Just some of the amazing humans bringing the New Story Festival to life...

Gareth Higgins

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Gareth Higgins was born in Belfast in 1975, grew up during the northern Ireland Troubles, and now lives in North Carolina with his husband Brian. He writes and speaks about connection to the earth, cinema and the power of dreams, peace and making justice, and how to take life seriously without believing your own propaganda. He co-founded the Wild Goose Festival, Movies & Meaning, and The Porch Magazine, and is happy to be a work in progress. Connect with more of his work at www.garethhiggins.net.

Mike Clawson

 

FESTIVAL COORDINATOR

Mike Clawson (Austin, TX), is founder of the Spiritual Transformation Project, working to create transformative events at the intersection of spirituality and social change - including the New Story Festival! Mike recently completed his PhD at Baylor University studying the ways religion is evolving in the twenty-first century. He is passionate about personal growth and collective liberation, and enjoys exploring Austin and watching 80s adventure films with his two kids.

Micky Scottbey Jones

 

THINK TEAM

Micky ScottBey Jones, the Justice Doula, is a mama-activist-contemplative-healer-holy-disrupter who believes in throwing parties as a key revolutionary strategy. She loves bringing people together to explore brave space, awaken empathy and fight oppression. Micky is the Director of Healing Justice with Faith Matters Network and is a core team member with The People’s Supper who has gathered more than 4,000 people around tables since the 2016 election for bridging and healing conversations.

sarah de la fuente

PLAY TEAM

Ordained in the Presbyterian tradition, Sarah has long worked as a minister outside the walls of the church. As the owner of Austin Weddings Unlimited, her ministry is to tell the rich and varied story of marriage through the lens of each of her couples. Each couple is a new, delightful chapter, so really . . . she has the best job ever.

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KRISTINE SOCALL

CONNECT TEAM &

FESTIVAL ADMINISTRATOR

Kristine's passion is to curate hospitable spaces and experiences where meaningful connections happen that become pivotal moments in someone's life: of hope, goodness, and feeling heard & loved. She is a connector, learner, empathic listener, teacher, event facilitator, coach and strategic partner in creating pathways that make big dreams possible.

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BARRY jAMES

ACT TEAM

Barry is a local community organizer who found his way to Austin 3 years ago after spending most of his adult life in Connecticut and other parts of the Northeast. He has a passion for social justice in its many forms, and continues to identify ways to make an impact within his community by motivating and guiding individuals to work together. Barry most recently worked with the Austin Justice Coalition as their Outreach & Engagement Director.

linda alvarez

CREATE TEAM

Linda practices art and law. A student of powerful non-violence, she helps businesses (and business people) shift how conflict and the legal system impact their ability to stay true to core values and missions. The American Bar Association published her book "Discovering Agreement: Contracts That Turn Conflict Into Creativity" in 2016.

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Tamisha Tyler

CREATE TEAM

Tamisha is a PhD student at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA studying Theology, Culture and Ethics. She works with several arts organizations including Listen Los Angeles (a listening project featuring an all African American cast reflecting on the current state of the country through art), Level Ground (engaging empathy across difference), and ARC Art | Religion | Culture. She also co-hosts a podcast entitled Why We're Friends.

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Celia alario

ACT TEAM

Celia Alario plays at the intersection of social justice communications, culture shaping and movement building. She’s exploring how communities can address environmental injustice and climate disruption while deepening our democratic experiment—all with balance, integrity, grace and a joyful heart. Count on her for chocolate, glitter, poodles and transformational confabs.

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PERFORM TEAM

Amparo is a writer, actor, director and educator, storyteller, host of The Living Room Storytelling, published playwright, freelance screenwriter, and the inaugural Program Manager for Austin's Mexican American Cultural Center.

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TYLER mCcABE

THINK TEAM

Tyler McCabe is a gay writer living in Portland, Oregon. His writing covers pop culture, family, trauma, and healing, and has been honorably noted by Best American Essays. He's currently working on a speculative novel. Tyler specializes in fostering holistic, diverse communities through events and educational opportunities, and currently serves as Chapter Manager at EO Portland. He tweets @tylermccabe.

AMY MEYER

CONNECT TEAM

Amy is a Presbyterian pastor known for shaking things up at the little Presbyterian Church in Elgin, Texas (an Earth Care Congregation). Amy enjoys spending time with her husband and her two kids. When she’s not doing that, she’s usually thinking up ideas for projects that she’ll never have time to complete.

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Katie Jo Suddaby

CREATE TEAM

Rev. Katie Jo Suddaby is a pastor, speaker, consultant, and artist from Rochester, NY, working at the intersection of art, spirituality, and social justice. She is one of the few people in the Western hemisphere who create sand mandala art - have learned the technique from Tibetan lamas and Buddhist monks in Nepal. 

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STEPH CASTILLO

PERFORM TEAM

Steph loves Austin, country music, and a good dancehall. He spends most of his time playing music and golf, dancing at White Horse, or hanging with his 7-year-old kid whom he calls Young Money.

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MELISSA ANDREWS

KIDS TEAM

Melissa is an innovative educator, educational consultant, and research analyst for the Austin Independent School District.

alexia salvatierra

VISION TEAM

Co-author of Faith-Rooted Organizing: Mobilizing the Church in Service to the World, Lutheran Pastor with 40 years of experience in community ministry (community development, organizing, advocacy), Affiliate Professor Fuller Theological Seminary and Adjunct Professor (four other institutions.) Co-founder New Sanctuary Movement, Evangelical Immigration Table, Guardian Angels Project and M25 (Matthew 25/Mateo 25).

DOUG HARRISON

VISION TEAM

Doug is a certified spiritual director, and experience design artist in Austin. He holds a Masters in both Theology and Religion & Social Ethics and Is a certified NLP Master Practitioner. Doug directs an art collective, the Xanatos Gambit Metadetective Agency that creates transformational experiences for people based on their lives. And he is your biggest fan. Your. Biggest. Fan.

sTEPHEN KINNEY

VISION TEAM

Stephen Kinney founded and directs The Front Porch, a non-profit in Austin. After serving as youth minister, chaplain, and rector in schools and parishes in Houston, New York City, and Fredericksburg, he earned a PhD in Educational Psychology with a focus on building dialogical community.

ben wright

VISION TEAM

Ben Wright is a historian, curator and writer based in Austin, Texas. His professional work involves the relocation of Confederate statues from public spaces to museum settings. Previously he worked as a journalist, a press secretary, and (worst of all) a youth minister. Originally from England, Ben has been in Texas since 2003.

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RACHEL KARDEN

MARKETING DIRECTOR

Rachel earned her MA in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a public school teacher, affordable housing developer, and is now pursuing law. She is a member of the Ethical Society of Austin and strives to seek out the good for her communities.

JOnes

VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR

Jones is a street canvasser for the Human Rights Campaign in Washington D.C. and M.Div student at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

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MARA BERNAL

TRANSLATION

Originally from Colombia, Mara shares her culture with the Austin community by teaching at a bilingual school and now helping translate materials for the New Story Festival. She maintains a deep interest in spirituality that has lead her to explore different traditions and belief systems, but mostly she prefers to gaze at the stars.

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eLYSIA VAN dEUSEN

OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE

Elysia Van Deusen’s credits include indie films and big studio pictures along with reality television, commercials, and industrials. She spent several years as a production coordinator, wrangling logistics and tracking budgets. These days Elysia spends her time looking at art, writing, painting, parenting, and shooting the occasional cable TV news interview.

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JESSICA PERCER

EXHIBITOR/VENDOR COORDINATOR

Jessica Percer is a homeschooling mom of three with a B.A. in English from University of Houston and an MDiv from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She's lived in the Austin area with her family for nearly ten years. She's interested in minimalism, ethical fashion, and making the world a better place one step at a time.