The Blessed Crew showcases the long-practiced dance genre of ‘step’ and is made up of a group of strong, diverse women striving for change and empowerment for all.
Incarcerated since the age of 22, Christy did not let that deter her from being the best mother she could be; from the inside out. Missing some of life’s most important moments were never easy. Instead of letting her situation envelop her, she decided she would stay strong for her children by living a productive life behind bars. This included getting her G.E.D., working a steady job for over 10 years to be able to financially support her three children and being a mentor for women struggling with a similar predicament. Although she was not there in person, she was always there in every way she could be.
CEO and Founder of Tiger Mountain Foundation
Darren Chapman is a community pro-activist who has committed his life to helping people. He is Founder and CEO of TigerMountain Foundation (a.k.a. TMF), which has implemented Empowerment Initiatives to uplift and develop communities and eliminate blight. TMF’s initiatives are community garden / landscaping development, audio, visual and performance art, community service and volunteerism.
Darren is from south-central Los Angeles but currently resides and works in South Phoenix and the Phoenix Metropolitan area.
Prior to Dominique’s incarceration people would label her as smart, talented and determined. Driven and ambitious, she moved to Arizona to obtain another degree that would enable her to accomplish her goal of becoming a professor at HBCU College. After an accident that derailed her path, she ended up incarcerated. Immediately, the labels others placed on her changed into liar, manipulator, and criminal. Dominique tried screaming to the world that she was so much more but no one could see beyond her orange outfit. She understood why others felt this way, having carried with her the same preconceived notions when entering Perryville. Having gone through this experience she’s now enlightened with the education, talent and worth of the women within these walls. “We are educated, talented and amazing women. We are also determined to expose our greatness to the world so they can witness the beauty that is being covered by our orange veil. We will leave prison and accomplish every goal, knock down every barrier that stands in our way while proving to ourselves that we are capable of doing anything!” Through Dominique’s talk, she removes the labels society places on felons, challenging you to do the same. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
Director of the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR)
Dominique Roe-Sepowitz is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University and she is the Director of the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research. Dominique has her Master’s degree and PhD in social work and is a researcher, professor and a forensic social work practitioner.
Dominique's research focus is on women and violence with a focus on prostitution and the therapeutic needs for exiting. Her expertise includes sex trafficker profiles, establishing a prevalence of sex buyers, and sex trafficking victim prevention and intervention design. Dominique works very closely with community groups including the Phoenix Police Department, the Phoenix Prosecutor's Office and Catholic Charities DIGNITY programs.
Dorothy is a resident of ASPC - Perryville and is an avid singer with a beautiful voice.
President of Covisioning
Dr. Marcia Reynolds is fascinated by the brain. She draws on her research as she coaches and trains leaders to recognize and bring out the brilliance in others through meaningful conversations. She has worked with leaders in 38 countries, including top universities such as the Harvard Kennedy School, Cornell University, and the Moscow School of Management.
Dr. Reynolds is a pioneer in the coaching profession.
Interviews and excerpts from Marcia’s books have appeared in many places including Fast Company, Psychology Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
Marcia’s doctoral degree is in organizational psychology and she has two master’s degrees in education and communications.
Co-dependent from a young age, Erica Munoz stumbled into a life of abuse, promiscuity and hardship. Seeking the love she never had in her parents, she yearned for a relationship to heal her broken past. A
mother of three beautiful boys, she fought to succeed and keep her head above water in a world against her.
Suffering through a lifetime of abuse-sexual, physical and emotional, Erica felt isolated from society, living a life she dreamed to escape. With no one willing to listen, to truly understand, she stayed. The
abuse, a constant dark cloud, consumed her life until it became a storm that she could no longer run from.
In the end she failed herself, her children and went down a dark path leading to her incarceration. Driven to leave Perryville as the best version of herself, she leaned on her faith and changed her life.
“I’m not broken anymore. I’m stronger, wiser and more beautiful than ever because God took my broken pieces and made me whole again. I refuse to stay silent. I know my worth and will never go back to what broke me.” She has a strong voice and through the TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional stage, Erica lets others know the importance of believing and listening to survivors of abuse.
Jim Hooker, President & CEO of Televerde
In 1995, James Hooker’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to develop Televerde to help companies fill their sales pipelines and marketing funnels through insights and demand generation teleservices. Jim has set an extreme customer service culture and an always get better attitude to deliver results for clients.
Prior to Televerde, Jim served as President and COO of Pacific Corp Capital, Executive Vice President for Pacific Atlantic and President and CEO of Ceres Capital Corp.
Jim received is BA from Washington & Lee University and his MBA from American University. He has been a world-class novice bridge player in the American Contract Bridge League, and was voted “The Best Parent Fan” in support of his son Joey’s Big Red Cornell wrestling team.
Joey Cook initially rose to fame on Season 14 of American Idol in 2015. Since then she has toured and recorded with the internationally known jazz ensemble, “Postmodern Jukebox”, as well as released her first studio album “Welcome To The Variety Show”. Her much anticipated new record is due to be released in 2018.
Whether it's through her powerful speaking style, edgy performance poetry. revealing memoir, small n' mighty tech startup, or her doctoral research, Julia Garcia, is a young biracial woman who is changing the game and leading our generation in some pretty powerful and urgent conversations.
Division Director for Inmate Programs and Reentry at the Arizona Department of Corrections
Karen is the Division Director for Inmate Programs and Reentry at the Arizona Department of Corrections. In this capacity, she oversees Education, Counseling and Treatment Services, Religious Services, Arizona Correctional Industries, and Community Corrections.
In 1996 she graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with Masters in Forensic Psychology and began working at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections. Karen also worked in the ALPHA Program at the Maricopa County Sherriff’s Department. She joined ADC in 2004 and has held a variety of positions related to addiction treatment before moving into the role she now occupies.
Kiki is a resident of ASPC - Perryville. She's interested in showing what the human heart is capable of when inspired by feelings of love, forgiveness and transformation.
Renee is an avid musician and loves the act of storytelling through song. Although initially nervous to share her folk music melodies with the TEDxPerryvilleCorrectional team, she overcame her fears and performed a beautiful song about the fears and doubts that came with a life behind bars. Renee is currently a resident of the ADOC at Perryville.
Roxanne was a carefree individual, driven by bringing joy to others, always willing to crack a joke, she was a lover of travel and saw a world filled with opportunity and adventure. Abruptly all that changed. As a result of her actions one fateful night, she would lose much more than just a few of years of her life to Perryville State Prison. She lost much of her core identity as well.
Faced with nothing but the contemplation of time she began to write. A good friend of hers encouraged her to write her story in line with a fairy tale or nursery rhyme. This is when she wrote, “Hickory Dickory Rox.” Two years later, TEDx came to Perryville. She took this opportunity to bring her poem to life. With the help of her friend Raeann, an Arizona native who loves her children, they were able to paint a picture of what Roxanne was feeling prior to her incarceration. For many people, prison can seem like a hopeless place. Roxanne saw it as an opportunity for growth and change. It was because of this mindset that she was able to rediscover her passions and focus on her future.
"I wrote “One Word – One Gesture” because I believe it is our responsibility to encourage and motivate one another. In this life, we all have gone through tragedies and what we share in these experiences is that defeating feeling, but words and gestures are the key to overcoming. Every day on the news we see stories of heartbreak and heartache, yet with these stories there are signs of victory, where people from all walks of life, help one another, motivate one another and make a difference. My own grandmother was limited in education and had very little money, but as I grew up, I watched her lend a hand, sit and listen with care, and in showing me those gestures she unknowingly passed it down to me. My passion lies in helping where I am needed. Despite my current situation, it is not hard to give a hug, cry with someone, or offer words of encouragement. I have found healing in learning that my place on this earth is to be that voice that says, “The world we live in, the lives we lead are hard, yet we can prevail." In this life we have to learn it doesn’t matter if we’re rich, homeless, or locked up, our words are power. With that power, we can change lives and outlooks. We have to do this together because at the end of the day, we are all that we have, sharing this world and relishing on the chance to motivate one another.
PASSION, means passing it on. (pass-i-on), and as long as I have a voice, I will continue to pass along gestures of love, hope, inspiration because that’s what we all we’re put here to do. Don’t ever think your words are useless, because words are the things that change lives!"
Sarah has always found solace in music. It’s her escape; a way she expresses her creativity and copes with a range of emotions both negative and positive. Sarah hopes that through singing she can help others deal with many of the emotional issues we struggle with on a daily basis. She is currently a resident of ADOC-Perryville.
From Sheena: "I was born and grew up in a disadvantaged environment; I’ve witnessed, and many times been a victim of the very dark things of this environment. Within the darkness there has always been a silver lining called 'light.' This light grew brighter and intensified when I became a mother of four beautiful children. These inspirations motivated me to build up these communities I was a part of. There are families just like mine in these communities. They want the same as each family unit wants: stability, confidence, security and opportunity. We all want the opportunity to leave a positive and lasting legacy for our generations to come."
Sheena is not merely interested or concerned with community building; this is her passion. She calls this her life’s purpose and she will continue to be the fierce advocate for community building.
Valerie Ochoa entered Perryville with no prior business acumen and zero experience in the sales and marketing industry. She never imagined the future ahead of her included being a successful sales leader from behind bars. Valerie found solace in Televerde, a company partnered with the Arizona Department of Corrections, which offers employment and skill building to incarcerated women. It was at Televerde that she discovered her natural ability to sell. Valerie describes the pros of utilizing a correctional workforce and the potential she recognized in herself because of this opportunity. “Not only do I believe in myself, but I know that anything is possible and there are no limits on what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.”
"I had unknowingly been creating my own misery and depression for years. It never occurred to me to stop and examine my own thoughts and attitudes because in my reality at the time, circumstances were always to blame for my behavior. Once incarcerated, all I had was time to figure out why I acted and thought the way I did. As it turns out, spending time in prison has been pivotal to my personal growth and self-discovery. It is here that I’ve learned the power that my thoughts carry. It is here that I’ve changed my old ways of thinking. And it is through TEDx that I have been given the opportunity to share this message with others."