We Save Lives is proud to announce our Speaker’s Bureau. These individuals volunteer their time to help spread the word about the dangers of driving drunk, drugged or distracted. If you are interested in booking a speaker, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for caring.
PRESIDENT OF WE SAVE LIVES AND FOUNDER OF MADD
Candace Lightner, founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is recognized nationally and internationally as the moving force behind reshaping the nation’s attitude toward drunk driving.
As MADD’s Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of the Board, Lightner masterminded MADD from a small California grass roots organization into an international corporation with more than 400 chapters worldwide and an annual budget of over 12 million dollars. Under her leadership, MADD’s membership base grew to more than 2 million. She managed a staff of more than fifty employees and thousands of volunteers.
Her ability to empower people to move beyond their grief and make a difference in their community and state has earned her national acclaim. Equally important, Lightner provided the solution—vision, legislative strategy and consensus-building skills—necessary to move lawmakers into pro-actively changing the laws and saving lives.
Building on her landscape-altering experience with MADD, Lightner moved her mission forward in a consulting capacity as a manager, fundraiser, trainer, advocate, and counselor to issue-driven groups across the country and helped form numerous consensus-building public-private coalitions. These issues include traffic safety, arts and music education, victims’ rights, alcohol and other drugs, youth oriented programs, hunger, anti-discrimination, and energy efficiency in the residential real estate market.
Lightner has contributed knowledge, expertise and personal experience to virtually every newspaper and talk show in the country and was featured in a documentary, the Twentieth Century Project, by the famous Oscar winning director Bob Zemeckis. She has co- authored Giving Sorrow Words: How to Cope with Grief and Get On with Your Life (Warner Books) and she was the subject of a T.V. movie, entitled Mothers Against Drunk Drivers: the Candy Lightner Story.Candace Lightner's Resume
Vincent (Vinny) Carbone was a teacher with the Fairfield school district in Connecticut for 26 years before his life changed in a horrific crash that left him permanently injured. He is the married father of 4 and was active in local their church. In 2002 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence inMathematics and Science Teaching. He has decided to turn his tragedy into triumph by educating others about the dangers of irresponsible driving choices. Since the crash, Vinny has learned not to fret the small things in life and to relish time spent with his wife of 30 years, his four children, and his close friends. He hopes to get back to teaching in September 2017 after being away from it for two and a half years.
Domenica Cardenas is a mother, a highway public safety advocate and a volunteer for We Save Lives. Domenica became an advocate after her father was killed by an impaired driver. She decided to use her grief and pain to educate others about the dangers of impaired driving.
She shares her story before DUI offenders at Victim Impact Panels, Law Enforcement events and training, schools, state prisons, and numerous other venues. Ms. Cardenas testifies before the statehouse on the issue of drug-impaired driving and continues to educate those willing to listen about the tragic consequences of impaired driving and what you can do to stop this behavior.
Domenica holds a Master Degree in Business. She is currently working for an Alcohol Monitoring Company and manages two big contracts with San Mateo County Probation, Monterey County Probation. She also volunteers for the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.
Kelly Martin DeHay is an active anti-impaired driving advocate. After losing her daughter, Kasey, in 2007 in a drunk driving crime, she began sharing her story to the public by becoming a volunteer speaker for Victims’ Impact Panel of Tennessee, Inc. in 2009. There, she spoke to first-time DUI offenders as part of a court mandated program.
Later, Kelly became the Charleston, SC Chapter Leader for a national non-profit and started a Victim Impact Panel program with the cooperation of Charleston County’s judges and law enforcement. She has lobbied in Washington, D.C. for ignition interlock laws and funding for technology and is a Certified Victim Advocate. She helped victims and their families write their victim impact statements for court, sat by their side during court proceedings and walked them through the court systems. In 2010, Kelly was recognized as the City of Charleston’s Volunteer of the Year.
Kelly continues her speaking engagements in various local schools, Law Enforcement Network meetings, juvenile detention centers, and was on the local Kennedy Center’s underage drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention board. She is a frequent guest on news broadcasts and a frequent contributor to local newspapers. Recently she was featured on Fox 24 Charleston. She was also asked to speak with the Turning Leaf Program at the Charleston County Jail, in which her topic was the crime of impaired driving. She is also a featured speaker with the Charleston County Juvenile Arbitration program.
Kelly is a current speaker for WeSaveLives.org, an international collaborative organization with more than 60 partners around the world, whose mission is to prevent Drunk, Drugged, and Distracted Driving.
Jacy Good, is a victim and survivor of a horrific distracted driving crash that killed both her parents and critically injured herself. Jacy decided to turn her tragedy into triumph, despite her partial paralysis. She and her husband, Steve Johnson speak to audiences around the country about the dangers of distracted driving and what they can do to stop this national epidemic. Jacy is also a recipient of the We Save Lives 3D Badge of Courage.
The Honorable Stan Marks
PRESIDENT, BEGAM & MARKS, CO-FOUNDER OF MADD OF ARIZONA, MAGISTRATE JUDGE OF PARADISE VALLEY, AZ
Stan Marks practices in all areas of personal injury litigation though representing the victims of crimes has been his specialty in his more than 35 years of practicing law. Mr. Marks is certified by the Arizona State Bar as a Specialist in Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation. He is President-elect of the National Crime Victims Bar Ass’n, and past president of the Arizona. Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Marks is very active in the community, investing his time, energy, and expertise into improving the lives of people in Arizona and across the country.
WSL SAN DIEGO VICTIM ADVOCATE
PAULA MYERS has been involved in the anti-impaired driving movement in San Diego for more than 25 years as both a victim advocate and law enforcement liaison. She is a survivor of two separate impaired driving crashes and knows firsthand the trauma and anger of being involved in a violent crime. She has worked with thousands of victims of DUI crashes, their families and friends providing emotional support, impaired driving information, resource referrals, criminal justice information and court accompaniment.
As Law Enforcement Liaison, Paula works with the local agencies to help victims understand why certain decisions were made in their DUI cases. Paula also works with law enforcement to address legislative and policy concerns regarding various issues of obtaining evidence, prosecution of impaired drivers, arrest obstacles, sentencing, etc.
She spends hundreds of hours in court, case watching and court monitoring, observing judges mishandling cases, not following or not knowing the law. Her presence in the courtroom has been known to cause judges to change their behavior.
She has received the Governor’s “Doris G. Tate” Award for her dedication and leadership in advancing crime victims’ rights. Paula also received recognition and awards for volunteering and assisting at one of the very first Stalking conferences in the state from the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. She served as Chair of the Crime Victims Action Alliance and Acting Director for Citizens for Law & Order. Paula participated on the North County Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Council, the Law Enforcement Task Force and several law enforcement committees focused on highway safety. She served a term as President of VACC (Victim Assistance Coordinating Council) and received their Victim Advocate Award during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in 2014. Paula is one of the few outsiders who received an award from the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association. Usually given only to prosecutors, fellow law enforcement and support staff, Paula was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the prosecution of alcohol and drug crimes in 2015. Following her family’s footsteps, Paula is a proud member of HDSA (Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association) since 1996.
Stephanie Smith, 25 year old United States Air Force veteran trained as a military paralegal. Medically retired after three years of service due to injuries sustained by a drunk and drugged driving crash. Currently attending school pursuing a degree in secondary education. Residing in Alexandria, VA with her husband and service Dog, Bradley.
Jessica Weyer Bentley
Jessica Weyer Bentley is a Poet/Writer, public speaker, and volunteer for a local anti-drunk driving group in her community that supports local law enforcement during OVI Checkpoints and hosting an annual Top Cop Banquet. She volunteers to speak locally at high schools and at victim impact panels. Jessica is a contributing writer for The Grief Diaries Series books including Hit By An Impaired Driver and Poetry And Prose. Jessica is currently penning her own collection of poetry entitled Crimson Sunshine due out this year. Jessica’s life changed forever when at the age of 5 her father, Robert, was killed by an impaired drunk driver in 1979. Her family is no stranger to impaired driving crashes as she; herself, her husband, and her son have all been hit by impaired drivers. Though thankful that her little family has survived their brushes with impaired drivers the loss of her father shaped her life. Jessica is wife to Larry of 23 years and mother of Laura and Joseph.
Ed Wood founded DUID Victim Voices after the death of his 33-year old son Brian at the hands of two drug impaired drivers on marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin. He has a B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and an MBA from University of Colorado and became the founding CEO of COBE BCT. Mr. Wood has worked with victims, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, clinicians, drug recognition experts, law enforcement officers, toxicologists, legislators, state officials, and an international list of researchers and other specialists in his quest to increase public knowledge about DUID. Mr. Wood has four peer-reviewed publications and wrote the 2017 law requiring Colorado to begin collecting and reporting data on drug-impaired driving.
Janna Pelle is an alternative pop artist born in Miami, now living in Brooklyn, NY. Her lifelong friend and former bassist, Patrick Wanninkhof was tragically killed by a distracted driver, while riding across the US for charity with the organization Bike and Build. Janna Pelle is determined to raise awareness through music with her new album “VOICEMEMO”, illustrating stages of grief with road-related imagery.
Ben Lieberman is the founder of an advocacy organization and a political action committee that's battling distracted driving. Last year he won the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Lifesavers Award for Public Service and the previous year the Governors Traffic Safety Committee of New York awarded him the Chairman's award. He has had a twenty year career in finance and has written two best selling novels.
Most recently, Ben has been spearheading an innovative enforcement tool and the supporting legislation to combat distracted driving. His efforts started in New York, but now other states have begun to duplicate the efforts.
Pam O'Donnell is a wife and mother whose husband and 5 year old daughter were killed by an impaired driver. She is now the mother of 9 year old only child who is left without her dad and sister. She has decided to turn her families tragedy into action. Pam since founded the Catch You Later foundation that gives out scholarships in memory of her family and raises awareness about distracted and impaired driving. She has spoken at numerous high schools, corporate companies and small organizations in New Jersey about the ramifications of when someone makes a choice to drive distracted or impaired.
Jim Russell is a 25 year law enforcement veteran having retired from the Florida State University Police Department at the rank of Deputy Chief in February, 2018. During his tenure at the FSUPD, Jim was key in the development of the Leon County Multi-Agency DUI Strike Force, consisting of five law enforcement agencies that coordinated impaired driving operations throughout Leon County, Florida. As chair of the DUI Strike Force for several years, Jim spearheaded the implementation of DUI checkpoints at Florida State University, making FSU the first university in the nation to conduct sobriety checkpoints on campus on a regular basis. Jim also developed multiple traffic safety programs including bicycle and pedestrian safety education, seatbelt enforcement, partnership with NASCAR for traffic safety, partnerships with multiple private and non-profit corporations for collaborative traffic safety programming, and more. Additionally, Jim served as an Intoxylizer 5000 technician, an Intoxylizer 8000 operator, and Intoxylizer 400 instructor. As a grant writer and fund raiser, he raised over one million dollars for the FSU Police Department’s safety programs, including securing hundreds of thousands of dollars for the FSU Motorsports Team, with a mission of promoting motorcycle safety in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation. He also served as the departmental public information officer for 17 years, handling media relations from minor news stories and up to and including active shooter situations. Jim’s stepson, Matthew Beard, was killed by a DUI driver in 2006 and in 2015, Jim, his son, and his wife Connie were struck by a drug-impaired driver, permanently injuring his wife. Currently, Jim is a competitive distance cyclist and works as a professional artist.
Connie Russell is the mother of Matthew Beard, a Florida State University Marine Biology student who was struck by a DUI driver on December 21, 2006. Matthew sustained life-threatening injuries and was in a coma for eight days, before succumbing to his injuries, dying on December 29th, 2006 at the age of 21. Since that time, Connie has become a tireless advocate for impaired driving prevention and traffic safety, and has spoken to audiences across the state of Florida. In telling Matt’s story, Connie strives to change behavior and encourage individuals to make smart decisions and not operate motor vehicles while impaired. She has shared her impactful program with offenders, law enforcement, prosecutors, students, parents, church and fraternal organizations, prison inmates and more. Additionally, she has been a powerful and outspoken voice in the media being the subject of numerous newspaper and television stories including a guest appearance on Good Morning America. She has partnered with multiple safety organizations including countless law enforcement agencies, MADD, the Dori Slosberg Foundation, the Florida Department of Transportation, NASCAR, the University of Central Florida, Florida State University, the Florida Department of Corrections, Compassionate Friends, the Leon County Multi-Agency DUI Strike Force, and more. Her efforts have been recognized through numerous awards including receiving the MADD Florida Hero Award twice, the Agnes Furey Victim/Survivor Award, and the Dori Slosberg Traffic Safety Foundation Award. Connie has also been a voice in the Florida legislature, advocating for more effective traffic safety laws to include impaired driving penalty enhancements, implementation of distracted driving laws, and support for laws related to leaving the scene of traffic crashes.
In June of 2015, Connie, her husband Jim, and her stepson Grayson were struck by a drug impaired driver in Winter Park, Florida, where Connie sustained permanent injuries. Rather than be silenced by this crash, Connie has forged ahead with her efforts to make a difference and safe lives.