Astra Coyle, Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner, is a teacher, speaker, and healer, devoted to ending trauma’s grip on the body and mind. She challenges us to rethink the way we go about transforming our personal lives and communities. Astra assists students in developing self-awareness along with practical new options for living. Astra views the individual’s agency as necessary in reducing the exploitative effects of culture and developing resilient communities. She has created many popular classes and workshops focusing on the body as the means of change. Her talk, Your Body Can Change Your Mind, is one of many she has authored to help people utilize the tools they have in their possession to transform their lives. Astra maintains a private practice in Western North Carolina, where she lives with her husband and three sons.
Daniel Cape is a creativity scholar and trainer who operates his business Experience to Creativity out of Asheville, North Carolina. His approach to creativity is providing people with fun learning experiences and simplifying creativity so they can understand it and apply it to all aspects of their work and lives. He derives his creativity from unique life experiences that include serving as a combat engineer officer in the Army National Guard, working as the Director of an English language summer camp in Ukraine, over 15 years of experience drawing caricatures, a career as an experiential educator, and other international work. Daniel is the author of From Experience to Creativity: The experiential educator’s incomplete guide to creativity and the creator of EPIC Cards that teach and promote creativity.
Daniele Martin is a yoga teacher, storyteller, racial equity activist, animal lover and healer dedicated to transforming individual and collective racial trauma through strategic partnerships. Specifically, Daniele specializes in working with health and wellness organizations, conferences, and festivals committed to decolonizing their spaces. Passionate about equity, spirituality, and true expressions of love, Daniele infuses her work with more than 30 years of alternative medicine and metaphysical wisdom. Having been described as a spiritual doula, Daniele is someone who sees what we are capable of birthing, while simultaneously being deeply skilled at navigating the unavoidable labor pains required to bring a new way of being into the world.
Daniele is especially skilled at traversing organizational developmental gaps and growth opportunities when it comes to unpacking how whiteness may be inhibiting organizations from coming into full alignment with their expressed values. She is gifted at guiding and supporting the investigative process for how values are showing up in relational and operational practices, working to unearth and understand what might be lingering in the shadows, and integrating a racialized lens to trauma-informed practices. The mountains of Asheville have taught her more about herself and what she is capable of accomplishing than any other state she has lived.
More than three decades into his career, singer/songwriter David Wilcox continues to push himself, just as he always has. Wilcox, by so many measures, is a quintessential folk singer, telling stories full of heart, humor, and hope, substance, searching, and style. His innate sense of adventure and authenticity is why critics and colleagues, alike, have always praised not just his artistry, but his humanity, as well.
That's not by accident; it's very much by design. It's the result of a man giving himself over in gratitude and service to something bigger than himself. “I'm grateful to music,” he says. “I have a life that feels deeply good, but when I started playing music, nothing in my life felt that good. I started to write songs because I wanted to find a way to make my life feel as good as I felt when I heard a great song. I don't think I'd be alive now if it had not been for music.”
An early '80s move to Warren Wilson College in North Carolina set his wheels in motion, as he started playing guitar and writing songs, processing his own inner workings and accessing his own inner wisdom. In 1987, within a couple of years of graduating, Wilcox had released his first independent album, The Nightshift Watchman. A year later, he won the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk Award and, in 1989, he signed with A&M Records, selling more than 100,000 copies of his A&M debut, How Did You Find Me Here.
In the 30 years and more than 20 records since — whether with a major label, an indie company, or his own imprint — Wilcox has continued to hone his craft, pairing thoughtful insights with his warm baritone, open tunings, and deft technique. He's also kept up a brisk and thorough tour itinerary, performing 80 to 100 shows a year throughout the U.S., and regularly deploying his talents by improvising a “Musical Medicine” song for an audience member in need. In recent years he’s taken that process a step further, carefully writing and recording dozens of his “Custom Songs” for long-time fans who seek his help in commemorating and explaining the key milestones in their lives.
Lest anyone think that he's lost his touch, Wilcox pulled no punches on his most recent release, 2018's The View From the Edge. Not only does the song cycle find him delving into mental health, family legacies, spiritual contemplations, and topical concerns, the song “We Make the Way By Walking" also won him the Grand Prize in the 2018 USA Songwriting Contest.
"I think the coolest thing about this kind of music is that, if you listen to a night's worth of music, you should know that person,” he explains. “If you're hearing a performer sing all these songs, you should know not only where he gets his joy and what he loves, but you should know what pisses him off and what frightens him and what runs him off the rails, what takes him apart and what puts him back together.”
To attain that level of revelatory honesty, Wilcox follows a song to its deepest truth, even when it haunts him, a practice which demands the strength of vulnerability that he has sought since his teen years. That honesty is why Rolling Stone has written that his “ongoing musical journey is compelling and richly deserving of a listen.” It's also why Blue Ridge Public Radio has noted that, “The connection people feel with David’s music is also the connection they feel with each other.”
But Wilcox's unique brand of storytelling doesn't come easily. And it doesn't come quickly. “I could always think of a lot of possible ways the song could go, but the trick was recognizing truth amidst all the cleverness,” he confesses. “The more time I took, the more my deep heart could speak to me through the process of songwriting. I could gradually craft a song that felt like it was coming from the place I was going. If you decide to trust heart over cleverness, you not only get a song that moves you, you get a song that moves you toward being who you want to be. The time you spend immersed in the emotion of a song changes you. The song shows you the world through a particular point of view. Once you have seen the world that way, you can't un-see it.”
Evan Parker holds a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Central Florida and a M.S. in Sustainability Studies from Lenoir-Rhyne University. He is currently the Executive Assistant at Conserving Carolina, a land trust in Hendersonville, NC. Evan’s primary goal in life is to cultivate a sustainable society, from the local to the international level. In addition to being concerned about environmental issues, he is passionate about social justice and animal rights, viewing these as essential pieces of the sustainability puzzle.
Jen Aly is a bridge between the financial & business world and artists & creatives. For the past 20 years, it has been her passion to help people reclaim and harness the creative process to succeed. Today that translates into supporting creatives to succeed in the business world by supporting them to apply business skills in a way that leverages their genius. A creative herself, she bootstrapped an Asheville-based jewelry design business that has grown every year since its start in 2013. A coach since 2003, Jen is committed to empowering creatives to thrive in expression, money, and business via coaching, workshops, and community programs. Learn more at JenAlyCoaching.com.
Kat is a psychologist who developed a deep understanding of human relationships through 15 years of working with over 900 families with autism. She now applies her experience in building relationships from the ground up to healing the rift between people, planet and profit.
She founded and continues to run a for-profit company (ilumivu) that provides software to psychology and behavioral health researchers. She founded and runs a nonprofit (Community Roots) focused on accelerating the equitable transition to renewable energy and the rights of nature. And she works with a nonprofit (Rites of Passage Council) as an eco-therapist applying the healing power of nature for personal and cultural transformation.
Sara Delaney is the Founder of Asheville-based nonprofit Africa Healing Exchange (AHE) and the owner of 3 Mountains, a social enterprise with product lines Silverback Nonalcoholic Beverage & Tîma Tea. Sara is a passionate global activist and social entrepreneur and has been working with the people of Rwanda for over a decade. She holds business, nonprofit and leadership degrees from Simmons College, Grande Ecole Du Commerce, and SIT Graduate Institute, and is a former Mama Hope International Executive Fellow. Sara grew up in Vermont lives in Asheville with her husband and their two sons.
Sarah Poet, M.Ed
Sarah Poet, M.Ed boldly advocates for us all to reclaim the lost parts of ourselves through her writing and through her trauma-sensitive coaching practice, Embodied Breath. She is a mother, soul searcher, creator, space-holder, mindfulness instructor, speaker, entrepreneur, group facilitator, teacher & healer. Sarah has been consciously dancing with the archetypes and healing her own inner feminine & masculine for the last eight years. As a system’s thinker, she can’t help but notice the nuances of how we commonly relate to one another and what blocks human relationships from thriving. And as a believer in a better world and a soulful entrepreneur, she can’t help but to imagine and invite ways to safely access deep connection and love for all. To that end, she develops innovative healing modalities to offer to individuals, couples, and groups, modeling authentic personal storytelling along the way. She can be found on the web at www.yourembodiedbreath.com & www.sarahpoet.com.
Tracey Greene-Washington is the President of Indigo Innovation Group, a consulting firm dedicated to serving as a strategic thought-partner, advisor and consultant to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations committed to accelerating change through system-level approaches, equity, and strategic collaboration. In addition to this role she is the Founder of CoThinkk, a social change philanthropy committed to shifting the economic mobility, health, education, and leadership narrative of communities of color in Western NC through strategic investments, network-building, and civic discourse. With a nineteen-year career track record of tackling complex social issues, she’s gained a reputation as a passionate, innovative leader that is committed to partnering with organizations/communities to be more impactful by targeting systemic change, taking risk, and accelerating efforts at the intersection of community economic development, health and education. In addition, she is a board member of the NC Early Childhood Foundation, Education NC and NC Center for Public Policy Research and holds an MSW from USC.