Laila Alawa is the founder and president of Coming of Faith LLC, a social enterprise devoted to redefining the faith narrative of Muslim American women through storytelling and community engagement. She is a jewelry designer and owner of Lilla Stjarna, a handmade jewelry business that sells internationally. Laila also works as a Communications Associate at KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, an educational nonprofit focused on working for human rights issues both domestically and internationally. She writes regularly for the Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, AltMuslim, PolicyMic and the Islamic Monthly, among others. Alawa is also an associate editor at The Islamic Monthly. She previously worked at Princeton University, conducting a study on Muslim American perceptions of belonging. Laila is also a Fellow with the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute. A Wellesley College alumna, Laila is based in Washington, DC and works toward bettering the Muslim American experience for both Muslims and Americans at large.
Nikki Bailey, M.Div., is a speaker, mentor, performer and author of Soul Smarts for Day Start: 31 Days of Creative Inspiration and Activities. For more than 13 years, she has been helping people leap into lives of spicy spirituality and creativity. Nikki’s Spiritual Creative process provides tools for tackling the Big Questions of Life and enhancing the Soul Smarts needed to reconnect to self, community and the God of your understanding. For more information, visit soulnik.com.
Rabia Chaudry is an attorney, National Security Fellow at the New America Foundation, and the founder of the Safe Nation Collaborative, a law enforcement training firm. She is a faith contributor to Time Magazine and writes for Patheos at her blog “Split the Moon.” Rabia can also be heard on the Serial Podcast. She is the mother of two incredible, beautiful daughters and the wife of a man who has taught her to never give up. On him or God.
Tamara R. Cohen is a rabbi, writer and activist currently working as the Director of Innovation at Moving Traditions, an organization working at the dynamic intersection of gender and Jewish adolescent education. She is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and has been involved in social justice, feminist, interfaith, and Middle East peace activism.
Talia Cooper is a youth educator, organizer and musician originally from Oakland, California. She is the Program Director at Ma’yan, a Jewish feminist organization which works to empower high school girls and the educators who interact with them. Prior to Ma’yan she worked as Executive Director of Jewish Youth for Community Action (JYCA). A singer since birth, Talia can also be found performing and recording original music as “Entirely Talia.”
Jennifer Danielle Crumpton is an author, media commentator and public speaker at the intersection of religion, politics, popular culture, and women’s lives. She blogs for Patheos under the title “Femmevangelical: For Women Who Don’t Submit”, writes for The Huffington Post, and appears on outlets like FOX and Friends and CNN Headline News to support women’s rights and inter-faith cooperation. After a 13-year career as an advertising executive for Fortune 500 companies, she detoured to Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York to earn her Master of Divinity, and in 2011 was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Raised in the Bible Belt as a fundamentalist Evangelical, Jennifer’s complex spiritual and career journey led to a progressive, liberal focus on feminist theology, social and structural ethics, and inter-religious justice advocacy. Jennifer lives in New York City with her husband Dave and cat Jezebel. She can be found at Femmevangelical.com and followed on Twitter @JenniDCrumpton.
Nia Malika Dixon is a native of Baltimore, MD, an independent producer with four short films, and an award-winning web series under her belt. A former school teacher, she has written professionally for nearly two decades including articles for national magazines, a published novel, short stories, blogs, two volumes of poetry, and several screenplays. She has received awards and recognition for her screenplays and her short films, including several awards for Chrysalis, the web series. After completing the short film, “City In the Sea,” shot on location in Venice, California, Nia shot a web series/short film, “Chrysalis,” in her hometown Baltimore and is currently in pre-production of her second web series, “Vengeful.” “Chrysalis” has won awards, including Best Urban Web Series and Best TV/Web Series in several film festivals. Nia is also the wife of her cinematographer, Antar Hanif, and the mother of two teenagers with special needs, including a son with Autism. Visit her online at www.niamalikadixon.com
Elise Edwards, Ph.D. is visiting professor of Christian Ethics at Baylor University. Her interdisciplinary work examines issues of civic engagement and how beliefs and commitments are expressed publicly. As a black feminist, she primarily focuses on cultural expressions by, for, and about women and marginalized communities. Elise regularly blogs at FeminismandReligion.com and can be followed on Twitter @EliseME.
Hoda Elshishtawy works as a national policy analyst for a faith-based advocacy organization. Hoda has written and spoken on subjects ranging from international religious freedom and national security to free expression and bullying. She has been featured on BBC, Al Hurra TV, Fox News, Voice of America and C-SPAN. She was a speaker at the U.S. Institute for Peace panel discussion “Religion, Violence and Coexistence.” Hoda writes frequently on issues that affect Americans both domestically and internationally, with a particular emphasis on those issues that impact American Muslims. Hoda has a B.A. in Political Science from George Washington University with a concentration on international affairs and the Middle East and a master’s in Ethics, Peace and Global Affairs focusing on Islam, ethics and conflict resolution from American University’s School of International Service.
Dasi Fruchter holds an MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and is a third-year student at Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to ordain Orthodox woman as clergy. While she works towards her ordination and an MA in Jewish Studies at NYU, she is hosting festive Shabbat meals, teaching Torah, and working within the Jewish community and across faiths towards a better world.
Erica Granados De La Rosa also known as Erica GDLR, is a writer, spoken word poet, community activist, and scholar of diasporic indigenous descent. She holds a B.A. in social and political philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and a M.A. in Women’s Studies from Texas Women’s University. She has been invited to share her spoken word poetry and speak on social justice issues around the country including The Dallas Museum of Art, The Prindle Institute for Ethics, Boston University School of Theology, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, and National Public Radio. Erica was born in Baltimore Maryland and grew up all over the United States. She currently lives in Denton, Texas with her partner and her cat. Connect with her on Twitter @EricaGDLR.
Corinna Guerrero is Lecturer in Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at the American Baptist Seminary of the West. She is completing her Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California. Corinna is a regularly invited speaker at Bay Area churches on Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, the formation of the Hebrew and Christian canons, as well as various contextual and advocacy hermeneutics to meet the needs of churches in the 21st century. Corinna can be followed on Twitter @cyguerrero and her current work can be found on Academia.edu.
Atiya Hasan is a recent graduate of the International School of Medicine based in Central Asia and is working towards becoming a licensed physician in the USA. She is also the Editor in Chief for Brown Girl Magazine and the Social Media Director at Coming of Faith, both of which are online publications that focus on giving young South Asian women and Muslim women, respectively, in America a platform to voice their opinions and create discussion regarding issues that may be considered taboo or hold cultural stigmas, something that Atiya strongly believes in bringing to light. In her free time, she enjoys refreshing her medical knowledge and catching up on TV shows.
Hannah Heinzekehr is a blogger, church worker, and speaker from Newton, Kan. She completed her Master’s degree in theology and religious education at Claremont School of Theology in May 2012, and currently works as the Director of Communications for Mennonite Church USA. She is a lifelong Mennonite who was drawn to studying theology and feminism post-college. Hannah lives with her husband, Justin, and toddler daugther, Elena. Hannah’s hobbies include reading, playing and watching soccer, cooking and drinking lots of coffee.. She blogs on the intersections of Mennonite identity, theology and feminism at her blog, The Femonite.
Kathryn House is a North Carolina native who has made her home in Jamaica Plain, MA since 2005. Kathryn is a member of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, MA, where she is the former Minister of Christian Formation and is in the process of ordination. She completed a B.A. in Religion at Duke University in 2003 and a Master of Divinity degree at Boston University School of Theology in 2008. She is currently completing doctoral work in Practical Theology at Boston University School of Theology. She is also the co-founder of Bridesmaid Trade, an online bridesmaid dress consignment business. When not studying theology or thinking about alternatives to the wedding industrial complex, she is biking around Boston or tending to tomatoes in her backyard.
Zareen Jaffery is a writer and executive editor for Simon and Schuster Books. She lives in New York City. Connect with her on Twitter @ZareenJaffey.
Mihee Kim-Kort is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She is the staff person for UKIRK at Indian University, the Presbyterian campus ministry in Bloomington, IN. You can connect with Mihee on her website http://miheekimkort.com or on Twitter @MiheeKimKort.
Samar Kaukab co-leads the University of Chicago’s Arete team, an innovative research accelerator program that launches large-scale, complex research initiatives. Prior to joining the University, Samar served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, Ohio’s statewide anti-sexual violence coalition. She is an alumni of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI) National Fellowship and a board member of Heart Women and Girls, a non profit dedicated to promoting the reproductive health and mental well-being of faith-based communities. When not packing lunches for her children, she enjoys the benefits of having friends and family who cook, laugh, and do nothing, exceedingly well.
Sabina Khan-Ibarra is a freelance writer and editor. She regularly contributes to her blog, Ibrahim’s Tree which she created after the loss of her infant son in 2011. Her other blog is I Am The Poppy Flower. She created Muslimah Montage as a platform for women to share their stories and inspire others. She is currently working on her Novel about Pashtun American sisters growing up in Northern California.
Caroline Kline is a Ph.D. candidate in religion at Claremont Graduate University with a focus on women’s studies in religion. She is editor of Mormon Women Have Their Say and co-founder of the Mormon feminist blog, The Exponent. Caroline’s areas of interest revolve around the intersections of Mormon and feminist theology and the study of contemporary Mormon feminist communities.
Stacy Leeman is an abstract oil painter from Columbus, Ohio, and earned her BA in studio art from Oberlin and her M.F.A. from Rutgers University. Her studies abroad have included a year in Jerusalem and a semester at Parson’s School of Design in Paris. Leeman often takes traditional Jewish texts and creates artworks that use contemporary painting methods. Leeman exhibits extensively throughout the United States and is the author of three books of her own art work. Leeman is represented by the Sharon Weiss Gallery in Columbus and the Water Street Gallery in Douglas, MI.
Amy Levin has an M.A. in Religious Studies from NYU and is an M.S.W. candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a political organizer for Organizing for America and J Street, and has written publicly on the intersection of religion, gender, and social justice for publications such as The Revealer and Feminism and Religion. Connect with her on Twitter @levinam.
Rachel Lieberman is the Program Director at JOFA: Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. Rachel graduated from Princeton University with an A.B. in Religion and a certificate in Judaic Studies. Her senior thesis, “Reaching Across the Mechitzah: Feminism’s Impact on Orthodox Judaism” was awarded the Isidore and Helen Sacks Memorial Prize in Religion for outstanding work in Judaic Studies. She has studied at Yeshivat Hadar, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and the Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies.
Tasneem Mandviwala has studied art history, psychology, and English literature, and has an M.A. in the latter from the University of Houston. She has taught English in a number of places to a number of ages, including the University of Houston and Madressah tus Saifiyah tul Burhaniyah in Mumbai, India. She is an online editor for academic papers through her website, inkfluence.wordpress.com. Tasneem is also an artist, and her work has been displayed at various venues throughout the Houston, TX area including the Jung Center and Matchbox Gallery; it is available for purchase through www.veritasneem.com. Currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago, Tasneem hopes to foster greater understandings between individuals who are members of diverse populations such as those found in the U.S. She believes a willful childlike spirit of curiosity and openness can solve many things in this life, and her laugh sounds like a duck.
Emily Maynard is an outgoing introvert from Portland, Oregon. She likes Twitter, mentoring college students, and new information on anything. Emily is passionate about questioning, exploring, and growing healthy faith. Her stories have been featured in various online spaces and she is a monthly contributor to A Deeper Story. Emily is an engaging speaker on topics of culture, faith, and speaking up. Her website can be accessed at emilyisspeakingup.com and she can be found on Twitter @emelina.
Kate McElwee is the Co-Executive Director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, based in Washington, D.C.. Kate earned her Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Mount Holyoke College, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, with a Five College Certificate in Buddhist Studies. She earned a Masters degree with distinction in International Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS – University of London). She and her husband relocated to Rome, Italy in 2014. Connect with Kate on Twitter @dearmisskate.
Elizabeth E. Meacham, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Her research interests include sustainability justice and ethics, contemplative ecology, religious environmental activism, and applied ecopsychology. She also facilitates ecotherapy workshops and performs with her jazz trio, PorchSwing. Connect with Liz on her website at http://www.elizabethmeacham.com/.
Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D., is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College and is Co-founder of FeminismandReligion.com. She blogs for The Huffington Post, is the author of Rape Culture and Spiritual Violence (Routledge, 2014), and co-editor of Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2014). Gina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences, and in the national news circuit including appearances on Tavis Smiley and MSNBC. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the globe. Gina can be followed on Twitter @FemTheologian and her website can be accessed at http://ginamessinadysert.com.
Leiah Moser is currently studying at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, with a focus on education and congregational life. A passionate believer in the power of traditional texts to speak to the needs and concerns of contemporary life, she is always looking for ways to bring the fruits of Talmud and of Jewish mysticism more fully into conversation with the progressive Jewish communities she calls home. She maintains a blog called Dag Gadol (“big fish”) at http://daggadol.wordpress.com, in which she writes about tradition, transformation and transgender issues in Judaism.
Marcia Mount Shoop is a theologian and Presbyterian minister who lives in West Lafayette, Indiana. Her book Let the Bones Dance: Embodiment and the Body of Christ frames much of her work in churches and beyond. She received her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Emory University and her M.Div. from Vanderbilt Divinity School. At www.marciamountshoop.com Marcia blogs on everything from feminism to family to football. Her new book, Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of Apocalypse: Lifting the Veil on Big-Time Sports, is now available from Cascade Books.
Maharat Rori Picker Neiss serves as the Director of Programming, Education, and Community Engagement at Bais Abraham Congregation in St Louis, MO. She is a graduate of Yeshivat Maharat, a pioneering institution training Orthodox Jewish women to be spiritual leaders and halakhic (Jewish legal) authorities.
Ify Okoye lives in Baltimore, Maryland saving lives by day as a Registered Nurse and moonlighting as a storyteller at night. She strives to embody and cultivate the principles of safer and more inclusive spaces.
Miriam Peskowitz is the New York Times bestselling author of The Daring Book for Girls and the Double Daring Book for Girls. She is also the author of The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars, Spinning Fantasies: Gender, Rabbis and History, and with Laura Levitt, of Judaism Since Gender. She has taught at the University of Florida, Emory University, Temple University and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
Amanda Quraishi is a freelance communications & digital media consultant living in Austin, Texas. She is also an interfaith activist with leadership roles in multiple organizations centered on social justice and civic engagement. Connect with her on her website at AmandaQuraishi.com.
Aviva Richman is on the faculty at Yeshivat Hadar in Manhattan where she teaches Talmud. She is also pursuing a Ph.D. at New York University in Hebrew and Judaic Studies, focusing on law and gender in the Babylonian Talmud. She is happy to share a vibrant Jewish home with her spouse Tzemah and their son Boaz.
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is the author of the Sami Rohr-prize nominated Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion and editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, Yentl’s Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism and three books on Jewish ethics. She was named by Newsweek as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” by the Forward as one of the top 50 women rabbis, and by the Jewish Week as one of 36 influential rising Jewish leaders. Her next book, on parenting as a spiritual practice, will be due out spring 2016.
Aisha Saeed is a YA author, attorney, and educator and one of the founding members of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. Her debut novel Written in the Stars will be released in 2015 by Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at www.aishasaeed.com.
Deonna Kelli Sayed is a writer, cultural commentator, and digital storyteller. She is the author of Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, and Spooks & Spirit, a cultural studies discussion regarding the paranormal in a post-9/11 American society. Her work has appeared in Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, and she is an editor of the accompanying website, loveinshallah.com. Deonna has contributed to storyandchai.com, altmuslimah.com, and Muslim Media Watch. She is currently working on a memoir in partial support from a 2013 North Carolina United Arts Council Regional Artist Grant. Follow Deonna’s musings on Twitter @deonnakelli.
Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu is the Director of Rabbis Without Borders at CLAL – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. Rabbis Without Borders stimulates and supports innovation in the rabbinate. In 2013, Rabbi Sirbu was named as one of the most inspirational rabbis in America by The Forward Newspaper. She speaks and writes about Jewish life, health, healing and spirituality. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Vassar College, she holds a master’s degree and ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Rabbi Felicia Sol serves as a spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun in New York City where she lives with her son and daughter. She is a board and executive committee member of Bend the Arc.
Christine Stone is a community activist who champions women’s rights and social justice. She current serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Jewish Women as the Assistant Treasurer. Christine chairs “Benchmark: NCJW’s Judicial Nominations Campaign.”
Jafreen M. Uddin has a habit of turning her hobbies into multiple full-time jobs. She is currently the Events Manager for the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Book Salon Editor for Aslan Media and Editor-in-Chief of Shaadi Belles. She earned her B.A. in Political Economics from Barnard College, Columbia University, and her M.A. in Global Histories from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In her rare moments of spare time, she can be found reading a book, watching an old movie, or dancing along to a Bollywood music video.
Mariam Williams is a writer born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. When not working in the field of social justice research and taking graduate courses in women and gender and Pan-African studies, she blogs at RedboneAfropuff.com. She can be followed on Twitter @missmariamw.
Rev. Dr. Angela Yarber has a Ph.D. in Art and Religion from the Graduate Theological Union at UC Berkeley and is author of Embodying the Feminine in the Dances of the World’s Religions; The Gendered Pulpit: Sex, Body, and Desire in Preaching and Worship; Dance in Scripture: How Biblical Dancers can Revolutionize Worship Today; and Holy Women Icons. She has been a clergywoman and professional dancer and artist since 1999. For more on her research, ministry, dance, or to purchase one of her icons, visit: www.angelayarber.com.
Jennifer Zobair is an attorney and a writer. Her debut novel, Painted Hands, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2013. She is the founder of the website storyandchai.com, a creative space for readers and writers of Muslim and culturally diverse narratives. Jennifer lives with her husband and three children in the Washington, D.C. area, where she is currently at work on her second novel. Connect with her on Twitter @jazobair or her website at www.jenniferzobair.com.