Amy Tenbrink, Lead Event Organizer
Amy spends her days practicing corporate, intellectual property and technology law at a Fortune 500 company in Colorado. Her nights and weekends over the last fifteen years have involved managing a wide variety of events, starting with her high school's theatrical productions, marching band shows and sporting events. Most notably, she has planned GRAMMY in the Schools for the University of Southern California and helmed the kickoff conference for the Department of Justice's Intellectual Property Rights Initiative. Most recently, she organized The Witching Hour, a Harry Potter conference in Salem, Massachusetts. Her experience includes all aspects of event planning, from logistics and marketing to legal consulting and budget management, and she holds degrees with honors from both the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Hallie Tibbetts, Lead Event Organizer
Hallie has found that, no matter how hard one tries to escape, education won't let go. An honors graduate of the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music, she taught K-8 music classes for the Broad Prize-winning Long Beach Unified School District in California before becoming a Lead Event Organizer for The Witching Hour, which explored all things Harry Potter in Salem, Massachusetts in 2005. Hallie has held various educational positions where she taught Japanese English teachers to swear, pre-schoolers to identify parts of the digestive tract, and eighth graders to love the opera. Despite this, her main areas of interest are urban education, cross-curricular integration, supporting second language learners, the pre-K-16 continuum, and continuing education.
Kirstee Byrne, Chair of Communications
As a corporate travel agent, Kirstee spends most of her time organizing other people's lives. She's been employed in the travel industry for a salary for a year, though she's spent the last 25 years organizing other people's lives. Her other myriad of jobs and positions include three years as an office slave and unofficial manager, a friendly bank teller, and a general retail clerk. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies and Politics and a certificate in Tourism - Retail Sales. She worked on The Witching Hour, a Harry Potter symposium, as Information Desk Coordinator and Minister of Magic, and before that at Nimbus — 2003 as a general volunteer. Back home, she has worked on events such as Youth Parliament as a participant and organizer. She entered the online Harry Potter fandom in 2002 and has never looked back.
Rennie Guedel, Chair of Logistics
Rennie has been spoiled for the past five years by an administrative position that indulges her desire to be barefoot 90% of the time. On-the-job experience has prepared her for a life of people-wrangling, scheduling, and general event coordination, none of which has anything at all to do with her B.S. in Biology. She began lurking heavily in the Harry Potter fandom in late 2001 and her many attempts to leave it have been largely unsuccessful. After a stint on the security team for Nimbus — 2003, she acted as Chair of Security for The Witching Hour.
Kathryn Loup, Chair of Accounting & Legal
Kathryn, who holds an M.B.A. in Finance, spends her free time volunteering for several local organizations in Michigan, including the historic Michigan Theater. In her not-so-free time, Kathryn currently works in the financial department of a major company, though her résumé includes finance and accounting for a variety of small and large businesses. Kathryn first picked up the Harry Potter books in 1999. Her Harry Potter fandom experience includes serving as the Chair of Accounting & Legal for The Witching Hour.
Sharina Pratt, Chair of Registration
A twenty-something recent college graduate from the Rosen School of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida, Sharina holds the esteemed position of Chair of Registration. When she isn't busy color-coding event tickets, which brings far too much joy into her organized chaos, Sharina works by night at Universal Orlando CityWalk as a Team Leader at Bob Marley: A Tribute to Freedom. Her most entertaining job to date has been with SeaWorld Florida, where she had the privilege of driving around a Volkswagen Beetle in the shape of Shamu. Sharina previously held the position of Chair of Registration for The Witching Hour, a Harry Potter symposium.
Suzanne Scott, Chair of Programming
Suzanne is a doctoral student of Critical Studies at the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. In addition to presenting works on fan cultures and cult media at various conferences and working as a staff writer for the New York-based film magazine Reverse Shot, Ms. Scott is preparing to begin work on her dissertation, a study of the convergence between new media and fan narratives, focusing exclusively on Harry Potter fandom and multimedia texts.
Emily Balawejder, Art & Design Coordinator
Emily devotes her life to making the world a little bit prettier, one client at a time. She graduated with a journalism degree, but learned very quickly that she was a bit fluffier than her reporting professors wanted her to be. They put a mouse, keyboard, and a few flashy programs in front of her, and she came to the realization that there was a fluffy side to journalism and that she would be a designer. It was as magical a moment as she can ever hope to experience. During the day, she can be found fighting off advertising reps, designing layouts and ads and playing with scissors. As the night rises, she can be found working on more freelance design projects than she can handle, notably including Harry Potter conferences and local music promotion. She started her convention work as a graphic design volunteer for Nimbus — 2003, continued on as a lead event organizer and production coordinator for The Witching Hour, and is returning to her design roots as the Art & Design Coordinator for Phoenix Rising.
Sarah Benoot, Exploratory Programming Coordinator
Sarah is a member of species cubicus dwellerus in Arizona. Her current position allows little usage of her A.A.S. in Video Production from the Art Institute of Phoenix, but she practices constant vigilance for that script writing, lighting, or editing emergency that is sure to come up any time now. Her wide-ranging fandom activities include serving as a Coder Elf for FictionAlley's Fic Intake Team and as Assistant Chair of Formal Programming for The Witching Hour, but mostly just being amazed and impressed by the stories and art she sees produced every day.
Adrith Bicchieri, Events Coordinator
Adrith is a thirty-something wrangler of computers, users, and networks, having performed computer lab monitor duties in academic and government settings. No stranger to literature, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of New Hampshire, and is returning to college studies in pursuit of a degree in library science. In addition to her stint as a Prefect at The Witching Hour, she has previously assisted with the organization of a Star Trek convention and multi-day wargaming tournament in her local community. The Harry Potter fandom ate her brain in 2003, and has never quite given it back — in her free time, she maintains a fanfiction archive named Slytherin Commons, and has been known to write the occasional fanfic herself.
Kayla Gagnet Castille, Public Affairs Coordinator
Kayla works as newspaper reporter in Louisiana, most recently covering Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She is dedicated to community service journalism; her reporting has brought clean drinking water to a small community and freed a man from prison. Kayla joined Harry Potter fandom in 2003, and last year she volunteered for The Witching Hour, where she lent her writing and news business experience to her roles as Assistant Chair of Public Relations and Press Coordinator. She holds a bachelor's degree with honors from Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication.
Amber Charleville, Sponsorship Coordinator
Amber works at a hotel in Kansas City where she has been dazzling guests with her wit and charm for over a year. After trying out different jobs and surviving two years at Walt Disney World, she has settled down into studenthood at Maplewoods Community College. She spends her time writing and reading fanfiction, watching too many TV shows, and serving as co-admin of HP Icons. Her long-term goal is to become an Academic Ninja; in the meantime she delights in abusing punctuation (especially ellipses and parentheses).
Sabrina Chin, Website Coordinator
Sabrina works full time as a software developer for a telecommunications company located in the Washington, D.C. area. She has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and is currently attending classes in the evenings to obtain her master's degree part-time. She has volunteered for Nimbus — 2003 as a member of both the Editing & Publishing team and the Web team. As the Chair of Technology for The Witching Hour, she oversaw the audio-visual needs of the event, along with the creation and maintenance of the conference's website and the registration and submission systems. Sabrina was a co-creator of the current site layout design of FictionAlley and its related websites, where she volunteers as a member of the technology team.
Sharon Goetz, Academic Programming Coordinator
Sharon is too fond of textuality for her own good. Currently an associate editor with a print-and-digital project, she has also written software manuals, taught college writing courses oriented around speculative fiction and King Arthur, and completed a Ph.D. on English historiography and medieval manuscripts. She has participated in all levels of planning for academic events. In 2002, she chaired the two-day Medieval Performativity conference that celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the UC Berkeley Beowulf Marathon. Much of her fandom engagement to date has involved lurking silently; she especially enjoyed reading all the proposals as Programming Secretary for The Witching Hour.
Kate Herndon, Merchandise & Auction Coordinator
Kate is a part-time college student and jack of all trades, having worked as pizza maker, room service deliveryperson, florist, customer service agent, and flight attendant. Currently, Kate is employed as a nanny. Some of you may know Kate from The Witching Hour, where she was a muddy Pixie in the Quidditch tournament and did interpretive dances for the Hogwarts houses. She first read Harry Potter seven years ago, then found the online fandom and has since fallen into a maddening obsession with fanfic writing. One of her secret talents is spending money, and she can't wait to shop for merchandise for Phoenix Rising.
Macy Joseph III, Security Coordinator
Macy has been an Auror — er, police officer for a small community of 16,000 on the shimmering shores of Buzzards Bay for the past 27 years. His assignments have included motorcycle patrol, marine patrol, safety and rescue officer and training officer, and he is now assigned as a school resource officer to the town's middle school where he is the advisor to a Harry Potter club. When not working as a police officer, Macy may be found working per diem as a paramedic for local EMS companies or at one of the local hospitals in the emergency room. Once a week, just for fun — and some money, of course — he teaches at the local police academy. His areas of instruction are Mass Casualty Incident Management, First Responder, Juvenile Issues and Domestic Abuse. Macy has been a Harry Potter fan ever since his granddaughter asked him to read the first book to her many years ago. He attended The Witching Hour in Salem, Massachusetts and was a member of the security team.
Donna Lafferty, Vendor Coordinator
Donna opened a day spa in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1995. She soon realized that nobody just "owns" a business — you babysit, you sweat every detail, you stay up nights worrying, you're the first person to get involved when there's trouble and the last person to benefit when things go well. It's like having a toddler who never grows up, but she swears she wouldn't trade it for anything. As a fellow business owner, she is especially sympathetic to the needs of Phoenix Rising's Vendors. For fun, Donna co-administers Knockturn Alley, a discussion board for adult Harry Potter fans. She's also a decent trombonist, a better-than-average vegetarian cook, and a graduate of Northwestern University.
Sarah Leadbeater, Audio/Visual Coordinator
A fandom lurker for the better part of six years, Sarah is an industrial designer by training and a teacher by accident. Her current position, teaching CAD, video production, and Web design at a high school on the north shore of Boston, lends her plenty of experience dealing with audio/visual setups of all sorts. In addition to her A/V duties for the conference, she will once again serve as a Quidditch referee. Unlike The Witching Hour in Salem, Massachusetts, she is hopeful that this year's Quidditch finals won't involve great swaths of mud.
Jennifer Knight Schachtner, Hotel Coordinator
Jennifer is a chemical engineer working in the heart of chemical and refinery business in the New Orleans area, and in the past in the Houston, Texas area. Her customers include the refineries that make gasoline and NASA. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Biochemical Engineering. Jennifer has over 18 years of volleyball experience, from competitive play at the college level to refereeing for the USVBA. Her past convention experiences include being on the executive board as lead chair for registration and event planning for North Carolina State University as they hosted the 1998 East Regional AiCHe Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. She's been a Harry Potter fan since 2000 and became particularly interested in discussing theories and canon during Hurricane Katrina, when she had no access to television — but did have an internet connection.
Amy Wilson, Volunteer & Travel Coordinator
Amy has been in the travel industry for over five years and currently works at a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. She has a certificate in Travel and Tourism and is attending school part-time to finish her Bachelor of Arts degree. Her experience planning and organizing events began in high school, where she was secretary and manager for the band and project manager for the drama club, as well as being stage manager for several school and community theater productions. A long-time Girl Scout, her Silver Award project included organizing a service unit camping trip. More recently, she was Assistant Chair of Security and Volunteer Coordinator for The Witching Hour, a Harry Potter symposium in Salem, Massachusetts. Amy lurked in the online Harry Potter fandom for more than a year before becoming an active participant in 2003, enjoys reading and writing fanfiction, and spends entirely too much time on LiveJournal.