Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance selects their Board of Directors based on the following criteria:

  • Availability to meet on the first Wednesday of the month for Board of Directors meetings,
  • Skills to execute in a timely manner for the required position (s)he has applied for,
  • Fulfill the requirements as a Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance membership for the Board of Directors,
  • Complete a background check,
  • Complete the interview process, which includes submitting a professional headshot and short biography of self for site administrator to place on Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance website,
  • Professional courtesy toward others,
  • Have a desire to work with kids of all ages and even adults who have been or are being bullied.

The following people have completed and met this criteria and the Board of Directors Selection Committee is proud to welcome the current Your Life Matters Empowerment Alliance Board of Directors to our family and to serve our community in the prevention and eradicating bullying throughout not only the Roanoke Valley of Virginia but also across the state (and eventually the country and world).

Colleen Burns, C. E. O. and Founder

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.

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

Positive Model, Coach and Mentor

Responsible and Accountable Dad

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

Stephen Niamke, Chairperson, Committee Director of Training Seminars, and 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.

Nathan Auldridge, Vice-Chairperson and 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.

Mike Wilson, Advertising, Public Relations, Media Director, and 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.

Matthew Jefferson, Executive Team Leader and 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.