Board of Directors

We are a team of committed and passionate volunteers with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion.

Heddy Keith, M. Ed, CI, President and CEO

Her experience working with trauma is through using expressive writing workshops throughout Milwaukee at local churches and veterans centers. Heddy is also a certified Peer Specialist she enjoys writing and gardening and loves growing flowers and vegetables in her garden.

Heddy is the founder of CLAWW. She has worked with veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) since 2011, helping them write about their thoughts and feelings concerning their trauma. She is a published author of two books related to trauma, her memoir, and a trauma recovery journal. She experienced trauma as a child, which she shares in her memoir, Through It All: A Memoir of Love and Loss. Heddy is a retired Milwaukee Public Schools Language Arts and Social Studies teacher.

Tina Payne, Secretary

After more than 25 years of service in the field of Human and Social Service for Milwaukee County, Tina retired and later became a volunteer for Vets 76 as well as volunteering for the Reproductive Justice Collective. She later became involved in activist work with the Coalition for Justice.

She is a graduate of the NAACP community Rite of Passage program and a graduate of the Neighborhood Leadership Institute Program (Cohort 4) through Cardinal Stritch University.

Tina is the author of a recently published book entitled, Untethered, where she shares her own story of personal trauma and her journey to healing.  As a Black woman who has lived with and through trauma, her desire is to see Black women live wholly, and as mentally, spiritually, and physically healthy as possible.  She is passionate about healing and reconciliation for all people, especially Black women. Tina is excited to lend her support or walk alongside her fellow sisters into their own restorative passage.

As a people person, Tina enjoys entertaining family and friends and celebrations with dear friends. She also enjoys local and Black Theater, volunteering at the Marcus Performing Arts Theater, the Milwaukee Film Festival, and traveling.

Yvette Gibbs, Treasurer

Yvette was a single mother at a young age. This experience gives her an insight into the lives of young mothers raising their children alone today. As a child, she and her family experienced poverty and was able to work through it.  Her parents raised their children to be close and support one another.  Yvette pushed herself to work hard and raise her children. She attended Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for social work. She worked at New Concepts Social Development and has held many positions in financial management at TCF bank, Wells Fargo Bank, and Best Buy. Yvette loves to help people improve their life.  She joined CLAWW because of her passion for helping people.  She enjoys reading, taking walks, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Zelda Okia, MD, Life Coach

Education and Awareness Committee Chair

Dr. Zelda Okia is a retired forensic pathologist who transitioned from death into life in January 2020. Before this, she worked as a medical examiner in the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office, viewing traumatic and non-traumatic deaths.

In many non-traumatic (natural) deaths, although no physical trauma may have been noticeable outwardly, the effects of long-standing chronic stressors, including heart disease, depression and anxiety, diabetes, and obesity, were evident. Dr. Okia spent the last ten years examining results people created within their bodies that caused their deaths. She studied these results while they were on her autopsy table, but it was too late for them to make any changes.  Now, she examines the effects that people create in their lives. She and her coaching clients, together, look at their results and determine if they are serving them or not.  The great thing now is that she has an incredible opportunity to help them change those results if they want to create something extraordinary in their lives.

Tim Klingman, Attorney

Tim brings legal and real estate backgrounds to the board of CLAWW.  A 1996 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, his legal practice focused on equal employment opportunity in the workplace, with concentrations on racial discrimination and sexual harassment of employees.  He combined his legal work with real estate investing and brokering, and in 2011 he segued fully into his role as president of a real estate firm that he co-founded a few years prior.  He cares greatly about CLAWW’s important mission and is excited to be involved with such credentialed and caring individuals.

Julieann Bankston BSW, M.Ed

Julie A Bankston is the author of five published books, in Fiction, Short Stories, and Poetry. She was a Mental Health Professional for twenty-five years at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex. She worked helping parents to become empowered in the Milwaukee Public School system for nine years.

Julie is a former United States Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in Tanzania (Africa) for two years. While a United States Peace Corps Volunteer, she taught English in the local village school, she participated in World Food Fair. Julie worked with local farmers to help improve crop growing conditions. She later worked in Malawi (Africa) for six months at the Development Aid People to People Teacher Training college from April 2019 to September 2019. While there, Julie developed a women’s Woman Empowerment group-DAPP. She continues to help Malawi women with self-confidence, school fees and encourages them to think positively.

Besides her Humanitarian work and experience, she is a certified Behavior Cognitive Counselor, a Hypnosis therapist, a Licensed Social Worker. Julie has a Bachelor of Social Welfare, Master of in Education of Family Studies, and a Ph.D. (ABD). In Organizational Leadership, she is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on African Women in Malawi’s access to higher education.

Julie wants to be a Servant Leader, inspiring and empowering ordinary people to take action against worldwide poverty. Teaching individuals to support social justice and equity for all in a positive way.  Striving to help the less advantaged people in the world to improve their lives and become an instrument of Peace and Love in the world

Lucille Bennett, BS

Lucille received her bachelor of Science in Community Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee after completing an associate’s degree in Urban Education and planning from the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). As a teacher’s assistant, she taught Adult GED classes at MATC. Lucille received training on Restorative Justice and peacemaking circles, including accountability circles. She took her knowledge and shared it in the community at schools and organizations.

She was the regional director of No Child Left Behind for the Mainstream program. Currently, she is a K-8th grade Intervention teacher at the Academy of Excellence in Milwaukee, where she teaches middle school literature and history.

Lucille loves gospel music, singing, and reading her favorite book—the Bible. Whenever she finds time, she likes to paint and loves helping people with their problems. Lucille is a great community resource for matching people with those who can help. She loves learning about social-emotional learning. She is a mother and great-grandmother.

Advisory Board

Brenda Ward, MSW

Brenda is a founding member of CLAWW. She holds a Master of Social Work degree.  Her experience is in the field of Social Work Care Coordination, Medical Social Worker, School Social Worker, and Psychotherapist span years of working with children and families in the home, schools, and community offering treatment to address the complexities that trauma brings.  The trauma education Brenda has learned and continues to learn offers information and trauma education that is objective, researched-based, and proven to address traumatic symptoms.  She approaches every person she encounters with compassion and understanding.  Brenda knows that the diversity of trauma requires individualized approaches.

LeAnn Minor, MS

Education and Awareness Chair, Peer Support Specialist

If everything were always perfect, there would be no reason to grow or step out of one’s comfort zone. I have learned that growth experiences build resiliency, individual community, and personal culture. Throughout my story and all it entails, I have developed mental stability that has enabled me to overcome my struggles. In all my interactions, I focus on relationship building, mainly repairing and improving the relationship with oneself. My goal is to empower, to make stronger life leaders. 

Professionally, I have been in the customer service industry for thirty-five years. This field has provided me with practical experience giving caring, personalized service. I hold a double BA in Business Administration and Communications. I learned how to lead and motivate people, build strong communication abilities, and strengthen my interpersonal and critical thinking skills. My MA in Organizational Management explored the human side of managing organizations and their communications, group behavior, ethics, decision making, and dealing with complex problems within the organization and its people.

I am people-oriented, conscientious, and proficient. I am grounded in the belief that we are all connected. I engage in active listening, use positive language, and display empathy in all my interactions. My life lessons and holistic learning has prepared me to provide emotional help to assist others in rising above their struggles and suffering. I am LeAnn Minor. Grand Rising!

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