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Speaker Bios

Find on this page a more in-depth bio for each of our speakers!

 


JAMES FERRELL

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James Ferrell was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He served a mission in Japan. He majored in economics and philosophy at Brigham Young University and is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Professionally, James is Managing Partner of a well-known training and consulting firm called the Arbinger Institute. He also serves on the executive committee of Yale Law School and the Board of Advisors of the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.

James has authored numerous bestselling books on professional and religious topics. His books have sold multiple millions of copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Titles include The Peacegiver, Falling to Heaven, Leadership and Self-Deception, and The Anatomy of Peace.

James is the recipient of the 2015 Turn for Peace Award from the Anasazi Foundation and the 2017 Peacemaker Award from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Jackie, live in Kaysville, Utah and are the parents of five children.



TERRYL AND FIONA GIVENS

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Terryl Givens completed his graduate work in intellectual history at Cornell University, and he received his Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds the Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. He has published numerous books in Mormon culture and theology—his most recent work is a two-volume history of Mormon thought for Oxford University Press, Wrestling the Angel and Feeding the Flock. The New York Times has praised him for his “provocative writing.” He has been a consultant for the LDS historical department on several projects, including The Joseph Smith Papers and the forthcoming history of the church. As a commentator, he has appeared on PBS, CNN, and NPR. As of June 2019, he is a Neal A. Maxwell senior research fellow at Brigham Young University.

Fiona Givens was born in Nairobi, Kenya, was educated in British convent schools, and converted to the LDS church in Frankfurt, Germany. She earned her graduate degree in European History while co-raising six children with her husband. She is a frequent speaker on podcasts and at conferences and is a regular presenter at Deseret Book’s Time Out for Women event. She has published in Exponent II, Dialogue, LDS Living and with Kofford Books. She is the co-author with her husband of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life; The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith; and, most recently, The Christ Who Heals: How God Restored the Truth that Saves Us. Fiona is currently employed as a researcher on the staff of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University.


TIM BALLARD

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Tim Ballard is the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), which rescues and rehabilitates children who have been kidnapped and trafficked throughout the world. He is also the CEO of The Nazarene Fund, which works to liberate child victims and refugees in the Middle East from ISIS and other extremist groups.

Brother Ballard began his career at the CIA. He then spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. He has worked every type of case imaginable in the fight to dismantle child trafficking rings. He has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations. In this effort, he has successfully dismantled dozens of these organizations and rescued countless children from sex slavery. He is an expert at managing internet investigations, particularly those dealing with file-share networks where pedophiles and traffickers go to trade in child pornography. He has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers and has testified before the United States Congress on best practices to liberate children from sex slavery. He received the distinguished George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. He was also recently named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

Brother Ballard has been featured on numerous news outlets and programs such as ESPN, Fox and Friends, Fox News Sunday, CBS Nightly News, ABC Nightline, CNN Headline News, and many more. He is the best-selling author of six books including Slave Stealers: True Accounts of Slave Rescues-Then and Now. He is the principal subject of two full-length documentaries: The Abolitionists, by Academy Award-winning producer Gerald Molen, and Operation Toussaint, by Emmy Award-winning director Nick Nanton. His life story is also depicted in the upcoming feature film, The Sound of Freedom.

He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and served a full-time Church mission to Chile. He and his wife Katherine reside in Utah with their nine children.


SCOTT W. PICKETT

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President Scott W. Pickett was born and raised in Salt Lake City, UT. He has spent his entire life in there, with the exception of five years spent serving the Lord in Brazil. He graduated in 1980 from the University of Utah with two degrees—a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Accounting degree. At that time, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Prior to graduation, he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he later became a Tax Partner in 1992 and Managing Partner of the Salt Lake City office in 1996—a position he held for 11 years. After 28 years in public accounting for a “Big Four” firm, Scott took early retirement in order to pursue his dream of teaching at the University of Utah. For a period of nine years prior to retiring, Scott was an adjunct faculty member at the university. Upon retirement, he joined the university faculty full-time.

For many years, Scott has played an active role in the community. He has served on the boards of many non-profit organizations including United Way of Salt Lake, American Red Cross, Ballet West, Legal Aid Society and Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation. In addition, he has served as president of the YMCA, Salt Lake Art Center, Cornerstone Counseling Center and University Hospital Foundation. In connection with the David Eccles School of Business, Scott has served on and chaired the University of Utah School of Accounting Advisory Board.

Scott has received several awards in the course of his career. In 1997, he was named Outstanding Alumnus by the University of Utah School of Accounting. In 2006, Scott received the United Way of Salt Lake Volunteer of the Year award. In that same year, he was honored with the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants (UACPA) Outstanding CPA in Public Practice award. For his work as a professor, Scott received the Rod Brady Superior Teaching award and was the first recipient of the much-honored Kenneth J. Hanni Teaching award.

Scott has been blessed to serve in various callings in The Church. He has served as a bishop, as a mission president, and currently as a stake president. He and his wife, Nanci, were called to preside over the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission in 2008. At the conclusion of their first year in Brazil, the Rio de Janeiro North Mission was combined with the Rio de Janeiro Mission. At that time, President and Sister Pickett were asked to preside over a new mission nearby—the Brazil Vitoria Mission. They consider their three years serving in Brazil as a choice period of their lives.

Scott and Nanci are the proud parents of two children—Jeff and Emily—as well as seven grandchildren.


TODD SYLVESTER

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Todd Sylvester currently serves as a Mentor & Personal-Development Coach for those looking to get more out of life. He works as a Belief System Counselor at what he calls “the best university on the planet”—Wasatch Recovery Treatment Center.

In 1989 he founded the non-profit, anti-drug entity Sly Dog, which features a sought-after education program for elementary schools called “Drug Free That’s Me.” This program has encouraged over 100,000 school-age students, and emphasizes principles of positive self-talk, personal commitment, goal setting, and character building.

Todd spent his youth addicted to drugs and alcohol. Through his own recovery and newfound awareness, he learned that more powerful than any addiction was the power of the human soul. Over the past 25 years, he has discovered and taught universal principles that have empowered thousands to conquer addiction, crush compulsive behaviors and change their limiting belief systems.

Todd’s story was recently told through a popular YouTube video that received over 1 million views and has been translated into three languages. He has conducted over 1,000 speaking engagements and close to 10,000 individual coaching sessions.

Todd is the author of the popular book It's Time to Start Living: Understanding How Our Belief Systems Fuel Addictive Behavior, available on Amazon. He also produces a popular podcast on iTunes called Beliefcast. It is geared toward high school- and middle school-aged kids.

Todd’s story was also featured in Best-selling author Simon Sinek’s new book Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team. Today, he uses his firsthand fight against addiction to give hope and connect on an authentic level with thousands of teenagers, young adults, and parents.

Todd has been married to his sweetheart for 27 years. They have four children and live a happy, busy life together.

social media: @tsinspires
website: toddsylvesterinspires.com


LORI LEE

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Lori Lee is the host and producer of the Love Your Story podcast, which is dedicated to sharing candid interviews and conversations about living our best life stories on purpose. Lori pulls no punches in capturing interviews that shine a light on how we make it through the hard stuff – stress, anxiety, suicide, eating disorders, rape, the death of children, abuse, divorce and the real stuff that creates our dark and sacred pathways. But, she also shares interviews with Olympians and incredible athletes, life coaches, therapists, and influencers who are changing the world. Most often these two categories are one and the same. Lori has a master’s degree in Folklore—her research focuses on the personal narrative. She is the author of six books and over 100 magazine and newspaper articles, including her latest book, L.I.F.E. – Living Intentional and Fearless Every day: The 21 Life Connection Challenges. She has been on live radio and TV programs, and currently helps people become aware of their own stories – reframing the past stories that are holding them back, working to recognize and manage the current stories they are telling themselves, and taking action to live intentionally as they write their life story moving forward.

The title of Lori’s workshop is “Living Intentional and Fearless Every day.”

“But God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
—2 Timothy 1:7

Living intentional means taking action. It is the difference between being an agent who acts and an object that is acted upon. Living fearless doesn’t mean living without fear, it means learning to fear LESS as we practice using courage and come to trust that God truly has our back. Join me as we talk about what it looks like to GO AND DO – writing the life story that you want to tell even though it may not have unfolded as you expected. Connection, self-love, possibility can all be created by small and simple things.  The best stories aren’t about a guy/gal who works all day and watches Netflix all night. Create YOUR best life story on purpose…because you can.

contact info: lorijlee@msn.com


T.K. PLANT

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T.K. Plant received a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young University in 2016. She specializes in ancient Biblical Hebrew and the Old Testament. She was selected to be a tour guide for Israel’s Dead Sea Scroll exhibit in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been invited to share her research for firesides in Mexico, Arkansas, and Utah.

T.K. is currently serving with her husband, Elder Alan Plant, on a full-time mission in the Tennessee Nashville Mission. Their home is in Cedar Hills, Utah. They are the parents of four children and 12 grandchildren.

After covering her mother with her temple veil at her funeral, Sister T.K. Plant was moved to begin a journey of scholarship to understand the ancient symbolism of the woman’s veil. Through Near Eastern iconography and Assyrian laws she discovered meaning in the practice of veiling and its likely relationship in the Old Testament to Rebekah, Moses, and the tabernacle. This journey unveiled the significance of the veil to ancient Israel and its use in the Bible, which ultimately lead to the remarkable understanding of the divine role of covenant women and their sacred relationship with the Savior in the Plan of Salvation.


LARAE AND KENT SCOTT

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LaRae and Kent Scott met in college on August 11, 1967 and have been going steady ever since. They are the parents of one girl and four boys. All of their boys were married in their mid-thirties, three of whom were active members in a mid-adult ward. Kent and LaRae enjoy their twelve grandchildren and are anxiously anticipating the arrival of number thirteen.

LaRae is a teacher by background. She taught pre-school children at Head Start and taught in two Title 1 schools. She currently works as the office manager in the same construction law firm where Kent works. She is currently serving as a Missionary in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, Rio Grande Branch, serving the homeless.

Kent has practiced construction law for 46 years where he represents owners, contractors and design professionals involved in construction-related projects. He also serves as a mediator and arbitrator of construction related disputes. For the past seventeen years, Kent has served as a Facilitator in the LDS Addiction Recovery Program, Rio Grande Branch, and served on the committee that produced LDS Family Services’ Addiction Recovery Program: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing.

Kent served in the Bishopric of the Hillside Young Single Adult Ward; LaRae immersed herself into the workings of the ward as an informal advisor and a friend to the sisters of the ward. For the past six years, they have served as an Advisor Couple in the Parleys Single Adult Ward—its membership numbers over 850 members (six elders quorums and six Relief Societies). They recently concluded a two-year calling as an Advisor Couple to the Multi-Mid-Singles Ward Community Service Council made up of eleven Single Adult wards extending from Davis County to Utah County.


CAROLINE MARRIOTT

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Caroline Marriott, LCSW, is the founder and Clinical Director of The DBT Center and The DBT Center for Adolescents. These organizations are committed to teaching the skills of acceptance and change to their clients through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). She completed her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at the University of Utah, her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Columbia University, and her bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Utah. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Utah, teaching DBT to masters students.


LONI AND MARK HARMON

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Loni Harmon, LCSW, received her undergraduate degree from Utah State University and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She began her career working with behavioral addictions and moved from there to work with expectant parents and adoptive families. She worked for six years as a manager for two locations of LDS Family Services before starting her private practice. She is the co-owner of Millcreek Counseling and Adoption Services and has been in private practice for four years. After a tumultuous dating history, she developed a passion for teaching others how to build successful relationships. She is happily married to Mark Harmon, and they have three adorable kids. 

Mark Harmon has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Utah. 


EMILY BYRD

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Emily Byrd received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Teaching degree from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Museum Studies degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is an Outreach Educator at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art in Logan, UT.

Emily has a passion for promoting the creativity that is innate in each son and daughter of God. She focuses lessons around specific art pieces and core standards, as well as a variety of themes. She is comfortable engaging participants and making them feel comfortable in creating art. She has experience working with a variety of groups including adult patients, private events, and elementary and high school students. Emily has a strong belief in using art to teach problem-solving skills, increase mental and emotional health, create a means for communication within communities and other groups, and in passing along classical skills in drawing, painting and sculpture.

Emily loves baking, reading, watching documentaries and creating art. She has said if she could create another love language, it would be laughter.


BENNETT AND BECKY BORDEN

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Bennett Borden is a partner and Chief Data Scientist at Drinker Biddle & Reath—a law firm in DC. Becky Borden is the Manager for LGBTQ Products for the Church in the Priesthood and Family Department.

Bennett and Becky are joining us from Salt Lake City, Utah, where they’ve lived for the last four years. Before moving to Utah, Bennett lived in DC for nearly 25 years, and Becky lived in North Carolina, Utah, and Georgia. The Bordens were married in 2013 and sealed in the Washington DC Temple in 2014. Though married only six years ago, Bennett and Becky have known each other for 30 years; they met when Bennett served in Becky’s ward in North Carolina on his mission.

After his mission, both Bennett and Becky came out and lived with same-sex partners for the next 20 years. They both decided to return to The Church in 2012 and fell in love while going through that experience together. You will hear from them about their journey back to the gospel, the things they have learned along the way, and their thoughts on how we all might better serve the LGBT/SSA community of Latter-day Saints.


CAMERON HATCH

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Cameron Hatch has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Utah and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He did his undergraduate work at Utah State University in Anthropology and Asian Studies.

Cameron speaks Mandarin Chinese and dabbles with other languages. He is certified in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, has completed advanced training with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine and enjoys helping people discover themselves through embodied and expressive therapies. His hobbies include being with his family, adventure and utility bicycling, yoga, field ornithology, tenkara fly fishing, and reading.


JARED M. HALVERSON

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Jared M. Halverson is the director of the Westminster Institute of Religion for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Originally from Southern California, he served a two-year mission in Puerto Rico and worked as a teacher, supervisor, and researcher at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts in Religious Education from Brigham Young University.

Jared has taught religious education courses for high school and college-age young adults since 1998. He has taught in the religion department at Brigham Young University, and has been a featured speaker for youth and young adult groups from coast to coast. He has also served on an LDS writing committee for Ensign magazine, and has written college curricula for the Church Educational System. Prior to his current assignment, Jared spent four years as an assistant director at the Salt Lake University Institute of Religion and eight years directing the seminary and institute programs in Nashville, Tennessee.

While in Nashville, Jared earned a second master’s degree in American religious history at Vanderbilt University, where he is currently completing a doctorate in the same subject, focusing on anti-religious rhetoric. He was frequently involved with interfaith dialogue in the Nashville area. That work has continued in Salt Lake City, where he has hosted Evangelical student groups from across the country.

In 1999 he married the former Emily Stoddard in the San Diego Temple. They have five children, ranging in age from 10 to 18, and live in Cedar Hills, Utah.


ANN WASHBURN

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Ann Washburn is a dynamic and inspiring keynote speaker, trainer, mentor, and Body Language Expert with 3 Key Elements, Inc. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and has given over 4,400 presentations throughout the country. Her TEDx Talk on YouTube about body language and the subconscious has received over 1.2 million views, and she has made over 26 television and radio appearances. She shares from her experiences as a trainer and mentor and from her inspiring story of going from messy to mastery.

Ann brings to the 3 Key Elements team her engineering background and her enthusiasm for pushing herself to the next level. Her wide experience has prepared her to work with executives, professionals, civic leaders, non-profit organizations, religious leaders, holistic experts, and parents and teens. The techniques she shares are simple and down to earth, and her success comes because they work! Let her transform your life today!

Ann holds a black belt in Hapkido, and has recently become a CrossFit enthusiast and an obstacle race runner. She and her husband have been happily married for 25 years, and they are the parents of five incredible children.

website: 3KeyElements.com


LESLIE HOUSEHOLDER

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Leslie Householder is the award-winning, international best-selling author of three books: The Jackrabbit Factor, Portal to Genius, and Hidden Treasures: Heaven's Astonishing Help With Your Money Matters. Since 2002, she has helped people all over the world discover and apply the “rare kind of faith” that causes things to happen for powerful life changes. Through story and shifts of perspective, Leslie aims to help you crush every challenge, achieve every goal, and vanquish every monster under your bed.

Learn more about Leslie at www.RareFaith.org .

“The significant problems we face in life cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
—Albert Einstein


HARLAN HAMMOND

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Harlan Hammond is the former bishop for the Union Fort branch/ward. He will be participating in a bishops' panel at the conference. More details coming soon...