Speakers Bureau

Modifier is Resolve Philly’s home for professional development and practice change. Through our Speakers Bureau, our knowledgeable and engaging team is available to speak to your organization. Our staff is prepared to join opportunities such as:

  • Plenary speeches and lectures
  • Conference panels and workshops
  • Guest lectures for students
  • Internal professional development programs
  • And more!

Our team members currently available for speaking engagements are listed below, along with their topics of expertise. We seek to ensure our investment in journalism that centers solutions and community voices is widely accessible to organizations and industries that can benefit from our work. To that end, Modifier uses a sliding scale to determine speaking fees where applicable.

To request a speaker for an upcoming opportunity, please contact us at modifier@resolvephilly.org.

Speaker Bios

  • Jean is a Philadelphia-native who is passionate about journalism’s vital role in creating a fair and just society. She co-founded Resolve Philadelphia in 2018 with the hope that sustained collaborative and engaged solutions reporting would help bring about a more informed and inspired city. During 2017, she was the Project Editor of The Reentry Project, Resolve’s pilot initiative, which focused on the challenges of and solutions to prisoner reentry. Prior to that, Jean was an award-winning freelance journalist, spending more than a decade reporting from the Global South and specializing in longform investigative and solutions pieces. She’s a Vice Magazine Contributing Editor and has been published in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Bloomberg Businessweek, among others.

    Jean is available to speak about:

    • Developing internal practices that build equity and anti-racism
    • Creating operating principles that reflect your values
    • Developing impact-driven fundraising narratives
    • Establishing equitable hiring and recruitment workflows
    • Developing onboarding and succession plans that set team members up for success
    • The benefits and challenges of shared leadership
    • Collaborative best practices, especially in the formation of multi-stakeholder groups
    • Solutions Journalism, particularly longform and international in scope
    • What’s needed in local news broadly for an industry shift towards equity and belonging
  • Cassie has been a leader in social innovation and business strategy for over a decade, holding executive leadership positions in government and nonprofit sectors. She co-founded Resolve Philly alongside Jean Friedman-Rudovsky in 2018, frustrated by Philadelphia’s stagnant social mobility and energized by the role that journalism could play in driving equitable solutions to some of our deepest social challenges. In the years since, Resolve’s portfolio of work has grown and Cassie has become a national speaker, thought leader, and coach on diversity and belonging in newsrooms, shared leadership, and building equitable organizational structures. She consults with newsrooms and academic institutions across the country, in addition to teaching Policy Communications at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice. 

    Cassie is available to speak about: 

    • Developing internal practices that build equity and anti-racism
    • Creating operating principles that reflect your values
    • Developing impact-driven fundraising narratives
    • Establishing equitable hiring and recruitment workflows
    • Developing onboarding and succession plans that set team members up for success
    • The benefits and challenges of shared leadership
  • Becka is available to speak about:

    • How start-up or micro news organizations can right-size their operations and finance team as they grow
    • Best practices in doing your first audit (or first few audits)
    • How HR can foster an environment that encourages a culture of staff who bring their whole selves to the workplace
    • Designing meaningful staff-wide retreats that leverage the skills and experiences of your team, provide a break from daily operations, and move an organization forward together in advancing their shared goals
    • Internal/staff conflict transformation through how to have hard conversations
    • Best practices for how HR can support its employees in navigating making medical insurance work best for them
    • Collaborative budget-building
    • How to foster strong dialogue and trusting relationships between finance and development teams
    • Trauma-informed practices for business finance conversations
    • Onboarding practices for new team members that prioritize a sense of inclusion from the very beginning and that are adaptable to new employees with varying learning/processing styles
  • Aubrey is obsessed with helping people understand the news and helping the news understand people. In her work with Resolve as the Director of Practice Change, she connects newsrooms with their constituents in ways that inspire more equitable and accurate representation and creates tools and resources that help them use more inclusive, human-centered language in their reporting. Before joining Resolve, Aubrey was the Newsletter Editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and also wrote educational videos and newsletters about media literacy, including three series for John and Hank Green’s Crash Course brand.

    Aubrey is available to speak about: 

    • Using human-centered and equitable language in the media
    • Framing effects and the maintenance of political power through news media
    • Content analysis techniques and learnings in the newsroom
    • Creating and maintaining email newsletters
    • Media literacy principles for the digital age
  • While collaboration may be new to some in journalism, Eugene Sonn has been getting newsrooms to work together since 1998. Gene first did this as a reporter, then as WHYY’s news director and now as Resolve’s Director of Collaboration, where he helps lead more than 25 newsrooms in our Broke in Philly reporting project. When not helping reporters and editors collaborate, Gene can be found biking, brewing beer or sharing his rabid love of the Boston Red Sox with his two sons.

    Eugene is available to speak about:

    • Starting or sustaining a collaboration among newsrooms
    • The benefits and challenges of collaborative funding processes
    • How Broke in Philly brought solutions reporting on poverty to the city’s front pages
    • Bringing solutions journalism to the radio and podcasting space
    • Shepherding the transition of large collaborative projects
  • Derrick is a Philadelphia native who is passionate about shifting the news paradigm and connecting with people to ensure accurate and authentic storytelling. Prior to Resolve, Derrick was a 2019 Reentry Think Media Justice Fellow, where he created and told stories about returning citizens that challenged stereotypes and illuminated hurdles to reentry. Derrick has several years of experience in criminal justice reform and public and motivational speaking. In addition to serving as a volunteer and mentor for several organizations and continuing his personal public speaking, Derrick is the Chair of the Professional Men’s Group with Menzfit, where he helps formerly incarcerated individuals by connecting them to resources.

    Derrick is available to speak about: 

    • Developing authentic, sustainable community engagement strategies
    • How the Resolve Philly Community Engagement team built its strategy
    • Facilitating small group discussion and deep listening
    • Changing the media narrative around returning citizens and incarceration
  • Julie Christie loves charts like nobody’s business. Julie joined Resolve Philly in 2019 to report with data, track Resolve’s impact, and yell about ZIP Codes. She currently leads Shake the Table, a long-term community engagement and reporting initiative that will hold elected officials accountable to the concerns of Philadelphians who have been systematically excluded from decision-making in our city. Additionally, she leads the hiring and management of Resolve Philly’s internships and annual fellowship. She also brings a concerning amount of knowledge on Lord of the Rings and houseplants to most staff meetings.

    Julie is available to speak about:

    • Using data to fuel solutions journalism and public accountability
    • Ethical and anti-exploitative data practices in journalism that focus on community data rights
    • How to collaborate with other newsrooms around data
    • Why ZIP codes should be banished from data journalism
    • Establishing an equitable hiring process and internship program that supports long-term careers and feeds back into your own organization
    • How data informs the investigative reporting behind the Our Kids project
    • Using Airtable to improve newsroom and nonprofit operations
  • Steve Volk has been reporting in Philadelphia since 2002, covering courts, crime, politics, neighborhoods and more. His work has been published in the Washington Post, Discover, Philadelphia, and Salon. His author page can be found at stevevolk.org.

    Steve is available to speak about: 

    • How solutions and investigative reporting go hand in hand
    • The origins of the Our Kids project and its impact on child welfare
    • Collaborating with newsroom editors as an independent reporter
    • How community members can advocate for themselves during the reporting process
  • Jingyao is the Program Manager for Community Engagement at Resolve Philly. She worked in immigrant-serving nonprofits for a number of years prior to entering journalism, overseeing programs related to healthcare access, social services, domestic violence, and aging adults/senior care, with focus on Philadelphia’s immigrant communities. Outside of Resolve Philly, Jingyao served as a past President of the Asian American Journalists Association, Philadelphia chapter.

    Jingyao also has experience doing philanthropy-adjacent work, having co-led the Greater Philadelphia’s Asian American/Pacific Islander giving circle, Asian Mosaic Fund. A transplant from Nebraska, she came to Philadelphia to pursue a graduate degree in public health at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health.

    Jingyao is available to speak about: 

    • Developing authentic, sustainable community engagement strategies
    • How the Resolve Philly Community Engagement team built its strategy
    • Creating culturally competent news with community partners
    • The importance of language accessibility and how to achieve it
  • Cue Drake cause Lily Medosch started as an intern, now she’s here (our Product Manager)! Lily loves how people-centered, collaborative, and multidisciplinary the product space is and works across initiatives at Resolve to support product thinking and development best practices. Her interests in people and storytelling led to a double major in Media Studies and Production & Sociology at Temple University. Lily’s happiest when talking about the movies she’s been watching and her family’s pet pig!

    Lily is available to speak about: 

    • The importance of impact tracking and how to implement it 
    • Using SMS and text messaging to reach marginalized communities
    • Bringing product thinking into your organization
  • Dio Roberson comes to Resolve from nontraditional origins, having spent her childhood living in shelters and on sidewalks. Fully aware that a lot of the surface stuff was out of her reach, she was driven to find the deeper connections between herself and other humans. Through that approach, Dio learned the value of interpreting folks through the frame of experiences and conditions that everyone — not just most people — can relate to. She studied journalism as a means to find the voice to declare her own existence, and empower others to do the same. Everyone at Resolve understands the power of journalism to engender the spirit of empathy through humanization, and being part of the work they do to that end makes Dio’s heart so full.

    Dio is available to speak about: 

    • Telling your own story as an engaging public speaker
    • How to turn a personal story into a compelling opinion piece or essay
    • How editors can work with community members to amplify their unique narratives
  • Maleka Fruean is a writer/journalist, community organizer, events coordinator, and Resolve’s new editorial associate. She has a degree in Journalism from Temple University and a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from St. Joseph’s College and uses both to share stories. She lives in Germantown where she mothers four children, drinks coffee, walks everywhere, and loves being a part of her neighborhood’s community organizing and journalism for the Germantown Info Hub. 

    Maleka is available to speak about: 

    • Reporting for, about, and with your community
    • The origins of Germantown Info Hub and its success 
    • Hosting meaningful community engagement events 
    • Showing up authentically and effectively at community events
  • Luisa Suarez is an Editorial Associate for Equally Informed at Resolve Philly, where she runs the Equally Informed Philly text line alongside Kristine Villanueva. She holds a B.A in journalism and political science from Temple University where she spent her time running a Latinx student organization and developing her storytelling skills. Luisa loves introducing people to the wonders of Colombian food, listening to music, and spending time with her Golden Retriever, Canela.

    Luisa is available to speak about: 

    • Using SMS and text messaging to reach marginalized communities
    • The origins of Equally Informed Philly and its success
    • (For a K-12 classroom) How I become involved with journalism at an early age, especially as a first-gen student