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. 

Erin Ambre

Erin Ambre spends most of her days teaching 7thgraders all about mathematics.   When she is not teaching, you can find her sitting behind her sewing machine, creating mixed-media artwork, working on her blog, developing new recipes, reading a historical fiction novel or playing with her 4 dogs.  She raised two boys into successful young men who are both in their twenties.  She will brag about them relentlessly if you ask her about them.

Amanda Caversazi

Amanda is passionate about writing and telling stories about motherhood. She also writes for children. She is the 2016 winner of the SCBWI’s Wild Wild Midwest Contest for narrative non-fiction and her first children’s book is forthcoming from Tiger Stripe Publishing. Although originally from New York, she has lived nearly 10 years in the Chicago area and figures that make her a quarter mid-Westerner. Her work has appeared in Bad Idea magazine, Yoga Chicago, and Literary Mama. She's married to a quick-witted, story-teller from Yugoslavia. They have two children.  https://acaverzasi.com

Annette Cowart

Annette Cowart is a local here in Naperville.  For Annette, travel -- whether a time to vacate, a time to ground, a time to risk or a time to commune -- has always been her main source of inspiration.  

Michelle Furlow

Michelle grew up in Naperville, but lived in Iowa, Alabama, and studied for a short time in France. Professionally, she's worked in the Criminal Justice field since 2001 and is currently a professor at Moraine Valley Community College and a training instructor for a Sheriff’s Department. At home, she enjoys time with her son and daughter, two dogs and cat. Her significant other lives in Colorado, so she escapes to the Rocky Mountains as often as possible. She's passionate about staying active and enjoys being outdoors, especially hiking to see the sunrise.  Any downtime is spent painting & woodworking several times a week, devouring true crime in any form, and perfecting the art of not exactly knowing how to cook but trying anyway. Michelle is embracing turning 40 this year, and is excited about this time in her life!

Ray Lauk

Dr. Ray Lauk is the owner of Dr. Ray's Toffee and a professional speaker and school administrator.  Ray speaks on a variety of business topics, including storytelling as a tool for leadership and business success.  His signature speech, FUEL for Success, teaches participants the behaviors necessary for achieving their goals and getting results. 

PJ Malin (mălean)

PJ Malin (mălean) serves as a pastor with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville.  He is also a chaplain with the Naperville Police Department.  PJ lives in Aurora with his wife, Julie, and his two kids, Ayden and Addie.  For fun PJ enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and songwriting.

Brett Weiss

Brett has lived in Naperville for over 31 years with his wife Chris.  They have two adult children, Amber and Gabe and two grandchildren, Collin and Lily.  Brett spent 22 years in the software business and 18 years teaching high school social studies.  In 2011 he started a scholarship fund for children in Dago, Kenya

Dr. Daryl Wilson

I am a 47-year-old husband to Joanne Whiteside.  Father to 3 little girls, twins that are 6 and my youngest who is 4. I am an  Emergency physician and EMS medical director at Edward Hospital, as well as lead singer and resident stunt man for the Chicago punk band The Bollweevils.


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