January 18, 2009
I met Melody one summer when we volunteered for Camp Braveheart, a children’s camp that ‚Äú ‚Ä¶ brings together the fun of a recreational camp with grief support ‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ that is sponsored by a local hospice. Her kind disposition, warm smile and easy laugh not only blessed the children at the camp, but me as well.
Dr. Melody Chatelle is a well respected veteran of the national and state legislative arenas as well as the author of a book about the personal experiences of young people with life-limiting illness.
Journeys of Heartache and Grace ‚Äď Conversations and Life Lessons from Young People with Serious Illnesses is a positive, practical and poignant book about a journey we will all face with our loved ones and ourselves: the ending of our lives. Melody approaches this topic from the viewpoint of seriously ill young people who have little to hide or hold back. She hears and writes about their personal journeys, how they want to be treated, what they have to say about their own lives, and how people of all ages can deal with their own pending mortality.¬†
More about Melody.
Prior to forming Chatelle and Associates, her own political and communications consulting company in 1999, Melody worked for 12 years as Director and Vice President of Government Affairs for Mariner Post-Acute Network, the second largest post-acute health care company in the country with an operating base in 42 states. Before joining the health care industry in 1987, Melody served for 10 years in the Texas State Capitol as a legislative aide to a former Texas State Senator now serving in the United States Congress, as well as the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives.
On the national scene, Melody has served as Chair of the American Health Care Association’s (AHCA) Legislative Subcommittee and was named the 1997 AHCA Outstanding Key Member. Her degrees include a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) from the Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin; Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from The LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and an undergraduate degree in Journalism and Business from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, where she was named Outstanding Female Graduate.
August 26, 2008
Vincent Dodd began nursing in 1985. He did what he calls a ‚Äúnursing residency,‚ÄĚ by working 4 years in the Emergency Department at
Vincent spent 21 yrs of hands-on experience and teaching in hospital emergency and intensive care units across the country. This led to his writing the book, ‚ÄúSuffer Less in Death.‚ÄĚ His passion to write came from two sources. One from witnessing patients and their families suffer, believing they were doing the right thing by trying to prevent a near, unavoidable, and inevitable death. The other came from the fact that families would say, ‚ÄúDo everything,‚ÄĚ doctors would write the orders, and he, the nurse, was left to perform the procedures that inflicted the pain in the attempt to extend the life of the human being whose unpreventable death was near.
He wrote ‚ÄúSuffer Less in Death‚ÄĚ to address misconceptions, attempt to alleviate fears and explain about the futility of many procedures that are preformed to attempt to buy time before death. Caring for a person‚Äôs emotional and mental needs, beyond their physical body, has always been important to Vincent. This and caring for the family is just as important as caring for the body.
Vincent is available for public speaking and spends time in peoples homes the last few hours or days before death to provide general support to the dying and their family.
July 20, 2008
Worth is a Licensed Professional Counselor and certified as a Fellow in Thanatology: Death, Dying, and Bereavement by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC).
He is dedicated to counseling those who are suffering mental, emotional, social, moral, and spiritual pain related to death, dying, and bereavement. He provides bereavement counseling to people of all ages suffering the loss of a parent, spouse/partner, sibling, child, or unborn baby. He has led bereavement groups for Hospice Austin, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas, The South Texas Chapter of The ALS Association, and the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas. Having counseled and comforted many caregivers and their dying loved ones, he is thoroughly familiar with the dying process and the stresses of being a caregiver.
Besides counseling, he has made numerous presentations on death, dying, and bereavement to various organizations and churches, has appeared on radio and television programs including Austin Now, Austin Faith Dialogue, and Law Talk with Brad, and is the co-producer and interviewer for the documentary video This Place. In addition to being an adjunct faculty member at St. Edward’s University, he is co-founder of Solace Center of the Hills.
Prior to beginning his career as an end-of-life and bereavement counselor, he spent 25 years as a business executive, mostly in finance. When he left the corporate world, he had been the chief financial officer and corporate secretary for two high technology companies and one private investment firm. He continues to sit on the Board of Directors of one of the high technology companies.
He received a B.S. and M.A. in Chemistry and an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and most recently, an M.A. in Counseling from St. Edward‚Äôs University.
June 29, 2008
¬†For twenty-five years Jim has worked as a writer, speaker, speech coach and creative consultant for Fortune 500 companies such as Avon Products, Advanced Micro Devices, Universal Studios, and Rockwell International. In 1996, his life took a sudden detour when he quit his job as speechwriter for a CEO in California and moved back to Texas after thirty years to care for his parents. It was the best career move of his life.
Parenting his parents was a life-changing choice that has led to a successful speaking career, a rediscovery of real family values, and the writing of When Roles Reverse. Jim’s speeches, book and video help others learn from both his difficult and frequently hilarious experiences. His goal is to encourage families to plan ahead, talk about the difficult decisions and help adult children realize that they can handle the challenges of care-giving and find great joy in showing up for their parents.
Jim has spoken to corporations, associations, conventions and churches from Los Angeles to Cancun to Halifax, Nova Scotia. His keynote talks include Parenting Your Parents, You Are the Message, How Not to Speak Like a Geek, and the story of his years as a struggling actor in New York, If I Can Make It There, You Can Make It Anywhere.
His articles have appeared in The Reader’s Digest, and on the op-ed pages of The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Austin American-Statesman. Jim has written jokes for Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller and a monologue for Bob Hope. As an actor, he played a breathless Snoopy in Charlie Brown at 8,000 feet in Aspen, appeared on seven quiz shows including Jeopardy, and wrote a book How to survive a roommate: Two can live better than one (if they don’t kill each other first!)
- that landed him on the Today Show with Jane Pauley. His play, Behind Every Good Woman, There’s Another One! was produced in Los Angeles.
Jim is a member of the National Speakers Association and was named Member of the Year in 2004 for the Heart of Texas Chapter. He is active in the Texas Writers League, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and RESULTS, a citizens lobby working to end hunger and preventable childhood diseases. One of his greatest pleasures remains bringing his mother ice cream and candy and seeing her face light up.
April 8, 2008
For the past year Nancy and Becky have been speaking and leading workshops that deal with end-of-life transitions. In sharing Diane‚Äôs story and her own,
April 5, 2008
Kristi is a professional consultant implementing business solutions.¬†
She has over 18 years experience developing and implementing business solutions for individuals, small businesses and large corporations.
While working in the financial advising industry with two major firms, she discovered that many clients, friends and family members “did not have their affairs in order‚ÄĚ or if they did, it was not communicated to their loved ones or executors. With her propensity and zest for planning, Kristi began working with family and friends to create the survivorship planning concept. She created her first survivorship plan in 2001 and has continued to refine her process, knowledge and resources to better serve her clients. She leverages her business background to help her clients identify critical components and work through creating a clear picture of the transition.
This past year, she has expanded her services to include working with groups and businesses with the Dot Planning Workshops. She speaks to groups about the importance of planning and now offers post death executor assistance to assist executors work through the details of administering an estate.
People are very curious about why she is so passionate about such a ‚Äúdepressing‚ÄĚ business. Death is a hard topic for most people to discuss and yet, it will touch everyone at one point in their life. After 10 plus years in the tech industry, she wanted to make a difference. Kristi loves to take people from an anxious state of mind to a place of relief. Her clients say that the more they work through a plan the more they come to terms with the inevitable.
With an M.B.A. in Business Management (New Mexico State University, 1990) and a broad spectrum of experience in the business world, Kristi has created the business of helping people create detailed plans for communication to executors and families in the case of death or disability.
March 11, 2008
Donna is an educator in the field of death and dying.
Donna has done everything from serving as Executive Director for AMBIS to volunteering as a hospice worker who works with individuals and families as a coach or guide for those facing end-of-life issues. She is a leader in the home funeral movement and co-founder of the Crossings Care Circle, a local home funeral information and assistance center. She is a Certified Celebrant (memorial and funeral services). and has studied and practiced yoga since 1975; she’s been a yoga teacher since 1995.
Donna‚Äôs teaching style is warm, light-hearted and compassionate. She is available to facilitate workshops, and also offers private consultations (in person or by phone).
March 11, 2008
1992: Received Doctorate from
- Currently: Clinical Psychologist with licenses to practice in
- Currently: Writes advice column, ‚ÄúDr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years,‚ÄĚ printed bi-weekly in the Valley Morning Star (Harlingen newspaper),weekly in Vallarta Today (the English-language daily newspaper in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico), and monthly in Stay Healthy Magazine (a medical magazine in McAllen and Houston, TX). This column is devoted to answering questions addressing psychological, emotional, and social issues of older adults, caregivers, and baby-boomers.
- Currently: Preparing to host one-hour weekly radio show in
- December 2006 ‚Äď May 2007: Hosted a 30-minute weekly radio show, ‚ÄúDr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years,‚ÄĚ aired on KQXX, 105.5 FM, a Clear Channel radio station in South Texas.
- Currently: Preparing to host a television show with the same theme as radio/column.
- Currently: Giving lectures in
- 2001: Co-authored work based on her original research study: Karpel, M. E., Hoyer, W. J., & Toglia, M. P. (2001). Accuracy and Qualities of Real and Suggested Memories: Nonspecific Age Differences. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences 56:P103-P110.
- 2004 ‚Äď Present: Private practice (
- 2003 ‚Äď 2004: Psychological services in nursing homes for a company in
- 1994- 2003: Supervised psychologists; provided group and individual psychotherapy; presentations to families, staff, and caregivers: long-term care facilities in New York Metropolitan Area.
- 1992- 1994: Psychological services in long-term care facility, brain injury unit, and chronic back pain program in
, Syracuse . New York