Sheryl Anderson, coordinator of the Vanguard Center for Gambling Recovery program at Project Turnabout in Granite Falls, Minn., has more than 30 years of experience in the mental health field, having worked with families, mental health agencies and educational systems. She has presented at many regional and national conferences on gambling disorder topics. Sheryl has also served as a family liaison and youth advocacy leadership development coordinator through a systems change wrap around initiative. Her passion and commitment to helping families and individuals is well known in the field of addiction treatment. Sheryl is a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor-II through the International Gambling Counselor Certification Board, a Minnesota-approved gambling treatment provider, and an alcohol and drug counselor reciprocal-MN as certified by the Minnesota Certification Board and MN Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy. Sheryl has a Master’s of Science degree from Southwest Minnesota State University.
Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota. Sunny manages the daily operations of the Lao Assistance Center, serving Lao Americans in the state of Minnesota since 2001. Prior to joining the Lao Assistance Center, Sunny was the co-principal on the investigation for the Hepatitis B Research Project at the University of Minnesota in 2014-2015, and worked with the state of Minnesota/Southeast Asian Compulsive Gambling Prevention Project in 2005, 2008-2009, and 2014 to present. He was awarded a Bush Foundation/Bush Fellowship in 2013-2014, received the The Virginia McKnight Binger Award in Human Services in 2013, and graduated from the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2011-2012.
Mike Downey, Training Consultant, Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance. Michael has been a training professional in the field of problem gambling since the early 1990s. He retired in 2010 after 38 years working in corrections, last serving as the district supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, overseeing probation and parole services for the southeastern sector of Minnesota. Michael worked with his first problem gambler while working as a probation officer in 1989. There were no resources in that part of the state, so he and the offender he was working with both learned how to deal with his problem. Fortunately, the offender overcame the problem and was successfully discharged from felony probation. In addition, Michael sits on the Minnesota Department of Human Services Advisory Committee on Problem Gambling. He has an associate degree from the University of Minnesota, a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice Studies from Minnesota State University-St. Cloud, and completed graduate work in Counseling Psychology at St. Cloud.
Don Feeney, MS, MPP, Director of Research and Planning, Minnesota Lottery. Don served on the National Council on Problem Gambling Board of Directors from 2002 to 2016, and served as the organization’s president from 2011 to 2013. More recently, he chaired the Council’s Strategic Planning Committee and was the chief author on the recent NCPG white paper, “Public Opinion on Problem Gambling: Myths and Misconceptions.” Don is co-founder of the Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance and has been a member of the Alliance’s Board since its inception. He has also served on the Minnesota Department of Human Service Problem Gambling Advisory Committee since 1993. Don serves on the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries’ Responsible Gaming Committee, and previously served on the World Lottery Association’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, where he helped create a social responsibility certification program for lotteries worldwide. Don is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences on the subjects of public opinion on problem gambling, the history of gambling and the relationship between gambling and popular culture. Don holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University and a Master’s in Statistics from the University of Minnesota.
Helen Ghebre, Program and Policy Consultant, MN Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. As a program and policy consultant at DHS, Helen’s role is to administer the state-funded problem gambling program, including the funding and management of public awareness and outreach efforts, helpline services, and establishing new programming and community engagement initiatives. Prior to working in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, she worked in the Adult Mental Health Division on a federally funded project to implement evidence-based practice for co-occurring disorders in outpatient mental health and chemical dependency programs. Helen has a graduate degree in public health policy and administration and has been with the Department of Human Services for more than 10 years.
Jon E. Grant, JD, MD, MPH, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago. In addition to his teaching and research at the University of Chicago, Professor Grant supervises an outpatient clinic for addictive-impulsive-compulsive disorders. Jon is the director of a Center of Excellence in Gambling Research supported by the National Center for Responsible Gaming. He has also authored 12 books on impulsive and compulsive behaviors and written more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles.
Brian Herder, Co-Owner and Executive Creative Director, Russell Herder. Brian guides Russell Herder’s dynamic creative group, ensuring the success of the agency’s most critical work. Under his leadership, the agency has received regional, national and international recognition for creative excellence. As co-owner of the firm, he’s supervised the development and execution of strategic, award-winning campaigns for a wide range of clients. The firm has led communications outreach efforts for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Problem Gambling Program for more than 13 years.
Todd Maki, Research Analyst for the Minnesota Lottery. Todd graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Organizational Communication from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and has a Master’s of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.
Matthew J. McCreary, LCPC, CEAP, PCGC, ICCGC, CADC, Director, US Responsible Gambling & Student Support Programs, BDA Morneau Shepell. Matthew is responsible for researching new technologies and developing approaches to incorporate these technologies into the service model. He provides supervision to clinical staff as well as oversight on all reporting and quality assurance functions. Matthew provides clinical trainings on a variety of topics including problem/compulsive gambling counseling, motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy, and has worked with the gaming industry to develop responsible gaming policies and employee trainings. He is a licensed professional counselor (LCPC), certified employee assistance professional (CEAP), certified problem and compulsive gambling counselor (PCGC), international certified compulsive gambling counselor (CCGC) and certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC).
Rose McKinney, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder & CEO, Pineapple Reputation Management. Rose brings personal and professional experience to building community connections to address addictions. She launched PineappleRM Inc., a communications firm focused on reputation management and building stronger communities of stakeholders and clients in 2011, and helped one of her sons fight through a drug addiction. While she has helped hundreds of organizations, including entrepreneurial startups, international conglomerates and vital non-profit groups, tap the power and potential of brand reputation, she has also helped hundreds of children and young adults impacted by drug and alcohol addiction. Using her own personal experience, Rose channeled her learnings and intense experience into founding Our Young Addicts, a community of parents and professionals sharing experiences, resources and hopes on the spectrum of addiction, treatment and recovery. Rose has been an adjunct professor at Metropolitan State University since 2005, and is a seven-time recipient of the President’s Circle of Engagement for developing community-based curricula in the courses she teaches.
Mark Meier, MSW, LICSW, Founder and Executive Director, Face It Foundation. Mark oversees the Face It Foundation’s peer support services to help men overcome depression and prevent suicide. Mark received his Master’s degree in Social Work in 1994 and has delivered more than 250 talks and trainings across the country on the issues of depression and suicide. Mark previously taught mood disorders in the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School of Social Work and remains on staff in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health in the University of Minnesota’s School of Medicine. In addition to his professional and academic understanding of depression, Mark speaks openly about his own battles with depression, anxiety and problem-drinking that led to his own suicide attempt and hospitalization in 2002.
Jason Reed, PsyD, LP, Licensed Psychologist, Reed Psychological Services. Dr. Jason Reed is a licensed psychologist specializing in addiction, eating disorders and co-occurring disorders. He is the national director of the Eating Disorder-Substance Abuse program at The Emily Program and also has a private practice specializing in addictive and compulsive disorders. Dr. Reed has almost 15 years of experience in the addiction field in a wide array of clinical environments. He is particularly interested in integration of all effective therapeutic approaches for treating addiction.
Linda Sizer, Hennepin County Probation Officer. Linda has been a Hennepin County probation officer since 1989. Throughout that time she has worked in the Felony Investigation Unit preparing pre-sentence and pre-plea Investigations on adult clients facing felony level charges. For more than 20 years, she has also screened clients for gambling issues and completing Rule 82 gambling assessments.
Ollie Stocker, LICSW, LADC, Psychotherapist Supervisor, Fairview Recovery Services. Ollie Stocker is a certified Minnesota gambling treatment provider and has worked in the addiction field since 1978. He started at St. Mary’s and has continued working in the same program through its various changes until the present. He has worked as a primary counselor and interim director, and has been in his current position supervising the evaluation department since 1984. Ollie has worked with gamblers in recovery since 1999 doing assessments, groups and currently supervising. He has lead a monthly mindfulness/recovery group for recovering participants of all addictions at Common Ground Meditation Center for five years.
Ashley Trantham, MS, Prevention Coordinator, North Carolina Problem Gambling Program. BDA Morneau Shepell Ms. Trantham serves as the prevention coordinator for the North Carolina Problem Gambling Prevention Program. She provides the “Stacked Deck” curriculum as well as technical assistance to more than 50 schools and organizations. She also assists colleges with implementation of gambling prevention programs. Ms. Trantham promotes problem gambling awareness throughout the state through presentations and outreach.
Marlene Warner, MA, Executive Director, Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling. Marlene Warner has led the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling as executive director since 2011. Ms. Warner leads this statewide organization to advocate for policies and provisions to keep gambling safe and healthy for the people of the Commonwealth, and to provide services for those negatively impacted by gambling disorder. She builds connections to treatment facilities and recovery-directed policies, advocates on the federal and state levels for funding for problem gambling monies and programs, and works to include gambling disorder with public policy officials and gaming regulators. In addition, she advises multiple states on their lottery and casino responsible gambling programs, including how to build, implement and evaluate these programs. Most recently, Ms. Warner has been instrumental in the establishment of the first GameSense information center and its associated tools and staffing, as well as PlayMyWay, the first play management program in the U.S. She has contributed to numerous articles in the field and regularly conducts interviews with statewide media outlets, and trained thousands of clinical, community and gaming professionals. She received her M.A. from George Washington University and B.A. from Gettysburg College.
Keith Whyte, Executive Director, National Council on Problem Gambling. Keith has more than 20 years of national experience in gaming issues. Recognized widely for his work on responsible gaming and problem gambling policy, Keith has presented in 39 states and 19 countries. He has testified before the U.S. Congress four times and appeared before numerous state legislative and regulatory bodies. Keith is frequently quoted in the national and international media.
Brian Zirbes, MA, LADC, LPCC, Deputy Director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD), State of Minnesota. Brian Zirbes has a Master’s degree with dual emphasis in child and adolescent counseling and alcohol and other drug addictions. He has direct service positions and leadership roles in psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics and detoxification programs. Brian is licensed as an alcohol and drug counselor and as a professional clinical counselor in Minnesota. As deputy director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services, he serves as the single state authority, overseeing the continuum of addiction services from prevention, treatment and recovery.