Read on to get the rundown on all the fantastic guests attending Women of Wonder Con 2020. Not only are they all talented and amazing, you can meet most of them in our Creative Corner throughout the day and find them on panels or hosting workshops!
Lisa Umbarger looks at the world a little differently than most people. She scans the horizon for the next challenge and follows that path to new solutions. This call to adventure has allowed her to explore the connection between various roles and learn from some incredible mentors along the way. With the guidance of these teachers, she has learned that it is not what you do, but how you do it, that matters.
As a founding member of platinum recording artist the Toadies she connected with a new voice to her artistry. Fun Fact: Lisa did not know how to play the bass when she joined the band. The “not knowing” drove her to find a way to courageously move through fear, while ignoring the critics. The Toadies started playing live shows only three months later.
When the Toadies ended, Lisa went out into the world to discover what she wanted to do when she grew up, now that literally being a rock star was checked off the list. She got her irrigators license, managed international marketing for a juice company and invented some cool stuff using nanotechnology. The common thread here, is that she always looked for opportunities to help people and leave spaces better than when she found them.
Being in the music industry helped Lisa realize that there is a huge slant, like a large kid on a see-saw, when it comes to equality and inclusion in the workplace. There will be a day, although it may take some consciousness hacking, when the balance is set right. Now, she is on to her next mission…reuniting with her old Toadies band mates to form SolShifter. Don’t die with the music in you.
Melissa N. Unfred is a dual licensed funeral professional undertaking progressive death care exploration for people and pets. As The Modern Mortician, her goal is education on alternative options in end of life, like Water Cremation (Aquamation), Shades of Green or Natural Burial, and guidance on Body Donation in the honor of Science! She also provides a unique insight into the Funeral Service Industry with a lens of over 20 years observation and participation, and advocates for those desiring a more hands on approach for their own.
She is shadowed by her sidekick, Kermit the Dog, who in March of 2017 became the first certified therapy dog working in funeral service in the State of Texas. Melissa and Kermit serve their community and present often to Non-Profit Organizations and Educators across the country both in person and via online.
Melissa entered funeral service at 17 yrs old. She attended DIFS in 2001 and later in 2012 graduated the top of her class from Amarillo College w/ an Associates of Applied Science, as a decorated member of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. She earned her CFSP designation from the APFSP in 2015, March 2016 she was one of 40 selected few to attend the NFDA Meet the Mentors program and later that year selected as a judge on the NFDA Innovation Award panel. She was featured on the Nat Geo Explorer Channel’s Faces of Death documentary, filmed assisting a family in natural shrouded burial. Melissa was nominated for the Rose Professional Spirit Award in 2016, and was selected as the 2015, 2016 & 2017 Reader’s Choice Award recipient for Austin’s Senior Resource Guide Best Funeral Provider. She earned her certification as a Licensed Crematory Operator in the state of Texas in early 2017 and spring, she was awarded SCTFDA Young Professional of the Year by her peers.
Kermit has been featured on Yahoo News, The Dodo, Austin Chronicle, and on the covers of Southwest Airlines Magazine and The Director. Their Instagram, @mod_mortician, has over 35k followers and grows daily as people seek transparency and more information on end of life care.
2018 saw publication in multiple applications, and in 2019 she resumed hands on interaction with families in need at end of life by co founding the first and only Carbon Neutral Funeral Home, Affinity Green Cremation Texas, providing Texans with Water Cremation, Natural Burial, and Greener forms of Flame Cremation.
CREATIVE CORNER GUESTS & PANELISTS
Bubbling cauldrons, ancient spells, the limbs and blood of ancient creatures slain: we at Fresh Hell Studio create only the best for our intrepid adventurers! We offer everything from handbound necronomicons for the most discerning of warlocks to mimic lockboxes that any rogue with a stash of booty in need of protecting would be lucky to own. Our selection is wide and varied: we summon familiars, enchant magical trinkets, and guarantee good luck and fortune to anyone that stumbles across our humble shop on their way to seek their glory!
Carol Ann Bamberger
Carol Ann Bamberger is an artist based in DFW whose work revolves around fun illustrations based on food and funny animals. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor’s in drawing and painting, and now creates a variety of merchandise from apparel, key chains, and stickers featuring her illustrations for her own brand called Harpielily. A big geek at heart, she loves video games, going to museums, and looking through art books from all sorts of genres.
Chelsea Bee is a familiar face within the Anime and Comic Convention Community. Over the years, she has won numerous awards, including multiple Best of Show for cosplay performance, and craftsmanship. She leads panels over SFX makeup and horror costuming, and advocates for body positivity and inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, her attention has turned to focus on digital illustration and other crafted goods. She draws inspiration from vintage cartoons like Strawberry Shortcake, She-Ra, and Jem; she also creates art involving cute animals and sweet treats. Whatever her focus, Chelsea spreads positive awareness within the community.
Ashli and Kai are a married couple who like to make art that resonates with people and acts as conversation starters. Kai is an illustrator and the mastermind behind Profanity Bugs. She works by day as a Graphic Designer, and by night… she trips over cats. Meanwhile, Ashli is learning several handicrafts with the help and support of The Horde of companion animals (that Kai is constantly tripping over).
In 2018, they officially started making things together as Cleave. They attend conventions, pop-ups, farmer’s markets, and art fairs. They will happily talk to you about their cats and dogs, but no more animals are allowed into their house. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere!
Eliamaria Madrid Crawford
Eliamaria Madrid Crawford, Elia for short, is a Dallas, Texas-based illustrator. Known for her simple, box-figure style and dry humor, she is constantly wanting to create and share in the hopes of making people smile and laugh.
She started her webcomic, Elia in a Box, in 2009 as a hobby and grew it to be her ongoing profession. The slice-of-life comic features her signature box-figure characters just sharing the funny thoughts and happenings of life.
Along with her webcomic, Elia also loves to share her love for the indie art culture and shares her art adventures on her YouTube channel. There she uploads videos sharing different supplies she uses, speed-drawing videos, and vlog sharing her experience tabling at many different shows.
With many comic books under her belt and many more projects to look forward to, Elia is always ready for her next art adventure and hopes you all enjoy it, too!
Charlotte also known as BCharlotteD is a model and cosplay personality! Completing over sixty cosplays in her three years of cosplaying! Winning a few awards and judging many contests she has been guesting all over Texas! Officially working with Game Stop and the CW 33 she has been able to collaborate with even more brands!
Hi, I’m Dianita. I grew up in Veracruz, Mexico and lived there most of my life and moved to Texas in 2015. Our family is formed by my husband, our dog and now my cat!
In my art I explore the idea of connection between us and nature, but giving it a fantasy twist. I love to create scenes with animals of fantastical nature like dragons, Pegasus, unicorns, etc but also animals from our own world. Some of my pieces have small hints to my culture like imaginary statues and embroideries inspired in Mexican crafts to celebrate my heritage and introduce it to this fantasy world I’m creating. I’m a traditional artist and I love to work with graphite, colored pencils, acrylics and oil paints. I was self-taught until 2019, when I enrolled in SmArt School for Spring and Fall semester having incredible artist Donato Giancola as my mentor.
Girls Rock Dallas
Girls Rock Dallas is a nonprofit summer camp that works to empower girls, transgender and gender expansive youth through music education.
During camp week, campers ages 8-17 learn an instrument, form a band and write an original song. They also participate in electives such as advocacy, healthy relationships, self-defense, stage performance, music videos, etc. We are super excited because last year we started a free or minimal cost gear checkout so campers who might want to continue finding and expressing their voice can do so outside of camp. We also offer financial assistance for camp tuition that over 90% of our campers utilized last year.
The High Moons
The High Moons have come a long way in a few short years. They’ve gone from a two woman show featuring two of the Henderson sisters to a four piece band now featuring a the third Henderson sister. Jordan, Hannah and Eden Henderson have taken stages all across Texas and entertained crowds of all ages! Their genre is hard to pin down, as it seems limitless, but the best description has been “indie gypsy blues”. Their set can go from sultry sirens of the south with haunting melodies, to fast paced 50’s style pop with a twist of vulgarity. Their music can be heard locally on KNON 89.3, 9.17 KXT, 88.5 KEOM with Zach Killian and online. With no genre limitations, they’ve collaborated with incredible artists such as G. Champ of GLOAT ENT with their hit, “She Pays It”. They’ve been featured artists on the renown SOFAR Sounds multiple times, play the Deep Ellum Arts Festival regularly and was nominated for a Dallas Observer Music Award! The harmonies, interesting melodies, superb instrument combinations and healing lyrics are just a few of the reasons why people are falling under the spell of The High Moons.
Elizabeth Howard is a geek who lives in Denton, TX and works full time as a graphic designer and social media manager. Her online shop Wilde Designs opened in 2007 and is the artist’s playground where she tries out new techniques in digital and traditional art as well as crafting mediums. When she isn’t working, Beth spends her time at home with her husband Wes, her son Pike, her daughter Cassie, and their three dogs.
Hannah Isabelle is a mostly self taught watercolor painter and illustrator. Originally from California, Hannah found a new home in Dallas, TX. She enjoys painting everything from pet portraits to spooky Victorian houses to whimsical garden scenes. Still finding her creative identity, Hannah Isabelle hopes to one day illustrate and write her own literary work.
Bekah June is a writer and front end developer based in Oklahoma City. She is a former professional game master and steampunk. She is mom of two boys, chronicling their misadventures through childhood and cosplay in her blog Curious Life of Hobbits.
She is also a published Occult/Paranormal Author, her current book available in the U.S. and E.U. – Turning the Table: A Look at the Victorian Supernatural Obsession [available on Amazon]. She has lectured on Victorian Paranormal at conventions and conferences across the U.S. She is a voice actor lending her voice to bring Rhayne’s Co A.I. to life in the web series Tales of a Broken Reality. She loves taking the stage at local open mics as a stand-up comedian.
Her passion in life is writing, art, and history. She loves sharing that with her Instagram followers.
Ellen Natalie is a DFW artist, and has been self-publishing comics between college and a day job since 2009. Fascinated with the idea that everyone is different and the same, she’s used comics to explore different views of faith, tradition and life via the perspective of fandoms and folklore we all share. The most recent example of this is her ongoing webcomic, Furry Experience – which navigates the complexities of religious culture with relatable furry characters.
Jennifer Nesrsta (aka Kieshar) is located in the DFW area of TX and has been working as a graphic designer and illustrator for most of her professional career. She also creates and illustrates comic/webcomics. Just recently finished a project called Belma. It is a short, silent, fantasy comic of a clan’s girl and an orphan boy that meet and experience their crystalline world as family. All pages were created with traditional watercolor and gouache painting. The next project will be more of a traditional, digitally created comic in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. In her pastime, cosplay is a joy.
Site | Instagram
Hey there, I’m Alex Perez. I’m a freelance artist from Fort Worth, TX who’s passionate about everything 2D. By day, I’m a stay-at-home mom of an energetic three-year-old. By night, a caffeinated creative with an Ipad pro. Last year, I graduated as a student of Don Bluth University where I studied traditional 2D animation from Legendary animator Don Bluth himself. Recently, most of my work has been done digitally using the app Procreate for various jobs such as creature art for an indie game studio to character design for D&D fans.
Hey I’m Brittany, I’m a mother and a caregiver. I’ve been cosplaying for a few years and I am going to school for audio production to become a sound designer for video games. As a hobby I create things; I’ve made flower mirrors, melted crayon artwork, soaps, masks and various other things. Currently at my booth you will find prints and originals of melted creations, flower mirrors, and nerdy soaps!
Jasmine Willis is the Chief Executive Officer and Senior Project Director of The NexCrew LLC, a social media entertainment and events group, and President of the Geeks of Color Expo. She advocates for the empowerment of Black creatives within the geek community by curating platforms to put them front and center. Jasmine works alongside her fellow geeks to provide services to businesses and entrepreneurs such as creative brand consults, copy editing, website development, and content creation for social media! Jasmine is no stranger to the podcast world. She began podcasting in 2013 on AfterDark Radio, rebranded as NexusGen Radio, and finally evolved into The NexCrew’s ShckValue. She co-hosts the program alongside her husband, Desmond Childs, and allows herself the ability to share her love for various fandoms with people just like her. When she isn’t hard at work, Jasmine enjoys gaming, taking pictures, reading webcomics, and being her own foodie. Jasmine currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two children.