Our Team



Melissa Shaffer (email)
Program Coordinator

Taylor Langley (email)
Executive Assistant

board of directors

Philip Zimbardo (President)
Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

Zeno Franco (Chairperson)
Assistant Professor, Medical College of Wisconsin

Scott Allison
Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond

Matt Langdon
Founder of The Hero Round Table

Bill Roller
Co-founder of The Berkeley Group and Family Institute

Adi Seal
Founder & CEO of Nitkan

Brian Detweiler-Bedell 
Professor of Psychology, Lewis and Clark

Donna Shestowsky
Professor of Law, University of California, Davis


Meet Your HIP Trainers

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Ellie Jacques

Ellie is a hero trainer and working nomad. She began her career in Flint, Michigan, where she focused on increasing community resilience through heroism education during the Flint water crisis where she worked with structurally unemployed adults, women in substance abuse recovery, and youth with disabilities to help close achievement gaps, reduce recidivism, and mediate the impact of trauma. She is currently based in Australia working as an active hero trainer and thought and curricula contributor for the Heroic Imagination Project (US). She received a double bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from Michigan State University.

Publications: Jacques, E.A. (2018). The Adversity Antidote: how heroism education is being employed to navigate hardship and achieve wellbeing in Flint, Michigan. In O.Efthimiou, S. Allison, Z. Franco (Eds.), Heroism and Wellbeing in the 21st Century: Applied and Emerging Perspectives (pp. 194-209). London, UK: Routledge.

current Home Base: Australia

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Matthew Winkler

Matthew P. Winkler holds three master’s degrees and has taught at middle schools, high schools, and colleges in New York, New England, China, and Japan. His passion for education has propelled him twice around the globe and through all fifty states. In addition to leading HIP training modules worldwide, Matt offers presentations and workshops related to his viral TED-Ed video "What Makes a Hero?" and his book Mentoring Teenage Heroes: The Hero's Journey of Adolescence. Matt’s work reflects human psychology through the mirror of storytelling to reveal the heroic paths we all follow, whether we realize it or not. Learn more at matthewpwinkler.com

Home Base: San Francisco Bay Area

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Graham Goulden

Graham spent 30 years as a Scottish Police Officer.  Frustrated at hearing people say, “I knew something was going to happen” Graham spent the last years of his police career with a focus on reducing violence in society and was instrumental in developing bystander programmes in Scottish schools, Universities and workplaces. Graham has a degree in Criminal Justice and a Certificate in Education.

In a world of injustice and hurt Graham believes there is a hero in us of all just waiting for that right moment.  A passionate advocate of the bystander approach he believes that ‘Hero activation’ is the reality we all must aspire to.

Graham lives in the Scottish Borders with his wife Allie, her daughter and his Dachshund Dog Dolly.  He has two daughters Jennifer and Alice who live in Glasgow.  He travels extensively in the UK, Europe and in the US.

Often asked why does he do what he does.  His answer is “I want my girls to live in a world free from abuse”.  His work with HIP supports this goal. Graham’s workshops and inputs are highly engaging and active.  Participants will be both, challenged and reassured at the same time. 

Home Base: Scotland


Jackie Potter

The Heroic Imagination Project has been close to my heart since I first learned about it while pursuing my BA in Psychology at Lewis & Clark College. I began volunteering with the organization in 2015 and have taught dozens of students how to take effective action in any challenging situations they may face. Navigating life is difficult. There are many psychological and societal factors that keep us from reaching our full potential, but these factors do not have to determine our behavior or feelings towards ourselves. Using the lessons from HIP, I have watched myself and others transcend barriers that before seemed insurmountable.

While in college, I also discovered my love of working with survivors of trauma. Since graduating, I have worked with survivors both in my home of Portland, OR, and abroad. As my career develops, I intend to encourage the growth of the heroic imagination in those I work with as well as the larger population. After all, many victims of trauma would not be victims if a bystander had stepped in to help. Heroes are not remote figures only found in stories; they are every day people who stand up for themselves and others when the situation calls for it.

Home base: Portland, oregon