The activities of Utah AWP are coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers called the Implementation Collective, lovingly referred to as the “IMPs.”
Denise Francis Montaño
Social Justice is the cornerstone of their work. Denise utilizes culture-, gender-, trauma- informed methods. A dynamic integration of theories i.e., feminist/multicultural/inclusion, minority stress theories serve as a framework. Denise’s work is extensive having provided academic/career coaching, training/teaching, consultation, program administration, dialogue facilitation, academic advising, and mental health services. She has served on the SLC Human Rights Commission and has facilitated engaging classes, seminars and workshops at national/international conferences, in higher education, community and government spaces. “My greatest influencers have been 1) my parents who raised me and ancestors who came before me, 2) Living in countries where the first language was not English, 3) work in spaces that broadened my world around true diversity and inclusion!” Denise enjoys the outdoors, fiber arts, and DIY natural remedies and home maintenance projects.
Identities: African, Latinx, Indigenous, queer person (preferred pronouns: they, them, theirs, she, her, her’s); womanist, feminist, multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual; first-generation college graduate; PhD, Educational Psychology. Known for ability to connect and seek possibilities in people and situations. AKA: Tenacious ‘D’.
Amber is the co-coordinator for Utah-AWP. She received her PhD in counseling psychology with a special proficiency in trauma counseling from the University of Utah. She identifies primarily as a multicultural feminist therapist and does research broadly on topics of social justice and looking at the intersections of experiences of marginalization and oppression on mental health. Amber is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in the department of Educational Psychology where she teaches classes that provides training for Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Counseling Psychology students. When she’s not working, she spends time with her partner, fur babies and human babies. On rare occasions, she sleeps.
Katherine Aguilera is an experienced community leader with a demonstrated history of breaking barriers, connecting with communities, and a fierce dedication to personal growth. She believes that healing transcends and has the power to impact families, communities, and systems. She is skilled in nonprofit operations, leadership, volunteer management, public speaking, program development, and above all, holding trauma-informed space for survivors of trauma to be seen, heard, and supported. She is passionate about drawing strength and resilience from ancestral roots and empowering others to discover their resilience and ability for growth.
Katherine has led presentations intended to challenge law enforcement agencies, emergency rooms, and systems approaches that are historically complicit and implicitly involved in the re-traumatization of survivors of trauma. She has lectured about trauma stewardship and the biological, psychological, and social impact of trauma. Katherine is a Westminster College alumni and studied sociology and psychology. She is a certified crisis counselor and has advanced training in de-escalation, crisis interventions, and evidence-based approaches to safety planning. Today you can find Katherine leading, mentoring, advocating, and as Katherine would describe, “helping healers, heal.”
Valentina is the new scribe for Utah AWP. This is her first year on the implementation collective. Valentina is currently a masters student studying to become a clinical mental health counselor. She has been a psychometrist at the Neuropsychology Center of Utah for over three years. She has really enjoyed being able to learn more and develop skills through her work and through studying at the University of Utah. Valentina enjoys snowboarding, reading, discovering new restaurants, napping and spending time with her puppy and partner.
Mara (she/her/hers) joined the violence treatment and prevention community as a victim advocate in 2006, and since this time she has worked in various capacities serving those affected by violence and abuse. Mara is licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and specializes in healing the impact of traumatic experiences, including difficulties with early childhood. Mara is the owner and full-time therapist at the Utah Center for Post Traumatic Growth. Additionally, she is currently the Media Manager for the Utah Association for Women in Psychology.
Mindy has been an active member of AWP for 20+ years and is the treasurer of the local chapter. She served on the planning committee of the annual 2013 national AWP conference held in SLC. As an LCSW with training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy, Mindy has provided counseling services and supervision in our community and has extensive experience working with childhood sexual abuse, trauma and DID. She has maintained a private practice for 20+ years in addition to identifying as a rebel, feminist and advocate for social justice. She enjoys reading, yoga and pilates, gardening, drinking wine and the company of her three cats.