Alexis Sterling – Chief Miss & Editor
Bio in 140 characters: Southern girl. Stanford grad. Academic consultant & mentor. New wife. Challenger of anxiety. Advocate for confident advancement.
More about Alexis:
See Editor’s Note below.
GUEST MISSES, MENTORS and CONTRIBUTORS
As we continue the development of this community, we will be adding guest mentors and columnists to provide advice pertaining to their particular areas of expertise.
Jenniffer Castillo & Saray Deiseil – Mentors
Jenniffer Castillo writes and produces stories that happen to target the Latino community and focus on social issues. Although Castillo has a hand in non-fiction, having written and co-directed AMERICAN DREAMERS, she has come up through scripted Television. She obtained an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University. UNDOCUMENTED (drama, feature) which was Castillo’s M.F.A. thesis, was the winner of the LMU Annual Screenwriting Fellowship, was a participant of the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab, and was a Second Rounder in the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition. She’s worked at shows like ABC’s “Castle”, VH1’s “Hit The Floor” and most recently Starz’s “Black Sails”.
Saray Deiseil is COO at iNDIGO PROjECT MEDIA, where she oversees development and production of all content. Over the past decade, Saray has worked on scripted television comedies and dramas providing her with extensive knowledge and experience in all stages of production and post-production. Most recently, Saray produced two short films (“Ballon,” AFI DWW’s “The Haircut”) and Produced feature documentary, American DREAMers. She is the Creator of “Inspira”, a webseries nominated for an Imagen Award in 2012. Her previous webseries, Planet Progress, fiscally sponsored by IDA, won a Special Hero Award at My Hero International Film Festival and awarded with a Webby Honoree recognition.
Robyn Dettman – Guest Miss
Robyn’s directing background began in New York where she wrote, produced and directed many plays for the independent theater including the critically acclaimed “Dyslexic Heart.” Her first short film, adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ short story “Where are you going, Where have you been?” garnered awards and traveled the festival circuit where it gained the interest of Film Media Group for educational distribution.
Since graduating college in 2004, Robyn has worked in film and television steadily building her family of crew with whom she has worked with on her award-winning films, multimedia stage performances, music videos and commercials for clients like Zinch International, Dot429, Sweet, InsideTrack, Inc and the Shine Center.
Robyn is a two-time breast cancer survivor and is currently working on developing a feature film based loosely on her battle. “Well, very loosely based actually. The fear is the same for all of us, no matter our circumstances. The face of cancer is changing, the way we fight it and the way we thrive in the face of it.
“Fighting cancer has awoken something in me… maybe it’s the constant contact of courage and strength I have seen in face of cancer. The love and the amazing capacity we all have inside to help each other heal through love. Some of the most powerful inspirations for me have come from the personal stories artists explore in films and other visual media. I’m so grateful to be able to continue my work in field that continually fuels my own growth, deepens my understanding of my life and the world around me. “
Robyn lives in the Bay Area with her wife, Megan, and their son.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz – Excerpted Author/Mentor
Claire Díaz-Ortiz is an author, speaker, and technology innovator who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Claire was an early employee at Twitter, where she was hired to lead corporate social innovation.
In Claire’s work, she has been called everything from “The Woman Who Got the Pope on Twitter” (Wired) and “Twitter’s Pontiff Recruitment Chief” (The Washington Post) to a “Force for Good” (Forbes) and one of the “Ten Most Generous in Social Media” (Fast Company). Claire is also known for the precarious honor of being the first to live-tweet her own child’s birth. (Hello,@Lucia!)
Claire is the author of several books, including Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time, which explores the TWEET model framework she is known for developing to help organizations and individuals best excel on Twitter. She has also written Greater Expectations: Succeed (and Stay Sane) in an On-Demand, All-Access, Always-On Age, Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption, and a handful of ebooks.
She is a frequent international speaker on business, innovation and social media, and has been invited to deliver trainings and keynotes at such varied organizations and events as The United Nations, Verizon, Toyota, South by Southwest, TEDx, The Mashable Social Good Summit, and many others.
She has appeared widely in major television and print news sources like CNN, BBC, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times, Good Morning America, The Today Show, the Washington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Wired and many others.
Claire holds an MBA from Oxford University, where she was a Skoll Foundation Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship, and has a BA and an MA in Anthropology from Stanford University.
She is the co-founder of Hope Runs, a non-profit organization operating in AIDS orphanages in Kenya.
Claire has lived on four continents and traveled to more than fifty countries. She used to run marathons, but now it makes her tired just to think about that. She is a foster mom to a Kenyan teen, an extreme introvert, and a crazy reader (she reads 200 books a year). She also boasts an unnatural passion for tiny houses and rooibos tea.
Veronica Gomez – Mentor
Veronica Gomez (Vero) was brought over to the United States three days before her fourth birthday. She earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice with an option in Law Enforcement and Administration from California State University East Bay, but at her college graduation Vero held back tears because she knew due to her immigration status, she would not be able to obtain a job in her field of study. During the walk, Vero risked arrest and deportation by staging a sit-in and hunger-strike in an Obama for America office in Denver, CO, demanding President Obama to stop the deportation of undocumented youth.
Angela Gulner – Mentor
Angela is an actress and writer who earned her MFA in Acting from the ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University. She’s appeared in Stalker, Silicon Valley, and Glee, as well as numerous stage productions around the world including Alice Vs. Wonderland (Moscow Art Theater) and Twelfth Night (Kingsmen Shakespeare Company). Angela co-wrote a comedy pilot currently in the final round of the Sundance Episodic Story Lab. She is gearing up to star in Superslut (which she also co-wrote with Lindsay Stidham and is producing with Alexis Boozer Sterling), a feminist satire set on a college campus which examines the fine line between empowerment and exploitation.
twitter: @angelagulner / instagram: @gulnatron
Jenée LaMarque – Guest Miss
Jenée LaMarque was born and raised in Claremont, CA and graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English with a creative writing emphasis in poetry. She also has an M.F.A in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute Conservatory. At Stanford, Jenée received the Urmy/Hardy undergraduate poetry prize. At AFI, Jenée was awarded both the Hewlett Packard Fellowship, and the Fischer-Collins Fellowship. Her screenplay, The Pretty One, was part of the 2011 Black List and her short film, Spoonful (her directorial debut) played at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Pretty One premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival where Jenée was nominated for “The Nora Ephron Prize.” The Pretty One won both “Best Director” and “Best Narrative Feature” at the Savannah Film Festival and was nominated for “Best Movie by a Woman” by The Women Film Critics Circle. Jenée is currently adapting and attached to direct the YA novel, Here Lies Bridget, for Preferred Content and Mott Street Pictures. She is also co-writing and attached to direct a film called Ladies Weekend for Providence Pictures. Jenée is represented by Carolyn Sivitz at United Talent Agency and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, composer/producer Julian Wass and their two daughters, Frankie and Luna.
Julie Lythcott-Haims – Mentor
Julie Lythcott-Haims was Stanford University’s first dean of freshmen—a position she created based on the concept of ‘belonging’ that suggests that students can take fullest advantage of the university’s opportunities and resources when they have a clear sense that they matter to staff and faculty. Over the course of her ten years as dean she gained responsibility for many aspects of the undergraduate experience and mentored thousands of students (who dubbed her ‘Dean Julie,’) and in 2010 she received the university’s Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for defining the undergraduate experience at Stanford. Julie left the university in 2012 and began to pursue writing and community engagement via non-profit board work. She has spoken and written widely on the harm of helicopter parenting, and her work has appeared on TEDx talks and in Forbes and the Chicago Tribune. Her first book, How To Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success is being released in June 2015 (New York: Henry Holt & Co.). Julie holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a JD from Harvard Law School, and she is completing an MFA in writing from California College of the Arts. In addition to non-fiction she writes creative non-fiction, poetry, and plays. She resides in Palo Alto, California with her husband, their two teenagers, and her mother.
Rachel Reid – Contributor / Resident Life Coach
For first generation Colombian American graffiti artist, Jessica Sabogal, art serves as a haven, a tribute, a creative outlet of adoration and exaltation for women with stories often untold. Her pieces possess a vision of female identity that is revolutionary and powerful, brave and beautiful. By utilizing a spray can, she aims to color her canvas by unraveling stories she once heard, lived, struggled, and loved. Throughout the years, Sabogal has consistently reinvented what it means to be a female graffiti artist in a male-dominated medium. She has continuously pushed the boundaries as an artist by utilizing her medium for social change, action, and empowerment, while reminding us of the simple but necessary notion that women are to be valued, glorified, respected, and above all, loved.
Why Miss Matters?
I have spent the last 10 years working in a professional capacity as a tutor/mentor/informal educational therapist/academic consultant.
I have been proficient as an academic consultant. My students show marked improvements in their grades. I have sent many former students off to top universities across the country. But the real honor in my work has always been witnessing my students’ larger accomplishments. Their most impressive milestones often had very little to do with their academics. Or, rather, academic success most often first required a significant amount of personal growth. With this important distinction in mind, it has been a missive of mine to focus on the person first and the student second.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my interactions with students is a lack (or misplacement) of confidence and self-esteem . So many kids today (and obviously, this applies to boys as well as girls, but we specialized to be most effective as a single-sex community) are facing an inordinate amount of pressure from myriad directions without a great deal of attention paid to the pieces of them that make them special and will be crucial to their own eventual flourishing.
Miss Matters is a continuation of that challenge for me.
I know that – as a younger girl (and heck, sometimes still) – I had a tough time asking questions. We’ve all heard of some study or another that claims to be able to nail down a specific age when girls start having trouble asking questions or making themselves heard in school. I think the issue is far greater than hesitancy to raise a hand in class. We need to give girls a better place to feel comfortable asking and answering and trying their new identities on for size.
I also believe we need to change the way we give advice. I see a lot of people talking at other people these days. Miss Matters is a space for discussion and collaboration. Rather than a single voice offering limited wisdom, we will host advisors properly suited to answer specific queries and share their own exceptional experiences. Our diverse community will provide both the opportunity to find the other women whose stories are comfortingly similar to our own, as well as introducing us to new perspectives by which we can be challenged and inspired.
I welcome you to our community. We’re all excited for what you have to share with us.