We’re an “if not us, who?” kind of crew.

Here’s the truth: we got sick of hearing ourselves complain. As we traveled the conference circuit, we’d often frown about the overwhelming whiteness of panels, tweet about dude-only line-ups, and shake our heads at hearing yet another well-known author repeat the same stale idea from coast to coast. And yet, we also know how hard it can be to curate a really kick-ass conference. Collectively, we’ve collaborated with some of the most celebrated event hosts in the world, including The Aspen Institute and TED. Which is why we didn’t just want to point fingers; we wanted to make things better. FRESH is our grand experiment in making the public conversation a hell of a lot more interesting.

We also like each other a lot.

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Vanessa Valenti is a New York City-born and based entrepreneur, writer, and speaker, who cut her teeth co-founding the award-winning online feminist publication, Feministing.com, in 2004. She went on to co-found Valenti Martin Media, a movement-building and communications consultancy that collaborates with social change organizations worldwide. Watch her TED talk, “The problem with public speaking.” Vanessa lives in a little Hudson River town in upstate New York with her two kids and a cat named Tweet. More >>

Co-founder and Chief Talent Officer

Courtney Martin was born and raised in Colorado Springs, and has been called “one of our most insightful culture critics and one of our finest young writers” by Parker Palmer. Her writing has been described as “varied, transformational, and necessary for us all” by Jane Fonda. A two-time TED speaker, she is the author of multiple books, an advisor to the Obama Foundation and The Aspen Institute, co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, co-founder of Valenti Martin Media, and a proud momma. More >>

Community Director

Casey Molina is a self-identified human-centered storyteller and Community Director at FRESH Speakers Academy. She has years of journalism experience working at C-SPAN and CBS Interactive in marketing and social media content strategy. In 2019-2020 Casey completed her Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award and spent almost a year in the Canary Islands where she produced a documentary on renewable energy. She is now a bilingual educator based in Barcelona and continues to work in media that centers underrepresented voices. More >>

Communications Coordinator

Bailey Wayne Hundl (she/he/they) is a writer, speaker, seminary dropout, and self-described “comedian” with a passion for telling stories that make homophobes uncomfortable. Much of their work has focused on the messy intersections of faith and queerness—and blatantly refusing the pressure to compromise the latter for the former. She founded Drag Sunday Services, which introduced the art of drag (and the human beings behind it) to congregations and faith organizations across the country. He currently writes for The Meteor. More>>

Systems Coordinator & Speaker Agent

Laura Bertocci is bicoastal — raised in New Jersey, she’s called Los Angeles her home for nearly a decade. Laura strives to connect underrepresented voices with the resources they need. Working often at the intersection of journalism and community, Laura helps newsrooms and news professionals share knowledge, support each other, and evolve the industry while occasionally writing, editing, or photographing the news herself (in fact, she can perform just about any function in a newsroom). More >>

Client Engagement & Speaker Agent

Allison Cook is a strategist and story-whisperer who works with brilliant, busy people and organizations to get ideas out of your head and into the world. Her current and previous roster of clients includes Caring Across Generations, Economic Security Project, Next River, and TED Fellows. Allison is a California native who loves her kid, liberation, and pop music. She takes the work of justice seriously and tries real hard to be a good neighbor while loving generously and reading closely.

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FRESH Speakers, Inc. is a next-generation speakers bureau, uniquely representing women and people of color--two groups historically left off the public stage. Our speakers range from business leaders to artists, scientists to athletes. They have given ground-breaking TED talks and written best-selling books, but, more importantly, their wisdom comes from real world, lived experiences. FRESH speakers routinely grace the world's biggest thought leadership stages, host nonprofit benefits, and keynote Fortune 100 corporate retreats, university lecture series, leading tech conferences, grassroots organizing convenings, and countless other venues, the world over.
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