February 6 Mainstage
Biographical information provided by each storyteller.
Joshua PorterJoshua Porter is an international education professional and philanthrope, active with Eastern Washington refugee, immigrant, and asylee communities. He curates discussion and opportunity for solutions within education, healthcare, and our community. Joshua currently serves in the nonprofit sector on multiple fronts. Contending that everyone has an authentic story, Joshua seeks out storytellers.
Tyler HobbsTyler Hobbs is an educator by trade and fundraiser by practice, having taught for several year in Los Angeles and at Gonzaga Prep, and most recently joining Gonzaga University’s philanthropy team. He has undergraduate degrees in Sociology and English and an MA in Education. Tyler is passionate about building relationships, advancing educational access, LGBTQ+ rights, and every Julia Roberts movie ever made.
Kate BurkeBetween growing up in Spokane and now serving as a City Council Member for District 1, Kate has had quite the ride in between. After graduating high school and leaving to work on a sustainable farm across the country she served as an Americoprs Vista volunteer before starting her own food-preservation non-profit, The Edible Tree Project. Whenever Kate saw a problem in her work or in our community, she always found herself coming back to “up-stream” solutions through policy. Kate became Council
Ryan Dean TuckerRyan Dean Tucker is the host of Lilac City Live and Saturday Night Cinema. He has orchestrated and performed in Live stage versions of Seinfeld, Friends, Die Hard and Back to the Future.
Mandy ManningMandy Manning teaches English to newly arrived refugee and immigrant students in the Newcomer Center at Joel E. Ferris High School in Spokane, Washington. In her classroom, Mandy uses experiential projects like map-making to help her students process trauma, celebrate their home countries and culture, and learn about their new community. As 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy encourages educators to teach their students to overcome their fears and seek out new experiences.
“Let’s teach our
Brent BertschBrent deeply values the outlet of expression that oral tradition brings to a community. He believes that
telling personal stories can help break the spell of old patterns and support recovery from abuse, addiction
and other traumas, by bringing the story to light, owning and sharing your truth. As an area storyteller, He
works primarily with fairy tales or wonder tales. He also tells biographical stories as stand-alone, or in
conjunction with a fairy tale of common theme.
Juli StrattonJuli Stratton: a gender bending, soul seeking lesbian whose journey to authenticity has included playing collegiate basketball, getting sober, earning a BA and MA, marrying her “person”, and being a caregiver. Juli has found a home in the North Idaho LGBTQ+ community by co-creating the North Idaho Pride Alliance (NIPA). NIPA is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) people, allies and community groups working together to create a more culturally incl
Emily GwinnEmily Gwinn is a Resource Coordinator with AmeriCorps at Dishman Hills High School. She is working on her Master of Education and Principal Certification at Whitworth University. In 2016 she co-edited a collection of poetry about motherhood called “All We Can Hold” and in 2014 represented Spokane at the National Poetry Slam.
Melissa LuckMelissa Luck is a lifelong teller of stories that are simply too long. She grew up as the daughter of a journalist has been one herself for more than 20 years. A graduate of the Broadcast Journalism program at Marquette University, she’s worked as a reporter and anchor; she’s now the News Director at 4 News Now. She’s also the wife of fellow journalist Derek Deis and the mom of two boys. She loves reading stories too; for the last 3 years, she’s read a book a week and blogs her reviews online.
Jessa LewisJessa Lewis was born in Colville and raised in Spokane. She is a small business owner, served as the Eastern Washington Director of Healthcare for All – WA, is a founding board member of Alliance for a Healthy Washington, and most recently ran for State Senate in 2018. She's developed a reputation for taking outlandish adventures, passionate advocacy of issues, and is lovingly referred to as "notorious" by several members of Congress.
Scott LeadinghamScott Leadingham is the news manager of Northwest Public Broadcasting. He’s a born and raised Washingtonian and a lifelong appreciator of all things outdoors. As you’d expect, he drives a Subaru. He’s an alumnus of Central Washington University (go Wildcats!) and Indiana University (go Hoosiers!). He’s also an Eagle Scout, yet his knowledge of intricate knots is drastically lacking.
Claudine RichardsonDr. Claudine Richardson is the Director of Student Development, Diversity, and Equity at SFCC. Dr. Richardson holds a Ph.D. from Gonzaga University in Leadership Studies, a Masters from EWU in Public Administration, and a Bachelor’s in Modern Languages and Biology. Claudine identifies and is perceived as a black female, and is also Hispanic (Panamanian and Dominican), Native American (Aruaca), East Indian (Madras), Asian, a religious minority, part of the LGBTQIAPD2+ & disabled community.
Cathy SantangeloCathy Santangelo was born and raised in Logan, Utah and moved to Spokane to attend Gonzaga University, where she studied Special Education. After graduation, she lived in the Washington DC area and then overseas in Poland, Italy and Spain. She and her husband stay busy with their three children, Calvin, Luca and Stella. Cathy has returned to her Zag roots and works in Student Development at GU.
Hosted by: Nichole MischkeNichole Mischke was a anchor, reporter and web producer at KHQ for 6 years. She is a previous Pivot storyteller & says that getting the opportunity to share her story onstage was the most powerful, healing and transformational experience of her life. She shared for the first time ever about her secret 10-year battle with bulimia, and now speaks widely on cultivating positive body image.
Molly AllenMolly Allen has been a co-host of Dave Ken & Molly in the Morning on 92.9 zzu for the last 20 years. She is also the co-founder of Safety Net, a non-profit that supports foster youth aging out of the foster care system. As the mother of a son who she adopted out of the foster care system, she saw the need firsthand. Molly is the Playwright in Residence at Stage Left Spokane and has had several original plays produced, the most recent "Closing It Up." Her biggest joy is her three grandchildren.
Chris CookChris joined the Spokane Symphony shortly after graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music. He’s also the trumpet soloist at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes & teaches music at Gonzaga. Chris is also active in the poetry scene, having represented Spokane at National Poetry Slam & the Individual World Poetry Slam. He hosts 3 Minute Mic, Auntie’s First Friday poetry open mic. He may be the only child to have gone trick or treating as pioneering heart surgeon, Dr Michael DeBakey.
Vik GumbhirVikas Kumar Gumbhir is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Gonzaga University. Raised in Kansas City, MO, he attended Regis University in Denver, CO, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. He earned his PhD in Sociology from the University of Oregon in 2005, and his dissertation—But is it Racial Profiling? Policing, Pretext Stops, and the Color of Suspicion—was published in 2007. He teaches classes on the criminal legal system, policing, crime and media & more.
James McPhersonA retired communications studies professor at Whitworth University. Before earning a Ph.D. from WSU, he worked as a print journalist, as a photographer, in corporate and non-profit public relations, on farms, and in factories and sawmills. He is a former president of the American Journalism Historians Association and the author of two books related to media history and politics. Jim and his wife Joanna plan to explore the west in a travel trailer, collecting new stories over the next year.
Katherine MorganKatherine serves as the Spokane-Boise market manager for the Bank of America Local Markets Organization. She has played an active role in the Inland Northwest community since graduating from Gonzaga University in 2006 and receiving her MBA in 2014. Her background includes executive staff roles at the Home Builders Association of Spokane & as President & CEO for the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce. Katherine was raised in the northwest and enjoys the arts, traveling, and triathlons.
Elizabeth SlamkowskiElizabeth Slamkowski, a Colorado native, quickly fell in love with the Jesuit education and lush PNW trails that Gonzaga University and the Spokane area had to offer. Elizabeth continued living and learning; she moved to Washington D.C. and then Santiago, Chile to travel, teach, and accompany and be accompanied in life's journey. South America brought Elizabeth many beautiful experiences, but the most amazing memory was reconnecting with her future husband, and former Zag, Anthony.
Jessica WatsonJessica Watson graduated from S.C.C with a Business A.A. degree. She's worked as an economic and statistics tutor, a cashier, an auditor, and is currently a business intelligence analyst. In her spare time she performs stand up comedy around the Inland Northwest. She's also written and performed in Lilac City Live.
Host: Mika MaloneyMika Maloney works as the Program Manager for Spokane Arts. She grew up a big nerd in a small town in southwestern Washington, studying English Literature at Western Washington University, and has lived in Spokane for 13 years. After 8 years of running her own bakery business, BATCH bakeshop, she now enjoys baking as a hobby and spending as much time as possible writing, running, biking, and playing outside.
Music by Michael & Keleren MillhamVoice and guitar duo Michael and Keleren Millham have survived a burned-to-the ground apartment complex, car wrecks, music school, countless miles and over 2000 concerts together–all with surprising good fortune. The classically trained duo have taken that education and applied it to the music that moves them. The resulting tapestry of sound has strong roots in classical, folk, and world music (with a hint of jazz and blues) but their truest and only genre is the voice and guitar lexicon.
Harry NeffHarry Neff is a psychotherapist who has always appreciated the diversity of people and their stories. Something he seeks to do as a therapist is to normalize difficulty in life and find coherence and connection in the midst of pain that we may continue to face.
Kent HoffmanKent Hoffman is a clinician, attachment researcher, and co-founder of Circle of Security International. His life work has included building intervention approaches for at-risk families dealing with parenting stress. Dr. Hoffman travels extensively throughout North America, Scandinavia, Europe, and Australia teaching clinicians, educators, and social workers. His bestselling book, Raising a Secure Child, was published in 2017.
Glenn WardGlenn Ward is a risk taker and avowed lover of people and their stories. He has a degree in social science and in addition to serving on the boards of Temple Beth Shalom and Oregon Tilth, Glenn and his wife are the owners of BumbleBar, which for the last 25 years has been supporting clean food, family farms, and local jobs. In his free time, he enjoys reading, tennis, golf, and any pursuit that takes him outside with kids.
Anthony SchoenAnthony Schoen, a Principal Mechanical Engineer at MW Consulting Engineers, is an active member of various professional organizations, sits on the Gonzaga University Executive Engineering Advisory Board as an advisor to the Dean, and is an adjunct faculty member at Gonzaga in the School of Engineering. He graduated from Gonzaga University with his degree in Mechanical Engineering. In his free time he is an avid traveler, enjoying hiking, running, skiing, and climbing around the globe.
Alex FrankeAlex Franke is a second year medical student, and a member of the inaugural class at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University. Prior to attending medical school, Alex was an EMT in New Orleans, a professional ski patroller at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah, a Search and Rescue Ranger in three national parks and an occasional Patagonia model. When Alex isn’t studying he enjoys skiing, climbing, biking, ultra running, telling jokes and eating doughnuts.
Keleren MillhamA life-long student of vocal pedagogy and composition across multiple genres, Keleren Millham maintains a thriving, diverse private studio, is an adjunct faculty member in the jazz department at Gonzaga University, and maintains both an ensemble and solo performing schedule. Both philosopher and mystic by nature -and shaped by a childhood dedicated to caring for a terminally ill parent- Keleren is additionally a student of the human condition.
Jerusha EmersonJerusha Emerson tells stories; she can't help herself. Never one for the shadows, she has been known to quote Shakespeare badly in front of large audiences and generally throw experience and "something she read somewhere" into an elaborate tangle of thought that she's happy to talk through with anyone who will listen. She splits her time between lecturing at Whitworth University and trying to negotiate with her three-year-old. Jerusha thinks the best stories create angst, wonder, and the chills.
Julie HumphreysJulie Humphreys is a career television news anchor/reporter. She worked for KHQ-TV for 22 years and has also written articles for newspaper and magazine. Currently Julie works for Second Harvest in media and community relations, telling stories of hunger and hope in our community. She is the proud mother of two 20-something girls. Aside from reading, writing and story telling, Julie enjoys being active outside as often as possible; cycling, hiking, skiing, paddle boarding, and more.
Erin PringleErin Pringle is the author of two story collections, The Whole World at Once (West Virginia UP, 2017) and The Floating Order (Two Ravens Press, 2009). Her work was selected for performance in L.A.’s New Short Fiction Series, and she’s an awardee of an Artist Trust Fellowship. She lives in Spokane with her partner Heather, and son, Henry.
Juan MasJuan A Mas is a local Producer and Director in Film, Television and Theater. He is an active arts community organizer and proud dad of 3 amazing children.
Photo by Don & Julia Photography