Meet the Speakers

The Women’s Freedom Conference would be nothing with these dynamic speakers. We are so honored and pleased to feature talks, webinars, and presentations from these amazing women all around the world. Check back regularly, as this page will be updated as more speakers are confirmed.

Alyestal Hamilton

Alyestal Hamilton

Alyestal Hamilton is a spoken word artist, writer, and speaker. Her poetry has been seen on the pages of North American literary journals, the stages of London, England, and the walls of Uganda. Alyestal was the 2014 YMCA Rep Your Region runner-up, the most recent Harry Dale Literary Award winner, and always wants to talk about natural hair. Through speaking engagements and performance poetry Alyestal shares different perspectives to inspire others to share their stories and find power in who they are.

Awuor Onyango

Awuor Onyango

Awuor Onyango is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer who is interested in the politics of the personal, the self as art. Her interests include exploring the black feminine, the African feminine, the gendered leanings of society, the archetypes and psycho-social role of the queer, othered or progressive and the various socio-cultural implications of “African-ness”. Her aim is to question the colonial, the religious and the “globalized” view of the African as believed by the African, the African diaspora and the colonialist and his kin. I attempt to fiddle with these views from a Womanist perspective. Her approach is experimental and often results in mixed media pieces and film-based installations and her practice is also about claiming public space disallowed to people considered Black, woman and other.

Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian born and Washington D.C. bred poet/writer who was a featured cast member of the National Touring Company of the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam hosted by actor/rapper Mos Def. Not a stranger to the stage, her poetry has also opened shows by Grammy Award winning artists such as India Arie, Luther Vandross, Alicia Keys, has earned her standing ovations at the NAACP Image Awards where her poetry was part of a tribute to Venus and Serena Williams. Bassey has headlined Festivals all over the world from Pittsburgh to Johannesburg to Lagos and at The United Nations Africa Day conference where she received a standing ovation from the dignitaries in attendance.

Bassey is also on the forefront of media both in front of and behind the camera, she has graced the pages of such notable publications as Nylon, Marie Claire, Glamour and Bust as well as the covers of Taruwa and Style Mania Magazines. Her production company, Bassey World Unlimited, is responsible for creating diverse content from a uniquely diasporan perspective. Her passion for poetry, arts and social issues has also led her to work as a freelance writer for several media outlets on the topic of mental health and pop culture commentary including Ebony, The Huffington Post, Essence.com, XOJane.com and TheRoot.com and was the resident pop culture critic for Philly’s WURD FM radio station.

Following the suicide of a young friend, Bassey founded a non-profit organization, The Siwe Project to help spread mental health awareness in the global African community. Bassey was recognized by MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show as a Foot Soldier of the Week for her mental health advocacy. Bassey tours the United States speaking about mental health awareness and has appeared on a number of popular radio and television programs and continued her work to bring high quality, informative entertainment to the airwaves.

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani

Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani is a host of HuffPost Live, where she is particularly interested in women’s rights, world news, politics and religion. On HuffPost Live, Caroline has interviewed numerous prominent newsmakers, including New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; Sheryl Sandberg; pioneer of the LGBT movement Edie Windsor; Archbishop Desmond Tutu; supermodel Beverly Johnson, actress Salma Hayek-Pinault, and others.

Caroline has written for various magazines and newspapers. She was the ‘Culture Corner’ style columnist for the Financial Times, and has contributed to The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, The Telegraph, The Independent, and The Mail
Caroline has appeared on national TV and radio shows discussing trending news topics. She earned her bachelors degree at Oxford University and has a master’s in broadcast journalism from Columbia University.

Chiamaka Mogo

Chiamaka Mogo

18-year old Chiamaka Mọgọ is a Nigerian who, for the past four years has also called Canada home. She is a Public Administration scholar, social justice blogger and social entrepreneur. She is the author of the blog – Blurred Creations – where she raises awareness on social justice issues going on around the world and calls for amelioration of the issues. She is a 4th year Public Administration (Honours) and Business Administration student at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Chiamaka has made a guest appearance on Daytime Ottawa, has been featured in the University of Ottawa’s Gazette and in the summer of 2015, she was recognized by the Black Canadian Awards on their National Wall of Role Models.

Christina Morillo

Christina Morillo

Christina is an experienced IT Professional with a speciality in Identity Access Management/ IT Security within the financial sector. She loves all things tech, especially innovative solutions incorporating new technologies and their global impact. An avid reader and working mother, Christina is passionate about encouraging women and young girls to engage in technology, connecting people. Not only has she committed to learning to code (Back/Front End Web Development), she also works with the several organizations supporting their respective missions.

She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, cooking, learning, growing, community and conversation. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.

Diana Vega

Diana Vega

Diana Vega is an indigenous Mixteca young woman from Mexico who is inspired by her mother and who fights to defend El Barrio from displacement. She began organizing for housing justice as a member of immigrant women of color-led Movement for Justice in El Barrio seven years ago when she was only 15 years old, speaking out as a media spokeswoman during protests. She is an immigrant tenant who has taken on politicians that approve rezoning laws that cause displacement of low-income immigrant and people of color tenants. New York City currently has a new rezoning plan for El Barrio and Diana is part of the fight against the displacement that will be caused by this plan. Diana works long hours and comes together with neighbors in the evening and on weekends to fight for justice.

Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas

Dior Vargas is a Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist. She is a CrisisTextLine crisis counselor and a facilitator for the Young Adult Support Group at NAMI-NYC Metro. She is also a member of NAMI-NYC Metro’s Young Professionals Advisory Board.​

For the 25th Anniversary of the ADA, ​Dior was honored by the White House as a Champion of Change for Disability Advocacy Across Generations. She was also chosen as a Voices of the Year honoree at #BlogHer15: Experts Among Us Conference for her online photo project, People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project, started in response to the erasure of people of color in the media representation of mental illness.

Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé Weijun Wang

Esmé Weijun Wang is an award-winning author and advocate. At esmewang.com, she provides resources that assist aspiring and working writers in developing both resilience and mastery on the path to building a creative legacy. Wang’s emphasis on resilience originates from her own experiences as a writer, having learned the importance of adapting to difficult times from life with schizoaffective disorder and late-stage Lyme disease. She studied creative writing and psychology at Yale and Stanford, and received her MFA from the top-tier Creative Writing program at the University of Michigan. The author of THE BORDER OF PARADISE (Unnamed Press, 2016), as well as the e-book LIGHT GETS IN, Wang has been published and seen in Salon, The New Inquiry, the New Yorker Online, and The New York Times. She delights in organizational tools, handwritten letters, and her home base of San Francisco. Find her e-letter, as well as the complimentary Creative Legacy Check-In, at esmewang.com/e-letter.

Feminista Jones

Feminista Jones

Feminista Jones is a mental health social worker, sex-positive feminist writer, public speaker, and community activist from New York City. She is an award-winning blogger and author of the popular erotic thriller, Push The Button. She is currently the Love & Sex section editor at BlogHer.com and former sex columnist at Ebony.com. Feminista has been featured in several online publications, notably as a contributor to Salon.com and TIME.com, and she has been syndicated in TheRoot.com and TheGriot.com. For two years, she hosted a sex-positive feminist podcast called This Week In Blackness: After Dark, which discussed topics related to sex and sexuality, race, and feminism.

Feminista has been regularly featured on Huffingpost Live, has appeared on the Dr. Oz Show and the Exhale Show, and her work has been featured on C-SPAN and MSNBC.  In 2014, she launched a global anti-street harassment campaign (#YouOKSis) and a National Moment of Silence protesting police brutality (#NMOS14), both of which received international media attention. Feminista has presented at various conferences at universities and, in 2014, she was honored as one of the Top 100 Black Social Influencers by The Root. Feminista is also a mom, a mentor to young girls, and vocal advocate for the homeless.

Jamie Nesbitt Golden

Jamie Nesbitt Golden

Jamie Nesbitt Golden is a contributing reporter for DNAInfo Chicago. Her work has appeared on a number of sites, including Time, Salon, xoJane, and Ebony. She loves liquor, historical biographies, and silence. Like most tech-savvy navel gazers of her generation, she can be found on a variety of social networks, including Twitter (@thewayoftheid), Tumblr, and Nerdgasm Noire Network, where she co-hosts a weekly podcast with four other nerdy, opinionated broads.

Jamila Aisha Brown

Jamila Aisha Brown

Jamila Aisha Brown is an experienced digital strategist, writer, and social entrepreneur who specializes in domestic and international advocacy campaigns. As The Opportunity Agenda’s Digital Communications Strategist, Jamila leads the development and implementation of all online platforms and social media outreach and engagement strategies. She is also the founder of HUE, a progressive consultancy that creates full-scale digital campaigns for organizations and businesses throughout the African diaspora.

Jamila’s passion for digital communications began when she served as the Program Director of two computer literacy programs in two public housing projects in Washington, D.C. For the past eight years, she has worked at the intersection of public policy and digital advocacy. Her efforts have spanned the globe, reaching from the United States to Honduras to South Africa. She is a Center for American Progress Leadership Institute alumna, a former Echoing Green semi-finalist, and a graduate of the New Organizing Institute’s Digital Bootcamp.

Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill

Jemele Hill is a co-host for His & Hers, formerly Numbers Never Lie, with Michael Smith. The show airs weekdays at noon ET on ESPN2. Hill and Smith also co-host an ESPN Audio podcast His & Hers with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill. Hill joined ESPN in November 2006 as a national columnist on ESPN.com who also makes regular appearances on television, including SportsCenter, ESPN First Take, Jim Rome is Burning, and Outside the Lines.

Before joining ESPN, Hill worked as a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 2005 – 2006. From 1999 – 2005, she served as a sports writer with the Detroit Free Press covering Michigan State football and basketball. Hill began her career in 1997 as a general assignment sports writer for the Raleigh News & Observer.

In 2007, Hill won the first annual McKenzie Cup, which is given in tribute to groundbreaking sports editor Van McKenzie, at the annual Poynter Media Summit. She also received an honorable mention in the 2007 edition of Best American Sports Writing. In 1998, Hill won first place in sports feature writing at the North Carolina Press Association. Hill is also a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Jonell Logan

Jonell Logan

Jonell Logan is an art collector, arts educator, and museum advocate with over 20 years of experience in the field. She has worked at majors arts organizations including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Whitney Museum of American Art(NY), The Studio Museum in Harlem (NY), and the Gibbes Museum of Art (SC). She has also taught art and art history in the City University of New York System, and has been an adjunct at both the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College, and was the Lead Foundations faculty at Art Institute of Charleston. She has just left her most recent position as the Director of Education and Public Programs at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art+Culture.

Jonell is the volunteer PR manager for Pecha Kucha Night Charlotte, and grant reviewer for the Gaston Arts Council. She presently serves as a panelist reviewing proposals for the Arts and Science Council’s Public Art Program. Engaged in national conversations on arts advocacy and museum practice, Logan just has co-founded #culturecritchics – a TweetChat forum for museum professionals and culture-lovers that will explore arts, culture and museum practice. Assisting more mainstream museums as they explore new territories, she is currently writing the catalog essay for the Columbia Museum of Art’s (SC) Remix: Themes and Variations in African-American Art exhibition – the museum’s first large-scale show exploring contemporary African-American art.

Josefina Salazar

Josefina Salazar

Josefina Salazar is one of the founders of Movement for Justice in El Barrio. Josefina is an immigrant tenant who has fought and won against large landlords that attempted to displace low-income tenants in El Barrio. She and her neighbors first took on and beat Steve Kessner, owner of a 47-building empire in East Harlem when the struggle of Movement for Justice in El Barrio first began, and then bested Dawnay Day Group, a multi-national corporation based in London. Both landlords tried to displace Josefina and her neighbors, but they united, fought and won, and they were not displaced. Dawnay Day went into bankruptcy and dissolved. Josefina began one of Movement’s first Building Committees and now ten years later the organization has 90 Building Committees. Josefina is a single mother who raises 4 children and works full-time.

Karen Millsap

Karen Millsap

Karen Millsap, founder of Widows at Work, became a widow at 29 when her husband was tragically murdered while teaching his CrossFit class. After losing much of her support network, Karen recognized the overall lack of assistance in our society for this disregarded demographic.

In August 2015, exactly 2 years following her husband’s death, Karen launch Widows at Work – a company specifically designed to help widows transition back to the workplace after the loss of their spouse. Individual and group mentoring helps guide new widows through the various levels of emotion in order to regain their confidence and focus. The corporate partnership program provides coaching to the direct supervisor on how to manage their employee in this new and fragile state.

Widows at Work mission is to empower, uplift and restore the identity of widows. The global mission is to provide financial support, employment opportunities, and other basic necessities to poverty stricken widows.

Katherine Thanos

Katherine Thanos

The daughter of diaspora , Katherine Thanos grew up listening to her parents’ stories of migration and dictatorship: narratives of a Greece controlled by military junta and a Chile under the reign Pinochet. As the sole first-generation American in her family, her cross-cultural identity logistics inspired her to interrogate social boundaries and study how economic mobility, feminism, and racism impact the immigrant experience.
She attended the University of Florida, graduating with a B.A. in Economics and in English and a minor in Women’s Studies. While at UF, she participated in the PPIA Fellowship, a national public policy fellowship headquartered at the University of California, Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. After her fellowship, she began researching thanatology. Her senior year, she wrote an expose on SCI’s death industrial complex and the economics of dying. Since that time, she has worked for her local Human Rights Commission, investigating employment discrimination claims and worker’s rights protections.

Katherine’s interests include queer theory, feminism,”American Dream” politics, and consumer protection rights in the death care industry. Her experience as a first-generation, bisexual American woman has allowed her to evolve into an unapologetic feminista. She takes no prisoners.

Kathryn Finney

Kathryn Finney

Kathryn Finney is the Founder and Managing Director of digitalundivided (DID), a social enterprise that finds, supports, and trains urban tech entrepreneurs. DID leads several successful programs and initiatives, including: FOCUS Fellows, a tech accelerator/incubator for black women founders/co-founders; #ProjectDiane, a data project disrupting pattern-matching in tech; and START, a startup basics workshop.

In 2013, Kathryn received the Champion of Change Award from the White House for her work in tech inclusion. She has been recognized as New York Business Journal’s Woman of Influence, SXSW Black Innovator, The Grio 100, Ebony Power 100, and Black Enterprise’ “40 under 40”.

Kathryn served as Editor-At-Large at BlogHer from 2012 to 2014. She was also a pioneering lifestyle blogger and Founder of The Budget Fashionista (sold to Speak Media). The success of TBF has led to the book, “How to be a Budget Fashionista” and partnerships with major brands like Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and TJ Maxx.

L. Joy Williams

L. Joy Williams

L. Joy Williams is a national political strategist, media thought-leader, social justice advocate and public speaker. She is a trusted strategic adviser to elected leaders and organizations across the country and has been featured on BET, HuffPost Live, MSNBC, TWiB.FM, NY1’s Inside City Hall, among others. Williams is also Founder and Principal of New York-based consulting firm LJW Strategies, President of the Brooklyn NAACP, and founding Chairman of Higher Heights for America.

LaLa Zannell

LaLa Zannell

As the Community Organizer at the New York City Anti-Violence project (AVP), LaLa is the face of AVP’s public community organizing work, doing advocacy, outreach and networking on behalf of LGBTQ New Yorkers who have experienced violence. LaLa also plays a key role in AVP’s Rapid Incident Response team, which responds whenever incidents of hate violence, sexual violence or intimate partner violence impacting LGBTQ and HIV-affected New Yorkers become public.

LaLa is a gifted public speaker and speechwriter who speaks out on issues related to anti-LGBTQ violence, and especially the disproportionate violence that transgender women of color face. LaLa is a member of the National Coalition of Anti violence Program (NCAVP) Movement Building Committee, Additional LaLa spoke at the White House for the first trans women of color briefing for Women’s History Month and made this year’s 2015 Trans 100 list for LaLa’s work with making the lives of Trans Woman of Color better.

LaNee Bridewell

LaNee Bridewell

LaNee` Bridewell is the Wonder Parent behind OneParentWonder.com, a blog that is as practical as it is powerful in inspiring single mothers, young and old, broke and ballin’, near and far, black and white to lead wonderful and fulfilled lives with their children!

Her passion for helping young and single mothers began in 2009 when she gave birth to her son Jai during her sophomore year in college. By the time she was 16, both of her parents passed away which later contributed to a gross lack of support in raising her son. In spite of many failures and sets backs, LaNee` was able to overcome the challenges of caring for Jai on her own while working and being a full time student.

She has been a featured as a speaker for Teen Mothers of Preschoolers (MOP’s), Better Family Life, and various college courses and community organizations across the United States. She has also served as a panelist for the 2011 Missouri Educational Roundtable hosted by The Office of Senator Claire McCaskill, the University of Missouri Black Women in History and Culture: HERstory, in addition to facilitating workshops on diversity for college students and higher education professionals.

Lea S. Yu

Lea S. Yu

Lea is the co-founder and CEO of Virtue.Us, a media platform that tells you how your dollars are having positive and/or negative impacts on the environment and society.

She previously worked in investigative journalism from both the United States and China, and contributed reporting out of Beijing for the book The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire (written by New York Times journalist Neil Irwin with Penguin Press, 2013). Lea graduated from Yale in 2010, where she was the winner of the Percival Wood Clement Prize for the best senior essay in American History. At various points, she has also been a private equity analyst, a documentary photographer and a graphic designer.

Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee

Lisa Lee leads diversity programs at Pandora and is a self-proclaimed diversity geek who spends 90% of her time thinking about a more equitable society. She is a frequent speaker on topics related to diversity in tech and has been featured at SXSW, on NPR, and in Al Jazeera. Prior to Pandora, Lisa started her career in tech as one of the early employees at Facebook. During her seven years there, she led initiatives in user operations, product operations, and diversity.

Passionate about Asian American issues, Lisa founded and chaired the Facebook AAPI Employee Resource Group, is formerly the publisher of Hyphen magazine, and cofounded positive body image site ThickDumplingSkin.com.

Lisa graduated from UC Berkeley in Mass Communications and Theatre & Performance Studies. She also serves on the board of Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality.

Loryn Wilson Carter

Loryn Wilson Carter

Loryn Wilson Carter is a digital media strategist and writer who helps business owners and brands transform their social media presence. Loryn’s passion is developing digital strategies for companies who want to improve their outreach to people of color and women. She is an independent consultant who helps organizations, businesses, and individuals position themselves as thought leaders via social media and other digital platforms. On her blog, Loryn gives best practices and lessons on how to better use social media not only to enhance communications strategies for companies and non-profits, but also to use it as a tool to connect with audiences of color. A former digital organizer, she has run social media and SMS campaigns for NAACP and the Center for Community Change. Loryn has also written for Alternet, Clutch.com, BlogHer.com, and Hood Feminism. She has also been featured on CNN.

She inspires other women to follow their passions and pursue their dreams with boldness and creativity. She is the co-founder of Black Girl Digital, a community for black women who work in digital careers. She hopes to continue raising awareness about the lack of diversity in the digital space. Born and raised in Los Angeles and a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Loryn loves to cook, go to concerts, and travel. She lives in Rockville, Maryland with her husband, Neal.

Lourdes Hunter

Lourdes Hunter

Lourdes Hunter is the co-founder and National Director of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC).  TWOCC is a grassroots global initiative that works to uplift the lived narratives, experiences and leadership of trans and gender non-conforming people of color, their families and comrades while building towards collective liberation for all oppressed people.  Lourdes is also the Comptroller of Casa Ruby LGBT Center and serves on the Board of Directors at DC LGBT Center.

For over 20 years, Lourdes has served as a healer, educator and transformative thought leader of initiatives that impact the socio-economic growth and leadership development of communities disproportionately impacted by structural oppression. A revolutionary orator and academic, Lourdes’ leadership, research and global human rights advocacy has set the tone for courageous conversations that expand the narrative of state sanctioned violence and the ways structural oppression manifests in all our lives.

Majora Carter

Majora Carter

Majora Carter is an urban revitalization strategy consultant, real estate developer, and Peabody Award winning broadcaster. She is responsible for the creation & successful implementation of numerous green-infrastructure projects, policies, and job training & placement systems.

After establishing Sustainable South Bronx and Green For All (among other organizations) to carry on that work, she built on this foundation with innovative ventures and insights into urban economic developments designed to help move Americans out of poverty.

Her long list of awards and honorary degrees include accolades from groups as diverse as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, Goldman Sachs, as well as a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Her 2006 TEDtalk was one of the first 6 videos to launch their groundbreaking website. Majora is a Board Member of the US Green Building Council, and the Andrew Goodman Foundation.

Majora has continually set new standards of excellence with projects in her South Bronx community, while expanding her reach through philanthropic pursuits and business interests that have all pointed toward greater self-esteem and economic potential for low-income people everywhere.

Maria Aguirre

Maria Aguirre

Maria Aguirre joined Movement for Justice in El Barrio when she found herself being harassed and profiled because she is an immigrant of low income – illegal actions intended to frighten tenants and displace them from their rent-stabilized homes. Maria is part of the all-women campaign team that spoke out to the media in the face of this intimidating harassment and has since forced this landlord of 51 buildings citywide to sign a binding agreement detailing unprecedented and sweeping policy changes in how they do business and treat tenants. Maria works two jobs, raises 3 children and is a leader in the struggle for housing justice in Movement for Justice in El Barrio.

Mary Pryor

Mary Pryor

Mary Pryor is a transplanted Detroiter and is passionately involved with a host of causes related to technology, diversity, cultural injustice, digestive health awareness, fitness, and under resourced education rights. She does Interactive Marketing, Production, Social Media Tactics, and Event Consultation for Urban Socialista and is a Social Media Editor for SheKnows Media. Mary’s extensive background in event planning and social media content management includes working for companies like the United Negro College Fund, the Tribeca Film Festival, Toyota, and Black Enterprise.

Her hobbies include deejaying, fitness challenges, music collecting, dancing, cooking, coding websites and apps, comic book reading, stand-up comedy, and building online conversations.

Melanie Dione

Melanie Dione

Melanie Dione is a writer and podcaster from New Orleans, currently residing in Pittsburgh, PA.  In July of 2014, she became one half of the creative duo behind The Good & Terrible Show, a weekly take-no-prisoners podcast on CSPN (formerly the Cold Slither Podcasting Network). Melanie stepped into the role of Director of Operations for CSPN in January 2015, with a commitment to providing diverse, quality programming in media.  Since assuming this role, she created and co-produces the sports podcast “Know the Score” and manages the popular “Bad Advice Show.”

She and her work have appeared in a number of digital spaces including Huffington Post Live and BlogHer.com.  Melanie is the Volunteer Coordinator and Director of Administration for the Women’s Freedom Conference.

Mikki Kendall

Mikki Kendall

Mikki Kendall, a writer and occasional feminist divides her time between two careers, a family, and brunch. Her writing covers a wide of topics including media representation, police brutality, food insecurity, and others issues that impact marginalized people. Her non fiction work has appeared in the Guardian, Washington Post, Ebony, Essence, Time, Islamic Monthly, and a host of other publications. She also commits acts of fiction largely focusing on black people in every situation under the sun, and a few under undefined celestial bodies.

Natalie Jeffers

Natalie Jeffers

Educator and Activist Natalie Jeffers founded Matters of the Earth in 2012, an organisation that specialises in knowledge dissemination, engagement and impact. Matters of the Earth are bridging the gap between the academic and creative worlds through unarchiving, reinvigorating and visualising knowledge for engagement and mobilisation. They creatively collaborate with activists, communities and organisations and place tools into hands to educate and empower people in self-organising and in strengthening and building movements.

Matters of the Earth creates innovative materials to engage a broad range of global audiences and learners of all ages on a range of social, political and environmental topics. Natalie and her outstanding collective of creatives offer a unique set of skills to those they collaborate with – combining activist, artistic and academic specialism with cutting edge technological techniques and multi-media services.

Natalie believes that nobody has the right to claim ownership over knowledge and that its distribution should be global and accessible to all, without boundaries or socio-economic limitations. This ideology is the roots that ground Matters of the Earth and everything they create stems from this.

Nayasia Coleman

Nayasia Coleman

Nayasia Coleman is an Afro-American actress, writer, and activist for many causes. A military brat, she was born in NYC but spent most of her childhood in Columbus, GA. She began writing and performing at a very young age to escape the stigmas attached to being an overweight, dark skinned girl with low self-esteem living in the south. Creating, playing, and reading about characters made life a bit easier to live. By earning a BA in Integrative Studies in 2013 she was able to hand pick her courses and tailor a curriculum to focus on Writing and Gender & Women Studies. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. which is a reflection of her love for education. Nayasia currently serves as an Administrative Assistant in LGBTQ Student Retention Services at her alma mater, Kennesaw State University. She has a passion for how art can transform people and plans to do that in every avenue of her work.

YaYa’s Geechee Tale is her very first play and she has many works in progress that are a diverse reflection of the world we live in today. A staged reading of YaYa’s Geechee Tale will be premiered at Kennesaw State University’s Center for African Diaspora Studies’ International Summit on Civil & Human Rights. This Spring you can see Nayasia as Hester in Suzan Lori-Parks’ “In The Blood” also at Kennesaw State University.

sarah huny young

sarah huny young

sarah huny young is the owner and Creative Director of Supreme Clientele, a start-up design agency based in Pittsburgh, PA. Born in Denver and bred in New York City, huny has previously enjoyed successful senior and director tenures at BET/Viacom, VIBE Magazine, and Live Nation. She is currently serving the Women’s Freedom Conference as Creative and Tech Director.

A pioneer of the Black blogosphere and Howard University College of Fine Arts grad, huny launched the now-defunct thatbitch.com in 2000 and is roundly considered a web design industry trendsetter. As a body-positivity advocate and womanist, huny’s expansive personal projects include a plus-size lingerie blog (Mostbeautifullest), a popular Tumblr that showcases the myriad beauty of women of color (Gangsterly), and the upcoming Black Girl Designer Voltron. huny loves big hair, red lipstick, and whiskey and considers herself equal parts music head, fashion aficionado, awesome mom, and “geek on fleek.”

Shannon Washington

Shannon Washington

Labeled as a ‘Next Gen CEO’ by Refinery 29, Shannon Washington is a working Creative Director, Travel Blogger & Publisher and Forever Fly Girl. Currently, Shannon is a Senior Creative Director at inVNT where she focuses on strategizing live and digital media experiences for brands like Intel, PepsiCo, and Time Inc with People, InStyle, StyleWatch and Essence Magazines.

Before inVNT, Shannon served as a lead Digital Creative Director at GREY New York. Before GREY, Shannon served at the Digital Creative Director of beauty@gotham, where she advised on global digital strategy and creative direction for Maybelline New York, Global, L’Oréal USA, L’Oréal Professionnel and Lindt Chocolate.

Since 2009 she has published and contributed to Parlour, a global online travel-lifestyle destination for women of color. In 2011, Shannon created Feminist Enough, a storytelling project which gives a fresh voice to women of color and modern feminist ideals, powered by video and social media. In her spare spare time, Shannon is actively adding to the discourse around the importance and power of young minority women in advertising through mentoring, paneling and public conversations.

Simone “Boss Lady” Amelia

Simone “Boss Lady” Amelia

Simone “Boss Lady” Amelia is an international media personality who is currently On-Air Talent for DASH Radio, Celebrity News Correspondent for KIIS FM (Australia), Editor-At-Large of Riphort Magazine, Senior Contributor to FluffMag.com and Lifestyle Ambassador for various brands including Indique Hair.

In late 2003, one year out of college, Simone became the Editor of Urban Hitz, Australia and New Zealand’s highest selling on-sale urban music and culture magazine—where she earned her “Boss Lady” moniker. She parlayed that success to get her role at DrJays.com and then moved into radio via hosting Hip Hop NationFounder/ [SiriusXM] from 2011-2014.

In addition to her media ventures, Simone’s passion is working with young women. She is active within the “Women In Entertainment Empowerment Network” organization plus her mentoring duties with at-risk youth via the non-profit “Unlocking Futures” have awarded her “Mentor Of The Year” numerous years
in a row.

Stephanie Morillo

Stephanie Morillo

Stephanie Morillo is a Dominican-American musician, writer, and technologist hailing from the Bronx, New York City. She frequently writes about race, class, her experiences learning to code, and working in the tech industry. She helps others learn to program, sings melancholic songs, and dreams about well-written documentation because the world needs it.

She is a co-founder of #WOCinTech Chat, a copywriter at a cloud infrastructure company, and has spoken about diversity-related issues at tech conferences around the US.

Tiffany Yu

Tiffany Yu

Tiffany Yu is an award-winning storyteller, problem solver, and social entrepreneur. She is currently the Director of Business Development at REVOLT Media & TV, the #1 name in music from Sean Diddy Combs. In this role, she focuses on corporate finance, strategy, and growth. Tiffany started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs, where she worked on over $14 billion of announced transactions in M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and financings. She is also the founder of Diversability, a social movement to rebrand disability. Tiffany has been featured in The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal and is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers and The Wall Street Journal’s Women of Note. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and currently lives in New York City.

Tina Zafreen Alam

Tina Zafreen Alam

Tina Zafreen Alam has been writing poetry, drawing, making music and dancing for as long as she can remember. She holds a degree in Cinema Studies from University of Toronto and has spent much of her time since 2006 working at various film festivals in Toronto, Canada, including: TIFF, Inside Out LGBT Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Last year, she went back to school to train in Expressive Arts Therapy and also Expressive Arts Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding. She’s a lover of woodland creatures and a proud Volunteer Bunny Cuddler at Toronto Animal Services.

Whitney-Amanda Horsham

Whitney-Amanda Horsham

Whitney-Amanda Horsham is a first generation American of Trinidadian descent currently residing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The majority of her career has been spent in the non-profit sector working for Brooklyn-based, child welfare organizations. In addition to providing and facilitating supportive family and individual casework counseling, Whitney has also conducted numerous workshops revolving around goal setting, healthy relationships, and self-esteem for teens. She moved to Doha, Qatar in 2014 to continue this crucial work overseas, and most recently relocated to Dubai to lend her efforts to an international high school for young women and girls.

Along with being a proud, passionate, and vocal advocate for women’s rights, Whitney is also a world traveler and soca music disciple who enjoys the culinary arts, browning her legs in the Tobagonian sun, and moving through the world unapologetically as a free Black woman.

Yee Xiong

Yee Xiong

Yee Xiong studied Asian American Studies and Design at the University of California, Davis. As a Hmong American woman, she has had the opportunity and privilege to explore her identity and purpose through my time working with Southeast Asians Furthering Education (SAFE), a student-led community program at UC Davis. One of her goals in life is to remain conscious and to educate others about how we are complicit or resistant to systems of oppression. She wants to dedicate her work to all those who do not have the same privileges as she does and she hopes that her work will be able to inspire people of color to think critically about how they would like to positively contribute to our future.