2021 Spark Media Conference Speakers
Stephanie is a literary agent and director of the agency’s blog network, BlogAbout. She specializes in creating custom launch teams, blog campaigns, and webinars with industry pros through the BlogAbout Blogger Network. Several of the books she has collaborated on have been in the top 10 on the New York Times Best Seller List and rated #1 on Amazon. She brings a unique approach to coaching her clients to help them transform their work and lead them to excel beyond what they envision. Stephanie has also offered strategic platform-building techniques to aspiring writers and helped them shape their writing and blogs into what an agent, publisher, producer, or reader is looking for.
Currently Stephanie lives in and loves to explore Colorado with her husband and two boys. You can connect with her on the BlogAbout’s Facebook group.
Kelly Buckner is a Visual Brand Consultant and Owner of BeeBold Collective.
Kelly works with you BACKSTAGE in your brand/business to ensure that your ONSTAGE presence attracts your perfect and ideal audience and clients. She helps you discover the blind spots, and build the bridges to make everything connect seamlessly.
Dr. Jon Chasteen is president of The King’s University in Southlake, Texas. He and his wife, Michele, also serve as the lead pastors of Victory Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Jon’s greatest passion is to empower and equip the local church to live, move, and be in the fullness of Christ.
The Church InTension podcast is a healthy conversation about areas of tension in the Church. Hosted by Dr. Jon Chasteen and powered by The King's University and Gateway Church, Church InTension covers topics surrounding racism, leadership anxiety, narcissistic leaders, engaging the LGBTQ community, and more. Since 2019, this conversation has been a valuable source of knowledge and encouragement for pastors as we tackle these areas of tension in the Church head on.
Cheryl Chumley is the online opinion editor of The Washington Times, where she writes daily commentaries and hosts a twice-weekly podcast called “Bold and Blunt” on politics, culture and current events from an unapologetic Christian, conservative viewpoint.
She is also the author of three books, the latest titled, “Socialists Don’t Sleep: Christians Must Rise Or America Will Fall.” Prior, she wrote, “Devil in DC: Winning Back the Country From the Beast in Washington,” and “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality.” Her next book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan to Take Away Your Freedom,” will be published November, 2021.
Tara-Leigh Cobble's zeal for Biblical literacy led her to create D-Group (Discipleship Group), which has grown into an international network of nearly 300 Bible studies that meet every week in homes, churches, and online. She also writes and hosts a daily radio show called "The God Shot", as well as a daily podcast called "The Bible Recap" which unpacks the richness of Scripture alongside the chronological 1-Year reading plan.
In its first 2 years, the podcast garnered 42 million downloads and reached #4 on the Apple Podcast Top Overall Charts. More than 20,000 churches around the world have joined their reading plan to know and love God better. Her book The Bible Recap (Baker / Bethany House), a 365-day guide to reading through the Bible, aims to help people not only read and understand Scripture but love it too!
For more information:
Social media: @taraleighcobble | @thebiblerecap | @mydgroup
Blythe is a literary agent and marketer who secures books with publishers, conducts publicity campaigns and online marketing. She helps writers build the right book proposal, secures contracts, promotes books, and has placed authors in the national media. She has worked in publishing for more than 20 years and represents bestselling non-fiction authors and new voices.
Blythe has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Auburn University with a minor in Journalism. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, daughter, and boy/girl twins. Blythe actively works with the next generation ministry at their church and loves talking about God, exploring places and conversations with her family, and watching Auburn football games and Hallmark movies with Starbucks in hand.
President of Inspire Buzz, a leading media strategy agency specializing in “making good popular” by promoting inspiring, cause-driven content and brands. His company is best known for creating multi-platform campaigns that result in stand-out media moments, and then turning those moments into a sustained movement for action.
Faraci has also created content that fits his inspirational vision, having served as Executive Producer on several projects including a feature film, Angel Studios’ TV series The Chosen, and the Dove Channel TV series Frankly Faraci. He currently has several projects in development, including the upcoming animated kids’s series Tuttle Twins.
Rachael Gilbert is a therapist, owner of The Back & Body Clinic, author (book coming March 2023), certified marketing coach, creator of The Intentional Influencer, and podcast host of Real Talk with Rachael (which won Most Bingeworthy Award at Spark 2020!).
Rachael helps women find their voice and be brave enough to use it. She loves to have real conversations and help women live free so they can pursue their God-given dreams.
Rachaelgilbert.com and on Facebook and Instagram.
Through journalism, media, public speaking appearances and the blogosphere, Billy Hallowell has worked as a journalist and commentator for more than 15 years. He has been featured in political and cultural books, textbooks, articles and on radio and TV shows that focus on faith, culture, politics and current events.
Hallowell is the director of communications and content for PureFlix.com, the former senior editor at Faithwire.com and the former faith and culture editor at TheBlaze; he has contributed to FoxNews.com, The Washington Post, Human Events, The Daily Caller, Mediaite, and The Huffington Post, among other outlets.
Host of Edifi with Billy Hallowell and The Pure Flix Podcast.
Paul Hastings is an entrepreneur and has consulted extensively in the film, marketing, and political arenas. He, his wife Sarah, and their 3 children live near Austin, Texas. His work has been featured by Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, World Magazine, American Family Association, The Gospel Coalition, and TheBlaze. Paul is the host of the Compelled Podcast.
Athena Dean Holtz
Athena Dean Holtz is a publisher, speaker, author, podcaster, pastor’s wife, and former radio host. For over thirty five years, she has worked in the book business, spearheading the independent publishing movement in the Christian market. Athena cofounded Redemption Press to fill an author-centered niche in publishing that included the Women of Joy Tour and in 2019 the She Writes for Him compilation was birthed. In 2020 The All Things weekly podcast launched to spotlight Redemption Press authors. 2021 has already seen the second annual She Writes for Him Virtual Braveheart Conference. In 2019, Redemption Press introduced a new imprint, Romans 8:28 Books, to launch Planned from the Start: A Healing Devotional as a companion product to the Unplanned film. Expanding further on this imprint is a new bookstore by the same name where Redemption Press authors are featured.
She is a past-president of Northwest Christian Writers, a member of Christian Women in Media Association (CWIMA), Advanced Writer & Speaker Association (AWSA), and former host of a weekly radio program, “Always Faithful.” Her memoir, Full Circle: Coming Home to the Faithfulness of God(Redemption Press, 2017) has been nationally acclaimed for its ability to resonate and inspire. Her new YouTube Channel and the Redeemed & Restored video broadcast/podcast is her newest outreach to minister to those who need to find the faithfulness of God after trauma and loss.
Dave Jackson is an award-winning podcaster who has been podcasting since 2005. He is an inductee of the Academy of Podcasters Hall oF Fame.
He is a featured/keynote speaker at events, author of the book More Podcast Money, and served as the Director of Podcasting for the New Media Expo.
He was featured in the Documentary The Messengers: A Podcast Documentary available on Amazon. He is best known for founding the School of Podcasting and helping thousands of podcasters launch successful podcasts. He has started over 20 podcasts and has over 3 million downloads.
Abby has always been fiercely determined to help women in need. This desire is what led Abby to a career with Planned Parenthood, our nation’s largest abortion provider, and caused her to flee the organization, becoming an outspoken advocate for the pro-life movement.
She is a frequently requested guest on Fox News and a variety of other shows. She is also the author of the nationally best-selling book, Unplanned, which chronicles both her experiences within Planned Parenthood and her dramatic exit. Today, Abby travels across the globe sharing her story, educating the public on pro-life issues, advocating for the unborn, and reaching out to abortion clinic staff who still work in the industry. She is the founder of And Then There Were None, a ministry designed to assist abortion clinic workers in transitioning out of the industry. To date, this ministry has helped over 430 workers leave the abortion industry. Abby lives in Texas with her husband and eight precious children.
Elizabeth is a speaker, blogger, podcast host, and bestselling author of Not On My Watch. As a homeschooling mother of ten children, her viral videos and commentary have launched Elizabeth to be a thought leader on issues of importance to families and people of faith. Elizabeth has been featured on many major media outlets, such as Fox & Friends, The New York Times, The Blaze and Christian Broadcasting Network. The pulse behind all her activism and commentary is her love for her family and her Savior, Jesus Christ. You can read her blog or connect with her at ElizabethJohnston.org
Sarah helps busy families connect deeply with God. She loves Jesus and her family, especially her husband and two boys.
Sarah has a background in counseling, loves teaching children the Bible, and is passionate about helping people around the world know Jesus.
She is the author of Psalm Prayers for Kids and Psalm Prayers for the Nations, and she hosts a family-friendly prayer podcast called Hearts at Rest with Sarah Keeling.
Rob Kirkpatrick is Executive Producer at Focus on the Family. Since 1987, Rob has set the standard of excellence for Focus’ audio content; now heard by over 6 million people each week.
Focus has been podcasting 10+ years with programs ranking in the top 1% of all podcasts.
Lee Ann Mancini
Lee Ann is the host of the Raising Christian Kids podcast, which can be found on all major platforms. The Raising Christian Kids podcast is a ten-minute podcast that equips and empowers ministry leaders, parents, grandparents, teachers, and all who are raising the next generation to have a strong foundation in Jesus.
Lee Ann is an award-winning Christian children's author and Executive Producer of the animation series, Sea Kids, which can be viewed on Trinity Broadcasting Network, Pure Flix, Right Now Media, and SeaKidsTv.com
She is a professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary teaching Apologetics, Romans, Ministerial Ethics, Prison Epistles, and The Bride of Christ.
Lucas Miles is a trusted voice in the American church who has consistently addressed some of the most challenging topics in theology, politics, and culture. He is the host of Faithwire’s The Lucas Miles Show and a cohost of The Church Boys podcast. Lucas and his work have been featured in books and on TV and radio programs, as well as syndicated in articles across both political and religious news outlets. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Good God: The One We Want to Believe In but Are Afraid to Embrace.
An ordained pastor with over twenty years of ministry experience, Lucas has been involved in dozens of church planting efforts in the US and in remote locations not least of which is his local ministry, Nfluence Church, where he and his wife, Krissy, have been serving since planting the church in 2004.
Misty is the Founder of Spark Media which consists of the Spark Christian Podcast Conference, Spark Now Summit, and the Spark Collective.
Spark Media empowers faith-based podcasters to share Biblical truth through podcasting. Spark Media equips podcasters through live and virtual events, training from industry leaders, a thriving community of fellow podcasters, and consultations designed to bring knowledge, insight, and clarity to the production process. Misty is the host of the popular By His Grace podcast. Misty inspires others through her leadership, speaking, and mastermind groups. She currently serves as the Houston Connect Leader for Christian Women In Media, and is a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Misty is the author of the best-selling Bible Study, The Struggle is Real: But So is God and the Spark Podcast Planner 2020.
Peter has spent his career living by the servant leadership philosophy and serving clients as a trusted advisor in technology, strategy, and business improvement. Peter is the Chief Marketing Officer of Spark Media, including the Spark Collective, Spark Conferences, Spark Now Summit, and MistyPhillip.com. He is also the Executive Producer of the By His Grace Podcast.
Peter is an avid technologist and overseas Spark Media in all things technology-related.
In his 20+ years of experience leading organizations in technology solutions, he has served nearly one hundred and fifty clients from startups to Fortune 5 companies across energy, healthcare, manufacturing, finance, and consumer industries.
Thomas Umstattd Jr.
Thomas Umstattd Jr. started his first podcast in 2007 and has hosted half a dozen different shows since then including an afternoon drive talk show on terrestrial radio.
As an award-winning speaker, Thomas Umstattd teaches creative people all over the world how to build their platforms, sell more books, and change the world with writing worth talking about.
As a podcaster, he hosts the Novel Marketing Podcast, and Christian Publishing Show. He currently serves as the CEO of Author Media.
Michelle Watson trains digital missionaries to optimize Kingdom messages for the virtual space through SEO, social, and design. The culture war goes two ways, and her goal is to hone the skills of Christian content creators so their message rings clear, with excellence, without all the overwhelm. She is the owner of Thirtyone25 Creative, a content and coaching firm, co-hosts The Pantry Podcast with her husband Shea Watson, and builds awesome block towers and pillow forts with their daughter, Calia.