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Conference Speakers

Dr. Lucien X. Lombardo is professor Emeritus of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University where he taught for 36 years. He has degrees from the University of Rochester, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a PhD from School of Criminal Justice, SUNY Albany. He continues to teach Violence in the World of Children and Understanding Violence on-line. He is currently leading a project to integrate a dignity perspective into the culture and curriculum of public school system where he lives.

Dr. Lombardo started his career teaching full-time in a maximum-security prison in the late 1960’s and mid 1970’s, He joined the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University in 1977. There, he taught, conducted research, and wrote about the world of work and prisons in the 1970’s and 80’s, collective violence in the 1980’s and 90’s, and violence the world of children from the 1990’s until today,

For the 25 years Dr. Lombardo worked with Dr. Karen A. Polonko who passed away in August 2016. Their work on behalf of children and adults who have put their childhoods behind them has influenced many both in the United States and internationally. Through the founding in 1992 of In Support of Children, a student organization at ODU they supported educating the local community about childhood matters. Establishing of a Children’s Rights Interdisciplinary Minor, they institutionalized education about childhood supportive of many human services and social science majors. In 2017, their research on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was recognized when Dr. Lombardo presented an invited address to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva, Switzerland.

Dr. Lombardo is a Member of the Global Education Team of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies Network. National NO HIT ZONE Committee of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and National Policy Committee on Ending Corporal Punishment, National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence (NPEIV) Action Team on Public Policy and Engagement, a Board member of the Harriet Tubman Center for Justice and Peace and the Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Project.

Dr. Lombardo’s teaching, research and advocacy work (efforts that reflect the work of many students and colleagues), has been recognized with his receipt of the Governor of Virginia’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect Award, The Old Dominion University Founders’ Day Community Service Award, and most recently a Lifetime Legacy Achievement Award from the Loyola University of Chicago Center for Human Rights of Children.


Jacquie Montoya has been involved in supporting those that care for children for 15 years through work with HACAP, Child Care Resource and Referral, Iowa State Extension and Outreach, among others. Jacquie is passionate about supporting those that care for children by providing training for parents and childcare providers and advocating for changes that will benefit early childhood. In her current position as Public Health Program Planner at Linn County Public Health, Jacquie works to support health equity for ALL through work with the Community Health Improvement Plan. Nature has been a personal passion for many years! When Jacquie is not working, she can be found on the trails and in the parks throughout Iowa looking for birds, wildlife, and unique plants and trees. As a home childcare provider for infants and toddlers in the early 2010s, Jacquie engaged the littles in nature in various ways, and continues to advocate for children to experience nature through unstructured play. During her down time, Jacquie enjoys spending time with her two adult daughters and three cats.


Yvette Saeugling has been counseling clients for over 30 years in Dubuque, Iowa. She started Crossroads Counseling Center, LLC in 2006 with the mission of providing evidence-based therapies to children and families. She is a certified Therapy therapist/trainer, trained in EMDR for trauma, and also utilizes Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) for trauma and attachment issues. She is most recently trained in Low Energy Neurofeedback System (LENS). Her philosophy is, “We have moved forward in recognizing brain health. The next movement is to recognize brain and body health. It is impossible to have one without the other.”


Valerie Weiser is a Masters of Social Work student at Clarke University, and completing her internship with Crossroads Counseling Center. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Buena Vista University. For the past three years, she served with AmeriCorps – Partners in Learning. During the last year of service, she piloted a social-emotional intervention program, working with elementary students in the Dubuque Community School District.


Lindsay Hardgrave Massena is a board-certified behavior analyst and licensed independent social worker at Hills & Dales, where she works with children and adolescents with autism. Her prior experience includes providing Child-Parent Psychotherapy to young children and their caregivers, completing mental health assessment and case management in a pediatric primary care setting, and completing child protective assessments in emergency and inpatient medical settings.


Christa Hefel has worked with youth and adults for 25 years. She fostered for over 10 years reunifying many children as well as adopting some. Her family specializes in children with behavioral challenges. Professionally she works with Four Oaks Family Connections as the Recruitment and Training Manager, supervising all the Recruiters and Trainers in the foster care program in the state of Iowa. They manage a robust training schedule for all the foster parents in Iowa developing new curriculum frequently as well as engaging with local professionals.


Cassie Gerst is a Certified Conscious Discipline Instructor who has been practicing the Conscious Discipline approach since 2016. She trains early education providers, K-12 educators, and parents in their approach to practice in their classrooms and in their homes. She has experience with neurodivergent and neurotypical children, which provides a unique perspective to her training and coaching sessions. Mrs. Gerst also works full time for the Burlington Community School District as a District Administrator overseeing the after-school program, mentoring, homeless prevention and resilient community projects of the district. Cassie has her Masters Degree in Positive Youth Development and has been supervising out-of-school time programming for over 15 years.


Barbara Dunn Swanson is a Human Sciences Specialist in Family Wellbeing with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Barbara reaches parents, educators, community stakeholders and youth with research-based information. Barbara is a co-author of the Science of Parenting, is a certified Master Trainer for the national program Powerful Tools for Caregivers; She is a certified Strengthening Families 10 – 14 facilitator and has delivered presentations on youth development; early adversity; civil dialogue, stress management and inclusive teambuilding.


Jessica Goltz has over 21 years experience working in healthcare in a variety of settings, including women’s health, family practice, community education, philanthropy, and health coaching. She has extensive knowledge in Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). In her previous work, Jessica was instrumental in developing Community Health Needs Assessments and Health Implementation Plans. She currently works as a mental health specialist for the MFL MarMac School District. After watching her son battle depression and suicidal ideation, Jessica founded Seva Health Center for Well-Being, a local nonprofit that provides an integrative approach to supporting brain health. Jessica holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, is a national-board certified health coach, a 500-hour yoga instructor, and holds multiple certifications in health, wellness, and disaster management. She currently lives in Monona with her husband, two sons, and her cat. When she is not working, she enjoys hunting, boating, and trap shooting.


Amy Jenkins is the Chief Operating Office at Challenge to Change, Inc., and is driven by her mission of spreading peace and mindfulness to people of all ages. Amy holds a Master’s Degree in Education, multiple yoga certifications, and has ten years of experience as an educator. Within her current role, Amy oversees the organization’s rapidly growing departments, support curriculum development, and creates system-wide processes and procedures. She also collaborates with organizational partners, speaks at conferences, and offers professional development courses.


Jennifer Ryan is currently an Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant (IECMHC) at Tanager where she works in a strength-based program to provide support and services to adults who are caregivers to young children. Jennifer has a BS in education with a minor in child development and is currently working to complete a MS in counseling with a focus on young children. For 12 years, she developed and ran a Therapeutic Childcare program for children and families living in a homeless shelter in San Diego, CA providing services to help families overcome their trauma experiences and successfully break the cycles of generational traumas. Last year, she and her husband moved to Iowa to be closer to their grandchildren and enjoys exploring and learning about this new community and finding her place in the early childhood years world.


Jordan Turner is the Yoga in the Schools and Mindful Minutes Director. Bachelors degree in Education, 200 E-RYT. 95 RCYT. Trauma Informed. In previous years I was an athlete, student, nanny and a teacher in a low socio-economic school where over 80% of our students have experienced some sort of trauma. Within those years I found a need and passion to support not only myself socially and emotionally but also my students and fellow educators. I soon found Challenge to Change, Inc and furthered my education on how I can support these groups through the practices of self-care, EQ, yoga and mindfulness. I am committed to spreading everything I learn and experience as an educator, mother, wife, student and leader to help develop happy and healthy students and educators within our society.


Lisa Wolf and her husband, Jon, live in Muscatine with their children. She is the mother of Theo Wolf. Lisa is a social worker at Muscatine County Community Services and during her spare time she runs their non-profit organization, the Theo Wolf Foundation. She is a safe sleep advocate, a certified trainer with the Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral Agency, and is a certified Safe Sleep Ambassador with the

Cribs for Kids National Infant Safe Sleep Initiative. After losing Theo, her mission now is to help educate others about infant safe sleep and the deadly consequences if not followed for every sleep. She shares Theo’s story to anyone in the hopes it will prevent another infant’s death from unsafe sleep.


Casey Manser is the Executive Director of the Iowa SIDS Foundation. With specialized training as a Child Life Specialist and Grief Support Specialist, Casey helps support families in their grief journey following a Sudden Unexpected Infant Loss. Casey’s passion and educational background also equip her to provide safe sleep education and SIDS awareness to professionals and the general public to help reduce the risk of SIDS and accidental sleep-related infant deaths in Iowa so that each baby can reach their first birthday and beyond.


Wendy Stokesbary has been a counseling professional for over 30 years. She has a background working with adults and children in community mental health and substance abuse treatment settings prior to becoming a private practice psychotherapist.  Wendy has specialized training for treating trauma for both children and adults and she has a particular interest in supporting individuals and families who are  healing from adverse childhood experiences. Wendy utilizes an integrative approach using cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and somatic practices for whole person care. Wendy loves the experience of seeing  growth in clients, as they become more self-aware and less burdened by negative self-beliefs.  She is passionate about bringing the benefits of connection, resilience, and self-efficacy to the families and individuals she serves. For leisure time, Wendy can most often be found playing outside, attending live music and theater with her family, or practicing yoga.


Maddy Mond was born and raised in Dubuque, Iowa. Under the vocal and piano instructor from her grandparents, John and Nancy Lease, she has been immersed in the music world from a young age. She got her start in musical productions at the age of four in Clarke University’s production of, The Secret Garden, where she first met Callie Fitzgerald and Jill Klinebriel. She went on to participate in more musical productions at the Grand Opera House and Bell Tower Theater and began performing the national anthem for numerous events at the age of nine. Once in middle school and high school, she continued her love of music with involvement in show choir and musicals. She recently graduated from the University of South Dakota, majoring in Medical Biology with hopes of admission into medical school in the future. She believes her foundation in music has fundamentally shaped who she is today and is excited to share that experience with others.


Lee Johnson is currently preparing future teachers as an Assistant Professor of Education at Clarke University, Lee Johnson draws from a wide variety of experiences and perspectives in meeting the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of children. Over the last twenty plus years he has worked with children and their families in the juvenile and family courts, a residential treatment and private special education school setting, public schools, and now higher education. Lee is currently pursuing his doctorate in trauma-informed educational practices to fuel his work doing right by humans.


Audrey Mensen is a pediatric physical therapist and is a board-certified pediatric clinical specialist. She has worked for Grant Wood AEA for nine years, practicing in early intervention and school-based practice. She currently serves as the co-chair lead physical therapist at the Iowa Department of Education, promoting consistent and evidence-based practices across the state of Iowa. Audrey finds a deep sense of joy in enabling children with varying abilities to be included and engaged in their environments, helping all children find their purpose and sense of belonging.


Audrey White is a pediatric occupational therapist, specializing in school-based practice for the last nine years. She currently serves as the lead occupational therapist for Grant Wood AEA. Audrey is passionate about childhood development, integrating movement and learning, and equipping teachers and students with the tools they need to promote student success across school settings.