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Workshop Speakers

Alexandra Kuykendall is mother to four daughters ages three to twelve. She is the author of The Artist’s Daughter: A Memoir and is a regular contributor to MOPS publications. She lives in Denver where you can find her hanging at the MOPS International office where she serves as the Leader and Mom Content Editor or online at AlexandraKuykendall.com.

David Thomas, L.M.S.W., is the Director of Counseling for Men and Boys at Daystar Counseling in Nashville, TN, the co-author of six books, including the best-selling Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, a frequent guest on national television and radio, a regular contributor to ParentLife magazine, and speaks across the country. His first video curriculum, Raising Boys and Girls: The Art of Understanding the Differences is currently available, as is his newest book, Intentional Parenting. He and his wife, Connie, have a daughter, and three Wild Things (twin sons and a feisty yellow lab puppy named Owen). You can find David giving parenting tips on the blog at raisingboysandgirls.com.

Labeled “A Force for Good” by the Washington Post, Deborah Tillman took seven horrific child care provider experiences, and turned them into her life’s mission of leading the next generation in education, morals, values, self-esteem and self-determination! She is an organizational consultant, teacher, CEO of three Happy Home Child Learning Centers, Inc. located in Northern Virginia, and appears as America’s SuperNanny on Lifetime Television. She travels across the country speaking, training and educating on building community relationships, positive parenting and entrepreneurship. She is also very active in the community working with social barriers affecting children and families.

Deidra Riggs is a writer and speaker with an undying devotion to disco music, the Motor City, and long bike rides under a big, blue sky. She serves as managing editor at The High Calling, and is a monthly contributor to (in)courage. Deidra is the founder of JumpingTandem where — through retreats, writing, conversations, and other events — she inspires individuals to pursue the dream(s) God has uniquely designed for them. In addition, Deidra facilitates conversations that encourage churches and church leaders to increase their understanding of different races, cultures and ethnicities. Connect with Deidra at her website, and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Deidra is married to Harry Riggs. They are the parents of two adult children, and the happy inhabitants of an empty nest.

Emily P. Freeman is the author of Grace for the Good Girl, and Graceful (For Young Women), and her most recent release, A Million Little Ways. She is a regular contributor for (in)courage and has traveled as a blogger with Compassion International. After having twin girls and needing a way to process the transition into motherhood, she uncovered her forgotten love of writing. Today, whether writing or speaking, Emily’s words create space for souls to breathe, offering fresh perspective on the gracefulness of the everyday and the sacredness of our inner lives. She lives in North Carolina with her husband John and their children. You can read more about Emily at her blog, chattingatthesky.com.

Gayle Pottle is MOPS International’s Director of Development. Gayle brings seven years of non-profit leadership to MOPS after enjoying ten years in Fortune 100 sales & marketing management roles. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Mile High Ministries. Gayle holds a BS degree from Oklahoma State University. Besides ice cream, her passion is empowering women to engage in a journey of authenticity in Christ. Gayle and her husband Hal live with their teenage children Lauren and Nick in Denver.

Gillian Marchenko is the author of Sun Shine Down: A Memoir and is currently writing a book about depression and faith, and the fact that a person can have both. She coordinated her MOPS group for three years, and now writes and speaks about special needs, depression, imperfect faith and deep belly laughs. Gillian currently lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and their four daughters. Keep up with Gillian’s family at gillianmarchenko.com.

Helen Lee has been a writer and journalist in the Christian publishing market for nearly two decades. She is the author of The Missional Mom and has contributed to numerous other books, including Always There, the 2012 MOPS devotional; and Tending the Soul, a devotional edited by the women of Moody Radio’s Midday Connection. She has also served as co-editor and contributor of Growing Healthy Asian-American Churches  and has authored articles and posts for organizations and blogs such as Christianity Today, Leadership Journal, Sojourners, Jesus Creed, Christ and Pop Culture, and Today’s Christian Woman. Helen is also a sought-after speaker who was recently featured in Rachel Held Evans’ list of Christian women speakers.

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.

Jennifer Degler, Ph.D., is a psychologist, life coach and co-author of No More Christian Nice Girl: When Just Being Nice - Instead of Good - Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends. A frequent speaker at women's events and marriage retreats, she also maintains a counseling practice in central Kentucky. She is the founder of CWIVES, an organization devoted to helping Christian wives enhance their sexuality. She has been interviewed by WomensDay.Com, Moody Radio and numerous other media outlets. Jennifer is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two children. Visit her website at jenniferdegler.com

Jessica Fick serves with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and spends her time preaching the gospel, and teaching and training believers how to share their faith. She is the author of the upcoming book Beautiful Feet, a book geared to empower women to share their faith (Summer 2015). Married to Dave, who also works for InterVarsity, they live in Cleveland, Ohio with their two sons Reuben and Oswald where they build complex Lego sets and explore the shores of Lake Erie together. Jessica blogs about evangelism, motherhood and thrift-store adventures at jessicafick.com.

Kay Wills Wyma has five kids and one SUV with a lot of carpool miles. She holds a bachelor's from Baylor University and an MIM from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird). Before transitioning to being a stay-at-home mom, she held positions at the White House, the Staubach Company and Bank of America. Today, between carpool drop-offs, she shares about life, parenting and finding humor in the midst at themoatblog. Her book Cleaning House, A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement has been featured on the TODAY Show, Fox & Friends, CNN, Focus on the Family and more. Her second book, I'm Happy For You, sort of ... not really, Finding Contentment in Culture of Comparison (Waterbrook Multnomah) will be available in May/2015. Kay and her husband, Jon, live with their family in the Dallas area where they attend Watermark Community Church.

Kelli Jordan attended her first MOPS meeting in 1993. She served in several Leadership Team positions and as a Field Leader before joining the MOPS International staff in 2007. She served as a Regional Developer for five years and is now the Leadership Development Manager. Kelli and her husband, Rob, live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They have three MOPPETS graduates – Tyler, 24; Kenzi, 22, and Cam, 16 as well as two new additions to the family – daughter-in-law, Ashely and son-in-law, Jon.

Lisa-Jo Baker is the author of Surprised by Motherhood, Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom, the social media manager for DaySpring, and the community manager for its website, incourage.me, an online home for millions of women the world over. She shares her everyday life lived in between kids and chaos at LisaJoBaker.com, is a contributor to Huffington Post Parents, and her writings on motherhood are syndicated from New Zealand to New York. Born and raised in South Africa, Lisa-Jo currently lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and their three very loud kids.

Peter J. Larson, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, published author and widely respected researcher. Currently, he works at Gloo Inc. exploring mobile strategies for growth and wellness. He has been a marital therapist, clinical director for the Smalley Relationship Center, and past president of Life Innovations.

Heather Larson has her master’s degree in psychology and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. As a Christian Life Coach, specializing in marriage, she is the lead follow-up referral for the National Institute of Marriage. 
She founded Bridgewell Coaching and is a member of the 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting team.


Heather and Peter Larson, along with David and Claudia Arp, co-authored the new book, 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love and Marriage. Their next book, $10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage and Fun on a Budget, will be released in July of 2014. Peter & Heather regularly teach, write and coach together. They have been married for nearly 20 years and have three middle-school age children.

Stephanie Morris gets moms! Stephanie is an authentic speaker and author. Women relate to her message saying “she was so real – she hit it out of the park!” You’ll hear Stephanie boast her flaws and celebrate her victories – all in the name of being better together. Stephanie’s been married 17 years and has three children. Marriage began as an Air Force wife moving every year the first five years to having three kiddos within three years. Those first few years raising small children are blurry. Stephanie understands frustration, fatigue and the desperate need for rest and camaraderie. Conect with Stephanie on her website.

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

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.

 

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