Jeannie Ralston has long followed the maxim, “Write what you know.” Soon after she graduated from college, newly out of her teens herself, she became editor-in-chief of TeenAge magazine in New York. Later, after a stretch spent freelance writing for Time and Life magazines, she became a contributing editor of Allure, a beauty magazine—which conveniently coincided with her glamorous 20s and early 30s in Manhattan.
Marriage and a move to Texas came next and soon after the birth of her second child, she took on a new more appropriate position—contributing editor of Parenting magazine. During this time, she and her husband began the first commercial lavender farm in Texas and eventually wrote a memoir—The Unlikely Lavender Queen, published by Broadway Books—about her transformation from a Manhattan journalist to a lavender-farming mom in the rural reaches of the Lone Star State.
Once they built the business into a profitable enterprise and sold it, Jeannie and her husband moved to Mexico so that their sons could become bilingual. Four years later, they took off for a stint of homeschooling and traveling that landed them in 16 countries around the globe and resulted in an e-book, The Mother of All Field Trips. Jeannie and her husband now live outside of Austin, Texas. Learn more about Jeannie on her website.
Born a Chicagoan, Lori Seekatz moved to Texas to attend college when she was 18, and landed in Austin in her ‘20s. That was 30 plus years ago. In the meantime, she became a food broker, sales manager, design lover and helped build a bootstrap business into an international company. Married with three kids and three dogs, she thinks too much–mostly at 4 in the morning.
Michele has an extensive background in corporate and entertainment finance for major Hollywood studios. She’s been General Counsel and COO for independent film, TV and tech companies – from The Jim Henson Company to SD Entertainment to Cinedigm Digital Cinema. She’s co-founded and run businesses, managed financing, production, distribution and marketing, and helped build and grow global brands. She embraces a rule that Jim Henson maintained: “Only hire attorneys who can hang out in the basement with the puppeteers.” Which means she’s the fun (and funny) kind of attorney. Contact Michele about sponsorships and partnerships: michele@NextTribe.com.
Marketing—Ellesor Gray Holder
Ellesor Holder has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and public relations that all started in Atlanta, Ga. She has worked in all areas of the industry for more than 30 years from ad agencies to freelance writing to sales, marketing and event management. She possesses advanced skills in branding, marketing leadership, social media integration, strategic planning and event planning. Ellesor is a Certified Festival and Events Executive (CFEE) by the International and Festival Events Association. She is also a public speaker and educator providing informative workshops on the latest in workplace technology, productivity and social media. Although she loves the marketing world, she loves more her husband Lee, their 14 year old daughter, their two dogs and life on Lake Greenwood in South Carolina.
Hot Flash Editor—Janet Siroto
Janet Siroto’s work is always driven by her curiosity about culture. She’s currently a marketing consultant and trend-tracker at BrainReserve, a future-focused strategic agency in Manhattan. She also has deep expertise in content strategy, having served as editorial director of Match.com, as well as journalism: She held the Editor-in-Chief position at Time Inc.’s Family Life magazine, as well as senior editorial positions at Cosmopolitan, Redbookand Good Housekeeping. As a writer, her work has focused on women’s lives and cultural trends, and has appeared in New York, The New York Times, Vogue and many other publications. She lives in the NYC area with her husband and has two college-age sons.
Carol Rumbolt began her career in magazine publishing. A move to Atlanta landed her in the advertising world designing an array of marketing communication materials for clients like Georgia Pacific, IBM and Shell Oil. Now headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, she works for clients both large and small. Her work has encompassed all facets of communications: branding and corporate identity, web design, print, television, packaging, book and magazine design, illustration and new media. Her style is one of simplicity that clearly and effectively conveys the client’s message to the end user. Carol, the mother of two grown sons, is an avid mountain biker and heads out to local trails with her husband, Shawn, as much as she can.
Austin Director—Mary Ellen Farrar
Mary Ellen Farrar is the ringleader of NextTribe’s IRL (in real life) social network in our Austin test market. She writes weekly and daily email updates for our Austin members, making sure they stay up on all the events in busy Austin and that they are among the most well-informed women in town. She also plans unique events for our Austin tribe. Originally from Vermont, Mary Ellen made her way to Austin in 1981 to attend the University of Texas. In 1985, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communication and embarked on a career as a producer. She found herself producing commercials for ad agencies in Austin and on the west coast. Now, thirty some-odd years later, she is using her skills as a communicator to write the stories of that career and the people she met along the way. She lives in Austin and is the proud human companion of Norton, the cutest dog in the whole wide world. Contact Mary Ellen about events and partnerships in Austin: maryellen@NextTribe.com.