Ray identifies as Black and uses the pronouns he/him.
Ray is a retired Army Paratrooper, Combat veteran, Doctor of Education, Fulbright Specialist and an Expert in Education and Storytelling Narrative. He is also a former adjunct professor teaching African American History and Storytelling at Appalachian State University.
His stories have appeared in Reader’s Digest’s 2016 Best Stories in America and in 2017's American Hero's edition.
As a competitive storyteller, Ray is a 12 time Moth Story Slam Champion, and winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. His stories have been featured on the “Moth Radio Hour”, “Snap Judgment”, “Back Story Radio”, “Spooked”, “Story Collider” and “Risk” podcasts.
He resides in the remote, mountains of Watauga County, NC where he hosts and produces the podcast What’s Ray Saying.
Ly identifies as Asian American and uses she/her pronouns.
Ly (pronounced "Lee") is a hospital bedside registered nurse at a major teaching hospital and is a professor for the associated university, currently based out of Richmond, VA. Ly graduated with a Masters in Nursing and entered the field nearly a decade ago. Her time since graduating has been split between taking care of other humans and managing a geeky art business with her partner, called PixelWho.
Through the convention circuit she found her voice and a passion for speaking her mind, and has now appeared on hundreds of panels and podcasts, interweaving her passion for diversity and her nurse's love of humanity. Her PR skills helped her navigate the convention world and brought her into contact with the entertainment industry where she began to notice a lack of Asian representation.
She came to realize the best way to fix that imbalance would be working from the inside to change it. However, when an unexpected pandemic forced her to choose between two paths, she decided that for now contributing as a real life superhero was what was needed until the world got through this immediate danger. Empathy runs deep with Ly and she hopes her story inspires others to be kinder to one another.
Gale identifies as Black and uses he/him pronouns.
Gale’s professional career includes over 20 years of non-profit management and leadership experience.
Currently, he is the President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, and since joining the team in July 2006, he has played a significant role in the growth and development of the agency’s mentoring and fund development programs.
Prior to joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, he served as Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer at a moderate risk residential school for court adjudicated boys for twelve years. Gale is a highly effective public speaker and the consummate strategist who provides solution-focused leadership. His faith and his family continue to keep him grounded in helping youth and families.
Yvette-Marie identifies as Latina or Mexican American she uses the pronouns she/her.
Yvette-Marie Margaillan is a Licensed and Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and the Founder and CEO of ABA Consulting Group, its subsidiaries Academy for Autism and Autism Pediatrics, and her new startup Method Motivate. As a licensed therapist, she focuses on providing therapy to children with autism and provides training to families, schools, hospitals, and other medical practices.
A first-generation American, she was the first in her family to graduate college and pursue an advanced degree. She became the youngest licensed behavioral therapist in Arizona at 24, and at the time, was one of the few Spanish speaking therapists in the region. Yvette saw it as a moral obligation not only to stay in her community but to try and build a community of Spanish speaking therapists to support the community.
Chris identifies as Black and uses he/him pronouns.
Chris has been writing as long as he can remember, trying to tap into those emotions that unite us all. He's written articles and essays, a blog series focusing on pop culture villains, and most recently, the novels in the Heaven Falls series. He lives in Austin with The Wife, his kids – the Boy and the Honey Badger, and a pack of dogs. Chris has a sense of humor like a Gremlin, a trash TV fetish, and telling stories is absolutely what he was meant to do.
Dawn identifies as Indigenous/ Native American and uses the pronouns She/Her
Dawn is an educated Apache/ Dine woman born and raised on the Navajo Nation and San Carlos Reservation. Her passion and desire are to help educate and bring awareness of gut health and wellness to our Indigenous/ Native communities.
She loves to spend time with family and enjoys hiking and the outdoors as a direct connection to Mother Earth. Dawn has developed a deeper understanding and passion for our cultural healing medicines in order to share and revitalize the movement to reclaiming our own wellness journey.
Nathaniel identifies as Multiracial and uses he/him pronouns. He is an Activist, Youth Social Worker, Facilitator, and Teaching Artist. Born and raised in Chicago, Nathaniel is most passionate about work with children, youth, and young adults in under-served communities in the city. He values art and music based approaches for learners of all ages, and had incorporated these mediums across a myriad of demographics and audiences.
With over a decade of youth leadership development experience, he strives to only grow more in his work through the youth of the social impact organization” My Block My Hood My City”. Nathaniel believes radical change can happen in communities with the right tools and investment: He is thankful for every opportunity to be a part of that change
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