law Enforcement and Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.
Joann Felton has been a full-time police Officer in Solon, Ohio since 2001, with a total of her 24th years of service in law enforcement. Since 2011 she has been an active bike patrol officer along with teaching the D.A.R.E program to approximately 2,000 students yearly, ages ranging from 5 years old to 17 years old. She proudly served has vice president of the D.A.R.E Association of Ohio, and continued on as a Co-chair for the states newly established steering committee. She has worked with motivational speaker/educator Mr. Robert Brandt, president of the non-profit organization Robby’s Voice and internationally-certified Prevention Specialists, Nancy Pommerening, founder/Executive Director of the nonprofit organization, Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc. (DAP). Joann plans include working with the homeless shelters high-risk kids in her county, using the D.A.R.E. program to start an educational program on addiction and life skills. Joann is a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife and a mother. She is also a good friend.
Jennie became a Licensed Professional Counselor 15 years ago, and a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor a few years after that. While her primary clinical focus has been on recovery and healing following early trauma (sexual abuse, neglect, etc), she started in the early 1990’s working with infertility and birthparent adoption (grief, loss & attachment). She then spent 11 years with a Christian Nonprofit Agency working with intensely therapeutic children in the foster care system. During that time Jennie was able to construct and rollout the training curriculum for our foster parents based on evidence-based practice, oversee and develop our clinical staff in 9 offices throughout Texas, as well as lead a team comprised of Mental Health Professionals from throughout Texas to advocate for foster care redesign. In 2010, Jennie opened her Private Practice in Counseling based out of Mansfield.
Jennie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and a Masters of Arts in Counseling from Amberton University. She has done graduate and post graduate work/study in Play Therapy from University of North Texas, as well as Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) at Texas Christian University’s Child Development Program.
Marc Gonzales obtained a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy. He provides expert testimony on all drug related matters including signs and symptoms of illicit drug use, appropriate prescribing, and drug facilitated sexual assault. Dr. Gonzales is a consultant for the Department of Defense; training and advising military, law enforcement. And participating in various projects requested from the DoD. Dr. Gonzales is currently the lead instructor for the Department of Defense’s Counter Drug Training Academies at their resident military bases through the World. Dr. Gonzales is a graduate of Senator Presley’s Institute for Criminal Investigation, which allows him to certify other trainers as California Peace Officer Standards and Training, Instructors.
Dr. Gonzales was awarded the highest award that can be given to a California Peach officer by then Attorney General Dan Lungren for work with the Professional Diversion Intelligence Network/Drug Enforcement Administration. He volunteered for the Los Angeles Police Department for 8 years and was named “Volunteer of the Year” by then Mayor Tom Bradley and the City Council in 1990, for the amount of hours he worked and the impact on crime at the West Los Angeles Vision.
Greg Holtmeyer, Executive Director of The Phoenix Project, is an educator, advocate, and survivor. He has been an educator for the past twenty-six years. His passion is to create awareness concerning the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse of males in the education, law enforcement, medical, counseling, and society in general. Greg created The Phoenix Project to offer hope, education, support, and inspiration for those who are on their healing journey from sexual and physical abuse. He has done presentations for small community based organizations to large state and national organizations. He gives voice and attention to the many male victims of sexual crimes who are waiting for support and understanding. People that have attended his presentations have used the words, “powerful speaker”, “he makes this difficult topic approachable”, “provides hope for recovery to those who have suffered”, “I was very privileged to have the opportunity to hear your story”, “very informative and passionate”, and “very mature and articulate in his message.”
A 1988 graduate of Olmsted Falls High School and the Polaris Law Enforcement (now Criminal Justice) program, Paul Shepard always had an interest in the criminal justice field. After graduating from high school, Shepard spent three years as a private security officer. He worked the next four years as a corrections officer for the City of North Royalton while working part-time security for Westgate Mall. After graduating from the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in 1996, he joined the City of Fairview Park Police Department, where he has worked the last 20 years as a police officer, Sergeant and Lieutenant.
He teaches part-time for the Lorain County Community College Police Academy, the Polaris Private Security Academy and the Polaris Natural Resources Ranger Academy. He is the Commander of the Westshore Enforcement Bureau’s Hostage Negotiator Unit. He has also served a hostage negotiator, evidence technician, field training officer and Auxiliary Unit Liaison. He currently serves as his department’s Executive Officer.
He has volunteered on and off with the Greater Cleveland Peace Officer Memorial Society since 2007. He has acted as the law enforcement liaison, volunteered at various fundraisers and memorial weekend events. He has participated in the Society’s grave marker project since its inception. In 2015 Lt. Shepard was named the Greater Cleveland Memorial Society’s Officer of the Year.
Eileen Zatta, MSSA, LISW-S has been practicing in the field of trauma recovery for the past 18 years. She has been with the Children Who Witness Violence Program at FrontLine Service in Cleveland, Ohio since its inception in 1999. She was a Crisis Intervention Specialist for 3 years and was promoted to Program Manager in 2002. She provided oversight of all referrals that came from police for children exposed to domestic violence, community violence, and other types of trauma. The CWWV team provides a crisis response to families in their homes to assist with practical needs as well as assessment of and intervention for symptoms of trauma. In 2008, Ms. Zatta also became the Program Manager of the Traumatic Loss Response Team, a new program that was one of the first in the country to provide an immediate response to family members who lost a loved one to homicide. Her team provides assistance with death notification, crisis intervention services, assistance with practical needs related to the loss, and support with managing trauma and grief reactions. Ms. Zatta has been trained in Psychological First Aid, Skills for Psychological Recovery, and Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She also was a member of a Child and Family Traumatic Stress Intervention Learning Collaborative at Yale University’s Childhood Violent Trauma Center.
Paul LeBaron is a 24-year veteran of the Long Beach Police Department in Los Angeles County, CA. Currently a Commander of the Detectives Division in the Investigations Bureau, where he oversees investigations including Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Sex Crimes, Computer Crimes, Human Trafficking and all Juvenile related crimes. In his current assignment he sees the affects of popular culture on today’s youth and how these things destroy families. Paul has also spent 8 years working undercover in the Vice Detail and Narcotics Section of the Gang and Violent Crime Division. For the past 16 years he has worked with the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, where he teaches classes on cultural diversity and ethics to law enforcement and educators. Paul also has a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University Long Beach, in Communication Studies and a Master’s Degree from American Military University in Organizational Leadership and Management.
Paul is a court recognized expert in narcotics testimony and has been interviewed by media on local, national and international levels in regards to the effects on drugs and the damage done by popular culture and the messages it sends.
Eric Goldman serves as the Regional Preparedness Liaison (RPL) in FEMA Region II. In this capacity, he works with external stakeholders to plan workshops and provide Preparedness resources, thereby increasing community resiliency and ensuring that constituents are better able to respond and recover from natural, technological, and anthropogenic disasters.
Prior to this role, Mr. Goldman served as an AmeriCorps member in the Mass Care and Feeding unit at the American Red Cross in Greater New York (ARC GNY), in the Training & Exercises (T&E) unit at the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), and as an environmental consultant conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) throughout the North-eastern United States.
RETRO BILL is an award-winning actor, director, producer, writer and artist. He has provided voice-overs for television programs and cartoon shows, and directed music videos, television commercials and public service announcements. He was also the recipient of the International Family Film Festival’s “Best Children’s Video” Award for the “D.A.R.E. Safety Tips starring RETRO BILL.” This award was personally presented to him by Roy E. Disney (of The Walt Disney Company). As a motivational speaker, RETRO BILL has travelled and performed throughout the United States, Canada, and other foreign countries promoting the importance of D.A.R.E. and delivering his positive, informative and entertaining messages to young and old alike.
Lisa McElhaney is retired from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) after serving over 25 years as a sworn law enforcement officer. During her law enforcement career Lisa held supervisory positions in the agency’s Pharmaceutical Drug Diversion Unit, the Crime Laboratory, and the Public Corruption Unit. A large portion of her law enforcement career was focused on the area of pharmaceutical drug crimes and the fallout in the community.
Ms. McElhaney was also aggressive for more than two decades in advocating for legislative initiatives directed at preventing & prosecuting pharmaceutical drug crimes, and was the driving force behind the push for a prescription monitoring program for the State of Florida. The 10-year initiative allowed her the opportunity to work with a wide variety of government agencies, membership organizations, and community prevention associations concerning the pharmaceutical drug trends, violations and the need for prevention practices.
Lisa has been a national trainer in the field of pharmaceutical drug related issues for more than 20 years, and has also been certified as an expert in state, federal and family court(s). Lisa has been an active member of many state & federal associations focused on the related issues of controlled substances, but she has also volunteered much of her time to working with community coalitions.
Carrie is a Wyoming native. She has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Arts degree both from the University of Wyoming. She has been a school social worker for 26 years and has served students K-12. She is also certified to coach volleyball, swimming, track and has enjoyed coaching. Carrie enjoys spending time with her family, traveling anywhere, camping, hunting, paddle boarding, riding her yellow scooter, and having fun. Carrie was chosen as the Wyoming DARE Educator of the year for 2007-2008 and began to serve as the Wyoming DARE Educator after receiving the award. She loved teaching at the Wyoming DOT, and presents every year at the State DARE/SRO conference.
Deputy Ernie Gibson is a native of Illinois and has resided in Wyoming since 2004. Deputy Gibson served 22 years on active duty in the US Air Force as a Police Sgt., training instructor, and worked directly in support of the offices of the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. Since his retirement from the military, he has worked as a Juvenile Corrections Sgt. for the State of South Dakota and an adult community corrections program manager in Wyoming. Deputy Gibson currently serves as a Deputy Sheriff, DARE officer, and school resource officer in Campbell County Wyoming. He also serves as an adjunct instructor for the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in Douglas Wyoming. His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Service Medal, Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, and the Wyoming Peace Officer Valor Award.
Sergeant Frank Flores has been with the Las Cruces Police Department for 20 years. He has served as a Neighborhood Police officer, Patrol Officer, Academy Coordinator, Patrol Sergeant, School Resource Officer Sergeant, SWAT Commander, Physical Training Instructor, Survival Spanish for Law Enforcement Instructor, Verbal Judo Instructor, and a DARE Instructor. He is also an Army Veteran.
Officer Robert Benavidez has been with the Las Cruces Police Department for 14 years. He has served as a Patrol Officer, Crash Reconstructionist, DUI/Beast Officer, Academy Coordinator, Accreditation Manager, Defensive Tactics Instructor, Taser Instructor, Verbal Judo Instructor, and a DARE Instructor. He is an Army Veteran and an open book on life experiences.