DEBRA HOPKINS, FOUNDER
Debra is the Founder and President of Breaking The Chains Foundation and an American Council on Exercise Certified Health Coach. After receiving a full-ride dance scholarship to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Debra continued as a professional dancer in a variety of national tours and stage productions. With 30 years in a successful health/fitness career, 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 designed and presented workshops/seminars to other fitness professionals. Her clients included Warner Brothers Studios, Time Warner Entities, and personal trainer to elite Hollywood.
Debra is an award-winning /writer/director/actress, with such projects as “Chained and Bound,” “Call Box”, “Finding Alice”, and “Passing Darkness”. She is presently a co-creator on the 3-part Sci-Fi Supernatural Saga, “Afterlife”, which is currently in development. Presently, she has several art-based projects with her non-profit, 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 is married over 20 years with two sons.
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.
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.
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,” “Hung”, “Lucifer”, “The Middle,” and much more. 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. Now, with an online reach of almost 1 million, an active blog, and an Instagram she uses to promote self-love, Jillian has learned how to take all the negative that comes with social media, and turn it into a positive! Jillian created a 45-minute Interactive Seminar, “How To Love Yourselfie”, which will talk to young people about self-love, body confidence, shaking off internet trolls, and how to live your best life both on and off the internet!
Carolyn Hennesy is not only a brilliant actress and writer, but a successful author of the tweens series, “Pandora Gets…” and an NYT Best Selling author for “The Secret Life of Damian Spinelli.” She is most recognized as Diane Miller in ABC’s General Hospital as well as Barb 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 “St. Agatha,” “A Snow White Christmas,” and the soon-to-be-released “Swing Of Things.”
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.
Nikki has worked in film and television for over 30 years starting as a Mouseketeer on “The New Mickey Mouse Club” to more recently the critically acclaimed, People Choice Award Winning comedy “Awkward.” Over the years, she has racked up a long list of TV credits such as MAD MEN, GREY’S ANATOMY, THE RINGER, SIRENS, NCIS, CRIMINAL MINDS, MAJOR CRIMES and much more. Nikki is a regular on the Hallmark network leading some of their highest rated movies of all time (A DREAM OF CHRISTMAS and SAFE AT HOME). As well as guest co-hosting their popular daytime talk show HOME AND FAMILY. In the world of film, she has starred opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, Matthew Modine in THE TRIAL, Ray Liotta in THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAILS, and in Frederic Berthe’s comedy HOLLYWOO. Nikki also spent years of her life on the stage as a recording artist for record companies RCA and BMG.
Krista Stryker is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer and a leading expert on high intensity interval training (HIIT) and bodyweight fitness. She is the founder/creator of the 12 Minute Athlete site and app as well as author, TV guest/host & motivational speaker.
From trying her first push up in college, to teaching herself to do pull ups and handstands, Krista is living proof of her philosophy that everybody is an athlete. She has helped tens of thousands of people to unlock their full athletic potential through her 12 Minute Athlete blog and fitness app. She is passionate about aiding people to find their own personal joy in movement and exercise.
Krista has been featured on ESPN, The New York Post, the Washington Post, SHAPE Magazine, Train Magazine, Women’s Health, Muscle & Fitness Hers, and Bodybuilding.com among many others. www.12minuteathlete.com