Nebraska School Mental Health Conference Keynote Speakers – 2021


Laura van Dernoot Lipsky
Founder and Director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship and The Age of Overwhelm

Laura is widely recognized as a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, she has worked locally, nationally, and internationally for more than three decades. Much of her work is being invited to assist in the aftermath of community catastrophes – whether they are fatal storms or mass shootings. Simultaneously, she has long been active in community organizing and movements for social and environmental justice and has taught on issues surrounding systematic oppression, structural supremacy, and liberation theory.

Laura is on the advisory board of ZGiRLS, an organization that supports young girls in sports. She is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Network, which supports the development of capacity to address climate change. Laura also served as an associate producer of the award-winning film A Lot Like You, and was given a Yo! Mama award in recognition of her work as a community-activist mother.


Amber & Carson Molle

Amber and Carson Molle live in the small midwest town of Seymour, WI. In 2017 their lives were changed dramatically when at just 14 years old Carson attempted suicide. Despite traumatic circumstances Carson fortunately lived to share this story. He was left with significant physical injuries, as well as emotional and psychological trauma. In the face of this difficult situation Carson and his family decided early on that they were going to share their journey in order to help others. They have grown stronger through this experience and Carson’s recovery can provide light for those who may have experienced the same feelings.

Carson, the now 18 year old survivor, and his mom Amber, have spent the last four years breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health by sharing the honest and open account of their struggles. It started with talks at local churches, and grew to include tik tok and youtube videos, presentations at area middle and high schools, articles and local news reports, and multiple podcasts.

Carson and Amber have appeared at mental health benefits, such as the Be the Light walk in Green Bay, and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Holiday of Miracles telethon. With the love and support of their family, friends, and community, Amber and Carson aspire to continue sharing their story to help others find hope in their fight against mental health illnesses.

Carson enjoys participating in sports, working on computers and reading DC comics. He hopes to go on to a career in computer science.  Amber works as an early childhood Speech and Language Pathologist and enjoys spending time with her husband Matt and 4 children (Maddy, Josh, Carson, and Evy).


Mike Veny
Leading Mental Health Speaker and Teamwork Facilitator Whose Messages Address the Diversity & Inclusion of All

Mike Veny loves working with leaders who are tired of bringing the same old textbook presentations on mental health or diversity and inclusion to their events. If you are looking for a compelling speaker who will connect with, entertain, and engage your audience—all while educating and uniting them around improving wellness—you’ve come to the right place.

Mike’s presentations move past simply educating an audience to providing them with actionable steps they can take to change their lives and work environments. His reputation as a dynamic speaker provides confidence and peace of mind for meeting planners everywhere.

Mike’s Story

Mike’s path to becoming a speaker became evident at an early age. He convinced the staff at psychiatric hospitals to discharge him three times during his childhood. In addition to being hospitalized as a child, he was expelled from three schools, attempted suicide, and was medicated in efforts to reduce his emotional instability and behavioral outbursts.

By the fifth grade, Mike was put in a special education class. Aside from getting more individualized attention from the teacher, he learned that pencil erasers make great sounds when tapped on a desk. He had no idea that drumming would become his career or his path to
recovery.

As an adult, Mike spent many years facilitating drum workshops for children with special needs, teaching them to channel their energy by banging a drum while also learning how to listen, focus, work together and succeed through teamwork. The project was such a hit that he continued to expand his drumming program, first to adults in recovery and eventually into the corporate setting.