Author & Lead Singer, ICON FOR HIRE
Ariel Bloomer is one half of the alternative rock duo, Icon For Hire, who are known for tackling difficult mental health topics in their music. She has amassed a loyal following by touring the world, and spreading a message of self love to her fanbase and beyond. Her first book, Turn Your Pain Into Art, quickly became an international bestseller. She resides in Nashville, TN.
Actress, Advocate & Founder MENA Arts
A political asylum seeker from Afghanistan, actress Azita Ghanizada's path from the beginning was one of breaking cultural barriers both in the east and the west. As an advocate, she has lead the charge to be a strong voice for the underrepresented on television and film, and has, at times, put her career at risk to tackle outdated systems in Hollywood. She believes that story telling and cultures represented on TV and Film have a tremendous responsibility in how we teach people.
Life Designer & Intrepid Optimist
Betsy Wills is the co-founder of YouScience.com, a revolutionary scientific approach to understanding human potential. An expert on aptitude testing and its implications for educational, career, and life design, she advocates the concept of nimbleness in order to excel at any age or stage. She has delivered personal and professional development workshops for corporations, universities, and individuals since 2002.
She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and holds an M.Ed from Peabody College.
Program Manager, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Clarice Phelps is a research scientist at Oak Ridge National Lab who previously served in the United States Navy as an NCO in the Naval Nuclear Power Program. With a combined 16 years of experience, she has worked on the separation, purification and processing of radioisotopes for private and commerial entities. Clarice is dedicated to STEM initiatives and ensuring that access to STEM education is available to under-represented communities. In 2019, she was recognized by the IUPAC's (Internation Union Of Pure and Applied Chemistry) Periodic Table of Young Chemists for her commitment, public engagement, and being an advocate for diversity. She is the first African- American woman to be involved with the discovery of an element, Tennessine.
Author, Professor, Compassion Advocate
Dr. Chris Kukk is the HarperCollins author of "The Compassionate Achiever," co-host of The Compassionate Achiever Podcast, founding Director of the Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation, Professor as well as Director of the Kathwari Honors Program at Western Connecticut State University, a Fulbright Scholar, and member of Phi Beta Kappa. His Ph.D. in political science is from Boston College and his B.A. from Boston University. He was also an international security fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a counter-intelligence agent for the United States Army. His research and publications combine neuroscience with the social sciences and focus on understanding how weaving values such as compassion into our learning, civic, and business communities affect levels of financial, intellectual, and social capital.
Executive Director, National Graphene Association
Dr. Zina Jarrahi Cinker is a condensed matter physicist, international graphene expert and an industrial business strategist. She has led the graphene commercialization efforts in the U.S. with a focus on bridging the gap between academia and industry, U.S. policy, EHS and development of international standards. She advocates for the “realistic” potential of novel materials in real world applications.
Author & Interviewer
Lily Clayton Hansen is an author, interviewer, and freelance writer who has written three books, two about the city of Nashville and one to commemorate the 50th anniversary of HCA Healthcare. She began her writing career at age 19 in her hometown of Chicago interviewing celebrities, artists, and small business owners. After Lily moved to her adopted hometown of Nashville, she began her interview series Word of Mouth Conversations in which she interviews real people about how they make a living doing what they love. When Lily isn't interviewing or writing she is passionate about teaching others how to listen, empathize, and have intimate conversations. She believes that face-to-face conversations, in a digital world, are one of the most powerful ways to understand and accept others. In her free time, Lily likes to act in film, commercials, and music videos and draw portraits.
Actress, Singer, Songwriter, & Producer
Although Rita Wilson is well-known as an actress and film producer, her most recent projects have all been connected to her passion for music. After achieving her dream in 2012 with the critically acclaimed album AM/FM - an intimate, elegant, and beautifully sung collection of classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s - Wilson has been focusing on a new component of her musical career as a songwriter. Recently, she has collaborated with a number of talented and successful songwriters, composing original material featured on her second album, self-titled Rita Wilson. Her new album Halfway to Home (March 2019) has a fuller sound: Southern California rock meets Nashville country, co-produced by Rita Wilson and Nathan Chapman with additional production from Ron Aniello and John Shanks. Many of the songs were co-written with an A-List group of songwriters, including Grammy winner Liz Rose, Kristian Bush of Sugarland, Mozella, Mitch Allan, and Kara DioGuardi.
Founder & Executive Director, Music For Seniors
Sarah Martin McConnell is the founder and executive director of Nashville-based Music for Seniors, a thriving nonprofit arts organization connecting older adults with area musicians across Tennessee through live and interactive music outreach programs. Performer, musician, singer-songwriter and MSSW, in 2018 McConnell won a prestigious WeWork Creator Achievement Award to seed the organization's national expansion as a result of her spontaneous on-stage pitch. In November 2019 the nightly news program, PBS NewsHour aired a feature story on the work of Music for Seniors, which is now poised to open chapters across the U.S. To view both presentations, visit www.musicforseniors.org.
Mavericks beyond music, the Shindellas were formed under the
belief that when women come together, powerful things can happen.