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Trichotillomania Learning Center

Celebrating 20 years of service

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Board & Staff

Board of Directors


Joanna Heitz Joanna Heitz

Joanna Heitz attended her first trichotillomania support group meeting during the summer of 2000, and joined TLC’s Board of Directors in early 2002. Joanna stepped into the role of Treasurer in 2005, working closely with Christina, TLC staff, and her fellow board members to ensure TLC’s fiscal health and growth. In 2009, Joanna became President of the Board of Directors.

Joanna has been working in the nonprofit sector since 1995, making her way from southern California to Colorado to New York City, and has development and programmatic experience in women’s and reproductive health, arts and culture, youth and recreation services, and homeless family services. She is currently a fundraiser in New York City. Joanna holds an MS with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the Robert J. Milano School of Management and Urban Policy of The New School University, and a BA degree in English from The Colorado College. She loves being a “nonprofiteer” and feels very lucky to be able to use her skills to help further the education, treatment, and visibility of trichotillomania and related disorders through TLC.

Brenda CameronBrenda Cameron

Brenda Cameron and her family were first introduced to TLC in 2010 when they traveled from Calgary, Alberta, Canada to their first conference, and they haven’t looked back. Her daughter, Claire, has Trichotillomania, and Claire has experienced both recovery and relapse, and it is through these experiences that Brenda Cameron has become an advocate and a voice for the young sufferers of Trichotillomania.  Brenda brings insights into challenges of raising awareness of BFRB’s within our communities, and parenting a teen with this disorder. Brenda joined the Board of Directors in 2012, deeply committed to the work of this organization.  Brenda’s background as an educator brings to our community reassurance that young sufferers and their families will not suffer in silence and shame, but through the work of this organization and this board, young people and their families will become advocates for not only themselves, but will advocate for those whose voice is less.   “Is it you or I who stumbled first?  It does not matter.  The one of us who finds the strength to get up first, must help the other.”  (Vera Nazarian).


debbie kleinmanDeborah M. Kleinman


Debbie has been a member of the Board since 2004, and serves as Chairperson of TLC's Development Committee. Debbie's professional background is in nonprofit management. She currently is a full-time volunteer in the community, and serves on several other Boards, including the Greater Hartford Association for Retarded Citizens and Hebrew Health Care. Debbie resides in Hartford, Connecticut, with her husband Steve, and has two stepdaughters and two granddaughters. Debbie is an avid skier and gardener. She has had trich since she was 12 years old.


Jon E. Grant, MDJon E. Grant, M.D., J.D., MPH, Advisory Chair

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Dr. Grant is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Dr. Grant completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, a master's degree at the University of Chicago, a law degree from Cornell University, a medical degree from Brown University, and a masters degree in public health from Harvard University. Dr. Grant is a board-certified psychiatrist.

Dr. Grant has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the phenomenology and pharmacological management of impulse control disorders, particularly pathological gambling, kleptomania, and grooming disorders. He is the author of Stop Me Because I Can't Stop Myself, a book on impulse control disorders published by McGraw-Hill (2002) (co-authored with Dr. Suck Won Kim), and co-editor (along with Marc Potenza) of two books published by the American Psychiatric Association Pathological Gambling: A Clinical Guide to Treatment (2004) and A Textbook of Men's Mental Health (in press). Dr. Grant's research is funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health.


Marla Deibler, PsyDMarla W. Deibler, PsyD

Marla W. Deibler, PsyD is a Licensed Psychologist and the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC, a private outpatient facility with locations in Cherry Hill and Princeton, NJ, specializing in the evidence-based treatment of TTM and other BFRBs, OCD, and the anxiety disorders spectrum. She has been an active member of the TLC professional community since 1999. Dr. Deibler is on the Faculty of the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC) Professional Training Institute ( PTI) and serves on the Board of Directors of OCDNJ, the NJ affiliate of the International OCD Foundation.


ChailleChaille DeFaria

Chaille Percival DeFaria found Christina Pearson and TLC in the early 90‘s after a behavioral therapist put a name to her eyelash and eyebrow pulling. Chaille joined the Board of Directors in 2015.  She has pulled her eyelashes and eyebrows since her late teens, and as she continues to observe the growing number of children and parents coming together at these conferences, she realizes the need for even greater education and outreach.  Chaille has made a living with her voice in the entertainment industry and came to realize there is one more place, above all, that her voice has not been heard.  She is ready to educate and empower others and continue to serve in the TLC community.  Chaille lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 3 children. She is a singer, personal/business coach, and voice over artist.

“When we feel safe within ourselves, we are able to turn up the volume on what it is we want to change”. 

Dana Marie FloresDana Marie Flores

Dana Marie Flores is a passionate and caring member of the TLC community. Dana has been a skin picker for her entire adult life and most of her childhood as well. Dana brings a life’s understanding and experience to the community for those that are seeking someone that’s been there and experienced what the TLC community is all about from both sides, as a follower and now a leader. Like most, at one point, Dana believed she was the only person in the world with skin picking issues. Dana finally found TLC in 2005 and has attended every conference and retreat since. She volunteers for TLC, presents classes at conferences and retreats and is active in her local support group, all while working full time in the mortgage business, raising her two teenagers and Papillon.

Brian HaslamBrian L. Haslam

Brian is the father of a beautiful, talented and wonderful young woman who also has trichotillomania.  For years, they searched for answers and healing, discovering TLC February of 2010 and attending their first TLC Conference that spring in Dallas.  The hope, happiness and friendships they have gained through association with TLC is something they hope to share with others who struggle with trichotillomania.

Professionally, Brian is the President - CEO of Azteca Systems – Cityworks, located in the Sandy, Utah (Salt Lake area).  Founded by him in 1996, Cityworks provides software to help manage the operations and maintenance for over 500 cities, counties and utilities throughout the United States, Canada, Sweden and elsewhere internationally.  Each year, at the annual Cityworks User Conference, Brian and his daughter organize a charitable fundraiser to benefit TLC and raise awareness of trichotillomania.


Doug RobsonDoug Robson

Doug comes from a family of hair pullers. Only in the last few years did he recognize the “habit” as a medical condition that needed attention. This discovery led him to TLC, which has served as an immensely helpful tool in his own search for understanding about trich. He attended his first TLC conference in 2010 and has at various times been involved with the local group in his hometown of San Francisco. He joined TLCs board in 2012. By profession, Doug is a reporter covering sports.



Rahel SmithRahel Y. Smith, SPHR-SCP

Rahel’s personal experience with both skin-picking and hair-pulling gives her a unique perspective on the interconnections between various BFRBs. She attended her first BFRB support group in 2004, after which TLC conferences and retreats became a regular part of her life for many years. Rahel credits both the ongoing support group and members of TLC’s Scientific Advisory Board for providing her with the resources to reduce the negative impacts of BFRBs in her life. She joined TLC’s Board in 2015.

Rahel has spent her career overseeing finances, human resources, and operations for small businesses and non-profits, serving as Board Member, Director, Manager, and Consultant. She is currently Director of Finance and Administration for Kevah, a small Jewish non-profit based in Berkeley. Rahel received her BA from Oberlin College, and holds a Senior Certified Professional designation from the Society for Human Resources Management. She lives in the SF Bay Area with her spouse Caroline.

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Jennifer RaikesJennifer Raikes
Executive Director

Jennifer began as a TLC volunteer in 1995 by writing an educational pamphlet for hairdressers.  Over the next decade, she became an integral part of TLC’s operations, serving as president of the Board for many years before becoming Executive Director in 2009.    Prior to joining TLC's staff, Jennifer studied history at Swarthmore College and worked for a decade as a producer and researcher of numerous award-winning documentary films for PBS.  She produced and directed the documentary, Bad Hair Life, about living with trichotillomania, which aired on public television in 2005.  The film was inspired by her own experience growing up with trichotillomania, and shares the intimate stories of pullers of all ages.

Jennifer has frequently represented TLC in the print and broadcast media, appearing on Good Morning America, 20/20, Fox News, The Insider, Sally Jesse Raphael, and local news programs. She is proud to have been one of the founders of the New York City Trichotillomania Support Group, and has made many of her closest friends as part of the TLC community.  Jennifer lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters.

kelly headshotKelly Ernst
Program Assistant

Kelly Ernst joined TLC as the Program Assistant in the fall of 2013. Ten months later she was accepted into Peace Corps to teach Algebra in Liberia, but the situation changed in Liberia and she was evacuated only two months into service. She headed back to Santa Cruz and happily rejoined the TLC team; she felt like she left a family behind and now has had the opportunity to reconnect with the the community that she had quickly grown to love. Kelly has a Master's Degree in Communication Studies and worked in higher education fo over 10 years getting additional certifications and experience in a variety of areas including leadership coaching. She also has extensive experience in leadership development, event coordination, program planning, and community building. For fun, she sings in the Santa Cruz Peace Chorale, enjoys CrossFit, and is learning to play the mandolin.

alice headshotAlice Kelly
Membership Services, Accounting Manager

Alice Kelly has worked for TLC for 16 years, first as a part-time bookkeeper, and now as Membership Services Coordinator and Accounting Manager. She spends much of her time maintaining TLC's financial records.  She is also responsible for oversight of all aspects of TLC's membership services, treatment referral listings, and overall database management.  She's happy to be working in a field that promotes awareness and healing for so many people. Alice is the proud owner of one of the TLC office dogs, Ocho!



dana headshotDana Hickerson
Administrative Support

Dana Hickerson has played various integral roles in TLC's development since its inception. She has known and worked with Christina Pearson for over 30 years, first running a small telecommunications business together and then getting involved with TLC, initially as a founding board member to support Christina's vision. Today Dana works part-time for TLC providing much needed administrative support. Dana handles order processing, membership fulfillment and general mailing services. She currently has a new kitten!

leslie headshotLeslie Lee
Program Coordinator

As Program Coordinator, Leslie is the Editor of TLC's quarterly InTouch newsletter, manages TLC events, including the Annual Conference, Retreat and One-Day Workshops, and travels to promote TLC's mission at various other professional organizations. She also acts as the Creative Director for TLC, overseeing website development and the creative branding of TLC. Her previous experience as an Office and Communications Manager for an award-winning, internationally renowned Downtown revitalization group fostered her desire to work in the non-profit sector, and TLC fit the bill as a community-building organization that helps improve the quality of people's lives. Leslie lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband and her two sons, where she spends most of her free time in the ocean or in the garden with her family. She is also a proud owner of one of the TLC office dogs, Sandy.

corinne headshotCorinne Lightweaver
Annual Fund Director

Corinne Lightweaver is TLC’s new Annual Fund Director and is thrilled to be working with the dedicated staff and amazing community of TLC.  She has been in remission from OCD for a number of years and has people dear to her who are dealing with the challenges of skin picking, hair pulling, and other body focused repetitive behaviors. Corinne has a BA in English from UCLA with a specialization in Women’s Studies and an MA in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and earned a designation as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

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Christina S. Pearson

Christina Pearson PicSince 1990, Christina Pearson has devoted herself to improving the lives of people suffering with trichotillomania, skin picking, and related disorders. Before Christina founded the Trichotillomania Learning Center (TLC), there was no place for people to get reliable information about these disorders, no way for sufferers to meet each other, and no one bringing together clinicians and researchers to improve understanding and treatment. Christina is a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher's Practicum, developed and approved by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts - Worcester, MA.

Today, Christina shares the life-changing impulse control skills she has learned through her own recovery from skin picking and hair pulling and the MBSR training. To learn more about her story and online courses, visit



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