Our Host

Matt Jones has been telling stories his whole life. One of four boys in a family of talkers, storytelling was a competition and an outlet. As high school history teacher and football coach, he used this ability to bring the events of the past and the present to life for his students and players. Today as a father of four himself, an active Scout leader, PTA president, coach and friend he's still using that power to communicate with wit, humor and an ability tap into those human emotions that connect us all, to keep those around him active and engaged. 

A resident of Naperville for over ten years Matt has never forgotten his Virginia roots, his family, and the places he came from. 

Sheila Adamo

Sheila is married and a mother of 4 children living in Naperville.   Sheila is the co-owner of Building Parent Connections which provides education, guidance, and support to parents of children with special needs. She specializes in creating workshops, discussion groups, teleconferences and conference presentations that address the unique challenges parents may face when raising a child with special needs. https://www.buildingparentconnections.com

Erin Ambre

Erin Ambre has shared her stories in Chicago and many surrounding suburbs. Not only has she told stories with The People Tree, but she has also shared her stories with Chicago Story Lab and The Moth. 

 

From August through May, you can find Erin teaching 7th grade math and 8th grade Social Studies. The summer months is when she travels and cultivates her creative and adventurous side.  She and her husband are enjoying the (almost) empty nester life with their 4 dogs. 

Claire Dee

Claire was born and raised in England. She travelled extensively before finding a white weather boarded house with a picket fence in Naperville and settled here with her husband and kids 12 years ago.

Claire loves to relax on the water on her SUP or kayak, and swims as often as possible.

Things she’s happy to have only done once:  a canyon swing in New Zealand, a skydive in Namibia and scuba diving with sharks in Malaysia.

 

Claire’s excited to be sharing a snapshot of her school days in England. It was like Hogwarts without the magic.

Ruth Easterling

Ruth White Easterling grew up in New Jersey listening to her father and grandmother talk, talk and talk….and talk.  They shared stories whether you wanted to listen or not.  An empty nester of two young adults,  wealth management professional by day, avid yogi and reiki practictioner,  she sees life as a journey to be explored through curiosity. … which led to storytelling.  This great awakening as the earth trembled and the skies lit up with thunderbolts, came when she realized that most of her life she would say “Wanna hear a story?”   Her joy comes from inspiring people to make connections to their heart, life and each other.  

Marko Ivanov

Marko Ivanov is a business executive living in the western suburbs of Chicago with his wife who is a writer and their two children. With a background in Electrical Engineering and a love of math, he didn't expect to discover a passion for performance storytelling. However, he has always enjoyed listening to other people's stories and telling his own. After leaving war-torn Yugoslavia at the age of seventeen, Marko honed his narrative skills as he pursued a better life in the United States.  Today, Marko likes to tell his personal story to wider audiences be it friends or strangers whenever time permits. Recently, he performed at Chicago’s Fillet of Solo Festival.

Marko is a graduate of Kellogg School of Management, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. If he could go back to school, he’d study history.

Dragana Djordjevic-Laky

I like to read, write, talk, argue and make up (not make-up for my face), so I thought becoming a lawyer would be the cocktail of success. I was wrong. I've made some good choices & bad, had some good luck & bad, and now that I'm approaching that milestone birthday I still don't know what to make of myself. My home is either three countries or none, depending on the weather,  my favorite activity is travel planning, my preferred diet is high carb and dairy, and call me unambitious, but my two kids are the greatest outcome of my life.

Sarah Mathers

Sara is the Director of Organizing and Campaigns for a community organization committed to racial, social and economic justice. She likes interrupting people during dinner to talk about politics, whiskey soda and bitters, and all things inappropriate.

Mike Rossi

Mike Rossi is a long-time Naperville native. He is a teacher of teens, a father of humans, and a hero to dogs. 

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