2017 CAST


Hanadi Chehabeddine

Hanadi Chehabeddine is an award-winning public speaker and activist living in Eden Prairie with her husband and three kids. she recently received the Eden Prairie Human Rights Award of 2016 for her efforts to dismantle misconceptions about Islam and build bridges of unity. She has been featured in the Star Tribune for her community building projects and had been published in the Huffington Post, American Diversity Report, MinnPost, and recently The Guthrie Theater and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. She was a speaker at the national Diplomacy Summit, August 2016 in Minneapolis, and was recently invited to be a U.S. State Department International Speaker. Hanadi is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Leadership at St Thomas University while leading diversity training in the corporate world, specifically around anti-Muslim sentiments. Before coming to the U.S., she was an award-winning creative and communication specialist working across different media platforms. She has been on numerous award show jury panels in the Middle East and covered the 2004 Cannes Advertising Festival in 2004.


Danielle Daniel

Danielle Daniel‘s career includes a wide variety of theater projects, storytelling programs, artist residencies and workshops. Her goal is to provide creative opportunities for students of all ages to explore their world through the arts; helping students find and develop their creative voice and style.

STORYTELLER – 24 YEARS  African and African American History and Folklore – Spirit of our Ancestors  Stories from Around the World – Building Bridges, connecting our world  Specially designed storytelling programs to celebrate special occasions  Women Voices – special programs honoring women  Motivational/Spiritual Stories

TEACHING ARTIST – 25 YEARS Twenty-five years classroom and community experience working with students of all ages. Artist residencies and workshops—storytelling, creative writing, and theater arts Roster Artist with: COMPAS (24 years); The Givens Foundation for African American Literature (10 years); Young Audience (8 years); ORIGIN (5 years); Vocal Essence (11 years); Young Author Conferences – inspiring and motivating young writers (16 years); Special curriculum highlighting African American Authors and Poets; Working with students and adults with disabilities (Millennium Performing Arts, VSA)

PERFORMING EXPERIENCE – 24 YEARS One woman plays and storytelling program tour shows presented in Europe and the U.S. College tour includes: Purdue and Northwestern University, University of Louisville, Southern University, and University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin Storytelling programs and shows presented at schools K-12, colleges, corporations, community events, Minnesota State Fair Festivals—Children International Festival, Owatonna Fair; 1995 & 2015 Fringe Festival; 2014 Late Nite Series at the Pillsbury Theatre FEATURED STORYTELLER/SPEAKER – Featured at National Assoc. of Black Storytellers –2006 San Diego, CA; 2007 Atlanta – Quantico, VA, Celebration for General Frank Peterson, first African American 3-Star General – Featured at Poplarville, MS Blueberry Storytelling Festival – Mississippi – Northland Storytelling Festival – Minneapolis – Ghana, West African – performed in Ghana (International Storytelling Conference – Ghana) – Filled in for Governor Ann Richards of Texas at Women’s Conference – Hamline University

AWARDS & FELLOWSHIP COMPAS 2011 Jim Dusso Artist Award; LIN Grant–St. Paul Companies; MN State Arts Board Fellowship; Jerome Fellowship and Many Voices Award from the Playwright Center.

LITERACY WORKS – Author, children’s book, The Ghost of Old Man Willie (2006) – Plays: Voodoo Child, Magic of Laughter (both produced at Southern Theatre); Rhythm People (presented at Paramount Theater), and Murder on the Bayou

TRAINING/EDUCATION – B.A. Degree, University of Minnesota; Completed Kennedy Performance Arts Centers “Artists as Educators Program” through Northern Iowa University; completed courses in theater and writing at Playwrights Center and the Guthrie Theatre.


Molly Beth Griffin

Molly Beth Griffin is the author of two picture books, RHODA’S ROCK HUNT and LOON BABY, and one young adult novel, SILHOUETTE OF A SPARROW. Her picture books have been awarded a Jeanette Fair book award and a Northeast Minnesota Book Award, and RHODA is a Star of the North Nominee this year. Her novel won the Milkweed Prize for Children’s Literature, was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award and the Lambda Literary Award, and was featured on the ALA Rainbow List and the Amelia Bloomer List of Feminist Literature. Molly won a McKnight Fellowship in 2014 and has received two Artist Initiative Grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Since graduating from Hamline University’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young adults in 2009, she has been teaching writing for children at the Loft Literary Center, critiquing manuscripts, and hosting a monthly Picture Book Salon. She lives in South Minneapolis with her partner and their two kids, ages 3 & 7, who like to fight with each other, complain on short hikes, and whine about her awesome cooking.


Rachel Guvenc

Rachel Guvenc is an adult English as a Second Language teacher, yoga instructor and mother of three. Her newest passion is pursuing creative ways to stand up for social justice. In 2015, she received an award for her poetry from The League of Minnesota Poets. She has been writing poetry and short stories since middle school. Her website is


Emily Heinis

Emily Heinis is a mother to Olivia (6) and Nathan (almost 4; never leave out the almost), a spouse to Patrick, a lover of sarcasm, a budding blogger (, a part-time vegan (cheese is REALLY good), a reader of memoirs (true stories are the best stories), a parentheses overuser, and a teacher turned SAHM turned WAHM. Emily has a BST in Communication Arts and Literature and an MA in Communication Studies, both from Minnesota State University, Mankato (Go, Mavs!). For nearly ten years, she enjoyed teaching high school communications and coaching the speech team. When Olivia was born, however, she felt compelled to reduce her class size to one. An extended maternity leave turned into a resignation. By the time Nathan was born, Emily was loving being a stay-at-home-mom, frolicking in parks and discouraging booger-picking in public. As amazing as SAHM life was, though, she longed for conversations with people more than three feet tall. In 2014, she started working at home between recitations of Go, Dog, Go and slicing cucumbers the long way, not into circles. Emily now enjoys teaching again, both in person and online, helping people find personal wellness through toxin-free living and financial wellness through relationship marketing. In her spare time, you’ll find her drinking wine in the bathtub, binge-watching anything by Shonda Rhimes, painting lovely things, and trying not to swear in front of her kids.


Ann Hohenshell

Ann Hohenshell is a mom, spouse, writer and avid reader. She and her husband are native Iowans and slowly coming to accept that their three children consider themselves Minnesotans. Ann likes to root for the underdog, drink coffee and collect family stories. She met some of her best friends in writing groups and writes about her life as a daughter, mom and outside observer. She is working with a writing partner on a book that explores how two very different people, an extreme extrovert and an acute introvert, can become and remain best friends.


Erica Hunt

Erica Hunt is a life-long Minnesotan who now resides in St. Paul with her husband of 20 years, three daughters, two pets and her gardens. She has worked with teenagers and young adults in various non-profit organizations for over 15 years, focusing specifically on cultivating mentoring relationships. She has bachelor’s degrees in history and education, two areas of study she still finds fascinating. She began writing after college, when her under-resourced employer could not afford to buy curriculum, and has been writing ever since. Along with gardening, it is her favorite creative outlet. She loves her family and friends, her neighborhood, cooking from scratch, reading fiction and any time she can get with her rapidly growing teenagers.


Sally Vardaman Johnson

Sally Vardaman Johnson is a writer and comedian, skill sets sure to enhance her motherhood acumen in the absence of good cooking and housekeeping.   Her ongoing fascinations include healthcare economics, justice system reform, the god complex, and exploitation of her foibles to inspire laughter.  Her creative focus in 2017 is a book of essays to her three middle school aged children, and trying her hand at storytelling through audio.  You can read her more serious wonderings at


Amoke Kubat

 Amoke Kubat is a retired special education teacher, mother, grandmother, spiritual elder, and community activist. Mindful, not forever young she remains forever and curious about self, (as an older African American woman), the natural world, and the Sacred. Self taught, Amoke uses writing, thus far, centered around healing – personal, historical and intergenerational trauma, to continue to define herself and hold a position of wellness in an America sick with inequalities and inequities.

Amoke is also a student at United Theological Seminary. As Amoke continues to discover the intersections experienced, she infuses her understandings into – spoken or written, art making events, or performance to diverse communities.

Amoke does art making in a variety of ways; prose, creative non-fiction, public performance and community events, and YO MAMA arts residences and The Art of Mothering Workshops. Amoke recently added playwright to her resume. She wrote, produced and acted in 2 sold out performances of “Angry Black Woman and Well Intentioned White Girl” in 2016 at Intermedia Arts. This is Amoke’s first appearance at “Listen to Your Mother.”


Carrie Peterson

Carrie Peterson is a mom to an 11 year old boy, 5 year old rescue shepherd mix and a crayfish named Elliot. She has served as the Dietetic Internship Director at the the University of Minnesota since 2000. Carrie was one of the first in the nation to become a Board Certified Specialist In Sports Nutrition and over the past 27 years, has worked as the Sports Nutritionist for Antarctic Expeditions, climbing expeditions and all of the Professional Minnesota Sports Teams. Her passions include playing ice hockey (which she started at age 40), alpine skiing, camping and hiking. Truly, anything activity related! She is extremely grateful for this opportunity to share an experience on her life journey .


Mandy Poke

Mandy Poke is 26 years old and currently a 5th grade teacher in district 196. She is engaged to PJ Hill and they have a daughter, Sinae Hill. Her life is filled with God, family, friends, graduate school, and basketball. She enjoys coaching her daughter, eating sushi, shopping, and summertime festivities. She also enjoys teaching. It is one of the most fulfilling experiences to be able to help empower and fill each individual student with love and experiences that will allow them to grow into the best version of themselves! She is blessed.


Susan Triemert

Susan Triemert has taught English at the high school level and, more recently, at the college level. She holds a Master of Arts in education from the University of St. Thomas and is finishing up her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Hamline University. She has been published in the Cheat River Review, Stepping Stones Magazine, and the Colorado Review. Her piece in the 2016 Fall/Winter issue of the Colorado Review has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has worked on two literary journals: the Water~Stone Review and the Runestone Journal. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and their two sons.


Tzitel Voss

Tzitel Voss is a Speech Communications and Theater teacher and consultant with 20 years of experience in a broad range of fields. The greater part of her career has been spent within the field of education where she teaches communications classes and coaches nationally-ranked competitive speakers. Beyond the educational setting, Tzitel has worked with The Moth and Fringe Festival storytellers in preparation for the stage. She also has had the privilege to work with Public Defenders and Criminal Defense Lawyers on developing skills to share the stories of their clients in the courtroom. Tzitel has made a career out of listening to stories: stories of her students, stories of performers, stories of professionals. She is a teacher at heart and loves to help others find the courage to speak and make their “mess become their message”. Every once in awhile, she even has a story to share.