People of PPTL

Board Members

Jennifer Ulie-Wells, Ph.D, Executive Director of Please Pass the Love


Dr. Jennifer Ulie-Wells, PhD, Executive Director of Please Pass the Love Jennifer finished from Iowa State University in Education with certifications in mental health and social justice. She has been in education for over 20 years as a special educator. In 2013, she founded Please Pass the Love Youth Mental Health Initiative which provides systemic training and support for thousands of educators, schools, and districts across Iowa while hosting the only school mental health conference in the state. Each year Dr. Ulie-Wells trains thousands of educators, young people, families, and community providers on a variety of school mental health (SMH) topics. She works for Drake University as an adjunct professor. In 2018, she launched an online school mental health program in collaboration with Drake University and Iowa State Education Association (ISEA). She actively engage in national school mental health capacities including the National School Mental Health State Summit with leaders of federal agencies such as SAMHSA, HHS, HRSA, DOE, DOJ, and the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health. She is a member of SMH communities of practices and the national Family School Community Alliance with scholars from across the nation. She has served on a variety of behavioral health related state committees with the Iowa Department of Education and is a Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute Mentor through the University of Iowa, Department of Pediatrics. Her research focuses on racial and marginalized trauma as school mental health, and she has pending publications. She is also a West Des Moines School Board member. ​She is passionate about improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for children, families, and educators as well as offer more comprehensive services and supports to school systems. She strives to bridge positive relationships between the educational and mental health communities to more effectively prevent and address mental health issues for our children and adolescents throughout the state of Iowa. Aside from her determination to fight the stigma of mental wellness and advocating for Iowa’s children, families and schools, her number one priority are her two inspiring children and two puppies. They enjoy traveling together and family game nights. Jen’s other passions are art, music, bicycling and most anything outdoors.




Tyler Coe, Attorney at Whitfield & Eddy Law Firm in Des Moines, IA


Tyler Coe, Attorney at Whitfield & Eddy Law Firm in Des Moines, IA Tyler is known for his approachable demeanor and awareness of the many factors that come into play in each case. Tyler's community involvement includes serving on a non-profit board that was ranked on the Business Record's Book of Lists as one of the top 25 most influential boards in the Des Moines metro area and the Downtown Des Moines Chamber of Commerce. He regularly provides media outlets and professional organizations with commentary on Iowa Law. Among Tyler's many accomplishments are speaking at the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association 13th Annual Conference, Keynote Speaker at the Central Iowa Supervision Partnership Fall Conference, and is an Adjunct Professor at Drake Law School. Tyler is a mental health advocate at heart who serves all his clients in a thoughtful and caring way when they are going through a difficult and stressful time.




Tracy Clavell, Board Secretary, Director, Annuity Product Marketing Principal Financial


Tracey Clavell, Board Secretary, Director, Annuity Product Marketing Principal Financial Tracey is a Marketing Director in the Retirement and Income Solutions division at Principal and has been in the marketing field for over 25 years. She leads a team focused on creating strategic marketing plans, assets and promotional materials to help individuals save enough so they have enough in retirement. Tracey is a Des Moines native and proud alumnus of East High School. She holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Management and French from Central College in Pella, Iowa. During college she developed a passion for travel and had the opportunity to attend the University of Paris for several months and traveled throughout Europe. She is passionate about developing our youth and has been actively involved in a local preschool board, parent organizations and committees during her children’s school years. As they become more independent, she’s looking for other ways to help our youth, such as serving on the board and as Secretary of Please Pass the Love. Witnessing her close friends lose an amazing son to suicide heightened her awareness on the lack of knowledge, resources and services available regarding mental health issues for our children and adolescents. Tracey lives in Indianola, Iowa with her three children. She is savoring the days of attending sporting events, school activities and watching teenagers enter and leave her home. When her children are busy doing their own thing, she and her fiancé enjoy traveling, camping, bicycling, binge watching their favorite shows and attending as many live music events as possible.




Dawn Carico, Teacher at Johnston Community School District


Dawn Carico, Teacher at Johnston Community School District Dawn has been an educator for Des Moines Public Schools and Johnston Community School District. She currently is a Title 1 Reading Specialist for Horizon Elementary in Johnston. Dawn serves on the board for Cameron Carico +10 Foundation, in addition to, Please Pass the Love. She also has been a board member for Teammates Mentoring Program and a Teammates mentor. Dawn has also volunteered at Oakwood United Methodist Church and Bible Study Fellowship. Dawn enjoyed volunteering for the Johnston Partnership Summer Lunch Program and Back to School Clinic. Dawn is the mother of Cameron and Kate and the wife of Brian Carico. In her spare time, Dawn loves to spend time with her family, cheer on the St. Louis Cardinals and Iowa State Cyclones, and take walks with her husband Brian and two boxers.




Jim Nelson, Accounting Director at FBL Financial Group


Jim Nelson, Accounting Director at FBL Financial Group Jim is an Accounting Director at FBL Financial Group, Inc. Prior to Joining FBL Financial Group, Inc. in 2003, Jim worked in public accounting for KPMG, LLP and the Office of the Auditor of State of Iowa. Jim is a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting. Jim is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants. I began working with Please Pass the Love in 2017. I continue to serve on the Board of Please Pass the Love as I recognize the importance and benefits of having strong mental health processes within our schools and am excited about the great things Please Pass the Love is doing to improve our schools processes.




Beth Nigut, Senior Vice President President, Chief Human Resource Officer


Elizabeth Nigut, Senior Vice President President, Chief Human Resource Officer Elizabeth is the Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resource Officer at EMC Insurance Companies. She is responsible for creating people strategies aligned to achieve business results, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, organizational and performance management, recruiting and retention, learning and development, compensation, benefits and wellness. Prior to working at EMC, Ms. Nigut served as the general counsel for the Des Moines Independent Community School District, Iowa’s largest school district. She provided legal
guidance and counsel to the school board and district’s administration, managed the district’s litigation and internal investigations, and assisted in collective bargaining negotiations and grievance processes. Ms. Nigut previously was in private practice with the law firm of Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor and Fairgrave, P.C. for over thirteen years where she focused on employment law, insurance defense litigation, and insurance coverage analysis. Ms. Nigut grew up in Des Moines, received her B.A. degree cum laude from Simpson College, and her J.D. degree from Drake University. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Iowa State Bank, and Please Pass the Love, a non- profit organization that empowers school communities to embrace and sustain mental health
and wellness supports for their students.




Michael Lewis, Principal at Shive Hattery


Michael Lewis, Principal at Shive Hattery Michael is a Team Leader / Principal at Shive-Hattery with a focus on Civic / Public Architecture in the institutional civic-governmental and educational sectors. He has a wide variety of community service experience providing leadership and support to non-profits as a mentor / coach, as well as, through services on boards and in rotary. Born and raised in Lincoln, NE, Michael graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1989 with a master’s degree in architecture. He moved to Tampa, Florida in 1991 to lead / manage a new business initiative focused on addressing the needs of institutional populations by creating supportive environments. He moved to Des Moines, Iowa in 1996 with his family, where he worked as an Office Director until 2012 for two nationally recognized Architecture-Engineering firms at which time Michael and a ten member team joined Shive-Hattery, in their West Des Moines, IA location to continue to deliver design services that support community betterment. Having worked extensively throughout the United States of America while delivering public sector educational and governmental projects throughout his professional career, a consistency in approach and a philosophy has emerged. Creating environments that support, adapt, and strengthen community well-being is of vital importance. Michael is very passionate about mental health. He has been an integral part of planning of facilities that support behavioral and mental health services across the continuum of care. Through dedication to working across the full spectrum of education, healthcare and governmental services areas, supporting the needs of career service providers and those whose voice is not always easily heard is of significant focus. He realizes the need to get better access to mental health services: to deliver the right service, at the right place, at the right time, by well-trained advocates is critical. Getting more mental health supports in educational environments is a key to the delivery of, and advocacy for systemic improvement and positive change. Michael lives in West Des Moines with his family. Spending time with family locally, traveling to be with and support two college aged children, and another involved in Teach for America round-out activities outside of Michael’s areas of community interest, and professional development. All are extremely enjoyable activities.




Mary Sheka, Board Co-President, Volunteer Iowa


Mary Sheka, Board Co-President, Volunteer Iowa Mary works at Volunteer Iowa, the state service commission, as the director of the Iowa Mentoring Partnership supporting youth mentoring programs across the state. She has worked with and been an advocate for young people throughout her career in the fields of K-12 and higher education, counseling, public policy, and state government. Her volunteer service includes work with several youth-serving nonprofits including Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, Please Pass the Love, and Children and Family Urban Movement. Mary tries to have as much fun as possible with family and friends and is passionate about traveling, reading, biking, running, attending live music events, connecting to nature, and the oxford comma.




Sara Krzyczkowski, Assistant Vice President of Wells Fargo with the Default Accounts Payable Department


Sara Krzyczkowski, Assistant Vice President of Wells Fargo with the Default Accounts Payable Department While Sara still thinks of herself as recent transplant to Des Moines, she moved here from Michigan in 2002, and finally feels like she knows most of the good restaurants in the metro. Sara spent 9 years as a middle school teacher, holds multiple degrees in educational research and policy, and is a proud alumni of Michigan State University, Drake University, and Iowa State University. While she is no longer an active educator, Sara is a longtime proponent of education and mental health supports for teachers, students, and families, recognizing that all three are critical components for student success inside and outside the classroom. Sara believes firmly in the criticality of giving back to the community, and she is involved in several organizations and activities that do so, including Puppy Jake Foundation, Special Olympics, Stand Down for Homeless Vets and is a member of the United Way's Educational Leadership Initiative and Women United. She is thrilled to be part of Please Pass the Love, which has such a positive message and impact for students, teachers, and staff across the Midwest. Until all students have easy access to the mental health education and support they need to be successful, it is important that organizations like PPTL are there to support both the students and the educators/communities who support them.




Advisors to the Board


Dr. Sasha Khosravi Medical Director Mercy Pediatric Neurology & Psychiatry Center, Mercy Hospital




Maggie White, Senior Corporate Legal Counsel, EMC Insurance


Maggie White, Senior Corporate Legal Counsel, EMC Insurance Maggie works as Senior Corporate Legal Counsel at EMC Insurance Companies, where she focuses on employment, immigration, and corporate law. Prior to working at EMC, Maggie worked in private practice at two law firms in Des Moines, where she focused on employment discrimination litigation. Maggie received her Juris Doctor degree from Drake Law School and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Law, Politics, and Society from Drake University. In between college and law school, she worked for four years as a teacher and administrator at a Montessori school in Kansas City. Maggie grew up in Minneapolis and Kansas City and was homeschooled until she went to college. Maggie serves on various local and national boards, including the Drake Law School Board of Counselors, the National Advisory Council for the Drake University College of Arts & Sciences, the Iowa State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Polk County Juvenile Drug Court Collaborative, and the Des Moines Public Library’s Next Chapter Board. She lives in Des Moines with her partner, Joe, and their dog, Darlo and enjoys running half marathons, testing out new vegan recipes, and trying to keep up with her 3 book clubs.




Martha Lebron-Dykstra, CRS Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices


Martha Lebron-Dykeman, CRS Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Martha Lebron-Dykeman believes in the power of real estate to build personal wealth and to create strong communities. She is a Realtor and Certified Residential Specialist who has been specializing in the greater Des Moines metro since 2002. As a Puerto Rican-born, fluent Spanish-speaking woman with a law degree, she brings substantial and unique skills to each real estate transaction. The Greater Des Moines area has grown exponentially during Martha’s time as a Realtor, and Martha has built a deep knowledge of local real estate and a strong, positive network here. She loves being part of this dynamic, diverse, growing metro and gives back to the community with each transaction. Martha advocates for clients to protect their assets and helps them find homes that build wealth and build community.




Carli Milby, Consultant, Business Project Management at Nationwide


Carli Milby joined the board for Please Pass the Love in spring of 2020. She is an Iowa native, born and raised in northwest Iowa. Carli attended Iowa State University and Simpson College and relocated to Indianola, IA in 2008 when she took a role working for Nationwide Insurance in downtown Des Moines. She is passionate about the communities she lives and works in and making a difference. Carli graduated from the Warren County Leadership Institute in 2019 and has since joined the board. She is also a commission member for the Warren County Historic Preservation Society. She is a past 4-H leader, a member of the Indianola Little League Board, and a local travel baseball board, to name a few. Carli works professionally as a project manager for Nationwide Insurance and has three children in the Indianola Community Schools. When she is not busy with her children’s activities or her own passions, Carli enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, reading, and arranging social gatherings.




Jean Boger, School Social Worker at Heartland AEA


Jean Boger, MSW, LMSW received her Bachelor’s degree from Morningside College in Psychology and English and her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa in 2001. Jean has been a school social worker with Heartland AEA since 2009 and has experience working with students aged 3 through 21. Prior to that she worked in non-profit organizations in Northwest Iowa conducting psychosocial evaluations and group/individual counseling and as an adjunct professor with the University of Iowa’s MSW program in Sioux City. Jean is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, a member of the Autism Resource Team, and delivers ongoing professional development for new staff and school social workers at Heartland. She has been an active board member of the Iowa School Social Workers' Association since 2011, serving as board president from 2015-2017. Jean lives in Ankeny with her husband and three teenage children, who inspire her work every day.




Katy Conder, Elementary Asst. Principal in Jasper County School


Hello, I am Katy Conder. I live in a rural community in Central Illinois. My husband and I have been married for 10 years and have 2 young children. I enjoy being a part of our community and love being a wife and mom. I have worked in public education for 10 years and currently work in an elementary building as an Assistant Principal and Director of Social Services. This role has been very unique and has brought a wealth of experience connecting some of the mental health needs with restorative practices within the disciplinary role. Prior to this position, I was a School Counselor. I am very passionate about supporting the whole child, whole school, and whole community. Mental Health is something that I continue to study and learn more about how to approach it from a systemic perspective within the school system. In addition to my work in education, I am a certified life and health coach. This was a goal in my thirties to begin some independent work and have recently completed the program and started working toward my next career goals. I am so excited to be a part of the Please Pass the Love Board and look forward to the future.





Jasmine Simpson, Teacher at Lincoln High School


Jasmine is an English Educator who has be working for Des Moines Public Schools for six years. She earned her Secondary Education Degree as well as minors in Human Relations, Psychology, and Athletic Coaching from the University of Iowa and recently completed her master’s degree in Culturally Responsive Leadership and Instruction from Drake University. While much of her time is spent working with young people in their high school English coursework, she is also involved in many leadership roles including the Equity & Inclusion Task Force and School Leadership Team at Lincoln High School, as well district-level leadership work around curriculum implementation and anti-racism initiatives. Through her involvement as an educator and school leader, Jasmine hopes to continue to be an advocate for young people – helping them feel loved, validated, and valued – while also continuing the work outside of the classroom to promote changes in policies and practices that continue to have an adverse impacts on youth. Jasmine believes that removing the stigma of mental health is crucial for young adults as they navigate understanding themselves and the world around them. She believes that this is especially true for young people of color and LGBTQ+ youth. Through her working with Please Pass the Love, she hopes to continue to advocate for young people in this capacity and be a direct link in helping to provide more support and education for both staff and students when it comes to mental health in schools. Jasmine currently resides in Des Moines, IA. When she is not working, she enjoys playing rec softball or sand volleyball, cooking, reading multiple books at the same time, playing music, spending time outdoors, or going back to her hometown of Wheaton, IL to visit family and friends.




Jennifer Stimson, Director of Blank Children’s STAR Center & Developmental Center


Jennifer Stimson is the Director of Blank Children’s STAR Center – Child Advocacy Center, Foster Care Clinic, Drug Endangered Children Clinic, Growth and Nutrition Clinic; Blank Children’s Developmental Center; and Blank Children’s Psychology Services. She received her Master’s in Public Administration from Drake University and her Bachelor’s from Iowa State University. Prior to coming to Blank, Jennifer managed the Victim Witness Program at the United States Department of Justice and served as the Victim Rights Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Justice. She lives in Clive with her wife and their four boys.




Chris Cuellar, Communications Director at Iowa High School Athletic Association


Chris Cuellar is a former sports journalist at the Des Moines Register and currently the communications director at the Iowa High School Athletic Association. His work in serving and promoting Iowa high school sports, teams, and student-athletes includes media relations, public relations, digital and print communications, sports information, and event management. Raised by his public-school teacher mother in eastern Iowa, he values the relationship between school resources and the students and communities they serve. Chris also volunteers as a mentor with YSS in Boone. He is a graduate of Iowa State University and is working to complete a graduate program with the University of Iowa. Chris and his wife Torey live in Bondurant with their son Wes and husky Ames. He enjoys travel, exercise, news, spending time with his family, and a great meal.




Christina Fernández-Morrow,





Jadie Boens, Director of Special Programs for Heartland AEA


Jadie Boens currently serves as the Director of Special Programs for Heartland Area Education Agency (Heartland AEA). In her role, she provides leadership to Heartland's Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health (SEBMH) program development and service delivery. Jadie is passionate about developing partnerships in support of Heartland's SEBMH efforts. Jadie earned her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa; Master's Degree in Special Education from Drake University; and PhD in Educational Leadership from Capella University. Jadie currently serves as an active member of the Polk County Behavioral Collaborative and the Polk County Children's Mental Health Advisory Committee, and is a "Make it OK" ambassador. Jadie is passionate about ensuring that ALL children, youth, and their families have the SEBMH supports and services necessary to help them be safe and thrive. Jadie is committed to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health by increasing understanding and creating caring and supportive conversations around mental illness. Jadie firmly believes in the power and value of educating ALL in culturally responsive, comprehensive, evidence-based mental health supports and services. Additionally, the power of positive relationships plays a significant role in the success of our children, youth, and families, and Jadie is extremely passionate about supporting educators to develop and sustain these relationships with our young people and their families, caregivers, and support networks. Jadie lives in Johnston with her family. Spending time with her family and traveling to enjoy her children's sporting events fill her time. Jadie is also an avid Iowa Hawkeye fan.





The Please Pass the Love Board of Directors are national award winners for their work to increase school mental health systems and supports through education, leadership, and advocacy. 

PPL Staff Members

The Please Pass the Love Staff Members work to increase school mental health systems and support by providing schools, educators, and students with the resources they need to thrive. 

Emmalee Bowlin, Director of Youth Engagement


Emmalee Bowlin, Director of Youth Engagement Emmalee has worked in the social services field for over 14 years and is a founding member of Please Pass the Love. She has a background in providing a wide variety of services including case management, volunteer management, event planning, community outreach, curriculum development, youth programming, and non-profit management. Born and raised in Indianola, Iowa, Emmalee graduated from Simpson College in 2007 with degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her career expands from working as a counselor with the homeless population in Jacksonville, Florida, to working in Children's Ministry in West Des Moines. Throughout her career, she has helped launch three successful non-profits, has presented to thousands of students across the state, and has served on countless boards and coalitions to enrich the lives of Iowans who are struggling. Emmalee is very passionate about mental health and has dedicated her career to being a voice for those who don’t always have one. She knows our state must do better and realizes the importance of getting more mental health supports in our schools. She will continue to work mercilessly until that is accomplished. Emmalee sits on various boards and committees and is a dedicated member of her community. She works on a variety of projects for PPTL including youth programming, community outreach and development, event planning, and fundraising. Emmalee lives in Indianola with her energetic and adoring son, Waylon. When they aren’t spending time with family or traveling, they enjoy spending time outside, going to auctions, going antique shopping, and anything sports related. They enjoy staying active throughout the year with travel sports teams that Waylon is involved in.




Jenna Hardenbrook, High School Stomp Out Stigma Director


Jenna Hardenbrook, Director of Stomp Out Stigma Youth Programming Jenna graduated from Earlham High School in the spring of 2019. Mental health and helping people have always been passions of hers since she was very young. She has been lucky enough to work with PPTL through her senior year of high school and she is so grateful for this position! Jenna hopes to achieve her bachelor's degree in Human Services and Psychology at Des Moines Area Community College and The University of Iowa.




Zion Freeman, Middle School Stomp Out Stigma Director


Zion Freeman, Middle School Stomp Out Stigma Director Trust worthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent: These twelve words make up the Boy Scout law, which Zion does his best to live up to in his everyday life. Get better everyday: This is the slogan of the Des Moines Roosevelt Rough Rider football team. Tradition, pride, and dedication: The motto of the Des Moines isiserettes. These are just three of the many things Zion Freeman is involved in. When Zion isn't spending the night under the stars in less than perfect conditions with the Boy Scouts, you can find him writing or reciting poetry for movement 515. When Zion isn't cheering on his football team, he can be found in the choir room learning music and new sets for show choir. And anytime Zion isn't learning a new beat for the isiserettes, he is laying in his bed avoiding doing the dishes. These are just some of the things Zion is involved in, along with being a son, brother, and over-all friend. Zion attended Hanawalt Elementary from 2003-2010, Merrill middle school from 2011-2015, and is now enjoying his final year at Roosevelt High School. “You don’t have to make sense as long as you make change.” -Zion Freeman




Miya Davis, Administrative Director


Miya Davis, Administrative Director Miya is a sophomore at Drake University working towards a bachelor's degree in Psychology. She grew up in rural Iowa where in high school she participated in theater and choir. She became a part of Please Pass the Love through their sub-group Teens for L.O.V.E. In April of 2018, Miya attended the Youth Summit hosted at Camp Sacajawea. This is an experience she says helped change her life and made her realize what she wants to do with her life. Miya hopes to help change the mental health stigma in schools all across Iowa and to make them a safer place for those who do suffer with mental health. This is a topic near and dear to her heart. She also hopes to help bring the voice of the younger generation into the boardroom with her new role as a youth member. Most of all she wants to be able to share her story and inspire others as others have done for her.




Catie Bach, Consultant


Catie Bach, Consultant Catie Bach is a recent graduate of Des Moines University's Master of Public Health program and former intern at Please Pass the Love. Prior to interning with this organization, Catie volunteered as a Youth Leader. She is currently pursuing career opportunities which will allow her to create positive changes in her community.
Being a stranger to so much free time, Catie is excited to spend more time reading, traveling and baking. She is excited to cultivate new hobbies, listen to all the podcasts, and continue to volunteer with Please Pass the Love!




Yahriel Salinas-Reyes, Summer Multi-lingual Program Intern


My name is Yahriel and I am currently a second-year at Iowa State University majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Latinx Studies. As a First-Generation Latino, I venture into unprecedented territory and endeavors because I feel it is my mission to serve as a role model and true leader for my community and family. In the pursuit of my mission, I found passion in many things such as athletics, music, STEM, community work, and most importantly, the ability to make a difference. Since I was young, I've been passionate about change and I involved myself in many opportunities. I've been involved in the political process to advocacy, social work, violence prevention, and more. My efforts in college haven't diminished one bit, as I even helped organize the "ISU Students Against Racism" movement and will continue to strive for change anywhere I go.




Valeria Guerra-Ceron, Summer Multi-lingual Program Intern


Valeria Guerra-Ceronwas born in El Salvador and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a proud graduate of North High School where she was involved in volleyball, tennis, school senate, and National Honor Society. She is a second year nursing student at DMACC and will graduate in December of 2021.





Contact Us

PHONE: 515.441-9419
EMAIL: info@pleasepassthelove.org


4801 Franklin Ave. 

Des Moines, IA 50310

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