An attorney, businessman and former judge, James J. Kaufman has published several works of non-fiction. The Collectibles, his multi-award winning debut novel, draws heavily from his experiences in law, his dealings in the business world, and his interactions with people from widely different backgrounds. Kaufman lives in Landfall, Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife, Patty. He is currently working on writing his second novel. Mr. Kaufman is a proud member of the esteemed Players, Gramercy Park, New York City.
In addition to his writing, Kaufman is CEO of The Kaufman Group, Ltd, a company that assists financially troubled businesses across the United States through restructure and strategic turnarounds. He is a member of the Cape Fear Club, Wilmington, NC and also a member of the Board of Imaging The World (ITW), a not-for-profit health care company delivering ultrasound services to Uganda and other underserved populations, and in the process saving many lives. http://www.jamesjkaufman.com
Chitoka Webb is a successful business owner, motivational speaker and author who lives in Hendersonville, TN. Raised by her single mother, Webb grew up in the Preston Taylor housing projects, landed her first job in a grocery store at only 13 years old. Now, in her mid-30s, she owns several businesses including two health care agencies and a new state-of-the-art barbershop.
Webb suffered blindness for six months as a result of Behcet’s disease. High doses of Steroidal eye injections and medications corrected her failed eye sight. The Behcet’s diagnosis led her to write her memoir, Something Inside of Me. Some of Webb’s successes include being appointed by the governor of Tennessee as a board of trustee to a state appointed board, a mentor for the Nashville Juvenile Justice Center, president of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Business Council, and being elected to the prestigious Entrepreneurs Organization. Webb currently volunteers as an auditor for the Nashville United Way and serves as a board member for the Middle Tennessee YMCA. http://www.chitokawebb.com
Jim Higley’s typical middle-age dad’s world changed overnight, when he became the fourth member of his immediate family to receive a diagnosis of cancer. Thanks to a wise friend’s promise, Jim went through a summer of physical healing that transformed into the rediscovery of several forgotten life lessons—and one life-changing gift.
As a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Jim inspires people worldwide with his print and online columns for Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal, The Good Men Project and Man of the House. He hosts a weekly radio show, Bobblehead Dad, and is a contributor to NBC Universal iVillage as one of their first ― “dad” iVoices.
After a 23-year career in corporate America, Jim is now a fulltime stay-at-home dad. He is also the inaugural World’s Greatest Dad for Man of the House magazine. Jim’s award-winning book, Bobblehead Dad: 25 Life Lessons I Forgot I Knew, is an inspirational story about his journey through cancer, fatherhood, and the rediscovery of several forgotten life lessons. http://bobbleheaddad.com
Michaela Gagne, Miss Massachusetts 2006, competed for the title of Miss America 2007 with a platform titled, Heart Health: Listen, Learn, and Live. She was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition and had undergone surgery for an implantable cardioverter defibrillator at seventeen.
Michaela is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign, SADS (Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes) Foundation, and Parent Heart Watch. She is also an international spokesperson for Heartbeat International, an organization that provides surgery for pacemakers and defibrillators for one million people who are dying every year without these procedures. Michaela also campaigns on local and national levels to make Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) mandatory in our schools and raise the need for heart screenings. Despite her heart condition, LongQT Syndrome, Michaela is an accomplished athlete, competing regularly in soccer and basketball. She is a MIAA certified high school track and field coach, and a certified CPR/AED trainer. Michaela is an adjustment counselor in the Fall River Schools, and a Peaceful Coalition’s Community Coordinator, a group focusing on gang prevention and intervention. http://michaelagagne.com