Here are some of this year’s amazing speakers! Keep checking back to see new speakers as we add them!
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Ivy Felicia is dedicated to helping people strengthen their love for themselves. Ivy is a certified holistic wellness coach, a motivational speaker, a body image and body acceptance expert, a coach with over 3 years of acclaimed service, and a passionate public advocate for body acceptance and diversity. She has offered body image coaching to people of all sizes, offering strength, peace, and radical self-love to all who struggle to achieve it.
Through her own powerful journey to body acceptance, Ivy has developed an innovative system of Body Relationship Coaching(TM). By using simple strategies, mindful accountability techniques, intuitive listening, and ongoing training, Ivy facilitates shifts in mindset and perspective that help people achieve positive, sustainable changes in their relationship with their body.
No matter what stage of life a person is in, no matter what body they have, no matter their health complications, or their lingering feelings from the past, Ivy teaches that body peace is possible, that self-love is a choice, and that body freedom is a birthright. ”
Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/TheBodyRelationshipCoach/
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/MeMyBodyAndLove/
Jane Arlene Herman
I am old and I know a lot. I have been a lecturer, educator, organizer, and activist since (almost) the beginning of time. I know how to share, how to say what needs to be said (which is not necessarily that which people want to hear…), and how to create tiny shifts in the world. I am also a fat, disability, environmental health, LGBTQ, old, and Jewish activist. In my teaching, I encourage people to understand that if you’re oppressed, your life makes you a political activist; wherever I can, I teach that “the personal is political.” During the 1970s, I was a member of the Los Angeles Radical Feminist Therapy Collective. This group, whose members included the visionary and pioneering fat activists Vivian Mayer (a.k.a. Aldebaran) and Judy Freespirit, birthed the Fat Underground and helped shape the early fat feminist movement.
Professionally, I am a radical therapist and consultant. I teach people how to organize and create ongoing problem-solving groups. I provide consultations, in person or by phone, for people and groups who are in crisis or who need guidance in regard to specific problems, especially problems that come up in relation to political oppression and activism. I also provide consultations for caregivers, friends, and family members of people with Alzheimer’s or other forms of senior dementia, as well as consultations for people who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
I live in Sonoma County with my wife, the disability and fat studies scholar Anna Mollow. I may be reached either by email (email@example.com) or on Facebook (Jane Arlene Herman).
SAUCYE WEST: “FAVORITE FAT GIRL”
She began modeling in 2010, when she joined the team as a promotional model at Full Figure Entertainment based in Oakland. She made a name for herself in the Bay Area as one of the only extended plus size models. She has done dozens of fashion shows for local designers and has worked with plus size designers in other regions.
Along with modeling, Saucye is also an activist for size acceptance and a fat activist. Via her social networking sites, you will see her post inspiring messages and photos promoting body love and telling women to take back the word “fat”–changing the energy behind that word from negative to positive, and helping women of all sizes love themselves.
Saucye has been published in over a dozen print and online publications and has been featured in body positive campaigns. She also works as a body positive influencer and inspiration leader.
In January of 2013 she tragically lost the father of her child, and has been balancing grief with raising her daughter, modeling and working full time. But he always told her she was a star. So that is what gives her the drive to continue on, to give her child a good life and to make him proud.
Her goal is to let the world know that fat can be beautiful and glamorous, and that women of all sizes can be represented positively and work together. She also wants to bridge the gap between the fat activist community and the plus modeling community. She believes that it is imperative to have strong examples of what beauty is in all forms, and that there is a young girl out there who sees her and will be inspired. She says, “I didn’t have those examples growing up so I want to make sure this next generation does!”
Aaron Flores is a registered dietitian nutritionist based out of Los Angeles, California.
With nearly 10 years of experience, Aaron has worked with eating disorders in a variety
of settings. A large part of his career was spent working at the VA Greater Los Angeles
Healthcare System where he helped develop and launch one of the first Binge Eating
Disorder programs to help Veterans struggling with this disorder. Since leaving the VA,
Aaron has continued to work in the eating disorder community helping run groups and
providing individual counseling to adolescents at Destinations to Recovery and with
adults at La Ventana Treatment Centers. He currently works part-time at Center for
Discovery and part-time in his private practice in Calabasas, CA. His main areas of
focus are Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size® and in his work, Aaron helps
individuals learn how to make peace with food and develop body-positive behaviors.
Aaron’s work has been featured during Weight Stigma Awareness Week, in blogs for
the National Eating Disorder Information Centre and was the closing keynote speaker of
the 2016 Binge Eating Disorder Awareness Annual Conference. Along with his work with
eating disorders, he also is a co-host of the podcast, Dietitians Unplugged.
Aja Yasir graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a degree in Finance. After leaving her position as a financial analyst, she taught finance and investment strategies to ex-felons who were transitioning back into society. Aja Yasir is an entrepreneur with a background in corporate finance and franchise acquisition. Her passion for helping women realize their innate beauty and power led her to create the natural skincare and cosmetic line Simple Beauty Naturals® and plus size runners’ apparel line Flaunt Performance. She enjoys traveling, exploring different cultures, reading about successful entrepreneurs, and eating spicy foods. As a wife, homeschooling mom, business woman, and 34+ year running vet; running is Aja’s refuge, her joy, her praise dance.
Founder and former-owner of radical plus size clothing boutique, Fat Fancy, Dreamboat Annie is a body positive life-coach who spends her time working with people on how to better love themselves, their lives and their bodies. She’s a fat, queer, working-class, Cuban-American, sassy-sweetheart, activist-artist-creative weirdo who loves to dance and whose favorite food has always been cookie dough.
Learn more at: www.Dreamboatcoaching.com
Ashleigh Shackelford is a queer, nonbinary Black fat femme writer, cultural producer, and artist. She has been a contributing writer at Wear Your Voice Magazine and For Harriet. As a fat hood feminist, Ashleigh is committed to centering ratchet politics, body acceptance, accessibility, and anti-respectability within her work as a creator, producer, and speaker.
You can reach her at: AshleighShackelford.com
Carmen is a psychotherapist, educator, speaker, abortion counselor, rebel and a cupcake connoisseur. She has been a therapist for 17 years and works primarily with binge eating disorder. She has also started and run a nonprofit, created youth programs, and speaks internationally on Health At Every Size ®, feminism and eating disorders, and weight stigma.
Her work is focused on dismantling diet culture, being our body’s advocate, and supporting the next generation of body positive leaders. She believes that psychotherapists need to start addressing their roles as healers, in contributing to larger social healing and is increasingly passionate about bringing together activism and therapy. She is the past Board President of the Association for Size Diversity and Health, was named “Most Inspiring Individual” in Boulder, Colorado and was the recipient of the Excellence in Eating Disorder Advocacy Award in Washington, DC.
Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., is Professor of Women’s Studies at Diego State University and editor of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society. Her research and writing have focused on the stigma of weight, weight and employment discrimination, and weight across cultures. She has edited over 20 books, including Overcoming Fear of Fat (with Laura Brown in 1989). Her most recent book, The Fat Studies Reader (with Sondra Solovay in 2009), was reviewed in The New Yorker, the New York Times, MS Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among others, and received the Susan Koppelman Award for Best Anthology by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association and a Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology. Esther Rothblum is a member of the advisory board of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance and a founding co-chair of the Size Acceptance Caucus of the Association for Women in Psychology. The Research page of her website rothblum.sdsu.edu contains pdfs of her published articles.
I have taught many kinds of English classes, including TEFL, Comp and Literary Interdisciplinary Seminar. I have also given seminars on Writing Poetry as a Fat Woman and on Women’s Yiddish Literature. I have written two volumes of the FatLand Trilogy and am busy putting together the third one. Along with some really wonderful poets, I edited and contributed to the Fat Poets’ Speak series, which I hope will include a third volume in the near future.
In 2006, Hilary Kinavey, MS, LPC and Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD co-founded Be Nourished, a revolutionary business helping people heal body dissatisfaction and reclaim body trust. Hilary is a licensed professional counselor, a Certified Daring Way™ facilitator, and a transformational workshop leader. Dana is a registered dietitian, Motivational Interviewing trainer, and Kripalu Yoga teacher. After many years of deep listening, learning, and working at Be Nourished, Hilary and Dana co-created Body Trust® Wellness, a curriculum to encourage people to move towards a compassionate model of radical self-care to heal body shame and patterns of chronic dieting and disordered eating. From 2007-2012, Hilary and Dana were adjunct instructors for the Eating Disorder Certificate Program at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. In 2016, Be Nourished launched a certification program for helping professionals wanting to offer an alternative to diet culture. Hilary and Dana are popular speakers on topics such as Health at Every Size®, intuitive eating, and body respect in health care communities, and regular contributors to the Huffington Post. For more information, visit benourished.org.
Actress Jen Ponton is a comedic force, consistently serving up big laughs on screen. A Muppet enthusiast, horror fanatic, and body love activist, Jen is most commonly recognized for her work on Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” and “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”
Jen recently grabbed much attention for her guest-starring roles in the comedies “Deadbeat” and “Orange is the New Black.” This talented actress also delivers when it comes to dramas, guest-starring on “The Blacklist,” “Blue Bloods,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Slap,” and “The Good Wife.” A proud member of the Television Academy, Jen is the co-creator and star of the comedy series “The Weirdos Next Door,” a size-positive hybrid of The Muppets and Full House.
On the festival circuit, Jen has appeared in feature films that have graced Sundance, Tribeca and SXSW. She notably stars in the film “Love on the Run,” directed by Ash Christian (Petunia). She is the guileless Franny, who’s suffering from a severe case of Stockholm syndrome as the hostage of hunky Rick (Steve Howey), while her dysfunctional family (Frances Fisher, Annaleigh Ashford) heads off in search of her. This dark road comedy, reminiscent of John Waters and “The Big Lebowski,” is now released on VOD and digital platforms. Two more films, Zach Braff’s “Going in Style” and Liev Schreiber’s “The Bleeder,” are set to release in 2017.
I am 55 years old, born and raised in Northern CA. My ethnicity is primarily Puerto Rican and Caucasian, I have a strong sense of myself and thrive on personal growth. I have been part of the size positivity community for over 20 years. I attended a NAAFA convention and was hooked.
Joanne Levy, MS, RD, LDN is a Wellesley based registered dietitian who offers nutrition and wellness counseling, specializing in helping individuals with disordered eating, weight management and nutrition for the prevention/management of illness. Joanne’s practice in nutrition counseling is a product of her extensive psychology and nutrition background. After graduating from Brown University with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology, she worked as a community residence counselor at McLean Hospital’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI). It was at the OCDI that she first encountered individuals with eating disorders and was able to learn more about the complexities of these disorders.
She decided to further her education, completing the didactic program in dietetics, dietetic internship and receiving her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Health Promotion from Simmons College. Upon completing her education, Joanne worked as a registered dietitian at Cambridge Eating Disorder Center’s (CEDC) residential and partial hospitalization treatment programs. At CEDC, Joanne helped clients with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders, as well as clients with a variety of disordered eating habits, establish a healthier relationship with food.
Joanne believes that nutrition and psychology go hand-in- hand; one of the most important factors in helping someone to make changes in his or her life is to understand that person’s capacity and willingness for change, as well as helping that person identify and overcome the obstacles that are holding them back from making progress. With this philosophy in mind, Joanne uses Motivational Interviewing, a client-centered approach,
to help her clients reach their health goals. Joanne is a professional member of the Multiservice Eating Disorder Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly American Dietetic Association), and she enjoys continuing her education and staying up-to- date on the latest scientific nutrition findings so she can share this information with her clients.
With over a decade of experience as a fat arts journalist, I have had countless opportunities to practice asking for accessible seating in restaurants, theaters, and other public venues. Along the way, I formulated my Zero Apologies Plan (ZAP) for requesting accessible seating anywhere.
I have a background in performing, including storytelling, and spoken word, but mostly dance. I studied, performed, and taught belly dance over a ten-year span, and have also performed other styles of dance. “Queen Justine” started out as a nickname and when I began to perform as a dancer, I took it as my stage name. Now it feels like my true persona. In addition to arts journalism, I am a writer of fiction and memoir. Being in water is my happy place, especially tropical oceans—diving, snorkeling, or just swimming. And I love animals of all sorts. Currently I share my small home with a very charming and quirky cat named Archie.
After receiving her PhD in Sociology, Lesleigh became a Sociology Lecturer at Black Hills State University in South Dakota and has published various fat studies articles and fat-positive poetry. She also publishes paranormal romances under the name Elle Hill. Lesleigh is owned by many gorgeous cats and a ridiculously cute dog.
Lindsay Marie, also known as MsLindsayM, is a femme feminist and a fat activist. She is a survivor of sexual assault and has recovered from disordered eating. As a result of her experiences, she has developed a strong passion for helping women achieve radical self-love, especially when it comes to their bodies. Lindsay believes that representation matters and that when we see images of ourselves in the media we are empowered. As a result, she started the hashtag #SelﬁesForSelfLove and is a strong believer in the power of social media to make change. When people celebrate their own beauty, especially if they fall outside of society’s predetermined beauty norms (white, thin, cis & able-bodied), they are able to feel more comfortable in their own skin. She supports people in ﬁnding their own personal best regardless of the size they wear, what foods they choose to eat and whether or not exercise is a part of their lives. Lindsay believes that all people should be able to live a life free of oppression and Harassment, especially when it comes to their personal lifestyle choices. Lindsay’s brand of feminism is intersectional, anti-racist, inclusive, and always body positive. You can see more of her writing and activism work at MsLindsayM.com or by following @MsLindsayM on Instagram and Facebook.
Misia Denéa is the owner/founder of Hatha Holistic Integrative Wellness, a 500-hour certified Yoga instructor (200-Hour Dhyana Yoga Philadelphia, PA & 300-hour Embrace Yoga Washington D.C.). She has a B.F.A in Dance from Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music and Dance, and also graduated from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the Raw Food Institute and East Bay Meditation Center’s Year Long Practice in Transformative Action URBAN PERMACULTURE INSTITUTE, Permaculture Design Course. Her writing has been published in “The Color of Hope: People of Color Mental Health Narratives”, “A New Spelling of our names: An Exploration of the Psycho-Spiritual Experience OF African-American Buddhist Lesbians” and “FULL MOON & FULL FIGURED”. She is a member of the Association for Size Diversity & Health. Since 2008, she has lead yoga trainings, dance workshops and retreats at yoga studios, Universities & Colleges, throughout the US and globally. Recently, she taught at the NOLOSE conference for fat LGBT, queer, same gender loving, trans, and sex positive communities & appeared in the viral Wear Your Voice body positive campaign #BeyondBeauty, because we imagine a world where all bodies are celebrated.
Mycroft Masada is a trans queer faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area of Maryland (Montgomery County) from hir lifelong home of Boston in 2014. A member of TransFaith’s National Council, steering committee member of TransEpiscopal, and former board member of Congregation Am Tikva, Mycroft is also a member of the Visionaries group that created the MoCo Pride Center (the first and only LGBTQ center for Montgomery County MD). Mycroft is particularly called to work for justice at the intersections of LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is a writer and artist.
Mycroft is a Jewscopalian — Jewish and Episcopalian (as in the Episcopal Church) — with an interfaith perspective, an always-thin and able-bodied person, and a White person working towards being more anti-racist.
Zie is partnered with Julia McCrossin, a mas(s)culine fa(t)shion blogger (Big & Tall Style For Butches And Others and DMV Fat-Friendly Community on Facebook, QueerSpherical on Twitter, Pugston on Instagram, BigTallButchStyle on Tumblr), and with her co-parents their dogter Ursula (aptly named after the Sea Witch, voiced by Pat Carroll and based on Divine).
Mycroft’s central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com, and zie welcomes connection via Facebook, Twitter and otherwise.”
Natalie Baack, The Curvy Confidence Coach, is a body positive wellness and life coach for women who are done with trying to hate their bodies thin, and are ready to re-claim their power and health. She guides her clients through a soulful, mind-body approach to nutrition and life so they can release food rules, reconnect to the intuitive wisdom of their bodies and embody confidence in their curves at any size. Burnt out after 10 years of a high stress film industry job and a lifetime of dieting, body image challenges, and low self-esteem, she dug deep into personal development and wellness, got certified as an Eating Psychology Coach, and transformed her life, body, and self-confidence, discovering a passion for women’s empowerment and body positivity along the way. With a background in marketing research, Natalie brings a unique approach to coaching. Combining her analytical skills with a soul-centered approach to mind-body health, she helps her clients uncover the conditioning and beliefs that prevent them from embodying confident and vibrant health and empowered self-expression in all areas of their lives. Natalie is the founder of The Curvy Confidence Sisterhood, The Bikini Breakthrough Beach Day Experience, and a frequent contributor to The Curvy Fashionista. She works with clients in a one-on-one practice, and facilitates group programs and workshops both online and off. You can connect with Natalie at www.thecurvyconfidencecoach.com
Rachel Wiley is a performer, poet, feminist, and fat positive activist from Columbus, Ohio. Rachel has represented Columbus at multiple National Poetry Slam Competitions. She is on staff at Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam and the co-host/co-founder of the Columbus Queer Open Mic. Rachel has toured nationally performing at Slam Venues, Colleges, and Festivals. Her first full length collection of poems, Fat Girl Finishing School, was published by Timber Mouse Publishing in 2014. Her work has appeared on Upworthy, The Huffington Post, The Militant Baker, and Everyday Feminism.
Rheonna Nicole is a natural born poet, artist, spoken word competitor and entrepreneur. A native Louisvillian, she graduated from Valley High School and studied commercial arts at Murray State University. She has been a visual artist since high school—working in clay, charcoal, oil, creative writing and poetry. She began to recite her poetry at churches, funerals, weddings and youth events. Soon she became admired and enjoyed by many people around the city. Her aggressive and rhythmic style of poetry has made her stand out in the crowd. Rheonna has been a featured speaker at The National Council of Negro Women’s Martin Luther King Jr. brunch, Girls IdeaFest World Festival, Kentucky Women’s Writers Conference, Louisville Literary Arts reading series and Indiana University Poetry Festival. Featured articles in Today’s Woman Magazine, Leo Weekly, Insider Louisville, Courier Journal, Spalding University Art & Literary Hotel and the featured performer for other poetry events. Not to mention winning multiple poetry slams while competing in Lexington, Ky, Indianapolis, IN, Cincinnati, OH and Brooklyn, NY. Most recently, the Women of the World Poetry Slam ranked Rheonna sixth place amongst 96 other female spoken word artists in the nation. Now she has created her own organization called Lipstick Wars Poetry Slam (partnership with ArtsReach of Kentucky Center for the performing arts) which is an all-female competition where she offers a platform for poets to speak out against the injustices and celebrations of womanhood through the art of poetry slamming.
Sarah Harry is one of Australia’s leading Body Image and Eating Disorder specialists. Her roles in this field are varied and she offers a unique perspective as an experienced Clinician, Lecturer, Researcher, Yoga Teacher and Author. She also is the co-director of Body Positive Australia.
Sarah was the first yogi in Australia to offer yoga for bigger bodies. She has practised yoga for more than 20 years and has been running specialist classes and retreats for the last few years all over Australia.
Sarah has more than 15 years’ experience counseling individuals and groups with all kinds of eating and body image issues, she has worked in the public and private sectors, lectures at universities and schools in these subjects, and is currently running a research trial exploring the efficacy of yoga on recovery.
Sarah is a member of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition (USA), sits on the National Advisory Board of HAES Australia, and is a member of the NEDC.
Her first book “Fat Yoga” was published in February 2017
Steff Ivory Conover (Ivory) is Toronto based “quintuple threat” artist. A graduate of the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts she has been pursuing a successful career as a singer, actor, dancer, model and advocate, and has graced stages across North America, into the UK and the Caribbean, appeared in print media such as the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Globe & Mail and National Post, as well as numerous TV Networks. A staunch believer in body positivity, Ivory spreads the “body love gospel” through her myriad art forms. Since being crowned Miss Canada Plus 2007, Ivory has continued her activism as a Plus Sized Entertainer and advocate for over 10 years, pushing for change with her intersectional feminism, body positivity, queer advocacy and outspoken message of love at all costs.
A founding member of the Succulent Six, Canada’s team of Curvy Super SHEroes, Canadian Confidence, a collective of plus sized bloggers, models, artists and and activists fighting to reclaim their right to feel beautiful at any size, and Les Femmes Fatales, Canada’s ONLY burlesque troupe for Women of Colour, you can follow her antics on Instagram and Twitter @pureivorydotca and online at http://www.pureivory.ca
Tatiana Gill is a Seattle based cartoonist who uses her art to show strength and vulnerability, reflecting the diversity of women so often underrepresented in the media. Themes include body positivity, feminism, mental health and recovery. Tatiana has created dozens of self-published comic books, teaches comics, and contributes to local & global publications.
Tony Harrell has spent the new millennium working in both the travel industry and the fat acceptance movement. He owns Abundant Travel which focuses on assisting travelers of size in planning accommodating and memorable travel experiences. He also has served under NAAFA (the National Association To Advance Fat Acceptance) as both a Chapter President and on its National Board of Directors. He currently lives in Washington DC with his wife Cathy and their dachshund Pep.
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