The Passionistas Project® is a media company that inspires women to step into their power,
follow their passions, share their stories and make a difference in the world. It is a global community where
members can gather virtually to feel supported, be empowered, get educated and connect with others.
“Amy and Nancy are so committed to providing a
platform for diverse
women to share their stories.”
- SUSAN FENIGER
Celebrity Chef, Restaurateur and Top Chef Masters Contestant
Who are Passionistas?
Passionistas® are women, ages 35-65. They are married, college educated professionals and entrepreneurs who live in metropolitan areas. They are thought leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers, movement builders, activists, advocates, business coaches, event organizers, marketers and educators who are looking for inspiration to follow their passions and inspiring other women to do the same.
• 2.1 million+ YouTube views
• 17,000+ social media followers and 200K in our network
• 13,000+ podcast downloads
• 12,000+ event streams
• 3,000+ women on our mailing list
PASSIONISTAS PERSIST AWARDS 2022
The Passionistas Persist Awards honor prestigious women who have shown the fortitude to overcome obstacles on their paths
to following their passions and work to empower other women. Past recipients include Dr. Jane Goodall and Margaret Cho.
2022 Passionistas Persist Humanitarian Award Recipient presented by Cara Reedy
Rebecca Cokley is a Program Officer, developing the U.S. disability rights program strategy at the Ford Foundation. Prior to joining Ford, Rebecca was the co-founder and director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress (CAP). She was responsible for organizing a campaign that resulted in an unprecedented 12 Presidential candidates developing disability policy platforms. Prior to her work at CAP, she served as the executive director for the National Council on Disability where she worked on sexual violence on college campuses, policing reform, and the civil rights of disabled parents. A three time Presidential Appointee, Rebecca served in key policy roles at the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as a successful stint at the White House where she oversaw diversity and inclusion efforts for the Obama Administration.
2022 Passionistas Persist Trailblazer Award Recipient
Soraya Chemaly an award-winning author and activist. She writes and speaks frequently on topics related to gender norms, inclusivity, social justice, free speech, sexualized violence, and technology. The former Executive Director of The Representation Project and Director and co-founder of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project, she has long been committed to expanding women’s civic and political participation. Soraya is also the author of Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger, which was recognized as a Best Book of 2018 by the Washington Post, Fast Company, Psychology Today, and NPR and has been translated into multiple languages. Soraya currently serves on the national board of the Women's Media Center and is a former board member of Emerge America, Women, Action and The Media, and the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.
2022 Passionistas Persist Vanguard Award Recipient
Danay Escanaverino is an award-winning Latina serial entrepreneur, speaker and community builder. As CEO of boutique digital agency LunaSol Media, she connects brands to Latino consumers delivering millions of leads and sales to her clients. A Cuban immigrant and the daughter of a political prisoner, Danay is fiercely passionate about elevating the Latino community. As founder of LatinaMeetup she has introduced thousands of Latina brands to millions of consumers. As founder of AMIGOS, she has facilitated hundreds of job recruitments, grants, scholarships and other resources for Latino professionals. Danay is a board member of Latinas In Business and is a mentor for several accelerators and Latino youth programs.
More Passionistas Persist Award recipients to be announced soon!
POWER OF PASSIONISTAS 2O22
Maryam Ahmed is the owner of Napa, CA based Maryam + Company and the co-founder of the Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum. She works at the intersection of sommeliers, chefs, activists, sustainability experts, media and organizations focused on diversity and sustainability to design impactful educational programs and execute strategic projects in the food and wine world. In 2022, Maryam + Company launched Field Blends, an immersive food and wine travel experience focused on bridging a gap between industry and consumer knowledge as well as opening up conversations about wine, food, land, labor, and agriculture. Maryam is a cast member on James Beard Award Nominated SOMM TV and a partner at PLAYTE Kitchen.
Shona Bernard Chandler
Consultant at Catalyze
Shona is a Consultant at Catalyze. Her expertise is in communication, project and team management. She has 30 years experience in human resources and cultural change management. Her skills include facilitation, training and development, analysis and strategic design. Shona’s experience includes consulting internationally throughout Asia, India and America. She has delivered programs and workshops to more than 20,000 people and has worked closely with all levels of management to design and implement strategies, plans, processes and systems. Shona has worked extensively with government departments, the private sector, charities and not-for-profit organizations. She has a degree in HR from the Sydney NSW University of Technology.
Julie DeLucca-Collins is the Founder and CEO of Go Confidently Services and the host of the popular Casa DeConfidence Podcast®. As a Business and Life Strategist Coach, Julie helps women business owners launch or grow their businesses, get clients, be productive, and achieve their dreams. Julie helps her clients create simple habits to achieve goals and change lives. Julie is also the best-selling author of the newly released book Confident You (simple habits to live the life you've imagined). Julie is a sought-after public speaker trainer and course creator. She is certified as a CBT Holistic Coach and Tiny Habits Certified. She is also certified as a Social Emotional Learning Facilitator and has completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification.
Judith Halbreich, LCSW is a youth activist and social worker who has had a successful executive career in social services, mental health, and clinical research. She created one of the first NYC foster care programs for infants suffering from AIDS, in addition to creating an award-winning independent living program for youth aging out of the foster care system. In 2018 she bought Floyd Patterson’s family estate and founded
Home of Champions.
CEO, Design House Collective
Treya Klassen is the CEO of Design House Collective. They are a business engineering and creative firm based in Vancouver. Treya has over 30 years of experience creating brands and has built numerous successful companies. Her latest brand just launched in Vancouver, "Respect Your Universe". Ryu.com. She is also a communication course leader and public speaker, speaking on creating your life and having it all. Discover how to live the life you want and create your best future.
Transformational and Leadership Coach
Raquel Medrano is a Transformational and Leadership Coach with over two decades experience in building and reinventing businesses from the ground up. She works with corporate executives and business owners, helping them expand their leadership, align their organizations, transform their relationship with what is possible and achieve unprecedented results. Raquel often takes the stage as a speaker/facilitator on a variety of business related topics. She has recently joined the team at Vanto Group, a boutique global consulting firm, named one of the "Best Management Consulting Firms" in 2021 and 2022 by Forbes. She recently completed Harvard's online program, Disruptive Strategy.
CEO — Brand Builder, Leadership Coach and Storyteller, The Performance Code
Kylee Stone is a descendant of the Karendali, Wakka Wakka and Kulluli First Nations with 25 years in the business of storytelling and an intrinsic talent in the power of personal stories to create meaningful connections. Certified in the neuroscience of resilience, Kylee’s mission is to disrupt the status quo on the traditional view of leadership and enable people with the courage to take action in direct accordance with their Vision, Values, Passion and Purpose.
Senior Director of Racial Equity at Work at Management Leadership for Tomorrow
Crystal Lynese Walker has been creating outcome-driven equity solutions across various industries, including tech, higher education, and retail, for over 15 years. She's currently the Senior Director of Racial Equity at Work at Management Leadership for Tomorrow and the founder of Crystal Clear Consulting. She believes it's overdue that we free the potential of Black women within businesses and organizations while also striking a balance so Black women can thrive and live a fulfilled and free life.
As a clairvoyant coach, author, and fiery public speaker, Dr. Melissa Bird has traveled around the world speaking to audiences at universities, conferences, and churches. Her combination of education, real life experience, and practical advice makes her a powerful force of change in the lives of the people she speaks to. Past audience members have described her as “fierce,” “revelatory,” “life-changing,” “enthusiastic,” and “inspirational.”
Sustainability & Political Consultant
Elena Christopoulos is a Climate Scientist who implemented the first North American urban wind turbine in Toronto in 2000. She has managed over 40 political and environmental campaigns worldwide. Throughout her career, as a woman in science and politics, Elena has actively worked to bring more women and BIPOC to the table and be a voice for the LGBTQ2+ community. As the founder of ECMC management-consulting firm, she has helped create 500,000+ green jobs, 60% of which have gone to women and BIPOC. It is her goal to increase the percentage of female environmental scientists from 28% to 50% over her lifetime and to continue to develop STEM and STEAM programs.
Change Agent and Keynote Speaker
JJ Ferrari was 53 with a successful career in business when she transitioned her gender from male to female. It was the biggest challenge she had set for herself, yet there were many more to overcome. JJ tells her story to audiences around the country. In the process, she teaches people to harness the power of transitions and rethink life’s rules in both their personal and professional spheres. With passion and conviction, JJ Ferrari provides strategies, models and formulas drawn from her 30 plus years as a successful business leader, combined with her incredible life experiences.
Founder and Owner of Developing Empathetic Education with Dana (DEED)®
Dana Kaplan, Founder and Owner of Developing Empathetic Education with Dana (DEED)®, is an award winning Gifted and Early Childhood Educator and Social Emotional Intelligence expert. Dana's niche approach propels rich self-awareness while purposefully empowering children and adults to masterfully and confidently communicate and create the world they crave. Dana leads 1:1, small and large group workshops, and speaks internationally on how to empower and engage in hard conversations.
Sales Expert and Marketing Strategist
Deep in my soul I KNOW women like us are here to change the world. We are revolutionizing the game. Running heart-led businesses that heal, inspire, and improve lives. Refusing to shrink down, hold back, or play small any longer. Serving from a place of LOVE and leveraging our superpowers for the benefit of all. Trusting in the universe and our own intuition to guide us into a life of expanding abundance. We know we are here to BE more, DO more, and yes—HAVE more. More clients, more ease, more success, more impact, more MONEY, more joy.
Founder, Queen of Possible
Angela Philip is the founder of Queen of Possible. With a focus on women's leadership and personal transformation coaching, Angela’s clients reconnect with their creative energy and accomplish what's really important to them with greater power, joy and ease than they ever thought possible.
Author and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant
Alison Tedford is an author, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Consultant and a mom. She is Indigenous (Kwakiutl First Nation) and based in Abbotsford, BC. She has over a decade of government experience and seven years of private sector experience creating information products that educate, inform and delight. Alison has helped executives, governments and brand leaders design their visions of inclusion, strategize about how to get there with practical, concrete action and find the words to talk about it.
Assistant Professor, School of Language, Culture, & Society and Center Director of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws at Oregon State University
Luhui supervises and mentors both undergraduate and graduate students. She also manages a cultural resource center (the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws) and the budget for the center. She teaches courses through the School of Language, Culture, and Society in Ethnic Studies, Women Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Queer Studies. She also serves on campus-wide committees which have included Faculty Senate, the President & Provost's Leadership Council on Equity & Inclusion, and the Bias Response.
Sonali Perera Bridges is an award-winning, dynamic, innovative leader with over 20 years of progressive experience in a wide breadth of educational settings. and the driving force behind Shero’s Rise. Sonali holds a BA from Mount Saint Mary’s University and an MBA from The University of Redlands. She is the Founder and President of Bridges Educational Consulting which provides college counseling for students, curriculum development and training for school districts and strategic enrollment management planning to institutions of higher education.
Co-founder & CEO,
Transformation Journeys Worldwide
Gabrielle Claiborne, Co-founder & CEO, Transformation Journeys Worldwide, has been honored by the US Small Business Administration and recognized in Forbes. She is a dynamic TEDx speaker, author of Embrace Your Truth: A Journey of Authenticity, and co-founder of Transformation Journeys Worldwide. From her own journey as a successful transgender woman, she inspires audiences with actionable steps for moving more fully into their own unique truths and living their most authentic lives — for their own well-being and the healing of our world.
Cristina is a dating coach for curvy women who are ready to experience self love, embrace their single life, and feel confident dating. She became a certified Life Coach and is on a mission to help every single woman live life every day feeling sexy, bold, and owning it.
Dalia Kinsey (no pronouns) is a non-binary, pansexual, Black, Registered Dietitian, speaker, podcaster, and writer. Dalia's first book was released earlier this year, Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC-Centered Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation. On a mission to spread joy, reduce suffering, and eliminate health disparities in the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC community, Dalia rejects diet culture and teaches people to use nutrition as a self-care and personal empowerment tool to counter the damage of systemic oppression. Off the clock Dalia is an avid traveler and aspiring polyglot.
Selene Luna is Soledad on FX's Mayans M.C. and the voice of Tía Rosita in Disney-Pixar’s Academy Award & Golden Globe Awards' Winner Coco. Luna’s most celebrated standup comedy credit has been opening for several of Margaret Cho’s national tours. In 2019 Luna took to Washington, DC alongside U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer to advocate for disability rights on Capitol Hill.
Director at Disabled Journalists Association
Cara Reedy, Director at Disabled Journalists Association, is a journalist, an actor, a director and a photographer. Perviously she was the Program Manager for DREDF’s Disability Media Alliance Project (DMAP). In her role as Program Manager for DMAP, Cara’s mission is to have disabled people control our own narratives. The world is missing out on some of the best stories on the planet, the journalist in her knows that can’t stand. She is former CNN and NPR producer and is currently developing two comedy pilots that focus on social justice.
Founder, Empowering Intuition
Corporate leader and intuition expert. Sheila V is the founder of Empowering Intuition. She is an expert psychic medium, a powerful manifestor and has written the play book on how to break the rules. Sheila V has studied under renowned American medium James Van Praagh and appeared on Australian television, Psychic TV. She left the corporate world as a C Suite Finance Director and has mastered the art of blending two diametrically opposite careers. She is a spiritual teacher, mentor, intuitive guide and executive coach. In working with Sheila V you will experience transformation, inner healing and a true clarity around your life purpose. Sheila V is also the author of Brave: Courageously Live your Truth.
POWER OF PASSIONISTAS 2O22
PANELS AND EVENTS
Passionistas Persist Awards
Humanitarian Award: Rebecca Coakley, Disability Rights Program Officer for the Ford Foundation
Trailblazer Award: Soraya Chemaly, Activist and Author of "Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger"
Vanguard Award: Danay Escanaverino, CEO of LunaSol Media, Founder of LatinaMeetup and AMIGOS
Power of Authenticity
Focus on embracing your authenticity and facets of your own unique truths — whatever those look like for you.
Moderator: Gabrielle Claiborne, Co-Founder & CEO of Transformation Journeys Worldwide
Power of Confidence
In a world of uncertainty, we can leverage confidence to live a more powerful life. Feeling confident can be achieved by implementing simple habits that allow us to face the world as the best version of ourselves while impacting the lives of others and leaving our mark as influential individuals.
Moderator: Julie DeLucca-Collins, Founder of Casa DeConfidence; Panelists: Cairo Eubanks, Future Foundation Youth Representative to the United Nations; Cristina Gonzalez, The Curvy Girl Dating Coach; Kim Roxie, Founder, Lamik Beauty
Power of Decolonization
A discussion about the ways in which Indigenous peoples are taking the lead in speaking out about land preservation, repatriation, and ways that we can work together to build better ecosystems for the earth and our families.
Moderator: Luhui Whitebear, Assistant Professor, School of Language, Culture, & Society and Center Director of the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws at Oregon State University
Panelists: alia Kinsey, Registered Dietitian, speaker, podcaster, and writer; Alison Tedford, Author and DEI Consultant
Power of Knowledge
Focus on the importance of education in traditional schools and beyond in programs that are educating girls outside of the classroom.
Moderator: Sonali Perera Bridges, Founder of Shero's Rise
Panelist: Dara Barlin, Center for Transforming Culture; Selene Luna, Actress (“Coco”), Comedian and Activist; Judith Halbreich, Founder of Home of Champions; Dana Kaplan, Educational Coach, Consultant and Advocate
Power of Laughter
A night of comedy featuring an all female line-up. Details to come.
Power of Media
Focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in the media. Where do they get it right and where are they falling short?
Moderator: Cara Reedy, Disability Activist
Panelist: Danay Escanaverino, CEO of LunaSol Media, Founder of LatinaMeetup and AMIGOS
Power of Rebellion
A discussion about rebelling against established beliefs, spirituality and religion, and not staying silent when we feel deeply about issues that affect us.
Moderator: Dr. Melissa Bird, Founder of Natural Born Rebel
Panelists: Maryam Ahmed, Creative Entrepreneur; Cara Reedy, Disability Activist; Crystal Lynese Walker, Senior Director of Racial Equity at Work at Management Leadership for Tomorrow
Power of STEAM
Focus on the importance creating space for women within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics
Moderator: Elena Christopoulos, Sustainability + Political Consultant
Power of Transformation
Focus on igniting our passions, growing our influence and amplifying the impact we have in life no matter who we are, what we do or where we come from.
Moderator: Kylee Stone, Founder, The Performance Code
Panelists: Shona Bernard Chandler, Consultant, Catalyze; JJ Ferrari, Change Agent and Keynote Speaker; Treya Klassen, CEO, Design House Collective; Georgiana Kovell, Sales Expert and Marketing Strategist; Raquel Medrano Clemente, Transformational and Leadership Coach and Angela Philp, Founder, Queen of Possible; Louise Sullivan, Practice Leader Asia at Vanto Group; Sheila V, Founder, Empowering Intuition
Power of Voting
Focus on the 2022 mid-term elections and the issues affecting women's rights throughout the country.
Moderator and Panelists: TBD
A portion of the proceeds from the summit will be donated to SHERO’S RISE,
an organization that empowers girls in underserved communities
through educational programming and meaningful mentorship to activate
their inner strengths and guide their journey of internal discovery.
OUR CHARITABLE PARTNER