Meet the Leadership & Advisory Board
MC LEADERSHIP BOARD
Shannon Cutts is a survivor of a fifteen-year battle with anorexia, bulimia, depression and anxiety. Following her own recovery, Shannon founded MentorCONNECT to offer others the gift of hope she received from her own mentors. Shannon is the author of Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back. She is also the CD producer of You Are Not Alone, Vol. 2: The Book of Companionship for Women With Eating Disorders. Shannon is a popular college circuit speaker and frequent writer, speaker and blogger on the subject of mentoring and eating disorders recovery for Bulimia.com, PsychCentral.com, the Huffington Post, and others. Her work has most recently been featured in Glamour and Woman's Day magazines. www.key-to-life.com
Lynn Gerhard - Board Vice Chair
Lynn Gerhard is a professional technical writer and editor whose background includes many years of business development, marketing, and senior management experience with several multi-million-dollar corporations. She is passionate about service, primarily because she is convinced that service is a privilege, a way to repay the gracious gift of recovery. Lynn has nearly 13 years of continuous sobriety after a decades-long battle with alcoholism and more than 20 years in recovery from codependency, binge eating, and borderline personality disorder issues. She has been continuously active in service to individuals and in regional leadership positions for more than a decade. As she says, “The maintenance and growth of my own life of recovery lends urgency to the need to share my experience, strength, and hope with others.”
Andrea Roe is a native Austrian and lives together with her husband, Brandon, in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She struggled with depression and body image issues for ten years, and with eating disorders, both anorexia and bulimia, for six years. Now that she is recovered, it is her passion to share her story and help and support others in their recovery. Andrea is the author of You Are Not Alone – The Book of Companionship for Women Struggling with Eating Disorders and publishes a monthly recovery email newsletter called the You Are Not Alone Support Letter. For more information about Andrea, her work and to sign up for the Support Letter, please visit www.youarenotalonebook.com.
Anna deYoung (photo and bio to come) - Board Treasurer
Lisa Kantor is a principal with the law firm of Kantor & Kantor LLP in Los Angeles, CA. She is a tireless advocate on behalf of eating disorder sufferers who have been unfairly denied insurance coverage and reimbursement for necessary expenses related to medical care for recovery from an eating disorder. Lisa received her Juris Doctor from University of Virginia School of Law and was awarded a Dillard Fellow. In her own words, this busy and prolific professional says, "I always have time for eating disorder matters." www.kantorlaw.net
Keith Head currently serves Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Harvest Natural Resources. He received both a Juris Doctorate and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Texas in 1983. Keith is passionate about the arts and helping the next generation. He is a board member and past president of Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts and a past board member of the Alley Theater. He became interested in MentorCONNECT after learning about the organization and its influential and inspirational work. www.harvestnr.com
Alison Smela is a former Senior Vice President, Account Director for several worldwide advertising agencies. At 48, after recovering from a 30+ year battle with alcoholism and anorexia, Alison has now dedicated her life to being of service to others. Alison serves as a mentor for women around the country and speaks at treatment centers and support groups to advocate for the reality that recovery is possible at any age. She is currently working on a book project on this topic. Her prior recovery-related board experience includes serving on the board for her Twelve Step fellowship club. Her special focus to date on MentorCONNECT has been in providing guidance, direction, and encouragement for “seasoned” (age 40+) members. You can learn more about Alison at www.alisonsmela.com
Jeanette Yates struggled with an eating disorder beginning when she was a young girl and continuing on through the birth of her second child. She credits her faith, a strong support team and most of all her love for her husband and children (and theirs for her) with giving her the strength to start fighting for and maintaining recovery. Today she is a leader in her own right in the eating disorder field. In addition to her work with MentorCONNECT, Jeanette also mentors through her Jacksonville, FL-based COREministries. She is a speaker, an activist, a blog-writer and a soon-to-be author. Learn more at http://restoreyourcore.wordpress.com/
Emi Berger is a 34-year old woman, veterinarian, athlete, musician, daughter, sister, friend and advocate. She first came to MentorCONNECT as the founder/organizer for the wildly successful 2011 "Tour de MentorCONNECT" fundraising event, where she rode her bicycle cross-country from New York to California to raise money for MentorCONNECT. The event raised more than $10,000. Emi has a special heart for MentorCONNECT because she believes that recovery demands providing those who are suffering with a safe and easy way to ask for help, to confront their disease and, with the help of a community of others, to find ways to recover and rebuild their lives.
MC ADVISORY BOARD
Walter H. Kaye, M.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego and Director of the Eating Disorder Research and Treatment Program. Before joining UCSD, Dr. Kaye spent 7 years as a Fellow at the National Institute of Health and 20 years at the University of Pittsburgh. His current research is focused on exploring the relationship between brain and behavior using brain imaging and investigating new treatments in anorexia and bulimia nervosa. He is also the principal investigator for an international, multi-site collaboration on the genetics of anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Dr. Kaye has an international reputation in the field of eating disorders and is the author of more than 300 articles and publications. To learn more about Dr. Kaye and his research, visit him at: http://eatingdisorders.ucsd.edu/faculty/psych_faculty.shtml
Thom Rutledge is a psychotherapist, speaker and trainer who specializes in treating eating disorders, addictions, and debilitating perfectionism. He is the author of Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us into Our Greatest Gift, and is best know in eating disorder recovery circles for his innovative application of his INTRApersonal TherapyTM model to eating disorders, as described in Jenni Schaefer’s best selling book, Life Without Ed. www.nutshellwisdom.com
Vic Avon is the author of the personal memoir "My Monster Within: My Story". He is a national spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and he also serves on the leadership team for MentorCONNECT as the liaison for special issues related to males in recovery from an eating disorder. Vic lives in New Jersey with his wife Lindsey and pets (3 dogs, 1 parrot, and 1 snake) and he works at a family-owned drywall subcontracting business. Vic is actively involved in eating disorder outreach and education on a national scale. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies and playing the drums. Learn more at www.vicavon.com
Marisol Perez is a clinical psychologist and researcher that specializes in eating disorders, obesity, and generalized eating problems. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on eating disorders, depression and anxiety. She has dedicated her career to the treatment, prevention, and support of individuals suffering from eating disorders and their families. She also regularly provides opportunities for those recovered from eating disorders to join her research team and guide future research. Marisol heads up MC's Scientific & Advisory Board.
Chevese Turner is the founder and CEO of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA) and a recovering binge eater. She authors a blog called the BEDAdvocate and is a frequent voice on Capitol Hill on behalf of BED sufferers and their families. BEDA is the national multidisciplinary provider and patient organization focusing on the unmet need for preventing, diagnosing, and treating binge eating disorder. “By telling my story, I hope I can help those struggling with binge eating to recognize the disorder in themselves and seek help,” Chevese says. For more information visit www.bedaonline.com
Jennifer Hance Whitley is a finance professional and former executive director for the Youth Development Center, an after-school academic remediation program that addresses literacy development for inner city students in grades 3 - 8. She serves on the board of the business college at Pepperdine University and is actively involved in mentorship through IMPACT, an inner city faith-based organization that provides classes and guidance on recovery, spirituality, and life skills-building.