Jane Fonda has been nominated for seven Oscars and won two of them during her legendary acting career. She now focuses much of her time on activism and social change - with much of her work devoted to the program she founded in 1995, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP). Fonda has long been known for activism and advocacy on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls. Among the scores of community projects she has spearheaded is the Laurel Springs Children's Camp, a performing arts camp that builds self-esteem and cooperation among children of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Fonda is a member of the Women & Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations; the board of Women's Media Center, which she helped found in 2004; GreenStone Media, the women-owned, women-run national women's talk radio network which launched in fall of 2006; the Advisory Board of the Native American Rights Fund; and she sits on the V-Counsel of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. In 1994, she was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund.
Fonda revolutionized the fitness industry with the release of Jane Fonda's Workout in 1982. She followed with the production of 23 home exercise videos, 13 audio recordings, and five books - selling 16 million copies all together. The original Jane Fonda's Workout video remains the top grossing home video of all time. In May 2005, Random House published Fonda's best-selling memoir, My Life So Far.
Glenis Redmond's love of words has carried her across the country for thirteen years. She logs over 35,000 miles a year bringing poetry to the masses. This Road Warrior Poet though steeped in Afro-Carolininan roots, speaks a universal tongue of love, loss, celebration, sorrow and hope. Her verse uplifts family, culture and community. Glenis is a gentle pen pusher as she encourages others at diverse venues across the country from prisons, universities, festivals, conferences, camps, keynotes, rallies, to schools.
She is a 2005-2006 NC Literary Award recipient and a Denny C. PlattnerAward winner for Outstanding Poetry awarded by the journal Appalachian Heritage. Glenis is a workshop leader with the Kennedy Center's Partnership in Education Program in Washington, D.C. Her work has aired on National Public Radio and she is a past winner of the Southern Fried Poetry Slam.
Glenis has been published most recently in Meridians, African Voices, EMRYS, Asheville Poetry Review, 2006 Kakalak: A Journal of Carolina Poets, Appalachian Heritage and the Appalachian Journal. Her manuscript Under The Sun was short listed by Autumn House Press.
Grandmother Red Leaf
Cherokee/Choctaw tribal elder, spiritual leader and storyteller Grandmother Red Leaf lives in the mountains of Yancey County, NC. Her Cherokee name is "She Who Soars Like an Eagle." Grandmother Red Leaf is deeply committed to sharing the beauty of her heritage with others and has taught Native American history, culture and art forms for almost forty years at all levels of education, from university to kindergarten. She has also spoken at many art centers, museums and civic organizations all over the country.
Grandmother Red Leaf has served as North Carolina's Curtural Consultant as well as a member of many other cultural and educational associations. She has received 34 awards for her contributions to education, including one from the United Cultural Convention of the United States of America. Among her numerous positions, she serves as Clan Mother for the Eastern Circle of the 7th Fire, and has been designated as a 'Keeper of the Fire' (She Who Remembers).
In her culture, Grandmother Red Leaf says, people learn that all things have a connection: "The earth is like a spider web. If you touch one corner, the entire thing trembles."
Mayor Terry Bellamy
Asheville citizens elected Terry M. Bellamy to serve as Mayor of the City of Asheville in November 2005. Upon her inauguration, she became the youngest Mayor in North Carolina, the youngest Mayor ever elected in Asheville and the first African-American to serve as Mayor in Asheville. Since her election, Mayor Bellamy has shared her vision for a unified community that works together to address challenges and take advantage of opportunities for the future. She is known for her efforts to actively engage citizens in government decisions, and she has worked as a staunch advocate for senior citizens and children. She successfully spearheaded an effort along with citizens to receive the United States Department of Justice's Weed and Seed site designation for the West Riverside Neighborhood. She was also recognized by One Youth at A Time as their Volunteer of the Year for her work with disadvantaged youth.
Mayor Bellamy is a native of Asheville and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is married to her best friend, Lamont Bellamy, and they have two children, Seth and Imani.
Vicki Donlan is the author of HER TURN: Why it's Time for Women to Lead in America (Praeger Publishing, 2007). Most recently she is the founder and former publisher of Women's Business Boston, a 25,000 controlled-circulation newspaper devoted to women in business in the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island region. She is a regular guest discussing women's business issues on New England Cable News' Business Day. Donlan was the first Executive Director of The Commonwealth Institute, a nonprofit organization founded by twelve prominent Boston women CEOs to assist women entrepreneurs in the growth of their businesses.
As co-founder and first Executive Director of the South Shore Women's Business Network and founder of The Alliance of Women's Business and Professional Organizations, Donlan has been instrumental in the growth of networking for women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. She has recieved numerous awards and honors for her continuing efforts to help women acieve business success, including most recently Bryant University naming her New England Businesswoman of the Year in 2005.
Kate Thomsen, MD
Prior to entering medical school, Dr. Thomsen was an environmentalist, a teacher and a chemist. She attended UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and completed a Family Medicine residency at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, NJ. At UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, Dr Thomsen created the first Women's Health Fellowship in Family Medicine in the country.
She joined the faculty at the medical school and within a few years she was recruited to be the Medical Director of Planned Parenthood Federation of America in New York. There she became nationally known for her women's health presentations and policy work. Ultimately, her passion for women's health and clinical medicine persuaded Dr. Thomsen to open an innovative private practice in integrative health care for women in Pennington, NJ. For the past ten years, Dr. Thomsen has been combining her knowledge of family medicine, gynecology, women's health, herbal medicine, functional medicine, and genomics in the delivery of compassionate, comprehensive, and prevention-focused health care services.
For over 25 years Phil Borges has been visiting and documented indigenous and tribal cultures around the world. His photographs have been collected and exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books have been published in four languages. Phil was presented the Photo Media Magazine "Photoperson of the Year" award in 1998 and a Lucie Humanitarian Award at the International Photography Awards in 2003. He teaches and lectures internationally and is co-founder of Blue Earth Alliance, a nonprofit that sponsors photographic projects focusing on endangered cultures and threatened environments.
Phil's exhibits and award-winning books include Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion, (focused on the people of Tibet, marginalized by the Chinese occupation of their homeland), Enduring Spirit (celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and The Gift (documenting the work of medical volunteers in the developing world.) His current project, Women Empowered, introduces some of the extraordinary women in the developing world who are breaking through gender barriers and conventions in order to enhance their well being and that of their communities. His website is www.philborges.com.
Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern Earth-based spirituality. She is well-known as a global justice activist and organizer, whose work and writings have inspired many to action. She is the author or coauthor of ten books, including The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess, the now-classic ecotopian novel The Fifth Sacred Thing, and the award-winning Webs of Power: Notes from the Global Uprising. Her latest is Earth Path: Grounding Your Spirit in the Rhythms of Nature. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and are often found in college curriculums.
Starhawk consulted on and contributed to the popular trio of films known as the Women's Spirituality series, directed by Donna Read for the National Film Board of Canada: Goddess Remembered, The Burning Times, and Full Circle. Starhawk and Read recently formed their own film company, Belili Productions (www.belili.org). Their first release is Signs Out of Time (2004), a documentary on the life of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas, a scholar who made major discoveries about the Goddess cultures of Old Europe. Her website is www.starhawk.org.
For 20 years now Cheri Britton has been working to help individuals and organizations make a positive difference. Beginning in public health, and then moving into the business world, she has witnessed the power - and destructive potential - of beliefs. She has committed herself to meeting the challenges of pessimism head-on and to help individuals and organizations break free from their limiting beliefs.
As a professional speaker, consultant, coach and trainer, Cheri speaks to and coaches business owners, executives, managers, employees, and entrepreneurs. She helps people transform by changing their negative, harmful thoughts to ones that are positive, uplifting, and inspirational,
In 1997 Cheri launched her own consulting business, Whetstone Consultations, to work with state-funded and nonprofit organizations. Her speaking career began in 2000 which led to the birth in 2004 of BOOM Thinking, a speaking and consulting firm that ignites and empowers leaders and organizations to Break Out of Old Mindsets. Her book BOOM Thinking(TM) is due out in 2008.
Cherri lives in Asheville and her website is www.boomthinking.com.
Debra Roberts has worked around the world, living and breathing arts and spirituality in service to life. In the 1990's, she met Hopi elder Thomas Banyacya, a messenger of Hopi prophecy who spoke about the vital importance of women stepping forward into the world. This meeting and a later trip to India resulted in a series of CDs called Prasad for Women, Talks for Fifth World Women Walking Upright (www.fifthworldwomen.com).Debra is a documentary filmmaker, the founder of Little Pearls (a non-profit that makes "tiny films that open hearts and minds" -- www.littlepearls.org) and is currently deep in The Honeybee Project (a children's educational project designed to raise awareness and engage children in the world they live in -- www.thehoneybeeproject.com). She does creative consulting, is a women's speaker, tends One Pen (a project she started in southern India that provides school supplies for girls), and is a happy beekeeper living with her family outside Asheville, North Carolina.
Linda Stout, director of Spirit in Action, has been a grassroots organizer and activist for three decades. A thirteenth-generation Quaker born to a tenant-farming family, Linda founded a successful grassroots organization in 1984 in a conservative region of North Carolina. The Piedmont Peace Project worked successfully to forge extraordinary alliances across race and class lines and won major public policy changes. The project also won the National Grassroots Peace Award.
Linda's own awards include a Public Policy Fellowship from Harvard University, Honorary Doctorate for Allegheny College, and the Freedom Fighter Award of the Equal Rights Congress. She is the author of Bridging the Class Divide and Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing, published by Beacon Press.
Spirit in Action (www.spiritinaction.net) is a non-profit organization that supports, sustains, and connects those who are passionate about justice, peace, love, equality, creativity and sustainability to work collectively for deep and lasting social change and for the protection of the planet.
Mary Miller Stair
Mary Miller Stair, trained in psychology and in teaching, found joy at mid-life in leading the Dances of Universal Peace, dancing as a Senior Apprentice with the Liz Lerman DanceExchange, and performing widely as a keyboard and vocal musician. She co-created Earth Celebrations 3 years ago to manifest the great Story of the Universe through art and public ritual.
H Hanson, CPA.
"H" Hanson has been uncovering spiritual principles, applying them in his life and actively sharing them with others for over 30 years. He has recently published 2 articles in Pure Inspiration Magazine covering the subjects of creating your own reality and conscious parenting. He is currently working on an article about loving relationships and spiritual growth. In addition to being a father of four grown children, he is a performing singer-songwriter and a practicing CPA. "H" lives with his wife Maureen in the mountains of Western North Carolina. His website is www.hhanson.com.