Josh Stephens, Vice President

Josh-StephensLos Angeles-based writer Josh Stephens has been telling stories about the people, politics, and development of cities in California for the better part of a decade. He formerly edited the California Planning & Development Report, the state’s leading publication on urban planning, and The Planning Report, a monthly newsletter covering urban planning in the Los Angeles area.

Josh’s freelance work on planning, design, transportation, and real estate development has appeared in print and online publications including Planetizen, Next City, Planning Magazine, Sierra Magazine, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He also writes on college admissions on the Huffington Post’s College Channel.

Josh earned his bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University where he was an editor/writer at the Princetonian, and his master’s in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Oakley Brooks

Oakley Brooks is a science and environment journalist whose work has appeared in news outlets around the world, including The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Far East Economic Review, ESPN The Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Portland Monthly and Oregon Business.

He’s a contributing editor at Nature Conservancy magazine.

In 2009-2010, he was writer-in-residence at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, where he wrote a book about the challenge of Sumatrans adapting to tsunami threats. The work was published in Asia as Tsunami Alert: Beating Asia’s Next Big One. He’s currently updating the book for publication in North America.

Previously, he spent four years as an editor at Oregon Business magazine. He was also a feature writer and city beat reporter for Saratoga News and Los Gatos Weekly-Times in northern California. He is a 1999 graduate of Princeton University, where he majored in history, with a minor in African Studies and education.

Judy Chaikin

Judy ChaikinJudy Chaikin is a graduate of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women and is best known for co-writing, producing and directing the Emmy nominated PBS documentary, “Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist,” with on-camera narration by Burt Lancaster, and executive-produced by Loren Stephens. Her current documentary, “The Girls in the Band,” which she co-wrote and directed has just completed a festival run winning five Best Documentary Awards. Judy is the Writer/Director of the bi-lingual documentary, “Los Pastores,” and “Sojourner Truth: Aint I a Woman,” featuring famed actress Julie Harris, which was executive produced by Loren Stephens for Coronet Films.

Judy began her directing career in theater with “Woman Speak” starring Jane Fonda. She also directed at the Groundlings Improvisational Theater working with Lisa Kudrow, John Lovitz and Phil Hartmann to name but a few. Judy has written columns for various industry journals on documentary filmmaking and directing, and has had a number of poems published in literary journals.

Judy is at work on her first novel about a small town girl who dreams of fame and fortune. When a Hollywood movie company comes to town, she accidentally achieves both, but at great personal cost. The adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” drives the engine of this cautionary tale.

Elizabeth Lopez

Elizabeth Lopez, editor and story analyst, attended Vassar College, majoring in English Literature. She was a screenwriting fellow of the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival. She started her writing career as a story analyst for talent managers and production companies including Vincent Cirrincione & Associates and The Little Company, and she has served as vice president of literary development at Marilyn Atlas Talent Management. Her editing credits include two young adult novels published by Harper Collins.

Elizabeth’s articles have been published in entertainment-oriented magazines, including The Writer’s Store E-Zine, and she has worked as a speech writer for Rob Reiner’s First Five California Foundation and Union Bank.

Mora Mattern

Mora FinnertyMora Mattern began her career in the late 1990s at Pittsburgh’s Rock ‘n Roll Reporter, where she wrote artist profiles, concert previews, and album reviews. From 2000 to 2002, she taught English at Marshall University while earning her master’s degree.  Mora published a handful of poems in Et Cetera, Marshall’s literary magazine, one of which garnered a first-place prize.  After teaching composition at local community colleges, she took a hiatus to be a stay-at-home mom and to travel abroad.  Mora resurfaced as a ghostwriter in 2007, penning several book-length memoirs that focus on addiction and various personal struggles.  She recently received her MFA degree in creative nonfiction from Goucher College.

Betsy Rosenthal

Betsy Rosenthal is a published author and editor. Her many essays have appeared in newspapers and magazine including the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, Mothering magazine, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, The Christian Science Monitor, California Monthly Magazine, and Working Writer. She is also the author of children’s books: My House Is Singing; It’s Not Worth Making a Tzimmes Over!; and her latest book, Which Shoes Would You Choose. Her first novel, Looking for Me in This Great Big Family, will be published by Houghton Mifflin in Spring 2012.

Betsy was formerly the Western States Counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, a position she left in order to raise her three children and concentrate on her writing. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her law degree from UCLA. For more details about her books you can visit Betsy at

Jenny Rough

Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. She has written articles and essays for AARP The Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, More, Salon, USA Weekend, The Washington Post, Writer’s Digest, and Yoga Journal, among other publications. Her essays have also appeared in numerous anthologies and on public radio.

Jenny studied creative writing and literature at Miami University (Ohio) and graduated summa cum laude from Pepperdine University School of Law. In 2005, she began writing full-time.

Jenny is an avid hiker, yoga practitioner, and spends time on assignment in Colorado and California.

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