MOMcon 2014 Speakers and Performers
Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life — friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us and reveal to us the heart of God. You can read more about Shauna and follow her blog at shaunaniequist.com.
Women around the world feel as though they’re lifelong friends with Angie Smith — and most of them have never met her in person. They’ve come to know Angie through her transparent, warm, witty blog Bring The Rain. It began as the story of her fourth daughter’s brief life and became an opportunity to combine Angie’s two greatest passions: helping to heal people’s hearts and writing. The wife of Todd Smith (lead singer of hit Christian contemporary group Selah), Angie co-wrote the song “I Will Carry You” (found on Selah’s CD You Deliver Me) and authored a book by the same name. Angie, Todd, and their daughters live in Tennessee.
Jennie Allen is a Bible teacher who is passionate about inspiring a new generation of women to encounter the invisible God. Jennie’s teaching is marked by personal authenticity and vulnerability, “I want to provide places for women to wrestle with truth, so that we are more fully living what we know about God, not just learning about Him. As God gets bigger to us, our lives start to change.” She has released multiple DVD-based Bible studies and is the author of Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul and Restless: Because You Were Made for More. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Zac and their four children: Conner, Kate, Caroline and Cooper. You can read more about Jennie and follow her blog at jennieallen.com.
Lisa Chan is a mother of five and co-founder (with her husband, Francis) of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California. An accomplished singer, Lisa has recorded three albums, including Endless Beauty and has also produced the True Beauty DVD teaching series by Flannel and David C Cook. Lisa lives with her family in San Francisco where they are doing inner-city ministry as a family.
In her position at MOPS International, Mandy Arioto represents the mothering voice of the 100,000 member mothering organization. Before joining MOPS International, Mandy was a preaching pastor at MOSAIC in Southern California. She is widely accepted as a relationship expert, and has been featured on MSN, theknot.com, thenest.com and Fox. Mandy speaks to national and international audiences on the topics of mothering, leadership development and cultural trends. She and her husband are in the throes of raising three young kids to be adventurous, tender-hearted world changers. Mandy blogs at Hello, Darling.
Meredith Andrews has a gift for writing honest, compelling songs that resonate powerfully with an audience. Over the course of her first two Word albums, people have come to appreciate the Dove Award-winning artist’s love for God and her heart for people. Even with as open and vulnerable as Meredith has been before, the true heart of this gifted artist is best revealed on her new project Worth it All. Meredith and husband Jacob have two sons, Maverick and Remington. Balancing music and family can sometimes be a challenge, yet motherhood has impacted her art in unexpected ways. “I was always a people pleaser and I feel like now that I’m a mom, I’m not anymore. I’m just over it,” she says with a smile. “I’m not trying to please anybody. I just want to please the Lord and love people.”
Sherry Surratt is the President and CEO of MOPS International. She has deep experience in church ministry and learning from women leaders. Her most recent position prior to MOPS International was the Director of Leadership Network’s Radical Future Innovation Labs. Her church ministry experience includes Children’s Ministry Pastor and Central Support Pastor at Seacoast church based in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. There she developed multisite ministries at their 13 campuses. Sherry has a degree from Sam Houston State University, and worked as a teacher and administrator in the Houston (TX) Public School system. Sherry and her husband Geoff have two adult children and two grandaughters.
As a poet, speaker, journalist, and event host Amena Brown’s words excite, ignite and inspire. Whether in front of audiences as intimate as 50 or as sprawling as 20,000, she has something to say that matters. Amena presents God.Rhyme.Reason. Using storytelling, performance poetry, rock, and hip hop, poet and deejay will use words and turntables to mix tunes and rhyme on doubt, faith,and hope. Amena’s debut book release, Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God, explores how experiences such as deejaying, learning to dance, having a broken heart, and practicing the rules of improv can teach us about our life’s rhythm and how we can better tune our ears and lives to the rhythm of God.
Celebrity chef, TV host, author, writer, speaker, and mom Melissa d’Arabian embodies family home cooking at its finest. After winning season five of “The Next Food Network Star,” Melissa became well known for “Ten Dollar Dinners” – her Food Network cooking series and New York Times best-selling cookbook. Her newest projects include: acclaimed FoodNetwork.com series "The Picky Eaters Project,” a lead judge role onFood Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and her new cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy,” debuting December 30. Melissa is a woman of faith and MOPS enthusiast, a member for three years when she lived in Texas. Stay in touch with Melissa on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest) and on her website at www.MelissadArabian.net.