LeAnn Thieman – Founder and President of SelfCare for HealthCare

LeAnn Thieman is a nationally acclaimed professional speaker, author, and nurse who was “accidentally” caught up in the Vietnam Orphan Airlift in 1975. Her book, This Must Be My Brother, details her daring adventure of helping to rescue 300 babies as Saigon was falling to the communists. An ordinary person, she struggled through extraordinary circumstances and found the courage to succeed.

After her Operation Babylift story was featured in Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, LeAnn became one of Chicken Soup’s most prolific writers. Her devotion to more than 30 years of nursing made her the ideal co-author of the New York Times best-seller, Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, Second Dose, then the third edition, Inspiration for Nurses. She has coauthored 11 additional Chicken Soup titles for Christian Women, Caregiver’s, Father and Daughter, Grandma’s, Mother and Son, Christian, Adopted, Catholic Faith, Miracles, and Answered Prayers.

Her latest book, SelfCare for HealthCare, Your Guide to Physical, Mental and Spiritual Health is a dynamic component of her transformational SelfCare for HealthCare program.

LeAnn’s “Operation Babylift” adventure came full circle when, on the 25th anniversary of the airlift, President Gerald Ford asked to meet her.

At the invitation of First Lady Rosalynn Carter, LeAnn presented at the Carter’s Institute’s annual conference and Mrs. Carter wrote the forward to LeAnn’s Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul.

LeAnn has been featured in Newsweek Magazine’s Voices of the Century issue, on Forbes.com, FOX-TV, BBC, NPR, PBS and countless radio and TV programs. She is also a regular contributor to Medline’s The Voices of Healthcare.

She is one of ten percent of speakers worldwide to have earned the Certified Speaking Professional designation. Watch LeAnn present to her speaking colleagues at the 2017 National Speakers Association Conference. In August, 2008 she was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame, joining the company of Ronald Reagan, Colin Powell, and Art Linkletter! LeAnn is the only woman in Colorado to be honored with the “Legend of the Speaking Profession” award.

While Operation Babylift dramatically changed her life, LeAnn credits her rural roots for having shaped it. One of eight children, she was raised on an Iowa farm. This simple, honorable, faith-filled lifestyle established the principles and priorities that guide her life today.

When she’s not writing stories beside a peaceful mountain stream, LeAnn enjoys hiking, gardening, playing with her grandkids, cuddling with her hubby of 46 years, horseback riding, and dancing to that old-time rock ‘n’ roll!

FUN FACT: Ever smuggled $10,000 cash into a foreign country? LeAnn has… 😉

Janelle Ali-Dinar

Janelle Ali-Dinar, PhD is VP of Strategic Partnerships. With 15+ years of senior healthcare executive experience as a CEO, COO, VP and Regional roles in strategy, operations, leadership growth/development and nurse/physician recruitment and retention, her experience and passion has spanned the globe. A respected and sought-after speaker on Capitol Hill and at healthcare conferences, Janelle is a champion for rural health, veterans, tribal nations, and minority populations and serves on several federal boards. She holds a masters and doctorate in communications and is a recent graduate in public health leadership.

FUN FACT: When she and her husband were dating, they tried out their acting and choreography chops and placed first in a debut of Hollywood actors with scenes from The Phantom of the Opera.

Susan Barstad

Susan Barstad is the Director of Program Implementation and Success. Susan spent many of her early years in and out of hospitals, as she grew up with a mother who had MS. She learned at an early age what special people nurses and healthcare providers are. Their commitments to others inspired her to pursue a career in service-related work, including over 15 years in the nonprofit sector. Susan is excited for the opportunity to directly thank those in the healthcare field and to support them in engaging in the SelfCare for HealthCare program, so they can take care of themselves too.

Susan has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from the State University of New York at Oswego. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, reading and pretty much every animal on the planet.

FUN FACT:  In Susan’s most recent job she worked for an organization founded by Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to have summited Mt. Everest.

Katie Hanna

Katie Hanna, Director of Marketing Client Services, has worked with LeAnn Thieman as a marketing and sales guru for over seven years. Many of Katie’s friends and family chose careers in healthcare, so even before working with LeAnn, she knew nurses burnout and need help…. badly. Katie takes joy in knowing that SelfCare for HealthCare drastically improves healthcare workers and systems, physically and fiscally.

Katie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations and lives in Denver with her husband, two awesome kids and two hilarious French bulldogs. She loves to play tennis and soak up the beautiful Colorado environment with her family.

FUN FACT: Katie’s first job was with a motorsports company, which allowed her to travel the world and hang out with some pretty cool people…like Paul Newman.

Amy Zach Williams

Amy Williams, Administrative Assistant, began working with LeAnn in 1999 as her sales and marketing coordinator. With a background in healthcare PR and marketing, Amy helped launch LeAnn’s speaking career.

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Amy worked for several healthcare clinics and a large metropolitan Catholic hospital handling special events, community outreach and PR.

When she’s not managing the administration and logistics for LeAnn, Amy is operating her grass-fed beef business with her husband on their mountain ranch.

An avid equestrian, Amy enjoys riding, hiking and serving as a volunteer backcountry ranger.

FUN FACT: At 14 years old Amy and her feisty 24 year old pony, Pippi Longstockings, won an international championship in the Pinto Horse Association.