Cari Feiler Bender
Public Relations Strategist
Cari Feiler Bender provides public relations and strategic communication services to the non-profit sector. She founded Relief Communications, LLC in 2001 and clients have ranged from Historic Philadelphia, Inc. and Franklin Square to the world-renowned Mural Arts Philadelphia and AIDS Fund as well as the Barnes Foundation, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia. In 2017, she received the “40 in 40” Award from WOMEN’S WAY. Volunteer work includes the boards of Philadelphia Public Relations Association, InterAct Theatre Company, and Career Wardrobe. She lectures to communications students periodically at colleges and universities. Cari holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Bryn Mawr with her husband and two children.
Carol Spacht appears weekly at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, where she portrays our nation’s best-known flagmaker. Offering twenty-five years of experience in living history, Mrs. Spacht trains “History Makers” in the art and craft of first-person interpretation for Historic Philadelphia, Inc. As an historic interpreter, she also portrays Martha Washington, our “first” First Lady, and Juliette Gordon Low, the Founder of the Girl Scouts of America. Mrs. Spacht presents interactive educational programs throughout the Philadelphia region.
Professor, California State University Fullerton
Award winning writer and director, Carolyn Coal, fell in love with entertainment and storytelling when she began her career as a writer’s assistant at CBS Television. Transitioning to advertising, Carolyn explored short format storytelling and commercial production before directing a series of independent documentaries, most notably, “A Place to Live,” featuring LGBT seniors and their struggle to find affordable housing, which aired on PBS. Her most recent film was produced via a successful Kickstarter campaign and focused on a seemingly obscure wood artist that nevertheless influenced an entire art movement. In addition to her work in advertising and film, Carolyn has taught Communications Studies at Emerson College, Chapman University and California State University Fullerton.
Charlotte Blake Alston
Storyteller, Narrator, Librettist
Charlotte Blake Alston is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist, librettist and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. For over 20 years, she has served as host and narrator on family concerts for The Philadelphia Orchestra and Carnegie Hall and has performed for Lincoln Center Institute. She has appeared in such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. As a librettist, her commissioned choral work The Children’s March retells the story of the historic event in Birmingham, AL. In 2016, she was selected to perform at the weekend opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
In 1970, Doug Lipman was a discouraged teacher of highly resistant adolescents. One day he happened to tell them a story, and for the first time they softened. Since then, he has spent his life using storytelling for transformation—and helping others use storytelling’s connective power in any walk of life.
Lipman literally wrote the book on coaching storytellers: “The Storytelling Coach.” He has coached executives, professionals and performing artists in Asia, Europe, Canada and the US, including at the World Bank, Microsoft, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and the United Way.
In 2017 Lipman was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for “sustained and exemplary contributions to storytelling in North America.”
Artist & Muralist
Philadelphia based muralist, Eric Okdeh, began creating public art in 1998. As part of his process, Eric has facilitated art and mural making workshops with teens and adults, and classes with men incarcerated at SCI Graterford Prison, and people in inpatient /outpatient recovery programs. These classes serve as a vehicle for skill building, leadership and teamwork excercises, which culminate with major mural projects. Eric has found that the most successful murals provide a sense of inclusion and accomplishment among its participants which empowers them to take ownership in the work. Eric has over 100 public art commissions throughout the Northeast United States, and murals in Hawaii, Spain, Jordan and Norway. His work is featured in seven books about Public Art.
James R. Barnes
Founder, JB Innovation
An English born American grandfather dedicated to reducing suffering in the world one conversation at a time. Passionate about studying the intersection of philanthropy, faith, innovation and education to help others achieve their purpose in the world. A teacher of innovation to MBA students, philanthropy to financial advisors, leadership and teamwork to teams and individuals. A grief counselor and career counselor at Wayne Presbyterian Church and an innovation coach with an attitude of gratitude. Co-author with student, co-teacher, writer and friend, David Henkin of Who am I? – Individual Innovation. A tale of transitions, conversations and the power of possibilities.
Nick Hilliard is a Sophomore at Abington Senior High School in Abington PA. He plays cello with the Philadelphia Sinfonia and the Abington Symphony, in addition to participating in school ensembles and the Select Chorus. In 2017, he was selected to participate in the DaPonte String Quartet High School Workshop in Jefferson, Maine. He is a student of Charles Forbes.
Author & Storyteller
Born and raised in Jerusalem, Noa Baum is an award-winning storyteller, author and public speaker presenting internationally with diverse audiences ranging from the World Bank, the US Defense Department and prestigious universities, to congregations, inner city schools and detention centers. With a unique combination of performance art and practical workshops, her work focuses on the power of narrative to heal across the divides of identity. Noa trained in theatre and education at Tel-Aviv University and NYU and with acclaimed acting teacher Uta Hagen. She is a recipient of a Parents’ Choice Award and a Storytelling World Award. Her memoir, A Land Twice Promised: An Israeli Woman’s Quest For Peace, is a winner of the 2017 Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award.
Composer, Conductor, Music Director
Peter Hilliard is a composer, conductor, and educator based in Philadelphia. He teaches at Villanova University. Peter holds a Bachelor's Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory and a Masters degree from NYU. He is the Musical Director of the Abington Choral Club. He also music directs the Savoy Company, the oldest organization in the world devoted to the production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Operettas. Peter is a prolific composer, whose work has been performed by Urban Arias, Lyric Opera of the North, Memphis Opera, Carnegie Mellon, The Chicago Fringe Festival, Tanglewood, The Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, The Anna Crusis Women's Chorale, Vox Musica, Vocalessence, The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, and The Ocean City Pops among many other organizations.
Founder, National Publicity Summit and Quantum Leap Marketing
Steve Harrison is one of the top sales and marketing consultants in the world. He specializes in teaching people how to sell themselves more effectively by positioning themselves as helpful experts in their fields.
His company has helped launch many bestselling books including RICH DAD POOR DAD and CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL. People from all walks of life --business owners, nonprofit leaders, salespeople, authors, CEO’s professional athletes, doctors, professors, artists, therapists -- regularly attend his seminars or personally consult with him and his team in order to increase their sales and impact. Along with his brother Bill, Steve is co-founder of the National Publicity Summit and the Quantum Leap Marketing and Publicity Program.