Dr. Athena Trentin
Dr. Athena Trentin is the Executive Director of NAMI North Texas (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and brings more than 25 years of experience in the fields of nonprofit management, developing communities of support and cultivating future leaders. Prior to joining NAMI North Texas, Dr. Trentin was a Research Director for the Simmons School of Education & Human Development at SMU and COO of the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas, a health and social services nonprofit for Native Americans. Dr. Trentin is a proud member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, located in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Before moving to Texas, Dr. Trentin was a well-established student affairs professional whose passion for building supportive communities focused on developing holistic, high quality services for international and underrepresented students. Her main goal was to make sure they had the support and resources they needed to meet their highest potential. She is honored to have had the opportunity to impact students at the California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.
After returning from South Africa as part of a People to People delegation invited to exchange expertise with social service professionals and educators, Dr. Trentin completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California in 2008. Her Masters in Teaching and Bachelors in Public Policy were both awarded by Michigan State University. She is also an alum of the Business Council for the Arts Leadership Arts Institute and the Intercultural Communications Institute Summer Institute Fellows Program.
Rev. Velda Turnley, Pastor of Spiritual Growth & Discipleship
Rev. Velda M. Turnley is the Pastor of Spiritual Growth and Discipleship at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church in Dallas TX. Rev. Turnley has Pastoral oversight for the St. Luke Mental Health Ministry which she helped create in 2015. Throughout her integrated ministry and career journey, Rev. Turnley has been engaged in team building and collaboration efforts across multiple sectors in higher education, corporate, community, non-profit and faith-based organizations. She has a BA(Accounting), MA (Counseling), Masters of (Divinity) and is a candidate for the Doctorate in (Ministry) degree. Pastor Turnley has served in ordained ministry for over 30 years, and is a small business owner, Destiny coach, and the Chief Encouragement and Empowerment Officer for Destiny KINGSolutions.
Lori Cook, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Director of Clinical Research, Center for BrainHealth
Head of Research, The BrainHealth Project
Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Dr. Lori Cook currently serves as the Director of Clinical Research for the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas.
A licensed speech-language pathologist, she is also a senior clinician for the Center’s translational programs as well as an adjunct assistant professor for UTD’s School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences. In her roles as both a clinician and research scientist, she has focused largely on research investigating the long-term recovery of youth after brain injury, including recent work supporting youth athletes with persistent effects of concussion. She now also heads up research efforts for the Center’s landmark initiative, The Brain Health Project.
Bringing a curiosity for the developing brain as well as two decades of child and adolescent-centered research experience at the Center for Brain Health, Dr. Cook is passionate about translating cutting-edge research discoveries into practical tools to educate, empower, and equip students of all ages and levels to reach their highest brain potential.
Maria Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP
Director, Youth & Family Innovations
Lead Research Clinician, Charisma Virtual Social Coaching
Maria Johnson, Director of Youth & Family for BrainHealth®, is a dynamic leader and speaker at the forefront of leveraging the technology to engage with individuals in creative, high-impact ways.
Maria is committed to assisting youth and young adult organizations, clinicians, teachers and families, helping them discover – through research and development of evidence-based, research- supported
solutions – how to best support social, emotional and cognitive brain health and performance for neurodiverse minds.
With more than 20 years of clinical expertise working with individuals with neurodiverse minds, Maria is passionate about building awareness and connecting communities of social learners across the globe. To further enhance understanding of virtual learning and the important role cognition and perspective have on social brain health, her team’s work has now expanded programs from individual, research-focused studies to offering real- world opportunities for students, schools and social coaches to take advantage of CharismaTM Virtual Social Training using BrainHealth’s proprietary virtual platform.
Dr. Jana Rentzel
Dr. Jana Rentzel holds a Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology and a PhD in Psycho-Spiritual Counseling. She is a certified Spiritual Director through SMU Perkins School of Theology and is now a member of its faculty. Jana has served as a chaplain resident for Baylor University Medical Center and as a hospice counselor for Vitas Healthcare in Dallas, Texas.
A life-long advocate of returning our individual and cultural spirituality to its rightful place at the heart of our lives, she has studied, practiced and lived the contemplative paths of Christian, Buddhist, Native American, and Perennial Wisdom traditions. Jana brings this experience - along with her warmth, verve, and ability to clarify/simplify complex truths - to her love of teaching and helping people grow spiritually and emotionally.
Jana teaches online classes on such topics as Christian contemplative prayer, the Christian mystical tradition, and deepening relationship with God. She has been in private practice for over 25 years, specializing in faith-based counseling.
Title of Talk: The Spiritual Dimension of Mental Health Care
A growing body of empirical research reveals the highly positive relationship between spirituality and mental health. Spirituality is that sacred realm of human experience that produces in us such qualities as love, peace, patience, compassion, faith, and hope – qualities that are essential to mental health.
Furthermore, even though spirituality remains a peripheral issue for many mental health professionals, it has become increasingly clear that spirituality is of central importance to people who are struggling with the pain and confusion of mental health issues.
In this workshop, we will explore the ways in which spirituality can form the heart of mind-body wellness, as well as the importance of more fully integrating spiritual care into mental health care. We will discuss the positive impacts of spiritual care and ways to improve spiritual health, including the practice of mindfulness meditation and participation in spiritual community.
Patti is the founder of Something for Kelly, which she created in memory of her niece, Kelly, who died of an eating disorder. The foundation raises awareness and supports people with these disorders.
Although we knew that Kelly was battling this monster, we could not fathom that she could go to bed one night, after what seemed like a normal day, and not wake up. The Foundation has been established to prevent this tragic and needless loss from happening to other families.
Patti is founder and CEO of Geolat Companies, and a widely known authority on the appraisal and sale of fine jewelry. She is a published author and sought after public speaker with a distinguished reputation for excellence, confidentiality and professionalism. Patti has a Graduate Gemologist Degree from the Gemological Institute of America, is a Fellow of the Gemological Association of Great Britain. Patti’s professional affiliations include a 15-year term of service on the Board of Directors of Jewelers Mutual Insurance Co., the jewelry industry’s leading insurer, including nine as chairman, and a one-year term as the company’s interim CEO. Currently she serves on the boards of the North Texas Crime Commission, Jewelers’ Security Alliance and the Women’s Jewelry Association. Patti lives in Dallas, TX and travels the world extensively on behalf of her distinguished clients.
Title of Talk: Your Eating Disorder Is Not Alone
What else is going on when someone battles against an eating disorder. The truth is, it gets kind of crowded inside that person. In addition to the mental and medical battle with an eating disorder, there are often additional struggles that have either helped the eating disorder to develop or worsened it.
Join us for a walk inside.
Rev. Jessica Wright
Rev. Jessica Wright serves as Associate Director for the Center for Missional Outreach (CMO) for the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. The mission of the CMO is to help local churches make disciples through ministry with their neighbors, particularly the poor and marginalized.
Jessica earned a Master of Divinity from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. She became an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 2009. Jessica has served in a variety of local churches in North Texas as well as the Denton Wesley Foundation campus ministry at the University of North Texas and as a reserve chaplain with the US Air Force.
Beyond local church ministry, Jessica was elected to a term as president of the Allen Ministerial Alliance. She also led as an “area champion” with Unite Greater Dallas, an organization whose mission is to connect Christian leaders to each other as well as resources to address urgent social challenges.
Most recently, Jessica became the North Texas facilitator for the Neighboring Movement, empowering
individuals and faith communities to live into our calling to love God and love neighbor through simple,
Please click here for a list of plenary speakers.