Our Host

Simi Krishnan, a born and bred Londoner, followed her heart to America. Here, she and her husband Adi are raising two beautiful children. Most days it’s a battle of wills, actually, let’s make that every day, but that’s parenthood, am I right! Simi spends her days chasing data but finds her passion in dinners with friends, charming shopkeepers with her accent, and trying a multitude of different recipes. Tell her a good story and she’ll be your friend for life. 

Sayard Bass

The daughter of a preacher and a teacher Sayard was brought up to talk. Whether it was family gatherings out on the farm or hot summer nights on the dock at church camp, sharing stories has always been a big part of her life. She is the type of person who will try anything a few times from belly dance to triathlon, to standing up in front of crowds of people and talking. Currently, she enjoys her work as an assistive technology coordinator for an educational co-operative. It allows her to think outside the box, help others, and give a voice to those who are non-verbal. If you want to know anything about alternative and augmentative communication...come over, she will talk your ear off, you have been warned. Sayard lives in Downers Grove with her husband Alex, cat Frango, and the happiest baby ever, Max. 

Kori Carew

Kori Carew followed a dream to the United States 26 years ago from Nigeria where she grew up. Born in Canada, from Sierra Leone and raised in Nigeria she is a community builder, attorney, womanist and social justice advocate who generates awareness and understanding of critical human issues by creating the space and climate for open dialogue that is meaningful, enables people to expand their perspective and drive positive change. Her TEDx, “Just Belonging” focused on creating belonging and interrupting bias with grace and truth. Kori brings an incisive voice, unapologetic questioning of the status quo, and a lifelong fascination with human potential to empowering women and marginalized people, creating belonging, and improving inclusion. She recently moved to Naperville with her husband and two daughters.

Claudia Carmicheal

Claudia Carmicheal, born and raised in Chicago Suburbs.  Middle of 5 children (which apparently explains a LOT).  Graduated from NIU, Marketing degree; worked at Disney World during college.  Sold Pharmaceuticals in Lansing MI.  Moved to Omaha, Nebraska a few years.  Mommy to 2 amazingly predictable teenagers, Connor 16, Mia 14.  Three dogs that she swore that she’d never had any! Claudia went back to school to become a certified Cosmetologist the same year as she moved to Naperville. She has a hair studio from home and an e-commerce store where selling her own hair products care line. Claudia loves anything that has to do with beauty/fashion!

Kathryn Doyle

Kathryn or Katy Doyle grew up the youngest of 8 in Springfield Il.  After completing her Masters in Sociology, she went on to become a personal trainer and Life Coach locally in Naperville.  She is a mom of four and thus never bored.  https://kathrynthetrainer.com

Matt Jones

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 a 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. 

Steve Koek

Steve Koek has lived in Naperville for several years after moving back from Arizona where he spent many years as a website manager for the Phoenix Suns. He is a member of the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Speakers Bureau, where he shares his father’s story as one of the Hidden Children of Holland during World War II. Steve is also active in local theater, and most recently produced and acted in Summer Place Theater’s production of South Pacific. He married his high school crush, Andi, and currently works from their Naperville home as a freelance web content writer.

Laurie May

Laurie is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area but takes every opportunity to discover the rest of the world. She taught and was a librarian at May Watts Elementary School in Naperville.  Even though she is retired, once a teacher always a teacher and once a librarian always a reader! She gets infinite joy from her family and friends, both 2 legged and 4 legged, and loves finding stories everywhere she looks.

Tony Ozzauto

Tony Ozzauto grew up in the south Suburbs of Chicago. Went to Columbia College to study television production and theatre. He moved to California and worked there for 13 years in the television industry as a News Director and Producer of 2 local talk shows.

He moved back to Chicago and quickly got involved in the television production community winning several International Television Awards for producing corporate television programs.

At the age of 58 Tony decided to become a cosmetologist. When he got his cosmetology license he teamed up with a company to become a platform artist traveling around the country performing on stage at Hair trade shows and teaching seminars. Tony is now teaching cosmetology in a western suburb.

At the age of 63 Tony made some radical changes in his life. These changes have opened his mind and talents to write and tell stories about lessons he has learned. He has shared his stories at This This Much is True , Outspoken an LGBT storytelling event and this is his 3rd appearance at People Tree.

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