AATH Board of Directors

Beth Slazak  

PRESIDENT

Beth Slazak
HaHa Moment
1373 Burrough Rd.
Clowlesville, NY 14037 United States
(716) 949-6700
bethslazak [at] gmail.com

Beth spends her time speaking and training people in Creative Problem Solving. She knows you are creative and will talk non-stop about the value of divergent and convergent thinking. Fair warning – she knows the history of Brainstorming and will share it with you at the drop of a hat.

Beth teaches Creative Problem Solving at Genesse Community College and to freshmen at Buffalo State, so there are whole generations who owe their love of sharpies to her. She loves that she gets to open their minds.

Beth is often found making things up at The Arena with Buffalo ComedySportz players where she can be the queen of dust bunnies and no one questions her about it.

Paul Osincup  

PRESIDENT-ELECT

Paul Osincup
Speaker | Trainer | Humorist
316 Gemma Circle
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 United States
(970) 310-8199
paul [at] paulosincup.com

Paul Osincup is a national Speaker, Consultant, Educator and Humorist. After earning a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Leadership, Paul worked in college and university administration for over 15 years with an emphasis on conflict resolution and behavioral intervention. Paul has also been a “jack-of-all-jokes” since grade school and has fulfilled his childlike love of humor by performing stand up and improv comedy.  Using his expertise in leadership and levity Paul helps people create positive workplace cultures by using fun, humor, and positivity as strategic management tools.

deb price  

SECRETARY

Deb Price, RN, MSN
428 Spring Cove Way
Six Mile, SC 29682 United States
(703) 593-5667
debprice615 [at] gmail.com

Deb Price is an oncology nurse and geriatric clinical specialist and palliative care nurse, currently working in the field of cancer clinical trials. Her passion for helping individuals and families achieve optimal wellness as they age and live their best life drew her to AATH and therapeutic clowning as “Hug-a-Bunch.” Her mission is using gentle humor to help educate, enrich, and empower people to achieve optimal wellness.

Don Morrison  

TREASURER

Don Morrison
Boone-Winnebago R.O.E.
322 Canary Drive
Caledonia, IL, United States
(815) 885-2373
dmorriso45 [at] gmail.com

Brought humor to the children I taught as well as church, community and municipal boards on which I have served;
• Attended AATH conferences since 2007;
• carried luggage for Mary Kay as she served AATH;
• survived 20 years in middle school and over 50 years in public education;
• EdD = over-educated educator;
• proud father of 2, step father of 4 and grandfather of 12.

Gurinder Bains  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Gurinder Bains
Loma Linda University
24951 North Circle Drive
Nichol Hall Room 1809
Loma Linda, CA 92350 United States
(909) 558-7274
gbains42 [at] hotmail.com

Gurinder Singh Bains is an Associate Professor for the School of Allied Health at Loma Linda University. He serves as the first ever AATH Board member directly involved with the coordination of all aspects research related. He was the recipient of the AATH 2017 Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He has been a co-author in over 30 publications. He received his PhD from Loma Linda University, MD from Ross University Medical School, and a BSC in Finance from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has been involved in research that includes humor/laughter, intermittent fasting, inflammation, high intensity interval training and weight loss, sleep, blood flow, and back pain. His PhD dissertation focused on how humor and laughter can enhance short-term memory in the elderly. Dr. Bains has presented at numerous scientific meetings and his research has gained worldwide media attention such as ABC News Worldwide, CNN, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Men's Journal, FOX News, and Huffington Post to name a few.

Karyn Buxman  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE, CHP
Journal of Nursing Jocularity
1465 C Street, #3318
San Diego, CA  92101 United States
(858) 603-3133
karyn [at] karynbuxman.com

Karyn Buxman is an international speaker, nurse and author of the What’s So Funny About...? series. Clients range from the Mayo Clinic to the Million Dollar Round Table and they hire Karyn again and again to educate, inspire and entertain. Her mission: To improve global health through laughter and to heal the humor impaired!

Debbie Derflinger  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Debbie Derflinger, RN, BSN, CLL-E
Laughter Missions
7640 Depot St.
Rogers, OH  44455 United States
(330) 429-2924
debbiederf [at] comcast.net

Through her 30-year career as a nurse, Debbie has learned an important life lesson that self-care is critical to a nurse’s survival and ability to care for others. Becoming a Certified Laughter Leader rekindled hope and laughter in her life and became a tool for self-care that was so comforting and healing to the soul that words cannot describe. One of her Laughter Missions is to touch as many lives with laughter as she can. Another is to bring the “humerus” back to healthcare as a self-care tool for staff, patients, and families. Debbie is married, has two grown children, and resides with her husband in Ohio.

Harald Ellingsen  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Harald Eide Ellingsen
Positive Humor
Steinaldervegen 4
Bryne, 4345 NORWAY
47 905 72 102
Harald.ellingsen [at] gmail.com

Harald Eide Ellingsen is our Norwegian board member. Harald is a standup comedian and public speaker about humor. 

His dayjob is within politics, but his heart is in humor.  

heidi hanna  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Heidi Hanna
SYNERGY
700 W E Street #2403
San Diego, CA 9210 United States
(407) 716-4350
heidi [at] heidihanna.com

Heidi Hanna, PhD. is founder and CEO of Synergy, a consulting company providing brain-based health and performance programs for organizations, and the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress. She also serves as Director of Training and Development of the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. She has been featured at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table, and is the author of the NY Times bestseller The SHARP Solution: A Brain-Based Approach for Optimal Performance (Wiley, Feb 2013), Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship with Stress (Wiley, Jan 2014) and Recharge: 5 Shifts to Energize Your Life (Synergy, 2015). Heidi is a Certified Humor Professional with the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, although she won’t admit she’s funny. 

jennifer keith  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Jennifer Keith
Keith TEC LLC
15 Westminster Drive
Lincoln, IL 62656 United States
(217) 314-9114
jennifer [at] keithtec.org

Jennifer Keith is a retired high school English teacher/technology coordinator/forensics coach/theatre director and current doctoral student in Educational Leadership. She is writing online curriculum in English Language Arts and Technology and sells LuLaRoe clothing. She is married to her incredibly lucky husband and is the hilarious mother of 2 amazing daughters. For the past 2-1/2 years, she cared for her young mother (64) as she suffered the ill effects of a stroke and then passed in February 2018. AATH is helping her find her new "normal," but AATH and "normal" are rarely synonymous.

Despite hardships, humor has and always will be her saving grace. She is currently in the Humor Academy at Level II and is planning the 2019 AATH Conference - April 3-7, 2019 in Chicago (Oak Brook), IL, thanks to the familial arm-twisting of cousin Mary Kay.

She plans to use the experiences in AATH to jump start the next season of her career and life in promoting humor, creativity and play in education, bringing the FUN back to schools and a CHILDHOOD back to the CHILDREN.

beth usher  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Beth Usher
BE THe Happiest
44 Meadowood Road
Storrs, CT 06268 United States
(860) 208-4892
seaglassbu [at] yahoo.com

Beth Usher was born laughing! Her sense of humor and ability to look on the bright side has helped her overcome the effects of a rare and debilitating brain disease called Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, a left-sided hemispherectomy at the age of seven and spinal fusion to correct severe scoliosis several years later. Beth learned at a very early age that laughter can break down barriers, lift spirits and smooth over even the roughest of characters. She is a graduate of AATH’s Humor Academy as a Certified Humor Professional (CHP), a certified laughter yoga leader and a national keynote speaker. Beth’s speaking career was launched in 2015 when she was invited to give the closing keynote address at AATH’s Conference in Philadelphia. She speaks about resilience, gratefulness, kindness and using humor to survive some of life’s most devastating challenges. She is thrilled to be a member of this board!

megan werner  

DIRECTOR AT LARGE

Megan Werner
Youth Bridge Inc.
1445 Spritz Drive
Fayetteville, AR 72703 United States
(501) 655-6013
megwerner [at] braintrainingllc.com

Megan is a Psychotherapist in private practice at Brain Training, LLC. She has been using humor and laughter with her current population, in addition to various other populations including acute psychosis, adolescent outpatient, substance abuse clients, actively disengaged staff, and every day "Joes." Megan has experience researching and applying positive psychology based interventions, and she is a currently in the Humor Academy Level II class.

Nila  

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT

Mary Kay Morrison
Humor Quest
322 Canary Drive
Caledonia, IL 61011-9770
(815) 885-2373
marykay [at] questforhumor.com

Mary Kay Morrison is an author, speaker and educator who has taught at virtually every level of the educational spectrum. She has provided keynote presentations and workshop sessions for the past 30 years on the integration of neuroscience and humor to the learning process. Mary Kay is founder and director of Humor Quest. She served as President of AATH from 2015-2017, and was the 2016 AATH Lifetime Award Recipient. She founded and served as the first director of the AATH Humor Academy and has chaired or co-chaired several AATH conferences.

Kathy  

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kathy Velasco
V2 Marketing Communications
220 East State St., Floor G
Rockford, IL 61104 United States
(815) 708-6587
kathy [at] aath.org

Prior to founding V2 Marketing in 1995, Kathy held executive marketing and editorial positions at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association in Rockford, IL. Since 1995, she has served as the Managing Director of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, in addition to running the advertising agency.

V2 has been honored with the 2013 Community Volunteer Award by the United Way of Rock River Valley, for our commitment to volunteerism. In 2014, V2 was recognized as the Small Business of the Year by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the 2014 Outstanding Corporation by Association of Fundraising Professionals.