Speakers: Full Bios
Find a more in-depth bio for each of our speakers on this page!
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.
T.C. Christensen is a Latter-day Saint cinematographer, film director, writer, and producer best known for his work on Church history films and other inspiring films including Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration; Gordon B. Hinckley: A Giant Among Men; The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd; The Work and the Glory; 17 Miracles; Ephraim's Rescue; The Cokeville Miracle; Love, Kennedy; and Forever Strong. His recent titles include The Other Side of Heaven 2: Fire of Faith and The Fighting Preacher (both in theatres now).
He was the cinematographer for Roving Mars, an IMAX film film for Disney and Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West, an IMAX film film for National Geographic. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
T.C. grew up in Layton, Utah with nine siblings. He began his filmmaking career with his father’s 8mm movie camera, trying to make funny short films for his friends. It wasn’t until he got an idea for a “heartwarming piece” that he realized how much a film could touch people’s hearts. He took a difficult break from his young filmmaking career to serve as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ohio and West Virginia from 1972 to 1974. He later studied filmmaking at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
T.C. lives in Farmington his wife Katy. They have two children—Tanner and Tess—both of whom have worked with T.C. on his films.
TERRYL AND FIONA GIVENS
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 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
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 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
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.
“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: email@example.com
T.K. Plant received a Bachelor of Arts in Ancient Near Eastern Studies degree 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.
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
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 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 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 degree and a Master of Arts in Religious Education degree from Brigham Young University. He is currently pursuing a PhD from from Vanderbilt 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 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 1.3 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.
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.”
Allison Shields works as a researcher in customer experience at a medical staffing company. She has also spent the past 18 years studying the psychology behind relationships working under teachers such as Terry Real, Belinda Berman-Real, and Dianne Poole-Heller.
She is passionate about helping others make strong connections and using the resources we have available to push past the shallowness and games and move into something more meaningful that can help us ultimately find what we all ultimately hope for, love.
DAVID AND ALLISON WARNER
Elder David T. Warner was called as a member of the Fifth Quorum of the Seventy in April 2015. A former faculty member at BYU-Provo and managing director of the Church’s Priesthood and Family Department, he is a founding partner in a digital technology company.
Sister Allison H. Warner grew up in Germany, Hong Kong, London, and Southern California before moving to Utah and studying Humanities at BYU-Provo. She has served as a stake and ward leader in Relief Society, Young Women, and Sunday School. Elder and Sister Warner are the parents of two sons.
Stephanie Gardner, LCSW, completed her bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University and received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. Stephanie has spent hundreds of hours in face-to-face therapy helping singles and families improve their relationships. She has specialized in researching attachment theory, and has spent the last nine years studying attachment theory from both non-LDS and LDS clinicians alike. She currently owns a private practice in Pleasant Grove, UT where she treats individuals, families and couples and specializes in treating victims of emotional and psychological abuse as well as helping singles overcome and change their attachment styles and other hurdles that are keeping them from healthy connections.
She also owns and runs a business called Actually Connect where she does individual private relationship coaching, destination trips for singles, and public seminars and trainings. For more information visit www.actuallyconnect.com .
Stephanie is also the co-founder of Run4Refugees, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping refugee families. The organization hosts a 5k and 10k race in Lehi, Utah each year and raises money to assist refugee families. Run4Refugees works in partnership with Lifting Hands International to send needed supplies straight to refugee camps overseas.
Stephanie served a mission in Hawaii and worked full-time at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah for 9 years before becoming a therapist. She is a marathon finisher, a triathlete, and more recently an avid Spikeball enthusiast. The thing she loves most is helping others to heal and find the connections and relationships they have been waiting for their whole lives.
Randy D. Funk
Randy D. Funk was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 2013. At the time of his call, he was serving as the president of the India Bangalore Mission. He recently served as the Asia Area President and is currently serving in the Area Presidency of the Utah Areas.
Elder Funk received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Utah State University in 1976. He then received a juris doctor degree from the University of Utah Law School in 1979. Prior to his call to full-time Church service, he was an attorney and partner in the law firm Sherman & Howard in Denver, Colorado.
Elder Funk has served in numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in Indonesia, bishop, high councilor, stake president, and Area Seventy. He served on the board of directors of several community organizations.
Randy Dennis Funk was born in Logan, Utah, on August 1, 1952. He married Andrea Clyde in May 1976. They are the parents of six children.
For more information about Elder Funk, please visit ChurchofJesusChrist.org .
William and Sharon Lynn Schaefermeyer
William Schaefermeyer was called as the president of the Jordan River Utah Temple in August 2014 and will be officially released in October 2019. He has served as a patriarch, stake institute teacher, temple preparation teacher and sealer in the Jordan River Utah Temple. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission, as a stake president, bishop, and high councilor. Retired director of studios and events for the Church, he was born in San Diego, California, to Arthur and Mary Vera Schaefermeyer.
Sharon Lynn Schaefermeyer, President Schaefermeyer’s wife, faithfully serves alongside her husband at the Jordan River Utah Temple as temple matron. She also serves as a temple preparation teacher. Sister Schaefermeyer served with her husband as he presided over the Pennsylvania Philadelphia Mission. She has also served as stake Primary president, ward Relief Society president and as a counselor in ward Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. She was born in Vernal, Utah, to Reed and Olen Bodily.
For more information about the Schaefermeyer’s, please visit TheChurchNews.com .
Julie Miller, upon embarking into adult life, quickly found and easily fell into her passion: relationships. Over the last two decades, she has worked to transform homes, communities, and Utah state systems for families and children through the nonprofit and education sectors. Her work involves parenting education—teaching attachment theory to parents individually and in classes.
Julie received a Bachelor of Marriage, Family and Human Development degree from Brigham Young University and a Master of Family, Consumer and Human Development degree with an emphasis is community education from Utah State University. In both degrees she focused on marriage preparation and enrichment. Julie is currently studying for a master’s degree in social work at Louisiana State University, focusing on clinical mental health. Her plan is to further build skills in mental health and increase future opportunities to help individuals and families through their struggles.
A native of Utah, Julie loves exploring the mountains, especially during wildflower season. She loves her running shoes, deep conversations, an ever-growing book collection and—without a doubt—she loves her faith, family, and friends. Julie believes that life-long learners will rarely have a dull moment in their lives and that they are most likely to reach their dreams, including the amazing relationships they seek.
Daniel Smith is a scriptural history enthusiast whose dream in life is to help visually teach others about the scriptures in a way never done before. He currently works as a video producer for Book of Mormon Central, and also has his own YouTube channel called Messages of Christ with over 145 videos, 9 million views, and 63,000 subscribers.
His passions are teaching about Holy Week, the life of Christ, ancient temples, and the Jewish Feasts. He has recreated several ancient artifacts (including the clothing of the High Priest), hosted over 28 ancient Jewish Feasts, and blogged on numerous subjects. He has presented at various conferences and events, including the 2016 Temple on Mount Zion conference, firesides, and youth Tabernacle camps throughout the nation. Daniel is also a part of the Brigham Young University Virtual Scriptures team, assisting with creating an app that will help bring the scriptures to life, through virtual tours, videos, and interactive experiences.
You can learn more about Daniel at: www.redeemerofisrael.org .
Anne Berryhill has been with the Church History Department for six years. She earned graduate degrees in art history and architectural history at Virginia Commonwealth University. She also earned a library degree at the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
Her areas of interest include Church architecture and historic sites, Nauvoo, Latter-day Saint artists, and women’s role in the growth of the international Church.
Sherilyn Farnes has had a love of history since her early childhood. As her family traveled to sites such as Palmyra, Independence, Kirtland, and Nauvoo, she grew to love the stories of those who had gone before and felt a desire to study and share them.
Her formal research in history and religion began in her undergraduate days. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, she took time off to work in public history—work for historians outside of an academic setting. She later returned to school and earned another degree in history, this time a PhD.
Sherilyn researched for the Joseph Smith Papers Project and researched and wrote for The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846, which is volume one of Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. She has published and presented on various aspects of Church history. In addition to presentations at academic history conferences, she has been interviewed for nationally-televised history shows about early Latter-day Saint history, including America’s Sacred Ground: Kirtland, which aired in 2017.
Sherilyn Loves working in public history, but another of her loves is teaching history. She has taught Doctrine and Covenants and Church History classes at Brigham Young University as well as history and composition classes at four colleges and universities.
Elizabeth Kuehn received her Bachelor of Arts in History degree from Arizona State University and her Master of Arts in History degree from Purdue University, with a focus on religious history and women and gender studies in early modern European history. She entered a doctoral program in History at the University of California, Irvine, and became a PhD candidate there in 2011.
Since 2013, she has worked as a documentary editor and historian on the Joseph Smith Papers Project based at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a co-editor of several documentary editions of The Joseph Smith Papers, including Documents Volume 5: October 1835-January 1838 and Documents Volume 6: February 1838 - August 1839, both of which were published in 2017. She is currently the lead editor on Documents Volume 10: May to August 1842, forthcoming in spring 2020, as well as a co-editor for the final Document Series volume.
For the last six years, her research has specialized in the Latter-day Saint community in Kirtland, Ohio and the financial records of Joseph Smith. More recently she has worked on controversies in Nauvoo in 1842, including John C. Bennett’s accusations, Joseph Smith’s bankruptcy proceedings, and plural marriage. She has worked to bring greater inclusion of women and representation of their experiences to the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Amy Barnett is the owner of 50 Star Productions—an event production company specializing in giant American flags and other large props. Having worked in the field for several companies and for many years, she has fallen in love with this type of production work. She has over 22 years of event experience.
Amy was born and raised in Utah. She still resides there and will always call it home. When not unfurling flags or preparing for a new production, she finds her joy playing with the 50 Star dog, Sasha.
Kit Bate ranks in the top 1% of mortgage loan officers in America. His business practices are heavily weighted on deep personal relationships, extraordinary customer service that extends beyond mortgages, and coaching those he works with to provide empowering education.
Kit was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He started his career as a mortgage loan officer during his senior year at the University of Utah while finishing his business finance degree. He loves serving the local community and church programs. Also, he is not afraid of challenging situations—he has experience as a professional cliff diver, amateur exhibition-style snow boarder and wake boarder!
Kit met his wife, Nat, at the University of Utah, and they have been married for 15 years. He likes to say Nat is the CEO of one of the top 1% of families in America. As a father of four, Kit focuses on having balance in life, but balancing on a high level. Being intentional and having systems are things he applies at work, as well as at home.
Learn more about Kit at academymortgage.com/about-us/team/KitBate .
Aaron is the managing partner at Salsa Queen, a regional food manufacturer with products in a hundred grocery stores along the Wasatch Front. He previously co-founded Business Texter, a SAS company specializing in AI messaging platforms.
Originally from Spokane where he earned his MBA at Gonzaga University, Aaron moved to Salt Lake in 2016 and is a fellow mid-single in the Emigration ward.
Danny Brock has a degree in business from Utah State University and has a Utah State Contractor license. He spent 27 years as Senior Vice President of Aladdin Industries, a small manufacturing company. Danny later developed and managed the Business Partnership program for Deseret Industries. He currently works as the Employment Support Manager of Welfare and Self-Reliance Services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is an advisory board member for the Salvation Army. He is also a commissioner for relations between The Church and the Boy Scouts of America. He is the recipient of the Silver Antelope award, one of the highest honors given by the Boy Scouts of America.
Danny was raised in Huntington Beach, California and was a member of the Western Avenue Baptist Church. He joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was 15 and went on a mission to the New York, New York City Mission when he was 19. He served as a scoutmaster, as a bishop on two separate occasions, as a mission president in the South Africa Durban Mission, and as a stake president for nine mission branches. He is currently serving as advisor to the 2019 Salt Lake City Mid-Singles Conference Committee.
Bishop Brock and his wife, Kelly, have been married for 40 years. They have three children—Molly, Charlie, and Joe—all of whom are married. They have seven grandchildren. Bishop Brock loves his family, baseball, and dirt bikes.
Harlan Hammond has worked for the past 33 years for Intermountain Healthcare as the Corporate Risk Manager.
Harlan served as branch president for the Union Fort 9th Branch. It later became the Union Fort Single Adult Ward, where he was again called to lead—this time as bishop. Bishop Hammond served in this branch/ward from 2013–2017. He notes, "It was a fabulous experience, filled with great love for our members and rich blessings from the Lord." During those four years, the ward was divided four times as new Single Adult wards were created within the original boundaries.
Bishop Hammond and his wife, Julia, will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary in January 2020. They have four amazing children, four remarkable children-in-law, and six adorable grandchildren. Their children and their families live in Holladay & Sandy, Utah; Cleveland, Ohio; and San Jose, California.
LARAE AND KENT SCOTT
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.
Heather Severn Callister
Heather Severn Callister, MS, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She has a private practice in downtown Salt Lake City. She's been counseling clients since 2004. Her passion is to help clear the barriers that keep people from getting where they want to go.
Heather is originally from the Los Angeles, California area. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in theatre from Brigham Young University. She received her master’s degree in counseling psychology at California Lutheran University. She has appeared several times as a studio guest on KUTV Channel 2 News. She worked at LDS Family Services for over 9 years.
Heather got married at age 39—she says her husband was “worth the wait”. Together they have two small boys. Their 4-year-old son has both down syndrome and autism. Their 1-year-old son is adopted and is “typical” developing.
Heather currently gives presentations and lectures to various organizations that help enhance couple and family relationships, business employee relationships, and mental health to create a more balanced life. For more information, visit her website at www.skylightcounseling.com.
LONI AND MARK HARMON
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.
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.
Ikram Abdullahi earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Utah State University. She currently works as an employment specialist in partnership with the Asian Association of Utah, the Department of Workforce Services, and the LDS Humanitarian Center. She is a quiet but strong community leader, known for her ability to inspire others to increase their cultural perspective. She is passionate about getting her clients what they want and has the ability to go to any individual or organization to make that happen.
Ikram grew up in Logan, Utah. She was born in Somalia and moved to Utah as a refugee due to civil unrest in her home country. Her unique perspective of being both a Somalian and a Utahn gives her the ability to articulate the needs of others in an effort to create a more culturally inclusive community. She has a way of helping others exchange cultural perspectives to create a stronger community and strong friendships.
In her spare time, you will most likely find Ikram engaged in community service or surrounded by friends and family.
Katherine Lowe has had a dynamic career, and has a variety of skills. She has extensive experience in Utah politics and in national politics. This includes work on several political campaigns for senators, representatives, etc. She has held titles such as Director of Voter Operations, Campaign Manager, Development Manager, and Field Manager. Katherine also worked as a consultant for Google and Cisco; her responsibilities included managing ad sales, partner relations and training, global marketing efforts, program creation, program evaluation, and communications.
In 2016, Katherine founded At Home Humanitarian—a nonprofit organization focused on helping refugees feel “at home” by providing mentors and educational and cultural outings. At Home's big focus is providing “Welcome Weekend” retreats. They've held two retreats in Northern California, each bringing more than 150 refugee participants from Afghanistan, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Turkey, Iraq, and Eritrea. The organization’s work has taken place mostly within California, but they are looking to expand operations into Utah. At Home Humanitarian recently launched www.worldrefugeeday.org to gather financial support for qualifying refugee support organizations.
Katherine is currently a studying for an Executive Master of Public Administration degree offered through Brigham Young University.
For more information about At Home Humanitarian, please visit athomehumanitarian.org .
Maren Swensen works at the LDS Humanitarian Center as a development counselor focusing on creating self-reliance for refugees through employment and training. She is known for her compassion in working with clients. She hears their voice to identify needs and successfully implement plans to address those needs.
Maren earned a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from Virginia Commonwealth University. She completed her PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Grand Canyon University focusing her research on addressing barriers to successful employment placement for women who are refugees. Her in-depth perspective on the resettlement process enables her to assist community members in accurately identifying and addressing refugees needs. She is best known throughout the community for her ability to identify the actual needs of various populations. She provides strong advocacy for her clients, giving a voice to underrepresented and under privileged populations.
In her spare time, Maren prepares students for careers in the social service field. She teaches courses at the University of Phoenix and Utah State University.
Thomas and Carol Colemere
Elder Thomas and Sister Carol Colemere are serving as the Coordinators of the Salt Lake Addiction Recovery Mission. They supervise 103 missionaries and about 50 facilitators in the Salt Lake area, northeastern Utah, and southwestern Wyoming. Over 100 meetings for the 12-Step program and Family Support are held in these areas per week. Meetings are held every day of the week, even holidays. Their missionaries and facilitators served over 3,000 participants in meetings in the month of June 2019 with 261 first-time attendees.
Elder and Sister Colemere testify that the Addiction Recovery Program is a divinely-inspired program which can bring hope and healing to individuals and families. It is the practical application of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and can be beneficial to anyone sincerely seeking relief from any addictive or destructive behavior.
Elder and Sister Colemere and the other missionaries are not experts in the field of social work or counseling. They are a group of brothers and sisters who desire to recover and or facilitate recovery from any addiction or destructive habit. They share their experiences, faith and hope as they study and apply Gospel Principles in relation to the 12 Steps of recovery. Their meetings provide a safe place for honest sharing because they adhere to the principles of confidentiality and anonymity, and they use appropriate language and behavior to invite the Spirit to be with them. Elder and Sister Colemere have observed that as people practice these 12 Steps in their lives, they receive power through Jesus Christ and His Atonement to overcome harmful choices and receive more fully the blessings of the Gospel. Meetings are open to persons of any or no Faith and those suffering from any kind of addiction.
Elder and Sister Colemere also welcome to the Addiction Recovery Program those whose lives are affected by the improper practices and addiction of loved ones. They recommend that family and friends, negatively impacted, attend the Family Support meetings and study the Family Support Manual, which may help them find greater hope, inner peace, and personal healing.
For more information, see addictionrecovery.churchofjesuschrist.org .
“How do I try again, when I have failed thousands of times?”
“How do I tell the people that I love the most what is going on with me?”
“If I tell them, what will that do to my relationships?”
These are the questions that plagued Luke's mind throughout his youth, and the next 15 years of his adult life. His journey is full of pain, because of secrecy and shame. This pain finally became a catalyst which started to create change. He now spends time sharing the hope of recovery and changing the mindset on how recovery looks different, if you have different tools.
Luke Gordon is the program director for the Men of Moroni Program based out of Farmington, Utah. He resides in Las Vegas with his wife and five kids. For the past five years, Luke has been working with men to overcome the negative effects that pornography has had in their lives. Luke enjoys spending time with family and does what he can to try to escape the Las Vegas heat during the summers. He loves to make time to camp and travel during his free time. He and his family are also avid Seattle Seahawks fans.
Cody Hawes was born and raised in Hermiston, Oregon where his passions were sports, singing and activities with family, friends and the LDS church. He worked on the local farms until his graduation from High School and enrolled at Rick’s College in 1999. He attended Ricks for one year and was called to serve a mission in McAllen, Texas where he learned the Spanish language and increased his eagerness to serve people around him. After serving his mission, he went back to school at the transitioned BYU-Idaho where he received a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. He was actually named the "Man of The Year" for the BYU-Idaho college of Religion and Social Sciences. BYU-Idaho is where he met his beautiful wife Kristin while they were EFY counselors.
After a few years of living in Layton where Kristin worked as a Special Education teacher and Cody as a youth sex offender counselor they decided to pursue a Masters degree in Social Work at Eastern Washington University. There, he became a mental health/sex offender therapist and worked for the departments of corrections in Washington and Oregon.
Since moving back to Utah, he started working for Life Changing Services and the Sons of Helaman program and has worked as a part-time therapist for LDS family services. His specialties include Addiction Recovery, Marriage and Family therapy, and Mental Health Recovery.
Cody can be reached at 801-721-0144 or firstname.lastname@example.org .