Speakers

Joseph Green
Joseph Green
Spoken Word Artist, Educator, Motivational Speaker
Whether of triumph or tragedy, we all have a story to tell. Mine begins with the darkness of drug addiction and the death of a close friend, and it persists with the light of strength built, lessons learned, and a way to pay it forward.

I believe in the power of stories and the sharing of lived experiences as tools for connectivity and community building. Once unleashed, I believe that power can change the world for the better. It might seem unusual that I’m willing to share the darkest parts of my life with strangers. But I’ve seen what happens when people begin to feel safe enough to reflect on their own stories.

Once you recognize the transformative power of reflecting on your own grit, mistakes, darkness, and light -- you build an inner strength that no one can take away from you.

As a spoken word artist, educator, motivational speaker—and over a decade of work in youth spaces—I’ve seen these transformations firsthand. My acceptance and examination of my intersections combined with both my craft in theater and spoken word performing, as well as more than 10 years of creating an intergenerational dialogue between youths and adults, has contributed to my success in classrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms.

I am excited to continue driving both youth and adults towards self-forgiveness, redemption, and the irreplaceable role of love in the human revolution.

Sessions

Bev Sharp
Bev Sharp
Executive Director of The REACH Initiative
Beverly Sharp is a native of Charleston, West Virginia and a graduate of Stonewall Jackson High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Law Enforcement and Corrections from Marshall University, minoring in Psychology, Sociology and English Literature.

She has worked in the field of Law Enforcement and Corrections for over 35 years. Most of her professional career was spent with the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. She held several positions of increasing responsibility including Correctional Officer, Correctional Treatment Specialist, Correctional Program Manager, Employment Development Manager and Director of Human Resources and Training. Additionally, she held numerous collateral duty positions including EEO Counselor, Recruiter, Affirmative Action Chairperson, Firearms Instructor and Hostage Negotiator.

After retiring from the Bureau of Prisons, she accepted a position with the U.S. Department of Commerce as Manager of Recruiting and Training for 25 counties in Eastern Kentucky for the 2010 Census. After completion of the Census, she was hired as an independent contractor, serving as a Work Readiness Training Instructor with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program. She is currently serving as Program Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Department at Ashland Community and Technical College.

Beverly has been certified by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) in the following areas: Offender Employment Specialist, Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS) Training and OWDS Certified Instructor. After completing these courses, she was granted her Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF) Certification by the Center for Credentialing and Education. She has also completed her certification as a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) trainer in the DEA 360 program, providing Drug Education seminars for the community and schools.

Currently, she is transitioning from being the Director of Reentry Initiatives for the West Virginia Council of Churches to Founder and Executive Director of The REACH Initiative, developing programs, initiatives and training to improve the opportunities for former offenders to successfully return to the community as productive citizens, as well as to educate communities on the barriers faced by former offenders, in order to reduce recidivism and to Build Bridges to a Better Community.

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Rachel Thaxton
Rachel Thaxton
Assistant Director, WV ODCP
Rachel Thaxton was named Assistant Director of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy in April 2019.

Prior to joining DHHR, Rachel served as Director of Development and previously as Program Director for Recovery Point West Virginia. Her past experience includes serving as Support Team Leader at Harmony House.

Rachel holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from West Virginia University.

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Sazha Alexandra Ramos
Sazha Alexandra Ramos
MSW
Sazha Alexandra Ramos is Navy veteran, social worker & woman in recovery. Sazha Alexandra has presented alongside Congress officials, top researchers at NIDA and SAMHSA on addiction recovery, mental health & veteran cultural competence. Her unique ability to see patterns due to her lived and professional experience has helped organizations and professionals across the nation. Most recently she has supported the Veterans Administration in training veterans providers at hospitals and military installations.

Sessions

Randall Brown
Randall Brown
PRSS
Born in Bluefield, WV. attended West Virginia Wesleyan College BSW 83. Worked with at-risk youths in Miami, FL as well as West Virginia. Held positions in mental health and homeless services and currently focusing on substance abuse and recovery.

Session

Jeremy Hustead
Jeremy Hustead
Assistant Professor, Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry
Assistant Professor West Virginia University School of Medicine
Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry

Session

Dona Dmitrovic
Dona Dmitrovic
SAMHSA Senior Advisor for Recov ery
Currently serving as the Senior Advisor for Recovery in the Office of the Assistant Secretary at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dona supports recovery initiatives across the agency. In her previous role, she served as the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention providing executive leadership for federal efforts to improve the nation’s behavioral health through evidence-based prevention approaches. Ms. Dmitrovic is an experienced addiction and recovery specialist executive with over 36 years in the substance use field. She has experience in raising public awareness and supporting program development for individuals with substance use disorders through advocacy, policy and program development.

Prior to her arrival at SAMHSA, she served as the Executive Director for Foundation for Recovery in Las Vegas, NV, where she developed and implemented peer recovery support programs, education and training on peer support services and led the organization’s growth to a statewide agency. Ms. Dmitrovic also held the position of Director of the National Office of Consumer Affairs for Optum Behavioral Health, UnitedHeathcare. There she used her vast experience to develop peer products and tools to support individuals with mental illness and substance use disorders. As the Chief Operating Officer for the RASE Project in Pennsylvania, Ms. Dmitrovic assisted the CEO launching the Buprenorphine Coordinator program serving opioid dependent individuals with recovery support services in treatment; one of the first in the country which received two national awards for innovation.

Sessions

Gary Seech
Gary Seech
Regional Director of Operations
Gary Seech worked in the addiction and recovery field for 35 years. Passionate about helping addicts and alcoholics be restored to not only sanity but living life to its fullest on life’s terms. Mixing personal stories and facts about Abstinence Based Recovery. Unique style of presenting that will touch your heart and make you laugh.

Session

Anna Holley
Anna Holley
Survivor, Transition Agent, Holistic Health Coach
Anna Holley is a Transition Agent for Jobs & Hope WV.
When she heard about the vision Jobs and Hope WV had, she knew she had to be a part of it. The continuum of care in the state of West Virginia is something she is so passionate about. Anna has walked through her own struggles and understands the lack of resources firsthand.
Anna is originally from Northern Kentucky and relocated to West Virginia to help open Recovery Point Charleston, a long term residential facility for women who struggle with SUD. It was through her work there that she realized the gaps and lack of resources for people who are trying to reenter back into society.
Not only is SUD a part of Anna's story, but human trafficking is as well. Her goal is to educate the citizens of West Virginia and help reduce the stigma attached to these issues so we can work together to help people successfully heal.
Anna now has a family of her own and resides in Hurricane, WV. She is devoted to using her lived experience to help others.

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Deborah Harris
Deborah Harris
Lead Transition Agent, Jobs and Hope
Deb Harris is the lead transition agent with Jobs & Hope WV. In her role as the Lead Transition Agent for Jobs and Hope WV, Deb is part of a team that supports people in recovery and helps them to find employment. Her commitment to empowering others is evident as she talks about the statewide program that launched in 2019. She worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA as she attended Bridge Valley Community and Technical College, studying behavioral health addictions. Prior to her current position she worked as a peer counselor as she worked toward her Bachelor degree at West Virginia State. She continued to counsel students while finishing her Master’s degree. Her team of Transition Agents work statewide with other partners to identify people who can benefit from the Jobs & Hope program.

Session

Autumn McCraw
Autumn McCraw
SurThriver, Advocate, Consultant
Autumn has a wealth of lived experience in many areas. At one point, her life was consumed by domestic sex trafficking, substance use disorder, and incarceration. Today she has taken those experiences and has become a leader in changing systems that personally impacted her life. Throughout her recovery journey, she has seen too many victims of sexual exploitation in treatment and recovery housing not knowing what they need to recover from. With all the knowledge and skills she possesses, she sets out to bring awareness and healing to the unspoken victims that have been exploited through their addiction. Today Autumn is a WVBACPP certified PRSS. She is an integral part of the Certification Staff at the West Virginia Alliance of Recovery Residences. She supported the development, and now sits on the Board of Directors of Pollen8 Inc. Pollen8 Inc., is a unique organization with many facets to serve women in recovery. She participates as board consultant with West Virginia Families of Convicted People and speaks publicly about policy and legislative change to the justice system. Not only does she serve these working roles, her most important role is Mom to her beautiful daughter and fur babies Nova and Sir Thomas.

Session

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