Meet Our Staff

Emily Phillips, creative writing instructorEmily Phillips, Bay Area Program Director
Emily has worked with Bay Area youth of all ages in several different capacities, as a creative writing teacher for elementary school kids with Take My Word For It! and SF Arts Ed, as the Middle School After School Program Coordinator at Oakland School for the Arts, and as a high school tutor, mentor, and substitute teacher. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts in 2008 and when she’s not doing fifteen things at once coordinating our growing writing program, she writes as much as possible.

Trish Kredell, Chicago Program Director
Trish Kredell earned her Masters in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. In the past several years, she has taken an active interest in elementary and middle school education through volunteer roles in her school district. During the summer, she encourages local kids in their love of reading by leading a book club for her son and his friends. She is excited to help bring “Take My Word For It!” to Chicago to give all kids in the area a chance to express their creativity through writing. When not reading on her own, you’ll likely to find her on a run with her family at one of the local forest preserves or river trails, attending a cross-country meet, or dreaming about and planning her next travel destination (hopefully Ireland!).

MPJulianheadshot2013Mary Pat Julian, Northern Virginia Program Director
Mary Pat Julian graduated with a major in English from West Virginia University. Mary Pat’s interest in finding unique enrichment programs for area schools combined with her love of all things written made her fall in love with “Take My Word for It!”. When not busy with TMWFI, you can find her entranced in photography or writing (her own or someone else’s), volunteering or, more often than not, ferrying her 3 boys all over the DC area while dreaming of summers at the beach.

Fharia Khan TMWFIFahria Khan, South Bay Program Director
Fahria graduated from MIT with a degree in Biology, however, she never worked as a biologist. She spent 4 years working as a software applications programmer before having her first child. Now, 5 kids later, she is extremely active as a volunteer and board member for multiple organizations, including the PTO, the school district and Girl Scouts. Fahria encourages all children, not just her own, to explore and pursue their interests. Coordinating creative writing classes for “Take My Word For It!” helps her fulfill this goal.

Susan ShaySusan Shay, Social Media Coordinator
Susan has been an operations & marketing consultant for over 10 years. Her clients stretch from coast to coast and include health & wellness professionals, yoga studios & arts organizations. Exercising her creative muscles, Susan has worked on & off stage in New York, Chicago, DC and San Francisco as an actor, stage manager, dramaturg and designer. She is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, English Literature) and a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Her favorite audiences are under the age of 12, as they allow their imaginations to enrich storytelling – on stage and on the page!

Alexa PetersAlexa Peters, Social Media Marketing Intern
Alexa is a creative writer and journalist. She received her Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at Western Washington University and was awarded the R.D. Brown Memorial Writing Scholarship. Alexa has been published in Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party blog, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Crossing Guide Magazine, What’s Up! Music Magazine, and The “B” Side. Alexa was raised in Seattle, but now lives in Berkeley where she sings and plays ukelele, snuggles with dogs, writes prose poetry and eats tiramisu as often as possible.

Kim Bielak, social media marketing intern

Kim Bielak, Marketing Consultant 
Kim graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Media Studies. She found that her heart aligned with Take My Word For It!’s mission to give kids the opportunity to express themselves creatively and is thrilled to be able to employ her studies in digital media to interact with our online community. She finds her own creative outlet in dance, art and travel.

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