Meet the Alliance Board Members and Team Leaders

C. E. O. & Board of Directors

 Colleen Burns, C. E. O., Founder, & Social Media Manager

Colleen Burns was born in Rutland, V. T. From being bullied during second grade through the ninth grade, alcohol and drug abuse, suffering through anorexia and bulimia, to dropping out of high school during her junior year at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in 1990, Colleen received her high school diploma from Rutland High School in 1991, through a 15-week Adult Education program. Through a life of struggles and three mental health disorders, Colleen earned a triple degree with a double minor at Appalachian State University: a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Communications with a concentration in Electronic Media Broadcasting and two Bachelor’s of Arts degrees in General Theater and English with a concentration in Creative Writing in 2005.

Colleen is a martial artist of 13 years. Despite a few martial art injuries and several hiatuses, Colleen holds various ranks in six different styles of martial arts, the highest being a Red Belt in Tae Kwon Do (one away from a Probationary Black Belt).

Colleen has graduated from Ray Higdon’s coaching program, in which she studied social media and network marketing strategies to help teach others about social media and to improve their network marketing skills. She is now in Brendon Burchard’s High Performance Habits, in which she is studying and improving her leadership, speaking, and mindset skills from a network marketing standpoint.

Colleen is a graduate student at Hollins University, in Roanoke, V. A., where she is studying under the M. F. A. Screenwriting program and writing her thesis, an autobiography. Her desire is to be a martial art screenwriter, but she has had to put that plan on hold to concentrate more on Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance. However, Colleen will be graduating from Hollins University in December 2018.

Starting in January 2018, Colleen is pursuing double Masters in Business Administration degrees at Liberty University: an M. B. A. in Non-Profit Leadership and Management and an M. B. A. in International Business. She plans to use what she learns at Liberty University Online to place Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance around the globe.

As C. E. O. and Founder of Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance, Colleen Burns offers her story of bullying through national (and eventually international) tours to help, improve, and inspire other bullied victims to speak out on bullying and stand up for themselves. The Alliance also will be offering martial art classes at Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance Anti-Bullying Community Centers, in which the Alliance plans to build throughout their existence. Colleen also offers her social media, creativity, and leadership skills to unite those interested parties in resolving and eradicating bullying throughout the state of Virginia and eventually the United States of America (and the world).

To contact Colleen Burns, please email her at colleenburns@yourlifemattersempowerment.org


Ty Howard, Advisor

Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of MOTIVATION magazine

Successful Entrepreneur and Business Leader

Best-Selling Author

National Anti Bullying, Anti Hazing and Suicide Prevention Consultant

Nationally Renowned Motivational Keynote Speaker

Contagious, Enthusiastic Personality

Positive Model, Coach and Mentor

Responsible and Accountable Dad

Veteran (served 10 years in the U.S. Navy)

Community Humanitarian and Philanthropist

– The Ty Howard College Scholarship Fund Program

Ty Howard is America’s Untie the Knots® Consultant, and Capturing Greatness and Passion Expert. Over the past 21 years, he has worked with and spoken to nearly 3 million teenagers, education professionals, student leaders, student athletes, parents, fatherhood groups, youth development professionals, and associations across the nation and around the world.

Ty Howard, a.k.a. Mr. Untie the Knots®, is an internationally respected authority on self-development and business-development. He is an organizational development consultant, relationship expert, teacher, personal and professional development expert, and best-selling author. His solid background in research and practical strategies has made him a trusted source for professional and personal development guidance on five continents.

When Ty was an active part of the U.S. Navy and then Corporate America, he consistently excelled in highly visible positions including Human Resources Generalist, Executive Office Manager, Corporate Training & Development Manager, Intervention and Behavior Specialist Manager, Outside Sales Account Manager, and Sales Trainer. He managed, trained, evaluated, and led employee teams of four to 300 full-time and part-time personnel working in demanding and fast-paced environments.

Ty Howard is the founder, Chairman and CEO of InspiraGen Institute, LLC a successful, diverse professional and personal development firm based in Baltimore County, Maryland. InspiraGen Institute, LLC is a conglomerate of internationally recognized businesses: TyHoward.com, Ty Howard SeminarsTM, Knots Free Publishing, Knots Free Media, MOTIVATION magazine, and The Baltimore Worldwide Speakers Bureau. They share Ty’s vision, discipline, and passion to inspire, lift, and provide tools for change and growth for individuals and organizations throughout the world.

Ty Howard and InspiraGen Institute, LLC provides 5 scholarships to deserving young college bound students within his community each year. Since the inception of the Ty Howard College Scholarship Program, InspiraGen Institute, Inc. has granted more than 25 scholarships, worth over 50 thousand dollars. Ty Howard is considered a dynamic professional speaker, humanitarian, business entrepreneur, and leader by all who have the privilege to encounter him! He does not just talk healthy habits, business, leadership and relationship development, he lives it.

For information on his programs and services, visit: http://www.tyhoward.com

As the Advisor for Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance, Ty Howard offers his expert knowledge on bullying, his charismatic personality when he speaks during the events he will be coming to the Roanoke Valley for, his passion for leading and motivating people, and his expertise in communicating with the other Board of Directors to make Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance a local (and eventually national) anti-bullying program.


Stephen Niamke, Chairperson & Committee Director of Training Seminars & Outreach Coordinator

Stephen Niamke graduated from Roanoke Catholic School in Roanoke, V. A., and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in clinical social work from Radford University. He is the founder and primary trainer for Conversation Peace and serves as a clinical social worker with children at Dominion Day Services and with adults at East Mental Health. Stephen also leads after school programs for youth which are designed to teach about healthy relationships and leads another program which focuses on co-parenting classes for adults going through divorce at the Children’s Trust and the Conflict Resolution Center. He also has served as the chair of the Roanoke City Democratic Committee since December 2015. His most significant achievement is the development and implementation of Roanoke’s Leadership College.

As the Committee Director of Speaking, Workshop, and Training Seminars for Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance, Stephen Niamke offers his leadership and clinical social worker experience to help educate and end bullying and also to build more peaceful communities across the state of Virginia and eventually the United States of America (and the world).

To contact Stephen Niamke, please email him at stephenniamke@gmail.com.


Nathan Auldridge, Vice-Chairperson & Outreach Coordinator

Nathan Auldridge graduated from Salem High School, in Salem, V. A. After undergoing treatment for a brain tumor at Duke University in Durham, N. C. in January of 2006, he earned a Bachelors of Arts in Theatre with a Film Studies Minor from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, V. A. in December of 2008.

Nathan’s experience surviving cancer gave him an appreciation for the challenges vulnerable people face in society today. He advocates for the rights of patients with pre-existing conditions, and has worked as a Support Provider and Caregiver for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down’s Syndrome and other disabilities since 2010. He has also been the Chair for the Salem Democratic Committee since 2012.

To contact Nathan Auldridge, please email him at nathan.auldridge@gmail.com.


Matthew Jefferson, Secretary & Executive Team Leader  & Outreach Coordinator

Matthew Jefferson graduated from Salem High School in Salem, V. A., and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Leadership and Ministry Studies at the Ohio Christian University Adult & Online Programs. Matthew currently works for an agency, in which he helps disabled children and teenagers. He is active within his church helping others through Outreach Ministries.

As the Secretary & Executive Team Leader for Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance, Matthew offers four years of experience working with teens, four years of experience in Youth Ministry, and his passion and leadership skills to help train and lead the Team Leaders to help end bullying throughout the state of Virginia and eventually the United States of America (and the world).

To contact Matthew Jefferson, please email him at mellomatt2468@aol.com.


Mike Wilson, Advertising & Media Director & Outreach Coordinator

After a long career in television as a reporter, news anchor, and host, Mike moved to Roanoke in the Spring of 2011 to work as the host of Daytime Blue Ridge at WSLS.  After ‘retiring’ from television, he decided this was the place for him.

Mike continues to work as an actor, model, television personality, and voice-over artist. He works tirelessly in our community to advocate for the arts and small businesses.

Mike is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Roanoke Valley and a program advisor for the class of 2016 and 2017.  He has sat on the Board of Directors for Studio Roanoke and the 3 year vision committee for the Taubman Museum of Art.  He has even played the Cat in the Cat in the Hat at the Roanoke Children’s Theatre.

Mike lives with his wife, Dr. Beth Wilson and their two children in Roanoke City.

As the Advertising & Media Director for Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance, Mike Wilson will connect the alliance to the local community through advertising and media airplay.

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