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 7th graders 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.

David Berner

David W. Berner is the author of several books, including the award-winning memoir, Any Road Will Take You There, about a cross-country road trip with his sons. He is also a professor at Columbia College and is long-time Chicago broadcaster who can be heard anchoring and reporting on WBBM Newsradio in Chicago.

Clare Clayton

Clare Clayton's life has been constant motion. The daughter of an Air Force officer, her childhood was literally a spin around the globe.  Texas, Okinawa, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, and more... While adulthood may have kept her more stationary, her life has not. Leaving her career behind and moving to the suburbs 7 years ago, the busy mother of two boys is still spinning as a Cub Scout and PTA leader, running an at home business, training dogs, dragons and a husband. Storytelling is just the next step in a life always moving.

Claire Dee

Born in London, Claire crossed ‘the pond’ in 2007 with her husband and has lived in Naperville ever since (but hasn’t lost her accent yet!). Her passions are family, storytelling, travel and water sports. She swims as much as possible and also enjoys taking out her paddle board and kayak.


Stories have always been central to her life, whether shared by family, friends, through her previous job in sales, or entertainment.  In 2016 Claire attended a live storytelling show and before she knew it, helped co-found Naperville’s first storytelling show and hasn’t looked back!


Last year, Claire made her fiction storytelling debut, at Naperville’s Ghost stories in the Park in the Dark. She is now turning inward and sharing her first personal story.

Shelley Gupta

Shelley Gupta is the President of Guitars Over Guns RISE Board in Chicago. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Shelley has always had a strong passion for music.  Singing since the age of 6 in school choirs, Shelley’s natural ability and desire to sing shaped her destiny as a stage performer much sooner than she expected. She established herself as an artist in association with EMI Music Canada and CP Records in 2010 by releasing her first single “Crazy For You” across Canada.

Shelley received her Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2016, and also holds a BBA from University of Toronto and the Chartered Financial Analyst Charter (CFA).

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.

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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