Our 2014 symposium, Respect–Recovery–Resilience, was held on May 14, 2014. The Keynote Speaker was actor and educator Jeffrey Tambor. The Hope Award was presented to Shallom Coleman, and the Innovation Award to Detective Patricia Tackett.
Keynote Speaker: Jeffrey Tambor
A veteran of film, television, and the Broadway stage, Jeffrey Tambor is one of the most iconic and respected character actors of his generation. As a man of many talents, Tambor is highly creative, using his overwhelming love for life and the lessons learned along the way as sparks of inspiration for his keynotes. He speaks from the heart, sharing his personal truths as a way to inspire audiences young and old to embrace human connectivity.
Most people know of Tambor’s versatile and accomplished acting accolades in film and television. These include his unforgettable roles in the popular programs The Larry Sanders Show and Arrested Development, as well as in the films And Justice for All and Meet Joe Black. These roles and many others display his innate, unique acting gifts. Tambor has also received numerous honors for his professional work, including six Emmy nominations and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well a Television Critics Association Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in a Comedy Series. However, his greatest honors have since come in his own personal life, when he willingly shares with audiences.
Tambor attended San Francisco State University, where he received a BA degree in drama in 1965. He then went to Wayne State University earning an MA in 1969. Although he moved on to acting before receiving his PhD, he developed a deep connection with academia and vowed to never forget his roots. What many people do not know is that in addition to co-owning Skylight books, Tambor taught at his Alma Mater and has been a teacher for over forty years, educating all groups of people from actors to corporations to animators from DreamWorks and others. He passionately empowers his students through lessons they cannot gather from their textbooks. As a down to earth and personal educator, he uses his life experiences, both dark and entertaining, to advise others to face their fears.
Tambor’s presentations are models after himself: larger then life. He brings audiences across the county a new kind of lecture, one they have never seen before. They are interactive, humorous, real, and most importantly, relatable. He has the ability unlike any other speaker to share anecdotes from his decades in front of the camera, inspire businesses to find creative solutions and strategies, delve into his family’s struggle with mental health issues, reflect on his role as a father of four young children, and offer wisdom learned from his Jewish upbringing.
Incorporating themes of creativity, authenticity, and self-awareness into his speeches, Tambor boldly crafts customized and empowering messages for each audience he addressed. As gifted storyteller, his honesty captivates the audience, giving them a sense of meaning in their own lives by reconnecting them with their hopes and dreams. Tambor’s presentations will no doubt inspire and forever resonate with all who have the opportunity and honor to listen to his words, making them cry with laughter and sometimes, reflection.
Innovation Award Recipient: Detective Patricia (Patty) Tackett
For the past 12-15 years, the Greater Dayton Mental Health Foundation has focused upon imbedding innovation practices within the greater Dayton mental health community. Our first such project more than a decade ago encompassed the merger of three components of a comprehensive system that had been initiated separately in other parts of the country. The mental health court component was pioneered by Judge Ginger Lerner Wren in Brevard County, Florida. In our inaugural conference last, the GDMHF recognized Judge John Pickrel of the Dayton Municipal Court for creating and growing the first mental health court in our community.
The second component brought into play the providers of mental health diagnosis and treatment services. Several such provider organizations in our community have stepped up to the play and collaborated with the criminal justice system.
The third component, law enforcement, focuses upon the first contract with a person suffering a mental illness who has transgressed the law. This component was pioneered by the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department and later adopted by several law enforcement agencies across the country, including right here in Montgomery County.
It is now my privilege to present the 2014 Innovation Award to a key person in our community who exemplifies the kind of innovation and leadership this prestigious award denotes.
Detective Patricia (Patty) Tackett of the Dayton Police Department has been on the forefront of initiating partnerships between individuals and families coping with mental illness, law enforcement, the courts, and the behavioral health professionals for more than a decade in the City of Dayton, in the State of Ohio and across our nation.
She prepared herself well and has been the central figure in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program for law enforcement personnel in Montgomery County since its inception. She initiated and has persisted in supporting people with a mental illness even during successive changes in the leadership of the Dayton Police Department.
Along with her colleagues in law enforcement, Judge Pickrel and many clinicians throughout our community, since 2003, Detective Tackett has been an enthusiastic team member. She is determined to provide an alternative to incarceration for people who find themselves in the criminal justice system due, at least in part, to their struggles with a mental illness. Det. Tackett has worked tirelessly and passionately to help people with mental illness and their families to gain “Respect, Recovery and Resiliency,” the theme of today’s conference.
Hope Award Recipient: Shallon Coleman
Judith Bronte wrote a book titled “Abigail’s Journey” which begins with this passage from Isaiah 54:13, “All thy children shall be taught of The Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.”
Thus begins the journey of Abigail as she seeks to discover compassion and the importance of second chances.
No one knows more about second chances than Shallon Coleman. Many people know her as the woman who has made exceptional educational and career accomplishments, completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration in 2009 at Central State University; her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Central Michigan University and now about to complete her Master’s Degree in Divinity at United Theology Seminary.
Some knew her many years ago as a Case Manager at the former St. Joseph’s Behavioral Center and at Nova House and as a data specialist at Jobs for Grads. What many do not know is that if they were to lift the curtain of previous years, they would have known a very different Shallon Coleman. That Shallon needed the very services that her organization provides today and more. Through her early employment years, That Shallon wrestled with addiction and subculture demons which interrupted her career, her family life and her promising future.
That Shallon ultimately sought services from a program at Wesley Center called “People Taking Charge” which accepted her and brought her back from a 37-year alcohol and drug addiction, which had landed her in jail, in institutions and rendered her welfare dependent. Shallon existed on the “other side” of the law for years as she stole, “sold” and did whatever she needed to do to support a longstanding disease of addiction. By her own admission, she lost everything, except her desire to overcome the illness and return to a meaningful life. Wesley Center’s Director, Dr Robert Walker saw something in Shallon, and he took a chance on her when no one else would have considered her for employment. After completing her own program with “People Taking Charge,” she became its Director and life slowly began to change as she worked to overcome low self-esteem, fear, guilt, anger and depression.
Shallon started a second “People Taking Charge” program at Fairview United Methodist Church and went from piecing her own life back together to helping other people reconstruct their own shattered lives.
Now as the Founder and executive director of her own nonprofit organization, also named Abigail’s Journey, which provides clothing, household supplies, food, and other supportive services for families in need, moving them from poverty to a self-sustaining lifestyle while also training community volunteers to be advocates for the poor and disenfranchised, Shallon has come full circle.
Today, she stands tall as a community role model, committed to the principle that “to whom much is given, much is required.” I met Shallon five years ago as a student, and I was immediately drawn to her smile and tenacity. Her eyes told me there was a story contained within. Today, I know her as wise, wise, fiercely committed to this community and I have been allowed to know her journey and to bear witness to her inner peace.