Grit & Grace
For assistance with registration, please email email@example.com or call 503-226-2377.
A FREE VIRTUAL EVENT
Thursday, November 4, 2021, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm PST
Registered guests will receive a link to the recording of the conference to view at your convenience.
The Healing Power of Yoga
Molly van der Werf was born and raised in Portland, OR. In high school she started using drugs and alcohol as a social crutch to make friends. This quickly turned into substance abuse, and she struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. At the end of high school the sudden passing of her father sent her into a deep depression for years. Things spiraled out of control when she was 22 and had a manic episode. She was hospitalized and diagnosed with Bipolar disorder. After she was stabilized she started incorporating yoga and mindfulness into her life which has helped her continue to be stable for 8 years now. She decided to get certified as a yoga instructor and bring movement and mindfulness to other people’s lives.
Her goal is to educate teens and young adults about mental health and teach them about self-care and the importance of speaking up and seeking help. Many teens and young adults suffer from a mental illness and use drugs and alcohol to cope. She wants to break the stigma and bring hope to those who are suffering. By telling her story she hopes that it will encourage and empower others to feel comfortable to tell their story. She wants to show others that healing and living a full life is possible.
The Healing Power of Art
As a child, Yamini Rajan could never figure out how to describe the prolonged feelings of sadness she felt. Growing up in India, the culture of shame and stigma surrounding mental health resulted in her suffering in silence for years. In 2012, Yamini and her family moved from Bangalore, India to Portland, Oregon. Shortly after, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she found herself slipping deeper into her depression. It wasn’t until after she tried to take her own life at the age of 13 that Yamini realized the vicious cycle of self-harm, bulimia, and depression must come to an end. Opening up for the first time ever, she went to her middle school counselor who helped Yamini and her parents navigate where to go from here.
Now, almost seven years later, Yamini advocates for mental health awareness—especially within the South Asian community—and hopes that sharing her story can inspire others to speak up and realize it’s never too late. A junior at the George Washington University, studying Criminal Justice and Psychology, she hopes to bring in her passion for advocacy into her career, working towards a future where mental wellness is celebrated.
The Healing Power of Plants
Linda Black Elk is an ethnobotanist and food sovereignty activist specializing in teaching about culturally important plants and their uses as food and medicine. She is eternally grateful for the intergenerational knowledge of elders and other knowledge holders, who have shared their understandings of the world with her, and she has dedicated her life to giving back to these peoples and their communities.
Linda works to build ways of thinking that will promote and protect food sovereignty, traditional plant knowledge, and environmental quality as an extension of the fight against hydraulic fracturing and the fossil fuels industry. Recently, Linda and her family have been spearheading a grassroots effort to provide organic, traditional, shelf stable food and traditional Indigenous medicines to elders and others in need. She has written numerous articles, book chapters, and papers, and is the author of “Watoto Unyutapi”, a field guide to edible wild plants of the Dakota people.
Linda spends her time foraging, hiking, hunting, and fishing on the prairies and waters of the northern Great Plains with her husband and three sons, who are all members of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Lakota. Linda currently serves as the Food Sovereignty Coordinator at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota.
The Healing Power of Work
Donna Hardaker is a Management Consultant specializing in psychological health and safety in the workplace. She is an internationally recognized industry expert and founding transformational thought leader in the emerging field of workplace mental health. She cultivates deep systemic change through education that disrupts status quo thinking with insightful speaking, training, tools and writing.
Since 2003, Donna has leveraged her personal experience of mental health and addiction challenges and their impact on her education and employment history—including leaving a promising career in medical education—into a significant body of work. Donna is a multiple award-winning workplace mental health educator, speaker and curriculum developer using a person-centered approach to societal transformation through workplace systemic change. Keeping the dialogue progressive and comprehensive while constantly questioning artificial constructs, Donna holds a vision that working can be a source of belonging, meaning, harmony and health when the principles of psychological health and safety are the fabric of the workplace culture.
Donna has a background in transformational coaching, trauma-informed peer support, community mental health, mental health policy, mental health advocacy, adult education, psychology, human resources management, and communication skills training. She is a Stability Leader and Board Member with The Stability Network. Donna is from Toronto, Canada.
The Healing Power of Sports
Chelle Thompson is a Footwear Tech Developer for Nike Basketball in Men’s Performance at World Head Quarters in Portland, Oregon.
She is a former collegiate (Texas Tech) and professional WNBA athlete. She was drafted in the first round (9th pick) of the WNBA draft. During her six year WNBA career, she played for the New York Liberty, Indiana Fever and the Seattle Storm. While playing for the Storm, Chelle led the team to their first WNBA Championship. After retiring from the WNBA, Chelle went on to play professional basketball in Spain, Italy, Israel and Turkey.
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, meditation, traveling, riding motorcycles, music, drawing, working out, sleeping, self-improvement, and trying new, delicious restaurants. She gains fulfillment in her life by serving through relationships and her three purpose drivers which are laughter, leadership and life purpose.
To all who know Chelle, she is a passionate, resilient, and driven champion who loves to motivate, inspire and coach others in reaching their fullest potential.
Sandra Wilborn, MS – Chief Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
Sandra joined Cascadia in 2006 as a Program Manager and was subsequently named Clinical Director of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities in 2010. During her tenure, Sandra championed a reorganization of Secure Residential Treatment Facilities (SRTF) programs, actively integrating complex disciplinary teams and promoting reclassification of direct care roles increasing the level of professionalism and treatment provision across those programs. In 2011 Sandra was named to the National Councils Inaugural Class, Addressing Health Disparities Program and has remained involved in assisting future classes to meet their goals. One of her passions is identifying and developing emerging leaders while providing opportunities for leadership teams and individuals to recognize and utilize group and personal strengths in order to enrich services and safeguard continued innovation.
Sandra joined the Senior Leadership Team in February 2016 in her new role championing Equity, Diversity & Inclusion efforts, and has been involved in these efforts to make Cascadia a more inclusive and equitable workplace since 2007. As an active participant in Cascadia’s Diversity Champions, Training Alliance for Diversity and Inclusion (TADI), and the Diversity Steering Committee, Sandra’s deep-rooted aspiration to positively transform workplace culture derives from personal experience: “I like to think we all desire to be part of a universe where each individual can be celebrated for what they bring to the table, where our successes and our struggles can be accepted and recognized as valiant and courageous efforts at bringing us together as one.”
In 2014, Sandra was awarded Facility Dog, Clove III, from Canine Companions for Independence in Santa Rosa, California. Clove continues to accompany Sandra in her work at Cascadia frequently interacting with clients and staff, providing a source of comfort, acceptance, and compassion.
Tanya Hall, MFT, CADC I – Community Liaison, Rainier Springs
Tanya Hall has 20 years of behavioral health experience ranging from counseling and therapy with at-risk adolescents and their family members, to clinical utilization review for three different inpatient behavioral health hospitals. Tanya received her bachelor degree at the University of Idaho and her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from George Fox University. Tanya is also a certified drug and alcohol counselor. In addition to being a therapist, she has also taught online bachelor level human service classes for 15 years. Tanya has served in roles such as therapist, program director, director of utilization review and teacher.
Currently, Tanya is a Community Liaison with Rainier Springs Hospital. In addition to business development, a large part of this role is community education and helping to share resources, bring awareness of and working towards de-stigmatization of mental health and substance abuse issues. This includes serving on community task forces, sponsoring events with shared focus and participating in educational presentations to corporations and agencies throughout the community.
In her free time Tanya enjoys spending time with her 6-year-old son and husband, exploring nature in her camp trailer, playing games and spending times with friends.
Saramati Krishna, MD, Northwest Women’s Clinic
Dr. Saramati Krishna is a physician at Northwest Women’s Clinic. She is fluent in five languages including Spanish, French, Hindi and Tamil. Her multicultural background and love for languages allows her to appreciate and empathize with women from a wide range of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. She finds fulfillment in helping women make informed decisions about their health and wellness. She is especially passionate about advocating for emotional and mental health which she feels cannot be separated from physical well-being.
Genevieve Reaume, Emcee
Genevieve is an Emmy-nominated reporter for KATU News in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in Portland, graduated from Jesuit High School and then traveled to the Midwest for college. She graduated from the University of Missouri, the world’s first journalism school, and then came back to the best coast to start her career in journalism. She worked in southern Oregon for two years as a reporter/anchor in both news and sports before making the jump home to Portland.
She was selected to be a reporter on KATU’s groundbreaking youth mental health campaign, Kind Is Better. That’s how she first learned about ASHA International. Through Kind Is Better she’s been able to tell the stories that often went untold, the stories about mental illness and suicide, in an effort to shatter the stigma. It’s unchartered territory for journalism, as for decades experts told journalists not to cover suicides, in fear of copycat attempts.
KATU realized suicide was too large of a problem not to cover, and decided it needed to be addressed. So did other journalists in the state. She was also a part of the state-wide effort to confront the reality of suicides in Oregon, called Breaking the Silence. ASHA International strives for the same outcomes. That’s what attracted Genevieve to the organization. She understands the power of storytelling and believes both hearing and sharing stories can be transformational.
Outside of work you can find her napping (just being honest! The morning shift can be brutal!), running or on some sort of rooftop enjoying the weather. She feels very blessed to be working in the town she grew up in and to be back home with her family and best friends.