True Literary

True Literary Agency is a full-service boutique agency founded by Lara Love Hardin in 2022. After working at Idea Architects for 12 years as a Senior Literary Agent, Editorial Director, COO, and Co-CEO, Lara brings her passion for story, for writing, and for championing authors to True Literary. 

True Literary Represents authors of both fiction and nonfiction, as well as short-form writing with the potential for film and TV adaptation (please see our submission guidelines for each).

At True Literary, we believe that stories matter. They entertain us, they make us think, and sometimes they even change our lives. We’re just as passionate about finding and amplifying new voices and first time authors as we are about developing the careers of experienced authors. Whether it’s literary fiction or big ideas, prescriptions for a better life or extraordinary stories from ordinary people, it all matters. 

You matter.

Lara Love Hardin

About Lara Love Hardin

Lara Love Hardin is a literary agent and an author. Prior to founding True Literary, she was a senior literary agent and the Co-Ceo of Idea Architects. She has an MFA in creative writing and is a 4-time New York Times bestselling collaborative writer, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Designing Your Life, and 2018 Oprah Book Club pick, The Sun Does Shine, which she co-authored with Anthony Ray Hinton. In 2019 she won a Christopher Award for her work “affirming the highest values of the human spirit”. In 2019 she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and short-listed for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her memoir, THE MANY LIVES OF MAMA LOVE is being published in Summer 2023 by Simon & Schuster, and is being adapted as a television comedy series.

About Miles Michelle

Miles Michelle is True Literary’s developmental editor and acquisitions editor. Since 2016 they have edited a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, including 3 New York Times bestsellers. They collaborate with authors to bring their stories to life and specialize in memoir and speculative fiction. They are passionate about diversifying publishing and believes everyone has a story to tell. When they aren’t collaborating on books, their life still revolves around creativity. A writer and illustrator, they believe that art and storytelling can change – and heal – the world. 

Miles Michelle

Working Together

From book conception to editorial development to writing to selling, Lara works closely with the authors she represents and invests a great deal of personal care and attention and expertise through every stage of the process. Having been a collaborative writer for 12 nonfiction books, including 4 New York Times bestsellers and an Oprah Book Club pick in 2018, Lara understands how to tell a story and create books so that they resonate with a wide audience. 

Our Mission

True Literary’s mission is to help create books and content that entertains, transforms, provokes, and inspires (not necessarily in that order). So send us your heart-wrenching memoirs or your rollicking satires, your transformative big ideas or your literary masterpieces.

True Literary is partnered with Sylvie Rabineau and Elizabeth Wachtel at William Morris Endeavor for all Film/TV rights.

True Literary is partnered with The Marsh Agency in the UK for all translation rights.


Bill Burnett

Bill Burnett
  • Executive Director of the Life Design Lab, Stanford
  • Adjunct Professor in Mechanical Engineering – Design at Stanford
  • Founder and Managing Director – the Designing Your Life Institute, Singapore
  • An educator at Stanford since 1984, a popular public speaker (TEDx talk has over 7 million views) and three-time entrepreneur.

Bill Burnett is an Adjunct Professor and the Executive Director of the Life Design Lab at Stanford. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering – Product Design at Stanford and has worked in industry and academia ever since.  He teaches in the undergraduate and graduate program in Design as well as classes at the, Stanford’s innovation Institute.  In addition, he has worked in startups and Fortune 100 companies, including seven years at Apple designing award-winning notebook computers and several years in the toy industry designing Star Wars toys.  He advises several startup technology companies started by his students.  He is the founder and Managing Director of the Designing Your Life Institute, an educational non-profit that promotes life design skills in Singapore and across South-East Asia.

Bill is also the co-author of Designing Your Life, a New York Times #1 best-seller and a book that captures the lessons from 16 years of teaching the Stanford class of the same name.  In 2020 he co-authored Designing Your New Work Life – the second edition published to address work after the global COVID pandemic – a book that helps you reimagine your life and your job. Both books are based on design thinking and positive psychology and attempt to help people answer the age-old question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Dave Evans

Dave Evans

Co-Author of NYT #1 Bestseller, Designing Your Life and Designing Your New Work Life (both Knopf)
Co-Founder, Life Design Lab & Lecturer, Stanford Design Program
Co-Founder, Electronic Arts
Early Apple Computer: 1st Mouse & 1st Laser Printing Product Mgr

From saving the seals to solving the energy crisis, from imagining mice to redefining software — Dave’s been on a mission, including helping others to find theirs. Starting at Stanford in the 70’s with dreams of following Jacques Cousteau as a marine biologist, Dave realized (a bit late) that he was lousy at it and shifted to mechanical engineering with an eye on the energy problem. After four years in alternative energy, it was clear that this idea’s time hadn’t come yet. So while en route to biomedical engineering, Dave accepted an invitation to work for Apple, where he led the mouse team and introduced laser printing to the masses. When Dave’s boss at Apple left to start Electronic Arts, Dave joined as the company’s first VP of Talent, dedicated to making “software worthy of the minds that use it.”

Having participated in forming the corporate cultures at Apple and EA, Dave decided his best work was in helping organizations build creative environments where people could do great work and love doing it. So he went out on his own working with start-up teams, large corporate executives, non-profit leaders, and countless young adults. They were all asking the same question. “What should I do with my life?” Helping people get traction on that question finally took Dave first to Cal and then Stanford, where Dave is co-founder of the Life Design Lab in the Stanford Design Program. 

Dave and his partner Bill Burnett made their popular Stanford course Designing Your Life into a New York Times #1 Bestselling book of the same name, released in September 2016, followed by Designing Your New Work Life in October 2021.

Dave holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford and a graduate diploma in Contemplative Spirituality from San Francisco Theological Seminary.


Nilofer Merchant

Nilofer Merchant

    Even if you don’t know her name, Nilofer Merchant’s ideas have already shaped your world.

    Her TED Talk, “Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation”, has been referenced 400 million times, and is the reason the Apple watch has a “stand” feature. She shipped the first internet server (Apple) and the first WYSIWIG web-authoring software (GoLive), and coded the first media website (Time). During her 25 years in technology, she personally launched more than 100 products and services—many of which you use daily—netting $18 billion in revenues. 

    These results reflect the way Merchant thinks: always ahead, always building the shifts that lead to greater value, individually and at scale. She is ranked one of the most influential management thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 and a top 10 HR thinker by HR magazine. Fast Company named her one of the “25 Smartest,” and CNBC called her “visionary.” 

    As co-founder of The Intangible Labs (TIL), she’s defining new metrics for modern work. Today, just 20% of market value is measurable; everything else is “intangible”. TIL is developing the missing metrics—leading indicators so we can know (and thus, manage) just how well we’re working together to do what needs to get done: create more and better value. 

    Merchant’s three books establish her as a leading thinker on value creation. In New How (Oreilly, 2010), she showed how to close the false gap between strategy and execution, so the collective focus is on how to turn nascent ideas into new realities. In Social Era Rules (Harvard Business Review, 2012), she defined the critical shift from “competitive advantage” to co-creating value. And in The Power of Onlyness (Viking, 2017), she didn’t just argue that each of us matter but decoded exactly how to enable each of us to add the value that only one can. Because now, connected people can do what once only large organizations could.

    Merchant developed and proved her insights as a leader at major tech companies. She grew division performance at Autodesk by 50 percent, and created product and pricing strategies for Adobe that grew the company from $2 billion to $5 billion. She waged and won a competitive battle with Microsoft, saving Symantec’s Anti-Virus $2.1 billion annual business. 

    Many seek Merchant’s advice to construct their futures, including the CEOs of IBM, Nokia, and Walmart, as well as mid-line managers at Indeed, L’Oréal, and Société Générale. She’s been invited to hundreds of prestigious leadership events including Google, Gartner, and GE,  and headlined alongside Bono, Gladwell, Simon Sinek, Amy Edmondson, and Brené Brown. 

    An MBA graduate of Santa Clara University and Bachelors of Science in Applied Economics at the University of San Francisco, Merchant has taught strategy, management, and leadership at Stanford University and guest-lectured at Yale. She has also served on corporate boards for Nasdaq-traded and private companies, as well as on public governance boards. She was a twice-invited Fellow for the Prosperity Institute out of Rotman in Canada.

    Elayne Fluker

    Elayne Fluker

    Elayne Fluker is author of Get Over ‘I Got It: How to Stop Playing Superwoman, Get Support and Remember that Having It All Doesn’t Mean Doing It All Alonepublished by HarperCollins Leadership and named a Forbes Book of the Month. She blends compelling research, practical exercises and inspiring stories of dynamic women who share how learning to accept support changed their lives. Get Over ‘I Got It’ teaches unapologetically ambitious women how to view support as a superpower – not a weakness – and embrace it as a key to success and fulfillment at work and in life.

    Known as a subject matter expert on confidently enlisting support and making your Empowered Ask™, Elayne provides executive coaching, keynotes and leadership development training to help Fortune 500 companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Bain & Company and Seagen develop programs that attract, support and retain high-performing women.


    Through her website,, she works with high profile women to help them learn to embrace the #softlife and balance unapologetic ambition with radical self-care.

    Elayne has been an expert guest on CNN, TODAY, Nightline, NPR, BET and Sirius XM, and she has been featured in Forbes, Essence, Martha Stewart Living, Black Enterprise, Philadelphia Tribune and more than 100 podcasts. 

    As host and executive producer of her own popular podcast, Support is Sexy, Elayne has interviewed more than 500 diverse women leaders and reached more than one million downloads with listeners around the world.

    Photo by Lamar Gantt

    Evy Poumpouras

    Evy Poumpouras

    Evy Poumpouras is multi-media journalist and host who frequently appears on NBC, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC. She covers a wide range of topics, such as national security, law enforcement, personal protection, behavioral analysis, situational awareness, and how to live life fearlessly.

    As a former Secret Service Special Agent she was part of the protective details for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as former Presidents George W. Bush, William J. Clinton and George H. Bush.  She worked complex criminal investigations and undercover operations, executed search and arrest warrants, and investigated both violent and financial crimes. Additionally, Evy was an interrogator for the agency’s elite polygraph unit and trained by the Department of Defense in the art and science of lie detection, human behavior, and cognitive influence.

    Outside of her role as a journalist, Evy is a TEDx speaker and international advisor whose expertise is sought worldwide. She has been a keynote speaker for NASDAQ, SOCOM, Yankee Stadium Series, United Technologies, Corcoran Group, Tyco, Skanska, Red Door Spa, amongst many others. She is an Adjunct Professor for The City University of New York where she teaches criminal justice and criminology. Evy was also cast on CBS’s TV series “The Hunted.”

    Evy holds a Master of Science from Columbia University in Journalism, a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs from Hofstra University. She is also a former New York City Police Academy recruit, and a graduate of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Secret Service Academy, and the Department of Defense Polygraph Institute.

    Evy is the recipient of the Secret Service Medal of Valor Award for her heroism on September 11th.

    Evy is the author of the international bestseller (Becoming Bulletproof, Atria 2020).  Her second book, INTELLIGENT LIVING FOR A STUPID WORLD, is in development with True Literary.

    Crystal Hefner

    Crystal Hefner

    Crystal Hefner has worked diligently over the years transitioning from playmate and model to a Real Estate and travel expert. Her recent travels have led her to such diverse locations as Botswana, Dubai, Indonesia, China, Uganda and Tanzania.

    In addition to her successes in those arenas, Crystal is a strong advocate for First Amendment Rights and she has established herself as a trendsetter and role model for young women who aspire to broaden their horizons beyond their own boundaries.

    It was during her last semester at SDSU when Crystal, challenged by friends submitted her picture on a whim to Playboy to attend a party. She was thereafter invited to the famed Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills where as a 21 year old she met the legendary Hugh Hefner. Ultimately after their courtship, Crystal moved into The Mansion and eventually married Hugh Hefner on New Years Eve 2012. Their 10 year romance was highlighted by the life education Crystal received while living at The Mansion. 

    When she’s not working, Crystal can be found at home with her dog Lady or out somewhere in nature enjoying the sunset over the ocean, or a good view from a mountaintop… she really appreciates nice views. She is a down to earth woman, a minimalist, mature but loves being silly and childlike, and prefers cozy nights at home over crowds. 

    Jane Chen

    Jane Chen

    Jane Chen is a globally recognized entrepreneur, inventor and speaker. She is the co-founder & CEO of Embrace Innovations, which developed a ground-breaking infant incubator. The Embrace incubator costs ~1% of a traditional incubator and has saved over 300,000 babies across 22 countries. Embrace has been featured in global media including the New York Times, CNN, Newsweek, the Guardian and ABC’s 20/20.

    Jane is a TED speaker and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She has been selected for Forbes’ Impact 30, and is a recipient of the Economist Innovation Award and Fast Company Innovation Award. Jane has also been recognized as Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the World Economic Forum. She is a Board member of the Center for Humane Technology, and teaches design thinking, mindfulness & leadership at universities and corporations.

    Jane received her MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and her Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received her BA from Pomona College. She is an avid surfer and meditator, and writes a personal blog about life lessons learned through surfing and entrepreneurship.

    Karen Sparks

    Karen Sparks

    Karen Sparks is a survivor of filicide. After the murder of her only two children by her soon-to-be ex-husband in 2015, she spiraled into debilitating depression and grief. There is no word in the English language for a mother without children.

    Karen’s discovery of ultra running led to a new realization of her faith, healing, hope, and purpose. In 2020, on the 5th anniversary of Reagan and Grant’s deaths, she set out to run a solo 100-mile race to reclaim the legacy of her children and her own identity.

    Whether it’s in everyday life or on the trails, she runs at her own pace. To date, Karen has over 30 race finishes. In memory of Reagan and Grant, she founded “The Great Root Movement,” a non-profit created to help others with domestic violence and grief, and she also established the “Reagan and Grant Small Endowed Memorial Scholarship” fund for high school seniors in local districts. She is the race director for the first annual “Love Never Ends Trail Run” in 2022, with proceeds going to her non-profit and scholarship fund.

    Karen hopes that by sharing her story, the reader will find encouragement and strength even in the darkest of circumstances.

    Renford Ligon

    Ren Ligon

    Renford Ligon is a US Army Special Forces “Green Beret” Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (MSG Ret.) with 25 years of experience. A proven track record during many national level crisis events while serving as a US Army Special Operations Senior Operator and Military advisor (Contractor) previously assigned Central and South America worked years supporting the Global War on Terror (GWOT). Ren is currently working as supporting effort for 1st IO Command’s mission that provides Information Operations and Cyberspace Operations support to the Army and other Military Forces through deployable teams, reach back planning and analysis, and specialized training.

    Ren has worked in the government contract world from 2012 to present. Ren completed several military schools during his 20 year tenure as a Special Operator some to include: US Army Ranger School, Special Forces Qualification Course, Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course (SFARTAETC), Special Operations Target Interdictions Course (SOTIC), Basic/ Advanced Antiterrorism and Force Protection, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) CAT III, Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat, Special Forces Intelligence Sergeant (18F) Course, Gryphon Group Tactical Driving Course.

    Ren is working on a memoir centering around his experiences growing up, his time as a Green Beret, and mental health in the military.

    Eldra Jackson III

    Eldra Jackson III

    A writer and sought after public speaker on the topics of at-risk youth advocacy, effective criminal justice rehabilitation and turning around ‘toxic’ masculinity, Eldra brings clarity of purpose, mission focus, and inspiration to his role at Inside Circle. He was an inmate at New Folsom Prison when he found Inside Circle and began the inner personal journey that eventually led to his release in 2014 and his current leadership role. A living example of successful rehabilitation and re-entry, Eldra has dedicated his free time on the outside to serving at-risk youth, and acting as a facilitator, trainer, and mentor.

    Silvia Vasquez Lavado

    Silvia Vasquez Lavado

    Represented through Idea Architects.

    Silvia Vásquez-Lavado is a humanitarian, adventure mountaineer, social entrepreneur, and technologist. In 2016, Silvia became the first Peruvian, openly gay woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal and by 2018 she completed climbing 7 Summits (otherwise known as the tallest mountain in each continent). Each adventure tells a new story, filled with tragic loss, incredible resilience, courage and healing. In 2015, Silvia went on to create a non-profit called Courageous Girls in which she coordinated mountain climbing excursions to Everest for girls who survived sexual abuse.  Her achievements led her to be recognized as an Ambassador in Peru and a symbol of women empowerment around the world. She is currently a North Face ambassador, public speaker, mentor and is gearing up for skiing the South Pole in Antarctica.

    Emma Nadler

    Emma Nadler

    Represented through Idea Architects.

    Emma Nadler is a writer and psychotherapist. In her private practice she helps people better understand and tolerate emotions, build deeper relationships and find meaning in life’s challenges. She enjoys working with people from various walks of life, from exhausted parents to iconoclastic artists, powerhouse executives and everything in between. She is passionate about transforming her own struggle as a parent of a child with multiple disabilities into empathy, compassion and, of course, stories.

    Emma is a nature enthusiast, advocate and cheerleader (without pompoms) for a more just and peaceful world. She lives in Minnesota with her wild, sweet family, including Benny, who is arguably the cutest little dog this side of the Mississippi.

    Ben McBride

    Ben McBride

    Represented through Idea Architects.

    Reverend Ben McBride is a native of San Francisco, spiritual leader and longtime activist for peace and justice in the Bay Area. Ben is an expert at fostering belonging and serves as a national leader around reconstructing public safety systems and gun violence prevention work, including a background of training over 100 law enforcement departments and executives. He founded the Bring the HEAT campaign, a peacemaking initiative to address police violence, and serves as the Co-Chair of California’s Racial and Identity Profiling Advisory Board focusing on ending racial profiling in California. He was featured in the Sundance Film Festival Award winning film, THE FORCE, focusing on his peacemaking work. Ben is also an experienced trainer around equity, diversity and inclusion; working with companies and values based organizations across the country. His book, WADE IN THE WATER will be about how we heal the troubled waters we find ourselves in and how to bridge, build, belong and become. Ben says the question is not what do we need to do now, but who do we all need to become.

    Benjamin Gilmer

    Benjamin Gilmer

    Represented through Idea Architects.

    Dr. Benjamin Gilmer is a Family Medicine physician in Fletcher, North Carolina. A former Albert Schweitzer Fellow, he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and at MAHEC, the Mountain Area Health Education Center. A former neurobiologist turned rural family practitioner, he is committed to teaching, advocating for social justice in medicine, and using the latest brain science to understand and heal crime. Dr. Gilmer has lectured extensively about medical ethics, bias in medicine, and criminal justice reform all across the country.

    Mark Daley

    Mark Daley

    Represented through Idea Architects.

    Mark Daley is a communications, advocacy, and business strategist whose personal experience as a foster parent has reshaped his work and his life. 

    Daley has co-founded and sold two successful marketing agencies; Propper Daley, a Social Impact Agency and Digital BrinQ, an online marketing firm.  He has worked with major movie studios, television networks, Fortune 500 companies as well as top celebrities to develop holistic strategies to earn public support and trigger action for social causes. 

    A former Communications Director and spokesperson for then-Senator Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Presidential Campaign, Mark Daley has nearly two decades of experience in message development, communication strategy and public policy.  He has worked with more than 30 members of Congress, numerous governors and other elected officials.   In 2015, he was recognized at the Media for Social Impact Summit at the United Nations for his leadership in the field and his work has been honored with four Cynopsis Social Good Awards. 

    In 2016 when he and his husband, Jason Daley Kennedy, began opening their hearts and their home to children in the Child Welfare System, he woke to the challenges and vulnerabilities of this forgotten population. With a renewed purpose he developed a campaign to recruit foster parents for the hardest to place youth in Los Angeles County, which has subsequently brought thousands of interested residents into the process and most importantly, created homes for teenagers who have experienced abuse or neglect. 

    In 2005, Mark founded One Iowa, the Hawkeye state’s largest LGBT equality organization.  He is credited with spearheading the communications strategy that drove public support in advance of the landmark 2009 court ruling that made Iowa the third state to recognize same-sex marriage.  He is a graduate of Bridgewater State University and serves on the Advisory Board for the University’s Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice. Additionally, he has served on the Board of Directors for the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and the Social Impact Fund, which he co-founded.  




    Robin Stone

    Robin Stone

    Robin D. Stone, MA, LMHC, is a psychotherapist, wellness coach and consultant in private  practice in Manhattan and a longtime journalist. Stone engages the literary arts and other  modalities to treat trauma for a clientele of mostly Black women, helping clients explore systems  and culture that affect their thinking and being. Her staff includes several counselors in training  under her supervision. The author of No Secrets, No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from  Sexual Abuse and lead writer of the Essence book, The Black Woman’s Guide to Healthy  Living, Stone has written and edited for publications such as The New York Times, The Boston  Globe, and Essence, Health, and Entrepreneur magazines. Stone’s blog, The Color of  Wellness, appears on (which generates more than 30 million post views  a month), and she contributes to Sisters/AARP. A native Detroiter, Stone is a graduate of  Michigan State University, Goddard College and New York University. She lives in New York  City with her husband, and together they have four amazing children, ages 38, 26, 15, and 14.

    Dr. Rhonda Wells-Wilbon

    Dr. Rhonda Wells-Wilbon

    Dr. Rhonda Wells-Wilbon, LCSW-C, LICSW, is the lead editor of Social Work Practice with African  Americans in Urban Environments and the author of Tweetings: Words of Wisdom for Life’s  Journey. Her latest book, Trauma and Mental Health Social Work with Urban Populations:  African Centered Clinical Interventions was released in 2022. Wilbon is a full professor in the  School of Social Work at Morgan State University where she’s worked for over 28 years. She is  a licensed clinical social worker with over 26 years’ experience teaching generations of social  work professionals. Wilbon’s teaching and scholarship focus includes social justice, diversity,  Black families, African centered practice interventions, and women’s empowerment. In her  private practice, she specializes in trauma and helping adult survivors heal from sexual abuse  and providing clinical supervision for junior clinicians. A native of Flint, Michigan, she is a  graduate of Michigan State and Howard universities’ schools of social work. She is the proud  mother of two young adult sons that help her maintain a sense of hope and balance. 

    Dr. Jenny R. Susser

    Dr. Jenny R. Susser

    Performance is a passion for Dr. Jenny Susser. With a doctoral degree in Clinical Health Psychology, specializing in Sport & Performance Psychology, Dr. Jenny is a New York State licensed psychologist, a Certified Mental Performance Consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, and a member of the USOC Olympic Registry, the highest distinction a Sport Psychologist can obtain in the United States. A former high performing athlete, Dr. Jenny was a four-year All-American swimmer and then assistant coach at UCLA, Pac-10 Champion, swam on two national teams, and competed at the 1988 Olympic Trials. 

    In sport, Dr. Jenny has worked with Division I collegiate teams from UCLA, USC, Hofstra University, and University of Florida, as well as athletes of numerous sports and ages at the professional, international, Olympic, and amateur levels. Dr. Jenny was the Sport Psychologist for a 2010 World Equestrian Games Para-Dressage Team and in 2012, she was the USET Olympic Team Sport Psychologist for the United States Olympic Dressage Team in London.

    After working for a decade with high performing athletes, Dr. Jenny took her experience to the corporate world, applying the tools of high performance to the pressures of the business world. As a keynote speaker and corporate trainer, she has delivered performance trainings to teams and individuals in Fortune 500 companies Johnson & Johnson, Target, Nike, Capital One Financial, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Nationwide, Toys “R” Us, Stryker, Owens Corning, eBay, JLL, Fifth Third Bancorp, as well as Deloitte, Mercedes-Benz, Ulker, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

    With a philosophy of blending of science/research, education, experience, and intuition, her ability to flex and draw from multi-dimensional resources creates a powerful experience and remarkable results. Dr. Jenny successfully applies her years of experience promoting health, wellness, and performance to sport and corporate teams and individuals looking to make a lasting, positive difference in their professional and personal lives.

    Nigel Poor

    Nigel Poor

    For many years Nigel Poor’s work has explored the various ways people make a mark and leave behind evidence of their existence. She is interested in the portrait and self-portrait and explores this vastly mined area through unconventional means, using materials such as fingerprints and hands, washed books, objects people have thrown out, human hair and dryer lint, flies and dead insects collected from the front of her car as indexical markers of human presences and experience. She is exploring the troubling question of how to document life and what is worthy of preservation. The premise and methodologies of some of her projects may sound ridiculous, but since our lives are more often influenced, constructed, and dictated by the ludicrous than by the sublime, she believes it is our job to make use of it all: the tangible and intangible, the concrete and the poetic, the serious and absurd. Her work, as a visual artist, has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and can be found in museum collections including the SFMOMA, the M.H. de Young Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. Nigel is a professor of photography at California State University, Sacramento.


    In 2011, Nigel got involved with San Quentin State Prison as a volunteer teacher for Mount Tamalpais College (formerly the Prison University Project). This experience changed the direction of her solo studio practice. In 2017, she co-founded the prison-based podcast Ear Hustle, which reaches millions of listeners and has earned a Peabody prize and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, among numerous other awards. She is the author of The San Quentin Project, published by Aperture and co-author of This Is Ear Hustle: Unflinching Stories of Everyday Prison Life, published by Crown Publishing Group, which was the San Francisco Public Library’s One-City-One-Book selection in 2022.

    Andrew Norlen

    Andrew Norlen

    Andrew Norlen is a multi-hyphenate creative, originally from the small town of Troutdale, Oregon, who now calls Manhattan home. 

    From The Met in NYC to international waters sailing the Mediterranean, Norlen has performed for audiences all over the world and on tour across the United States in the Broadway smash, Kinky Boots! He received his BFA from The Boston Conservatory of Music in 2016, with an emphasis in dance and directing. 

    Between his podcast, Everyday Heroes—a space elevating female-identifying trailblazers— the creation of his non-profit, Braving the Business—a space providing artists with tools and resources beyond their talent—or his innovative first publication, When The Lights Are Bright Again—raising money for the Entertainment Community Fund—Andrew continues to impact every community he encounters with his passion, his storytelling and his visionary plan for creating the spaces for others to grapple with identity that he only wishes had existed at every crossroads in his own journey.

    Beyond the many creative “hats” he wears, Andrew enjoys interior design, traveling, Manhattan during the holidays, any excuse to gather with his family, a cozy coffee date with a dear friend or a night out to the theater. He might be a city boy now, but Andrew’s first love affair will always be with the unparalleled beauty of the Pacific Northwest. 

    Andrew is currently working on a memoir about the intersection between coming out, sexual abuse, unexpected loss and the lengths we will go to avoid being alone with ourselves.

    Aisha Nyandoro

    Aisha Nyandoro

    Aisha Nyandoro is the founding CEO of Springboard to Opportunities, a Jackson, MS nonprofit that uses a “radically resident-driven” approach to end generational poverty. She is a third generation descendent of a family dedicated to advocating for those whose voices have been silenced. Growing up, her dining table was more like a round table; each sitting was a forum where minds met to discuss social issues. Although the problems and challenges faced by the community were discussed in detail, the conversation did not end there. The ultimate goal was to create solutions. These early dinner conversations helped Aisha develop a deep love for community and people, which ultimately led her to found Springboard To Opportunities and develop The Magnolia Mother’s Trust (MMT). 

    In 2018, very few organizations were thinking about guaranteed income. But Aisha knew from her family that one can make magic out of what Lucille Clifton calls “starshine and clay.” Most importantly, she believed that the stories and voices of families mattered, and they were saying they didn’t need another program – they needed cash.  What started as a small pilot with 20 moms has grown into the longest-running guaranteed income project in the country, and the first to take a racial and gender equity approach challenging long-standing narratives of deservedness. Not only has the Magnolia Mother’s Trust supported hundreds of  moms to date,  this initiative has ushered in a movement of guaranteed income programs in this country, changing the way we talk about deservedness, agency and trust. 

    In addition to leading Springboard’s community work and growing the Magnolia Mother’s Trust exponentially, Aisha is focused on shifting gendered and racialized narratives around poverty and deservedness, and working to show how the success of MMT can be scaled nationally through policies like the expanded Child Tax Credit and a federal guaranteed income. She has  testified on Capitol Hill, sharing the success of MMT and calling on members of Congress to reform the safety net to offer direct cash to finally end poverty.

    Aisha is an unapologetic servant leader, connecting her passion and purpose instilled in her during those dinnertime conversations into her leadership and carrying on the dreams of generations of Black women before her. Her expertise on economic, racial and gender justice issues is regularly featured in outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR Essence Magazine, NBC Nightly News and CNN. She has received several prestigious fellows including: Ashoka, Ascend at the Aspen Institute,  The Highland Project and W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network. She is a TED Speaker, 2022 McNulty Prize Winner and the 2022 Disrupter Change Champion from Community Change. She holds a B.A. from Tennessee State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. When not working to liberate financial capital, she is a wife and mom to two very charming sons.

    Burrell Ellis

    Burrell Ellis
    W. Burrell Ellis, Jr. is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He has long been recognized by the citizens of Georgia for the vital role he played in public service, and for his deep commitment to the welfare of all. In 2000, while working as a partner in a national law firm, he was elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. While on the commission, his peers selected him to serve for an unprecedented five consecutive years as their presiding officer.
    In 2008, he was overwhelmingly elected as DeKalb County’s Chief Executive Officer, and re-elected in 2012. As CEO of DeKalb County, which covers 240 square miles and twelve municipalities including portions of the City of Atlanta, he managed the county’s $1.2 billion annual budget, 7,000 employees, twenty-six departments, and delivery of services to its 740,000 citizens.
    To further what he believes is local government’s responsibility to ensure every young person a quality education, he developed the DeKalb County Scholarship Program in partnership with the DeKalb County school system, raising and awarding over $125,000 in college scholarships to twenty-five deserving high school seniors in the program’s inaugural year.
    More recently, he served as the first Political Director of the ACLU of Georgia, where having experienced firsthand the pain of unjust targeting by a broken legal system he developed and managed the agency’s policy and advocacy infrastructure related to criminal justice reform.
    Currently, he serves as Senior Advisor to the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, leading their Franchise Inclusion Initiative designed to promote and create economic opportunities for diverse communities through business ownership. Intermittently, he is an Adjunct Professor at Georgia State University College of Law. Recently, he conceived and developed a course in Criminal Law Reform examining the role of district attorneys and the impact of the Progressive Prosecution Movement.
    Ellis has served in numerous positions of leadership at the regional and national level. These include President of the County Executives of America; Executive Committee, Southeast Region Director, and Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties; Chair of NACo‘s Large Urban County Caucus (representing the 100 largest metropolitan counties in the U.S.); Board of Directors of Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG); Executive Committee of the Georgia Democratic Party; Secretary of the Atlanta Regional Commission; Board of Directors of 100 Black Men of DeKalb County; and as a troop leader in the Boy Scouts of America. He was selected as a panel participant in President Obama’s launching of The White House Office of Urban Affairs.
    He is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Georgia and the District of Columbia Bar. His wife, Philippa, who is also an attorney, and Burrell are actively engaged in their community and have worked to instill the value of public service to their teenage children.


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