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Meet the team 

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The Team

In 2018 we asked some of our very favorite people from all over the internet to join us for a weekend in the woods, and to our absolute delight, they said yes.

 
 
Cyndie Spiegel

Cyndie Spiegel

Keynote Workshop Leader

Cyndie is a Brooklyn-based small business consultant, coach, and TEDx speaker. She is also the founder of The Collective (of Us), a small business accelerator for women and The Community (of Us), an online hub for conversation and change-making community.

She is on a mission to empower 100,000 women to build BOLD businesses and conversations by the year 2020.

Her straight talk and visionary perspective on creating women-owned businesses, overcoming imposter complex and embracing fear; inspire women globally to build bold, profitable businesses.

She is a sought-after speaker for creative conferences around the country and has been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Glamour Magazine, Teen Vogue, and The Huffington Post.

She can't wait to turn active social media… OFF and chillaxed lady power game… ON!

 
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Jay Pryor

Keynote Workshop Leader

Nothing is more powerful than leading by example, and Jay Pryor is a living example of the power of possibility in transforming your life. Born female, Jay transitioned to male after 35 years of living life as a woman. Now living as a gender non-conforming person, Jay has truly unique insight into how differently women experience the world versus men, the challenges that the LGBT+ community faces daily.

Jay is a speaker, executive coach and facilitator of corporate trainings and workshops around the world. They are a transgender and gender non-conforming advocate and educator for inclusivity and gender consciousness. They also serve as the co-host of Doing the Work with Jay and Becca, a weekly podcast devoted to awakening people to their own power to transform their lives. Jay is the author of the acclaimed book, Lean Inside: 7 Steps to Personal Power: A Practical Guide to Transformation for Women. Jay lives with their wife Jessica and their two children in Lawrence, Kansas.

They can't wait to meet new people and make new friends. 

 
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Meg Keene

camp director

Meg runs one of the largest independent wedding wedding publications in the world, A Practical Wedding, and is the founder of The Compact. Meg has written two books, creatively titled A Practical Wedding, and A Practical Wedding Planner, both top sellers on the wedding bookshelf. Her work has been referenced in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Jezebel, and Refinery 29, among other outlets. She graduated from NYU with her degree in Experimental Theatre, so just wait for talent show night. She manages the best, most feminist team in the world from the APW offices in East Oakland, where she lives with her husband and two small kids. 

She can't wait for dance class.

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Maddie Eisenhart

Camp Co-Director

Maddie is The Compact's resident Hufflepuff, and Chief Revenue Officer at A Practical Wedding. Prior to joining the ranks at APW, Maddie had a brief, yet unsatisfying stint in the entertainment industry, followed by a riveting year researching couponing habits among suburban shoppers. Her other career highlights include: getting kicked out of a Def Leppard concert for being too young to work the floor, and interviewing Hanson for local access TV. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband Michael, their son Lincoln, and an obnoxious mastiff named Gaia.

She can't wait for archery.

 
  Chelsea Hanepen    Operations Manager   Chelsea Hanepen is a  floral designer  and all around creative from the San Francisco Bay Area. When Chelsea isn’t at APW or playing with flowers, she spends her time wandering Northern California looking for the best camping spots (with the best wild flowers and swimming holes) and tasting all the food and craft beer that the area has to offer.   She can't wait to unplug.

Chelsea Hanepen

Operations Manager

Chelsea Hanepen is a floral designer and all around creative from the San Francisco Bay Area. When Chelsea isn’t at APW or playing with flowers, she spends her time wandering Northern California looking for the best camping spots (with the best wild flowers and swimming holes) and tasting all the food and craft beer that the area has to offer.

She can't wait to unplug.

  Jess Rutherford    Event Designer   Enthusiasm is always something Jess, the owner and Creative Director of  Sentimental Fools Events , has had in spades. As an Arts Educator, she started small by helping friends host events and selling custom tote bags. What started as a fun way to express creativity, has grown the Fools into a full blown party production team. Jess’s passion for celebrating all of life’s moments is the driving force behind our brand. After years of collaborating with artists, she loves to create her own works of art in the form of perfect party!   I can’t wait to dance amongst the red woods at camp.

Jess Rutherford

Event Designer

Enthusiasm is always something Jess, the owner and Creative Director of Sentimental Fools Events, has had in spades. As an Arts Educator, she started small by helping friends host events and selling custom tote bags. What started as a fun way to express creativity, has grown the Fools into a full blown party production team. Jess’s passion for celebrating all of life’s moments is the driving force behind our brand. After years of collaborating with artists, she loves to create her own works of art in the form of perfect party!

I can’t wait to dance amongst the red woods at camp.

  Nailah Ali    Graphic Designer   Originally from Detroit Michigan, Nailah is an NYC-based  integrated graphic designer and brand developer  at her core with six years experience under her belt. Along the way, she's picked up photography, art direction, light coding, copywriting, video editing, and motion graphics. She’s worked with brands in industries ranging from education to fashion. You can check her out at  @JustNailah .

Nailah Ali

Graphic Designer

Originally from Detroit Michigan, Nailah is an NYC-based integrated graphic designer and brand developer at her core with six years experience under her belt. Along the way, she's picked up photography, art direction, light coding, copywriting, video editing, and motion graphics. She’s worked with brands in industries ranging from education to fashion. You can check her out at @JustNailah.

  Leah Tioxon    Camp Witch    Leah  is a nomad, a mom, a Radical Self Love advocate, a creator and keeper of sacred space, and a happy-hearted human who loves to travel, teach, learn, and hug some trees. She's also SuperWoo with a Master’s in Social Work—so you can expect some intense spirituality with a heavy helping of practicality. She's all about figuring out how to live the healthiest, happiest life she can, while juggling multiple loves and interests and to-do lists. She loves helping women create the life they most want.   She can't wait to howl at the moon with a pack of wild women.

Leah Tioxon

Camp Witch

Leah is a nomad, a mom, a Radical Self Love advocate, a creator and keeper of sacred space, and a happy-hearted human who loves to travel, teach, learn, and hug some trees. She's also SuperWoo with a Master’s in Social Work—so you can expect some intense spirituality with a heavy helping of practicality. She's all about figuring out how to live the healthiest, happiest life she can, while juggling multiple loves and interests and to-do lists. She loves helping women create the life they most want.

She can't wait to howl at the moon with a pack of wild women.

  Gabriela Saucedo    DJ Lady Q   Prior to becoming a DJ, DJ Lady Q was already obsessed with music; making her own mixtapes fresh off her stereo as a kid in the 90s. Growing up on an eclectic diet of R&B, Underground Bay Area Hip Hop, Jazz and Brazilian Samba, she was destined to open the minds of her audience with her global, funky and hypnotic sounds. Today you can dance to her wide selection in various venues and events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To listen to her music, be sure to check out her Soundcloud  here .

Gabriela Saucedo

DJ Lady Q

Prior to becoming a DJ, DJ Lady Q was already obsessed with music; making her own mixtapes fresh off her stereo as a kid in the 90s. Growing up on an eclectic diet of R&B, Underground Bay Area Hip Hop, Jazz and Brazilian Samba, she was destined to open the minds of her audience with her global, funky and hypnotic sounds. Today you can dance to her wide selection in various venues and events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To listen to her music, be sure to check out her Soundcloud here.

  Nicole Gervacio    Workshop Leader   Nicole Gervacio is an  interdisciplinary artist  based in Oakland, California—occupied Huichin. As a cultural producer, she is open to all methods and mediums available to express a concept, from visual work to movement, video to written word. Throughout her career as an artist, she has taught dance classes, original choreography, and movement workshops to empower the individual as well as the collective. Through spaces like  Hipline dance studio  and more recently in collaboration with  Liberation Spring , a decolonial grassroots freedom school, and Abun-dance, a donation based gathering for healing expression, Nicole's experience has culminated to her most recent work: embodied drama. embodied drama is a dance class that encourages experimentation that exercises the mind, body, and soul.   She can't wait to dance.

Nicole Gervacio

Workshop Leader

Nicole Gervacio is an interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland, California—occupied Huichin. As a cultural producer, she is open to all methods and mediums available to express a concept, from visual work to movement, video to written word. Throughout her career as an artist, she has taught dance classes, original choreography, and movement workshops to empower the individual as well as the collective. Through spaces like Hipline dance studio and more recently in collaboration with Liberation Spring, a decolonial grassroots freedom school, and Abun-dance, a donation based gathering for healing expression, Nicole's experience has culminated to her most recent work: embodied drama. embodied drama is a dance class that encourages experimentation that exercises the mind, body, and soul.

She can't wait to dance.

  Rachel Wilkerson Miller    Workshop Leader   Rachel is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. By day, she is working as a Senior Lifestyle Editor at BuzzFeed. By night (or, more accurately, early morning), she’s Internetting (writing, blogging, reading, tweeting), reading real books, reading her horoscope, meditating, taking on some new hobby, and texting. She’s also the author of  Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide . You can find her  on BuzzFeed , at  The REWM , and on Instagram  @the_rewm .

Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Workshop Leader

Rachel is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. By day, she is working as a Senior Lifestyle Editor at BuzzFeed. By night (or, more accurately, early morning), she’s Internetting (writing, blogging, reading, tweeting), reading real books, reading her horoscope, meditating, taking on some new hobby, and texting. She’s also the author of Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide. You can find her on BuzzFeed, at The REWM, and on Instagram @the_rewm.

  Monique Malcolm    Workshop leader   Monique Malcolm is an intuitive problem solver who develops tools, resources, and strategies for women who are in search of less confusion and more clarity while starting their businesses. Through her online community  Keep Chasing the Stars  and her podcast  Pimp Your Brilliance , she curates an outlet for dreamers who are obsessed with the idea of pursuing greatness. She's also the creator of the  Visionary Journal , a goal setting system designed to give ambitious creatives an action plan to push the limits on what’s possible for their lives.   Monique is a woman on a mission to push everyone she meets a little closer to the stars in the galaxy of their dreams. When she’s not running her blossoming empire, you can find her soaking up the Florida sun on a sandy beach with her husband and son.   She can't wait to see the stars with less light pollution and eating plenty of smores.

Monique Malcolm

Workshop leader

Monique Malcolm is an intuitive problem solver who develops tools, resources, and strategies for women who are in search of less confusion and more clarity while starting their businesses. Through her online community Keep Chasing the Stars and her podcast Pimp Your Brilliance, she curates an outlet for dreamers who are obsessed with the idea of pursuing greatness. She's also the creator of the Visionary Journal, a goal setting system designed to give ambitious creatives an action plan to push the limits on what’s possible for their lives.

Monique is a woman on a mission to push everyone she meets a little closer to the stars in the galaxy of their dreams. When she’s not running her blossoming empire, you can find her soaking up the Florida sun on a sandy beach with her husband and son.

She can't wait to see the stars with less light pollution and eating plenty of smores.

  Eve Sturges    Workshop Leader   Eve Sturges made all her dreams come true when she had a baby in the middle of college at age 22. Just kidding! Her life has been a roller coaster of fails and triumphs, tears and laughter. Her pursuit for inspiration as a waitressing single-mom birthed her first blog,  The Magpie List , launched a writing career, and led her to a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. As well as musings for APW, Eve's work can be found at Rookie magazine, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Refinery29. Her creativity and humor colors all areas of her life, including her unique brand of psychotherapy, which she calls MagpieLife. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband who does not want any pets right now and two kids who would like just a cat or puppy.

Eve Sturges

Workshop Leader

Eve Sturges made all her dreams come true when she had a baby in the middle of college at age 22. Just kidding! Her life has been a roller coaster of fails and triumphs, tears and laughter. Her pursuit for inspiration as a waitressing single-mom birthed her first blog, The Magpie List, launched a writing career, and led her to a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology. As well as musings for APW, Eve's work can be found at Rookie magazine, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Refinery29. Her creativity and humor colors all areas of her life, including her unique brand of psychotherapy, which she calls MagpieLife. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband who does not want any pets right now and two kids who would like just a cat or puppy.

  Liz Stanley    Workshop Leader   Liz runs  Say Yes , one of the leading family and women's lifestyle blogs. After a decade on the web, she continues to receive regular blogging awards in the categories of lifestyle, food, craft, and family topics. In addition to attracting avid readers worldwide, Say Yes also works with loyal household brands like Target, Martha Stewart, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, and Ford, who come back again and again for high quality photography and creative brand integration.   She can’t wait to unplug at camp.

Liz Stanley

Workshop Leader

Liz runs Say Yes, one of the leading family and women's lifestyle blogs. After a decade on the web, she continues to receive regular blogging awards in the categories of lifestyle, food, craft, and family topics. In addition to attracting avid readers worldwide, Say Yes also works with loyal household brands like Target, Martha Stewart, Home Depot, Coca-Cola, and Ford, who come back again and again for high quality photography and creative brand integration.

She can’t wait to unplug at camp.

  Elise Moreno    Workshop leader    Elise Moreno  is a graphic designer, illustrator, and cartoonist. She is inspired by the beautiful Bay Area and the interesting people that inhabit it.  Her illustrations have been published by Buzzfeed and Huffpost Women. When not behind her desk she can be found at various drawing meet-ups, riding her bike around Oakland, or talking to her cat.   She can't wait to make new friends and go swimming!

Elise Moreno

Workshop leader

Elise Moreno is a graphic designer, illustrator, and cartoonist. She is inspired by the beautiful Bay Area and the interesting people that inhabit it.

Her illustrations have been published by Buzzfeed and Huffpost Women. When not behind her desk she can be found at various drawing meet-ups, riding her bike around Oakland, or talking to her cat.

She can't wait to make new friends and go swimming!

  Chloe Jackman    Workshop & Cabin Leader    Chloe  is a sassy San Franciscan with attitude. On any given day you’ll catch her sportin’ cheetah, stripes, turquoise or gold (sometimes all at once) rocking her #FrecklesnFro and dancing on the job. Did she mention she's a native? Native San Franciscan, that is.   She can't wait to find unicorns in the forest.

Chloe Jackman

Workshop & Cabin Leader

Chloe is a sassy San Franciscan with attitude. On any given day you’ll catch her sportin’ cheetah, stripes, turquoise or gold (sometimes all at once) rocking her #FrecklesnFro and dancing on the job. Did she mention she's a native? Native San Franciscan, that is.

She can't wait to find unicorns in the forest.

  Manya Dotson    Workshop & Cabin Leader   Manya Dotson is an avid adventurer, amateur artist, designer of all the things, novice gardener, bath-lover, and believer-in-magic. She also happens to run programs that are engaging, inspiring, and serving adolescent girls across many African countries with life-planning and contraceptive services for an international non-profit, and lived in West Africa and Kenya for 17 years running big public health program, before moving to the DC area two years ago to take on a global role. Manya is a long-time contributor to APW, laying it all bare on a variety of topics in the hopes that others don't have to learn the hard way. Manya has two girls, aged 17 and 12, and is married to her beloved Brian. When Manya turned 40 she gave herself permission to sparkle as much as need be. Turns out, it's A LOT. Also? Her cabin is going to be really special (see: believes in magic).     She can't wait to make crafts. (And talk about sex by the campfire)

Manya Dotson

Workshop & Cabin Leader

Manya Dotson is an avid adventurer, amateur artist, designer of all the things, novice gardener, bath-lover, and believer-in-magic. She also happens to run programs that are engaging, inspiring, and serving adolescent girls across many African countries with life-planning and contraceptive services for an international non-profit, and lived in West Africa and Kenya for 17 years running big public health program, before moving to the DC area two years ago to take on a global role. Manya is a long-time contributor to APW, laying it all bare on a variety of topics in the hopes that others don't have to learn the hard way. Manya has two girls, aged 17 and 12, and is married to her beloved Brian. When Manya turned 40 she gave herself permission to sparkle as much as need be. Turns out, it's A LOT. Also? Her cabin is going to be really special (see: believes in magic).

She can't wait to make crafts. (And talk about sex by the campfire)

  Christina McNamee-Mahaffey    Workshop Leader   Christina McNamee-Mahaffey spent her teenage years leading Girl Scouts in song by a campfire and cannot wait to replicate the experience at the Compact Camp! She works in higher education fundraising by day, parent by night, and wedding coordinator on the weekend. Her partner in life, crime, and disciplining overtired toddlers is Meighan McNamee-Mahaffey, owner of  LulaMae Special Events  and all around snazzy person.   Christina cannot wait to sleep out in the redwoods again.

Christina McNamee-Mahaffey

Workshop Leader

Christina McNamee-Mahaffey spent her teenage years leading Girl Scouts in song by a campfire and cannot wait to replicate the experience at the Compact Camp! She works in higher education fundraising by day, parent by night, and wedding coordinator on the weekend. Her partner in life, crime, and disciplining overtired toddlers is Meighan McNamee-Mahaffey, owner of LulaMae Special Events and all around snazzy person.

Christina cannot wait to sleep out in the redwoods again.

  Jareesa Tucker McClure    Cabin Leader   Jareesa Tucker McClure is a thirty-something in the Twin Cities, with the world's cutest baby daughter. She’s a chemist turned supply chain project manager (and part-time writer) who spends her time knitting and running a Twin Cities Black professionals organization. Follow her rants on Twitter at  @Jubilance1922  or on her blog,  Black Girl Unlost .     She can't wait to knit by the campfire.

Jareesa Tucker McClure

Cabin Leader

Jareesa Tucker McClure is a thirty-something in the Twin Cities, with the world's cutest baby daughter. She’s a chemist turned supply chain project manager (and part-time writer) who spends her time knitting and running a Twin Cities Black professionals organization. Follow her rants on Twitter at @Jubilance1922 or on her blog, Black Girl Unlost.

She can't wait to knit by the campfire.

  Megan Stewart    Cabin leader   Megan Stewart used to be a Mean Girl. Then she got really really sick. She'll never be "healthy" but her Rheumatoid Arthritis is under control, and in the process of learning about pain and night sweats and waiting rooms, she learned how to be a better person, how to be a better friend, how to be a better traveler, and how to make a really good Dark & Stormy. By day, she is a veteran Project Manager of museums, discovery spaces, and exhibits (ask her about VR!), and by night, she is a Folk Musician learning to sing Opera.  Megan practices Take No Prisoners Kindness and Spreadsheet Wrangling from her home in Alameda, CA with her husband and two incredibly neurotic shelter rescue cats.   She can't wait to have very early morning coffee under the trees with new friends.

Megan Stewart

Cabin leader

Megan Stewart used to be a Mean Girl. Then she got really really sick. She'll never be "healthy" but her Rheumatoid Arthritis is under control, and in the process of learning about pain and night sweats and waiting rooms, she learned how to be a better person, how to be a better friend, how to be a better traveler, and how to make a really good Dark & Stormy. By day, she is a veteran Project Manager of museums, discovery spaces, and exhibits (ask her about VR!), and by night, she is a Folk Musician learning to sing Opera.

Megan practices Take No Prisoners Kindness and Spreadsheet Wrangling from her home in Alameda, CA with her husband and two incredibly neurotic shelter rescue cats.

She can't wait to have very early morning coffee under the trees with new friends.

  Meigh McNamee-Mahaffey    Cabin Leader   Meigh McNamee-Mahaffey lives just outside Washington, DC, where she spends her days inventing weirdness/magic with her toddler and/or getting awesome people hitched as bosslady of her  wedding planning/coordination business . She's married to lovely fellow camper Christina McNamee-Mahaffey and they're expecting daughter #2 this winter, because they just can't get enough lady energy in their home, apparently. She loves to make stuff, talks a lot, and believes there is never too much glitter.   She can't wait to be camper again after (oh, Jesus) two decades!

Meigh McNamee-Mahaffey

Cabin Leader

Meigh McNamee-Mahaffey lives just outside Washington, DC, where she spends her days inventing weirdness/magic with her toddler and/or getting awesome people hitched as bosslady of her wedding planning/coordination business. She's married to lovely fellow camper Christina McNamee-Mahaffey and they're expecting daughter #2 this winter, because they just can't get enough lady energy in their home, apparently. She loves to make stuff, talks a lot, and believes there is never too much glitter.

She can't wait to be camper again after (oh, Jesus) two decades!

  Najva Sol    Staff   Najva Sol is a queer Iranian-American photographer, writer, consultant, and multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Storytelling is her life. As a photojournalist, she’s shot everything from Art Basel to the Democratic National Convention. Getting hired by Moleskine & sponsored by Lomography in the same year made her low-fi childhood dreams come true. Najva consults on social media, brand strategy, and digital community for select clients, but only uses her powers for good. She’s spoken at lots of fancy places, like Harvard and Columbia, and been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Time Out New York. She is Director of Digital Strategy for  A Practical Wedding.    She can't wait to make new friends.

Najva Sol

Staff

Najva Sol is a queer Iranian-American photographer, writer, consultant, and multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Storytelling is her life. As a photojournalist, she’s shot everything from Art Basel to the Democratic National Convention. Getting hired by Moleskine & sponsored by Lomography in the same year made her low-fi childhood dreams come true. Najva consults on social media, brand strategy, and digital community for select clients, but only uses her powers for good. She’s spoken at lots of fancy places, like Harvard and Columbia, and been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Time Out New York. She is Director of Digital Strategy for A Practical Wedding.

She can't wait to make new friends.

  Kate Bolen    Operations Staff   Kate’s English BA from the University of San Francisco solidified her love of words, grammar, punctuation, and all things lit nerd. She resides Sonoma, CA with her cuddly husband Kevin, her supportive cat Nori, and one very adorable toddler. Privileged to be APW’s first reader, Kate had long dreamed of copy editing Meg’s work before it became a reality, and she is constantly in awe of and grateful for the amazing community that is APW. This crafty world-traveling native-Texan foodie anglophile Netflix-addict has more interests than she has time, so when not editing or creating, she contents herself to defend The Earth with her amazing powers of recycling and composting. She thinks bow ties are cool.   She can't wait to get bendy in yoga and align her chakras.

Kate Bolen

Operations Staff

Kate’s English BA from the University of San Francisco solidified her love of words, grammar, punctuation, and all things lit nerd. She resides Sonoma, CA with her cuddly husband Kevin, her supportive cat Nori, and one very adorable toddler. Privileged to be APW’s first reader, Kate had long dreamed of copy editing Meg’s work before it became a reality, and she is constantly in awe of and grateful for the amazing community that is APW. This crafty world-traveling native-Texan foodie anglophile Netflix-addict has more interests than she has time, so when not editing or creating, she contents herself to defend The Earth with her amazing powers of recycling and composting. She thinks bow ties are cool.

She can't wait to get bendy in yoga and align her chakras.

  Talisha Lowe    Staff   Talisha is a fashionista and creative writer, who loves thrifting. An Oakland native who studied Public Relations at Sac State, she helps produce fashion events in her free time. She loves all things Beyonce, clearly making her a perfect fit for the APW team. She grew up a book worm so if she isn't binge watching TV shows or listening to podcasts, most likely she has her nose in a book. She also has a personal lifestyle blog focused on inspiring black entrepreneurs in the art and fashion community. Check her out here.   She can't wait to camp for the first time.

Talisha Lowe

Staff

Talisha is a fashionista and creative writer, who loves thrifting. An Oakland native who studied Public Relations at Sac State, she helps produce fashion events in her free time. She loves all things Beyonce, clearly making her a perfect fit for the APW team. She grew up a book worm so if she isn't binge watching TV shows or listening to podcasts, most likely she has her nose in a book. She also has a personal lifestyle blog focused on inspiring black entrepreneurs in the art and fashion community. Check her out here.

She can't wait to camp for the first time.