Our History

The concept of “giving back” is a core value for Greg and Julie Cook. As they considered where to make the biggest difference, they felt in their heart it was important to give locally and in support of children. When the opportunity presented itself to become early supporters of the new Primary Children’s Medical Center in Lehi, Utah, they told hospital leaders they wanted to support areas that were difficult to get funded. Hospital leaders shared that childhood mental wellness and behavioral health had always been the most difficult area to garner donors and support. This struck a chord with Greg and Julie because of people they knew, past experiences with members of their church, situations in their children’s schools, and circumstances of close family and friends. It seemed as though everyone was dealing with mental health issues on a variety of levels and yet, the hospital reported it was the most difficult area to drum up support. Not anymore — the Cooks found their cause!

After directing their hospital donation to childhood mental wellness and behavioral health, the Cooks had an opportunity to help Utah’s Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox, with his statewide suicide awareness campaign. Together with long-time family friend Bill Woahn, they started the Cook Center for Human Connection as Greg and Julie’s family foundation. The mission of the Cook Center is to bring together the best organizations, programs and products to prevent suicide, provide mental health support, and enhance human connections vital for people to thrive.

The foundation’s current focus is on supporting children, families, and schools in eradicating suicide, as well as offering resources and support for those with mental health issues and their caregivers. This is done through a variety of grants to school, programs for parents, and global resources to bring greater awareness to the support needed for those affected by suicide.

Our Future 

In the very near future, the focus of the Cook Center for Human Connection will be to provide similar support and resources for suicide in the workplace!

Our Team

Greg and Julie Cook

Founders

Greg and Julie Cook are passionate about humanitarian causes and improving the lives of individuals throughout the world.

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Greg Cook is a Founding Executive and Board Member of doTERRA, and has developed and managed international opportunities and markets for companies in the health and wellness field for more than twenty-five years. Greg currently serves on the board of Primary Children’s Hospital, and previously, served on the board of Mentors International. Julie Cook has been engaged with multiple projects in China that focus on cancer recovery and orphanages, and is on the Board of Directors for Protect Innocence. While living in China, Julie served as Asia Director for Days for Girls International and remains an avid supporter. Both are graduates of BYU: Greg in International Relations and Julie in Business Education. They are the parents of five children.

Greg and Julie founded the Cook Center for Human Connection in 2020. They have designated suicide prevention as one of the pillars of giving for their family foundation. This was spurred by the recognition of the need for more mental health resources and from personal experiences. In his role as a church leader, Greg worked with the family of an eleven-year-old boy who died by suicide. Julie lost a favorite uncle to suicide. These experiences marked both of them very deeply. “We have consoled our own children as they have lost friends, classmates and teachers to suicide,” Julie shares, “Our hearts ache at the loss of every life.”

Through the Foundation, the Cooks seek to prevent suicide by providing education and tools to help families and individuals. They hope to help facilitate the destigmatization of suicide discussions so that people will come forward and seek help for themselves or their loved ones. “I would like to see suicides eradicated completely,” Greg Cook asserts.

Anne Brown

President and CEO

Anne Brown has been the President and CEO of the Cook Center for Human Connection since its inception.

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Her decades of experience as a public school teacher and an Ed Tech Executive have given her a unique ability to bring aspects of education, corporate and non-profit leadership together to solve the real world crisis of suicide.

As an Ed Tech Executive, Anne led marketing, implementation, sales, curriculum development, government relations, business development and product development all of which brings a wealth of talent and abilities to her role. However, more important than the skills Anne offers, it is her early life that gives her a heart for this work. With a father who suffered from alcoholism and bi-polar disorder and a grandfather who died by suicide, Anne understands first-hand how mental illness and suicide not only affects the person suffering but all of those around them. Family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances all are impacted greatly when one individual is struggling.

In her role with the Cook Center for Human Connection, Anne oversees the work of the Foundation, develops strategy and leads collaborative efforts between stakeholders in this work. Before joining the Cook Center, Anne worked for several organizations including Salt Lake City School District, Pearson, and Waterford.Org. Anne is thrilled to join Greg and Julie Cook to deliver critical programs, partnerships, research and policy to impact suicide prevention and mental health programs. Anne lives in Park City, Utah with her husband and enjoys skiing, e-biking, reading and spending time with her adult daughter and adult son and two large dogs.

John Cook

Vice President of Operations

John joined the Cook Center for Human Connection to help achieve the goal of eradicating preventable suicide.

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In this role, John works to increase the impact, reach and overall strategy of the Cook Center. This includes working with our partners in the creation and execution of scalable resources that will be self-sustaining and viable suicide prevention resources for years to come.

In addition to working with the Cook Center, John is also the CEO of Manage My Own, Inc. Before working with the Cook Center and Manage My Own, Inc., John worked for 24 years in many accounting and human resource leadership positions with The Kroger Co. These roles allowed John to live in Portland Oregon, Cincinnati Ohio and most recently Milwaukee Wisconsin where John worked as Vice President of Human Resources. John has served on the Portland State University Center for Retail Leadership Advisory Board, the Portland State University Center for Retail Leadership Scholarship Committee and the University of Southern California Food Industry Management Program HR Council.

John earned an accounting degree from Utah State University. He lives in American Fork, Utah and is very much enjoying living close to family. When not at work he enjoys biking, hiking in the mountains and fishing anywhere.

Michelle Bartsch

Director, Programs and Partnerships

In her role as the Director of Programs and Partnerships, Michelle is committed to the mission of preventing suicide, improving mental health support, and encouraging human connections.

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Michelle’s strength is creating innovative and strategic solutions to drive business performance. Her passion for people makes her well suited to leading, supporting and inspiring individuals and teams toward successful goal achievement. Michelle’s experience includes business development, marketing/communications, managing and implementing programs in the EdTech and non- profit arena where previously she worked for Pearson and Waterford.org. As a result, Michelle is uniquely equipped to manage programs and resources to meet the increasing need for suicide prevention, as well as build relationships with community partners, foundations and educators to cultivate awareness and support.

Years ago, Michelle had a seemingly inconsequential moment with a student that came to light two years after the student graduated. The former student left a note on her desk thanking her for saving his life as a result of one impromptu class discussion. This was made even more impactful when she realized that neither the student nor the discussion had made an imprint on her, and yet for this young man, it was a life-saving event. Michelle is eager to facilitate many more pivotal, life-saving opportunities for students, families and educators.

Michelle holds a B.B.A. from Texas Wesleyan University and received her Master’s degree in Education from there as well. Proud to call the Dallas/Fort Worth area home, Michelle and her husband love living close to their adult children and extended family.

Andy Proctor

Director of Marketing

Andy Proctor is a well-being activist and the Director of Marketing at the Cook Center for Human Connection.

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Andy Proctor, CAPP, is a positive psychology expert and digital marketing professional. With his foot in both the academic and marketing worlds, he has a unique edge as both a marketing expert and a wellbeing thought leader. In his role as the Director of Marketing at the Cook Center for Human Connection, he leads the marketing strategy, based in the vision to prevent suicide by increasing positive human connection.

He is passionate about bringing positive change to the world and has been a well-being activist since 2014 when his wife was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar I. Since then, he was influential in preventing the suicide of two dear friends and he is passionate about increasing love in the world through real human connection.

He is the host of the More Happy Life podcast with over 135 episodes interviewing well-being experts, therapists, researchers, TED speakers, Olympians, New York Times bestsellers and social media influencers. His podcast has been mentioned in the New York Times, Fox Business, ABC News and other media outlets and was featured by Anchor.fm.

He has been a special guest speaker for city libraries, men’s groups, podcasts, church groups, popular YouTube channels and television stations to talk about the science of human flourishing. He is a published author and his writing on mindfulness and the science of well-being have been featured in both academic and religious publications and podcasts worldwide. Andy is a board member of a local TEDx event and is the co-chair of the Utah Positive Psychology Association.

Andy lives in Vineyard, Utah and enjoys rides to the lake on his electric longboard, finding cafes in new cities with his wife and playing his cello.