Lesley Dobis: I’m a multi-talented, splendiferous nerd. That may sound like bragging, but as someone with low self-esteem, I declare it with irony and a bit of humor. For the past 35 years, I’ve been a technical writer, a mom, and a massage therapist. Now, I offer my stories as entertaining education about the emotions surrounding money matters and parenting. In my spare time, I've become an accidental farmer raising chickens on the ever expanding Fabulous Farmette. See more at lesleydobis.com.
Katia Aoun Hage
Born in Cameroon, raised in Lebanon during the civil war of 1975, Katia Aoun Hage moved to Southern California where she resides with her husband and three children. Graduated from the University of Redlands with a Masters in Music Education, Katia collaborated with dance choreographers, performed poetry and music or displayed her artwork in local venues, taught music at the middle school level and held several positions of leadership. Lately, she has launched a local publishing company, Elyssar Press, and keeps in touch with voices from Europe and the Middle East. With the onset of metastatic breast cancer, Katia has learned to slow down and finds strength in nature walks, meditation and qigong that she shares within her community or online. Her book "After the war, the Women spoke" published by Cholla Needles, speaks of the silent suffering of mothers and daughters after the Lebanese civil war. Katia Aoun Hage listens deeply to the voices inside, of her own people and hers, becoming a bridge between past and present, east and west, through her poetry, translations, music and artwork. Photo: Circus Runaway Photography.
Alfreda Ann Harris
Alfreda Ann Harris has a diverse background in education and the arts. She currently works a Children’s Learning Specialist with the Flint Public Library (FPL) and a professional Storyteller. She has a lifelong passion for learning, teaching, and making a difference in her community. Her mantra is to empower and enable people to experience and to connect with worlds beyond their neighborhoods. As a professional storyteller she enjoys teaching and coaching multi-generations, diverse cultures, and global communities in the art of storytelling. She is honored to serve as a TLAN board member.
Alfreda currently serves as a Crim Mindful Ambassador for the Flint Mindful Cities Initiative. As a practitioner of yoga and a certified mindfulness instructor she seeks opportunities to share mindfulness through storytelling. She knows firsthand how mindfulness can support people’s lives. She has the privilege of bringing mindfulness to her workplaces, and the art and music therapy groups where she is an active member. She has served as an active docent at the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA) for over a decade.
Alfreda was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Seeking a better life her family migrated to Flint, Michigan when she was three years old. She is a proud graduate of Beecher Community Schools, a public school district in the Flint area. She graduated from the University of California-Los Angeles with a B.A. in English and African American Studies. She attended Portland State University for training and development and the University of Michigan School of Education. Alfreda is a former Peace Corps volunteer having served in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific working in Rural Community Education.
Alfreda is single and the eldest of seven. She takes pride in being her family’s matriarch which includes thirty-five nieces and nephews spanning three generations. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, reading, teaching, storytelling and cooking. She has travelled to sixteen countries and lived in five states. Alfreda now resides in the house where she grew up.
Renu Sarah Thomas
Renu Sarah Thomas is an Art Psychotherapist (British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT) and workshop facilitator. She has several years of experience in introducing and conducting programmes that promote the personal, social and emotional wellbeing of individuals in Dubai, India and Scotland and adapting these programmes to suit the cultural climate of the region.
Renu is a self-taught artist and her happy place is a well-stocked stationery shop. Although Renu finds pottery making and acrylic painting centering and enjoyable, it is through writing that she has found liberation and empowerment. Her growing areas of interest include displacement and trauma and thorough her spontaneous creative art and creative writing workshops, she passionately encourages people to pursue some form of creative expression, embrace their authentic selves and intentionally find their purpose.
Born in India and raised in England, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, Dubai has been Renu's home for the past 20 years.
Beth Turner is an Emmy-award winning television journalist who loves words and the power they carry to encourage, empower and equip all of us. She is a professional expressive writing facilitator and healing storyteller who hosts workshops, retreats, conferences because she sees over and over the transformative power of words. Beth is an author, published poet, wife, and mom to three boys, an adorable mutt named Squirt, a rabbit named Esther, and a few wayward backyard chickens. She is a TLA board member, a POW conference presenter, and an overall hands-in-the-air-fist-bump-sold-out believer in the transformative power of language! See more about her work at e3story.com.