- Benefits and Services
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- Veterans in Care
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- Speakers Bureau
Are you looking for the right speaker or an emcee who will take your event, gala, ceremony or meeting to the next level? You’ve come to the right place!
The Nevada Department of Veterans Services (NDVS) is pleased to provide a speakers bureau as a free resource to communities and organizations across Nevada!
While our speakers are knowledgeable on topics of interest to veterans and military members, they can also share information on a wide range other topics listed below.
Scroll below to find the speaker that best suits your needs and topic. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Submit Speaker Requests to Josh Loftis by email at Loftisj@veterans.nv.gov for follow-up and scheduling
Join Our Speakers Bureau
If you have expertise in public speaking, as well as expertise in veterans or military issues and would like to serve as a volunteer and become a part of the NDVS Speakers Bureau, contact Josh Loftis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your resume, bio and contact information to initiate the process to determine whether you qualify and eligibility.
Where Life Leads – Lessons on Leadership
What does it take to be a good leader? How important are values and ethics? Those who have climbed the highest ladders to success have asked and answered those questions in the affirmative. Bill provides seasoned guidance from his experiences in the military and his life after as a civilian.
Missing Out on Earned Benefits?
.Chances are you served in the military, got out and moved on with your life. But are you leaving earned benefits on the table? Claiming what you have earned could improve the quality of your life or the life of your loved ones. Don’t miss out on benefits earned through military service!
Serving After Service to Country
What does the Veterans Service Commission do for veterans and their loved ones? Bill can explain the role of this important panel. He can also provide information on how you can become involved in the process of identifying issues important to veterans as well as finding solutions, even if it means talking to Nevada State lawmakers and getting involved in the Nevada Legislative Session.
Bill is Chairman of the Nevada Veterans Commission, responsible for advising the Director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. He also reviews and makes recommendations regarding veterans issues and bills placed before Nevada State lawmakers.
He has a broad and diverse educational background, including training in federal mediation and conflict management. He retired from the Federal Aviation Administration as an Air Traffic Requirements Systems and Airways Facilities and Air Traffic Controllers Training Specialist.
He retired from a major defense contractor as an aerospace logistics and management engineer on the Space Shuttle Program. Also played a lead role in the integration and implementation of the FAA’s Air Traffic Systems modernization program.
He served in both Korea and Southeast Asia. He was one of four aircraft launch control NCOIC’s at the Royal Thai Air Base U-Tapio, Thailand, launching 1600 Aircraft Bomber and Tanker sorties over Vietnam each month. He and his team of seven trained Ethiopian Air Force aircraft technicians and flight crews in country during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Bill is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and provides oversight to the day-to-day operations of the DAV Transportation System
Anne Davis, PhD
Are Leaders Born or Made?
Anne pulls from her experiences in the military and then from her civilian life to explore this long-standing discussion about leadership and leaders. What is it about some individuals who excel and succeed despite the odds or obstacles and barriers? Anne explores those questions and provides some insights.
Women – Fastest Growing Veteran Population But Many Feel Invisible
Anne says she sees it all the time; women veterans who feel “invisible.” She will talk about what that means, why it is important and what can be done to make them feel visible again. She discusses why women choose to serve in the military in the first place sharing her experiences from West Point cadet, in one of first classes to include women.
The History and Celebration of Women Warriors
Women have served in our country’s military since our country was born but “firsts” continue to occur for women in uniform!
Anne covers the contributions women have made in the military over the years and the contributions women continue to make.
Anne is the Chair of the Women Veterans Advisory Committee whose mission includes supporting and assisting the Nevada Department of Veterans Services in locating, educating and advocating for all Women Veterans in Nevada, determining the unique needs of Women Veterans, and conducting outreach and education to encourage Women Veterans to take advantage of the benefits they have earned.
She graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the Ordnance Corps. She served on active duty in the US Army for 29 years in various locations and leadership positions to include battalion and brigade-level commands.
She earned her MBA from Harvard Business School in 1991 and her PhD in Business from City University in New York in 2005. She taught leadership and management courses at the US Military Academy. Retiring as a Colonel, she served as an adjunct faculty member at Argosy University teaching courses in Business Psychology and Business Strategy and Execution.
She then joined Walden University’s faculty in the Doctor of Business Administration Program teaching seminars in Multicultural Management and Sustainability as well as mentoring numerous doctoral students studying various business topics. Anne has published several articles on leadership to include: Theory X and Theory Y, behavioral integrity of managers, and mentoring.
Leadership Versus Management
Why Employees Resist Change
Pieter M. Droog is originally from the Netherlands and grew up in the Washington DC area. He received his degree and his commission in the US Army from Loyola College. His 20 year career involved being a transportation officer, attending flight school, and then attending Aircraft Maintenance Officer Course and maintenance test pilot school. During his career he commanded a Direct Support Ordnance Company and a General Support Aircraft Maintenance Company. He completed his career twice as Director of Logistics closing both bases and as Deputy Material Management Center, Sinai, Egypt.
Pieter Droog parlayed his military career into manufacturing and distribution careers as Director and Vice President of Operations. Over the last 7 years he added nonprofit management to his repertoire. As Branch Manager for ProNet and JOIN Reno, he developed training programs assisting unemployed personnel qualify and become selected for work. During his tenure, his programs assisted over 2,000 unemployed personnel achieving an 85% success rate during the recent recession.
Starting, Starting Over, & Living at Your Own Pace
Inspirational, intended for a general audience
Using Army Leadership Tools in the Civilian Sector: How My Military Experiences Help Me Succeed in Business
Intended for business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, anyone in a leadership position
From Surviving to Thriving: The Power of Following Your Passion Post Deployment
Intended for anyone struggling to find their sense of identity after a major life event
Annie Emprima-Martin is a service disabled Army veteran. She deployed in 2016 to the Middle East with the Nevada National Guard as a brigade level support operations field auditor, traveling to areas in Kuwait, Jordan, Iraq, and Qatar.
Ms. Emprima-Martin invests in community-based minority-owned businesses in Nevada. She currently owns Veteran Ready, a B2B consulting company launched in 2015 that specializes in career progression programs for current military, veterans, and spouses; holds the title of Vice President and is a minority owner of See Us Now Staffing, Inc, a woman-owned, Hispanic-owned Las Vegas based temp and direct hire staffing company; and is a managing member of One. Spiritual Wellness, LLC, a spiritually guided healing company using cupping therapy, massage therapy and coaching techniques to provide mental, physical, and emotional (Mind-Body-Soul) relief to individuals.
Annie has a background in accounting, auditing, marketing, leadership and mentorship training, psychology, and life purpose coaching. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western New England College, associates in criminal justice from the College of Southern Nevada, and completed graduate level courses in positive psychology. She is self-taught in graphology (handwriting) and metaphysics.
Ms. Emprima-Martin was appointed by Governor Sandoval to serve on the State of Nevada’s Women Veteran Advisory Committee in 2017. She also serves as a volunteer with the Southern Nevada Veteran Advisory Council, ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve), Nevada Hispanic Business Group, and StartupNV.
Change/Agent for Change
Transition to Civilian/ Life Changes
Amy Garland oversees several key areas of the department. She joined NDVS in 2014 as Chief Financial Officer, responsible for oversight of budgeting and the financial functions of the department. Today, in addition to those duties, she also oversees support services, personnel management, information technology and grants management. For nearly two decades, Garland has worked her way up through the ranks of Nevada state government. She has a strong track record of successfully managing and building highly productive teams, improving business processes, directing budget planning initiatives, developing compliance measures and reducing error rates.
Garland is a U.S. Navy veteran who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She is also a graduate of the State of Nevada’s Certified Public Manager’s program.
Poppy Helgren, RNC
Excelling in the Complicated, Complex World of Skilled Nursing Care
The Nevada State Veterans Home holds numerous awards, honors and accolades including the highest ratings (5-Star) from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicaid and the US News and World Report’s “Best Nursing Home” designation. Poppy shares what it takes to achieve and maintain high standards.
Aging and Advanced Care
The facility Poppy works in is NOT your grandmother’s or grandfather’s “nursing home.” There are new concepts that provide top level care for aging residents living in skilled care. Even memory care is evolving. Poppy can provide insight on new and emerging care for the elderly in need of skilled care.
Why Caring for Aging Veterans is Unique
There are many things that set a veteran’s home and skilled care for civilians apart. Cost is one factor but that it is not the only one in considering the best place for an aging vetern to receive care. Culture, as in military culture is another factor and it is a big one. Poppy shares why this is so important in provideing the best care possible for aging veterans.
Poppy is the Director of the Nursing for the Nevada State Veterans Home, owned and operated by the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.
She served in the US Army earning her commission as a First Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve Nurse Corps in 2003. She promoted to the rank of Captain in 2006.
Poppy holds several degrees including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Hawaii, a Masters in Education from Boston University. She is a registered nurse and has earned her Nurse Practitioner Certification in Women’s Health Care.
She has served as a Director of Nursing for Comfort Hospice Care and Delmar Gardens of Green Valley. She has also served as a staff nurse in the OB-GYN Unit at Valley Hospital and Medical Center.
Poppy also has earned numerous honors, awards and distinctions too numerous to mention in this short bio but highlights include; Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society Lifetime Member, Army Nurse Corps Award of Excellence in 2006, Nurse Leader of the Year from the Perry Foundation Endeavor Awards in 2016, 2018 as well as the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award nominations in Las Vegas NV 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006,
Management/Navigating the Regulatory World/Leadership
Connie has spent her career overseeing staff in the every changing, highly complex and highly regulated world of skilled nursing care, acute care, and other health care settings, including the private practices of physicians. She has served in both regional and national divisions of skilled care facilities.
Connie is the State Officer for the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home, responsible for contract compliance for its management, operation and administration. This includes ensuring the facility and contractor are in compliance with federal and state laws, rules as well as regulations governing the operation of a nursing home receiving federal funds.
She has more than 30 years administrative and management experience working in a variety of health care settings, including physicians in private practice, a home health agency, two acute care settings and subsequently managing a regional and national division of skilled nursing facilities. More recently, Connie worked for the State of Nevada Bureau of Healthcare Quality and Compliance as a healthcare surveyor, inspecting licensed health care facilities and conducting compliance investigations throughout the state.
In addition to health care, Connie has worked in human resource management for companies such as Amazon.com and Intuit. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) and as a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
From Private to Colonel—and all the Bumps In Between
Never dreaming of a career in the military, Kat found herself following the promise of a college education into a life she never imagined; leading soldiers on 5 continents in both war and peace. Hear an inspiring—sometimes amusing, sometimes challenging—story of serving in the United States Army.
Celebrating the Legacy of America’s Women Warriors!
Take a walk through time as Kat highlights the history of women in the U.S. Military; from 1775 through today’s modern force. She will draw from her distinguished career to offer perspectives on the contribution of women warriors and why they are essential to the success of America’s military.
You Need America’s Veterans—More Than They Need you!
The media often portrays veterans as broken, dangerous, and unstable. While some veterans both need and deserve assistance, this inaccurate media portrayal prevents many from seeing Veterans for who they really are. Kat shares her experience as Neavda’s Director of Veterans Services to showcase the contributions of America’s Veterans and provide ideas about how you can support our military and veterans.
Kat is the Director of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, responsible for supporting the State Veterans Cemeteries, Veterans Homes, and Veterans Service Officer program.
Kat served 34 years in the United States Army. Beginning her career as soldier in the Woman's Army Corps, she achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant before commissioning as a military police officer.
She has served around the world, to include Panama, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and commanded at company, battalion, and Army Command levels, earring the distinction as the longest serving brigade commander in modern Army history.
Kat's three Pentagon tours included duty as the Commander of the Army Corrections Command, supervising six correctional facilities and developing policy for the detention of unlawful enemy combatants. After retiring, she taught bachelors and masters level college course at the University of Maryland and the University of Nevada, Reno until she was appointed by Governor Sandoval as Director.
Kat’s education includes a Master’s of Science degree from the U.S. Army War College and a Master’s of Public Administration from Roosevelt University in Chicago.
Bobi Pike Oates
What the Military Has to Offer Women
From being handpicked to stand up the Air Force first remote piloted aircraft predator squadron at Creech Air Force Base to providing the leadership for the initial Air Force cadre of maintenance personnel training at Fort Hauchuca, the Air Force has provided Bobi a platform to learn and succeed. What does the military hold for your future? Bobi will be able to provide some answers.
The History and Celebration of Women Warriors
Women have served in our country’s military since our country was born but “firsts” continue to occur for women in uniform!
Bobi covers the contributions women have made in the military over the years and the contributions women continue to make.
Air Force Association and helping Wounded Warriors
Roberta Pike Oates (Bobi) is a U. S. Air Force, retired aircraft maintenance Senior Master Sergeant with 23 years of service. (1976-1999) During her Air Force career she served at several overseas and stateside bases in various Aircraft Maintenance positions. She also deployed to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey in support of Operation Provide Comfort. After retiring from the Air Force she was a Branch Manager for Armed Forces Bank at Nellis AFB for 9 years.
Bobi has lived in Nevada for 24 years. She received her certification as a Nevada Advocate from the Nevada Department of Veteran Services on July 26, 2015.
She served on the Governor’s Women Veterans Advisory Committee 2014-2015 and was reappointed for another term till January 2018 and elected the Vice Chairwoman.
Is a Board member of the newly formed Veterans Administration’s Southern Nevada Community Engagement Board.
She is Vice President of the Women Veterans of Nevada and a member Ceremonial team. A life member of the Air Forces Association (AFA) and President, Thunderbird Chapter, Air Force Association, recently elected Southwest Regional President for AFA; a Charter Member of the Women in Military Service for America and the Nevada Ambassador for the Women’s Memorial. Air Force Sergeants Association; American Legion Post 76; life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12101; , a life member of the Disabled American Veterans, and member of the Military Women Across the Nation; member of the Air Force Sergeants Association. Member of the United Veterans Legislature Council, Nevada. She was inducted in the Meadows Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution May 2017.
Bobi holds a BS in Business Management, AA in Aircraft Maintenance, AS in Law Enforcement, Certificates in Paralegal Studies and Banking.
Sharlee “Charley” Wyatt Smith
Women in the Military? Opportunities That Await You!
How and Why Veterans Should Get Involved in Law Making
History of Women in the Military
Charley enlisted in the US Army as a Private First Class on 19 Dec 1981; and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel on 31 May 2006. She served in the Nevada Army National Guard, on Active Duty, and in the US Army Reserves. She has a Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, and completed the US Army Command & General Staff College.
Charley is an avid volunteer for veterans and serves in many veterans’ organizations and volunteer programs. She also volunteers for the Veterans Guest House, Honor Flight, the VA Sierra Nevada Healthcare System, the Washoe County JROTC, and she participates in the Veterans In Care (VIC) ceremonies that honor and recognize aging veterans.
Additionally, she serves on a number of boards, including the VA Women’s Veterans Health Committee, the VA Veterans and Family Advisory Board, the Governor’s Women Veterans Advisory Committee, and US Senator Dean Heller’s Academies Selection Committee.
Her highest military award is the Legion of Merit and she is a member of the Nevada National Guard Hall of Fame (2006), a recipient of the Nevada Governor’s Veteran of the Month Award (2014), the University of Nevada Reno EyeZone Military Hero of the Game (2016), and the National Guard Association of the US Army Patrick Henry Award (2017)
Charley lives in Reno, Nevada, where she enjoys her passion as a ballroom dancer and instructor. She is married to Russ Wyant, a former Sailor and Marine, and together they serve as many Veterans as time will allow them.
Surviving the change from military to civilian world!
Hear about the transition from regimented military life as a Senior NCO, to not only civilian life, but a non-profit unregimented life style as Fred discusses how the transition had its bumps, but also rewards. He not only talks about the lessons in patience as well as dealing with those who don’t take orders!
From rural American to war torn lands and back!
Share in Fred’s memories of growing up in rural North Dakota. In comparison, he details what it was like to deploy to middle east countries. He relates his observations of countries devastated by war, famine and how this led to a mistrust. He discusses how this changes a person deeply and how that change makes him who he is today.
Serving veterans through non-profits, federal government, to state government.
Fred explains why he is passionate in his service to veterans. He discusses the ups and downs of employment from a non-profit veteran organization to the federal government and finally state government and how each are different and yet all work toward the same goal, helping veterans. He will tell you what motivates him to assist veterans and will motivate you to do the same. Fred discusses why it’s important for veterans to be involved in the legislative process without being political, not necessarily an easy task!
Fred is the Deputy Director of Programs and Services for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services, responsible for the State Veterans Cemeteries, Veterans Service Officer program as well as veterans outreach throughout Nevada.
He served 20 years in the United States Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves, beginning as a combat engineer then crossing over to Military Intelligence. He retired as a Sergeant First Class.
He has deployed to Kuwait, Egypt and Somalia. He was the non-commissioned officer in charge of the human intelligence team on numerous deployments and eventually returned to the Defense Language Institute and a Military Language Instructor. Fred has wide-ranging interworking knowledge of veteran programs having worked as a National Service Officer for the Disabled American Veterans before becoming a claims rater then Military Service Coordinator for Veterans Affairs (VA).
Following retirement from the VA, he was appointed by Director Miller of the Nevada Department of Veterans Services as Deputy Director of Programs and Services.
Having a deep sense of commitment to the veteran community, he has been a life member of several national veteran organizations.
Tony Yarbrough is a retired Industrial Plant Engineer having worked at Naval Civil Service (Aviation and Nuclear), General Motors Corporation, Walgreens Corporation, Lear Corporation, and H.E.B. Grocery Corporation. His voluntary service has taken him through appointed and elected non-profit leadership positions in his community. He has officially been a registered Nevada Lobbyist since 1991.
He is a Veteran having served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years on active sea-duty (4 years Viet Nam), and 6 years Ready Reserve as a Machinery Repairman 1st Class; achieving Chief Petty Officer (E-7) upon Honorable Discharge.
He resides in Yerington, Nevada, and is the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8084 Commander, State Deputy Legislative Chair representing all 9,000 VFW members, and the Chairman of the United Veterans Legislative Council representing nearly 500,000 Nevada Veterans, Military, and their families in the State Legislature.
His leadership experience within the VFW over the last 5 years has been as Junior Vice Commander, Senior Vice Commander, and Commander at Post 8084 in Yerington. At the same time, he served as Junior Vice Commander, Senior Vice Commander, and Commander of District 1. He is now the Nevada State Senior Vice Commander.
Recruitment, Training and Nurturing of Volunteers
Cathy Yates has worked for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services as the Northern Nevada Outreach Director since April, 2017. Cathy has expanded the outreach program in Northern Nevada by coordinating and utilizing the Nevada Veterans Advocate volunteers to participate in a variety of events in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Fallon and Winnemucca. In addition to the coordination of outreach activities with Nevada Veterans Advocates volunteers, Cathy has worked with the NDVS Patriot Employer program to increase the number of businesses dedicated to employing Nevada veterans.
Prior to coming to work for NDVS, she spent more than 25 years in education both as a teacher and administrator. Cathy also has extensive grants management experience, managing an AmeriCorps program for three years in Northern Nevada and managing Carl Perkins funded Tech Prep and School-to-Career grants for more than six years in Southern California. She spent a year working for the Orange County Department of Education (California) researching Best Practices in School-to-Career programs and has consulted with several school districts in Orange County to assist with implementation of career development programs.
Cathy has a BA in Psychology and a MS in Educational Administration.