Board of Directors


Pam serves as the President of This Able Veteran and has been on the Board of Directors since 2012.  In this capacity, Pam is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization as well as leading the efforts for long term growth and sustainability.

She has been a management consultant for over 25 years. Pam retired from the U. S. Treasury Department, International Affairs, Office of Technical Assistance in 2017 where she worked as a Personal Contractor/Technical Advisor since 2005. In this capacity, she assisted in reorganizing the tax administration offices/processes in Algeria, Nigeria, Zambia, Jamaica and Haiti. Pam holds a degree in Organization Development from Northeastern Illinois University. She also studied at American University and completed the Organizational Development Program through National Training Laboratories Institute in Bethel, Maine. Pam specializes in organizational design and development, change management and leadership development.

Coming from a military family, she has been involved with the VFW Ladies Auxiliary for 20 years, serving in various District & Auxiliary officer positions. She was Auxiliary President for 4 years and Chairperson, Veteran & Family Support at the local level for 12 years. Pam has been a member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary for over 10 years.  In addition to being a certified GED Tutor for the State of Illinois, Pam is a member of the Southern Illinois Veterans Coalition.


is the current Market Executive for Banterra Bank’s Central Region.  He has more than 20 years of financial experience, serving the Southern Illinois community throughout this time. Before his move to Banterra, Jeff worked at Old National Bank for 20 years, serving as Southern Illinois Regional President, overseeing eleven locations.  He gained this position within six years of his hire date, starting as Branch Manager, Community Manager, then Senior Vice President, Regional Sales Manager. Jeff has served as External Advisory Chair for Southern Illinois University’s School of Finance, Board President for Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation, and Founder for Southern Illinois’ “100 Men Who Cook” Event.  He served as Board President for John A. Logan College Foundation and board member for Carbondale Kiwanis, Jackson County Business Development Corporation, American Red Cross, Carbondale Crime Stoppers, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, D.A.R.E., H Group Foundation and Habitat for Humanity.  Speith received his Master of Business Administration degree in Finance at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Management/Psychology.


Alicia has worked in administrative/professional positions at the Southern Illinois University School of Law for more than 20 years. Her work as an attorney, mediator and administrator has given her an appreciation for the importance of collaboration to address complex challenges. Alicia has stated that the staff and volunteers of TAV bring a tremendous amount of talent and passion to the program. Her attention to detail makes her a very talented writer and an excellent proofreader – and we are delighted that she shares those talents freely with This Able Veteran. Alicia is an animal lover and is fascinated by the abilities of the dogs that are trained at TAV to assist veterans with their recovery from PTSD. “I volunteer with This Able Veteran because I believe their work is life-saving. As someone who is often frustrated by the lack of understanding and acceptance of mental health issues, I believe TAV’s success with the veterans who complete their program will help more people understand what PTSD is and that it is treatable.”


In addition to being an attorney, Jonathan Mitchell is also a United States Navy veteran.  Jonathan has more than 16 years of combined active and reserve experience, achieving the rank of Commander in the Navy Reserve.  He served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom at Al Asad Air Base with the Base Command Group supporting the 2d Marine Air Wing.  He also served in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as a Rule of Law Field Support Officer with Combined Joint Interagency Task Force-435 in Helmand Province. Jonathan was also the Senior Justice Advisor at Afghanistan’s Justice Center in Parwan.  He serves as an Officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.  His current military assignment is Executive Officer of the 6th FLEET Legal Unit. Jonathan is welcome addition to our Board and will serve as our Military Advisor. Jonathan attended Baylor University and the University of Oklahoma Law School.  He works as an attorney at the law firm Feirich/Mager/Green/Ryan in Carbondale, Illinois. He resides in southern Illinois with his wife and two daughters.


Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Services & Chief Care Network Development Officer – Phil has been with SIHS as Vice President since 2000 and was previously Director of Corporate Planning. He became a Senior Vice President in 2017. Phil was Vice President of Planning and Marketing with Centegra Health Systems, McHenry, Illinois in early 2000. Prior to his association with SIHS, Phil was Director of Planning and Marketing with BroMenn Healthcare, Normal, Illinois (1992-1996), Director of Cardiac, Pulmonary and Neurological Services with BroMenn Healthcare (1984-1992), and Director of Cardiopulmonary Services with Mennonite Hospital, Bloomington, Illinois (1983-1984).

Phil received an Associate in Applied Science degree in Respiratory Therapy from Parkland College in 1976, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with honors from Millikin University in 1982, and a Master of Science Degree in Healthcare Planning and Administration from the University of Cincinnati in 1987. He is board certified in Healthcare Management as a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a registered Respiratory Therapist. He has served as a lecturer/instructor in the healthcare management program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and has taken part in many community leadership activities with organizations such as the United Way, Holy Trinity Junior High School, Central Catholic High School, Holy Spirit Church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Alzheimer’s Association, and the Center for Equine Services. He is a member of the Jackson County Growth Alliance and served as the chair of that organization’s Board of Trustees for over four years.


Behesha is the founder, executive director, trauma resiliency instructor and training director of This Able Veteran. Behesha brings a unique perspective to training and communicating with dogs and as a life coach, teaches the veterans through the Trauma Resiliency program to bridge the gap and begin to take control of their lives. As a trauma survivor herself, Behesha brings an uncommon insight to how a correctly trained service dog, combined with a trauma resiliency program, can make a difference in the lives of those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. Through This Able Veteran, she has developed a veteran-centric model of care which is enabling veterans to regain their sense of purpose and self, changing their lives and the lives of those who love them. Behesha is a gifted public speaker, lecturer and published author on the subjects of canine behavior, communication and training.


Michelle serves as the Marketing Director and has been a core member of the This Able Veteran team since 2011. Michelle’s extensive background in graphics design has earned her numerous national and international awards. In addition to her nearly 20 year career at Southern Illinois University, her photography skills have created lasting memories for clients, family and friends. Her artistic eye and creative talents help the veterans, donors and our core team visual possibilities for the future and capture the reality of today. Michelle has created all of This Able Veteran’s graphics, videos, brochures, website and media. Her devotion to improving the lives of our veterans is evidenced by her tireless contribution to This Able Veteran. Her consistent empowerment of the This Able Veteran team itself has magnified the work of every team member. Michelle is the spark that keeps us moving forward.