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The Nation's Premier Youth Health & Safety Organization
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The Nation's Premier Youth Health & Safety Organization
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National Board of Directors & Staff

Meet Our National Board of Directors & Staff

Board of Directors

Staff

State Coordinators

  • Josephine “Joey” Burke – WY
  • Teresa Carper – OH
  • Jessica Hugdahl – AZ
  • Julie Strike – TN

Expert Advisors

Board of Directors

 Larry Bailin

Resource Development Committee
Strategic Planning Committee

Mr. Bailin is Founder and CEO of Single Throw Internet Marketing, based in Wall, New Jersey. He is a successful entrepreneur, leader, and author. Larry Bailin is also a prominent speaker and one of the most respected professionals in his field. In 2007, Larry was named one of the top 40 business people in New Jersey under the age of 40 and was called one of the top minds in the business by Yahoo’s marketing team. His best-selling marketing book, “Mommy, Where Do Customers Come From?” was originally released in 2007 and within hours of release, rose to number three on Amazon’s bestseller list. The book was dubbed “an instant classic” by readers and the media and is required reading by business students at various universities across the country. In addition, Larry has spoken to high school and college students about entrepreneurship, business, and sales and marketing. His desire is to give back and he enjoys helping, mentoring, and guiding future entrepreneurs on their journey.

Mr. Bailin works closely with a number of other charitable organizations such as Freedom House, a local halfway house, as well as assisting with fundraising in support of breast cancer, Parkinson’s research, homelessness, disabled American Veterans, and autism. He has received a commendation from The Boy Scouts of America for help with their efforts to send lower-income children to camp. Larry and his wife, Nicole, live in Freehold, New Jersey.

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Ovidio B. Bermudez, M.D.

Dr. Bermudez is the Chief Medical Officer of the Eating Recovery Center in Denver, Colorado. He attended medical school at the Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic, completed his residency in Pediatrics at The Medical College of Pennsylvania, and completed his fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is board-certified in both pediatrics and adolescent medicine.

Dr. Bermudez is affiliated with a number of professional societies, serving in leadership roles. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Society for Adolescent Medicine, and the Academy for Eating Disorders. He has served on several boards and committees with special attention to eating disorders. Dr. Bermudez has also served on several editorial boards. In addition to his membership on the SADD National board of directors, Dr. Bermudez currently serves on the board of directors of the National Eating Disorders Association and on the advisory board of GirlForce at Vanderbilt University. He is founder and president of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee. Dr. Bermudez is fluent in Spanish.

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Robyn Block

SADD State Coordinator Representative
Audit Committee
Strategic Planning Committee Co-Chair

Robyn Block has served as the Illinois Coordinator for Students Against Destructive Decisions since 2006. She stepped in on a part-time basis and began the task of assessing the number of chapters in Illinois and the types of prevention that was being practiced. During this time, Robyn has utilized her 15 years’ experience in the field of Prevention to move SADD chapters toward Best Practices. Education has been provided to students and their advisors through various delivery systems including, electronic newslettersand onsite training efforts. She has been instrumental in developing training modules for students and advisors alike. IL SADD has been the recipient of two distracted driving simulators and Robyn has utilized them to increase the number of school visits she makes, start new chapters, and provide additional training. Robyn also serves as the Chair for the Illinois Teen Safe Driving Coalition, working closely with the National Safety Council and The Allstate Foundation. She was instrumental in the creation of DomeShift, the annual youth advocacy day that she began three years ago by bringing partners together to provide youth from around the state training in Advocacy and giving them the opportunity to put that training into practice with their state legislators.
SADD has been a part of Prevention First since 2008 and as such, has been able to expand the reach and quality of services provided to better equip those serving in an advisory role to the thousands of student members in Illinois.
Robyn has two daughters, Randyl and Casey, and one beagle, Baby Girl, and lives on a 20-acre farm in rural southern Illinois.

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Colonel James E. Champagne (Secretary/Clerk)

Executive Committee
Governance Committee
Resource Development Committee Chair
Strategic Planning Committee

Lieutenant Colonel Champagne served as Executive Director and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative from 1996 to 2007. He was appointed to both posts by Governor Mike Foster on January 8, 1996. He began his state service in 1966 with his appointment as a state trooper. During his career with the state police, Colonel Champagne had numerous commands, culminating with his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, Chief of Staff for the Louisiana State Police. As the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, he helped Louisiana implement a wide range of highway safety programs. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission serves as the coordinating agency between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and state and local government. The primary objective of the Highway Safety Commission is to reduce, through proper problem identification.the severity and number of traffic crashes, deaths, and injuries on our highways.

Colonel Champagne has a degree in Criminal Justice from Southeastern University in Hammond, Louisiana, and a diploma in police administration and traffic management from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Louisiana State Troopers Association, and Southeastern and Northwestern Alumni Associations. He served as the vice-chairman of the Governor’s DWI/Vehicular Homicide Task Force, as a member of the Louisiana Responsible Vendor Board, on the Council on Automobile Insurance Rates and Enforcement, on the Railroad Task Force, as a member of the Metropolitan Safety Council of the New Orleans Area, and on the East Baton Rouge Mayor’s Traffic Safety Committee. Colonel Champagne was awarded the 2002 National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD) Government Leadership Award at the 18th Annual NCADD Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C. He received the SADD National Outstanding Achievement Award in July 2003. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in highway safety, Colonel Champagne was awarded the 1998 J. Stannard Baker Award by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the only civilian honored with the Baker Award in 1998. Also in 1998, he was selected to receive the Chairman’s Award by the Metropolitan Safety Council of New Orleans and the Traffic Safety Achievement Award, sponsored by AAA and the Safety and Occupational Health Council of Baton Rouge.

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Kirtana Choragudi (National Student of the Year Emeritus)

Kirtana joined SADD at the beginning of her freshman year in high school and quickly became very passionate about using peer-to-peer education methods to limit the number of preventable teen deaths among her peers. Kirtana served a three-year term as president of her small, rural chapter and helped to grow the group from six members to 70. For her great work, Kirtana was chosen as a student advocate for SADD SPEAKs and attended her first SADD conference in 2015, which she described as life-changing. Now, as the SADD National Student of the Year, Kirtana continues to be passionate about ensuring all communities, both urban and rural, have the resources they need to help reach a day where there are ZERO lives lost from destructive decisions.

In high school, Kirtana was also a section/squad leader in the band, student director of the chorale and President of the National Honor Society. You can find Kirtana at the University of Michigan, where she is a freshman studying business.

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Carlos DeBrito

Carlos DeBrito is a Major Account Executive at AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book, both of which are subsidiaries of Cox Automotive. In 2007 Carlos joined AutoTrader.com after years of sales and advertising experience in many different fields. While at AutoTrader, Carlos has held a variety of positions that enabled him to gain interactive, strategic planning and consulting experience with the largest auto dealer groups in the country. Carlos has also participated in many strategic planning committees and sales leadership groups within the organization. Of particular relevance, Carlos is working on a Mentorship program within his group that enables other employees to get real life experience out in the field.
With a Bachelor of Science degree from Marist College, Carlos also works closely with St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk committee in South Jersey. Prior to his sales career, Carlos played semiprofessional soccer, was a certified personal trainer, and coached the NYU Women’s Soccer team. Carlos and his wife Janine live in Howell, NJ and just welcomed their first baby boy, Lucas, in April 2015.

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Travis Helmondollar

State Coordinator Board Representative

Travis Helmondollar currently serves as the State Coordinator for West Virginia SADD – overseeing progressive Chapter development, unique programming, and sustainability initiatives throughout the Mountain State.  Travis has an earned Regent Bachelor of Arts in Business degree from Concord University, a Master of Science in Management degree from Walden University, and is currently pursing a Ph.D. in Management from Capella University.

Since 2000, Travis has been involved with SADD in various capacities – including serving on the SADD National Student Leadership Council and serving as a member of the SADD national staff.

Travis also serves as Assistant Director of Community Connections, Inc. where he’s garnered over 15 years experience in substance abuse prevention, community development, and team empowerment.  Specifically, Travis has seen epitomical success in culture-specific marketing, youth leadership, and innovative partnerships.  In this role, Travis also oversees programs related to tobacco control, opioid overdose reversal, coalition management, and mental health promotion.

Travis is a board member of Mercer County Opportunity Industries, HYPE Initiatives, One Voice (a faith-based substance abuse recover program), and is a member of the National Association of Peer Program Professionals.  He is trained by the Mayo Clinic as a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist (CTTS).

Travis and his wife, Victoria, reside in Princeton, WV and serve as Youth and Young Adult pastors at Cumberland Road Church of God.

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Michael Hultberg (Treasurer)

Audit Committee Chair
Audit and Finance Committee

Mike Hultberg is the CEO and Co-founder of Outflow Digital, a strategic services company that uses innovative technologies to help companies solve complex business challenges. He is also Co-founder, President and CEO of Jumpti, LLC (jumpti.com), an augmented reality company providing marketing and communications solutions. He believes in a smart and simple approach toward maximizing the value of an organization, and its potential, as the digital void separating the innovators from the laggards starts to widen.

Before Outflow, Mike served as Chief Operating Officer of Siegel & Gale (part of the Omnicom Group of companies), a premier global strategy and experience consulting firm servicing clients such as Aetna, American Express, Bloomberg, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, Penske Leasing, Rotary, SAP and YMCA.  Mike helped Siegel & Gale more than double its size, significantly increasing margin while still allowing for expansion into new markets such as Shanghai, Beijing, Dubai & Saudi Arabia. Mike was responsible for all Administrative Operations including Finance, Human Resources, IT, Legal and Strategic Partnerships.   Mike cut his teeth working with many of today’s Fortune 100 companies and not-for-profits while at KPMG and with Time Warner, and is a trusted advisor on strategic and operational issues.

A father of teens, Mike is keenly aware of the challenges youth face and is motivated to help further SADD’s mission.

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David K. Mineta

Governance Committee

David K. Mineta is President and CEO of Momentum for Mental Health, the largest private nonprofit dedicated to providing comprehensive adult mental health services in Santa Clara County. He was appointed to the position in August 2015.

Since 2010, David K. Mineta has served as a Presidential appointee in the position of Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). His focus on drug prevention, treatment and recovery support services is recognized nationally.

David K. Mineta’s career in behavioral health began in Santa Clara County over 25 years ago. In 1996, Mr. Mineta worked with Asian American Recovery Services (AARS) throughout the Bay Area. He began as a manager of a youth prevention program, rose quickly to Associate Director and in 2007, was named Deputy Director. Prior to AARS, Mr. Mineta was a counselor in the San Jose Unified School District and later in Santa Clara County’s Alcohol and Drug Department. Mineta also served twice as board president for the Jefferson Union High School District Board of Trustees. He served as a member of the American Public Health Association and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America before being unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 22, 2010, as Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for the White House Drug Policy Office.

Mineta received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Social Work from San Jose State University.

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Kendell Poole (Chairman)

Now principle of K Poole Strategic Relations, Kendell has built an amazing 27 year career in both the public and private sectors based on his strong character and reputation.

Kendell was appointed by Governor Phil Bredesen on January 27, 2006 as Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office in the State of Tennessee and continued to serve in that capacity under the administration of Governor Bill Haslam. Serving as the longest serving Director in the history of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office in Tennessee (2005-2016), he has received numerous awards for his leadership while serving under two Governors who spanned both sides of the political aisle.

Mr. Poole was a member of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Executive Board since 2006. He served five years as a regional representative and one year as Chair of the Association’s Member Services Committee. He also served as the Association’s liaison in implementing a new law enforcement program known as DDACTS. Poole was elected Chair at the Association’s Annual Meeting in 2012 and re-elected in 2013 and 2014.

He is a native Nashvillian with a long history of public service, as well as significant experience in the private sector. He is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville with degrees in Communications and Human Relations as well as Business Administration.

Poole began his career in the nonprofit sector with the PENCIL Foundation, working with businesses and corporations in the Nashville community and partnering them with public schools in an effort to increase community involvement in education.

From 1990 through 1998 he served as Executive Assistant and Field Director to former 5th District U. S. Congressman Bob Clement in Nashville and Washington D. C.

From 2000 until his appointment by Governor Bredesen he served as a consultant and marketing expert for a number of companies in the Nashville area that are regulated by government entities, as well as consulting on a number of political campaigns.

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Susan Scarola

Executive Committee Chair
Governance Committee Chair
Audit Committee

Susan Scarola is currently President of the National Foundation for Teen Safe Driving. Founded in 2011 as the DCH Teen Safe Driving Foundation, NFTSD collaborates with businesses and local high schools to deliver an array of nationally recognized teen safe driving programs building safety minded cultures within those communities. To further support this work Scarola is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

Scarola served as President and CEO of DCH Auto Group from 2007 to 2010 and was instrumental in launching the group’s teen safe driving initiatives. In her capacity as Vice Chairman from 2010 to 2014, Scarola assisted the Chairman with the strategic direction of the company and spearheaded the sale of DCH to Lithia Motors, Inc. Throughout, she championed the company’s teen safe driving program as a core pillar of the DCH brand and she was instrumental in launching National Auto Dealers Association’s Dealers Driving Road Safety Initiative now in its sixth year.
In her first, very brief career, Scarola taught kindergarten in rural upstate NY and then transitioned to business in a Human Resources department in a large NYC engineering firm. After obtaining her M.B.A. from New York University she joined KPMG’s Private Business Advisory Services and obtained her CPA license. DCH quickly became one of her favorite clients and she readily accepted the opportunity to join the DCH team in 1985.

Scarola helped DCH in its early growth years, solidifying the group’s treasury functions and leading its first Human Resources Department. Her “people” skills assisted the senior team strategize for growth and she assumed ongoing responsibilities with the Executive Management Team. Leading up to her CEO responsibilities, Scarola was Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President overseeing Human Resources and other administrative functions.

She served as a Member of the Board of both the New York State Auto Dealers Association and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. She is the recipient of the 2008 Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) Professional Achievement Award, the 2010 Women Certified Vision Award and was selected by Automotive News as one of the top 100 women in the North American auto industry in 2010. Scarola was included in NJ’s 2012 Best 50 Women in Business and is the 2014 recipient of the Barbara Cox Anthony Automotive Women of the Year award. Most recently Scarola was honored with WAAI’s Spirit of Leadership Award.

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Staff

 

 

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Rick Birt

Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Richard “Rick” Birt joined the SADD National staff in June 2014 as the Development Officer and, in 2015, became the Director of Strategic Partnerships. In 2016, he was promoted to serve as Executive Vice President. Now as the Acting CEO, Rick leads national operations and development efforts, playing a critical role in managing all national programs and field relations while fostering relationships between the organization and external partners. Rick also manages the SADD National Youth Leadership Councils – the Student Leadership Council (SLC) and College Advisory Council (CAC), and oversees the planning and execution of the annual SADD National Conference on Youth Health & Safety.

Rick has years of experience working in the prevention field. Previously, he worked with Impact Teen Drivers to support peer-to-peer-based traffic safety education and training as the Midwest Director of Operations. Rick also has significant experience as a grant writer and has worked with many state agencies on youth health and safety and leadership development. Rick has been deeply involved with SADD, from his selection as the 2009-2010 SADD National Student of the Year to his service as the Ohio SADD State Contact. Rick loves to give back to the community. As such, he was elected to his local Board of Education at Northwestern Schools in Springfield, Ohio leading numerous community and state-wide advocacy efforts with the Ohio School Board Association and the National School Board Association.

Rick holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and is currently in the process of obtaining his MBA in Non-Profit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.

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Elizabeth Vermette

Director of Programs

Elizabeth Vermette, Director of Programming, joined the SADD National staff in November 2015. Her responsibilities include overseeing the creation of SADD’s prevention and empowerment programming that works to empower teens, engage parents, and mobilize communities. 

Before joining SADD, Elizabeth served as the Director of Traffic Safety Programs at the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), a coalition that works to save lives, prevent injuries, and promote safe and healthy lifestyles among youth. Previously, Elizabeth served as the Director of Government Relations for the Automotive Recyclers Association where she was responsible for monitoring legislative and regulatory activity at the federal level and all 50 states, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Additionally, Elizabeth’s career experience includes working at the AAA National Office as the Director of State Relations, where she developed education, outreach, and advocacy campaigns for implementation at the state level. During her tenure, she directed the Association’s “Licensed to Learn” campaign, which contributed to the passage of graduated licensing laws in all 50 states. Elizabeth also developed the “Seated, Safe and Secure” campaign aimed at strengthening child passenger safety laws, which received a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America. Additionally, she developed and directed the Association’s distracted driving awareness campaign “Stay Focused, Keep Your Mind on the Road.”  

Elizabeth graduated from Trinity University, in Washington D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations. 

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Joshua Claudio

Director of Annual Giving

Joshua has over 10 years of experience working in annual giving and institutional advancement programs.  Most recently, he was the Director of Development at Help for Abused Women & Their Children, where he was responsible for implementing a $1.6 million annual giving campaign.

Prior to his role at HAWC he held senior roles at The New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV), Clark University, and The RDS Council.  In his career he has spearheaded operations, donor relations, major gift giving, direct-mail, telemarketing, communications & marketing, strategic planning, board relations, and has served as a strategic campaign advisor for critical fundraising projects.

He has served on several non-profit boards: Boys & Girls Club of America, Veterans Campaign, and the Theological Institute of the RDS Council.

He is a graduate of Atlantic Union College (B.A. – History) and Cambridge School of Education (M.Ed. Educational Psychology).  He is happily partnered, and hails to SADD from Salem, Massachusetts.  His favorite quote is: “Believe in Yourself.”

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Madeline Seel

Special Projects Coordinator

Madeline joined the SADD National Staff in 2017 as the Special Projects Coordinator. Her roles include conference support, assisting the Acting CEO, and supporting programmatic efforts throughout the organization. After personal tragedy, Madeline joined SADD. In her high school, she led various projects including Y.I.E.L.D. (Youth Involved Education of Legal Drivers) to educate her community about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, served on the Allegheny County Youth Traffic Safety Board, was named the 2013-2014 Pennsylvania SADD Student of the Year, and much more.

As a previous SADD student, Student Leadership Council Member, Student of the Year, and intern, her passion for SADD has been unwavering.  A senior at the University of Pittsburgh, Madeline is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and religious studies.

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Expert Advisors

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Gene Beresin and the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at MGH

Senior Advisor on Adolescent Psychiatry
Gene Beresin, M.D., M.A. is executive director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a full professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and senior educator in child and adolescent psychiatry at MGH. He received a B.A. in music from Princeton University, and an M.A. in philosophy along with his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Beresin previously served as residency training director in child and adolescent psychiatry at MGH for 29 years (24 of which were for the MGH/McLean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program). In addition to his current role at The Clay Center, Dr. Beresin also directs the Elizabeth Thatcher Acampora Endowment, an outreach program to meet the needs of underserved youth and families in three community settings, as well as HMS’ year-long required course Patient Doctor III, which focuses on reflective practice, ethics, professionalism and interpersonal skills as students develop their identities as physicians.

Dr. Beresin has won a number of local and national teaching awards, including the Parker J. Palmer “Courage to Teach” Award in 2002, given annually by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education to 10 program directors from all medical specialties. In 2004, he was awarded the American Psychiatric Association and National Institute of Mental Health Vestermark Award for Outstanding Teaching. In 2008, he was awarded the Bowis Award by the American College of Psychiatrists for outstanding service to and leadership in the College. In 2011, he won the HMS Department of Psychiatry Cynthia M. Kettyle Award for Medical Student Teaching.

Dr. Beresin has consulted on a variety of television shows, including ERLaw and Order SVU and the Emmy Award-winning HBO children’s specials Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales (2000), Through a Child’s Eyes: September 11, 2001 (2003) and Classical Baby (2005). He was also co-producer of a section of the Parent Resource Center for ABCNews.com.

Dr. Beresin has published numerous papers and chapters on a variety of topics, including graduate medical education, mental health and media, eating disorders, personality disorders and child and adolescent psychiatric treatments. He is also deputy editor and media editor for Academic Psychiatry.

Dr. Beresin has been featured in/on CNN, Time, Forbes, Good Morning America, VICE.com, The Boston Globe, ABC News, The Huffington Post, WBUR’s CommonHealth, among others.  View more from  Gene and his team at The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds

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