Rebecca Chiasson is the Chemistry Manager at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab which includes both seized drug analysis and forensic toxicology analysis. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Nicholls State University and a Master of Science from University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She has almost 20 years’ experience in forensics, specifically drug chemistry, toxicology and crime scene processing. In 2011, she was promoted to drug chemistry unit supervisor, then chemistry manager in 2013. She has been qualified as an expert 20+ times in forensic drug chemistry in state and/or federal court. She has membership in the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, and the Louisiana Association of Forensic Scientists. She has been appointed to the State Epidemiology Workgroup, the Prevention Systems Committee, the Governor’s DWI-Vehicular Homicide Task Force, the Governor’s Drug Policy Board, and Louisiana’s Impaired Drivers Emphasis Team. She co-chairs the Statewide and Capital Region’s Impaired Drivers Emphasis Teams. She assists in the identification, banning, and education of new synthetic drugs that are a public health hazard along with Louisiana Poison Center and DHH. She is also part of the team assembled for the Strategic Highway Safety Plan to identify the severity of drug impaired driving in Louisiana.
Rebecca ChiassonChemistry Manager
Diane Braun is a licensed independent mental health and substance abuse counselor in the state of Nebraska. Diane is an active member of the Nebraska CISM team as a trainer and a therapist, a certified trainer for ICISF and a member of the Dodge County Problems Solving Court in Nebraska.
Diane has been involved in the behavioral health field since 2005. Her journey into the behavior health field started with assisting law enforcement by working with individuals who were experiencing mental health concerns and providing case management to them. She then went on to obtain her master’s degree in clinical counseling and became a licensed therapist providing services for adults with mental health, substance use or both concerns and then became a clinical supervisor for the co-occurring program. In 2019 she started her private practice with her primary focus on working with individuals who have co-occurring disorders (mental health and substance use) and have experienced trauma.
Diane enjoys working with individuals who are involved in the criminal justice system and first responders. She feels though these populations can be on opposite sides of the spectrum, there are several similarities. Both populations have a higher possibility of being exposed to trauma which most of the population does not experience. Diane believes it takes a therapist who understands trauma and the cultures to treat those individuals appropriately.
Kym LaubeExecutive Director
Kym Laube is the Executive Director of Human Understanding Growth Services, Inc., HUGS, Inc., located in Westhampton Beach, NY. In this position she brings over 33 years of substance use prevention knowledge and expertise, leading the organization to provide a full array of multidimensional prevention services and recovery supports. Kym is a national trainer and speaker, working with notable leaders in prevention including CADCA.
Having participated in the HUGS, Inc. Teen Institute program in 1986 as a high school student, Kym understands firsthand, the profound impact, lifelong influence and workforce development the Teen Institute program provides to young people. From student leader to Executive Director in 2002, Kym’s mission has been to empower others to seek their full potential and become agents of change in the world. Kym offers dynamic, passionate and interactive keynotes, trainings and workshops for large and small groups with an uncanny ability to talk with and not at people. Annually, Kym presents to over 25,000 individuals, young and old across our great country.
Kym’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of young people extends beyond her executive office and can be seen in the many leadership roles she holds. She is active on various local, state and national boards and task forces and served on the NYS Governor Opiate Task Force. Most notable is her personal recovery and commitment to push individuals to make the space better wherever they are. Her greatest joy is watching her two adult sons creating live a life of choice and forge their own course. She lives in Westhampton Beach with her husband, and way too many dogs.
DeeDee PhillipsJuvenile Probation Officer
Mrs. DeeDee Phillips is a POST Certified Instructor, with over 20 years of experience as a Juvenile Probation Officer. She has provided over 30 years of service to youth and their families. She still loves coming to work.
Nicole PodestaThe Anthony School
With degrees, credentials and amazing experience in education, leadership, community building. communication and psychology, Nicole has been a dynamic force in the field of education since 1995. With her amazing sense of humor, engaging, passionate personality, and intuitive understanding of the deeper levels of human behavior, Nicole gets to the heart of what truly drives and inspires students, teachers, leaders, and parents to work together to build an incredible learning experience for the community as a whole, and comes up with strategies and solutions for when communication seems difficult or even impossible. Nicole has an innate ability to uncover what makes people do what they do, and say what they say, so her students and audiences leave with the tools they need to successfully deal with difficult people, situations, and problems. And do all of that with clarity and confidence.
Nicole works with each client to determine how to integrate their own individual needs and concerns into each presentation. (So much better than a memorized, scripted session! No power points!) She then uses that personalized info to both involve and inspire audiences to not only understand, but most importantly, be able leverage their new deeper insights of personality types, communication styles, negotiation techniques, to develop killer life-building strategies for success. Plus, her areas of expertise go way beyond communication, developing healthy relationships, and the psychology of human behavior. Social media safety and literacy? She’s the go to person. Understanding the power of the media in educational settings? She’s got you covered. Expanding and empowering the role of the leader? It’s there for the asking. Nicole will help you and your team create an unforgettable, motivational, and interactive experience for your audience.
How cool is that?!
Brandon Lee WhiteAuthor, Speaker, and Youth Mover
Author, speaker, and youth mover, Brandon Lee White has spoken to thousands of youth and adults in nearly all 50 states about “owning it” in life and leadership.
Brandon has been seen on TLC, Discovery Health, Fit TV, TEDx, and even Wheel of Fortune! He attended Rockhurst University where he earned his Master’s in Business as well as a double major in Business and Psychology.
At home Brandon loves spending time with his beautiful wife and crazy children. They enjoy leading and serving in their church. Plus, Brandon can’t get enough of barbecuing, sports, hunting, and meeting new people as he travels around the country.
Natalie MartiSpeaker, Author, Survivor
Natalie Marti's story begins on February 27th 2003, when she, her husband, and daughter, were traveling home on the freeway. As they neared their exit, they were struck head on by a drunk driver at 98 mph going the wrong way on the freeway. The combined impact of their car with his truck instantly killed her husband and daughter and left Natalie clinging to life. Natalie was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit and there fell into a coma.
After three weeks lying in a coma, unable to breathe on her own, Natalie slowly regained consciousness. She worked hard with her therapists and over time was able to regain her physical and mental strength. Despite her miraculous recovery, Natalie's heart remains broken.
Since her recovery Natalie decided to return to college at Boise State and received a degree in Communications in 2009. She is a founder and executive director of the non-profit Be Safe & Sober
She speaks on various motivational topics from overcoming trials to forgiving and finding happiness in life. Her audiences have included: grade school through seniors, drivers education classes, substance abuse classes, juvenile corrections, DUI victim panels, church groups, motivational seminars, police training seminars, IDOC seminars, traffic safety seminars, first responders seminars, and hospital seminars. She has spoken to audiences in California, Idaho, Oregon, Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah.
Amber LietzYouth Justice Coalition Coordinator
Amber Lietz is a Youth Justice Coalition Coordinator for the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Initiatives, whose mission is to advance solutions to the county’s criminal justice challenges. Amber is currently leading youth violence prevention initiatives in the cities of Magna and Midvale. Amber has a vast amount of experience in both the criminal justice and prevention science systems. In her free time, Amber is dedicated to her basset hounds, animal rescue, and loves hiking.
Shawn L. Hill has worked in the Criminal Justice field for 28 years. He started his career in California working for Fresno County Juvenile Probation, working inside Juvenile Hall in Maximum Security. He later worked for the California Youth Authority (when it was called that) in Modesto, California. He later moved to Portland, Oregon and then on to Idaho Falls, Idaho where he began working for Bingham County in April of 1999, with his office in Blackfoot, Idaho. He has worked will all cases in the juvenile realm and once carried a caseload of Misdemeanor Drug Court Participants. He has worked as a Juvenile Detention Officer, Juvenile Probation Officer, Juvenile Diversion Officer, Juvenile Drug Court Officer, Juvenile Sex Offender Officer, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, Adult Misdemeanor Probation Officer, Adult Misdemeanor Chief Probation Officer, and Probation Director at present. He started a Youth Court in Bingham County in 2007 and in 2019 attended the American Probation and Parole Association Conference in San Francisco where he was exposed to the “Re-Entry Simulation”. Director Hill along with his staff and the County Commissioners, brought the “Re-Entry Simulation” back to Idaho to share with fellow criminal justice professionals. They call their version the” Probation Simulation”. In addition to his Bingham County responsibilities, he served on the Board of Juvenile Corrections for ten years. He has been a member of the Idaho Council for Juvenile Interstate Compact since March 2008 and has been the Chair of this Council since March 2009. He is currently the President Elect for the Idaho Association of Counties Misdemeanor Probation Administrator’s Association.
Veronica GarzaLicensed Chemical Dependency Counselor
Veronica Garza is the wife of Houston Police officer, Jonathan Garza, and the mother of two rambunctious boys, ages 7 and 4. She graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and completed her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2019. In December 2022, she celebrated the completion of her provisional licensure and earned her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) licensure in the great state of Texas.
Veronica has been in the mental health field for over 10 years. She has worked in various settings including private practice, community mental health, school districts, domestic violence shelters, and the county. In Harris County Veronica served as a Youth Service Specialist (connecting the most vulnerable students and their families to resources), a supervisor for Youth Service Specialists, and briefly at Harris County’s Children Assessment Center (CAC) as a therapist for children and adolescent survivors of sexual abuse. Currently, Veronica works as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, the 3rd largest district in Texas with over 118,000 students and more than 90 campuses. Veronica is committed to raising awareness about the dangers of substance use by engaging students in these discussions and providing presentations to district staff and parents.