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Our People

The Alliance of Hope is a non-denominational and non-discriminating non-profit that recognizes and appreciates each individual’s contribution to the quality of life. Our staff, volunteers, community members, and clients are survivors from diverse cultures and faith traditions, bound together by similar loss.


Ronnie Walker, Founder, Alliance of Hope

Ronnie Susan Walker MS, LCPC

Founder & Executive Director
Ph: 847-868-3313

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Heather Shadur, Director, Alliance of Hope

Heather Shadur

Director of Communications & Development
Ph: 312-933-6777

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Hazel Gaddes, Forum Manager, Alliance of Hope

Hazel Gaddes

Forum Manager

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Amy Ceisel, Finance Director, Alliance of Hope

Amy Ceisel, CPA

Finance Director

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Susan Reynolds

Susan Reynolds

Operations Manager

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Stephen Landfear, Development and Operations Associate, Alliance of Hope

Stephen Landfear

Development &
Operations Associate

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Maura Junius, Administrator, Allicance of Hope

Maura Junius

Administrative Support

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Forum Moderators

We are grateful to our trained team of forum moderators. We often say “they put the hope in the Alliance of Hope.” Each moderator is a suicide loss survivor who understands the challenges faced by survivors. They have reached a point in their own grief journey where they have integrated devastating loss into their lives. They honor – but are not dominated by the past.

Each moderator volunteers hundreds of hours a year in support of new loss survivors. They bear witness to people’s stories, provide information, and extend hope for going beyond just surviving.

Board of Directors

John L. McIntosh, Ph.D. (Chairperson)

John L. McIntosh, Ph.D., is a well-known author and researcher in the field of suicidology, and a pioneer in the field of suicide postvention. He has contributed to eight books on suicide, including the seminal book: “Grief After Suicide: Understanding the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors.” He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Indiana University – South Bend, and Past-President of the American Association of Suicidology. (Louisville, KY)

Vanessa McGannVanessa McGann (Secretary)

Dr. McGann is a practicing psychologist specializing in traumatic loss. She is also co-chair of the Coalition for Clinician Survivors, an organization for professional caretakers who have had a loss to suicide. She’s been active in numerous national suicide prevention organizations, initiatives and task forces for postvention, and trainings on postvention and clinical work with survivors. Her sister Nadine died by suicide in 2004. (New York, NY)

Ellen Karp (Treasurer)

Ellen Karp is a development professional with extensive experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, stakeholder relations, event planning, marketing, and business development. She has a degree in psychology and an MBA in marketing. Ellen also trains and develops leaders to make a difference. She supported the vision of the Alliance of Hope from its earliest conception. (Chicago, IL)

Donald P. Belau, Ph.D.

Dr. Belau promotes suicide postvention efforts in Nebraska, where he leads the development of LOSS Teams (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). He’s a member of Campbell & Associates LOSS team training group and a trainer for AFSP’s Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training Program. He was instrumental in developing the Nebraska K-12 Suicide Postvention Online Training and has provided workshops for the American Assoc. of Suicidology. (Lincoln, NE)

Steve ShannonSteve Shannon

Steve Shannon is a Sr. Manufacturing Engineer and dedicated family man. In 2012, he lost his son Patrick to suicide. He was an active participant on the Alliance of Hope forum, served as a moderator, and provided support to other survivors. He and his wife Tina started a survivors support group in their home town. Steve is also a child advocate who facilitates trainings about child sexual abuse, awareness, and prevention. (Grandhaven, MI)

Donna Soule

Donna Soule lost her son, Jonathan, in 2009. She was one of the first members of the Alliance of Hope forum. She has a degree in Psychology and did psychiatric research at Texas Research Institute of Mental Sciences. She has worked with children with neuropsychological disabilities and in school health. Since Jonathan died, she and her beautiful Golden Retriever, Yuki, provide dog therapy sessions at psychiatric hospitals. (Cabin John, MD)

Ronnie Susan Walker MS, LCPC

Ronnie Walker MS LCPC, Alliance of Hope founder, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor with extensive training in trauma and loss. After losing her stepson to suicide in 1995, she recognized a void in accessible, quality support for the bereaved. She founded the Alliance of Hope in 2008. Her vision is that no suicide loss survivor goes without support. (Evanston, IL)

Friends of the Alliance of Hope

These individuals have graciously donated their time and talents to help our organization.
Affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.

Mari Anixter
Former Facilitator, Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico

Franklin Cook
Former Alliance of Hope board member (2014-2017); Co-lead, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention – Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force

Sally Dadmun Bixby
Fundraising & Nonprofit Management Consultant 

Aaron Doeppers
Sr. Manager, Strategic Partnerships, American Heart Association, Nat’l Center

Margaret Goode
Nonprofit Development Consultant

Aaron S. Kase, Esq.
Kase Law LLC

Kevin Lampe
Executive Vice President, Kurth Lampe Worldwide

Gina Lobaco, CFRE
Fundraising Consultant

Jesse Lava
Special Assistant to the Director, Intergovernmental Relations, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services

Dorothy Paugh
Former Alliance of Hope Blog Editor and gun safety advocate

Susan J. Reynolds
Philanthropist and Business Consultant 

Katherine A. Rush
Executive Director, Partnership to Educate and Advance Kids (PEAK)

Pinckney Templeton
Freelance Graphic Designer

Jill Watson
Communications Director, The Americas at Order of Malta Worldwide Relief, Malteser International

Hatef Yamini
IT and Innovation Specialist, Dexis Consulting Group

Non-discrimination Policy

We are committed to providing an environment that is free from discrimination in employment and opportunity because of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or age.