Conference Speakers-2012

Speaker Line up From 2012

Women's PowerStategy Conference by GirlsInc.

Evan Bailyn i
s an internet entrepreneur, bestselling author, and child advocate. His first book,Outsmarting Google, debuted to rave reviews in mid-2011. Its sequel, Outsmarting Social Media comes out in early 2012. Evan is the founder of The Evan Bailyn Foundation, which promotes emotional awareness in children. His Facebook page, which encourages people to be true to themselves, gained over 100,000 fans in a year, making it one of the most popular non-celebrity pages on Facebook. Evan has been interviewed on ABC and Fox News and featured in The New York Times,The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and several other major publications. Learn more about him on his website:

Erika Bjune
is Co-Founder/President/Co-CEO of Native Cloud Systems, a start-up software company delivering next-generation cloud computing solutions. Prior to Native Cloud Systems Erika served in the role of Vice President of IT at Tides. During that time, she started and directed the Avatar Action Center, the first nonprofit organization established in the virtual world Second Life, which provided interactive educational experiences around the topic of global sustainability. One of her goals is to encourage more young women to enter the expanding and diverse field of technology. Website:


Christine Bronstein is the founder of A Band of Wives a social network and information website for women. She was CEO of one of the few women-run, venture backed health and fitness companies in the nation and president of a child-welfare foundation.She’s a graduate of Columbia/ UC Berkeley executive MBA program and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma. Chris is married to Hearst/San Francisco Chronicle’s Editor-at-Large Phil Bronstein and is the mother of three. Website is at:

Nancy Calef
completed Bronx High School of Science at age 15 and received a scholarship to study painting and sculpture. She’s lived in San Francisco since 1977, but has traveled extensively throughout North America, Southeast Asia, Nepal and India. She’s also lived in Europe and Thailand, all of which served to develop her painting style and sharpen her understanding of the cultural and spiritual diversity of the world landscape. Her renowned “Peoplescapes” — oil, sculptured characters and applied objects on canvas address cultural, political and spiritual issues facing society. Nancy’s paintings will be on display at the conference, but don’t miss her unique, creative website which features her paintings “come to life” and a whole lot more:

Zoe FitzGerald Carter
s memoir, Imperfect Endings is the story of how Zoe’s busy life takes an unexpected detour when her glamorous, independent-minded mother, who, tired of living with Parkinson’s disease, declares she’s no longer willing to go where the illness is taking her. Unsure how—or when—she will end her life, she’s certain of one thing: she wants her three daughters there when she does it.Imperfect Endings was excerpted in O magazine and has won numerous awards including finalist for the National MS Society’s Books for a Better Life Awards in the “Inspirational Memoir” category, and is a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. Read an excerpt and see photos from the memoir at:

Marisa Churchill
has worked at such notable restaurants as Rubicon, The Slanted Door and Yoshi’s, where she was named “one of the cities top pastry chefs” by the San Francisco Chronicle’s head food critic, Michael Bauer. Her work has been featured in a number of magazines including Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, People,and  Shape. She’s also been featured on the “Food Network Challenge”, and various morning shows promoting healthier ways to cook and bake. Marisa began focusing on using natural ingredients to create recipes that were full of flavor without all the fat.  This proved particularly challenging when it came to developing delicious desserts, but she kept at it, and her low-fat, sugar-free desserts have continued to grow in popularity, especially her low-fat chocolate fudge cake which was a hit on “Top Chef.” After receiving her nutrition certification through Cornell University, she completed her first cookbook, Sweet & Skinny which features 100 delicious but skinny desserts. Life is too short to skip dessert! Get some of her fab recipes at:

Self-made and self-taught,
Kaye Cloutman is a bookworm, Lifestyle/Food/Wine/Travel writer with an insatiable desire for all things wonderful! Currently the editor in chief of Gastronomique En Vogue, Kaye’s expertise in publishing, editing, creative marketing, sales, event promotion and public relations have made all her ventures a success. She became proficient in using Photoshop, Sony Vegas Video and DVD Architect to create videos and slide shows for family and friends. Eventually she began to participate in video shoots and trade show demonstrations and started speaking in public. She ran her own successful business marketing custom products for the spa/resort industry in the Philippines.Check out her fab website:

Deborah Grabien has lived and worked from London to Geneva to Paris to Florence, but since her first look at the Bay Area, she’s always come home to San Francisco. Between 1989 and 1993, she published four novels, took a decade away from writing, and then picked up where she’d left off with the five novels of her Haunted Ballads series being brought out by St. Martins Minotaur between 2003 and 2007. Still Life With Devils, a stand alone thriller about a serial killer who may not be human, was released by Drollerie Press in December 2007. Dark’s Tale, her first YA title, draws on her experiences working with the SPCA’s feral cat program in Golden Gate Park. Her current series, the Kinkaid Chronicles, are the books of her heart. Narrated by aging rock superstar guitarist John “JP” Kinkaid, this character-driven mystery series not only takes the reader into the way rock and roll really works at the highest end, but illuminates what living with a chronic progressive illness is like. Like JP, Deborah herself has lived with multiple sclerosis for nearly a decade.

Jeb Harrison
has been involved in a wide range of creative endeavors. Novelist, script writer, painter, musician, he has performed in sleazy bars and concert halls alike. He paints landscapes in oil and has sold over 30 original pieces over the past several years. Formerly the co-founder and director of InterActive Media Inc., Jeb designed, wrote and produced over 100 integrated interactive marketing, sales, training and consumer edutainment programs, one of which was SportWare Golf™, a multimedia title published by HarperCollins Interactive. As creative director of The SoftAd Group, he designed programs for clients such as Ford, Buick, BMW, IBM, Coke, and more. As a songwriter/musician, he’s done live performances at venues such as The Fillmore, and as a landscape artist he was a winner of the Grumbacher Award, Marin Society of Artists, 1997. Jeb’s novel,Hack is being released by Harper Davis Publishers in 2012.

Laura McHale Holland
runs the editorial department for a financial services trade publication by day and is an author and independent publisher by night. Her childhood memoir,Reversible Skirt, which recounts the gut-wrenching decade after her mother’s suicide, won a silver medal in the 2011 Readers Favorite book awards. Laura’s stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the original San Francisco Examiner. She is a member of both Redwood Writers and the Storytelling Association of California. Visit her website at:

Joe Klocek has performed at every major comedy club in the country, including in Alaska and is a regular on the Bay Area Comedy Scene. He’s a square peg in a round hole sort of guy. Raised a Midwesterner, so he has manners, but living in San Francisco for 20 years, so he thinks he’s better than you. Joe does two things well – tells stories and talks to the crowd. Joe has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and was the commentator for Emmy Award winning documentary, “A Bridge so Far.” He is the co-creator of the critically acclaimed storytelling show, “Previously Secret Information” and has also been a runner-up in the “San Francisco International Comedy Competition” and a finalist in the “Seattle Comedy Competition.” Voted “Best Comic” in the 2011 SF Weekly Readers Poll.

Dena Kouremetis debuted as a Sacramento Bee newspaper columnist in 1997 and subsequently began writing marketing copy for PR firms, web sites and businesses as well. Author, co-author and expert consultant for three business trade books by Chicago’s Dearborn Trade Press, now part of Kaplan Publishing,  Kouremetis had expanded her love of writing to a variety of topics, ranging from baby boomer lifestyles to health and fitness, real estate and mortgage, architecture and design, beauty, finance, legal content, and personal finance.  She is also a regular contributor to women’s books on life, love, and middle age. Now focusing on helping businesses with blogs and newsletters in addition to copywriting and producing web site content, she offers her expertise in training small business owners in the art of business blogging and creating their online professional profiles. Visit her site

Vicki Larson is the Lifestyles editor and writer at Marin Independent Journal, a blogger for The Huffington Post,a columnist for Mommy Tracked: Managing the Chaos of Modern Motherhood; and a contributor to “Knowing Pains: Women on Love, Sex and Work in Our 40s,” a fundraiser for breast cancer. She is co-writing a book about reinventing marriage, “The New I Do,” and sometimes even writes something halfway intelligent on her own blog, the OMG Chronicles

Linda Lee is a writer, speaker, educator and website designer who demystifies the online experience. She is the founder of “Smart Women, Stupid Computers” and Askmepc- Webdesign. Linda began her own online business in 1998, and since then her entrepreneurial sensibilities have helped others find their own place on the web. Linda also provides informative presentations on diverse tropics ranging from “Internet Safety” to “Branding Yourself Online.” Linda is also the co-president of the Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter and is the current the Volunteer Coordinator of the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. She is also launching the WordPress Total Training, the last WordPress course you will ever need. She has built over 120 successful websites on WordPress and Xsite Pro. Online and off, Linda continually helps others achieve their personal best. Visit: AskMePc Web Design

Frances Lefkowitz
is the author of To Have Not,named one of five “Best Memoirs of 2010” by The former senior editor of Body+Soul magazine (now Martha Stewart’s Whole Living), Frances is now the book reviewer for Good Housekeeping and a freelance writer, editor, and writing teacher. Her articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous publications and she has twice been honorable-mentioned for the Pushcart Prize, once for Best American Essays, and was a finalist for a James Beard Foundation Food Writing Award. For more on Frances and links to her writing and events, visit her website at

Monique Lessan
is a multi-lingual licensed private investigator with over ten years of experience who has conducted many extensive worldwide investigations to recover missing and abducted children and runaways. She has been called in on missing persons cases, sex trafficking cases, infidelity cases, undercover sting operations, criminal defense investigations, and surveillance. Featured on many television news and talk shows, Monique is an activist in the fight against human trafficking and an expert in child abduction recoveries. Ms. Lessan has recovered missing children from San Diego, Singapore, Mexico, England, Saipan and Nicaragua. In 2009 Monique founded Teens Against Human Trafficking and has a non-profit called “ProjectFACE” (Fighting Against Child Exploitation)

Ivory Madison is a writer, editor, entrepreneur, and founder of Red Room. A former management consultant to startups and Fortune 500 companies, Madison combines her business acumen with her dedication to supporting writers. A frequent keynote speaker and panelist on writing, entrepreneurship, and social media, she’s been a guest lecturer to the faculty and writing coaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Publishing Course. Trained as an attorney, Madison was Editor in Chief of her Law Review, interned at the California Supreme Court, and served as a Law Fellow at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Her adventures have also included episodes as a New Orleans restaurateur, radical feminist politico, and torch singer at the Plush Room. Her feminist-mafia-noir graphic novel, Huntress: Year One, was published by DC Comics in February 2009. Visit her website:Red Room

Gilbert Mansergh is the psychological educator internationally acclaimed for utilizing Hollywood movie clips as teaching tools. Gil is the author of over sixty non- fiction books, a syndicated film column, and a NYTimes affiliated movie blog. He is also the producer/host of  the Word By Word: Conversations With Writers radio show on Sonoma County’s NPR station, KRCB-FM. Gil’s first novel,The Marvelous Journals of Miss Virginia Pettingillis fictionalized from true stories told by his mother, and has received glowing pre-publication reviews. It will be released by Harper Davis Publishers in mid – 2012.

Amanda McTigu
e is the Principal at “i.e” — Ideas Expressed.  A writer, director and creative consultant,her background as an Executive Director at Paramount Entertainment/Viacom makes her invaluable to clients, both national and international, as they explore brand extension, product development, retail, residential and commercial planning and guest experience through such L.A.-based design firms as Thinkwell Design and the Hettema Group. Management positions she’s held have put her in charge of hundreds of employees at a clip, overseeing multi-million dollar bottom lines. Her show treatments written for Walt Disney Entertainment have led to top-rated productions. She coaches actors through affiliations with the National Association of Singing Teachers and Sonoma State University and has been directing stage productions in the North Bay area for the past ten years. Her debut novel,”Going to Solace”, will be published in 2012 by Harper Davis.

Hyla Molander
is an author, inspirational speaker, social media maven, photographer, widow, wife, and mother of four, is the founder of Social Good Project, Widowed Web on Facebook, and co-producer of Women Rock It. As a spokesperson for the Masonic Medical Research Lab, Hyla raises awareness about Brugada Syndrome, the unrecognized genetic problem which led to her late husband’s death at the age of 29. Hyla’s book, Finding Light: Images and Words of Hope, encourages those who have experienced any type of tragedy to push through their darkness. Other writing projects include her forthcoming memoir, “Drop Dead Life: A Pregnant Widow’s Heartfelt and Often Comic Journey through Death, Birth, and Rebirth”, and her marketing guide, “Secrets of Scribd Success: How Writers, Entrepreneurs, Non-Profits, and Corporations Can Grow Their Audience with” Learn more about Hyla at her website:


Dolores Mosqueda is 4′ 11 inches and weighs less than 100 pounds, yet she spent a great deal of her time cart racing at Sears Point, and being very successful. Featured for her driving in Marin Independent Journal several years back, Dolores talks about why she made the choice to race. Dolores works as a medical assistant and is the owner at Dol Active Sportwear.

Justin Oliver
is the “Slim” in Slim Jenkins, a “swinging, shouting, jumping young gun act out of San Francisco.” Their specialty is “dark swing, voodoo blues and the dirtiest R&B around.”  Band members are: Felix MacNee beating the swing drums, Timothy Vickers walking the upright bass, Joel Martinez and his lead guitar blues licks, and Randy Johnson and Byron Burchard on the saxophones. Add the smooth, melodious tones of Justin Oliver’s singing and it’s no surprise that in less than two short years, this band has become wildly popular in the Bay Area. (Justin will be on our Men’s Panel.)

Kim Pipkin
has 20-plus years experience marketing for the architecture/engineering and construction industry.  She holds a Masters of Architecture from U.C. Berkeley and Masters of Business Administration from St. Mary’s College. She is a specialist in MBE/WBE outreach and contract compliance. Previous employers include EHDD Architecture, Swinerton & Walberg Builders, Whisler Patri Architects, Del Campo & Maru Architects and Don Todd Associates Construction Managers. Kim is a licensed real estate agent in the state of California and has served as Planning Commissioner to the Town of San Anselmo, California. She now serves as Director of Business Development at Kwan Henmi Architects.

Laurie Berry is a licensed aesthetician, massage therapist and
herbalist with over 25 years experience at some of the top spas in
Las Vegas including The Ravella and The Wynn’s Encore. She
has extensive knowledge of holistic skincare, Bach flowers and
aromatherapy, and tours the country teaching classes on team
building with aromatherapy, and releasing blockages and healing
mind, body, and soul with Bach flowers. She was a featured
speaker on healing trauma at the National Psychiatric Conference in
Maui, and is a national trainer for Naturopathica.



Rebecca Rosenberg
is a writer, product designer and co-owner of Sonoma Lavender who by combining her creative talent and marketing savvy has been able to produce a number of successful ventures, one of which was her marketing and advertising agency. Specializing in retail, it provided her access to several top retail chains where she was responsible for brand and advertising campaign development. Rebecca recently created an extensive line of unique lavender and beneficial products for Sonoma Lavender which can be found in over 4,000 stores throughout the United States and around the world. Her book,
Lavender Fields of America
, is now available and her debut novel, “Matchless” has just been completed. See the beautiful website of Sonoma Lavender

Jeannette Sears
was a lyricist for Jefferson Starship, writing the words for many of
the bands critically acclaimed songs. Jeannette and her husband, Pete Sears, have long been active in the environmental, peace, and justice movements from as far back as the 1960s. Their concept album,”Watchfire” (by Pete Sears and Friends—including Jerry Garcia, Micky Hart, David Grisman, Babatundi Olatungi, Mimi Farina & Holly Near) was one in which Jeannette wrote all the lyrics to most of the songs, and they reflect her concern about the future of the planet and the effects of the United States’ disastrous foreign policy in Guatemala and El Salvador. One of the songs, “Guatemala,” was turned into a powerful music video and was picked up by Amnesty International,used to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Central America. Jeannette has just completed her first novel,” A Light Rain of Grace.” Much more about Jeannette can be found on her website:

Ransom Stephens Ph.D, is a professor of particle physics turned writer and speaker. He discovered a new type of matter, was on the team that discovered the top quark, led an engineering commando team in conquering complex technical and marketing problems for a Fortune 500 Company, and now makes a living as a novelist, speaker, and high tech consultant. Ransom has written over 300 articles on impossible subjects like quantum physics and parenting teenagers, produces events for Litquake and co- produces two literary series. His first novel, The God Patent, was “the first debut novel to emerge from the new paradigm of online publishing” according to the SF Chronicle and has spent over a year on several top ten lists. His second novel has just been


Director, cinematographer, editor, sound designer and composer,
Alex Vargas
was born in Uruguay where he studied classical theatre at the E.M.A.D. (National School of Theatre). Born into a family of musicians, Alex was a professional recording artist and front man for a rock band in Denmark until he moved to the Bay Area in 2003. Fluent in three languages, Alex held an number of jobs in the arts, health, travel and non-profit fields. Since 2009 Alex has focused exclusively on all aspects of filmmaking and in mastering pre and post film production, making his work truly personal compositions of art told through multi-dimensional layers. His website:

Niko Volonakis
is an independent filmmaker, writer, actor, and composer who divides his time mostly among San Francisco, New York, and Athens, Greece.  Past projects include The 48 Hour Film Festival, Litquake, and a variety of trailers and shorts. He is currently at work on his first full-length film, “Hate Your City,”  some of which was shot on location in Cairo, Dublin, Athens, and San Francisco. See samples of his work on
MySpace and Vimeo.



Susanna Solomon

Mimi Towle

Mimi Towle







Jody Weiner is an attorney, writer, and producer, who wrote the suspense novel Prisoners of Truth, and co-authored Kinship With Animal. In film, Jody was the consulting producer to “Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs Evil” (Kanbar Entertainment and The Weinstein Company, 2011) and he also wrote additional dialogue for it. Jody also produced “Perfect Two,” a music video by Ceej (2011) He also wrote the comedy screenplay “Heck, No” (2011) and was the writer/director of the animated music video, “Lost My Mind Again,” (2005). Jody is a member of the California Bar, the Illinois Bar, the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and more. His clients have ranged from an inventor of the MRI machine to death row inmates, from an NBA All-Star to Koko the signing gorilla. He’s served as corporate counsel to Skyy Spirits, advised The Artist’s Guild of San Francisco and The Gorilla Foundation; a director of the Golda Foundation,and also serves on the
Advisory Board of Litquake.



Susanna Solomon never thought that electrical engineer would be her career choice, but so she has been for over 25 years. In 1980, realizing she was married to an alcoholic, she decided she needed to get a “man’s degree” and went back to school to study math and science, despite the fact that her math skills were weak and her father, a scientist, thought it was laughable. In 1987, she graduated from San Francisco State with honors and began working with companies large and small as an engineering consultant for the next 15 years. Eleven years ago, Susanna started her own business designing electrical systems and has since worked on everything from high-end residences to industrial buildings. In her second shift, her short story collection, “The Sheriff’s Call in The Point Reyes Light” will be published in 2013 by Harper Davis.




Mimi Towle is the executive editor of Marin Magazine,where she is responsible for writing and assigning for the “In Marin” and “Destinations” departments as well as features. Prior to that she was the senior editor for where she created and edited the Health, Family, Pet and Relationship channels. Her stories are known for being beautifully constructed and expertly edited. Mimi is the author of Lilaguide’s The Nanny Translator and Bilingual Babycare and she waxes poetic about travel destinations at





 Deborrah Cooper is quite adept at mixing, mingling and understanding people of all ages, socioeconomic levels and ethnicities. These skils come in handy as her alter-ego “Ms. HeartBeat” pens some of the most hilarious, street-smart, no nonsense relationship articles and advice columns available online. She’s the author of the award winning dating guide, Sucka Free Love!, an insightful look of the dating mistakes singles make and why they make them. Deborrah serves as a dating advice columnist for several websites, including some which focus on interracial relationships. She hosts “The Date Smarter, Not Harder Relationships Talk Show” every Sunday, and been featured in Black Enterprise magazine, Essence, Jet, The Oakland Tribune, and more.




Dr. Tamara McClintock Greenberg is a published author and speaker. She contributes to websites like The Huffington Post and Psychology Today and is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Greenberg provided consultation-liaison services within the UCSF hospitals and in long-term care facilities for over ten years. She currently has a private practice in San Francisco, CA. Her latest book, When Someone You Love Has a Chronic Illness, was published in February 2012 by Cedar Fort Press




Verna Dreisbach is the founder and president of Capitol City Young Writers, a non- profit organization dedicated to the education and mentoring of aspiring young writers in junior high and high school. Verna is also a literary agent, author, educator, and former police officer.. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sacramento State University with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English. She has taught publishing and writing courses through the University of California Davis Extension and is currently teaching college level English courses in Sacramento, CA. She is the editor of Why We Ride: Women Writers on the Horses in their Lives, published by Seal Press.

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 *About Our Keynote Speaker


Malissa Feruzzi Shriver was appointed to the California Arts Council by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2005 and elected as Chair on January 27, 2009. The professional painter, writer, and owner of Feruzzi Fine Arts also serves on the boards of the National Assembly of State Art Agencies (NASAA), the California Institute of the Arts, and the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) including on its Congressional Advocacy Committee. She is a policy board member for the California Alliance for Arts Education (CAAE) and former board member of the California Music Project, a nonprofit organization created to support music education programs for California K-12 schools.  Malissa has been actively involved with the Santa Monica Department of Cultural Affairs to promote a cultural center as part of the civic plan for the City of Santa Monica.  She’s also involved in other nonprofit work, including the Santa Monica Museum, PS Arts, For The Arts (an endowment for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District), and the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento.
As an artist, Ms. Feruzzi Shriver works in oils and specializes in both originals and recreations of old master paintings. She
studied painting and sculpture at the University of California, Los Angeles, and comes from a family of accomplished artists.
Website: California Arts Council  



*About Our Presenter


Patricia V. Davis is the author of the award-winning Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss and Greece, and The Diva Doctrine: 16 Universal Principles Every Woman Needs to Know. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the non-partisan HS Radio e-magazine and podcast and the president of Harper Davis Publishing Inc. Patricia is actively involved in empowering women through her writing and speaking and was named one of Top 25 Mentors for Women and Young Girls by The Hot Mommas Project of George Washington University in both 2010 and 2011 and a VivMagnificent Woman by Viv Magazine in 2011. Her latest work and first published fiction, “Chopin, Fiendishly” appears in Tales From the House Band: Volume I, published by Plus One Press. Patricia holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and Education.


About Our Guest Performer




 Tiana Andreas will be playing some of her songs from her debut CD, “Butterfly in the Snow,” during our noon buffet; the perfect accompaniment to a glorious meal and a glorious day. (Tiana’s daughter is Chef Marisa Churchill, who will be speaking at our conference and preparing one of her signature recipes as part of our luncheon.) Learn more about Tiana and hear her music at:

PLEASE NOTE: For every paid adult admission, we will sponsor a high school age girl to attend this conference. Support the empowerment of young women AND treat yourself to a fabulous conference!

Women's Power Strategy Conference 2012