Meet the Instructors.
Single Mom University® secures only the most professional and qualified experts in their respective fields to educate and empower our students. Most instructors have a direct connection to single moms either through personal experience as a current or former single parent, having been raised by one, or having a close relationship with a single mom. This unique perspective gives each instructor insight into your world, ensuring that each class's content gives you effective tools to parent well, succeed financially, and achieve health & wellness goals. These instructors care about YOU and believe in YOUR potential to have a life that is thriving and full.
Karol Ladd is known as “the Positive Lady.” Her heart’s desire is to inspire women with a message of lasting hope and Biblical truth. Karol is open, honest and real in both her speaking and her writing. Formerly a teacher, Karol is the best-selling author of over 35 books including The Power of a Positive Mom and her newest book, Becoming a Woman of the Word.
As a gifted communicator and dynamic leader, Karol is a popular speaker to women’s organizations and a frequent guest on radio and television programs. Recently, she started the Engage Positive Parenting Initiative which reaches men and women in communities affected by poverty (www.EngageParenting.com). Her most valued role is that of wife to Curt and mother to two grown daughters, Grace and Joy.
Born “Baby Girl” Morris to a crippled unwed teenage girl in the 1940’s, Thelma Wells had the odds stacked against her. But, she has become one of the most sought-after speakers in both the banking, corporate and Christian arenas – speaking for Women of Faith for 13 years. She’s written over 40 books and is world renown as “Mama T,” but her most prized possessions are her faith in Jesus, her husband of 55 years, and her children and grandchildren.
Mike Haman is a father to three children and husband to Rachel. These are his first ministries. Originally from Missouri, Mike makes his home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he is executive pastor of the multi-campus, Healing Place Church. Throughout his twenty years of ministry, Mike has seen the importance to lead the charge in being a healing place for a hurting world. Having parents who went through a divorce gives Mike a deep compassion for those parenting alone. He is author of the book, The Second Mile, and loves LSU football.
Genette Howard is an international speaker, author and certified personal coach dedicated to helping today's overwhelmed women and families experience authentic success with less stress and greater fulfillment. She also serves as a pastor alongside her husband, Dexter Howard.
For over 20 years, Genette has empowered people throughout the world to overcome setbacks and breakthrough into thriving life. She connects deeply with human struggles and offers faith-‐based, effective solutions that help people experience remarkable personal transformations.
She is the author of two books: "Fight Stress & Live: 5 Simple Commitments That Can Save Your Life" and "The Five Laws of Gratitude: Simple Shifts to Create a Happier, Healthier & Wealthier You".
Genette is the mother of six daughters and enjoys Jazzercise, historical fiction, great music, global cuisine, and all things "home". The Howards live in the Charlotte, NC area.
Jennifer Maggio is an award-winning author and national speaker, as well as Chief Executive Officer for the global nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom. She is an 11-time Circle of Excellence Winner who climbed the corporate ladder, before launching The Life of a Single Mom. Maggio's personal journey through homelessness, abuse, and years of parenting alone has fueled her passion to see every single mother empowered, encouraged, and equipped to do life well.
Nicole Reyes Smithee is a gifted and dynamic communicator and author, who travels to speak at churches, conferences, and events around the world. Her desire is for people everywhere to experience the radical love of Jesus Christ and passionately pursue His plans. Nicole currently resides in New York City and leads Liberty Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to pioneering local churches globally and helping the hurting around the world.
Going through an unplanned pregnancy in her teens was one of the hardest times in her life. Amy Ford remembers so well how lonely and ashamed she felt. Looking back on those 9 months of brokenness, fueled her passion to change things for girls with crisis pregnancies. Amy and her friend Salina, started a small group within her church to provide support. Amy is the author of A Bump in Life and a national author and speaker. She is the co-founder and president of Embrace Grace. She lives in Arlington, TX and actively serves at her home church, Gateway.
Shannon is a best-selling author of 22 books including the Every Woman’s Battle series. Her subsequent books include The Sexually Confident Wife and The Fantasy Fallacy.She has a master’s degree in counseling & human relationships, and over the past 30 years has spoken internationally to audiences of all ages. Her passion is leading her Women at the Well Workshops, which are designed to help attendees make peace with their past and cultivate rich and rewarding relationships with God, themselves, and others.
Shannon also mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her B.L.A.S.T. Mentorship Program, which stands for Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers. Learn more about her B.L.A.S.T. Program, books, coaching, and workshops at www.shannonethridge.com.
Jenni Catron is a leadership coach, author and speaker. Her passion is to lead well and to inspire, equip and encourage others to do the same. Her most recent book, The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership: The Power of Leading from Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength is available now. She loves a fabulous cup of tea, great books, learning the game of tennis and hiking the west coast with her husband.
Julio Melara is President and CEO of Louisiana Business Inc., a multi-media company which publishes several magazines and digital products such as the Baton Rouge Business Report, Daily Report, InRegister Magazine,225 Magazine, LA NEXT Magazine and several more. He is the author of several books, including Do You Have Time for Success?, It Only Takes Everything You’ve Got!, and Mental Snacks. He is the son of a single mom who has a passion to teach others successful money management and entrepreneurial practices.
Jill Monaco is an author, speaker, and life coach. As the Founder and CEO of Jill Monaco Ministries, a 501c3 non profit that publishes the online magazine Single Matters . She is also the creator of the interactive coaching program for singles From Looking To Loving: Find the Breakthrough You Need So You Can Have The Relationship You Want. She loves helping singles find freedom and purpose so they can live a life they love. Jill is known for captivating audiences with her high-energy, humorous approach to life’s serious issues. You can learn more about Jill by clicking the button below.
Jill Savage is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging families. She is the author of nine books including Professionalizing Motherhood, My Hearts At Home, Real Moms…Real Jesus, Living With Less So Your Family Has More, and her most recent bestselling release No More Perfect Moms. Featured on Focus on the Family, Crosswalk.com, and as the host of the Heartbeat radio program, Jill is the founder of Hearts at Home, an organization that encourages moms. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children, two who are married, two granddaughters, and one grandson. They make their home in Normal, Illinois.
Jill Rigby Garner is a parenting expert who founded Manners of the Heart, a national nonprofit focused on heart education. She is an inspiring speaker and award-winning author of Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World. Jill’s deepest desire and calling are to bring a return of God’s principles of respect and civility to our society. For more information, visit Jill's website through the button below.
LaVeda M. Jones has engaged in the care, support, and advocacy of single mothers since 2009, the year she launched PSM. In February 2015, LaVeda decided to share her personal struggles, self-doubt, fears and uncertainties in her new book Raising A Prince Without a King. LaVeda’s story of survival has changed lives worldwide.
Carol Floch McColl’s own personal journey through divorce and thirteen years of single parenting enables her to come alongside single moms with empathy, compassion, and encouragement. Her passion is to give women hope in the twists and turns of life—hope that is grounded in the goodness, faithfulness, and unfailing love of God. Carol is the author of The Single Mom’s Devotional (Revell; 2009), and a featured expert in the Single & Parenting curriculum. She has over 35 years of experience in ministry to women and teenagers, but her most satisfying ministry was in nurturing her three daughters to become Christ-followers. Carol is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Dallas, TX. She holds an M.A. in Counseling from Dallas Baptist University, and a B. A. in Christian Education from Wheaton College (IL).
Elizabeth Demarest is a third-generation missionary, who continues to travel the world and lead teams on short-term trips to support indigenous ministries. Elizabeth has been firmly planted in her local church for over nineteen years and she believes the church is necessary to cultivate our divine passions and purpose. Her passion is investing in young women, inspiring them to pursue purity and unearth their God-breathed dreams. She is a national speaker, mother of three, and wife to Aley.
Having been a single mom for nearly 6 years, Dawn VanderWerf loves helping other single parents and their kids discover the hope and purpose she found in Christ, and she is passionate about envisioning and equipping more church communities to better serve single parent families. Recently remarried, Dawn lives with her husband Steve and their four children in Hudsonville, MI where she is the Director of Outreach and Single Parent Missions at EverGreen Ministries.
J.E. Berry is the author of The Truth About Happiness and Set Free to be Set Apart, and has released her first EP Album "Renamed". She is a beloved wife, mother of five children, and business owner. J.E. has a heart for missions, mothers, and seeing people come to know freedom and purpose through a relationship with Christ Jesus, specifically women who have yet to see their God given destiny because of lingering bondage. A former single mom, Jade carries a passion to see single moms free from people pleasing, unhappiness, un-forgiveness and much more, lending a hand in unveiling the culprits so that we can move forward in victory. She carries this same passion into each area of ministry she is active in.
Jamie Tindle is a faith-filled single mother of 3 amazing adult children, one of whom has disabilities. She is a parent advocate for individuals with disabilities and their families as well as the executive director of Families Helping Families. Jamie knows the importance of sharing her personal experiences with other families, so they will know there is hope, help, and happiness through the journey.
Daurie Adcock is a former single mom who knows all too well the life's demands on time and energy. As a mom to 9 children (6 by birth and 3 by love), Daurie has learned the art of balancing health & wellness in a busy schedule. She has been a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor for over a decade. Her passion is to help people find their healthiest and happiest self.
Jonathan James is pastor, CEO, dad, worship leader, and husband who has a passion for helping the hurting. As co-founder of Grace Journey Church, Jonathan uses his decade-long experience of pastoring as a way to meet the needs of those around him. He also carries a passion to pastor those who are pastoring others. As a person who has an incurable illness, he has suffered through the ups and downs of balancing life, ministry, parenting, and finances. Jonathan has a background in helping individuals with their financial planning due to his experience as a financial advisor for over 10 years. He uses his background in both finance and his personal experience with hemophilia to help families in crisis. This experience lead to him founding the national organization, Hope Charities, in 2009. Jonathan has substantial experience as a keynote and public speaker and continues to be a role model to many who are growing up with the challenges of hemophilia.
Nettye Johnson is founder of Faith and Fitness Services, LLC, a Christ-centered wellness organization offering education, products, and coaching services to help adults grow in spiritual and physical stewardship. As a sedentary and chubby child, Nettye experienced childhood asthma and was later diagnosed with a heart abnormality. For 17 years, she searched many diets and exercise plans and abandoned most of them. She worked a lot, had babies, stress a lot, and ate a lot. Finally, she surrendered her health, eating patterns, and life balance to God and the rest is history. Today, she is the author of Put Your Faith Where Your Fork Is and spends her days coaching others to find the freedom in health that she now experiences.
Jeff Maggio's personal experience with the divorce of his parents at age 15 forged a lasting impression on him pertaining to the challenges facing single moms. Fourteen years later, he married Jennifer, a single mom at the time, and gained first-hand experience in blending a family and serving single mother-led families. Jeff has helped hundreds of single mothers become homeowners since then, many who thought they never could. With more than two decades of experience working in the mortgage industry, he strives to go the extra mile with his customers. He specializes in working with first-time home buyers, taking care to educate them on the process. He also has a number of repeat clients and investors. He has also served in single mothers' ministry in his church for more than two decades.
Jason Doise, LUTCF is a co-founder and Senior Partner of Legacy Wealth Partners, an independent financial planning firm in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Since entering the financial services arena in 2002, he has focused on helping motivated people understand and avoid financial pitfalls. He was named one of the Top 4 Under 40 financial advisors in 2015 by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. Jason and his wife Chenelle have been married for 20 years and are parents to three wonderful children – Jewel, Jonah and Jensi.
Crystal Tullos is an ordinary girl from the Texas Panhandle living an extraordinary life following God. After spending a decade in Baton Rouge, she made a life in Boston, MA, following God's call to start StoryHeights Church along with her husband, Tyler. She lives life with audacious faith and an entrepreneurial spirit, enjoying her full life of raising four kids, serving as the executive director and co-lead pastor of her church, flipping houses, mentoring women, and starting and operating Montessori early education centers in the New England area. She is a dynamic communicator who will keep it real, make you laugh, empower you to soar to new heights and realize your God-given strength.
Vivacious. Knowledgeable. Passionate. That's Kris Swiatocho, Director of From His Hands Ministries and The Singles Network Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer/mentor author, Kris has a heart to reach and grow people so they will in turn reach and grow others.
Kris is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Design/Visual Design. She has also received some graduate training at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, been an affiliate staff member with Campus Crusade for Christ, taken leadership development courses, and coordinated singles ministry conferences, workshops and seminars.
Steve Repak, is a Certified Financial Planner™ , Financial Literacy Speaker, Army veteran, and the author of “6 Week Money Challenge For Your Personal Finances” and “Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money”. Steve has been a frequent guest on Fox and Friends, Fox Business, 700 Club, and CNN Headline News. Steve has been interviewed on NPR, Bloomberg Radio, Market Watch Radio, Wall Street Journal Radio, and many other National and Regional Shows. Steve’s work has been featured in Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, BusinessWeek, New York Post, Chicago Tribune, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance & USA Today.
Allison Schoonmaker is the founder of Spring Life Counseling, LLC which offers outpatient mental health services for teens, adults and couples. She is originally from the St. Louis, Missouri area and moved to New Orleans for graduate school, 9 months before hurricane Katrina. Natural disasters seem to bring out the best in people and she couldn’t help but fall in love with Louisiana as everyone chipped in to help each other heal and move forward. Allison met her husband soon after and they have one son together. She holds a Masters of Art in Marriage and Family Counseling from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from McKendree University in Illinois. Allison is licensed as a professional counselor in the state of Louisiana and has worked in private practice for over 10 years. Counseling primarily from a systemic perspective, she frequently draws on principles from cognitive-behavioral therapy, solution-focused brief therapy and reconciliation-focused therapy, while attending to the holistic growth of her clients: emotional, spiritual, mental and social development.
Alton Jamison originates from Hopewell, a small town in Central Virginia. He grew up in a single-parent home before his mother met his stepfather, while his father was in and out of prison. His mother struggled to take care of him while he tried his best to become a man despite his father's absence. Throughout his life he faced numerous obstacles and challenges; however, he has developed the principle that he is bigger and better than his environment. He received his Master of Arts in Practical Theology from Regent University and is currently completing his Doctorate of Education from Grand Canyon University. Alton is a former Pastor of a church in Virginia and, along with his wife, is the founder of The Empowerment Zone, a ministry designed to empower people for everyday life. He is the author of four books and his work has been featured in two books, Rekindling the Human Spirit and That's My Story and I'm Sticking To It, from Liberty Publishing. Alton has worked in Corporate America as an engineer and is also an entrepreneur. He is the co-owner of The PCF Group (Real Estate Investment Company), owner of The Jamison Group, LLC (Professional Speaking and Training Company), and Blackmovesfirst, LLC (an online chess board company).
Rev. Dr. Brian Sleeth has been the Executive Director of The Christian Outreach Center of Baton Rouge since 2013. The organization’s flagship program involves training job seekers using a Bible-based curriculum that emphasizes soft skills and character development. The organization’s model also includes revenue-generation from The Purple Cow thrift stores, located throughout Baton Rouge. Brian is a PhD student studying Organizational Leadership, and recently completed a Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration. He also has a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry. He has been married to Stacy for 30 years, and they have four children.
Dana Che is an inspirational speaker, author, blogger, relationship coach, and host of the online talk show Real Relationship Talk who is passionate about seeing people walk in relational wholeness. She has spoken to audiences both large and small at women's conferences, business events, schools, churches, moms' groups, and youth conferences sharing her story as a former teen mom and other topics like building authentic relationships, purposeful parenting, finding purpose in pain, and more. Dana holds a B.A. in communication. She shares her life with her husband and high school sweetheart, Shaun, their four amazing children, and their "multi-cultural" dog in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA.
“Wit with Wisdom and Humor with Heart” perfectly describe Jean Gatz, internationally known keynote speaker, retreat leader and award-winning author. Weaving God’s Word together with laughter and stories of her own faith journey, Jean inspires women to meet their challenges with wisdom, courage, faith and grace. She’s the author of eight books including Unwrapping God’s Gifts in Your Life, Dealing with Difficult People, Bless Your Heart and Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This. As the mother of three grown children, Jean has lived through the trials, disappointments and losses that test our faith. While we don’t get to choose everything that happens to us, we do get to choose how we respond. We can react with fear, or we can ask God for His help to step up, take action and take charge! When Jean’s not speaking at conferences and retreats to inspire, educate and entertain, she lives with her husband in Baton Rouge, LA.
Jim Burns is the president of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has close to 2 million resources in print in 20 languages. He primarily writes and speaks on the values of HomeWord, which are: Strong Marriages, Confident Parents, Empowered Kids, and Healthy Leaders. Some of his most popular books are: Confident Parenting, The Purity Code, Creating an Intimate Marriage, Closer, and Doing Life with Your Adult Children. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; two sons-in-law, Steve and Matt; and three grandchildren, James, Charlotte and Huxley.
Helping families create connections that last a lifetime is Lori Wildenberg’s passion. Lori, wife to Tom, mom of 4, and Mimi to 1, shares her stories of failures and successes, in her books and talks, to encourage and equip parents. Her most recently published books is, The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections. As a licensed parent and family educator, she leads the Moms Together Facebook group and page and co-hosts the Moms Together Podcast. The Wildenberg home is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Marcus Kennedy makes his home in the Dallas, Texas area. This devoted husband and father knows all too well the challenges a single mother faces, as he watched his own mother navigate the journey of long days, a full-time job, and raising a son alone. A graduate of Northwestern State University, Marcus has spent much of his career helping others discover their most pressing financial needs and offering services to meet those needs. As a licensed Agent of New York Life Insurance Company, he conducts a number of financial education workshops in churches, communities, and corporations to help discover long-term strategies to help plan for their future, included, but not limited to college funding, retirement, managing costs for extended periods of care and lifetime income strategies.
Being a mom, wife, and full-time employee Nicole B. Nichols often found herself overwhelmed, struggling to figure out how to be herself, and fulfill her many roles. There were tough choices along the way: her feelings, needs, rights, and God’s way. She ended up at this cross road many times - trying to find clarity on the right thing to do, the right way, and the right decision. She struggled to fuse God’s way with her feelings and her rights. She wanted to tailor, her walk, her way. She wanted to be in charge. Her journey with Christ and ultimately her learning to surrender and depend on Him is the heart change she needed to truly thrive and it’s the recipe she often uses today as a licensed professional counselor. Whether her clients need individual growth, clarity, or simply someone to walk with them as they navigate relationships, she has made it her life’s mission to bring hope to hurting people through God’s love.
Ron Deal, is one of the most widely read and viewed experts on blended families in the country. He is Director of FamilyLife Blended® for FamilyLife®, founder of Smart Stepfamilies™, and the author and Consulting Editor of the Smart Stepfamily Series of books including the bestselling Building Love Together in Blended Families: The 5 Love Languages® and Becoming Stepfamily Smart with Dr. Gary Chapman and The Smart Stepfamily: 7 Steps to a Healthy Family. Ron is a licensed marriage and family therapist, popular conference speaker, and host of the FamilyLife Blended Podcast with Ron Deal. He and his wife, Nan, have three sons and live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Dr. Shelia Truelove
Resilient, Faith-Filled, Giver of Hope and Inspiration are key adjectives that describe Dr. Shelia Truelove. In her career as a Special Education Teacher, for over 15 years she taught students with various disabilities how to hone in on their capabilities. Her passion for teaching, mentoring and enhancing the lives of others is evidenced in the work she has done outside of the classroom. Dr. Truelove has been a single parent for eleven years and is transparent about her journey as a single parent of a 13-year-old son and 12-year-old twin daughters. She is transparent in discussing her journey of overcoming the stigmas of single parenting while walking through financial hardships, homelessness, emotional and mental barriers with her children, and battling depression. She shares how God enabled her to regain her worth and equip her children to do the same. Despite it all, she gives all the glory and honor to God, and she is on a mission to inspire other single moms that with God, all things are possible.
Tramika Craddock, certified Lifestyle Coach & Empowerment Speaker, helps Moms around the world find a healthy balance between the daily task of Life, Family & Dreams.. When coaching or speaking she deals with topics Time & Priority Management, Organization, Planning & Self-Care. Tramika walks along-side Moms helping them create their own custom blueprint by providing Tips, Tools and Strategies for Moms to help them be successful in every area of their life, without compromising family. Tramika also is the author of Wife Mom Preneur, my journey where she inspires readers about her journey of becoming great in all 3 areas of her life, and although there was a lot of responsibilities, she had to be strategic to find time & strength to make sure she was doing what made her happy. Tramika finds her success in helping Moms grow from where they are to where they desire to be and empowering Moms to help them know and understand they are equipped for managing Motherhood and still showing up to be the best version of themselves!
Judith Owhondah is a child of God originally from Heaven, sent down to Ghanaian parents, and raised in Nigeria. She is a wife, mother, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor and founder of Balm of Gilead Christian Counseling Center, LLC. She also assists her husband in pastoring a church – Light Embassy, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Judith has worked in the field of mental health in Louisiana for over 10 years in varying capacities - both in inpatient, outpatient, and community settings. She has worked with clients diagnosed with various forms of mental illnesses, as well as couple and family issues. As a systems-trained clinician, Judith considers the various systems people interact with in her work with them. Her clients are therefore able to work towards well-rounded solutions. Judith tends to use Emotion Focused Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy, Sand Tray Therapy, and Story-Informed Trauma Therapy in her work. Depending on what model she is using, she may act as a coach, teacher, facilitator, directive expert, or collaborator. Nonetheless, she sees herself as a child of God, trained to make healing available to hurting hearts.
Single Mom University® courses are designed to teach financial security, positive parenting habits, career preparation, and self-care. Classes incorporate curriculum in three core areas: Parenting, Finances, and Health & Wellness.
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