OUR LEADERSHIP

In a nod to MADD’s beginning as a grassroots organization, board members serve as volunteers during their tenure. During the three-year term, national board members oversee MADD’s road map to reaching No More Victims®.

We salute our board members for donating their time, talents and energy to the MADD mission and thank each and every one of them for their integrity, dedication and vision.

Chair of the Board

David Strickland

MADD National Board of Directors welcomes a former NHTSA Administrator to the Board. David Strickland served as the 14th NHTSA Administrator, appointed by President Barack Obama, from 2010-2014.

In that role, Strickland was a significant partner and friend of MADD. Several major accomplishments include implementing the vehicle safety and highway safety grant mandates included in the 2012 Highway Reauthorization (MAP-21); bringing national attention to child passenger safety issues; and leading multiple campaigns to fight impaired driving. Now in private practice at Venable LLC, Strickland provided moving remarks honoring MADD National President Jan Withers at a Congressional Reception for her service to the organization.

Treasurer

Mahesh Shetty

Mahesh Shetty is Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Encore Enterprises, Inc., a Dallas-based real estate investment company.  He has more than 25 years of experience as a senior finance executive and started his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.  Dallas Business Journal named him their 2011 CFO of the Year for companies with $50-99 million in revenue.  He is also a vice chair of the Committee on Finance and IT at Financial Executives International, the leading U.S. association for CFOs and other senior finance executives.

Vice Chair

Steven Benvenisti

During Steven’s senior year of college, he was walking while on spring break when he was struck by a habitual drunk driver.  His legs were crushed and he was in a coma for 10 days.  He spent six months in the hospital, enduring 15 surgeries and intense rehabilitation.  After that crash, he turned to MADD and found victim advocates in Florida and New Jersey who helped him and his family deal with the challenges from the crash.  He fully recovered, went on to law school, and now is a partner at the law firm of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, where he represents victims of drunk driving and their families in lawsuits against the drunk drivers and those who served them.  He has served on the New Jersey Advisory Board for MADD for several years, and shares his story to audiences around the country.

Secretary

Barbara Brodt

In June 1983, Barbara Brodt founded the MADD Denver Metro Chapter — now the Colorado State Affiliate — out of her home in honor of her mother, Dorothy Brodt, who was senselessly killed by a drunk driver. She currently serves on the Denver Walk Like MADD® steering committee, assists at DUI checkpoints, and provides support for victims and survivors of drunk driving crashes.

With the heart of a victim, Brodt continually strives to reach out and educate others about the dangers of drinking and driving. She firmly believes that each person can make a difference.

Brodt resides in Aurora, Colorado, and has spent the past 23 years as an executive assistant for Orchard Road Christian Center/Marilyn Hickey Ministries. She has three sons — each now grown and married — and eight grandchildren.

At Large

Brad Bulla

At the age of 17, Brad’s son, Jed, was a champion fiddle player and had been playing since he was six years old.  In August 2005, Jed was practicing to compete at the Grand Master Fiddle Contest, but his life was cut short when he took a ride with an underage drunk driver.  The pickup got up above 100 MPH before the driver lost control.  Jed was thrown from the truck to the side of the road, where he died.  Brad starting working with MADD shortly after the crash.  He has been a frequent speaker on victim impact panels, including at the national 2009 Lifesavers Conference, and a force for stronger drunk driving laws in his home state of Tennessee.

Robert “Skip” Carter

Robert “Skip” Carter is a retired Deputy Commissioner for the California Highway Patrol who now serves as Public Traffic Safety Commissioner for the City of Temecula and as Education Coordinator for the Law Offices of O’Mara and Padilla. During his 30 years of work in law enforcement, Carter worked in a variety of roles, including road patrol, supervision and management for the largest state police/highway patrol organization in the nation.

Tara Kelley-Baker

Tara Kelley-Baker, PhD, is the Data and Information Group Leader at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Previously she was the Principal Research Scientist at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago and Senior Research Scientist as Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE). As a scientist in the field of public health and transportation, Dr. Kelley-Baker has developed, evaluated, and directed a multitude of research projects in the fields of drug and alcohol use/abuse prevention, violence prevention and traffic safety for nearly two decades. She currently serves as Chair to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety committee, and is a member of the International Council on Alcohol and Drugs and Traffic Safety (ICADTS).

Stephen Gehring

Stephen Gehring is Director of Public Policy for vehicle safety in General Motors’ Washington, DC office. Gehring works on vehicle safety matters with the federal government and external safety organizations.  Prior to joining GM Gehring worked in various capacities within the automotive industry in Washington and Michigan. Gehring holds a B.S from Kettering University and a M.S. from the University of Michigan. He currently lives in Maryland.

Heather Geronemus

Heather began her career at Ultimate Software in Marketing in 2010, promoting the company’s pioneering Software as a Service HR and Payroll systems. Heather now serves on the Public Relation team for the firm, overseeing Media and Community Relations. Ultimate is one of South Florida’s most respected technology businesses, supporting customers including Bloomin’ Brands, Feeding America, Major League Baseball, and Yamaha Corporation of America.  The company is regularly recognized as an employer of choice, ranked in the top 25 in Fortune Magazine list of Best Places to Work for four consecutive years.

Heather is one of Broward County’s young leaders, remaining constantly and actively involved with the South Florida community. Following the loss of her father to a drunk driver in 2009, Heather took a leadership role in Fort Lauderdale’s Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization. She established and chaired the Annual Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 raising more than three-quarters of a million dollars for MADD and received the 2011-’12 and 2014 MADD Florida Hero Award, for outstanding achievement. In addition, she regularly represents MADD with local, state and federal elected officials, travelling to Washington D.C. to meet with Florida’s Congressional and Senatorial delegations. Heather’s efforts were recognized at MADD’s 2012 national conference, where she was awarded the Linda Kitazaki Volunteer Fundraising Award. She was named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals at their National Philanthropy Day 2014 for her work with MADD Broward. Heather is thrilled to chair Walk Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale for the sixth year in a row and is proud to assume a seat on the National Board of Directors of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Heather’s charitable commitment extends to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, where she has volunteered since the age of three and served as committee member and mentor to community members for the organization’s South Florida chapter, supporting both fundraising and awareness events. Heather serves on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Pine Crest School, after years of service to the Advisory Council and Alumni Advisory Council. Heather is a member of the Advisory Board of Cystic Fibrosis & Jack & Jill Children’s Center’s Friends Auxiliary Board as well as the American Heart Association’s Executive Cabinet. She also proudly serves on the Winterfest Boat Parade’s Board of Directors. In addition to board roles Heather chairs events such as ARC Broward’s Delish & Cystic Fibrosis’ Beach Bash on an annual basis. She previously served as Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for Broward’s Ghost Light Society, in support of arts education programs at the Broward Center, and previously sat on the Broward Performing Arts Foundation Board of Directors.

Her work has been profiled in the Sun Sentinel, and she has appeared on NBC, ABC and CBS to discuss issues and efforts to fight drunk driving. Heather is a graduate of Leadership Broward Class XXX, a 2013 Cystic Fibrosis South Florida’s Finest Honoree and a 2013 Florida Panthers Hero Among us Honoree. Heather was honored to be named as one of South Florida Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in their 2014 Class. In 2015 Ms. Geronemus was recognized as an Up & Comer for Public Relations by South Florida Business & Wealth Magazine.

In her spare time, she is an avid runner, and cyclist and spends every minute possible with her friends and family in New York.

Arkie Koehl

Albert (Arkie) R. Koehl brings a wealth of knowledge to the MADD Board from the advertising industry. A Harvard University graduate, his executive leadership at global ad agencies in New York, California, Latin America and Asia, including Ogilvy & Mather and McCann-Erickson, has helped clients like American Express, General Motors, Colgate-Palmolive, Shell Oil, Unilever and Nationwide Insurance grow audience reach and revenue share.

In 2004, Koehl joined MADD Hawaii’s Advisory Board of Directors and later served a two-year stint as Chairman. In the Public Policy arena, he is a familiar face at the Hawaii State Capitol, pushing for stricter impaired driving laws and enforcement; and at court, where he monitored DUI cases for many years. He was most notably involved in MADD’s successful effort to secure unanimous legislative passage for Hawaii’s 2011 all-offender ignition interlock law.

Carol Leister

When Carol’s youngest child, 21-year old son, Scott, was killed by a drunk driver in 2008 in a fiery crash on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, she turned to MADD who provided much needed support and guidance as the family navigated the criminal justice system.

Carol has shared Scott’s story with many audiences, including NFL team trainings, US military safety awareness seminars, Every 15 Minutes programs, regional and state law enforcement recognition events, “Avoid” enhanced DUI enforcement kick-off dinners, and various television news stations.

The family car in which Scott was killed was donated to create a MADD crash car trailer, which has been displayed at countless schools and community events throughout Northern California in order to raise awareness and prevent others from making the decision to drink and then drive. The California Highway Patrol produced a 90-second public service announcement featuring Scott’s story, which is used at law enforcement training, driver education and diversion programs.

Carol has served on the MADD San Francisco Bay Area Affiliate’s Advisory Board for six years and has co-chaired three annual Walk Like MADD fundraising events. She answers MADD’s national 24-hour Victim/Survivor Help Line to provide immediate support in the wake of a drunk or drugged driving crash. Carol has also been trained and serves as a MADD Victim Advocate, helping other families as they face the impact of a substance-impaired crash.

Christopher Mann

Christopher Mann has experienced MADD’s mission firsthand as a police officer arresting DUI offenders and being hit by drunk driver in the line of duty. As a former Lawrence, Kan. police officer, Mann was performing a routine traffic stop when he was struck by a drunk driver. As a result of his extensive injuries, the crash ended his career as a police offer. After enduring years of intense physical therapy, Mann’s courage and determination led him to earn his law degree and became a county prosecutor, fighting to keep offenders off the roads.

Mann took his legal experience and passion to private practice, opening Mann Law Firm, P.A., where he focuses on representing victims of drunk driving and their families in lawsuits against the drunk drivers. He began volunteering with MADD in 2010 and has served as the MADD Kansas Advisory Board Chair since 2011. Mann has played a key role in the promotion and passing of significant drunk driving legislation in Kansas, including ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders and an aggravated battery DUI law.

Anne Taylor McCartt, PhD

Dr. Anne McCartt has conducted research in highway safety for more than 30 years.  After working for a research institute at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany and Preusser Research Group, Inc. she joined the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2002 and became Senior Vice President for Research in 2007.

Dr. McCartt has authored more than 180 technical reports and scientific papers on a wide range of topics.  Much of her research has focused on alcohol-impaired driving, including studies of New York’s STOP-DWI program, high BAC laws, minimum legal drinking age laws, administrative license suspension, alcohol ignition interlocks, and other countermeasures.

She was president of the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine and has served on numerous expert committees. Dr. McCartt received a B.A. magna cum laude from Duke University and a doctorate from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany.

Ron Medford

Ron Medford is the Director of Safety for the Self-Driving Car, Google, Inc. and leads the program’s team charged with ensuring the safety of the self-driving car. Prior to joining the Google, Inc. team, Medford served in a variety of safety positions within the federal government for more than 35 years.

From January 2010 until December 2012, Medford was the Deputy Administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation.

Medford holds a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Maryland. He currently lives in Santa Clara, California.

Madalene Milano

Madalene is a Partner at GMMB, and one of the nation’s most accomplished practitioners of public health and public safety campaigns. Her work has helped change laws across the country, increasing tobacco taxes to fund prevention programs and passing smoke-free air laws. Her innovative thinking helped create the new social norm of putting kids in the back seats of cars, and made it harder for intoxicated drivers to get behind the wheel.

Madalene has worked with MADD since the mid-1990’s both as a partner in the Air Bag & Seat Belt Safety Campaign and Click It or Ticket and as a paid consultant to help re-brand the organization in 2006 followed by the launch of the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving.

In addition, Madalene has voluntarily consulted with the board of The Family and Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia, an organization that provides support and development of services for the prevention and treatment of family violence in Virginia. She has also worked with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network since the early 2000’s, and offers pro-bono fundraising and consulting outside of her agency role to support their causes.

Walter G. Rooney, MD

Dr. Walter Rooney is an Otolaryngologist/Plastic Surgeon in the Greater Chicago area. Previously he was affiliated with The Mercy Health System in Cincinnati, a large not-for-profit hospital system in the Midwestern United States. He received his training and medical degree from the University Hospital/Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, respectively, and has been in practice for 14 years. He also received an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rooney’s sister, Annie, was killed by a repeat drunk driver on July 4, 2013. Dr. Rooney and his family lobbied to pass “Annie’s Law,” which strengthened ignition interlock laws for drunk driving offenders in Ohio, where close to 400 people are killed every year from the 100% preventable crime. As a physician, he believes he can mobilize those in the health care sector to voice their support for this public health policy solution.

Joseph K. Sikes

A resident of Centreville, Maryland, Mr. Sikes lost his 15 year-old daughter, Alisa, to a drunk driving crash on April 16, 1992. He became involved with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) following his daughter’s death in an effort to make sense of this tragedy and to help prevent others from suffering similar loss.

Mr. Sikes currently serves as the Chairman of the MADD Maryland State Advisory Board. He is trained victim advocate and a regular speaker at victim impact panels throughout the state. He also served on the Maryland Governor’s Task Force on Impaired Driving in 2007-2008. His wife, Jan Withers, served as MADD’s National President from July 2011-December 2014.

Mr. Sikes is a Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam veteran who retired as a Captain in the U.S. Navy following 30 years of service in 1993. He subsequently served as a senior executive for the Office of the Secretary of Defense until federal retirement in January 2015. He and his wife have six children and five grandchildren.

Monica Vandehei

Monica Vandehei is an Assistant Artist Manager at Rebel One Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA. As a 2015 graduate from Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., Monica began working as a non-profit event coordinator for a New York-based artist then moved to LA to work with a roster of main stream artists.

In high school, Monica not only excelled in her studies, but also completed more than 350 hours of community service—most of which was volunteering with MADD Connecticut. She has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization’s highest honor, and has volunteered with the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Ensign Edibles Program and the Shoreline Soup Kitchen. She credits her values, her peer group and her parents with helping her refrain from underage drinking.

MADD National President
Colleen Sheehey-Church

Colleen Sheehey-Church joined MADD in 2005, a year after her 18-year-old son Dustin drowned after the car he was riding in, driven by a teen with alcohol and drugs in her system, crashed into a river, trapping Dustin in the vehicle.

Before becoming National President in 2015, Colleen served on MADD’s National Board of Directors beginning in 2010. As a devoted volunteer for MADD Connecticut serving on the State Advisory Board, she has spoken at Victim Impact Panels and in high schools and has urged legislators for stronger drunk driving laws with her husband, Skip. Her tireless advocacy on a local, state and national level resulted in her being named National President.

As MADD’s national spokesperson and advocate, Colleen speaks to lawmakers across the country about the importance of legislation requiring ignition interlocks for all drunk driving offenders, a key part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®. She also spreads the message to parents to talk to their teens about not drinking alcohol until 21, knowing firsthand how the heartbreaking consequences impact families and entire communities.

Colleen continues to raise awareness for MADD’s victim services—even serving as a volunteer on MADD’s 24/7 helpline, 877-MADD-HELP. Her passion is being a voice for victims and survivors that have been impacted by the violent and preventable crime of drunk or drugged driving, and an advocate for the loved ones who’ve been left behind.

Channeling her experience as a victim, community leader and businesswoman, Sheehey-Church brings to MADD the same spirit that has marked her personal and professional success: innovative and resourceful with an ability to identify opportunities and build lifetime relationships to achieve mission-critical goals.

Prior to joining MADD, Colleen worked as a senior sales and training consultant for more than 35 years, serving as a director for several companies including GP Strategies, Allen Communications, FranklinCovey and AT&T. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business management from the University of Phoenix and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in counseling and psychology from Liberty University.

Locally, Colleen is co-Founder, Vice President and Board Member of Dustin’s Place, a summer camp for Children, created in honor of her son; former Commissioner of Sponsor Relations for the Special Olympics World Games and inducted into the Special Olympics Shriver Society; Member of the Society of Human Resource and Development in New York; and former Vice President of Programs for American Society of Training and Development in Connecticut.

Sheehey-Church was born and raised in upstate New York and resides in Madison, Connecticut with her husband and three Labradors. Dustin’s older brother, Casey, lives in New Hampshire.

INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Vicki Knox

Vicki Knox joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2004 as the East Texas Affiliate Executive Director. As of July 2008, she was promoted to National Vice President of Programs and one year later was further promoted to National Vice President of Programs and Field Relations. In July 2012, Knox was named MADD National’s Chief Operating Officer.

Knox has spent the past twenty-five years in nonprofit management, leading such efforts in child abuse prevention and housing development and management of special needs housing in multiple states, totaling over $50 million in development.

Currently, Knox provides leadership and oversight to more than 200 MADD Chapters/Affiliates across the country. In her role, she is responsible for oversight and development of operational systems that greatly enhances MADD’s efficiency in providing these lifesaving programs and services to local communities across this country. In addition, she continues to provide leadership in the development and implementation of new programs, and/or enhancements to existing programs and services.

Knox leads MADD’s efforts in the development of a research based program that equips parents with the lifesaving tools needed to prevent underage drinking. Her leadership has been instrumental in MADD reaching one parent every twenty-five minutes with MADD’s Power of Parents® program. Additional programs developed under her leadership are: MADD’s Power of You(th)®, MADD’s Volunteer Program, “Driven to Save Lives”, and the court ordered programs for parents and teens, known as the MADD SMART® program.

Knox received her BA degree in Psychology and Foreign Languages from Kansas State University at Manhattan, Kansas and a Gerontology Certification from Weber State College, Ogden, Utah.

Chief Government Affairs Officer

J.T. Griffin

J.T. Griffin currently serves as Chief Government Affairs Officer with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In this position, Griffin leads MADD’s efforts to shape federal, state, and local policy toward the goal of eliminating drunk driving in the U.S.

Griffin has been a leader of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving. He has overseen the passage of laws in over 30 states which are proven to significantly reduce drunk driving crashes. At the federal level, he has successfully lobbied the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate as well as the administration for stronger measures to reduce impaired driving.

Before joining MADD, Griffin was a senior staff member on the congressional staff of Congressman Frank R. Wolf (R-VA), the most senior member of Virginia’s Congressional Delegation.
Griffin is a 1999 graduate of Mary Washington College – now the University of Mary Washington — in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

Chief Financial Officer

Lista Hightower

Lista Hightower is the Chief Financial Officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, located at the National Office in Irving, TX. She is responsible for all financial operations, information technology, and financial and tax reporting, including state and federal grant compliance, for all chapters and offices across the nation. Hightower joined MADD in 2008.

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Hightower has served on the Boards of numerous Dallas non-profit organizations over the years and is currently active on the Board of the Dallas Chapter of Financial Executives International and the Dallas CPA Society Convergence Planning Committee. She was named CFO of the Year/Non-Profit Sector in 2011 by the Dallas Business Journal and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant.

MADD GENERAL COUNSEL

Dawn Diaz

Dawn Diaz joined MADD in June of 2017. Prior to joining MADD, Ms. Diaz served as the General Counsel for Sun Holdings, Inc. where she oversaw the litigation counsel and real estate counsel, providing oversight and direction on all legal matters for the company. Sun Holdings, Inc. oversees the management of over 700 locations, including Burger King®, Krispy Kreme®, Popeye’s®, Arby’s®, CiCi’s®, Golden Corral®, GNC® and T-Mobile®.

Prior to serving as General Counsel for Sun Holdings, Inc., Ms. Diaz was the General Counsel for Falcon Holdings, LLC the largest franchisee of Church’s Chicken®. While with Falcon, she performed the legal work on a 44-unit restaurant acquisition.

She began her career in franchising with Planet Beach Franchising Corporation where she served as General Counsel from 2003 until 2009.

She is a member of the American Bar Association Forum on Franchising and is licensed to practice law in both Louisiana and Texas. She holds a juris doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans School of Law and has spent 14 years practicing law with a focus on franchise law.

Senior Director of Human Resources

Ruth Wadsworth

Ruth Wadsworth is the Senior Director of Human Resources for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Wadsworth joined MADD in 2006 and now oversees the organization’s benefits, compensation, employee relations and recruitment efforts.

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