4 October, 2021


Susan Wels is a bestselling author, historian, and journalist. Her 1997 book Titanic: Legacy of the World’s Greatest Ocean Liner, published by Time-Life Books, sold 440,000 copies and spent 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It was also a Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and USA Today bestseller. Wels subsequently spent six weeks in the North Atlantic as correspondent for the 1998 Titanic Research and Recovery Expedition, in conjunction with the Discovery Channel and NBC’s Today show. Wels’s 2001 book Pearl Harbor: America’s Darkest Day, also published by Time-Life Books, sold 180,000 copies. She is also the author of nonfiction books including Amelia Earhart: The Thrill of It (Running Press, 2009), Stanford: Portrait of a University (Stanford University, 1999), and The Olympic Spirit: 100 Years of the Games (Collins, 1995).

Her work has received praise and press coverage from The New York Post, People magazine, Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, Publishers Weekly, the American Library Association, Booklist, Library Journal (starred review), School Library Journal, The Independent (UK), Elle Magazine (Italy), the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Arts Monthly, the San Francisco Examiner, and the San Jose Mercury-News.

Wels is also an award-winning magazine editor and seasoned developmental book editor. Among many other titles, she edited the memoir Off Mike (Stanford University Press, 2007) by public radio host Michael Krasny, one of the nation’s leading interviewers of literary luminaries. In addition, she served as senior editor for The Genesis Series, published by HarperCollins, editing six natural history books on America’s national parks. She has written for publications including, The Independent, and Parenting, Stanford, and Diablo magazines.

Born and raised in Manhattan, Wels graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in English literature and journalism. She also holds an M.A. in history from San Francisco State University. Her work as a historian includes her well-reviewed book San Francisco: Arts for the City—Civic Art and Urban Change, 1932-2012, published by Heyday in 2013, as well as her published research on the role of women at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. In the course of her historical research, she uncovered this fascinating story and has researched it exhaustively for a decade—discovering surprising, previously unexplored connections among the central characters in this tale that changed the course of American history.

Wels and her husband have two daughters and divide their time between the San Francisco Bay Area and their farm in the south of Chile.

30 August, 2021


Elisa A. Schmitz is an award-winning entrepreneur and professional journalist. She’s the Latina founder of, a highly-regarded digital media platform where women (and men) come to inspire and be inspired. She’s also the founder of iParenting, a “Best of the Web” digital media company that she sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2007. Elisa then worked for Disney as Director and Executive Editor of the Disney Interactive Media Group. She has been a newspaper columnist, magazine editor, radio and video host, and created content and marketing programs for various Fortune 500 companies.

Elisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which awarded her its Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, and her Master’s degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist. Elisa is a high-profile and valued alum of her two universities. At UW-Madison, she sits on the Communication Arts board, while at Northwestern, she sits on the NUvention Media Entrepreneurship program board and is a member of the Council of 100, a mentoring organization made up of Northwestern’s top 100 female alums. Elisa cherishes each opportunity to mentor young women, entrepreneurs, business and nonprofit leaders who are navigating their careers, and she is frequently asked to speak to students and alumni at on- and off-campus events.  Elisa became an engaged member of various coveted business networks after she and 30Seconds were selected for inclusion in three highly-competitive startup accelerator programs: Springboard Enterprises Media/Tech Accelerator in New York City; Blackbox/Google for Entrepreneurs Accelerator in Silicon Valley; and 1871’s WiSTEM Accelerator in Chicago. She also was selected for the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network and is a member of the Ellevate, Astia, and Pipeline Angels networks, participating in their exclusive conferences and events. She also serves as an adviser to startup companies.

Elisa has been featured widely in the media, including: The Huffington Post, Fast Company, United Hemispheres, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, Modern Luxury, Windy City Live TV, ABC-TV, WGN-TV, WCIU-TV, WGN Radio, Women Tech Founders, Moms In Business (cover), Curated Chicago, Chicago Parent, Make It Better and more.  Elisa is considered highly influential because of her media, marketing and entrepreneurial expertise. By generating active engagement among audiences, she is often asked to report and write about business events, is regularly offered guest author and featured blogging opportunities, and is also frequently asked to be interviewed on radio shows and podcasts.

Through building her two media platforms, Elisa has become an expert in communicating with and marketing to women, audience acquisition, brand building, digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, building buzz and awareness for her clients and their campaigns. Elisa has worked with some of the leading companies in the world, including: AT&T, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the AT&T web parenting portal; Kimberly Clark, where she created content-rich micro sites for Huggies, Pull-Ups, GoodNites and more brands; Proctor & Gamble, where she was invited to speak to its female leaders about “Courageousness In the Workplace”; Quaker Foods, U.S. Cellular, Barilla Pasta, Capital One, CNBC, and more. Aside from business success, what also makes Elisa uniquely qualified to write Become the Fire is her personal background. Elisa’s mother, Maria Elisa, is from Puerto Rico. The youngest of 13 children, Maria was the only child in her family to go to college (on scholarship to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she met Elisa’s father). Elisa’s father, K. John, is from the former Yugoslavia. His family immigrated to the United States after World War II when he was a young teenager. The family started a custom cabinet company that grew to become a thriving business based on quality  craftsmanship.  The value of hard work and excellence in all you do taught by Elisa’s family are only two of the traits that propelled this first-generation American’s Become the Fire journey.

30 August, 2021


Alexandra Rimer has been an Assistant Editor at The Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University since 2005.  She is a co-recipient of the Eugene S. Ferguson Prize (Papers of Thomas A. Edison), Society for the History of Technology, 2005. She is also a frequent lecturer on Mina Miller Edison at the Thomas Edison National Historic Park in West Orange, New Jersey, where she lives. She has also been invited to lecture about the Edison family at the Edison family estate in Fort Myers, Florida and the Lewis Miller Cottage in Chautauqua, New York.

Her upcoming book SEDUCED BY THE LIGHT: The Mina Miller Edison Story, will be published by Lyons Press in 2023. There has never been a biography written about Mina Miller Edison. As an historian of Edison, Ms. Rimer is the only person who has seen certain unpublished correspondence of the Edison family.  She has full access to the archive at the Edison National Historic Park and  also is in regular contact with surviving family members who have provided her with their private papers about their family.

20 August, 2021


Scott Peeples is Professor of English at the College of Charleston. He has published extensively on nineteenth-century American literature, most recently the books The Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City (Princeton Univ. Press) and The Oxford Companion to Edgar Allan Poe (co-edited with J. Gerald Kennedy).

Follow him on Twitter


20 August, 2021


Ericka Sóuter is a nationally recognized voice in the realm of parenting news and parenting advice, featured on Good Morning America, World News Tonight with David Muir, Nightline and other national broadcasts. 

She is a contributing editor for and her work has also appeared on CafeMom, The Bump and What To Expect, all high traffic parenting sites that reach millions of moms each month. It’s her job to speak to women across the country to stay on top of the issues, controversies and trends most affecting families today. Her new book HOW TO HAVE A KID AND A LIFE (Sounds True)  explores the 21st Century parenting dilemma: when did being a good mom become synonymous with giving up everything that makes you, you?

A journalist with over 20 years of experience, she has been on staff at both People Magazine and Us Weekly where she has written cover stories on everything from the “Sexiest Man Alive” to the untimely death of Michael Jackson. Before becoming a magazine writer, Ms. Sóuter took a short detour into the world of advertising, accepting a post at the Chicago based agency Leo Burnett as an account executive on the Kellogg’s account. Her ad world claim to fame: she was on the team that created the talking Frosted Mini-Wheat.

Ericka received a Bachelor of Arts from Georgetown University and a Master of Science from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has also written for Self, Cosmopolitan, Cosmo for Latinas, Essence, and Huffington Post. A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, she currently lives in Manhattan with her college sweetheart husband, Caleb, and sons Lex and Aidan.

Follower her on Twitter @erickasouter and Instagram @erickasouter
Her website can be found: here

30 July, 2021


Karla Dougherty has written over 40 books, including the memoir Less Than Crazy: Living Fully With Bipolar II (Da Capo/Hachette), which has also been published in Italian and soon to be published in Mandarin. She was a guest speaker at the Innovations in Psychiatry conference in Milan, Italy the year it was published. For many of these 40+ books, Karla was a ghostwriter, which included a New York Times bestselling diet book; she was also a co-author, the majority of these on medical topics. You can find out more about Karla by visiting

“May you too find the water just right, the sky sparkling, and your world at peace.” — from Less Than Crazy

17 June, 2021


Charity Elder is an award-winning journalist and media executive with more than 20 years working and leading in broadcast and digital newsrooms. Her first book, THE RISE OF BLACK WOMEN IN AMERICA, releases in the fall 2022 from Skyhorse Publishing.

Charity was a senior adviser to the Mike Bloomberg 2020 presidential campaign –– advising and strategizing ways to engage the Black community. Prior to joining Bloomberg, Charity was the Head of Video and Audio for Yahoo News responsible for a multi-million dollar production and staff budget. During her tenure, Yahoo News video saw record audience growth with more than 1 billion video views on-network (making video on Yahoo News #3 in the online News/Information category on Comscore behind CNN and NBC). At Yahoo News, Charity developed the first podcast unit and studio, created and launched the first slate of OTT video, and built the first XR unit, which employed virtual, augmented and mixed realities to deepen audience engagement. Having covered every presidential election since the ’04 cycle, Charity began her career as a network television producer, first at NBC News and then at CBS News, where she covered breaking news stories like Hurricane Katrina, the VA Tech Shooting and the Michael Jackson trial. 

Charity has lectured at Purchase College SUNY and is now an adjunct professor at Hunter College’s Department of Film and Media Studies in New York City. She holds a Masters of Arts in Mass Communications and Broadcast Journalism from New York University and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

A proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Author’s Guild, philanthropic endeavors include serving on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester (New York) and as a Board Fellow at Trinity College. Charity is passionate about the continued success of the Black community and believes that her achievements open doors for successive generations of Black women. Charity is particularly committed to mentoring young women on methods of success and helping them to achieve their professional goals.

 Charity was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, learning early the significance of being Black and female in America. She is active in her local church and enjoys cooking, traveling, reading and spending time with family and friends. 

15 June, 2021


Julie Stamm, PhD, is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She brings a unique perspective on the issues of repetitive head impacts in youth sports as a scientist and expert in the field, an anatomist with knowledge of childhood development throughout the body and the brain, and an athletic trainer who has provided medical care for athletes in a variety of sports. As an avid sports fan and a three-sport high school athlete from a small town in Wisconsin, she values the importance of sports participation for children. She resides in Fitchburg, WI.  THE BRAIN ON YOUTH SPORTS: The Science, The Myths, and The Future (Rowman, July 2021) is her first book.

Follow her @JulieStammPhD on Twitter and Facebook.

2 June, 2021


Tara Clark, creator of Instagram’s @modernmomprobs, is the author of the book Modern Mom Probs: A Survival Guide for 21st Century Mothers (Post Hill Press, March 2021). She presents realistic issues facing modern parents in a humorous, heart-warming light. A frequent guest on podcasts discussing parenting, Tara is the very funny and authentic voice of a generation of modern mothers.

She got her start in social media while working at Nickelodeon, where she oversaw the social media accounts for Nick Jr. and Nick@Nite. Tara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Villanova University and an MBA from Metropolitan College of New York in Media Management. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and son.

19 May, 2021


Claire Lerner, LCSW,  is a licensed clinical social worker and child development specialist. She served asthe Director of Parenting Resources at ZERO TO THREE for more than 18 years. Claire has also
been a practicing clinician for 33 years, partnering with parents to do the detective work of decoding their children’s behavior to solve their most vexing childrearing challenges. She also
provides training to local preschools and pediatric residents.

Claire’s first book, WHY IS MY CHILD IN CHARGE? A Road Map to End Power Struggles, Increase Cooperation, and Find More Joy in Parenting, will be published by Rowman and Littlefield in Fall 2021. Claire is the author of hundreds of parenting resources, including books, blogs, podcasts and videos. She writes a column for PBS Kids and her work has been published by multiple parenting publications. She has served as a content expert for numerous national daily newspapers. Claire is the mother of two very spirited children, Sam (30) and Jess (28), and two stepchildren, Justin (30) and Sammy (27). She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, Rich, and two, also very spirited, pups.