ANN IMIG is the founder of the live-reading series and video sharing company LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER and editor of the acclaimed anthology LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now (Putnam Books, 2015). A Stay-At-Home Humorist, Ann’s writing has been featured on sites like CollegeHumor, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post. National TV appearances include ABCnews.com, NBC Nightly News and the webseries Battleground and The Louise Log. Ann’s blog (annsrants.com) has been named a Babble Top 100 Mom Blog, A BlogHer Voice of the Year, and a SheKnows Top 5 Funniest Mom Blog. Ann lives with her husband and children in Madison, Wisconsin.
MELISA WELLS National Cities Mentor, Chicago co-producer– is a native Chicagoan and is very excited to bring LTYM to the Windy City for the sixth and final year while continuing to mentor other local teams through their own journeys to stage. She has been writing online at Suburban Scrawl since 2007 and works as a social media researcher for SheKnows/BlogHer, neither of which does much to discourage her addiction to most social media platforms. She is currently in the throes of moving from the western suburbs of Chicago to the western part of Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband Jim. They have raised two grown (and terribly awesome) sons who are staying in the Chicago area so Melisa has good reason to visit regularly, although they claim it’s just “to work and stuff”. Follow her on Twitter @melisalw.
TRACEY BECKER Chicago co-producer & director — has lived her entire life in the suburbs outside of Chicago. She currently lives in Plainfield with her husband and 3 children ages 18, 14, and 11. A homeschooling mom for 8 years, and in the middle of what she calls “the driving years,” Tracey spends much of her free time chauffeuring and organizing their many activities. Despite the stress having 3 busy kids entails, she is loving this stage of life and will miss it when it’s over. LTYM has been a truly moving experience and she is thrilled to remain a part of the show family in 2017. Follow her on Twitter @justanothermom.
JUNE CAVARRETTA – June’s childhood ambition was to be a writer, and she spent hours making lists of story ideas and character names, largely inspired from reading the stories of Mrs. Pigglewiggle and Nancy Drew. She began writing professionally while raising three daughters in the northwest suburbs with her husband of 43 years and was also a grassroots activist for public education. She recently retired from high school teaching and now sleeps past 5 a.m., no longer eats lunch at 10 a.m., and spends lots of time with the two cutest grandkids on the planet. She also tutors in a middle school where students have taught her to dab and remind her that there is still fun and optimism in the world. She indulges her love of vintage cookbooks and culinary history with her blog, The Armchair Cook, hosted by ChicagoNow, where every recipe is a story.
KIM CAVILL – Kim believes in free access to high quality, comprehensive sex education. She’s a published writer, RAINN speaker, educator, community organizer, and advocate living in the Chicago area, where she teaches parents how to talk to their kids about sex and relationships. She writes at Sex Positive Parent, hosted by ChicagoNow.com.
KRISTIN GALBRAITH – As a youngster, Kristin set her sights on becoming either a shark cage diver or professional ballerina. Although she dove with great whites on her honeymoon ( Sorry, Mom) and studied ballet for over 15 years, she eventually danced her way into the world of marketing instead. She is now a Creative Director at Match Marketing Group in Chicago where she leads the development of integrated marketing programs for brands like Orville Redenbacher and Feeding America. She is rather new at mom-ing, though she has many years of experience as a great daughter. After learning they’d be parents for a second time, Kristin and her husband traded in a city condo with a spiral staircase for a suburban home with a chicken coop. She is now quite settled as a suburbanite with her family of 12, including four humans and eight chickens. Between her toddler and newborn, she pretty much spends her spare time stepping on Hot Wheels and not sleeping.
LEA GROVER – Lea is a recent transplant from Chicago to the suburbs. She writes about parenting and relationships, politics, and social issues for publications like Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Scary Mommy, Bustle, and other online magazines. Lea is a member of the RAINN Speakers Bureau, a Climb Out Of The Darkness team leader, and a karaoke fanatic. When she’s not kvelling about her three young daughters or her husband on her blog, Becoming SuperMommy, she splits her time between working to eradicate gender based violence and human trafficking, and writing books. Her current projects include a memoir and a series on sports for children. This is reflected in the advanced state of disaster at her home. You can follow her on Facebook, on Instagram @lea.grover, and on Twitter @bcmgsupermommy.
STEVEN KRAGE – Steven is an award-winning writer, author, blogger, playwright, podcaster, classical musician (opera singer and pianist), actor, librarian, rare book collector, amateur signature authenticator, and professional eccentric who lives and breathes pop culture of the past, present, and future. His various performance work has brought him to perform at the Chicago Symphony Center, Disney World in Florida, as well as part of The International Beethoven Project, and his writing has been featured on sites like BroadwayWorld.com and the official blog of The Ravinia Festival. His blog is “From the Ego of Steven” on ChicagoNow.com. His new podcast, The Objectivist and The Vegan, is on SoundCloud and iTunes. His three published books can be purchased in print or as eBooks on Amazon. He is currently writing a book-length biography of veteran character actress, Kathleen Freeman. For more information, please visit his website, StevenKrage.com.
BRANDIE LANGER – Brandie lives in the northwest suburbs with her husband where she is a stay-at-home-homeschooling mom to three kids. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting, photography, and reading. Occasionally she writes on her blog, Journey of 1000 Stitches, but you’re much more likely to see what she’s up to on Instagram (@Brandie185) where she tries to keep things real. You might notice a messy kitchen in the background or that she’s still in pajamas at noon as she navigates life with her family while dealing with chronic illness.
EMMA LANGER – Emma is a happy-go-lucky 14-year-old who enjoys crocheting, reading, and hanging out with friends. But she LOVES softball and chickens, yes, you read that right: chickens. She hatches chickens through her 4-H club and one day wants to own her own flock! She starts high school in the fall after being homeschooled since kindergarten. She loves to share pictures on Instagram (@emma__bear12) and they are usually pictures of her and her friends being quite silly and having fun. And yes, she’s tall. And yes, she does play basketball. And volleyball. Which we joke one day we’ll put on a shirt because she’s asked so often!
JANINE PELTIER MACRIS – Janine is a mother, writer, daughter, teacher, and artist who has spent the last couple years shifting trajectories and mining her subconscious. She pulls inspiration and exploration for her writing from many sources including her family as well as her dire strait conspiracy theories. She enjoys writing every genre but finds great refuge in poetry, narrative, and flash fiction. She has a distinct, almost oedipal love for Mark Twain and a vibrant, almost mythic love for Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood. She currently works with Kindergarten through 2nd grade students and spends the majority of her free time hosting family and friends in a variety of ways. Her favorite pastime is travelling in order to eavesdrop and people watch, which she deems to be a great talent and necessity of any writer. She is thrilled to be part of Listen to Your Mother, a space that beautifully honors the various voices that echo through all our lives. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son and bulldog.
KRISTIN MANTTA – Kristin is a happily divorced, single mother, peacefully co-parenting identical twin sons, Alex and Kyle-7. She is an alumnae to LTYM, of the Valparaiso, IN cast in 2015. A creative genius, Kristin is full of artistic energy, glittery optimism, and forgetful everything. She loves teaching middle school English at Lake Ridge New Tech Middle School in Gary, IN and works to inspire a love of creativity, positive awareness, and kind confidence through language arts in her students. She turned her glue-gun and craft room hoard into a business as well, making Designer Arrangements for weddings and special events. Love and kindness, laughter and fun are the legacy she hopes to leave through her writing as those are the elements that truly change the world. Kristin would like to dedicate this performance to her grandparents, Grandpa Rich, Gram B, Ammie and Papa.
NATASHA C. NICHOLES – Born and bred in Chicago,Natasha is a wife to Shomari and mother to Nathaniel, Jessica, Penelope and Zachary. She loves all things travel, gardening, Bruno Mars and Benedict Cumberbatch. If you make her laugh out loud, you’re loved by her. You can catch her trying everything under the sun, or napping. Just check her blog, Houseful of Nicholes to see what exactly. She’s honored to be a part of the cast of Listen to Your Mother’s final run, and appreciates all of you for coming out and listening to the words that she wrote from a very special place. Apparently, words have been a very important aspect of Natasha’s life as she’s told she uses a lot of them from both her parents and husband. She tries to use them in a way that elevates , but don’t expect perfection, because then she’ll drop a ‘swampdonkey.’ All in love of course.
JACKIE PICK – Jackie is a former teacher and current writer living in the Chicago area with her husband, three children, and a very fuzzy dog. She is a contributing author to Multiples Illuminated, So Glad They Told Me: Women Get Real about Motherhood, Here in the Middle, and the literary magazine Selfish. Her essays have been featured on various online sites including Mamalode, The HerStories Project, and Scary Mommy. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, Jackie is co-creator and co-writer of the upcoming short film Bacon Wrapped Dates, and president of Melted Butter Productions. You can follow Jackie on Twitter and Facebook, where she mostly just apologizes for not updating her blog.
DANIELLE ZACK – Danielle has been a mom for 13 years. Being a mom is something that she knows she was born to do, even though she has plenty of moments where she questions everything that she is doing. When she isn’t laughing and being silly with her husband and two daughters, she has fun teaching barre and pole fitness classes. Danielle, is also the creator of Sexy and Successful Mommas -a movement dedicated to helping moms tackle motherhood with confidence, ease and sexiness.
KAREN ZATZ – Karen let her 8-year-old self choose her career, and thus became a practicing public interest lawyer at age 24. In that career, she taught thousands of adults about the U.S. Constitution, represented domestic violence survivors, and organized communities against hate. A Bryn Mawr grad — the college’s first triple major — she is pretty much interested in everything. Mostly, she believes in the power of women, friendship, and motherhood. She lives in the suburbs with her physicist husband and her three stunning, brilliant, and kind children, if she does say so herself. She devotes her time to volunteering at their schools and in the community or contemplating what to do next with her life now that all her kids are school age. When she isn’t hunting for the best locale to sell Girl Scout cookies, she’s probably wondering what else she can wrap in a tortilla and feed to her family for dinner.