WORKSHOP PRESENTERS/ FEATURED CONFERENCE SPEAKERS | Girls Empowerment Network

We Are Girls Austin Workshop Presenters!

We Are Girls Austin Conference Workshop Presenters

Workshop Presenter Biography
Aha! Academy Erica Santiago is the founder and Artistic Director of Aha! Academy. Aha! Academy is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organization that empowers individuals by teaching yoga, mindfulness, and creative expression. We are a group of teachers and artists working in community centers and school settings to provide quality yoga and mindfulness instruction. We teach yoga, movement and art as meditation and healing tools that increase focus, manage stress, regulate emotions and develop a positive outlook. We teach individuals how to use art as a means of self expression so that holistic integration of the practices can empower participants for a lifetime. For more information please visit www.ahaacademy.net.
Alise Cortez and Associates Dr. Alise Cortez is a Speaker, Consultant, Coach, Published Author, Radio Show Host, and Development/Engagement Catalyst based in Dallas, Texas. Having developed her expertise within in the Human Capital industry over the last 20 years, today she is focused on helping people across the globe more meaningfully and productively connect with their work to achieve greater fulfillment, more impactful results, and meaningful work-life integration. She also works with schools, parents, and kids to help youth discover and develop their strengths in school and across their lives. For more information please visit www.alisecortez.com.
ArYouSerious Born and raised in Chicago, I fled to Houston seven years ago in search of a new beginning. In the midst of my quest, I became moderately successful in my career and found love that thrust me into a wife and mother!   I started this blog in 2010 to rant about the person I was dating (whom I later married). Since its inception, ArYouSerious has evolved much like me.   Through my writings, I share my experiences and perspective on life along with a litany random rants. I also drop a few gems and provide some sage advice about marriage, parenting, relationships, career and things women can relate to. For more information please visit www.aryouserious.com.
ATX YOGA GIRL/CYNTHIA BERNARD ATX YOGA GIRL-CYNTHIA BERNARD Cynthia’s first yoga class was an incredibly empowering experience on and off her mat and she often wondered what a difference it could have made in her earlier years. Following her heart, she took a leap of faith and after 20+ years as a Retail Trainer, she began her yoga training. She feels that yoga and mediation have guided her closer to her authentic self finding her voice and learning to breathe again. To Cynthia, yoga is a perfect way to join community, connect, play, breathe and be in the moment while having FUN! Believing that it is for EVERYONE, she teaches kids, families and adults of all levels. Her hope is to help those around her cultivate skills to take into their daily lives while creating a safe space for them to nourish their mind, body, and spirit. Cynthia spends her time focusing on learning, teaching and giving back to our youth when she is not hiking, painting, traveling or listening to music in Austin. After studying Family and Consumer Science at Texas State University, she received her 30-hour kids and family yoga training in at The Little Yoga House. She also completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Costa Rica with Multi Style Yoga International.  She recently created her own mobile business, ATX YOGA GIRL offering yoga to Anyone, Anywhere.  Cynthia also teaches at The Little Yoga House Yoga Peace School, Sanctuary Yoga, and is a volunteer with the Amala Foundation. For more information please visit WWW.ATXYOGAGIRL.COM.
Austin Intercultural Network Shalini Komarla is a long time Austin  resident, 20 years and counting!  She serves as the Executive Director of  Austin Intercultural Network, a 501 c(3) nonprofit that aims to celebrate the  diversity in Austin. She is also a  motivational speaker, and very grateful  for all the opportunities to share and  inspire youth and adults with her story  around her personal transformation.  It’s a full plate, she says, but it’s totally worth it!  Riya Komarla is a freshman at Westlake High School and a Senior Girl Scout. She is born and raised in Austin, and loves to sing and play the piano. For more information please visit www.austincultural.org.
Austin Public Library Friends Foundation Katelin Kelly was born in Lexington, KY. After teaching on the Pine Ridge Reservation, she migrated to Austin, where she earned her MFA at The New Writers Project at the University of Texas. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Katelin serves as the Managing Editor for Bat City Review. Her work can be found in Sonora Review, Wounwapi Literary Journal, Narrative, and elsewhere. She teaches for the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program, which provides writing workshops for people of all ages and skill levels throughout Austin. For more information please visit www.austinlibrary.org.
Barb Steinberg, LMSW – Teen Life Coach Barb Steinberg, LMSW is a Teen Life Coach, speaker, and workshop facilitator for teen girls, their parents, youth professionals and women. Barb, as a masters level social worker, has worked with adolescents for over 25 years, has been featured on KVUE-TV, KUT News and Fox7 news as an expert on teen girl issues. For more information please visit www.barbsteinberg.com.
Beyond the Grade Our vision is to provide music educational opportunities to students, beyond the traditional classes offered in schools.  Giving students opportunities to learn from local music professionals that are working in the Austin music scene. For more information please visit www.beyondthegrade.org.
Billie Lovelace Billie Lovelace is a small, independent business that strives to deliver positive and empowering messages to girls through art. We design prints and coloring books that feature female trailblazers and leaders in science, math, and politics. We embrace ambition and inclusivity while celebrating girls, feminism, and women of color.  For more information please visit www.billielovelace.com.
Boldly You – Bobbie Matlock and Ysabelle Sosing Boldly You is comprised of Bobbie Matlock and Ysabelle Sosing, practicing social workers in the great state of Texas. Our primary mission is to encourage females towards the best versions of themselves by educating and bringing awareness surrounding topics of self-image, self-worth, self-awareness, coping tools, communication, community building, sisterhood, and body positivity. We develop and implement workshops based on age group, need, and creativity. We strive to create workshops where females leave with a better sense of self and the tools to combat negative criticism from self or others. We want you to feel confident to boldly be you. For more information please visit www.beboldlyyou.blogspot.com.
#bossbabesATX #bossbabesATX is a nonprofit event series and collective. We develop programming (meet-ups, seminars, markets, festivals and other pop-up events) to promote and connect self-identifying women in creative industry and the arts. For more information please visit www.bossbabes.org.
Caitlin Clarkson Pereira Caitlin Clarkson Pereira is a higher education professional, social justice advocate, sports enthusiast, yoga junkie, and proud wife and mother. She is the founder of Peace Love Progress, a non-profit organization that exists for individuals to share stories that spread joy and inspire compassionate work. Caitlin loves to write and is currently a contributor for The Good Men Project, Fairfield Country Moms Blog, and Off the Monster Sports. Her graduate thesis focused on the impact coming out in college has on lesbian, gay, and bisexual students, and she is thrilled to be in the final stages of publishing her first children’s book.  Caitlin finds joy in being involved in the community that surrounds her. She has recently become involved with local politics and campaign work, and she also sits on a committee with an amazing group of women to organize “Women Leading the Way to Wellness”—an annual American Cancer Society fundraising breakfast. She is determined to save the world through small actions every day, and she finds it intoxicating to motivate and inspire those around her. For more information visit www.caitlinpereira.com.
CATES @ Texas Child Study Center The Child Anxiety Treatment Enhancement Study (CATES) evaluates a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention at the Texas Child Study Center in Austin, Texas. We work with youth ages 7-17 who are struggling with clinically significant anxiety and their parents. For more information please email texasanxietyclinic@gmail.com.
Charlie Marcol Charlie Marcol, Best selling author, motivator and powerhouse speaker was born and raised in the great state of Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Houston, where she became a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. She also earned a Master of Education Degree in Counseling from Texas Southern University. When you come in contact with Charlie, you immediately get a sense of wisdom that continues to be cultivated through life experiences, and most importantly, her intimate relationship with God. Just like an inspirational message, her books, blogs and words give you what you need. Charlie has a witty sense of humor, which people love and can relate to. Ms. Marcol writes from her personal experience. The result of a failed marriage initiated the opportunity for her to share the pain and doubt of her personal journey. Charlie decided to take negative energy and transform it into a tool to help those struggling with the same issues. While cathartic, it also serves as a personal testimony of self-discovery, hope and redemption. Charlie can be seen hosting workshops, sharing her wisdom through panel discussions and conferences throughout the state. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and spending quality time with family. She seeks to empower women and young girls through awareness, discussions and self-love. For more information please visit www.charliemarcol.com.
Con Mi MADRE Con Mi MADRE, which translates to “with my mother,” is a non-profit organization in Austin, TX that serves Latina youth and their mothers. Our mission is to empower young Latinas and their mothers through education and support services to increase preparedness, participation, and success in post-secondary education. We start with Latinas in 6th grade and follow them through post-secondary degree attainment. For more information please visit www.conmimadre.org.
Courtney Harris Coaching Courtney Harris has an extensive education and coaching background that includes experience and training in Restorative Practices, Social and Emotional Learning, Trauma Informed Yoga and Mindfulness, and Service Learning. She is certified in in the State of Texas to teach Special Education EC-12, Secondary English Language Arts and Reading, middle school Core Subjects, and ESL. ​ As a Child-Centered and Teen Life Coach, Courtney supports girls ages 11-19 in finding their voice, building confidence, and thriving. Through 1:1 and small group workshops, teens and tweens are able to discover their truest sense of self and develop a deep sense of empowerment. Courtney also supports parents in growing alongside their children, helping them name their needs and work towards co-creating family life with their children. For more information please visit www.facebook.com/courtneyharrisedconnect/
Dance Another World The mission of Dance Another World is to serve non-native English speakers from lower socioeconomic areas and teach them to communicate through creative movement using content-based instruction and total physical response.  Following participation in the program, students experience improved English comprehension, increased confidence in expression, efficacy in bodily control and English-language proficiency. We believe anyone can be empowered through dance!  For more information please visit www.danceanotherworld.org.
DPR Construction DPR’s vision is to be integral and indispensable to our communities. We do this through local initiatives that match the needs of the communities where we work with the skills and passions of DPR employees. Our “local” area extends beyond our regional offices to our jobsites, where our teams are often called on to share their talents with our community. Beyond building buildings, DPR offers our expertise in organizational leadership, project planning, soft-skills training, marketing and other professional areas. For more information please visit www.dpr.com.
Dr. Lauryn Lax, Thrive Wellness & Recovery Dr. Lauryn Lax is an occupational therapist, nutritionist, functional medicine doctor, author and speaker, specializing in girl’s and women’s health. She works with individuals to get unstuck from their health, food, mindset and fitness ruts; heal their bodies; and become the best versions of themselves (inside and out). Her work is inspired by a 15 year battle with an eating disorder that almost took her life, and she’s made it her life mission to help others thrive (not just survive). For more information please visit www.drlauryn.com.
DragonFit Danielle Bryan is a Women’s Health Advocate from a small Indiana town with big dreams to change the way women view their body & personal power. In 2012, Danielle set out on a journey to improve both her own health & the health of the women around her. After becoming a personal trainer, yoga instructor & winning her Pro Fitness Model title in 2014, she decided to take her passions to the virtual world & created The DragonFit Sisterhood. DragonFit hosts virtual bootcamp programs that help women learn how to become Strong from the Inside, Out & helped over 1000 women in 2016. DragonFit focuses on self love, healthy habits, empowerment & creating a safe space for women to support each other on their individual journeys. Danielle is also passionate about creating healthy living & adventure experiences in the local area & hosts several Women’s Wellness Retreats & yoga camps at a beautiful property in Marble Falls, Texas.  For more information please visit www.wearedragonfit.com.
EI Generation EI Generation’s focus is on growing the innate strengths and social emotional intelligence that lies within us all, by using relevant research, tools and strategies. EI Generation knows that people whose strengths are identified, protected and promoted have no limits.  Citizens who can understand and regulate their emotions through positive behaviors successfully achieve their goals in our ever changing world. EI Generation’s programs emphasize the development of self-awareness and strengths identification, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills needed for an emotionally intelligent community. We emphasize a personal approach built upon mini retreats/workshops, authentic learning experiences, coaching and reflective practice in order to meet each community’s unique needs.  EI Generation envisions improving everyone’s ability to manage emotions, connect with others, and use their strengths to make the world a better place by unlocking their greatness and enabling them to reach their full potential in our ever changing and increasingly complex world.  For more information please visit www.elgeneration.com.
Facebook Facebook Women@ committee will be presenting on Leaning In and other topics.  For more information please visit www.Facebook.com.
Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas Since 2004, the Financial Literacy Coalition’s volunteers have been teaching people how to manage their money so they can achieve their dreams.  We strive to be recognized as a trusted, unbiased and credible source of personal financial information.  The Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas’ volunteers teach basic money handling skills and knowledge so people can achieve their dreams. For more information please visit www.flcct.org.
#Flyinc Kimberly Holiday, also known as LadyJoy, is a radio personality with KAZI 88.7FM. KAZI is community supported radio, serving as The Voice and Soul of Austin. You will find LadyJoy each Thursday morning at 9am, joyfully co-hosting the Juice and Jam Show with Steve Savage. In the Studio she creates a sanctuary of selfcare as she interviews her guest, laughs real loud out loud, and takes tons of selfies with global Shakers and Movers! She has a heart to serve so the radio is a Devine vessel for her passion to build people through genuine collaborations. Her authentic approach to networking has created direct and intentional connections with everyday people on every day issues.  Her JOY you will find instantly contagious, a reflection for others to know that they too can live with the potential for more joy, regardless of lives circumstances. She is the humble Owner and Director of The Mobile Nanny Staffing Agency, propelling her Mission of child and family advocacy to the next level by putting love in action. Kimberly Holiday is active in the community, selling Joy and hustling dreams. She prides herself on being transparent, using only her smile as her logo and marketing #gotjoy as her brand! For more information please visit www.iam-joy.com
Frost Bank Cullen/Frost Bankers, Inc. (NYSE: CFR) is a financial holding company, headquartered in San Antonio, with $30.2 billion in assets at June 30, 2017. One of the 50 largest U.S. banks, Frost provides a wide range of banking, investments and insurance services to businesses and individuals across Texas in the Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Permian Basin, Rio Grande Valley and San Antonio regions. Founded in 1868, Frost has helped clients with their financial needs during three centuries. For more information please visit www.frostbank.com.
GirlPower Fitness Whitney Otstott is the owner of GirlPower Fitness, a private, home-based fitness studio in southwest Austin that caters exclusively to women. Offering one-on-one personal training as well as small group fitness classes, GirlPower Fitness offers an encouraging and supportive environment to women looking for an alternative to the typical gym. Whitney’s goal is to empower women to be the best versions of themselves.  Whitney began her fitness career in 1994, teaching group fitness classes during college. After her graduation from Texas  A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/public relations, Whitney began a 17-year career in corporate communications and marketing, working primarily in the Austin technology scene. All the while, Whitney continued teaching group fitness in the evenings. For 16 years, she taught group exercise classes at an all-women’s gym in Austin, solidifying her love of working exclusively with women to help them achieve their personal goals.  In 2015, Whitney took a leap of faith, leaving her communications career behind, and founded GirlPower Fitness with the passion to help women discover inner strength and confidence. The business continues to grow and thrive, fulfilling her vision of empowering women. For more information please visit www.girlpoweraustin.com.
Girls Rock Austin Our primary program is a day camp for girls, gender fluid/non-binary, and trans youth ages 8-17. In one week, campers learn an instrument, form a band, write an original song, and play a show. Through mentorship and creative expression, we aim to give youth a safe space to try new things, gain leadership and collaboration skills, share their stories, and create positive social change in both our local communities and the world at large. For more information please visit www.girlsrockaustin.org.
Girlstart Girlstart’s mission is to increase girls’ interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls. Girlstart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers. For more information please visit www.girlstart.org.
GLAM Girls Inspire/Tess Hugoboom Tess Hugoboom is the CEO and Founder of GLAM Girls Inspire, a movement for girls that has now become global, connecting with girls all the way from Nigeria to Russia.   Tess and her team have the GGI Ambassadorship program, where girls apply to be a GGI Ambassador. These girls have a special responsibility, which is to “spread the sparkle” in their own city with the GLAM message, which is to INSPIRE girls all over the globe to wear her invisible crown of confidence because she was born to SPARKLE! GLAM stands for: Giving Ladies A Message.   Everything that sparkles is part of the GLAM brand, as its a reminder for every girl to sparkle in her own light because she was born to SHINE before all!  Tess  graduated in 2010 from The University of Memphis with a combined Bachelor’s in Communication and Psychology. Fascination of the human mind and their behaviors has given me a desire to connect with people on a much deeper, intimate, intellectual level. Although this degree has been a beneficial tool in helping Tess understand people’s thought patterns, the catalyst to her coaching has come from continual growth, primarily with her mentor Tony Robbins.  October 2015 was a LIFE CHANGING moment for Tess, as she enrolled in Tony Robbins strategic intervention coaching course, and flew out to Los Angeles to attend his live seminar: Unleash The Power Within!  It was here where Tess had an awakening in her soul that GLAM Girls Inspire was a mission she must do.   A girl with confidence can have a sparkling future and that is why Tess and her GLAM team are very passionate about this heart felt movement, as this message is already moving the masses of girls that are longing for this! For more information please visit www.glamgirlsinspire.com.
Glamtrepreneur Come learn the ins and outs of being an entrepreneur. Through creating their own jewelry line, the girls will learn what it really means to own a business! For more information please visit www.glamtrepreneur.com.
GLSEN Austin GLSEN Austin strives to ensure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. We believe that such an atmosphere engenders a positive sense of self, which is the basis of educational achievement and personal growth. Since homophobia and heterosexism undermine a healthy school climate, we work to educate teachers, students and the public at large about the damaging effects these forces have on youth and adults alike. For more information please visit www.glsen.org.
InSpire InSpire is a non-profit organization providing wrap around services for families. Our goal is to support schools in educating the entire family with programs to encourage higher learning, health, mental wellness and economic empowerment . We provide ongoing 21st Century Skills Programs. Our learning experiences are highly engaging hands-on and project-based design by pupil interested; we have incorporated STEAM in all classes. To expose our participants to the fastest growing educational trend — the integration of science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math — a whole mind way of learning that prepares students for a complex world and the 21st century job market. For more information please visit www.inspirealife2.com.
Inspire Fire InspireFire makes healthy living FUN through unforgettable interactive wellness and confidence boosting workshops by uncovering what it TRULY means to live a healthy lifestyle mentally, physically and nutritiously. For more information please visit www.inspirefiredaily.com.
Julie Spears, LCSW Julie Spears provides therapy for adolescents and adults and is located in South Austin. Julie believes that connection is the most important component of the human condition and helps her clients learn to better connect with others, themselves and a higher power. Julie has 20 years of experience in the field and has a passion for empowering young women. For more information please visit www.Juliespearslcsw.com.
Kat Wenske Kat Wenske is an Austin based sound designer and composer for video games. She has experience working on AAA and indie titles on platforms ranging from consoles, PC, to mobile devices. For more information please visit www.katwenske.com.
Lacie Taylor of Math For Keeps Learning is one of the most rewarding things we as humans are capable of.  If it’s making you feel bad, there’s a better way!  Learning fanatic Lacie founded Math For Keeps, where she coaches her students on how to PRACTICE math (much like you’d practice piano or basketball).  Armed with the key to good practice, students develop a fluency in math that changes the whole game for them, and that’s very empowering.  It truly makes for happy brains and happy students!  Learn more at www.mathforkeeps.com.
Lady Papillons International, Inc. Lady Papillons International, Inc. empowers girls ages 6 through 24 to be BOLD, BRILLIANT, & BEAUTIFUL!  Our innovative programs are based on research, and focus on individual’s success plans.  We transform families by teaching them to walk in their BRILLIANCE! For more information please visit www.ladypapillonsinternational.org.
Latinitas Latinitas,   an   Austin-based   nonprofit   organization,   is   dedicated   to   empowering   Latina   youth   using   media   and technology,   providing   direct   digital   media   and   technology   training   and   esteem-boosting   services   to   nearly 3,000   girls   and   teens   across   Texas   annually,   2,000   in   Central   and   1,000   more   in   West   Texas.    Latinitas   has served   over   25,000   girls   and   teens   through   after-school   clubs,   weekend   workshops,   teen   internships,   camps and   conferences   at   112   Texas   schools,   libraries,   community   and   cultural   centers,   and   public   housing   sites, equipping   girls   and   teens   of   all   backgrounds   with   media,   technology,   and   cultural   literacy   lessons.    Girls   in Latinitas , ages   9-18 , use   the   latest   platforms   in   digital   media   production   to   blog,   do   photography,   produce   video and   audio   content,   and   do   graphic   and   web   design,   as   well   as   learn   app   and   video   game   development,   coding, and   robotics. For more information please visit www.latinitasmagazine.org.
LifeWorks Cara Burke is a Program Services Coordinator and holds an Advanced Prevention Specialist certification.  Cara is a member of the Next Step team at LifeWorks in Austin. Next Step is a youth substance abuse prevention program, and part of the duties of a program services coordinator is facilitating prevention classes, groups and activities with youth ages 6-18. Cara also provides interactive workshops with parents, community members and out of school time service providers. For more information please visit www.lifeworksaustin.org.
Me2Lead Rachel Brownlow Lund is a passionate communicator and leadership coach for ambitious young women. She specializes in helping young women overcome feelings of “compare and despair” and “I’m not there yet” to become career-savvy, well-connected influencers so they can play in their zone of genius and create incredible lives of impact. Through workshops, talks and private coaching, Rachel teaches young women how to overcome comparisonitis and build strong personal and professional relationships that will catapult them to the next stage of their personal and professional growth. For more information please visit www.me2lead.com.
Microsoft Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Georgia Fontana, Technical Delivery Director will host a AppyPie coding and envisioning session to show girls of all ages how easy coding and creating an App can be.  In our DreamBuilder Workshop, girls will be able to use our awesome Surface units to create apps on Appypie!  This is an easy to use app builder with no coding or programming needed.  Girls will be able to create an app in three simple steps – Choose a category, build the app and then publish it.  They could select theme customizations to give it their own personal touch.    In our Future Disruptivators Workshop,  girls will be encouraged to visualize and design an app.  They will break into groups and identify a problem or social injustice and create an app to solve this issue.  The girls will brainstorm on who their targeted audience is, what industry this app fit in, the theme, and what devices the app would run on.  The teams then presents their app to the rest of the group. For more information please visit www.microsoft.com.
Monica Lewis School of Etiquette Monica Lewis is the President/CEO of the Monica School of Etiquette which is a premier service that provides top-notch training in all aspects of etiquette, manners, and protocol. With its unique “traveling classroom” approach and innovative styles of teaching; Monica Lewis School of Etiquette seeks to transform the social skills of children, teens, adults, and professionals.  Monica Lewis is an author of the award-winning children’s book entitled, “Say Yes To Manners” English/Spanish version, voted as the 2017 Top 30 Influential Women in Houston, Texas, and serve as the etiquette expert/contributors to FOX26, KPRC-Channel 2 and ABC13 and other local station. She’s  a motivational speaker, wife, and mother of five amazing children. She can proudly proclaim that her programs yield proven success. In fact, Monica Lewis School of Etiquette has helped to enhance the social skills of our clients ranging from families; public and private schools; community organizations and corporate offices around the globe. For more information please visit www.MLSOE.com.
Moody Me Workshop/Create Your Story An empowering, fun and creative workshop designed to provide a safe and supportive space for women and girls interested in exploring their moods and feelings through imagery and poetic expressions free of boundaries or judgement! The end result is connection to self and others. For more information please visit www.elizabethdeckerproductions.blogspot.com.
Overcomer Consulting / ElevateHer International Overcomer Consulting LLC provides training services and works with organizations, schools and groups providing customized workshops and seminars in the areas of business skills, personal development training and life/ social skills that will educate, motivate and challenge their members.  Utilizing concepts grounded in the researched-based training of Positive Psychology, we partner with individuals and empower them to identify roadblocks, transform thinking and take the action steps needed to position themselves towards they life they want to live and to advance toward their goals. For more information please visit www.overcomerconsulting.com.
P.E.T.A.L.S. The year of 2000 was not only a pivotal year because of the new millennium for PETALS Founder, Tamiko Jones, but it also was also a life changing year because of the task of raising a child that was not her own.  A temporal visit from a young lady from her church, whose parents were deceased, became a permanent and life altering state.  This young lady came into her life in a state of rebelliousness, anger, abandonment, and being misunderstood. There were numerous discussions on how to become a respectable young lady instead of following in the footsteps of her “friends” and becoming pregnant at a young age, being sexually promiscuous, being full of rage and causing turmoil in places that usually maintained an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.  Astonishingly, by her senior year in high school, this young lady was a straight A student, had been offered a full scholarship to Howard University, she was working as an mentor to other young women and had changed her attitude and wardrobe to reflect that of a leader in her community.  During this time; PETALS was birthed.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Geneve Varela received her master’s degree in Health Education from the University of Texas. She currently works as a Bilingual Community Health Educator for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. In her work she facilitates groups on Sexuality topics to help adolescents and adults make healthy choices and reduce risks. For more information please visit www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-greater-texas.
Rachael Bozsik CEO + Founder of The Brand Girls  Rachael Bozsik is a confidence strategist, millennial entrepreneur and CEO + Founder of The Brand Girls, a workshop + sisterhood focused on empowering the next generation of women. Rachael is deeply rooted in closing the confidence gap between men and women in the workplace. Her work has been recognized, applauded and featured by: Forbes, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Business Insider, Ivanka Trump, Bustle, Huffington Post (to name a few.)  Rachael is a “go to” millennial speaker on topics centered around building confidence and female advancement + development. For more information please visit www.thebrandgirls.com.
Rec Therapy Austin Emily Thompson, CTRS, provides recreation therapy to kids and adults in Austin to encourage positive change and lifestyle choices. These include: anger management, stress management, leisure education, coping skills, and positive communication. Emily specializes in the use of creative movements, such as, dance, yoga, movement, and martial arts, and other expressive arts.   Emily is certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She has also received a certification in the DanceAbility method of all-abilities dance instruction.   Attending Texas State University, Emily received a Master of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. Emily has worked in private practice, psychiatric settings, physical rehabilitation, and geriatrics. For more information please visit www.rectherapyaustin.com.
Schreiner University Communication Studies The Schreiner University Communication Studies department is full of students eager to learn about communication and share this information with others. For more information please visit www.schreiner.edu.
Skate Heart of Texas Skate Heart of Texas is a group of women who work together to drive creative energy and focuses on empowering the community to live an active lifestyle. By motivating each other, we gain the confidence to challenge our mind and body through skating.
Stick With It Co. After more than a decade serving others in executive roles, Jill Faulkner decided to bring her expertise in business and communication together with her passion for people. Stick With It Co., was born in 2015 from Jill’s desire to share her journey of self-love with others seeking similar fulfillment. Her mission is for people to love themselves wholly – with a little help from affirmations that stick. Jill is a Connecticut transplant who loves Austin, playing the piano, reading, exploring, hitting the gym and meditating. She believes that beauty comes from an intentional way of living and with that, she brings freedom, patience and lots of laughter to her daily routine. Jill holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Connecticut and a Masters of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Bridgeport. Well, she doesn’t hold them. They’re in a frame somewhere.  For more information please visit www.stickwithit.com.
Synergy Dance Studio Synergy Dance Studio is located in south west Austin in the heart of Westlake, where we strive to provide your children with solid technical training as well as an enjoyable and creative dance experience.  Our studio provides a balanced dance education fostering a love of dance and passion for learning while our teachers are caring, supportive and love promoting dance to their students.  Synergy Dance Studio offers classes to all ages 2 – Adult and to all levels of training, beginning through pre-professional. We specialize in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, and Pointe and offer specialty dance classes in Acro, Modern, Contemporary and Drill Team. We offer private and semi-private instruction and choreography for special events and competitions. Our classes are limited in size and are grouped by age and ability. Our focus is on promoting self-discipline, self-respect and most importantly self-confidence. For more information please visit www.synergydancestudio.com.
TaylorMade Teaching Mandy Taylor is a 20-year veteran educator. She has taught Kindergarten through third grade and is currently a campus instructional coach. She also co-directs the Central Texas Writing Project at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Mandy works to empower educators and students to find their voices, write to reflect on their experiences, and teaches practical ways to embrace a growth mindset. For more information please visit www.taylormadeteaching.com.
TeaBella LLC TeaBella has been serving the community since 2009 when she decided to pursue her education in social work. That was just the beginning for her and since she has been involved in grant writing for non-profit, assisting with community development for the economically disadvantage, provided counsel for those who battling drug addiction, mental illness, and homeless. Vina has been successful in acquiring resources to help promote a progressive environment for clients.  Deciding  to extend her educational and professional records after receiving her bachelor’s in Social Work from Norfolk State she then enrolled in the university of Maryland to pursue her master in Management and received her certification as a life coach. Life coaching is the elevated step to her offering her community a unique service of personal and professional development, motivational speaking, and community outreach through mentorship. For more information please visit www.teabella.org .
The Austin Outlaws (Women’s Full Contact Football Team) The Austin Outlaws are the longest running women’s football organization with 17 consecutive seasons. They are members of the Women’s Football Alliance, which boasts over 30 teams nationwide. The team consists of women from all walks of life and backgrounds. They pride themselves on their diversities and breaking stereotypes. For more information please visit www.austinoutlaws.com.
The Dumpster Project The Dumpster Project (dumpsterproject.org) is an innovative STEM education initiative that uses the real-world challenge of transforming a 36 sq ft trash dumpster into a sustainable home to inspire learners of all ages. Our living experiment – the dumpster-as-home – is used to educate and inspire the creation of sustainable solutions that blend science, technology, engineering, design, and the arts. The Dumpster Project is based at Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black institution located in the heart of East Austin, and reaches students in the greater Austin area through field trips, school visits, teacher residencies, and science lessons. For more information please visit www.dumpsterproject.org.
The Girls’ School of Austin The Girls’ School of Austin provides an academically challenging education for girls in a community that fosters creative learning and personal excellence. Our mission is to develop confident young women who lead intellectually vibrant and fulfilling lives. For more information please visit www.thegirlsschool.org.
Traditional Martial Arts Academy Established in 2005, Traditional Martial Arts Academy is south Austin’s home for exceptional martial arts and self defense training for kids, teens, and adults. Our teaching philosophy centers around developing enthusiasm for the process of learning and emphasizing effort over achievement.   Katie Villarreal, an instructor at TMAA since 2011, is a Black belt in Pyon Moo Do who has dedicated her career to teaching martial arts for kids and adults. Katie holds degrees in Exercise Science and Gender Studies and is an A.C.T. certified self defense instructor. In addition to her role at TMAA, Katie also teaches a self defense course for students at St. Edward’s University.   Niki Clauder started at TMAA in 2014, where she is an assistant kids’ instructor. With a background in leadership and group management from Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets and Aggie ACCESS programs, Niki is passionate about guiding others on their own paths to success and achieving their goals. For more infomation please visit www.martialartsaustin.com.
Valentina Valé Valentina Valé is an educator and a visual artist with a MFA from RISD. After working as a designer for the jewelry industry and then becoming a certify parent educator, she merged both interests in 2009 through Experiment and Explore, a concept to awaken the inner artist in adults and encourage visual art in the young. For more information please visit ExperimentandExplore.com.
Vicki Parsons Vicki Parsons is passionate about encouraging and mentoring people of all ages to live their life to the fullest, inspiring lifelong health and wellbeing. She holds degrees in psychology and recreation therapy, as well as certifications in Fitness, Advanced Sports Nutrition, and Fitness Business Management.  As Director of Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance & Fitness Vicki helped design and develop programming that now offers dance and fitness classes to over 11,000 adults each year. In 2015 Vicki implemented the free BeWell Healthy Living Talks, and is a requested speaker at area businesses, organizations, and conferences such as the Austin Women’s Club, Austin’s Business Group on Health, and especially enjoys speaking at the annual GEN We Are Girls conference. Her presentations are practical and inspirational, and are presented with humor and passion, motivating her audience to change their attitude, their mind, and their life. For more information please visit www.balletaustin.org.
Women’s Community Center of Central Texas The mission of the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas is to promote the well being of Texas women and girls and to build positive connections among people and organizations that do the same. The Women’s Community Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information please visit www.womenctx.org.
Yoga RX Caroline McCarter has been practicing yoga since 1995, but it became more of an interest to her after taking a college yoga philosophy course in ‘97 during her undergraduate years at University of Michigan.  After several years of serious study, which include masters in the field of Yoga, Caroline opened a private therapy practice in Austin, TX creating a new way for the city to look at traditional yoga practices.  Ellen Vazquez is a 200 hour RYT, Integrative Yoga Therapist as well as a certified Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher with the knowledge and skills to teach yoga to populations with PTSD, GAD and PD.  She is also currently studying Aromatherapy, Reflexology & recently Reiki Level 1 certified.  Ellen is committed to learning and sharing with others, to make a positive difference in this world. For more information please visit www.yoga-rx.com.

We Are Girls Conference Austin 2017 Featured Conference Speakers

Lizzie Velasquez- Global Motivational Speaker, Anti-Bullying Activist, Social Media Personality and Author

Lizzie was born with a rare syndrome. At this time there are only 2 other people in the world that are known to be living with this rare syndrome. In December 2013, she took the stage at the inaugural TEDxAustinWomen and gave a talk titled “How Do You Define Yourself?” that has garnered over 13 million views across the web. Her story has been featured on Katie Couric, The Today Show, The View, Huffington Post, Associated Press, AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! among many other national and international media outlets. She is an Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary based on her life, “A BRAVE HEART: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” which chronicles her journey from cyber bullying victim to global anti-bullying activist. A BRAVE HEART premiered opening weekend of the 2014 South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and went on to win the Audience Award in its category and top honors at every festival it participated in. The film had an Academy-qualifying release in the U.S. in Fall 2015 and began its international release in Spring 2016. You can catch Lizzie on all social media platforms - where she has over 1.5 million followers combined - posting about anything and everything in her life - her travels, hangouts with her friends and family, her style and makeup routines, and of course, her little pup Ollie.