Heather is 18, a current student at St. John’s University as a Psychology major, and is trained in Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA). This means she is skilled in administering brain- training cognitive therapy and social skills for individual with special needs, specifically Autism. She started learning the program when she was 12 and later started her own business. To facilitate her efforts, Heather created a book and curriculum for her clients using ABA therapy—all personalized for their needs. As an aspiring clinical psychologist, she has worked in different areas of mental health, performed ABA, cognitive brain therapy, social skills, motor skills, and other therapeutic techniques used to help the special needs community. Her passion for helping others branches out from her brother who has Autism Spectrum Disorder, and her rocky journey throughout life.
Accomplished and energetic with a solid history of achievement in organizing, Felicia has been elected twice as an Asbury Park Board of Education member. She has served as President of the Monmouth/Ocean County National Action Network, Education Chairman of Asbury/Neptune, NAACP founder of Proper Foundation and above all else, mother, daughter, artist, and friend. Felicia is known as a motivated leader with strong organizational and prioritization abilities.
Lisa Russell, MPH is an Emmy-winning filmmaker with a Master’s in Public Health who has 10+ years experience producing films/creative campaigns and curates artistic performances for UN/NGO agencies.
With a diverse portfolio of creative work that spans the arts, social justice and global development, Lisa is on a mission to revolutionize storytelling for the social good. As Founder and CEO of StoryShifter, Lisa is launching a new entertainment portal for the social good, powered by machine learning and data analytics. Her goal is to grow the world’s largest roster of international artists, storytellers, and innovators who are committed to using their talents to address racial and gender inequalities, promote health and education, and protect the planet.
After a five-year dry spell, Olive Persimmon embarked on a journey to “get her mojo back” and save her love life by exploring sex and dating in New York City. Her adventures included everything from 20 blind dates in 30 days, exploration of the foot fetish scene, and work with a sex therapist. She chronicled the stories for her second book and in doing so, realized she wasn’t the only one who felt insecure, scared, and inexperienced when it came to sex. Olive’s talk discusses how both exploring and writing about sexuality unintentionally reignited her long-lost passion and helped her overcome her fear of intimacy. Olive is an author, speaker, and communication coach. Her first book, Unintentionally Celibate, takes a comedic approach to talking about sex. Her second book, The Coitus Chronicles, will be out on Valentine’s Day 2019.
As the former Creative Director of the Big Apple Circus and Community Programs and now Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Healthy Humor, Karen has performed with and managed hundreds of clowns in leading pediatric hospitals across the country for almost 30 years. A recipient of the Raoul Wallenberg Humanitarian Award. Karen has been featured on numerous tv shows as her clown, “Dr. Ginger Snaps.” She also performed in the first national tour of the Broadway musical Barnum. Karen’s vaudeville theatre company, Serious Foolishness, has performed internationally for over 20 years. Her memoir of the same name focuses on surviving pediatric cancer and her subsequent career as a professional idiot. Karen has a BFA in acting and directing from West Virginia University and is a graduate of L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Annica Lin spent her formative years in Taiwan, resolving to come to America to provide a better life for her family. To accomplish this, she saved up and bought herself a one-way ticket to NYC, where step by step, she worked herself up to her version of the American Dream. She earned a Master’s degree at NYU, and rose through the ranks at a stock brokerage on Wall Street. She later fell in love with digital media and decided to pursue it as her new career, becoming a Google-certified partner and working at advertising agencies. Through it all, she kept her passion for living her healthiest life. A self-proclaimed Iron Chef, she unintentionally discovered running in 2011. Struggling to run a mile on a dare, she stuck with the sport, and many enthusiastic years later, qualified for the Boston Marathon. She loves to share her passion for running and wants to help people fall in love with the sport.
David Hernandez is a Cuban-born first generation-immigrant, raised in New York City and educated in private Catholic schools. He is also a professional musician and published composer who has worked and toured internationally. His credits include co-writer, co-producer, and music director for Village People, and recordings with Thompson Twins, Elvis Costello, and Ringo Starr, among others. He is co-founder and managing partner of lotus823, an award winning integrated communications and marketing agency based in Eatontown, NJ. Married and a father of three sons living in Monmouth County NJ, he is still active musically and has played locally with veteran Jersey shore musicians, including Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez.
In the tradition of many great troubadours before him, LA-born Arlan Feiles has made his way across the American landscape playing and recording his own brand of modern folk rock, gospel, and Americana music. With nothing but a piano and guitar, Arlan continues to wow audiences in his adopted home state of NJ and around the world. He is an award-winning musician and songwriter who has shared stages and worked with some of the great legends in music, including The Band, the late Warren Zevon, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Producer Tom Dowd, Dave Grohl, Joan Baez and many more. You can find his music in a variety of TV programs and theatrical films and trailers, including the Academy Award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club. Greg Baker of The Miami Herald said “If songwriters were bad weather, Hurricane Arlan would be a category 5…he’ll blow you away.”
Remy Arnou, 16, found his passion with TED-Ed Club. As president of the Middletown High School South TED-Ed Club, he has led many projects including the Be Heard board, which gives people a platform to express their different ideas. The Be Heard board is currently on display at the Middletown Arts Center. Passionate and always ready to help, Remy has the “joie de vivre” for spreading ideas. Remy is a bilingual (French and English) and a world traveler. His travels have opened his eyes to the concept that people all over the world need to “Be Heard.”
“A Passion For Pop Culture.”
Michael Zapcic reveals his “secret origins” as a comic book nerd and pop culture lover. His childhood fascination with classic stories of right and wrong, good vs. evil, all set against a four-color backdrop, has evolved into a life and career of amazing stories and uncanny adventures. His lifelong devotion to the comic book medium allowed Michael to step off an unfulfilling path that was prescribed for him by family and friends and instead, to pursue a life with meaning, purpose and passion. He is a podcaster, TV personality, and comic book expert and assistant manager at Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash for more than 15 years. Michael’s passion for comics has fueled a career filled with amazing stories and uncanny experiences. His message is broadcast each week through the internet via his podcasts “I Sell Comics” and “The Ming and Mike Show.”
Michael co-founded A Shared Universe PodcaStudio in 2017, with podcast partner Ming Chen, because he believes that everyone has a story to tell and deserves their chance to tell it. Podcasting is a friendly, accessible and affirming platform to exercise your voice and share your passions. Just give him a mic and ask him. He’ll tell you.