Spoken Word Artist
Courtney J. Owens is a powerhouse in the fields of spoken word, poetry, motivational speaking, and community outreach programs. Her poetry has led her to work with several organizations including The Lima Symphony Orchestra. Courtney has also spoken at the 2022 Survivor’s Speak Conference in Columbus, OH. She has shared her gift of poetry and spoken word at many events held within her community. Her poetry is uplifting, and it gives those who are willing to listen a sense of empowerment and hope. Some of her works of poetry are also published in the Library of Congress. Courtney is also co-author of the published book “Sporadic Thoughts,” and co-host of the podcast, “Sporadic Thoughts,” on IHeart Radio. She is the host of Deep Voices poetry and spoken word series at Vibe Coffee House and Café. She is also the owner of The Works of Courtney J. Owens LLC which incorporates her poetry and spoken word.
Assistant Director for Education, Outreach and Conflict Resolution at Virginia Tech
Henry Yampolsky is a best-selling author, mediator, educator, lawyer and TEDx speaker. He serves as the Assistant Director for Education, Outreach and Conflict Resolution at Virginia Tech's Office for Equity and Accessibility. Henry also teaches Conflict Resolution, Mediation and Peace Building as part of Virginia Tech's Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention. Henry has worked with many complex conflicts and has taught and lectured around the world including at: Columbia University School of Law, New York Peace Institute, the National Museum of American Jewish History, Bellevue Mediation in Zurich, International Gandhi Center and Museum in New Delhi, Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, India and at the Sattva Summit in Rishikesh, India. Henry is also a Master-level instructor of Sattva Yoga, trained in Rishikesh, India. Prior to embarking on a career in peacebuilding, Henry worked as a trial lawyer in Philadelphia. Originally from Ukraine, Henry lives in Southwest Virginia.
Author & Speaker
Michelle Weidenbenner is the founder of several private support groups for moms of addicted loved ones. Thousands have joined. She’s a passionate podcaster at Moms Letting Go Without Giving Up where she shares tips, interviews and hope. She calls herself the Chief Hope Builder.
She wants to stop the stigma of substance use disorder and help moms of addicted loved ones find hope, courage, and support so they can identify their superpower and help change the addiction landscape.
She has been a guest on Magnificent Midlife, The Addiction Podcast – Point of No Return, Unapologetically BOLD, Everyday Leaders and Write the Book Inside You.
Michelle is an Amazon #1 Best-Selling and Award-Winning author and speaker. Her new book, Unhackable Moms of Addicted Loved Ones, Closing the Gap between Havoc and Hope is a 30-day program for moms who want to heal.
Creativity and Communication Coach and Speaker
Nina Meehan is a Creativity and Communication Coach and Speaker and the founder and CEO of an award-winning theatre company that has served over a million audience members. She is an internationally recognized arts educator and specializes in creating interactive and immersive arts experiences. She speaks and writes frequently on topics ranging from creative thinking, connection, storytelling, female leadership and creative play.
Nina's work has been described as: grounded in positivity, energetic and inspiring, goal-driven and results-oriented.
She has been spotlighted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Barron’s, Red Tricycle, ABC News, NBC News, and CBS News.
Nina holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech, a Masters of Nonprofit Administration and is currently pursuing her PhD in Creativity Studies.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her three kids, cross-country skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, and yoga.
Rev. Edie Weinstein
MSW, LSW, Love Ambassador, Opti-Mystic & Bliss Mistress
Edie delights in inviting people to live rich, full, juicy lives. She is an internationally recognized, sought after, colorfully creative journalist, interviewer, author and editor, a dynamic and inspiring speaker, licensed social worker and interfaith minister, BLISS coach, event producer, certified Laughter Yoga Leader, certified Cuddle Party facilitator, and Cosmic Concierge. Edie is the founder of Hug Mobsters Armed With Love, which offers FREE HUGS events world- wide on a planned and spontaneous basis.
She speaks and writes on the subjects of wellness, relationships, trauma recovery, addiction, mental health, peace and social justice, spirituality, sexuality, loss and grief. She experienced a bucket list item when she interviewed His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (an aside...Offering a TEDtalk is another one,)
Incest Survivor and Artist
Sadia Carone has chosen to accept the risk of being called "Incest Girl" and/or "The Girl Who Got Raped" because she is eager to de-stigmatize being a survivor of sexual assault. She brings to our stage her experience as an actor (theater / TV / films) as well as her experience teaching English to executives and diplomats in Paris, France and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her talk is not angry. Her talk is not sexy. Sadia has been told that "she can find humor just about anywhere" – so despite the serious nature of this topic, you might find a humorous spin on a few situations!
Sadia has 2 BA degrees in English and French and is certified in Field Camera, Studio Camera, and Final Cut Pro. English is her first language – she also speaks French, Portuguese, and Spanish. She has been studying Hindi/Urdu, Russian, and Arabic. She recently received a certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell. She also loves playing guitar (Spanish classical acoustic/electric)
Public Speaker and Spoken Word Artist
Seth is a public speaker and spoken word artist who uses poetry and short stories to spark conversations around diversity, relational curiosity, and human connections.
Seth has a passion for creating environments of unity and harmony by cultivating value and appreciation of human difference through provocative art. Seth facilitates conversations with the goal of helping others grow in their understanding of race relations in our society and he also uses his poetry to address the intersection of faith and racial justice.
As a husband and father, Seth strives to positively influence others by living by his motto “Growth & Grace — We all need to grow, and we all need grace."
Uchenna Umeh, “Dr. Lulu”
Dr. Lulu aka the Momatrician is a Nigerian-born, pediatrician and mom of a non-binary transgender young adult. She is a life coach, TEDx speaker, bestselling author, talk show host, actress, podcaster, LGBTQ* advocate and youth suicide prevention activist, former Lt. Col and commander and disabled US Air Force veteran.
Dr. Lulu has been featured on local, national, and international television including The Diaspora Show on the Nigerian Television Authority, and the nationally syndicated CBS This Morning with Gayle King. She is the bestselling author of “How to Teach Your Children About Racism”, “A Teen’s Life”, “How to Raise Well Rounded Children”, and “The Warrior Women Project”. Her next book: “Invited In, is due out May 2022. In addition to freelance writing and features on numerous media outlets, Dr. Lulu is also the host of “The Parent Hour with Dr. Lulu” radio show, The Pride Corner, and The Parents of Queers Podcasts.