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 New Cities Mentor, Chicago co-producer– is a native Chicagoan and super-excited to bring LTYM to the Windy City for the sixth 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 BlogHer.com, neither of which does much to discourage her addiction to most social media platforms. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband Jim, and they have raised two grown (and terribly awesome) sons, twenty-one and twenty-four. Follow her on Twitter @melisalw.
TRACEY BECKER Chicago co-producer & director — has lived her entire life in the suburbs outside of Chicago. She currently wears 3 hats of trade: a mommy-blogger-for-hire at Just Another Mommy Blog; co-producing LTYM Chicago; and homeschooling the youngest 2 of her 3 children. LTYM has been a truly moving experience and she is thrilled to remain a part of the show family in 2016. Follow her on Twitter @justanothermom.
PETE AIELLO – is originally from Louisiana but is now well into his second decade as a Chicagoan. He has been studying, performing, and teaching improv comedy for almost twenty years. He loves the silliness, non-judgmental mindset, and being-in-the-moment-ness of improv so much that he founded TeamPete. TeamPete uses improv as a tool to bring team building, communication training, staff development, and leadership coaching to organizations. He also curates the monthly short-from presentation event Idea Potluck, and co-leads Life of Yes Sleepaway Camps with his wife Saya Hillman of Mac n Cheese Productions.
KATHY BENSON – is a bereaved and blessed, fit and healthy, mom, writer, group fitness instructor, and coach. She has been married to her college sweetheart since 2000. They live on the southwest side of Chicago, in Beverly, with their twelve-year old son and six-year old daughter. She has been blogging at Bereaved and Blessed since 2007. Kathy is passionate about helping people to cope and find joy when life doesn’t go as we hope, dream and plan (whether due to due to infertility, loss, illness and/or other circumstances), as well as to work towards their health and fitness goals. She loves to exercise and eat healthy (most of the time), which is therapeutic and keeps her in shape. In April 2014, she started Fit & Healthy with Coach Kathy. Kathy is super excited and honored to be part of LTYM Chicago 2016! Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
ANDREA BURKLY – is a career woman turned stay-at-home-mother with dreams of becoming an author. (She *may* have trouble deciding what she wants to be when she grows up.) Armed with a passion for telling the truth about motherhood, a lifetime supply of embarrassing and hilarious anecdotes about life with small children, and a keyboard, she is cautiously embracing this thing called “the internet” and sometimes blogs at The Me in Motherhood (http://themeinmotherhood.com). Much to her surprise, she currently lives about two miles from where she grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with her amazing husband, two wild boys and one darling daughter, and a dog the vet appropriately deemed “very strange” during his last annual checkup.
FRANCIE ARENSON DICKMAN – used to practice law but she hated it so she turned to writing and is now a regular contributing writer at Brain, Child Magazine. Her work appears monthly on their Brain, Mother blog. Her essays have also appeared in publications including, The Chicago Tribune, Literary Mama, The Examined Life Literary Journal, Kveller and Club Mid. After eight easy years, Francie is happy to announce that she recently completed her novel, Chuckerman Rides Again, for which she is seeking representation. When she is not sitting in front of her desk, Francie can be found sitting in front of her TV with her husband. Or driving her twin daughters to their dance classes. Or walking her dog. Or complaining about having to make dinner. She would not be here today without the endless support and encouragement of a whole bunch of important people, including the Wesley Writers, her friends, her kids, her husband and, of course, her mother. Francie grew up in the northern suburbs, where she also lives today. She hopes you’ll read her work and laugh by following her on Facebook or Twitter.
MEGAN DROZD – is a Chicago native, currently holding it down in the city’s far South Suburbs with her handsome husband and two young sons. She’s a seasoned English and Drama teacher, moonlighting as a stay-at-home mom for as long as time will allow her. When she’s not building pillow forts or swinging at the park with her favorite dudes, Megan’s writing about her experiences as a mom through her blog, The Stable Mables, hosted by ChicagoNow. Originally started as a creative outlet during her postpartum depression, her blog has morphed into an entertaining collection of thoughts and views about just what goes into being a mom. You can find her through Facebook or on Twitter.
BONNIE KENAZ-MARA – is a writer-blogger-photographer-videographer-actress-artist-general creatrix and mama to a daughter and son, now 13 and 15. She has been blogging at ChiIL Mama (family friendly) and ChiIL Live Shows (arts & entertainment) since 2008. She has also written for CNN, Technorati, Green Parent Chicago, CBS, and Chicago Parent. Although she was born and raised in Cincinnati, she comes from 3 generations of Chicago Swedes. She moved to Chicago a year after she graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a BA in Communication and Theatre Arts, and she has called the city her home now for 26 years. She and her husband are raising awesome, urban kids in Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood, on the city’s north west side. Follow along on her adventures in Chi, IL and beyond on Twitter: ChiIL Live Shows & ChiIL Mama, Facebook: Kenaz-Mara, Pinterest, & Instagram.
MOLLIE OTTENHOFF – is a freelance writer and works part-time, from home writing for Demi and Cooper Advertising. She is raising her two tiny humans in Glen Ellyn (with her husband, who does everything for her because she is a total wreck most of the time). Her work has been featured on Scary Mommy, and she takes an honest look at the beautifully ugly, terribly awesome, sufferingly joyous ride called parenting at Meet the Otts. You can also find her on Twitter .
RACHEL POKAY – is a writer, communications strategist, wife, mother of two, consumer of fine wine, and author of pretentious bios. She is the Cross-Market Communications Lead for MetLife’s Group, Voluntary & Worksite Benefits business, as well as a graduate of the writing program at the Second City Training Center. By night, she is a member of Bosom Friends, a sketch comedy writing team. She has a B.A. in Communications from Flagler College. You can read more on her website, OkayPokay.com or follow her on Twitter.
BETH PRYSTOWSKY – is a grateful mother, wife, yoga teacher and writer. She writes about raising calm children in a chaotic world at Ups and Downs of a Yoga Mom. Beth also created Modern Day MS, a positive, informative, supportive and real place online to learn about multiple sclerosis after she was diagnosed with MS in 2012. Beth is thrilled to be a part of Listen to Your Mother. Connect with Beth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
SIDNEY C. REID – Although born in Cincinnati, Sidney calls Chicago home as she has been here most of her life. She’s the blogger behind HystericalMom.net, a humorous blog about life in a house full of testosterone. She has also blogged for ChiTownMoms.net, and been involved in hosting blogger events in the Chicago area. She is the mother of 3 rambunctious boys, wife to a highly sarcastic, but awesome and loving husband, and devoted friend to many.
When she’s not working her 9-5, she spends her time shopping, hanging with her boys, finger/arm-knitting, or crafting one of a kind Bloomz. Although she considers herself an introvert, she has fully embraced the Chicago blogging scene. You can catch up with Sidney on her Facebook pages , on Instagram and on Twitter .
NINA VALLONE – Nina is a writer by night and a mostly adoring wife and doting mom of teenagers by day (and night.) She’s on a quest to write what she talks about: life, love, wifing, momming and the pursuit of getting up after falling, repeatedly. She is currently developing a mindful living workshop that she hosts in the Northern Suburbs. She writes her blog You Know Neen which is hosted at ChicagoNow. Her writing has been featured in Forest Bluff Magazine, Make It Better and the Lake Forest Patch. While living in the burbs, she constantly peruses city real estate so when the kids are off to college, she and hubs can happily move back down to the city. Connect with Nina on Twitter or Facebook.