Betty was born and raised in Texas, attended Baylor, lived in Oklahoma, Kansas, New Jersey, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan before coming to her senses in Arizona.
She worked in the computer industry as a technician, systems analyst, project leader, salesperson, sales manager, regional vice president and vice president of sales for one of the largest data processing organizations.
She was personally drawn to the leading edge in human resource management; exploring partnering – beyond team building after completing the GE Management Program in 1977 and The Applied Creative Thinking PILOT Program for The GE Mangement Institute..
In her position as vice president she was responsible for 11 offices from San Francisco to New York and found herself on an airplane four days a week. High Stress! After having a spiritual experience on a Shiatsu table she “heard a voice” that said, “let go.” She quit her job the next week and started on a journey to create a space for people to let go of and learn from their stressful experiences. Seeking guidance as to where she might locate this space, she experienced her visual field filling with purple and yellow pansies. Startled and confused by this phenomenon, she asked for more specifics but the pansies continued. She finally surrendered to the vision and left in August 1986 to find a field of pansies. In June of 1987, after driving 36,000 miles, she discovered a retreat with a back yard full of purple and yellow Johnny Jump Ups that looked like baby pansies. There she founded The Merritt Center as the culmination of her dream to provide a space for people to experience renewal and empowerment; to learn and grow.
She has created many workshops and programs including those described in the workshop section of this site. She currently feels the Free Program for Returning Combat Veterans has the highest priority for all Merritt Center volunteers. More than two thousand people have experienced her programs.
Answering her need to reduce stress she created a bodywork technique: KIATSU, based on Shiatsu, incorporating breath, toning, Process Oriented Acupressure and other energy releasing methods. She has taught Kiatsu to therapists since 1989. She added Healing Touch techniques to her bodywork sessions and was certified by the Colorado Center for Healing Touch January 2001 with renewal of that certification in 2005 and 2010. She created three Stress Release Groups based on the techniques learned in the Professional Body Mind Medicine Program she completed in 2010.
She is the keeper of a teaching lodge. She conducts the ceremony as an introduction to the process to those new to the Lodge seeking a way to ask for what is needed, to let go of that which no longer serves mind, emotions, body and spirit and to give thanks for all the blessings of the journey of life. As part of her Cheyenne-Arapaho teacher’s initiation to become the keeper of the lodge, Betty was required to spend four days and three nights in the forest without food or water in each of the four seasons of the year.. As the lodge keeper she keeps the lodge as a “little girl/little boy” teaching lodge.
Her Spiritual Fasting Vision Quest was described in the April 1999 issue of Health, a national wellness magazine. The Arizona Repulic and the Payson Roundup featured the Vet Program in several issues since it’s creation in 2005. She is a frequent speaker in Arizona. She was the keynote speaker for an Annual Meeting of the Tucson networking organization: Resources for Women and in April 2000, she was the keynote speaker for the Women’s Wellness Forum sponsored by a regional medical alliance. She was the closing speaker for the NABVETS in 2009. She was the kick off speaker for the Nurses Organization of the Veterans Administration Regional Meeting in Phoenix in 2010 and for the Nurses Organization of the Veterans Administration National Meeting in Las Vegas in 2011. She also provided an in-service presentation to the VA Nurses in 2012. She will also provide Train the Trainer Training for counselors of the Vet Center and the Arizona Trauma Network to share the educational approach and techniques used in the Vet Program.
In 2005 Betty was ordained as a minister by the International New Thought Alliance. She now happily responds to calls for Reverend Grandmother to perform ceremonies to mark life’s passages.
There have been several local-statewide newspaper articles, radio interviews and webcasts about her latest dream: The Free Returning Combat Veterans Program, which was started in 2005. She was one of 14 participants in a Roundtable about Peer Support for Veterans sponsored by Survivor Corps in Aug. 2008. This new program for returning combat veterans was created to include veteran mentors in a peer support role. Each of the eleven Programs, held for men and the ten programs held for women through 2015, included four free weekend retreats and/or 7 day programs featuring education in trauma release/management techniques, life rebuilding and celebration ceremonies.