BREAKING THE CHAINS FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS

DEBRA HOPKINS, FOUNDER

Debra Hopkins is the Founder and President of Breaking the Chains Foundation and an American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certified Health Coach.  Stemming from an artistic background as a dancer, actress, writer, and producer, as well as a health/fitness professional.  After Debra received a full-ride dance scholarship to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, she toured as a professional dancer in various stage productions across the U.S.  Falling in love with the fitness industry, Debra has taught nationally in various prominent fitness studios, including the Health & Fitness Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.  As a member of the American Council on Exercise Faculty, she continued her successful health/fitness career, designing and presenting workshops/seminars to other fitness professionals and working with elite Hollywood clients as well as Warner Brothers Studios and other Time-Warner entities.

Her passion for the arts continued as an award-winning writer and actress. Debra is a 3-time winner at the Action on Film International Film Festival for Female Action Performer of the Year, Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Film, Best Faith Based Script, and First Runner-up as Best New Writer for her screenplay, “Chained & Bound,” which currently has celebrity attachment. She also wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning short film, “Finding Alice,” which is in development for a book and CD package as well as a national outreach program.

Debra created “The Art Of” Campaign, a six-part series, distributed via the top celebrity social media site whosay.com, as an outreach to engage others to change the conversation of eating disorders through various art forms such as film, music, dance, nourishment, writing, and creation.  Currently, she has several art-based projects with BTCF.

From personal experience, Debra believes recovery is possible and achievable aiding in a journey that feels alive, heart-felt and creative! She continues to work with like-minded creative individuals and organizations, developing artistic campaigns, outreach programs, and events to unite in changing the stigma attached to eating disorders by changing the conversation so that recovery and self-discovery are always in sight, heart, and mind!

Debra has been married over 20 years to her husband Gerald and they have two sons. 

SUZETTE TROCHE STAPP

Suzette Troche-Stapp aka “the glitterguru” is an award-winning director, content creator, photographer, artist, and author. Troche-Stapp has been in the digital imaging & web design world since its inception in the early 1980’s, a forerunner in the world of online content. This history led to the opening of “Red Channel Interactive” in 1995, one of the first interactive digital agencies creating acclaimed online content in Los Angeles. Troche-Stapp went on to write the award-winning book, “The glitterguru on Photoshop: from Concept to Cool” now published in three languages. She also has an extensive CV, and several of her digital art pieces reside in the permanent collection of “The Center Of Fine Art Photography.” Stapp’s directorial debut in 2017 won “Best Web Series” at “Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival,” and her most recent directing/producing project is an animated pilot called ”Planeman” currently winning multiple awards on the festival circuit. 

Suzette started college at sixteen on a full Dance/Vocal scholarship at a prestigious private creative arts college, which ended up leading her down an unhealthy road of eating disorders. Stapp says “Once I began to focus on using the unlimited creative expression we all possess as a healing tool, my journey to free my body and mind began, and my entire life changed.” Suzette strongly believes in the BTCF mission and proudly serves on the board of the “BreakingThe Chains Foundation.”

JENNIFER OLEFF

Jennifer Oleff is an LA based artist, wife, mother, preschool owner, and art advocate. She has taught art to all ages, worked in the sign industry, owned a successful children’s mural business, and partnered with her husband to open the elite CHALK Preschools where art is a primary focus. CHALK recently partnered with the award winning My Gym brand to bring more awareness to the importance of healthy minds and bodies.

Jennifer primarily works with acrylic and has been on a journey through abstraction. The challenge is to silence the mind enough so that the what or the why don’t matter. It’s just about painting. Letting go of judgement is a lifelong process, one that requires continuous creation. Jennifer hopes that she can inspire others to find a creative outlet by sharing her process. Her art can be seen throughout Breaking the Chains Foundation’s “The Art Of” Campaign on Whosay. Jennifer continues to contribute her artistry and images to many areas of Breaking The Chains Foundation.
www.jwoart.com

RAJA B. MARHABA

Raja Marhaba is the President of Martec Construction, Inc. and has over 30 years of corporate experience of which 26 are concentrated in the construction industry.  She has a comprehensive understanding of the construction industry and business in general, knows what it entails to be successful. Raja runs the daily operations of the business, acts as the Controller, negotiates IDIQ and subcontractor contracts as well as obtain high level bonding for the various ongoing projects.

Martec specializes in tenant improvement on commercial projects for the Federal Government, Public Works Agencies, and the Private Sector.  Martec’s Mission is “Integrity, ethics, dependability, and commitment are what makes Martec the “one-stop-shop”, the “go-to-contractor” for excellent customer services.” She is very diversified and thrives on success. Raja’s educational background includes possessing an Associate of Applied Science degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College in Business Administration, an Accounting Professionals Certification, and is a Realtor Lic. No. 01073996.  She is a member of the National Organization of Women Owned Businesses-LA (NAWBO-LA), a member of Associated Builders and Contractors as well as a member of WBENC and WOSB.  All are recognized on a national level. She won a Scholarship to The Anderson School of Business at UCLA – Business Development Entrepreneur Program, graduated in February 2004, Raja received 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year Award, an active member with the Granada Hills Rotary Club, and her Construction Company made the 2017 Inc. 5000 list. She continues to improve on her operational and managerial skills as she will be participating in the Birthing of Giants Fellowship Program, June 2018.

Raja was selected and successfully completed the first cohort of the federally-funded Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) Program in 2006. After her completion of the SEAT Program, she was selected to be a member of the Education Panel & Committee for the Juvenile Division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which is comprised of special education attorneys and advocates, who are court-appointed to represent the educational needs of children involved in the foster care and probation systems.

She graduated from the UCLA Extension Paralegal Program in 2009, an American Bar Association Certificate Program, she was recognized in The San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2002. She established a nonprofit organization in 2001 The Jonathan Foundation for Children With Learning Disabilities, Inc.  www.thejonathanfoundation.org

Additionally, she has earned several awards as a result of her more than twenty-six years of success with Martec Construction and, later, The Jonathan Foundation.

The Jonathan Foundation has received recognition from Governor Gray Davis, Mayor James Khan, Rockard Delgadillo, Los Angeles City Attorney, and Diane Feinstein, United States Senator.  The Jonathan Foundation for Children With Learning Disabilities, Inc. (TJF) was awarded the Kauffman Community Award in 2005, with an Honorable Mention for the work that that TJF has contributed to its families, and children. Raja continues to support all our children with special needs including children who are victims of trafficking and is strong support of Children of the Night.  www.childrenofthenight.org

Raja has two sons –  Omar Jr. and Jonathan.

ALEX LITTLE

A native of Seattle, Alex is a Professional Choreographer, Director, Master Teacher and Performer.
She has choreographed for clients & companies such as Nike, Nike NFL, Audi, Genentech,
Thunderhead.com, Tarbell Realtors, and The Young Americans; She has also contributed
choreography to Knott’s Berry Farm (figure skating shows), the opening production for America’s Got
Talent (NBC) and Alex was a Jazz coach to Karina Smirnoff & Apollo Ohno on Dancing With The
Stars (ABC). Her performance credits include: Wipeout (ABC), Nike, Toyota, Tarbell Realty, Cabi
Clothing, Genentech, Thunderhead.com, and as a company member of Interweave Dance Theatre,
Doug Caldwell & Friends and The Young Americans. Teaching classes to hundreds of students at one
time is one of her favorite ways to share, connect, educate & motivate young people from all over the
world and she has been doing just this since 1999 as a faculty member to multiple international dance
conventions including Dance Makers Inc, Velocity Dance Convention, Bella Moxi Dance Convention
Dance Excellence and Young Americans International Outreach Tours. She has joined the faculties of
the esteemed Joffrey Ballet School & The Institute of Musical Theatre in NYC for summer intensives.
Alex is also the co-founder of The Feedback Experience, a dance workshop taught to 100% live
music, where in all kinds of performance and non-performance artists are welcome to join and make
their art during the live music jam/dance class. She has also taught & choreographed in the collegiate
setting at AMDA Los Angeles, Cornish College of the Arts, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine University
& The Young Americans College of the Arts.

As the Founder/Director of Escape Artists, a theatrical contemporary dance company, Alex premiered
Anonymous which marked their first immersive and full-length theatrical production. Since, her piece
7 Chairs” has been workshopped & performed numerous times around Southern California, including
performances for, and produced by Breaking The Chains Foundation.
Projects which bring attention, awareness & conversation to societal issues hold an important piece in

Alex’s mission as an artist. This is why Alex feels incredibly honored to have a seat on the Board of
Breaking The Chains Foundation. Alex battled all forms of the Eating Disorder illness for 20 years
before committing to a life of recovery, which she continues practicing everyday.

BOARD CLINICAL DIRECTORS

DANIELLE KELMAR, LCSW

Danielle Kelmar, LCSW, joined Breaking the Chains Foundation in 2014 and currently has a private practice in Menlo Park, CA treating teens and young adults who are struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety and depression. She works with an individual client as well as their families using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and applies mindfulness tools and techniques.  She is also trained and fully integrates into her practice T.E.A.M. Therapy  from Stanford University’s Feeling Good Institute, led by world-renowned therapist David Burns, MD.  Danielle works closely with Stanford University as one of their main referred to therapists for treating their student population.   In Addition, she works at SafeSpace in Menlo Park, CA as their Clinical Youth Mental Health Specialist: www.safespace.org. Where she facilities workshops for young adults and parents tackling a wide range of mental health issues.

After beginning her career as a clinician at St. Helena Hospital’s Inpatient Eating Disorder unit, Danielle moved to California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where in addition to her clinical duties she provided in-house training to residents and medical staff on how to identify eating disorders, and was a guest lecturer to the medical team. Danielle then went on to work for Stanford University. 

Danielle believes a full recovery from an eating disorder is possible, as she is living proof.  She had an eating disorder in her teenage years and now lives a life without the destructive spinning loop ruling her daily life. One of Danielle’s personal and professional intentions is to help individuals and families feel empowered instead of isolated around this disease and find tools to recover. What she loves most about Breaking The Chains Foundation are the creative platforms, “Art of campaigns” and what this incredible team of people she works with are doing. We are helping steer that process of decreasing shame, isolation and fear and drive the conversation into a helpful and open dynamic that is called Change!  She feels that BTCF will navigate hope and guide individuals towards discovering recovery.  www.daniellekelmar.com

Danielle Is a member of:  National Association of Social Workers, Academy of Eating Disorders, NEDA: National Eating Disorders Association and International Eating Disorders Professionals. NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health and NAMI: National Alliance of Mental.

DR. GIA MARSON

Dr. Gia Marson is a psychologist, clinician, author and lecturer in private practice in Santa Monica, CA. She is the psychologist consultant for UCLA’s Medical Outpatient Feeding and Eating Disorders Program & was the Founder/Director of the UCLA CAPS Eating Disorder Program and a psychologist-member of the UCLA Athletic Care Committee. She has been a clinical supervisor for psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows, a clinician at The Renfrew Center & at The Monte Nido Treatment Center. Dr. Marson is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders, the Los Angeles Psychological Association and an advocate for Health at Every Size. She is co-creator of www.PsychologistSecrets.com, a hub for bringing the science of psychology into the light.

Dr. Marson has been a featured, expert contributor for NBC, for Maria Menounos’ book The Everygirl’s Guide to Life and was the host and co-writer of the University of California’s PSA on Eating Disorders. She lectures and writes about body image and eating disorders. Dr. Marson is an expert contributor to www.recoverywarriors.com.

She recognizes that as the seeds of recovery take hold — from inspirations of the mind, body, spirit, relationships, sports, music, dance and art — a fully connected and awakened self-emerges. Dr. Marson knows full recovery is possible because she has witnessed it throughout her career. She is thrilled to be a Board Member for the Breaking The Chains Foundation whose “Art of” campaign is devoted to changing the conversation about eating disorders, reducing stigma and encouraging self-love and self-respect.
www.drgiamarson.com

CELEBRITY BOARD MEMBERS

JILLIAN ROSE REED

Jillian is most recognized and beloved as Tamara in MTV’s “Awkward” and Simone on “Weeds.” She has appeared on several TV shows such as “Jessie,” “Ghost Girls,” “The Middle,” and much more. Her movie credits include lead roles in “Age of Dinosaurs” and “Supah Ninjas” among others. Presently, Jillian can be heard as the voice of Naomi on Disney’s animated tv series, Elena of Avalor.

Reed is one of the producers and lead actresses in Breaking the Chains Foundation’s first feature film in development, “Chained and Bound.” She had the starring role of Alice in Breaking the Chains’ first award-winning short film, “Finding Alice”, in which she will be joining on the journey of bringing the film as an outreach program to various high schools and colleges. Currently, Jillian is the host of a new show produced by Maker Studios called “Present Tense with Jillian Rose Reed” and Morgan Spurlock’s company, Warrior Poets. Every episode dives in head first to a different social issued facing Millennials.

Her ongoing support of Breaking The Chains includes featured pieces in several media outlets. She has participated in interviews and promos speaking out on behalf of Breaking the Chains, including Megan McCain’s “Take Part Live,” MTV ACT, Bello magazine, Glitter magazine, IAMM magazine, Pop Sugar, Whosay, Huffington Post and “The Del Weston Show” just to name a few.

In April, 2016 Jillian represented Breaking the Chains Foundation at the 20th Anniversary Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. Jillian’s personal approach, talent, charisma and giving heart have been at the forefront of Breaking the Chains, encouraging and urging others to change the face of eating disorders by changing the conversation. She continues to reach out to her fans with this message via her own personal social media.

CAROLYN HENNESY

Carolyn Hennesy is not only a brilliant actress and writer, but a successful author and New York Times best seller for her tweens series, Pandora. She is most recognized as Diane Miller in ABC’s General Hospital as well as Barbara Coman in ABC’s Cougar Town, Rosalyn Harris in HBO’s True Blood and in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls. She has had several recurring roles in other tv shows including Disney’s Jesse and ABC’s Revenge, just to name a few. Her talent and versatility has also landed Carolyn many movies in lead roles, such as Dance-Off, The Wedding Do Over, St. Agatha, and the upcoming film, Soniquete.

Carolyn chooses to live by her own words, “There’s room at the top for everyone…at all times.” Not only does she believe this, but she treats others with such positivity and dignity where she takes nothing for granted.

Her ongoing support in other charities she chooses includes Lek Chailert’s Elephant Nature Park – Thailand, Los Angeles Zoo (GLAZA), Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and Wildlife Alliance – Cambodia. As a valued board member of Breaking The Chains Foundation, Carolyn shared her personal insight as a writer and how it can be used as such a strong tool to bring forth the inner creativity that lies within each one of us. How writing can be a tool not only enchant others but inspire one’s own mind and soul to bring forth healing. She continues to be a strong force within the foundation, involved in upcoming BTCF projects as well as speaking out on the behalf of those suffering from eating disorders.

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