National Speakers

Tim Ryan

A six-figure salary, a beautiful home in the suburbs, a loving family – Tim Ryan had it all, then lost it all because of an addiction to heroin, cocaine, other drugs and alcohol.

For years, Tim had great success in business and in life, despite a habit that was forming around “drinking and drugging.” But when he added heroin to the mix, Tim’s balancing act spiraled out of control. Often spending nearly $500 a day to support his opiate habit, his career and relationships suffered setback after setback. His uncontrollable addiction to substances resulted in multiple overdoses, rehab stays, and even jail time.

Amy Locane

Amy Locane had a Hollywood career and returned to her home of NJ to be a stay at home mom when the unthinkable happened. Alcohol abuse led to a tragic collision that killed someone, and changed Amy’s life forever. With 7 years of sobriety behind her, Amy truly believes in the principal of “giving her wisdom through sobriety away in order to keep it”, and hopes her story can prevent more tragedies from occurring in the future.

Thomas Tapeh

He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round in the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at Minnesota. Tapeh has also played for the Minnesota Vikings.

Tapeh grew up playing soccer in Liberia before his family moved to the Twin Cities when he was nine years old. He attended Saint Paul Johnson High School. He is the only player to score a touchdown in the Metrodome as a high schooler (in a Johnson-Harding High School game), as a collegiate athlete (for the Gophers), and as a professional athlete in the NFL (as an Eagle). Thomas has been reaching youth as a High School football coach, as a motivational speaker and as a mentor since leaving the NFL. His dynamic message resonates with students and staff and his engaging personality is something that students engage with allowing his message to leave a lasting impression.

Jay Armstrong

Jay Armstrong was a child who was always told he had a lot of “potential” and spent most of his early years in school in gifted programs for genius kids. At 16 he discovered heroin and spent the next 9 years struggling with addiction, homelessness, and even served a little time in prison on drug charges. In 2005 he went to rehab and since has been the quintessential story of redemption and recovery.

Frank Greenagel

Frank Greenagel, MPAP, LCSW, LCADC, ICADC, CASAC, ACSW, CJC, CCS, is a clinical social worker who specializes in addiction & recovery treatment. He is licensed in NJ, NY, and PA.

Frank is an adjunct professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and an instructor at the Center of Alcohol Studies. He writes a blog at He conducts trainings and delivers keynote speeches around the country. He completed a Master in Public Affairs and Politics in 2015.

Jam Alker

Jam Alker is a songwriter who spins his experiences into stories. These stories, told through music, often touch on life’s dark, gritty underbelly, without judgment or condemnation, but often with a message of hope. 

In his formative years on Chicago’s music scene, Jam played virtually every stage in the city, then toured the country. Though he loved music, he lost his way. In the depths of misery and addiction, on the verge of losing everything, he reached out for help.

Ricky Byrd

Recovery Troubadour

“I have been leading acoustic recovery music groups for the past few years at various detox and treatment centers and know first-hand about the powerful healing power of music. I see it in the patients’ faces and read it in the message they send me when they’ve left treatment.”

Whether to help mend a broken heart or reach deep down into the soul of the still sick and suffering addict and alcoholic, music can be the spark plug that is needed to begin the journey into recovery.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is a folk artist, a rock’n roller, and most importantly – a storyteller.  Matt has found his artistic voice in sobriety and is a powerful testament to the creative power of recovery.

Butler found recovery over 3 years ago, and his debut solo album, Reckless Son, is a chronicle of his experience during and leading up to early sobriety.  The songs are insightful and at times heart wrenching, but always translate a positive message of hope and redemption. Rich and masterful storytelling makes a listen through the record a journey of its own. 

Brandon Novak

Brandon Novak was 16 and a professional skateboarder on the Powell Peralta Team, but lost his spot due to what he says was a long bout with “psychoactive substance abuse.” Brandon is most well-known for his starring roles in the “Jackass Series” and his relationship and appearances with Bam Margera from the same series. Brandon Novak raises awareness and brings hope to those struggling with addiction and the epidemic of addiction across the country.


Vance Johnson

After growing up around addiction and domestic violence as an adolescent, Vance struggled with substance abuse and domestic issues during his early NFL years. After a near death experience and induced comma in 2009, and 28 days in intensive inpatient rehabilitation, Vance has been drug-free and alcohol-free since Sept, 2013. Vance has refocused his life to put his faith, sobriety, and family above all else. With appearances recently on Dr OZ and previously on Oprah Winfrey, a devout Christian, speaking at numerous events that include high schools, church’s, nonprofit and many other keynote speaking engagements, he has now settled back in his home state of New Jersey. Vance often speaks before groups about overcoming addiction by holding sessions in state-run and private drug and alcohol facilities around the country, sharing his experiences and breaking stigma about addiction.

In May of 2016, Vance has taken the next step in his career by speaking at multiple drug court graduations, several high schools all over the country and recently became a part of a Mercer County Task Force to bring awareness of the pitfalls of addiction to surrounding high schools, and sharing his personal testimony in town hall meetings.

Off the football field, he continues to share his story with audiences in the hopes of reaching thousands and making a difference in their lives. Vance is Community Outreach for Futures of Palm Beach inpatient facility in West Palm Beach Florida. He is also an interventionist, sober coach and sober escort.


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