Bios

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CORRIE SPIKE CARTER, Co-Producer, Rochester: After nearly 15 years of agency life working in public relations, Corrie recently made the  switch to freelancing. Her focus is on nonprofit and consumer/life style PR, marketing, and writing. Corrie is married to Chad, who she fell in love with when they were both just teenagers. They have two crazy awesome daughters and live in Fairport, NY. Corrie loves acting, singing, dancing, and anything artsy, sporty, or outdoorsy.

 

More about Corrie…

What’s your “motherhood” haiku?

Mom, get me a snack
Make that a snack and a drink
I am still hungry…

How do you enjoy expressing yourself?

My imagination is one of the things that I like most about myself. When I’m performing with my Improv and Sketch comedy group Polite Ink., I can be anything I want to be from a British superhero to an Italian aunt cooking on public access TV. When I’m playing with my kids, I can be a pirate or a princess. And, when I’m shaking it in Zumba… I can be Shakira!

What’s something that has surprised you about being a mother?

Wow. Kids ask questions nonstop. Sometimes I think they do actually talk just to hear themselves speak. But…more importantly, who knew my heart could be this big and that love would be spilling over the edges on a daily basis. The moment my first daughter was born, I felt my heart literally triple in size.

Why were you inspired to get involved with LTYM?

Anything that focuses on what connects us as humans and not what tears us apart is so important. Too often people dismiss difference as something that should divide us versus having something to learn from one another. LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: Rochester will show us that we all experience love, empathy, courage, pride, and struggle. These truths are universal and human, and promote greater understanding and support, which I think will really benefit our community.

Who do you hope attends LTYM Rochester?

My mom Sue. It’s quite possible she is the best mom ever. I hope we can go to this event together and celebrate Mother’s Day. She has taught me so many lessons, or as I like to call them “Susie-isms.” More than anything, she has been an example of what it means to be a caring, thoughtful, kind person. She has loved me my entire life and now extends that same love, compassion, and championship to my husband and two girls.

Share a bit about your family….
My husband Chad and I have two girls (Natalee, 10 and Lara, 7) who a beautiful mix of silly and serious. They see the world simply, yet ask incredibly provocative questions. You can often find us building forts, having dance parties in the kitchen, or attempting to become the Next Great Baker. When they grow up, Natalee wants to be a ballet teacher, chef, or the president and Lara wants to be a signing doctor or veterinarian. And you know what… we think they can do it.

What do you wish for?

Peace, joy, wine, and laughter – lots of laughter. (I also hope LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: Rochester is a huge success and sets a precedent for years to come.)

SARAH FITZGIBBONS, LMHC, MT-BC, IMH-E® (IV-C), Co-Director, Rochester has spent the past 18+ years practicing, researching, supervising, teaching and program developing in the field of child psychotherapy. With a specific expertise in infants and young children impacted by trauma, loss, attachment disruptions, child welfare, and parent-child relationship assessment, Sarah  works as the Clinical Director at The Society for the Protection and Care of Children in Rochester, NY. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy, and a Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University, and post Master’s degree training in Infant Mental Health from the University of Colorado (The Kempe Center). She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Rochester, with a focus on training and supervision of clinicians working with infants and young children in the context of their families. Above all other training, education, experience and license, Sarah has been most deeply challenged, enriched and inspired in her work through her role as a mother and daughter. In her free time, Sarah is a partner to Mike, and mom to Abel and Remi. She enjoys listening, making things, kind irreverence, reading and sunshine.

More about Sarah. . .

What’s your “motherhood” haiku?

Belly aches from laughing

Lungs hold one thousand deep breaths

It’s only eight am.

How do you enjoy expressing yourself?

Witnessing others being bravely vulnerable inspires me to express myself. My vehicles for self expression are most often fabric, words, music and movement.

 
What’s something that has surprised you about being a mother?

Motherhood highlights who I am: the good, the bad and the ugly. I can’t escape myself in motherhood. It forces me to come face to face with my hunger for connection, desire for control, difficulty with being kind to myself, love for my family, and my craving for a sense of mastery. In this way, motherhood has surprisingly given me the opportunity to became more genuinely myself.
Why were you inspired to get involved with LTYM?
I love to read other people’s genuine writing, and I love to hear people tell  genuine stories. I find that motherhood is such common yet extraordinary experience, and LTYM brings this to light. I love that LTYM promotes a celebration of motherhood through truth and bravery. When ever I need inspiration I go to the LTYM youtube channel and find it.
Who do you hope attends LTYM Rochester?
People who want to feel moved.
What is an intention or value about yourself as a mother?
My intention as a mother is to be true. I want my children to have a mother who speaks up for others and speaks up for herself.  I want to be a mother who laughs, cries, gets pissed off and nurtures in safe, honest and useful ways. I want to be a mother who creates a space for my children to feel creative, curious, supported and loved.
Share a bit about your family….
I have a hilarious, smart and talented partner, Mike. He is truly the bees knees. We met 14 years ago in Colorado. He is the calm to my whirlwind, the preciseness to my close-enough-ness, and the crudeness to my prudeness. He builds electric guitars, and is really, really good at it. I somehow convinced him to move from Denver to Rochester with me (probably, it was because of love) in 2012. We have two sons. Abel Robin (6.5 years old) has so much passion for so many things and  Remi James (2.5 years old) who is both so very serious and so very hilarious all of the time.
What do you wish for?
The fortitude to stay curious and the openness to listen to others.
Why is Rochester a good city for LTYM?
Rochester is a fabulous city, full of talented people. LTYM hopes to provide a way for us to build community and feel connected about motherhood.

 

Monica Gebell

MONICA GEBELL, Co-Director, Rochester, is a free-spirited, high-school English teacher who believes in the power of story to  effect personal and social change. At school, she is Advisor to the Diversity Club, which seeks to promote understanding, tolerance, communication, and community education. She is a former recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute Grant, and worked with former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky as a contributing teacher on the America’s Favorite Poetry Project. Her writing has appeared on Mamalode and Kveller, where she is a contributing writer, and on her blog, Aprons & Blazers. She loves hiking, being outside, cooking large meals for the people she loves, and talking and listening to strangers–because everyone has a story to tell. She and her husband, Heath, are experiencing all the joys and oys of raising three darn cute, active, and cheeky kids: Devi, 8, Solomon, 6, and Ary, 4.

What’s your “motherhood” haiku?

Eggs, pweeeease, mommeeeee!

Yes! I don’t want a bath! NO!

Mom, do you need a hug?

 

How do you enjoy expressing yourself?

I figured out after I had kids that I don’t just love to write, but that I need to. Writing keeps me sane; if I don’t sit and write every once in a while, I get antsy and cranky. Writing, even for a ten-minute stint, makes the buzz go away, quiets the demons, settles me. I’ve been keeping a journal since 4th grade, so writing for Aprons & Blazers is my grown-up journal. 

What’s something that has surprised you about being a mother?

That I usually don’t have the answers. That this gig is hard. That I could love a creature so hard it hurts. That I have a lot to learn. That patience is truly virtuous. That parenting is both intimate and communal.  That looking into the eyes of a child can unhinge me.

Why were you inspired to get involved with LTYM?

On one winter day, not too long after our third kid was born, I was sleepless, weepy-exhausted, unshowered, wearing and smelling like spit up, overwhelmed. I was feeling isolated, and went to the computer to poke around. I Googled “motherhood” and “stories,” and found the Listen To Your Mother  page. I must have watched a dozen videos, listened to so many stories. These women, who unabashedly and fearlessly shared their stories, were inspiring, comforting, funny, soulful, experienced, touching. And then I wasn’t so isolated anymore. I knew I needed to be a part of this amazing show, and that Rochester was ripe for it.

Who do you hope attends LTYM Rochester?

My mother and mother-in-law! And anyone who appreciates that motherhood–having a mother, being a mother, wanting to be a mother–unites and bonds us all. I hope to see groups of girlfriends join us for a night of good storytelling. I hope to see couples out for a unique night of entertainment. More than anything, I hope to see a cross-section of the Rochester community, so that we can, together, celebrate the experiences that bind us.

Share a bit about your family….

On any given night, at the dinner table, our kids (8, 6, and 4) enjoy refusing vegetables, engaging in bawdy bathroom humor, sharing knock-knock jokes, and making up historical ‘facts’ about the presidents on our U.S. Presidents placemat. Our youngest can eat any of us under the table. Our middle can trick us into thinking he’s eaten something and then, at bedtime, will ask if he can have dinner. Our eldest prides herself on a barter system she’s created wherein she sets the table and uses utensils properly in order to request all of her Halloween candy leftovers for dessert. Later, we dance party in our p.j.’s.

 

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SALLY BITTNER BONN, Co-Producer, Rochester is a writer and arts administrator, with a background in theatre. She works as the Director of Youth Education at Writers & Books and has been leading creative writing workshops for adults and children for over a dozen years. Her favorite job, though, is as mother to her son Oscar. Sally’s prose and poetry have been published in various journals and anthologies as well as on Rochester’s Poet’s Walk on University Avenue. She was in the 2016 cast of Listen to Your Mother, Rochester and is thrilled to now be on the production team. She is slowly but surely working on a book-length memoir about the challenges and joys of raising her son—who happens to drive a power wheelchair. Sally has spoken to college classes, health care professionals, educators, and parent groups about raising a child with special needs, advocacy for the disabled, and how creative writing fits into all of it. She lives in Brighton with her husband, David and their son, Oscar. She blogs from time to time at www.oscar-go.org.

Why were you inspired to get involved with LTYM?

Motherhood and the telling of true stories are two of the things I care most about in this world. Listen to Your Mother brings these two elements together. In 2015, Rochester’s first year presenting LTYM, I was in the audience—with my mother. We cried, we laughed right out loud, we were inspired. It was a powerful experience. In 2016 I was in the cast. I am a writer—and a writer who is used to reading her work in front of an audience. But this was different. The camaraderie of being on that stage with a dozen other women sharing their unique stories in front of an audience of over 600 people, that was profound. That motherhood could take center stage and draw a crowd of that size, this is important. It is a great honor to now be part of the production team.

Share a bit about your family….

I am the proudest mom of a spunky third grader who talks nonstop from dawn until dusk. His imagination soars. He started drawing at age two and that remains one of his greatest loves and greatest outlets. He is an expert in play. His “guys,” whether Legos, knights, monsters, or other action figures are always caught up in some important drama that he is working out. He sings often. He loves the water and would swim for hours more days than not if he could. My husband David has been my “partner in crime” for 22 years. We have been on many adventures together—countless roadtrips, dozens upon dozens of music shows, many parallel creative endeavors as well as collaborative projects, lots of belly-shaking laughter and deep support of one another. He is an incredible musician and writer and works in health care for his day job, and that experience with the system has come in handy for us as parents who have had to navigate many varying aspects of the health care system. I can’t imagine a better partner in life, or in parenting. David is a dad who stops at nothing to provide access to experiences to our little guy who drives a power wheelchair. He also brings endless joy and delight to the table as a parent. All three of us absolutely love books and spending time reading. We are a creative family. Our unusual situation has taught us, and continues to teach us, more about being open-minded, thinking outside of the box, prioritizing our time, empathy, and honoring joy in our lives than we could have imagined possible.

What’s something that has surprised you about being a mother?

When I was pregnant people kept saying to me and David, “You are going to love that baby so much. You won’t believe how much you are going to love that baby.” And David I would smile and say later to each other, “Yeah, we get it. We are so excited about this baby. We know how much we are going to love this baby. We know it is going to be amazing.” And then Oscar was born, and we couldn’t believe how much we loved that baby. How we love him more and more each day, each year. That kind of love is not something a person can imagine. It has to be experienced.

 

2dudes_pf_0143ANN 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.

 

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