The youngest of three children, Thomas was involved in everything under the sun from travel basketball and baseball to track and field. After years of high-intense sports and summer months with a math and reading tutor, Thomas realized he had lost his sense of self. After starting at the University of Kansas and joining a fraternity, he got caught up in college life. Thomas started to develop and show signs of anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD, and insomnia. As his grades began to decline, self-isolation, drugs and alcohol became a coping mechanism. Recognizing the peril of his decisions, he made a decision to shift his life in a more positive direction. Sophomore year Thomas sought a new major in Unified Early Childhood Education and began to celebrate 6 straight semesters on honor roll, graduated with a 3.5 GPA, met the love of his life, and landed a job teaching first grade. Focusing on his sobriety and future with his fiancé, Thomas is continuing to work on himself every day as a happier, stronger version of who he once was.
Angela is a Speaker, Master NLP Practitioner and Life Coach from Orange County, California. When Angela was 7 years old, she suffered a traumatic brain injury due to a fall. She underwent an 8 hour brain surgery followed by a 2 week coma. When she woke up, she lost her ability to speak and was completely paralyzed on the right side of her body. Angela had to go through thousands of hours of rehab to learn how to talk, walk, and find ways to live with just one arm. Doctors had told her that her life looks dim and that she will not be able to go to college, drive, nor live independently for the rest of her life. She felt despair, hopelessness, and shame from such a young age. She struggled with anxiety, depression, and ADHD ever since she can remember. However, her physical disability and mental health challenges did not stop her. With an incredible amount of resilience and grit, she decided to go after her dreams and graduated from U.C.L.A. with a degree in Psychology, learned how to drive and cook with just her left arm. Angela went to grad school for Speech Pathology but soon realized that her life had a different calling. Angela went on a deep personal development journey and found her passion and purpose in coaching to help others overcome their challenges. She finds life’s truest joys and fulfillment in working with teens and young adults helping them to discover their unique strengths and inner power by taking them on a self-reflective and transformative journey and helping guide them to a life of confidence, fulfillment, and purpose.
Dustin, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, is one of our college aged coaches who is currently obtaining a degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of Indiana. Dustin serves as the Associate Director of Community Service for his Business Fraternity and also sits on the Board of Directors for our non-profit, Positive Presence Foundation. He loves to spend his down time hiking, hammocking with friends, and drawing. Dustin is passionate about helping teenagers because there were many times in his life that he didn’t know what he would have done without the support of people that reached out to help him. He believes asking for help should never make one feel like a burden. Dustin is an introvert who is finding his voice through mentor coaching, and is able to relate with his students by putting himself in their shoes. His sense of humor and generous personality is what makes him stand out as a coach. Dustin is an easy-going mentor who always tries to find the light even in dark times and stays positive by reminding himself of all that he is grateful for in life.
Thea is an aspiring actress making the jump from her hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado to Los Angeles, California. She has been working in the TV and film industry for 7 years. In order to further pursue her acting career, Thea graduated High School early with honors and an above 4.0 GPA. Growing up, she participated in Competitive Taekwondo and Cheerleading. This empathetic, welcoming mentor continues to have a positive mindset by addressing her negative thoughts and always finding the good in every situation. Although she is young, she is not afraid to shed light on difficult topics within today’s society. She views herself as an old soul born within the iGeneration. Watching as those around her are negatively impacted by the world today, she wants to be able to use this asset to help others. Thea strongly believes in people making a name for themselves and, as a mentor, will not allow social media or other resources to define who her students are. Rather, she will encourage them to come from a place of authenticity and develop into the person they aspire to become.
Blake Petersen is a determined first generation college student living in Kansas City. She works with a local non-profit, Support Kansas City, who provide new and upcoming non-profits the tools and resources essential for growth. Blake prides herself on her compassionate mentorship style with talents in actively listening and responding to others. Blake loves being outdoors and reading books in her spare time. Her family and fur babies are two of the most important things in her life. She maintains a positive mindset by reflecting on her accomplishments, her strengths, and the adversities she has overcome. Blake strives to be that non-judgmental, listening ear that she wishes she could’ve had during her teenage years. She is extremely resilient and hopes to teach others the power of resiliency. Blake is passionate about providing support during the uncertainties of life, sharing her experiences, and ensuring her students see all that life has to offer.
Karen is currently studying Psychology and Criminology at the University of Arizona, with hopes of making positive contributions to the lives of others in her future career. She is extremely involved at her University, holding board positions in SPURS Honorary and Circle K International, while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Karen is passionate about nature, travel, and her Christian faith, and has the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Karen is an empathetic and inspiring mentor who believes practicing gratitude is an integral aspect of remaining positive. Her past experiences with mental illness, lack of self-esteem, and toxic environments have given her knowledge in just how dark life can get. Karen believes that coming out the other side of this adversity and finding her most authentic self was one of the most invigorating feelings she has ever experienced. It is now Karen’s goal as a mentor to help others reach their fullest potential.
Cheyanne Peters, a first generation college student born and raised in Kansas, graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors in Psychology and Minor in Applied Behavioral Science. Her passion for helping teenagers feel confident, successful and prepared for their next chapter in life stems from multiple years of working with at-risk youth.
Cheyanne has experience working in a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility rehabilitating children who have endured severe trauma, abuse and neglect and as a result developed behavioral/mood disorders. A former Mentor Program Facilitator at a Juvenile Detention Center, Cheyanne became an expert at aiding youth in their positive transition into society and adulthood. An empathetic and enthusiastic mentor, Cheyanne believes everyone deserves to live a joyful and fulfilling life – a profound passion that drives her in her coaching career.
Jamal was born and raised in Georgetown, Guyana and moved to the United States at the age of 12. His experience in the mental health industry the past six years has made him an expert in supporting and guiding young men and women living with autism and intellectual disability. He is also the co-founder of a small construction company based in New York. Jamal’s passionate approach to personal development, calming charisma and innovative techniques to understanding emotional awareness make him an excellent mentor to our Positive Presence coaching team. He stays positive by constantly reflecting on his own journey while creating a safe and positive space for others to do the same. Jamal travels to Guyana on a yearly basis promoting the importance of wellness care and healthy living habits in underserved communities.
Currently a student at UNC-Pembroke, Jamal is in pursuit of his Master’s in Business Administration and Finance. He plans to use his degrees to bolster his current skill set and promote the importance of entrepreneurship in underserved communities in the United States and Guyana.
Elysa Swenson, a charismatic Kansas native and certified CNA, is currently in pursuit of her BSN in Nursing at the University of Kansas. As a former student of the Positive Presence Mentor Coaching program, Elysa found an insatiable amount of purpose and self-acceptance, something she attributes her new-found sense of peace and positivity to. Elysa’s awakening was in understanding that living a life of light and love comes when you decide to simply CHOOSE that life.
Since graduating from Positive Presence as a student, Elysa felt a deep responsibility and higher calling to help her generation find the same. Her passion for person-centered care coupled with her determination to help her generation find THEIR purpose makes her an excellent Mentor Coach for Positive Presence Global!
Tonica Johnson, a first-generation college student from Cleveland, has a Master’s of Education from the University of Dayton. She is a former high school teacher of 7 years and now lives in Colorado, where she owns her own college planning business. Believing that the traditional education system doesn’t always teach the skills that are necessary for life, she has felt called to help do so herself, and her students have always looked to her as a mentor and role model. Tonica has had to face her fair share of adversity within her family, from alcoholism to divorce, and credits her positive mindset to practicing gratitude and the support of others in her life. Her own journey to self-love and self-worth has been full of ups and downs, but she truly believes that everyone is able to have a successful, positive, fulfilling life, and is passionate about helping others discover that for themselves. Tonica is always ready to listen without judgment and provides a safe, supportive space for healing and growth. She inspires others to become confident, driven people excited about going out and making our world better, one day at a time.
Bryan is a man on a journey of reinventing and creating the reality he knows he is destined for. He spent 20 years as an Emcee for International DJs, traveling around the world, and decided to shift careers to focus on his purpose. Bryan’s passion and inspiration for helping teens and young adults stems from the lack of support he had growing up. The school system was ill equipped to deal with a misguided “trouble-maker”, such as himself, which led to Bryan dropping out. His success along with diploma came much later in life which is why he is passionate about supporting teens and young adults to set themselves up for success. Bryan found purpose in helping others find their purpose. He stays upbeat and motivated by maintaining a growth mindset and journaling along with being very introspective and intentional day to day. As a mentor coach he wants to be that voice that says “It’s possible. I believe in you. Let’s figure this out.”, while helping others understand how to uncover their true values and use them as a driving force behind the wheel on this journey called life.
Cassidy Howser, a first-generation college graduate, received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences with a minor in Conflict Analysis and Trauma Studies from Kansas State University. She began her work as a Youth Counselor Supervisor in a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility before transitioning into Case Management. Cassidy has a passion for empowering young women as they navigate the many challenges of adolescent development. Her versatile and innovative coaching style is what makes her stand out as a coach. She utilizes a connection-based, holistic and strengths-focused approach to connect with the students she works with. Cassidy remembers going through her own darkness as a teenager and wants to be that non-judgmental, listening ear that she wishes she had through those pivotal moments of life.
Michelle is a revitalized mother of two teenagers who has spent the last 17 years as a teacher. She understands the resilience it takes to raise children in the midst of a global pandemic and is passionate about being a mentor because she recognizes there isn’t nearly enough support for the overwhelming number of people silently struggling. Her sincere and compassionate personality is what makes her thrive as a coach. Michelle starts each morning with daily affirmations that she reflects on throughout the day to ensure she is operating from an optimistic mindset. She is a firm believer that everyone deserves to live life as the best version of themselves and strives to help others discover what that life looks like for them.
A former student of Positive Presence, Elisa has experienced firsthand the benefit of art therapy. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression at a young age, she struggled in some of the most important areas in her life growing up from middle school and beyond. With an immense passion in art and mental health, she found her purpose in college mastering both of these skillsets for her own personal growth and the betterment of others. A skillful artist, Elisa is in pursuit of her master’s in art education and specializes in anxiety, stress management and behavioral health. She strives to show the world, especially the younger versions of her, the love and empathy that she knows so many deserve. She continues to practice her own mental health awareness through the power of positive reinforcement and self-love. Because of her experience with so many versions of darkness in her past, Elisa has an unwavering commitment to be an uplifting, inspiring role model and bright light to others.
A former student of Positive Presence, and someone who has struggled with darkness herself, Kait Jensen, felt empowered to inspire students of her own by becoming a Mentor Coach. As someone with a creative mind, and a passion for music and art, Kait allows acceptance of all her feelings and strives to reach a place of peace when struggling with negative emotions. She practices positivity daily by remembering this is all part of the unique human experience. She believes that change starts within one person, and strives to teach her students how powerful their thoughts can be as well as the importance of choosing to operate from a place of love. Kait is confident that through her life experiences she will be able to connect with any teenager and ensure they feel heard, seen and loved no matter where they are at in their own journey.
In pursuit of becoming a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach alongside obtaining her Positive Presence Mentor Certification, Jessica is a driven mentor who believes in living life to the fullest. Jessica has overcome many obstacles in her life, including growing up in the foster care system, that she feels have made her into the strong, resilient woman she is today. She prides herself on her ability to actively listen with compassion and without judgment, being that support she too wishes she had when she was growing up. As a former sommelier for chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Jessica has recognized the difference between one’s passions and one’s purpose, and hopes to help her students do the same.
Marcos is an eclectic mentor, educational coach, and advocate from Los Angeles, California who has been working with youth at a professional level for years; he also has a background in business and community marketing. He prides himself on his ability to not give up, and his perseverance shines true as a first-generation college graduate, as well as the first in his family with a master’s degree. Marcos is passionate about raising awareness regarding social justice, discrimination and advocating for marginalized groups. Marcos believes that everyone deserves to have someone who is there for them unconditionally and wishes he grew up in a setting where having a mentor was more accepted. His confident, empathetic, and authentic energy is what makes him a memorable mentor and allows him the opportunity to guide others in finding their authenticity without shame.
Remy, who moved to the US from Egypt at the age of 25, is a personal trainer and life coach passionate about helping young women and their mothers achieve their life and fitness goals. As a mother of two boys, she has seen first-hand how mental health can negatively impact one’s life. Remy desires to be the empathetic mentor she longed to have growing up. Overcoming many adversities, her story is beyond empowering. Despite a toxic family environment in her youth, depression, and the loss of her fiancé to brain cancer, she was led to use her darkness as a vehicle for light. Instead of thinking “why me?” – Remy has cultivated resiliency through practicing gratitude and began to shift her perspective. She realized the culmination of her life experiences helped her become the strong, caring, and loving person, life coach and mother she is today.
A student at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Emily is motivated to become a successful Transformational Life Coach. Best known for her uplifting energy, this incredibly gifted professional uses active listening to provide a safe place for her students to express themselves and be seen, heard & acknowledged without judgement. Emily stays positive by writing & saying affirmations, practicing gratitude and meditation, and journaling about her journey – techniques she encourages all of her students to elicit positive change. She prides herself on meeting her students where they’re at and sets intention to be present in every moment. Her passion for being a mentor coach with Positive Presence is deeply seeded by the lack of judgement-free support and guidance she had when she was younger. Emily strives to be a positive role model and encourage the next generation to be the most unapologetically authentic versions of themselves.
A certified life coach, Danielle has a bachelor’s in business and has made it her mission to guide every teen and young adult in finding their passion in life. Born and raised in Nashville, TN, Danielle focused her budding coaching career on helping the next generation build confidence in interviews, public speaking, self-image, etiquette, competition, and charisma. One of her greatest joys is helping her students find purpose and navigate through life to become the best version of themselves.
Practicing her own path to purpose, Danielle has volunteered in after-school programs and has mentored youth through programs like ‘End Slavery’. Being so tightly connected to the next generation, Danielle can relate to the pressures of grades, sports, competitions, and trying to fit in. Danielle specializes in time management, having a healthy routine, positive mindset, money management, career, and personal growth. Aside from being a life coach, Danielle has a background of being a director in sales, property management, marketing, and entrepreneurship and has a personal goal to get her Master Certification in Life Coaching.
Lyndsey is a laid-back, passionate and open-minded mentor from Ohio. As a former college athlete, high school coach, first-generation college graduate and CrossFit competitor; Lyndsey is passionate about and runs her own fitness and nutrition business. Previously a teacher of 10 years, Lyndsey believes we can fill in the gaps in our education system by educating and preparing the next generation for LIFE, lessons she wished she would have learned in high school and beyond. Having 7 siblings in her very-blended family, Lyndsey has experienced first-hand many struggles within the family dynamic including divorce, the foster care system, alcoholism, and mental health. She credits her positive outlook to always trying to find the positive in every situation. Her own journey of self-discovery and self-love has been full of ups and downs and attributes her tenacity to the importance she’s placed on growth and awareness at every turn. She wants to create a safe space where others can show up authentically, without judgement but also challenged to grow.
Gisella Howe is a multi-lingual mother of four. She is a passionate young entrepreneur, born in Brazil to a police officer in the military father and a housekeeper mother. She helped raise her two brothers, until she was nineteen years old. She has overcome immense darkness from Cancer, divorce and Postpartum Depression to PTSD, homelessness, PMDD and Narcolepsy. Her diagnosis and labels don’t define her but rather feed her passion of helping other parents overcome their traumas and tribulations. She is fierce and in between loving her husband and children she has found a way to love herself! She is continuously on a journey of self-empowerment and education and is enrolled as a student to pursue a degree in liberal arts and philosophy. After ten years in the medical field as a surgical nurse and medical director, she decided to change careers and pursue her passion as a life mentor coach and motivational speaker. Gisella and her husband are actively working on their first book about relationships and how to raise adults in a social media invaded society. Her life’s mission is to leave a legacy of self-love, self-mastery and accountability to the future generation. In her eight years coaching and educating herself in the art of mentorship, she has developed tremendous amounts of insight. She incorporates her life experiences and empathetic nature to provide other parents with tangible tools for a life changing experience – an incredible gift she now brings to our team.
Wafeeq has spent multiple years working with today’s youth. In addition to his Mentor Coaching Certification with Positive Presence, he is certified as a youth, parent, and family coach. A natural born leader, Wafeeq has overcome extreme obstacles and adversity in his lifetime. Because of his own experiences he appreciates and recognizes the value of having someone beside you on the journey of life. A true believer in the importance of life skills and personal awareness, Wafeeq is fully committed to helping the next generation make a healthy and positive transition into adulthood. A true visionary, Wafeeq has learned to lean on his own positive psychology toolbox to help those he works with. Coupled with his strong connection to self and unwavering connection to his faith, he remains a positive role model to all those he works with. His passion and purpose filled lifestyle resonates with everyone he has the pleasure of engaging with.
As a first-generation college graduate, a minority, and a woman, Don’Taisha Greene, has a true appreciation for uniqueness. Practicing authenticity and appreciating others’ uniqueness has allowed her to establish herself as a connected, dynamic leader and resource in her professional and educational career. Her crucial encounters in the education, healthcare, and social services realm have enhanced her cultural competencies and gifted her the observational acumen required to be a change maker.
Don’Taisha has learned to navigate the world of youth mentorship firsthand through trial and error. She is passionate about the next generation because she understands first-hand the litany of challenges that they face. She specializes in connecting students to the tools that will take them to the next level and has emerged from her previous roles as an educator, trained facilitator, and program coordinator. It is now Don’Taisha’s goal as a mentor to help others define life strategies and map out the path to their success.
Originally from Kansas City, Jack Blake spent his early 20’s learning how to captain sailboats and yachts. One of his most noted accomplishments is becoming a sailboat captain for the annual Yacht Week, exploring exotic locations. Jack aspires to help others create the lifestyle of their dreams just as he did by choosing to embark on a path less traveled. Getting outside in nature, exercising and nutrition are some of the most important things day to day for this adventurous mentor. Being able to pause, relax and enjoy moments while challenging himself and never becoming complacent is something he prides himself on. Jack has always noticed a spark when he is helping people reach their goals. There has always been a passion inside him to influence and inspire those younger than him to make mindful choices.
Katlyn is a passionate, strong-willed mentor, born & raised in Kansas. Striving to make a positive impact, she has a fierce pursuit for social justice and equality. Katlyn has experience working with the Kansas Department of Corrections and has been promoted multiple times, currently assuming the role of Restorative Justice Specialist. Her ability to advocate, validate, and empathize is what makes her a memorable mentor. Katlyn finds it important to find bits of light within the darkness, focusing on those blessings in disguise, and helps those she works with to do the same. Katlyn believes teenagers and young adults are an untapped population of individuals who are needing more resources and support than currently available to them. She has seen first-hand how systems and society fail this population and how imperative it is to their success and well-being to have someone who can be a light and witness in their life.
Michelle Marie King is the premier Confidence Coach for teenagers, young adults and young entrepreneurs across the globe. She founded Positive Presence Global – the largest confidence coaching company in North America – and has helped people worldwide find their confidence in all aspects of their life. Michelle’s engaging and energetic personality coupled with her ability to motivate has distinguished her as a personal development trailblazer.
In her career as a model, philanthropist, emcee, entrepreneur, spokesperson and public speaker, Michelle has appeared on radio, television, billboards and print in over 15 different states for her community efforts and her ongoing business ventures.