Meet the Team

The Women’s Freedom Conference can only happen because of the hard work of a group of dynamic women. We want to make sure that we have as much representation and are as intersectional as possible to present a wide range of topics that resonate with people all around the world.

We are proud to introduce the Women’s Freedom Conference 2015 Leadership Team and Advisory Board.

Organizers

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.

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.”

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.

Leadership Team

Alex Millard (Intern)

Alex Millard (Intern)

Alex Blank Millard has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. After 15+ years of working in education, Alex now runs her own consulting business and works for Feminista Jones. She is also a panel member, answering reader questions for the project I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault and runs the project Women* Draw Penii. Alex’s recent work can be found at xoJane, I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault, McShouty’s, and Adanna Literary Journal. Alex lives in Philadelphia with her partner and a small menagerie.

Bee Quammie

Bee Quammie

Bee Quammie is a healthcare professional, award-winning blogger, freelance writer, social media consultant, and speaker. Bee has turned her passion for health into a career in mental health research, international health, and acquired brain injury. Bee is the founder of the blog, ‘83 To Infinity, which focuses on natural hair care, health & wellness, art & culture and more, Bee has written for publications such as Chatelaine, UPTOWN Magazine, Parents Canada, For Harriet and The Huffington Post Canada. In 2014, Bee founded The Brown Suga Mama, a blog focused on motherhood from the perspective of a Black Canadian mom.

Bee was recognized by Black Enterprise as one of the “most impactful and successful voices in the online space,” and was the recipient of the Best Blogger Award at the 2014 Black Canadians Awards. She has been featured on Arise TV’s Our Take in New York City discussing international healthcare, and various times on TVO’s The Agenda With Steve Paikin, She has spoken at conferences and panels across North America, mentors at programs for young girls and women of colour, and has facilitated women’s health promotion workshops across Toronto for a provincial health program.

Bee is the International Marketing and Promotions Committee Leader for the Women’s Freedom Conference.

Carolyn Martinez-Class

Carolyn Martinez-Class

Carolyn Martinez-Class is a third year student at Sarah Lawrence College where she is studying Political Science and Public Policy. Carolyn is an organizer, whose primary focus is on immigration and anti-racism.

Beyond her personal and community-based work, she has also worked in multiple non-profit development and communications departments across the East Coast.  Her experiences in academia and the professional setting are guided by her desire for the betterment of her community. Fundraising and Sponsorship Committee Leader

Evelyn Alvarez

Evelyn Alvarez

Evelyn Alvarez is a Mom, Doula, trainer, and founder of Prom King, where she collects and distributes dress clothes to youth for special events. In 2014, she won both a Positive Impact Award from Hispanicize for her community service, and was featured in O Magazine for her work with PromKing. She is a Brooklyn native, lover of 90s R&B, and collector of red lipsticks.

Evelyn is the Event Manager for the Women’s Freedom Conference and is also working on increasing Spanish-speaking language accessibility.

Leslie Macfadyen

Leslie Macfadyen

Leslie Mac is a Brooklyn born-and- raised activist and a first generation American of Jamaican ancestry. After organizing the NMOS14 vigil in Philadelphia, she created the Ferguson Response Tumblr blog to connect nationwide efforts supporting the important racial justice movement started in Ferguson, MO. She has since expanded the Ferguson Response Network to include a weekly podcast devoted solely to the Black Lives Matter movement and providing additional support for organizations currently working to create lasting social change through sustained civil disobedience and civic action.

Most recently, she served as the Social Media Chair for the MLK D.A.R.E. March in Philadelphia & was one of the Coordinators for the Movement for Black Lives Convening in Cleveland.

Leslie is the Digital Marketing and Promotions Committee Leader for the Women’s Freedom Conference.

Advisory Board

Adrienne Gravish

Adrienne Gravish

Adrienne Gravish is a Deaf Queer Black poet and artist. She has written for Deaf Echo where her blog “What Does It Mean To Be a d/Deaf Woman Living a Life That is Free of Violence?” was used as teaching tool within DeafHope’s education and advocacy services for Deaf survivors of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking.

Adrienne is excited to be a part of the Women’s Freedom Conference team in advising on accessibility for Deaf visitors and guests. Adrienne can easily be found on Twitter where she shares her thoughts, laughs and observations with Black women globally who are too getting free.

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.

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.

Fania Noel

Fania Noel

Fania Noel is queer Haitian-(French) Black feminist. She works on issues of race, patriarchy, capitalism/colonialismm and climate justice. She is currently living in Paris, but from the projects in surbubs. She is a proud member of a big Haitian family (oldest of 5 siblings). Her life’s project is liberation not reform!

Grace Hwang-Lynch

Grace Hwang-Lynch

Grace Hwang Lynch is a journalist and blogger. With a background in television news reporting, she founded the website HapaMama in 2008. The website gives voice to Asian mixed-race family issues.

Grace is also the News & Politics Editor for BlogHer.com. Her work has been featured on Salon.com, PBS, Mom.me, and the School Library Journal. As a commentator, Grace has appeared on MSNBC and Huff Post Live, and has been noted in the Wall Street Journal, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Taipei Times.

Gugulethu Mhlungu

Gugulethu Mhlungu

Gugulethu Mhlungu has almost a decade of media experience and volunteer work. She has served as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Eastern Cape Communication Forum representing both print and broadcast entities in the province. She has also served as a board member for the Eastern Cape Community Radio Forum. She also has experience in community outreach (through her work with the Rhodes University Community Engagement programme) and years of volunteerism through her work at Rhodes Music Radio, and most recently YouthLab where she assisted as Executive Head of Communications and PR.

She is currently lifestyle editor and writer at City Press, where she also writes an opinion column every two weeks for the paper’s Voices section, for which she won Columnist of the Year at the Media 24 Legends Awards this year. She is currently hoisting a Friday night talk show on Talk Radio 702 in Johannesburg, South Africa and CapeTalk in Cape Town, South Africa.

Jamie Broadnax

Jamie Broadnax

Jamie Broadnax is the founder and director of the award-winning blog, Black Girl Nerds.  In 2013, Jamie formed a partnership with five other female bloggers to create the She Thrives Network.  The site was targeted towards women of color to express their authentic selves and not conform to the status quo.  Jamie has written for Madame Noire and has been recognized by the Black Weblog Awards as the New Blogger on the Block.  The Black Weblog Awards also awarded BGN in 2013 as Best Podcast.

In 2014, Jamie was recognized by MSNBC The Grio.com’s Top 100 list for being an online community builder in the tech space and innovator for Black women to feel comfortable with embracing their nerdiness.  In theSeptember 2014 issue of Marie Claire magazine, Jamie was recognized by TV powerhouse Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow on Twitter.  She was also acknowledged by AT&T’s The Bridge as one of Four Black Techies To Follow On Twitter.  To learn more, read about Jamie and Black Girl Nerds here.

Jamilah Lemieux

Jamilah Lemieux

Jamilah Lemieux is the Senior Digital Editor for EBONY, the magazine of record for African-Americans since 1945. Jamilah is one of the small-but-mighty team that led the reimagining of the magazine’s sister publication in 2012. She has also written for a host of print and digital properies, including EBONY, Essence, JET, Clutch, Medium, Jezebel and her now-defunct, award-winning blog, The Beautiful Struggler.

Jamilah is a frequent guest on MSNBC (The Reid Report, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, So Popular with Janet Mock, etc.), Huffiington Post Live and Al Jazeera America, and has also done radio interviews with NPR, the BBC and the CBC. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation’s most influential African Americans, as well asFortune’s list of the most infleuntial women on Twitter. Jamilah also appeared on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Report with Larry Wilmore.

Johnetta Elzie

Johnetta Elzie

Johnetta Elzie was born and raised in St. Louis and has been organizing and documenting the events in Ferguson on Twitter. Along with her partner in the work, Deray McKesson, Johnetta is Co-Editor of the #Ferguson Protester Newsletter, which has over 15,000 subscribers. Johnetta also serves on the planning teams for mappingpoliceviolence.org, wetheprotesters.org, and checkthepolice.org, which all function in innovative ways to hold the police accountable for their actions.

Since August 2014, Johnetta has been one of the key youth activist voices who has taken the message of resistance internationally via various media outlets such as EBONY Magazine, Forbes Magazine, O Magazine, The Feminist Wire, The Wallstreet Journal, GlobalGrind.com, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Huffingtonpost.com.

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.

Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour

Linda Sarsour is a working woman, community activist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!”

Currently she is the National Advocacy Director for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC) and ACCESS and locally serving as the Director of the Arab American Association of New York, a social service agency serving the Arab community in NYC.

Linda has been at the forefront of the debate around the New York Police Department’s unwarranted surveillance of the American Muslim community.

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.

Phenocia Bauerle

Phenocia Bauerle

Phenocia Bauerle is currently the Director of Native American Student Development at the University of California at Berkeley. She is also the editor of The Way of the Warrior: Stories of the Crow People, a collection of oral history accounts that have been recorded, transcribed, and translated into English.

Reagan Gomez

Reagan Gomez

Already, a veteran of Hollywood, Reagan Gomez continues to take this town by storm. She’s graced the big and small screens numerous times with lead roles opposite David Arquette, Michael Ealy, Tom Cruise, and Cuba Gooding Jr. Reagan has graced the TV screen in shows like Love, Inc. and the successful long running TV show, The Parent Hood. She most recently starred in hit prime time cartoon, The Cleveland Show, and the TV ONE hit, Love That Girl.

Reagan has also tried her hand at creating content, writing and starring in her short film This Time, and writing, directing and starring in her two webseries, Almost Home and Surviving The Dead. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her music producer husband and two children.