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Born a poet, drawn to the music of words, Holly Wren Spaulding is a former creative writing professor, long-time editor of a literary journal, and an award-winning writer and researcher. She teaches creative writing at Interlochen College of Creative Arts and directs Poetry Forge, an incubator for writers and their work.

A savvy innovator with expertise in written content development, aesthetics and public presentation, she is a recognized leader who spurs ideas, nails deadlines, and sustains the vitality of groups and projects.

Accomplishments: As co-founder and media spokesperson for Sweetwater Alliance, a Michigan coalition dedicated to the protection of the water commons, Holly spearheaded statewide support for a precedent-setting legal case against a multi-billion-dollar global corporation, and helped expand the organization to six chapters with thousands of supporters. She researched, synthesized and disseminated information on the ecological impacts, as well as the public policy implications of water diversions, and traveled to international summits and conferences in more than seven countries, where she presented on grassroots organizing strategies and creative approaches to building broad-based coalitions around common interests. She provided messaging and media support to a partner organization and worked with diverse constituents to educate the public on the threats of water privatization.

For five years Holly worked as part of a small team of filmmakers to produce the award-winning documentary, Flow (Dir. Irena Salina, 2008), about the global water crisis. Her writing appears in the book We Are Everywhere (2006), from Verso Press, and her collection of poems, The Grass Impossibly (2008) was awarded publication by Michigan Writers Cooperative Press. Pilgrim was published by Alice Greene & Co. 2014.

Holly has conducted trainings in consensus decision-making, built independent media infrastructures for print, radio, and web, and written for The Nation, The Ecologist, New Internationalist, Michigan Quarterly Review and other publications.

Holly is also the founder of LIFE/form, where she guides clients through a contemplative process that helps them cultivate greater equilibrium, better habits and new strategies for finding fulfillment in daily life. LIFE/form’s mission is to provide sane guidance in a world gone mad.

Specialties: Sees new solutions to challenges. Spurs creative breakthroughs among her students, clients and collaborators. The look, feel and atmosphere of everything we make or do. Translating ideas into pages. Project management. Client service.

Defining characteristics: Class. Nimbleness. Equanimity.

Alter egos: Museum curator. Environmental lawyer. Spy.


Strategist, team leader, advocate, public speaker, author. Matt Rigney has been a project management and communications consultant for 15 years. He has raised more than $22 million for education and the arts through federal, state, and private funding.

Accomplishments: Rigney is the author of In Pursuit of Giants: One Man's Global Search for the Last of the Great Fish, published in 2012 by Viking/Penguin. Giants is the story of his five-year, 75,000-mile round-the-world journey to encounter the great fish of the sea—marlin, bluefin tuna, and swordfish—and to explore the causes of their decline. In Pursuit of Giants was nominated for a 2013 Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction.

Specialties: Completing ambitious projects. Creative vision. Team management.

Defining characteristics: Boldness. Energy. Warmth. Tenacity.

Alter egos: Ocean adventurer. Renegade. Heavyweight champ.

Curious Facts: Once moved 100 tons of New England field stone by hand ~ Farthest distance traveled offshore: 220 miles ~ All New England Rubgy Team, Flanker, 1989 ~ Boldest move: grabbed a 30-ton whale shark by the tail


Brit Washburn is an award-winning writer, editor, and former bookseller with an abiding interest in the ideas and cultural expressions that lend meaning and beauty to our lives. She applies a reverent quality of attention to all she undertakes, including the texts and projects with which she engages.

Brit’s poems and essays have appeared in Manoa, Alexandria Quarterly, The Albion Review, Art Mag and Controlled Burn, as well as the anthologies, Mourning Our Mothers: Poems About Loss and A New Guide to Charleston, and elsewhere. She completed Cleaving, a collection of poems, and a collection of essays, A Reason for Being, while in residence at the Vermont Studio Center.

Accomplishments: As the proprietor and creative force behind her consulting and catering business, The Art of Nourishment, Brit offered locally-sourced vegetarian meals and cooking classes, and developed a curriculum and cookbook focused on seasonal recipes, simplicity, and the idea that eating and sharing food is a sacred act. Brit also served at length on the board of the Poetry Society of South Carolina, co-directed the literary salon, Poets House South, and edited the lo-fi journal Re:Union, where she worked closely with authors and visual artists to curate, publish and present their work to wider audiences.

Specialties: Mindful attention to the details in every sentence, paragraph, and manuscript she handles. Copy-editing. Indexing.

Defining characteristics: Grace under pressure. Erudition. Resilience.

Alter egos: Antique book dealer. Medieval anchoress in the spirit of Julian of Norwich. Host of a Paris literary salon, circa 1920.

Curious Facts: Has lived in Brazil, France and on the island of Oahu. Was training to be a professional dancer when she fell in love with poetry at 14. Read all seven volumes of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. Is learning Sanskrit. Officiates weddings.