National Safe Haven Alliance Executive Director; Arizona Safe Baby Haven Assistant Director, R.N., B.S.N, BTMC Pediatric Emergency R.N. and BTMC Safe Haven Coordinator
Heather Burner has recently accepted the Executive Director position for the National Safe Haven Alliance after working with Arizona Safe Baby Haven for 7 years and as the Executive Director for over 4 years. She is a wife, mother of 3 children, and grandmother. She has experienced the tragedy through the unnecessary death of a newborn firsthand, and this life changing event propelled her motivation to save the lives of precious newborns. Heather’s commitment to the Safe Baby Haven mission and raising awareness to provide an alternative to infant abandonment has led to many babies finding forever homes, and a safe place for a mother to find care and support in a desperate situation. She has shown love for her community, mothers and babies and is a gracious leader in the Safe Baby Haven realm.
Kristen Taylor, an Arizona native, was born and raised in Camp Verde, Arizona before she moved on to the Phoenix area after becoming an adult. Through the loss of her nine-day old son in 2013, Kristen decided to focus some of her sorrow into working with the National Safe Baby Haven. Kristen started her 20 year city career with the City of Glendale in 1997 where she was employed for 7 years before moving on to her current employer, the City of Avondale where she has been for 13 years. Kristen is a Certified Public Manager given out by Arizona State University. Kristen is in the Transit industry and has won numerous awards for her efforts in providing transportation to the public who don’t have vehicles.
Suzanne Hobbs, Director of Communications:
Our Director of Communications has a special connection to the Safe Haven Laws. It all began with a phone call from a police officer in October 2001. At the time, Suzanne was working as a news reporter in Idaho when she got a tip that the body of a newborn was found in a dumpster. It was a story that changed her life at that very moment.
She and her husband of seven years had been told that adoption was the only way they could begin a family. She began to advocate for a Safe Haven Law in Idaho, so no more unwanted babies would be discarded like that. The following spring, Idaho enacted the Safe Haven Law and the Governor handed her a pen he used to sign the law, thanking her for her efforts.
In a special twist, in 2003, the Hobbs’ were on the adoption list with the State of Idaho. They were chosen to be the adoptive parents of a Safe Haven baby. Her daughter is now a teenager and is also an advocate for the law. This story has been told in two books, several magazines, on television, radio and on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
A bedtime story Suzanne made up one night for her daughter, Lilly was turned into a children’s book called The Hungry Snake. (2016) Right away, it became an Amazon Best-Selling Book and was listed as a #1 Hot New Release in several children’s categories. Proceeds from the sale help Suzanne promote the Safe Haven Law.
She is honored to be part of this national organization and use her story and communication skills to promote the Safe Haven Laws.
Damien Johnson, Director of Development:
Mr. Johnson joins the alliance in an effort to expand his experience as Executive Director of Arizona Safe Baby Haven Foundation. Mr. Johnson is a certified EMT-Paramedic in the State of Arizona and has over 9 years of experience in the emergency medical services system. Mr. Johnson currently works full time managing Communications and Marketing for a large children’s healthcare nonprofit agency serving children across Arizona. Mr. Johnson holds a B.S. in Exercise Science: Health Promotion from Arizona State University and is currently working on his Masters of Business Administration. He joined the alliance in July of 2017.
Executive Liaison Officer Will Burner has been working with Arizona Safe Baby Haven for nearly 7 years and is now with National Safe Haven Alliance. He is a husband, father, and grandfather. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from ASU’s College of Public Programs and began his 24+ year Public Safety Career as a Police Officer. He is currently a Captain/Paramedic with a municipal Fire Department and regularly deploys nationally in the Incident Command System. His relationships and understanding of the Police, Fire, and EMS cultures is integral to the mission of the National Safe Haven Alliance.
Shannon McCloud, Program and Strategy Director:
Shannon McCloud lives in Maryville, Tennessee with her husband and two children. She is a native of Virginia and a graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke.
She has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit program management. She has been the Executive Director of A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee since 2004 and has worked with numerous committees and organizations relating to maternal/ infant health and early childhood issues.
She previously coordinated the Resources Mothers/Early Head Start program at People Incorporated in Abingdon, Virginia, where her journey to help young pregnant women and their babies began.