All meetings held at the Huntington Beach Stake Center building (map).
SATURDAY WORKSHOP SESSIONS
9am - 9:50am & 10am - 10:50am
Ross Baron was born and raised in Southern California. He joined the Church when he was 18 and served a mission to Argentina, Buenos Aires South, which was divided, and he served in Argentina Bahia Blanca. When he returned home he met, fell in love with, and married Kathleen Ann Bolton in the Los Angeles Temple. They have seven children (five boys and two girls) and 16 grandchildren.
He received a Bachelor's degree from BYU-Provo in Finance, a Master's degree and a PhD from the University of Southern California (USC) in Religion and Social Ethics.
He was involved in business and entrepreneurship before he went to work as a full-time Institute Director CES Coordinator in Southern California at the Glendora and Claremont Institutes for the Church. After twelve years as an Institute Director and Coordinator, he came to teach at BYU-Idaho in the summer of 2005.
He loves to teach and to learn. For him, nothing is as exciting as being in a classroom with students who are anxious, bright, and ready to learn by study and by faith.
Steve Lang was a Bishop in a family ward, Huntington Beach YSA Ward, the 1st mid-singles magnet ward created by the church (located in Huntington Beach), and is currently a Branch President for SOI Branch Camp Pendleton. He has also served as a Seminary Teacher, Elder's Quorum President, Sunday School Teacher, Ward Mission Leader, and Young Men's President (for 10+ years).
He has been married to his wife since 1975, has 4 children, and 11 grandchildren. He is a contractor, lives in San Clemente California, and loves surfing. His wife created and coined the term, "Mid-Singles." He loves the gospel, his family, surfing, and impacting those around him. His humor, natural ability to connect, and authenticity quickly earn people's love and respect.
Amy Stevens Seal is the founder and CEO of The Love Experts Inc. and The LDS Matchmaker®. Her training with world-renowned industry experts, over fifteen years of corporate recruiting, and an MBA from BYU have all given Amy deep professional experience. However, her real schooling and wisdom have come from conquering the debilitating heartbreak and doubt she has faced through many discouraging trials.
Although she was faithful to her marriage covenants, in her late twenties Amy found herself divorced and “single again” after a temple marriage. Then, at the age of thirty-eight, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and as a result of the chemotherapy, she struggled with heart-breaking infertility issues. Amy never gave up and, after beating cancer, she continued in faith and hope to develop her professional and social connections, which led her to launch the largest LDS-focused matchmaking and date coaching firm in the world. Through her business, she has had the privilege of assisting hundreds of singles in achieving their personal and relationship goals.
After thirteen years of being single again, Amy found her prince charming, Derek, and lives in gratitude for the gifts of hope, faith, and perseverance she has gained through her trials. At the age of forty-four, Amy is now the proud step-mother of Derek’s six wonderful children—and against all odds, she delivered twin boys last November!
SATURDAY KEYNOTE SPEAKER
11am - 11:50am
Timothy Ballard is the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). He also serves as O.U.R.'s Jump Team Commander for rescue operations. Ballard spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team. He has worked every type of case imaginable in the fight to dismantle child trafficking rings. Ballard has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations. In this effort he has successfully dismantled dozens of these organizations and rescued countless children from sex slavery. He is an expert at managing Internet investigations, particularly those dealing with file-share networks where pedophiles and traffickers go to trade in child pornography. He has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers at home and abroad in best practices to liberate children from sex slavery.
Ballard has been featured on many national news outlets to discuss his efforts to combat child trafficking. He has appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, The Meredith Vieira Show, CBS Nightly News, ABC Nightline, and CNN Headline News, MSNBC, The Glenn Beck Program, as well as many local news shows.
Ballard is the best-selling author of "The Covenant: One Nation Under God," and is the author of the sequel to that work, "The Covenant, Lincoln, and The War." He has taught American and International Politics courses at Imperial Valley College, San Diego State University and American Heritage School. He has been featured regularly on both local and national TV and radio programs to discuss American history and politics and the role America has played in defending liberty at home and abroad. He has often commented on how his academic work in American history has provided him the inspiration and motivation to rescue children--to carry on the American tradition of liberating the captive. He recently received the distinguished George Washington Honor Medal from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.
After serving a church mission to Chile, Ballard graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Spanish and Political Science from Brigham Young University. He went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude with an MA in International Politics from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He resides in California with his wife and children.
SUNDAY FIRESIDE SPEAKER
Merrilee Boyak is a renaissance woman: Author, Speaker, Life Coach, Lawyer, and Community Leader. She loves life and loves every season of life--especially this one! She enjoys hanging out with her hubby, four sons, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren and discussing politics. She is an estate-planning attorney and her law practice covers Utah and California. Merrilee is also a professional lecturer and speaks all over the country, featured for many years at BYU Education Week and Time Out for Women, and a published author. She loves to travel and meet people all over the world. Her perfect day is camping in a tent, reading a good book, taking a perfect hike, and eating FREE food.
Sister Boyack is the author of several books and talks, including The Parenting Breakthrough, Strangling Your Husband Is Not an Option; In Trying Times, Just Keep Trying. and her most recent, “Will My Child Be Ready: Missionary Prep for Moms” and “When I am a Missionary”. Merrilee and her husband, Steve, reside in Lehi, Utah.
BLACK-TIE BENEFIT SPEAKER
Mark will be speaking to those who register for the Wednesday, May 17th pre-conference Black-tie Event benefiting Operation Underground Railroad.
Mark Mabry, an Arizona native, has worked as an undercover Field Journalist for Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) since the organization’s inception. He spent most of his career as a commercial photographer, culminating in a project called Reflections of Christ. Mark has produced three books and has a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies from ASU with an emphasis on Creative Non-fiction Writing. He spent 3 years in Dallas as the Creative Director for Glenn Beck’s company, The Blaze. His footage can be seen in the movie 'The Abolitionists - A Mission to End Child Trafficking’ and throughout the internet. Mark is currently recording season two of the Slave Stealer Podcast, which he writes, produces and co-hosts with Timothy Ballard and Hugh Vail. In addition to his duties with Slave Stealer and Operation Underground Railroad, he is a partner in a Phoenix based security company and other brand marketing ventures.
He currently lives in Hobble Creek Canyon, UT with his wife, Tara, 3 sons, a daughter named Ava (who politely asked to be named), and a white Great Pyrenees puppy named Scout.