Our Team

Our Staff

Rebecca Bender

CEO & Founder, Survivor Leader

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Rebecca Bender

CEO & Founder, Survivor Leader

Rebecca Bender was lured out of Oregon at the vulnerable age of 18 by a notorious pimp. Manipulated into a life of chaos, coerced into prostitution and finally abused and controlled by her trafficker, Rebecca was forced into sex trafficking for nearly 6 years. Many attempted escapes, two brandings and several pimps later, Federal Investigators raided the home, allowing her an eventual avenue for escape. Rebecca’s story of resilience and trainings on this underground world, are top notch.

She’s trained FBI, Homeland Security, undercover, SVU, former presidents, medical professionals, prosecutors and more. Her speaking engagements always include her personal story and inspiring call to action, reminding people that their past doesn’t have to determine their destiny. She also speaks on leadership and founding non-profits. Rebecca serves on the board of Exodus Cry, is a member of the Survivor Leader Institute and serves as Co-Chair on the DOJ Human Trafficking Advisory Council.

In her free time, you can find Rebecca with her four lively daughters and husband enjoying their home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Kathy Bryan

Executive Director, Elevate Academy, Speaker, Survivor Leader

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Kathy Bryan

Executive Director, Elevate Academy, Speaker, Survivor Leader

Kathy believes we can one day live in a world where people value one another, that one individual’s freedom never trumps another’s, and no one drives in the turning lane…well maybe not that last one.

A gifted speaker, consultant, mentor, author and survivor of human trafficking, Kathy works tirelessly to communicate the truths of trafficking in America, having trained thousands of medical professionals, law enforcement, community service providers, and faith-based communities both in the U.S. and abroad. Her ability to illuminate truth in a palatable, engaging manner leads the listener to heightened understanding, inspiring action.

Kathy joined RBI in 2014 and serves as Director of Elevate Academy and Lead Mentor, where she empowers other survivors on their journeys to obtain fullness of freedom.  She serves on the board of Into the Light, is a member of the National Survivor Network, the Survivor Leader Institute, and the Survivor Alliance.

She was instrumental in changing the human trafficking legislation in her state by testifying several times before the Arkansas Congress, resulting in the passage of three new laws.  Kathy is a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign and various anti-trafficking organizations.

There is much to be found in her wheelhouse, ultimately, though, her heart beats for helping people understand each other, which fosters empathy and a foundation for unity. She and her husband, Keith love spending time with their family, off-roading, and traveling this beautiful world. Her next big goal is jumping out of a plane.

Angie Conn

Program Coordinator, Mentor, Speaker- Elevate Academy, Survivor Leader

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Angie Conn

Program Coordinator, Mentor, Speaker- Elevate Academy, Survivor Leader

Engaging audiences with her dynamic presentations and interactive training, Angie Conn strives to freely express her insight and knowledge to those who desire to learn from her experience as a survivor of domestic sex-trafficking, abuse, and addiction. Her authenticity, joy, and resilient spirit captivate her listeners. She not only ignites a renewed hope that healing and wholeness after trauma are possible but, provides tools to implement change. Angie has a natural gift of encouragement, she is passionate and determined to reach out whenever and wherever she can.

Angie serves as Program Coordinator, Speaker, and Mentor for Rebecca Bender Initiative. She sits on both the National Survivor Network, the WV Human Trafficking Task Force and serves as an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International.  As an international speaker and consultant, she has collaborated with multiple agencies and organizations, including the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign. In 2018, she was Awarded the ‘Special Courage Award’ by the United States Attorney Southern District of West Virginia for being a champion for victims and survivors of human trafficking in her home state.

An adventurer at heart, you can find her hiking in the mountains, relaxing in her hammock, or enjoying aerial yoga. She also loves being at home with her husband of seventeen years, Elisha, and their three amazing children. Up next on her adventure list, hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Melanie Huggard

Elevate Life & Career Coach

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Melanie Huggard

Elevate Life & Career Coach

Melanie Huggard is a life coach who helps you unveil the best within yourself, and discover how to take the next steps toward your best life! Melanie’s intuitive skills really blossomed as a wife and mother, leading her to BSSM’s two-year program. After completing the counseling and coaching tracks at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, she started coaching. She quickly discovered natural collaborative talents, keen insight, intuition, and empathy were tools that served her clients, and herself well. Together with her education and life experiences, a deep wisdom is found that assists her clients in shifting perspectives and reigniting hope. When not coaching, Melanie spends her time with family, friends, and writing her first book.

What Others Are Saying:

“I have loved my sessions with Melanie. I have felt understood, heard, and challenged but never shamed or hurried. She consistently unlocks things inside of me by her insightful questions. Melanie has been kind and gentle as we have made our way through hurtful memories.”  – Sherah, Life Consultant

Watch Melanie explain what coaching is.

Schedule with Melanie today:  melanie@rebeccabender.org

Deni Anders

Elevate Life & Career Coach

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Deni Anders

Elevate Life & Career Coach

Deni’s compassionate, supportive, non-judgmental and encouraging nature is evident in each of her coaching conversations. She couples this with her passion to help people uncover and overcome the lies, uncertainties and stuck places they may have, so they can be the people they were created to be.

As a credentialed coach, Deni has more than 1,000 hours of coaching experience and has helped people from the United States, Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia. Along with coaching, Deni is a speaker, trainer, writer, and member of the John Maxwell team.  You can learn more about Deni at: justiceplusfreedom.com.

What Others Are Saying:

“Coaching helped me move through deep stuck places inside into a more powerful way of seeing, thinking, and living.”

“I felt like you were clearing away the cobwebs in my head and helping me to see down paths I could not before.”

“I loved the way I was challenged to think through the things I said and make my statements or problems into tangible, achievable goals.

Watch to learn about coaching with Deni.

Click HERE to schedule your coaching appointment with Deni today, or contact her via email at danders@rebeccabender.org.

SOZO / INNER HEALING SESSIONS

An Inner Healing session based on Bethel Sozo ministry could be helpful in overcoming barriers such as these:

 – Do you ever wish you felt closer to God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit?

 – Do ever feel yourself struggling with fear, anxiety, apathy, anger, frustration or bitterness?

 – Do you ever wonder if you might have a wall up to protect you from people or situations?

Watch to learn more about a Sozo session with Deni

Click HERE to schedule your Inner Healing session with Deni today, and allow God to move you towards greater freedom in your life.  When scheduling, note in the comments that it is for Inner Healing. You may also contact her via email at danders@rebeccabender.org.

Christa McCormick

Office Admin/Personal Assistant

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Christa McCormick

Office Admin/Personal Assistant

Christa is an advocate for empowering women from all walks of life. She is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus Christ through ministry and has graduated from two years at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, completing her third and final year at BSSM.

Her life has been transformed by the same message that Rebecca Bender Initiative (RBI) carries so strongly, that as children of God we are world changers and of infinite worth to our heavenly father.

A love for Kingdom minded business and women’s advocacy led her to working at RBI. She loves traveling with Rebecca and she is proud to work behind the scenes to help with America’s only (and largest) online school for survivors of sex trafficking. In the future she hopes to publish novels that shift culture and show men and women their immeasurable worth in the eyes of God through her own testimony.

Chelan Rene’ Russ

Prevention & Communications

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Chelan Rene’ Russ

Prevention & Communications

Chelan Rene’ Russ prayed for a passion in 2009 that would right a wrong in this world. Her answer came the following year when God fueled her desire to move from Austin to Portland to lead an anti-trafficking movement in her home state. He gave her all she needed to pioneer three annual 5k’s and organize additional events, boosting awareness and hope. 

Chelan then became a certified Presenter of “Deceptions”, an awareness curriculum for middle and high schoolers; a certified Mentor for Abolition Now’s “Hands of Hope” Program; and the Founder of “Break Free”, a monthly evening spent in prayer for survivors and other leaders. She also loves being a contributing author for Rebecca Bender Initiative.

At any given moment, Chelan can be found singing, snapping photos or cooking. As a team, she and her husband Ricky Russ live a fun and risky life for Jesus, raising their two kiddos in Oregon’s gorgeous wine country.

Lauren Hall

Prayer Director

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Lauren Hall

Prayer Director

Lauren Hall is a woman passionate to see God’s kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven. As such, she is unsettled with any injustice reigning on a throne in this world, that rightly belongs to Jesus. She is a passionate, prophetic intercessor who believes prayer is our mightiest weapon against anything that would exalt itself above the Lord, including that of human trafficking and exploitation.

Her life has been touched by abuse of multiple facets, both personally and her affecting family members. As the daughter of a human trafficking survivor, Lauren is personally invested in seeing the end of human trafficking across the globe. She is honored to be able to join with RBI’s mission by covering them in prayer.

Lauren and her husband are raising their five children in Arkansas. They are a natural-minded, homeschooling family. She is studying to become a midwife and herbalist, but is most passionate about personal family revival and having a spirit-filled atmosphere in their home. Therefore, most of her time is spent there, pouring her love and prayers into those around her.

Our Board

Angie Lott

Board Chair

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Angie Lott

Board Chair

Angie Lott is driven to make a difference in the world.  The crises caused by sex trafficking motivates her into action.

Angie was born and raised in Salem, Oregon.  She is certified in Health Care Compliance and received Executive Leadership training at Duke University. She currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Primary Health of Josephine County. With 25 years in the healthcare industry, Angie understands and values the work that results in the elevation of those who are directly impacted by the injustice of human trafficking.  Working toward this end is one of Angie’s greatest passions.

True Oregonians, Angie and her husband Bill have two daughters and a dog.  They love to fish, take random road trips, and go antiquing. On almost any given Friday night they can be found with their daughters and daughters’ boyfriends double or triple dating.

Al Winn

Vice Chair

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Al Winn

Vice Chair

Albert (Al) L. Winn leads the consulting company WINNing Strategies LLC.  He provides business and technical services to aerospace companies.  Al is a member of the Board of Directors for Grand Canyon Bank (proposed), a de novo Arizona Bank. 

Al retired from Boeing on 1 October, 2010. His position at retirement was Vice President of Apache and AH-6 programs for The Boeing Company in Mesa, Ariz., home of the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter and a variety of military support programs.  As the Boeing Vice President of the Apache and AH programs, Winn led the company’s global efforts to produce and sell the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter(s) to a growing number of customers around the world.

Winn, who joined the company in 1984, was named to his Vice President position in 2001. Prior to that, he was general manager with Rotorcraft Engineering, responsible for engineering support to the AH-64, CH-47 and V-22 programs.  Prior to 1997 at McDonnell Douglas, Winn was vice president, Production, Engineering and Operations; vice president, Integrated Product Definition; vice president, Engineering; director, Apache Longbow Engineering; and manager LHX Technology, Flight Technology, Advanced Configuration Design, and AH-64 Product Definition.

Before joining the company, Winn held several engineering and executive positions within the U.S. Army Aviation Research and Development Command and the U.S. Army Aviation Systems Command. He was responsible for engineering support of integration, design, and airworthiness qualification during the aircraft development cycle of major Army helicopter systems, including the AH-64 Apache, the UH-60 Blackhawk and the OH-58D Kiowa. He was the technical lead for the team that started the JVX, now called V-22 Osprey. He was responsible for the annual publication of the US Army Aviation RDT&E Plan, and also co-authored the first U.S. Army Aviation Modernization Plan.

Winn received his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from California Polytechnic State University, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California, and a master’s degree in business administration from The New York Institute of Technology.

Winn is a member of the American Helicopter Society, the Association of United States Army, and the Army Aviation Association of America. He is the recipient of the Army Aviation Turk Award, and the Technical Director’s award for flight test excellence, the Department of Defense Meritorious Service medal, the McDonnell Douglas President’s Award, American Helicopter Society Fellow(Technical and Honorary), the United States Government Hammer Award, and  the  Army Aviation Association of America Order of St. Michael (Bronze and Gold).

In his service to the community and involvement with professional associations, Winn was/is affiliated as an advisor to the Department of Engineering at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. Winn was also a member of the Board of Directors for the Arizona Business and Education Coalition as well as an advisory board member of Executive Service Corps of Maricopa.

Scott Peterson

Treasurer/Secretary

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Scott Peterson

Treasurer/Secretary

Scott Peterson is a committed Christian with a heart to serve God and His kingdom with his time, treasure and talent.  The Peterson’s have attended Gateway Church over the last ten years. He and his wife Rachel reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as they operate Praus Construction, a thriving and successful business in Texas.

Scott developed a heart to serve as an intern in a Dream Center program in Seattle.  His desire to serve has continued as now his commitment is to fight sex trafficking. They both have a passion to see Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking stopped in the United States. Rachel and Scott have attended Shared Hope International’s JuST Conference in Washington D.C.  It is there they became aware of the work that is needed to be done.  It is also where Scott signed the Defender pledge designed by the men of Shared Hope.  It is through that training they decided to become an active part in fighting human trafficking.

Laura Harville

Board Member

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Laura Harville

Board Member

Laura Harville is passionate about actively supporting and empowering those who have experienced trauma so they can heal, grow and flourish using all of their unique gifts and talents. This passion, along with a vision for justice and ending human exploitation, inspire her work as board chair at RBI.  

Knowing it takes a multitude to truly change the culture that fuels sexual exploitation and injustice, Laura also chairs the RBI development committee. This team works with individuals, corporations and foundations that want to make a significant difference in the lives of survivors — and ultimately affect an enormous measure of change and triumph over injustice. In short, RBI could not serve survivors and our communities without the generous support of those who give to our mission.  

Laura lives in Minneapolis, MN, where she is a marketing communications consultant for nonprofits and businesses, primarily in the medical device industry. She currently works at Medtronic under a long-term contract to lead multifaceted sales and marketing initiatives. 

Rebecca Bender

CEO & Founder, Survivor Leader

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Rebecca Bender

CEO & Founder, Survivor Leader

Rebecca Bender was lured out of Oregon at the vulnerable age of 18 by a notorious pimp. Manipulated into a life of chaos, coerced into prostitution and finally abused and controlled by her trafficker, Rebecca was forced into sex trafficking for nearly 6 years. Many attempted escapes, two brandings and several pimps later, Federal Investigators raided the home, allowing her an eventual avenue for escape. Rebecca’s story of resilience and trainings on this underground world, are top notch.

She’s trained FBI, Homeland Security, undercover, SVU, former presidents, medical professionals, prosecutors and more. Her speaking engagements always include her personal story and inspiring call to action, reminding people that their past doesn’t have to determine their destiny. She also speaks on leadership and founding non-profits. Rebecca serves on the board of Exodus Cry, is a member of the Survivor Leader Institute and serves as Co-Chair on the DOJ Human Trafficking Advisory Council.

In her free time, you can find Rebecca with her four lively daughters and husband enjoying their home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Nick Lembo

Board Member

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Nick Lembo

Board Member

Pastor Nick Lembo’s career as area general manager of large health club groups in three different urban communities for over 20 years, as well as his experiences as a market manager for Office Max stores, enabled him to interact with large groups of people in corporate environments and also informed his views regarding various community issues.

Nick currently also sits on the Board of Shared Hope International as Secretary/Treasurer and is Co-Chairman of Defenders USA, the Men of Shared Hope International. For the last three years he has been a presenter for Shared Hope International at national conferences, and has spoken at community forums throughout Washington State.

Nick is an active supporter of other government organizations. He has volunteered at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington, serving to encourage soldiers, and strengthen family structures. He is networked in his community with education, business and politics.

Nick is very happily married with four children and three grandchildren.

Ashlee Klienert

Board Member

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Ashlee Klienert

Board Member

Ashlee is a serial grilled cheese lover and a big fan of the generous community
within Dallas, TX. Influenced by the positivity and problem-solving attitudes of
those around her, she is an entrepreneur in the not-for-profit and for-profit worlds.

Ashlee and her husband Chris co-founded Executives In Action, a charitable
organization that generated a human resource capital investment of $5.2 million
among 200+ nonprofits in North Texas. Their “caring hearts, business smarts” idea
matched C-suite executives in stages of professional transition with local nonprofits
needing assistance in projects requiring business skills sets. Executives In Action
grew beyond North Texas and merged with catchafire.org in 2016. This partnership
expands the platform and impact of North Texas skills-based volunteering to a
national level.

Ashlee founded Ruthie’s Rolling Café, a food truck business with passion and
purpose. Awarded the Best Grilled Cheese Truck in the Country in 2015 and 2017
by Mobile Cuisine, Ruthie’s serves the best variety of grilled sandwiches on wheels.
The belief that an act of kindness is never wasted fuels the “Ruthie’s Snacks of
Kindness” program. In partnership with caring individuals, local businesses and
nonprofit organizations, the Ruthie’s team feeds and/or delivers goods to
unsuspecting groups at various shelters, schools, businesses and more.

A native Dallasite, Ashlee’s been given the opportunity to learn about the unique
issues and needs of the community throughout her life. Current and past board
involvement includes Rebecca Bender Initiative, Shelter Ministries of Dallas, New
Friends New Life, The Junior League of Dallas Community Advisory Board, The
Dallas Women’s Foundation Board Chair, Genesis Women’s Shelter Alliance Board
Chair, St. Philip’s School and Community Center, SMU Maguire Center for Ethics,
Methodist Health System Foundation and Senior Source. Ashlee is also a member of
The Dallas Assembly and the International Women’s Forum-Dallas.

Ashlee and Chris were honored recipients of the EFNT North Star Award for Social
Entrepreneurship and the Wilkinson Center “Can Do” award. Ashlee also received
the Dallas Business Journal’s 25 Most Influential, Inspirational and Charitable
Women in Business Award. She met her husband Chris on a blind date when both
were students at Southern Methodist University. Her faith and family are her
greatest treasures.

Advisory Board

Trina White-Maduro

Advisory Board

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Trina White-Maduro

Advisory Board

Business Woman. Investor. Entrepreneur. Trina White-Maduro is a Social Entrepreneur and an active supporter of community and faith-based organizations. Trina grew up in the midst of violence, drugs, and gangs on the south side of Chicago. She was raised in a single parent home with 14 other siblings and family members. Her family was very poor and lived on minimal resources. Trina excelled in academics and athletics earning a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She initially viewed professional basketball as her destiny and vehicle to success. She later chose to pursue a career in social work through non-profit organizations and faith-based community for 28 years. Today, Trina is a Global Certified Trainer for Market America/Shop.com, consultant to elite professional athletes, intern with Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Company. She also serves on Bethel University Board of Trustees and is President of the Board for Helping Hands for Single Moms.

Will Hart

Advisory Board

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Will Hart

Advisory Board

In 1999 Will walked into the basement of a church not knowing why he was there. That night the Holy Spirit reached out and grabbed him by the heart and he was never the same. Since then Will and his wife Musy have traveled and ministered with Bob Bradbury, Randy Clark and Rolland and Heidi Baker. Will’s call is to take the simplicity of the gospel and power of the Holy Spirit wherever he goes. Whether it is the jungles of Congo or the streets of Thailand, he is expectant and confident in the Holy Spirit showing up in power.

In 2016, Heidi & Rolland Baker asked Will to take over as Iris Global’s Chief Operating Officer. Now, in addition to traveling the globe speaking as an itinerant, he operationally runs Iris Global.

Elizabeth Carlock Phillips

Advisory Board

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Elizabeth Carlock Phillips

Advisory Board

Elizabeth Carlock Phillips is a Millennial philanthropist, social entrepreneur, and impact investor at the helm of Phillips Philanthropies, which includes the Phillips Foundation. She graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with degrees in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. Elizabeth founded a jewelry business in high school that became her career for seven years and led her to Uganda, where she was the founding designer of Akola. In 2017, she co-founded Gems by the Foot™, an e-commerce jewelry brand that is “Made to Order, Beyond Borders,” benefiting refugee women and their families resettling in North Texas through the IRC.

Elizabeth was Founding President of Echelon, the national young professionals auxiliary “Mobilizing the Next Generation” for The Salvation Army and has chaired events for many organizations, ranging from New Friends New Life to the Greensboro Symphony. She currently serves as a Governor-appointed Trustee of UNC Greensboro and is on the board of directors for Women Moving Millions, Texas Women’s Foundation, and Say Yes to Education, among other affiliations. She has been featured on broadcast news and in a variety of publications, including The Financial TimesBarron’s, Bloomberg, Dallas Morning News, and Triad Business Journal. Elizabeth and her husband Kevin enjoy life with their young family in Dallas, TX, and Greensboro, NC.

President's Advisory Council

Henry Lozano

Board Member

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Henry Lozano

Board Member

Henry Lozano, Director of USA Freedom Corps www.usafreedomcorps.gov 

Henry C. Lozano was named Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of USA Freedom Corps on September 11, 2007. As Director of USA Freedom Corps, Mr. Lozano is charged with implementing President Bush’s vision for volunteerism and service in America. Echoing the President’s Call to Service, which launched the initiative in his 2002 State of the Union, Mr. Lozano is working to promote and expand opportunities for Americans looking to service causes greater than themselves. 

Recognized as a leader for his outstanding service to our nation, Mr. Lozano has worked to ensure Americans understand the value of volunteerism. Throughout his career, Mr. Lozano has championed causes, particularly those related to substance abuse prevention and recovery programs, at the local, national, and international level.

Prior to his tenure as Director of USA Freedom Corps, Mr. Lozano was appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the board of directors for the Corporation for National and Community Service from 2003 to 2007. He was also appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Advisory Commission on Drug-free Communities in 1998 and appointed as Co-Chair of the Commission by President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2005, Mr. Lozano was awarded the President’s Call to Service Award in recognition of his lifetime of service.

From 1996 to 2007, Mr. Lozano served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Californians for Drug-free Youth, a non-profit organization working to bring parents, youth, schools and communities together to create and support safe and healthy communities. Under Mr. Lozano’s leadership, President George H.W. Bush named the Santa Ynez Valley Network for Drug-free Youth, Inc. one of the top ten drug prevention coalitions in the United States.

A Los Angeles native, Mr. Lozano resides with his wife Paulette in Gaithersburg, Md.