Strengthening Families: Nurturing Children's Well-Being Summit

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Expert Bios

Browse the incredible expert panel of leading psychologists, educators, researchers and coaches helping us to protect our children's well-being

Ola Adesonaye
Academic Coach for Tweens and Teens

Every child has greatness in them and can be empowered to fulfil their academic potential and nourish their wellbeing.  Ola’s refreshing approach to education combines her expertise as a mother and former homeschooler to equip preteens with the skills they need to flourish academically, whilst also prioritising their wellbeing. After helping her son to overcome bullying and academic challenges, she became passionate about empowering other ambitious preteens to navigate the school system - nurturing them to work smarter, rather than harder.  By focusing on mindset, wellbeing and self-confidence, Ola develops well rounded children with the skills to think outside the box and achieve their own greatness. Ola is the founder of the Study Skills Lab.  She is a qualified Pharmacist from the University of London (UCL) and has qualifications in Confidence, Parenting and Academic Coaching

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Aniesa Blore
Occupational Therapist, Director at Sensational Kids

Aniesa completed her degree in Occupational Therapy in 1999 at the University of Stellenbosch, in South Africa. She has since been focusing on paediatrics and sensory processing and integration. She has worked across a range of paediatric fields and has extensive experience in children’s issues from autism to learning difficulties. Her speciality areas of practice include Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Delays and Dyspraxia. Aniesa has extensive experience in using standardised and non-standardised assessment for establishing a baseline on which intervention can be delivered and continually evaluated.

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Mona Delahooke, PhD
Clinical Psychologist

Mona Delahooke, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of experience caring for children and their families. She is a senior faculty member of the Profectum Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting families of neurodiverse children, adolescents and adults. She is the author of Beyond Behaviors: Using Brain Science and Compassion to Understand and Solve Children’s Behavioral Challenges, and Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention: A Skills Guide for Working with Children. Her popular blog covers a range of topics useful for caregivers and childhood providers

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David Green, PhD, RP
Psychotherapist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

David is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto and a Sessional Instructor at the University of Guelph. He has graduate training in counselling psychology and human development. David is a dynamic, empathetic, and committed mental health professional with expertise in Career Counselling, Behaviour Modification, Learning, and Marriage and Family. With over 20 years of experience in the mental health industry, he has worked in many settings including secondary school counselling, community organizations, children’s home, and private practice, providing individual and group psychotherapy and psychoeducation to address issues such as depression, anxiety, stress, trauma, loss/grief, relationship difficulties, impulse control, sexual abuse, sexual issues, and behavioural difficulties. He utilizes a client centred approach with attention to a variety of modalities and intervention strategies based on the needs of clients, including cognitive behaviour therapy and solution focus therapy. Also, he has taught students at the postsecondary level in the disciplines of psychology, counselling, counselling psychology, family relationships, culture, human development, and research methodology. He is a fatherhood, parenting, and human development scholar, investigating family and developmental processes across diverse cultures and age stages. David has received significant scholarships and awards, including a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Toronto and the Casey Cosgrove teaching award of excellence from the University of Guelph, Canada.

Ross Greene, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Founder of Lives in Balance

 He is the originator of the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model. Dr. Greene was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School for over 20 years, and is now founding director of the non-profit Lives in the Balance, which provides a vast array of free, web-based resources on the CPS model. He has appeared in a wide range of media, including The Oprah Show, Good Morning America, The Morning Show, National Public Radio, Mother Jones magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. Dr. Greene lectures and consults widely throughout the world and lives in Portland, Maine.
 

Phyllis Fagell, LCPC, CPSC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Certified Professional School Counselor

Phyllis Fagell is the author of  the book, “Middle School Matters: The 10 key skills kids need to thrive in middle school and beyond and how parents can help.”  Phyllis has worked in both public and private schools with students in grades K-12. She currently works full time as the school counselor for Sheridan School in Washington, D.C. and provides therapy to children, teens and adults in private practice at the Chrysalis Group, Inc. Phyllis is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post, focusing on counseling, parenting and education. She also has written for Psychology Today, Working Mother, Time, U.S. News & World Report, and Your Teen, and her ideas have been shared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe, and The Chicago Tribune, among many other outlet.

Michael Hollander, PhD
Psychologist and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Hollander is a recognized expert in the treatment of self-injury. He has worked with adolescents and their families since 1976. He helped to found the 3 East Dialectical Behavior Therapy program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, where he is currently Director of Training and Senior Consultant. Dr. Hollander is Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry faculties of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He trains mental health professionals in DBT worldwide.

Michael Jacobus
Executive Director of Reset Summer Camp

Michael Jacobus is the Executive Director of Reset Summer Camp in Santa Barbara, California. Micahel is a 30+ year camp professional, He created the world's first clinical summer camp program for unhealthy screen-time over use habits, social-media and gaming addiction in 2018. A frequent speaker / facilitator for the American Camp Association, Michael has been involved in youth development and leadership training for decades. He has worked in Program, Administration and Development for the boy scouts and other non-profits, church groups, private camps and most recently spent time working with HIV affected youth in Soweto, South Africa, as a representative of Global Camps Africa.

Debi John
Psychologist

Debi John is a playful parenting consultant, helping parents to PAUSE, PLAY and CONNECT deeply with their children in this fast-paced digital world. Debi hosts the ‘Play Healing Parent Podcast’ and helps parents all over the world to PAUSE and let go of their stress, confusion and anxiety to become the calm, confident and playful parents they have always wanted to be. As the Mum of a young actor (West End, BBC, Netflix) Debi is an advocate for maintaining the Mental Health of young performers in the film industry and often regularly features on BBC Radio to talk about parenting, overcoming performance anxiety and preventing tech addiction. She has been in education working with children aged 4-16 for over 20 years has 2 girls aged 13 and 15 and studied Therapeutic Play at Masters level.

Jamie Lachman, DPHIL
Senior Research Officer at University of Oxford and Co-Founder of Parenting for Lifelong Health Initiative

Dr Jamie M. Lachman has over 20 years of experience developing, testing, and scaling up family and parenting programmes to reduce violence against children and improve child wellbeing in low- and middle-income countries. He is a senior research officer at the University of Oxford Department of Social Policy and Intervention and a research fellow at the University of Glasgow MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit. He is also the founder of Clowns Without Borders South Africa and a co-founder of the Parenting for Lifelong Health initiative. The programmes and resources that Jamie has co-developed have reached over 155 million beneficiaries in 182 countries. He is also a storyteller, banjo-player, songwriter, facilitator, and clown. Dedicated to promoting our human capacity for peace and laughter, Jamie strives to live each day fully with compassion and amazement.

Jessica Lahey
Teacher, Parenting Journalist, and Author

Jessica Lahey is a teacher, writer, and mom. Over twenty years, she’s taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools. She writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post and the New York Times and is the author of the book The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. She’s also the author the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. She is a member of the Amazon Studios Thought Leader Board and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ The Stinky and Dirty Show. Jessica earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two sons.

Eli Lebowitz, PhD
Associate Professor, Yale Child Study Director, Program for Anxiety Disorder

Eli R. Lebowitz, PhD is the author of the book, Breaking Free of Child Anxiety and OCDProfessor Lebowitz studies and treats childhood and adolescent anxiety at the Yale Child Study Center. His research focuses on the development, neurobiology, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders, with special emphasis on family dynamics and the role of parents in these problems. Dr. Lebowitz is the lead investigator on multiple funded research projects, and is the author of research papers, books and chapters on childhood and adolescent anxiety. He is also the father of three great boys.

Rashelle Litchmore, PhD
Assistant Professor, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Trainer

Dr. Rashelle Litchmore is an Assistant Professor of Human Development at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut in the United States. Her research is in the areas of cultural psychology, education policy, Black and racialized adolescent identities, and systems transformation. She currently teaches courses in human development across the lifespan, and child and family social policy. Dr. Litchmore was previously a Senior Policy Advisor with the Government of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, where she supported government decision making in addressing disparities faced by racialized and Indigenous people in Ontario. She is an anti-racism and anti-oppression trainer, and has published research on Black Canadian adolescent identities and Muslim Canadian experiences.

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Marguerite Orane, MBA
Leadership Coach and Facilitator

Marguerite Orane is dedicated to changing the way we live and work so that we do so with joy. She coaches leaders in realizing the value that joy and happiness at work bring to people and profits. With over 30 years in strategy consulting and general management, Marguerite’s commitment is to help leaders and their teams joyfully bring strategy to life to achieve their desired results. She is valued for her insights on leadership, strategy, entrepreneurship and personal growth delivered in her own energetic, joy-filled way as a coach, facilitator, speaking and her blogs. Her experience as an entrepreneur, a Harvard MBA and her curiosity about the mysteries and delights of the world are the foundation of this work. Marguerite has published 2 books: “Free and Laughing: Spiritual Insights in Everyday Moments” and “Forget It! What’s the Point? Letting Go and Claiming Joy” and shares her insights on leadership fortnightly at: www.margueriteorane.com/blog

Website     LinkedIn    

 

Hanniffa Patterson, M.Sc.
Online and Social Media Strategist

Hanniffa Patterson is an online & social media strategy expert based in Kingston Jamaica. While teaching and pursuing her studies in France, Hanniffa stumbled upon social media by accident and became very interested in how it could impact business and, its potential to affect society and our relationships. She holds an M1 Information and Communications and M2 Communications and Intercultural studies from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris.  Her master's research work focused on Facebook and the Digital Identity and Social media and culture. Since then, she has taught on social media for business in both Paris and Jamaica and had a column in a national paper for almost 6 years. She is particularly passionate about responsible social media use, especially amongst children, and has spoken on the topic on television, at conferences and in schools.

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Jennifer Salerno, DNP, CPNP, FAANP
Founder and CEO of Possibilities for Change

Dr. Jennifer Salerno is a pediatric nurse practitioner and translational researcher with broad experience in direct practice with adolescents and research to improve adolescent-focused care. As a nurse practitioner with over 20 years of experience working with adolescents and their families in numerous settings, she experienced the variation in care associated with the level of an individual provider’s experience, subconscious bias, or discomfort with particular risk topics. Dr. Salerno has since dedicated her career to training professionals and developing technology-based, scalable interventions that can reduce these gaps in care and variability in provider practice. In 2016 she expanded this work to parents of teens by releasing Teen Speak: A how to guide for real talks with teens about sex, drugs and other risky behaviors.

Website    Books

Stuart Shanker, DPHIL
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the MEHRIT Centre

Stuart Shanker, D Phil (Oxon), is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Psychology from York University and the CEO of the MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. His book, Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (And You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life, has garnered glowing reviews around the world being published in Canada, the US, and the UK, as well as many international editions.

Website     Books

 

Howard Stevenson, PhD
Professor, Clinical Psychologist, and Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative

Howard is the Constance Clayton Professor of Urban Education, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative, promoting racial literacy in education, health, and community institutions and Co-Director of Forward Promise which provides funding to culturally responsive community based organizations serving the health needs of boys and young men of color. His research focuses on helping children and adults develop and use assertive coping strategies during face-to-face microaggressions. Key to this racial healing work is the use of culture to reduce in-the-moment threat reactions, increase access to memory, physical mobility, and voice, and prevent long-term health detriment.

Website 

Clifford Sussman, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Clifford Sussman, MD is internationally known as a pioneer in treating internet and video game addiction. He has been in private practice in psychiatry for children, adolescents, and young adults in Washington, DC since 2008 and is an expert consultant for the Digital Use Disorder Track at Caron Renaissance in Boca Raton, FL. He has been featured as an authority on screen use related issues throughout the media and peer- reviewed literature. He has presented on the topic to audiences of all types and sizes at conferences, hospitals, schools, and other venues locally and internationally. He continues to present frequently online during the pandemic.

Website 

Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, CPCC
CEO, Impactparents.com

For over a decade, Elaine Taylor-Klaus struggled as a mom raising complex kids with ADHD, anxiety, learning disabilities and more. Discovering that motherhood sometimes necessitates invention, she co-founded an innovative socio-preneurship, the first ever virtual parent-coaching support organization for parents of complex kids. As the CEO of ImpactParents.com, she has curated an award-winning online resource and blog for parents and professionals, and developed an award-winning behavior management program for parents and teachers. ImpactParents provides coaching, training, and support to tens of thousands around the globe. A trusted advisor to parents raising complex children and teens, Elaine is the co-author of Parenting ADHD Now! Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD, and the author of The Essential Guide to Raising Complex Kids with ADHD, Anxiety and More, which was released in the middle of the pandemic of 2020. Elaine is a guiding voice in parenting complex kids and parenting kids in complex times. 

Website     Books

 

Maximilan von Heyden, M.Sc.
Researcher and Executive Director and Co-Founder of FINDER

Maximilian von Heyden is a public health researcher and prevention practitioner with a background in social work and research experience in medical psychology and sexology. He is a researcher at the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, where he supports implementing a nationwide child sexual abuse prevention programme. As executive director and co-founder of FINDER, a non-profit research and education organisation based in Berlin, he is committed to supporting schools, youth services and communities in implementing and funding effective, ethical and sustainable prevention and health promotion interventions. 

One of these interventions is the REBOUND life-skills and drug prevention programme, which he co-authored and evaluated at Heidelberg University with youth, teachers, social workers and research colleagues from several European countries. The programme is currently implemented in about 200 schools and youth services in Germany and Luxemburg and delivered by trained teachers and social workers to young adults between 14 and 24.

FINDER     REBOUND

Julia von Weiler
Psychologist and Director of Innocence in Danger

Julia von Weiler studied Psychology at New York University and the Free University, Berlin. During her studies in New York she interned at the ‘Children’s Safety Project’ in New York City, where she provided support for abused children. From 1992 to 1994 she worked as a pedagogue in the ‘Mädchenvilla’, the first residential project of its kind in Germany for abused girls aged 4 to 14. She was a board member of its supporting association from 1993 to 2000. From 1999 to 2002, Julia von Weiler provided counselling for sexually abused girls and boys as well as their guardians in a counselling drop-in centre in Cologne. Until 2007 she then headed the psychology department at the ‘Kind in Düsseldorf’ gGmbH, a diagnostic and therapeutic institution for providing in-patient treatment for abused children aged 3 to 12. 

Since 2003 she has been Director of ‘Innocence in Danger e.V.’, the German section of an international network which is particularly committed to fight child sexual abuse by means of digital media, i.e. preventing the spread of child abusive images through the Internet. She has been part of different international research groups and authored various papers, as well as the parents' guide "Online. Protect children from sexual violence."

Website

 

Janis Whitlock, PhD
Professor, Founder and Director of the Cornell Research Project on Self-Injury and Recovery

Janis Whitlock, PhD is the founder and director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery.  She is also a Senior Advisor for the JED Foundation, a youth suicide prevention and mental health promotion organization. Her research in mental and emotional health, resilience, and connectedness links science with efforts to support and enhance the lives of youth. She is dedicated to making research accessible and useful to those best positioned to make a direct difference in the lives of youth, such as parents and youth-serving professionals. She is the author of the book for parents, Healing Self-Injury: A Compassionate Guide for Parents and Other Loved Ones and supports a resource-focused website for self-injury prevention (Self-Injury and Recovery Resources). As a consultant, she works directly with schools, organizations, and parents to support youth mental health promotion and wellbeing. When she is not working, she enjoys her kids, yoga, meditation, and time in nature.

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Christopher Willard, PhD
Professor, Clinical Psychologist, Author

Dr. Christopher Willard, (Psy. D.) is a clinical psychologist, author and consultant based in Massachusetts. He has been invited to more than two dozen countries to speak, and has presented at two TEDx events. He is the author of eighteen books, including Alphabreaths (2019), Growing Up Mindful (2016Raising Resilience (2017) and The Breathing Book. (2020) His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.orgcnn.com, and elsewhere. He teaches at Harvard Medical School.

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