Colonel Alex Pelbath is the former Director of C-17 Special Operations at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. Alex graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 2001 and spent over 20 years in the US Air Force. He amassed over 4,000 hours flying multiple aircraft, commanded several large organizations, and has multiple deployments supporting nearly all major military operations since 2001. In August of 2021 Alex was the Air Mission Commander and last aircraft off the ground during the final evacuation of military and civilian personnel from Kabul, Afghanistan, ending the United States’ 20-year war. For his role leading through the chaos of the evacuation he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the nation’s highest award for aerial achievement, and was the first ever recipient of the Sully Sullenberger Award for Courage.
Alex currently resides in Mount Pleasant, SC with his wife and best friend, Lynden, and their two kids Jake and Izzy
Dr. Alejandro Spiotta is a Neurosurgeon with subspecialty training in Neuroendovascular Surgery and the Co-Founder and principal investigator of STAR (Stroke Thrombectomy and
Aneurysm Registry), an international network of neurosurgeon-scientists that combines datasets and leverages virtual and artificial intelligence technology to revolutionize the way
patient outcomes are studied and how knowledge and novel techniques are disseminated world wide. His passion is mentoring doctors in training to become the next generation of neurosurgeons, as well as enhancing teamwork and strategies to achieve peak
performance. He has authored three textbooks, greater than 300 peer reviewed scientific publications and has delivered hundreds of presentations to educate neurosurgeons across the globe.
Andrea Abbott is a board-certified Surgical Oncologist who received her undergraduate and medical degrees at the integrated six-year Medical School/BLA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City; completed surgical residency training and earned a Masters in Clinical Research at the University of Minnesota. She is an Associate Professor and attending Surgical Oncologist at The Medical University of South Carolina, specializing in the surgical treatment of breast, skin, and soft-tissue cancers. She is the Medical Director for the Comprehensive Breast Program and the Director of Cancer Quality at Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC, where she devotes herself to educating and training the next generation of surgeons, mentoring medical students and residents, bringing cutting-edge treatments and surgical techniques to patients throughout the state, promoting equal access to high-quality care for all South Carolina cancer patients.
Ashley is a surgeon at the Medical University South Carolina, caring for trauma, burn and critically ill patients, and expanding trauma-informed care and violence prevention strategies in our health care system and to future health care providers. She has a master's degree in public health at Emory University, where she was inspired to specifically focused her efforts on improving the role of healthcare in violence prevention and intervention. She went to the Brody School of Medicine where she realized she loved caring for patients with traumatic injury and with severe surgical disease. She completed her surgical residency at the Medical University of South Carolina, and her trauma and surgical critical care training at the University of Washington in Seattle. She started the first hospital violence intervention program (HVIP) in South Carolina (Turning the Tide Violence Intervention Program, TTVIP).
Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP is an End of Life Doula, Conscious Living & Dying Coach, Grief Educator & Guide, Child & Adolescent Therapist and Parent Coach. Bonnie is the author of the book "Mothering With Courage."
As an end of life doula Bonnie helps individuals and families prepare for the death of a loved one. She understands loss, as her brother and father died suddenly when she was a teenager. Bonnie vividly remembers not being able to tell them good bye or that she loved them. Bonnie offers support and resources to help families navigate end of life decisions. She supports their loved one in consciously creating their most authentic life and death, while they are still able. Bonnie also inspires individuals, as a Conscious Living & Dying Coach to live their life with intention and create the life they want to live, no matter how young or old.
Christian Morant is an enigmatic wordsmith with uncanny curls. Most known for his enthralling level of poetry and advocacy on mental health, he also writes for and is inspired by rock, hiphop, funk, and whatever else fuels the creative vibe. Beyond music, Christian frequently performs at New York’s legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Philly's nationally curated Voices In Power events, has been featured in Charleston's City Paper, and is a former director, producer, and editor in the video community. He also models, acts, and is most proud of last year’s milestone in having selections from his upcoming book published in Free Verse Press’s anthology "I Am A Furious Wish".
Dom Cooper is a licenses Massage Therapist and a small business owner. After the loss of my 16-year-old son to suicide, I had to learn how to live again. I focused on how to live with a wound that would never heal. I had to accept that my heart would never beat the same again. I have resolved to focus on making a difference in life. I speak very transparently on the aftermath of suicide, how to recover from the trauma, and even the PTSD that can be triggered from simple things. I share my everyday struggles with accepting that my son is gone from this life.
My mission is to bring awareness and realization that no matter where people are in life, action steps can be taken to begin the recovery process, I hope to offer some light into the smothering darkness of depression that can lead to suicide for us who have lost a child. Grief is not a cycle, nor it is a stage we go through. Grief is a journey. One that we will always walk until our last day.
As a TV host of THE GOOD ROAD, Earl gets to travel the world with his childhood friend and introduce audiences to the inspiring people who look at the world's most impossibly hard problems with an attitude, "I can help". Earl has also founded several tech companies which provide tools for brands to connect with their local communities and communicate who they are, by how they show up. He coined the term "Philanthropologist" to describe his role.
Full Circle is a project by guitarist and songwriter Grace McNally that incorporates traditional rhythms and music from Charleston SC, Central and South America. It features local Gullah gospel group The Plantation Singers, percussionist Gino Castillo, bassist Tim Khayat and pianist Abdiel Iriarte
Educator and Tech Advisor
Dr. Leon T. Geter currently serves as the Chair, Benedict College Department of the Criminal Justice Administration and Social Sciences (CJASS). As well as, the Founding Director, Benedict College Center for Cybersecurity. Dr. Geter has served as the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Benedict College Cybersecurity Initiative, that was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Dr. Geter chairs an annual cybersecurity Symposium.
Mahoganee Amigér is a Gullah Geechee native artist of South Carolina. She is a creative and multi-disciplinary certified teaching artist. Recording Artist, songwriter, poet, content creator, visual artist and
music cultural preservationist who believes in art advocacy through strategic partnerships.
Michael is Founder and Medical Director for Deeper Healing Medical Wellness Center. He learned firsthand about the current deficiencies in our time-honored system of care from the patient side of the table. I have been able to meld my formal training from the Ohio State University College of Medicine honed by 43 years of practice with my "School of Hard Knocks" diploma into a reproducible paradigm of evaluation and treatment that has been clinically validated to improve health and provide a roadmap to follow for continued vitality. He has degrees from the University of South Florida and the University of Toledo and past president of the American College of the Advancement of Medicine.
Natalie Caula Hauff is a Deputy Director of the Charleston County Public Library, where she directs innovative programs and services. Previously, Hauff spent almost a decade as a journalist, reporting on radio, TV and newspaper, and earned a Pulitzer Prize while reporting with a Post & Courier team on a series about domestic violence. She currently serves on the American Library Association's Public Awareness Committee, is the Chair of the Board of Director's of My Sister's House, a non-profit supporting victims of domestic violence, and serves as mentor and leadership coach. She is Cuban-American and lives in Wando with her husband, Chris, and 5-year-old son, Jonah.
Paige is an occupational therapist by trade, non-profit executive by chance and opportunity. She leads Pattison's Academy, an organization that improves the lives of individuals with disabilities and empowers their families through comprehensive programs. In addition to oversight of direct programming, She is a fierce advocate for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities, using Pattison's and her state level advocacy work to break down the barriers between these individuals and their communities.
Entrepreneur and Investor
Patrick Bryant is a serial entrepreneur, professional speaker and co-founder/CEO of Charleston-based software product agency CODE/+TRUST/. After co-founding his first company, Go To Team, the largest staff video provider in the US, and taking it to 25 offices around the US 25 years ago, his bio is then a steady stream of starting new businesses in media, rolling papers and software. In total he's launched six (and counting) multi-million dollar companies, some in less than two years time.
In addition to his many successful startups, Patrick serves as co-director of Start Up Grind DC, and currently chairs the Harbor Entrepreneur Center in Charleston, SC. He's recognized as a Liberty Fellow, a Riley Fellow, a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and Entrepreneur Organization Certified Speaker.
Stephanie Dasher is the Executive Director of the Warrior Surf Foundation and helps lead the foundation in program growth, strategic planning, and community engagement. Before working for Warrior Surf Foundation, Stephanie spent five years in the United States Navy and then earned her degree in Nuclear Engineering Sciences and Technology. Drawing on inspiration from Leonardo Di Vinci and his creative take on problem-solving she went on to receive a degree from Savannah College of Art & Design in Visual Communication and Graphic Design. Stephanie owns her photography and graphic design consulting business, though her primary focus has become the upward growth of the Warrior Surf Foundation. Her personal life experiences with PTSD have given her a passion for Veteran advocacy and have driven her desire to push for expanded Veteran services and access to alternative therapies. She has been married to an Army Combat Veteran for 15 years and has 4 beautiful children.
Sydney Ford is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Public Relations, and a graduate of the Emory University School of Law where she obtained her juris doctorate degree. She is currently employed at Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services. Formerly, she was an Assistant Public Defender in the juvenile division of the DeKalb County Public Defender’s Office for several years, and followed this path because of the number of grieving children involved in the juvenile justice system. Sydney’s article on trauma-informed pretrial diversion programs for our grieving youth in the juvenile justice system is available in the Northwestern Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Online. She has also testified for the South Carolina
Joint Committee on Children about grief resources for children into South Carolina schools and presented to The Gault Center Southern Region on trauma-informed care for those grieving in the juvenile justice system.
Watoto Dance Ensemble of Meeting Street School
Featuring students from the Watoto Academy of the Performing Arts at Meeting Street School, this stage production entitled The Happy People features the music, costuming and movements from African to Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico the Caribbean. It is a colorful, exciting festival on stage representing cultural diversity through the arts.