Anne Marie Rossi, Founder & Executive Director, Board Member
AnneMarie Rossi founded Be Mindful in 2011, after discovering Dialectical Behavior Therapy and its impact with PTSD. She is passionate about sharing the science behind the mindfulness assertions. In 2013, she completed Institutional Review Board qualified research with the University of Colorado Denver and Denver Public Schools on the impacts of mindfulness instruction on 4th grade students. She has since conducted a similar study on runaway homeless youth with partner University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School. She has completed the Mindful Schools curriculum training and is a certified Mindfulness in Schools (.b) instructor. AnneMarie has taught mindfulness instruction to thousands of people from school age to adults. Earlier in her career, she was an award-winning stock trader and financial advisor. She received the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Grant in 2013. Anne Marie holds a BA in history (minor in sociology and education) from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is the mother of two and lives in Denver.
Robyn Winters, Vice Executive Director, President of the Board
Robyn Winters is the Vice Executive Director of Be Mindful. She has been practicing mindfulness since 1999 and has personally seen the physical and psychological benefits of living a more mindful life after years of suffering from debilitating anxiety, depression and panic attacks. She began teaching the practice in 2005, working with businesses, schools and recreational centers. Robyn is passionate about teaching mindfulness to all ages and particularly enjoys teaching the science behind the practice. She is devoted to supporting individuals that aspire to teach the practice. Robyn has a BS in Environmental Design from the University of Missouri and a background in marketing, design, sales, and project management. She is trained in Mindful Schools, MindUP, In Focus and other social and emotional learning curricula and has an Associate Lecturer Certification with Ki-Aikido International. She resides in Denver with her husband and two children.
Sharon Hepburn, Director of St. Louis Region
In 1999, Sharon Hepburn began using mindfulness practices with her PTSD clients to help change their neurology and response to the environment in her physical therapy practice. Sharon is trained in adult and pediatric mindfulness techniques and has training/ experience in MBSR, Learn 2 Breath, Mindful Schools, and MindUp. Sharon teaches in a variety of setting from private PTSD clients and high end corporate executives to teenage homeless shelter and trauma informed schools. As a former board of education member for a large Missouri school districts, Sharon knows the ins and outs of politics, collaboration, funding, and trauma informed initiatives. In 2012 Sharon published Mothering…Your Inner Connection. In the book, she explores how mindful parenting affects the child and how being mindful on any situation is a win-win. Sharon has lectured on her book for thousands of people, in University settings and in small classrooms. She joined Be Mindful in 2014 to help spread mindfulness to the masses.
Dennis V’elez, M.D., Board Member
Dennis A. Velez, MD was born in San Juan, PR. He has an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MD degree from the Universidad Central del Caribe. He trained in neurological surgery at the University of Missouri and did a pre-residency fellowship at the University of Washington and two post residency fellowships at Seattle Neuroscience Specialists and Vanderbilt University. He has an interest in bringing mindfulness to healthcare and, especially, to the operating room. He also has had experience teaching high school as well as medical students, fellows, residents and other colleagues at local, national and international levels. He is enthusiastic about developing programs for health care providers to improve communication and situational awareness among other skills based on mindfulness practices. An avid learner, he enjoys reading, cycling, surfing and traveling with his children.
Shane Jonnsson, Virginia Regional Director, Board Member
Shane has been practicing mindfulness since 2010 after enrolling in a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course. He is currently working with Be Mindful to implement a four-year community-service based curriculum at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) where medical students will establish their own personal mindfulness practice, become certified teachers and spread this message to diverse populations. Shane is also dedicated to further incorporating mindfulness into medical schools and clinics. He graduated summa cum laude from University of Colorado at Denver with a BS in biology and will receive his medical degree from EVMS in 2018.
Erin Stearns, Board Member
Erin H. Stearns is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Tax Law at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. She is the Director of the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, which assists low income residents of Colorado to resolve their federal and state tax problems. She has taught Tax Research and Writing, Estate and Gift Taxation, and Estate Planning in the Graduate Tax Program. Erin graduate cum laude from Colorado College with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience. She went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University, a Master’s in Public Health from Tufts University, and an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Denver’s Graduate Tax Program. Prior to joining the faculty at the Sturm College of Law, Erin clerked at the New Hampshire Supreme Court and worked as an associate attorney at firms in New Hampshire and Colorado, advising clients on complex estate planning matters, estate and trust administration issues, and the management of tax-exempt organizations. She has had articles published in the New Hampshire Bar Journal and New Hampshire Bar News and presented at the 2015 Conference of Low Income Taxpayer Clinics in Washington D.C. She regularly teaches continuing education to tax professional through CPE4U in Denver, Colorado. Erin has been involved with non-profit boards including the Queen City Rotary in Manchester, New Hampshire, CrimeStoppers of Manchester, NH, and the Women’s Bar Association of New Hampshire. She is currently a member of the Colorado and New Hampshire Bar Associations. Erin and her husband have two children and they enjoy spending time with them and travelling to new places.
Luis Perez, Advisory Board Member
Luis has been in the air since he was 13 years old when he began Hang Gliding in his native Argentina. His desire to become a pilot brought him to the United States and in 1995 he fulfilled a life dream when he joined United Airlines as a pilot. In 1999, he became an instructor for the Boeing 767 fleet for United and he has been living his two passions ever since.
At United, he has helped develop several training programs for his fleet as well as all United pilots. In 2005, he was diagnosed with depression and successfully underwent cognitive therapy treatment. Soon after, he discovered mindfulness which allowed him to apply what he leaned during cognitive therapy to treat his depression. After being introduced to mindfulness, he realized that mindfulness is the highest level of situational awareness and he began to introduce it to pilots. In 2009, he used mindfulness to help him recover from a tragic accident in which he had a traumatic spinal cord injury. Seeing the power of the practice to tolerate what most will consider intolerable levels of pain, he realized that mindfulness practice was far reaching, both in and out of the flight deck -- it connected with everything we do! During the process, he discovered that Professionalism alone was not enough to reach the highest level of performance in his profession as a pilot. When it came to achieving the highest level of safety, self-control – the ability to maintain focus and regulate one’s emotions – was the absolute pre-requisite. Luis made it his life journey to bring mindfulness to the flightdecks worldwide.