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MOMcon 2015 Workshop Speakers


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’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. As a part of a generation that is searching for the real and the genuine in an age of constant carbon copy, this nonconformist lends her voice to finding inspiration, truth, and purpose and encourages those she encounters to do the same.

Annie F. Downs is an author, blogger, and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. An author of three books- Let’s All Be Brave, Perfectly Unique, and Speak Love, Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults. Read more at and follow her on Twitter@anniefdowns.

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Becoming a Happy Mom, 31 Days to a Happy Husband, and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She’s co-authored Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World with Dr. Gary Chapman.  She has been featured on national programs such as the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, and Family Life Today.  Arlene lives in San Diego with her husband James and three children, Ethan (10), Noelle (8), and Lucy (5).  Visit for free resources including a monthly Happy Home podcast.  

Carol Mcleod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. Carol has written five books, No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the midst of the Fire, will be released on August 1, 2015. Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award, for excellence in religious programming. Carol’s devotionals are featured on YouVersion and she is among their most popular authors. Carol's daily radio program, Defiant Joy! Radio is available in several national markets including Family Talk XM radio. She is married to her college sweetheart and love of her life, Craig, who serves as senior pastor of Life Church near Buffalo, NY.  Craig and Carol have been happily married for 37 years and are the parents of five children and three delightful daughters-in-law. Craig and Carol are thrilled with the joy of being Marmee and Pa to seven precious grandchildren! 

In addition to being a wife and homeschool mom of three, Crystal Paine is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, business consultant, and the founder of Through writing, speaking, and consulting, Crystal seeks to encourage individuals, families, and business owners to wisely manage their time, energy, and finances so that, ultimately, they might be able to bless, impact, and give more to those in their community and around the world.  

David Thomas, L.M.S.W., is the Director of Family Counseling at Daystar Counseling in Nashville, TN, the co-author of six books, including the best-selling Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys (Tyndale House Publishers), a frequent guest on national television and radio and a regular contributor to ParentLife magazine. David speaks to parents, teachers and leaders across the country at events and conferences such as MOPs, D6, dotMOM and Lifeway Kids Conference.  His first video curriculum, Raising Boys and Girls: The Art of Understanding the Differences (Lifeway) is currently available, as is his newest book, Intentional Parenting (Thomas Nelson).  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   

De Yarrison, CPCC is a Professional Coach, Speaker, and Retreat Facilitator. She brings to her work with mothers a 15-year track record in leadership development and facilitation of positive change, along with a lot of love and passion for healthy, happy families.  De helps women create supportive, affirming bonds with THEMSELVES – first and foremost. She believes this is an essential process if we are to experience more connected and fulfilling relationships with others. De is very active in her church in Schwenksville, PA, where she serves on Pastoral Council, in the music ministry and co-leads a weekly prayer group. Read her blog and check out the women’s shop at 

Ed Ollie is a pastor, communicator and visionary. He serves as the Senior Associate Pastor of Hermitage Hills Church, a multiethnic, multisite church who is passionate about “seeing people experience life change through Jesus Christ". Ed and his wife, Marcia, live in Nashville and have three children. For more information about Ed and Hermitage Hills, visit or follow him on Twitter@edolliejr.  

Emily P. Freeman is the bestselling author of several books, including A Million Little Ways, Grace for
the Good Girl, Graceful (For Young Women), and her most recent release, Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment
Living in a Fast-Moving World. 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. Emily and her husband, John, live in North Carolina with their son and twin
daughters. You can find Emily online at, where she's been quietly writing for
nearly ten years. 

Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Gail Dudley is known for her insightful perspective, and for her warm and friendly personality. A committed Christian focused on perfecting the saints for ministry, she is a true servant of God and one who finds tremendous joy in helping other believers to become “Ministry-Minded, Ministry-Equipped, Ministry-Motivated, and Ministry-Engaged.” Gail was ordained March 2009 and currently serves alongside her husband in a church plant in Columbus, Ohio. She is an author of seven published books, and an international speaker motivating women to walk boldly into their destiny. Gail is serving individuals in ministry around the world. She is married to Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Dudley, and has two children. 

Jim and Lynne Jackson have over 25 years of both parenting experience and professional experience as authors, speakers and parent coaches working with families of high risk teens and children with behavior challenges. In 2002 they launched the ministry organization Connected Families to give hope and build strength in families. Their books How to Grow a Connected Family and Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart have helped thousands of parents learn to be peaceful, purposeful, and confident!

Dr. Jodi Detrick, author of The Jesus-Hearted Woman, is a certified personal leadership coach and an in-demand speaker who loves to talk to people at heart-level about things that matter most. For many years, she was a religion columnist for The Seattle Times, one of America’s leading newspapers. Jodi, who is an adjunct professor at Northwest University, lives with her husband, Don, in the rainy Pacific Northwest where lattes are always a good idea.  

As a pioneer in the field of holistic financial advice, John Busacker is a captivating and sought-after speaker, engaging such issues as authentic leadership, personal focus, and generosity. His thought-provoking style weaves a distinctive blend of inspiring storytelling, counter-culture advice and honest questioning into compelling presentations that catalyze individuals and organizations to act. He’s also a writer, entrepreneur and the author of do less, be more: The Life-Changing Power of Focus and Dare to Answer: 8 Questions That Awaken Your Faith. John’s passion for leadership extends globally, supporting the development needs of leaders with a variety of faith-based organizations in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa. He lives with his wife, Carol, in Excelsior, Minnesota, and the couple has successfully launched two sons and are now learning to grandparent.

Joshua Becker and his young family were introduced to minimalism 6 years ago during a short conversation with their neighbor. Since then, Joshua’s story and writing have inspired millions around the world to find more life by owning fewer possessions. Today, based on his thoughtful and intentional approach to minimalism, he is one of the leading voices in the modern simplicity movement. Joshua is the founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist, a website dedicated to intentional living. Becoming Minimalist reaches over 1 million readers each month. He is the best-selling author of Simplify and Clutterfree with Kids. His story has appeared in SUCCESS Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Guardian, and many others. Currently, he lives in Peoria, AZ with his wife and two young kids.

Dr. Juli Slattery is a widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker and broadcast media professional, with a weekly radio program called Java with Juli.  Juli’s commitment to biblical principles, relatable style, and quick wit have made her a highly sought-after speaker to women’s groups. Juli served as the co-host of the Focus on the Family daily broadcast from 2010-2012. She then sensed the Lord calling her to leave her position at Focus to co-found a women's media ministry focusing on intimacy in marriage & intimacy with Christ.  Dr. Juli Slattery is the co-founder of Authentic Intimacy, an international non-profit designed to minister to women on topics around intimacy.   Her books include Pulling Back the Shades, Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?, Beyond the Masquerade, No More Headaches,  and Finding the Hero In Your Husband. She currently sits on the board of trustees for Moody Bible Institute.  In addition, she is a regular blog contributor to Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Juli and her husband Mike have been married for 20 years, and are raising their three boys in Colorado Springs; where Juli can be found playing in the mountains and trying to manage her addiction to soy lattes. 

Dr. Kneeland C. Brown currently serves as the Dean of the DeVoe School of Business at Indiana Wesleyan University and has served in higher education administration for more than a decade. Dr. Brown has been married to the love of his life, Mrs. Tearrah S. Brown since 2004. The Lord has blessed their union with four children; Savannah (6), Charles II (4), Matthew (2) and Kneeland II (4 months).

Lisa-Jo Baker is the author of Surprised by Motherhood, Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom and the community manager for the Christian women’s website,, an online home for millions of women the world over. She shares her everyday life lived in between kids and chaos at, 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. 

Liz Selzer is the President and CEO of The Mentor Leadership Team. She has worked with mentoring programs for more than 13 years and on 6 continents. She conducted training and consulting for the implementation of mentoring in organizations such as NASA, ConocoPhillips, Compassion International, YUM! Foods (Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and KFC), Good Samaritan Hospitals, Christian Leadership Alliance and the Network of International Christian Schools. She is the author of 3G Mentoring: Relational Strategy for Working with Generational Distinctions, Global Diversity, and Gender Differences, Your Culture at Its Strongest: How to Create an Environment where People Naturally do Remarkable Things and Real Leaders: The Power of Authentic Leadership. She also authored a number of articles, and speaks frequently on mentoring and leadership development. She is the radio talk show host for M.A.D. radio (Mentoring Across Differences). Dr. Selzer oversaw leadership development programming and training for MOPS international. She also teaches leadership at Colorado Christian University. 

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,, 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. 

Margot Starbuck is convinced that the bodies God has given us--to be in relationship with others--are good. She shares life with three teenagers in Durham, North Carolina.

Shannon Smith is committed to sharing the joy, peaceful purpose, hope, and strength of a life grounded in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  With her fun sense of humor, empowering approach, and extensive knowledge of scripture she will empower you to dive deeper and CELEBRATE Jesus like never before. Through her teaching, public speaking, and writing she draws from personal adventures, life experience, and the truth found in scripture. Learn more about Shannon at or follow her on twitter@mychoicehealth.

Shaunti Feldhahn received her graduate degree from Harvard University and was an analyst on Wall Street before unexpectedly becoming a social researcher, best-selling author, and popular speaker. Today, she applies her analytical skills to investigating eye-opening, life-changing truths about relationships, both at home and in the workplace. Her groundbreaking research-based books, such as For Women Only, have sold more than 2 million copies in 23 languages; her books and DVD studies are popular in homes, counseling centers, and corporations worldwide. Her research and commentary are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, The New York Times and MomLife Today. Shaunti, Jeff, and their two children live in Atlanta and enjoy every minute of living life at warp speed.  See more at:

Sheila Wray Gregoire is the author of seven books, a popular blogger, and a speaker who loves to talk about how to take your marriage from boring to blazing! She's been called the Christian sex lady, and she's had to conquer her propensity to blush when on stage. She's been married to the love of her life, Keith, for 24 years. Together they homeschooled and raised two lovely daughters, and recently Sheila had the joy of being a very young and hip mother of the bride! You can find her daily at

Sherry Surratt is the CEO of MOPS International, but the real truth is she’s a lover of chocolate and awesome shoes. She lives in Denver with the love of her life Geoff, and has two kids, a beautiful daughter-in-love, two gorgeous granddaughters and a very messy closet. She’s the author of Just Lead! (Leadership for women), Beautiful Mess (a bible study for moms) and Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears. She hides candy in her purse and loves hugs. When you see her ask her for both!

Sissy Goff, M.Ed., LPC-MHSP spends most of her days talking with girls and their families, with the help of her counseling assistant/pet therapist, Lucy the Havanese.  She has worked as the Director of Child and Adolescent Counseling at Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville, Tennessee since 1993, with a Master’s degree from Vanderbilt University.  A sought-after speaker for parenting and teacher training events such as D6, dotMOM, Lifeway Kids Conference, and Heart of the Child, Sissy has spoken to thousands of parents, teachers, and girls across the country.  Sissy is the author of a Lifeway video parenting curriculum called Raising Boys and Girls,as well as six books including parenting titles, Intentional ParentingThe Back Door to Your Teen’s HeartRaising Girls, and Modern Parents, Vintage Values, as well as Mirrors and Maps for 11-14 year-old girls and Growing Up WithoutGetting Lost for 15-19 year-old girls.  Sissy is also a frequent guest and contributor to media shows and publications such as Moody Midday Connection, The Chat with Priscilla Shirer, as well as Today's Christian Woman and Living with Teenagers magazines. You can find her giving parenting tips on the blog at  


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