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Meet the Team

 
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Stephanie Steinberg

Detroit Writing Room Founder and CEO

Stephanie Steinberg is a lifelong Detroiter and grammar enthusiast who only edits with purple pens. She’s been a journalist for the past decade and held her first editor-in-chief title at the University of Michigan student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Stephanie has written for several publications, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, USA Today, CNN.com and Huffington Post. She spent several years in Washington D.C. as a health and money editor at U.S. News & World Report. There, she fell in love with a fellow Wolverine (see below) and decided to move home with him to cover Detroit’s comeback as a features reporter for The Detroit News. She then became the managing editor of SEEN Magazine, telling the stories of the people and places that define Metro Detroit. Stephanie is the editor of the book “In the Name of Editorial Freedom: 125 Years at The Michigan Daily” (University of Michigan Press). She despises the Oxford comma and loves curling up with a book and coffee to dive into a good story with her dog Magglio.

Sign up with Stephanie for: Nonfiction, website copy, email newsletters, social media, press releases, cover letters and resumes, professional bios and copy editing

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Jake Serwer

Detroit Writing Room Co-founder and President

Jake Serwer is the founder and CEO of Espresso Public Relations LLC, a PR firm representing Detroit entrepreneurs and businesses. His career started in the TV industry — kicking off with his own music TV show at the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). After getting a master’s in sports business from Georgetown University, he was a producer for Bloomberg News and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Jake then served as the business development executive at the National Press Club in D.C., where he managed its in-house broadcast studio and organized events for Fortune 500 CEOs, political candidates, authors, influencers and celebrities — he even bonded with George Clooney. Jake had no choice but to help his wife open the Detroit Writing Room and looks forward to helping organize events and coach members on PR practices.

Sign up with Jake for: Press releases, email newsletters and social media

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Meet The Coaches

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Bill Vlasic

Partner and Writing Coach

Bill Vlasic is a Detroit journalist whose love of newspaper reporting took him from a small Boston weekly to a decade as the Detroit bureau chief of The New York Times. At the Times, he wrote dozens of page one stories and led the paper’s coverage of the American auto industry through a period of bankruptcies, government bailouts and deadly safety problems. In 2013, he was on the Times team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for a series on high-tech global manufacturing. Before joining the Times, Bill spent 17 years as a reporter for The Detroit News, where he covered city hall, Michigan business and the ever-changing fortunes of the Big Three automakers. His investigative work and feature writing earned multiple awards for the paper, including the Gerald Loeb award for excellence in financial journalism. He also has worked for Business Week magazine and newspapers in New York and Massachusetts, and written two acclaimed books — “Taken For a Ride,” a national bestseller about the ill-fated merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler, and “Once Upon A Car,” a Michigan Notable Book recounting the epic collapse and comeback of Detroit’s car companies. A Michigan native and graduate of Boston University and Columbia University, Bill is an avid runner, biker and hiker, loves music, sports and movies, and is always looking for next great book to read.

Sign up with Bill for: Nonfiction, book proposals and copy editing

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Krishnan M. Anantharaman

Writing Coach

Krishnan is a former newspaper editor and longtime champion of scholastic journalism. He began his career in 8th grade as interim editor of the four-page South Brunswick, New Jersey, Indian Association newsletter — produced on a Smith-Corona Intrepid typewriter with a balky “n” key — and chased that feeling all the way to The Wall Street Journal in New York, where he was a copy editor, slot editor and assistant foreign editor. After arriving in Detroit in 2000, he ran The Wall Street Journal Classroom Edition, a monthly “greatest hits” version for high schools; directed coverage of Detroit and Michigan for the daily paper; and served as a feature editor on call for Page One and the Mansion section. Most recently, Krishnan was an assigning editor and occasional editorial writer for Automotive News, where he steered the paper’s award-winning coverage of the General Motors ignition-switch crisis and helped manage a Crain Communications Inc. partnership that sustains scholastic journalism in Detroit. He chairs the advisory board for the alumni magazine at Northwestern University, his alma mater, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in strategic communications at Michigan State University. He enjoys cycling and loves the smell of newspaper ink in the morning.

Sign up with Krishnan for: News and feature writing, copy editing, line editing, headline writing and publication design

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Ashley Calhoun

Grant Writing Coach

Ashley Calhoun truly enjoys fundraising, and she is deeply involved in social, political and artistic organizations throughout Metro Detroit. As a board member for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, she leads an educational program for young nonprofit development professionals. Ashley currently works at InsideOut Literary Arts and is invested in empowering people through their desire to support and strengthen their communities. She has previously worked for CultureSource, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and Michigan Primary Care Association. She received her degree in art history from Tufts University. She can't wait to help you find support for your project!

Sign up with Ashley for: Grant writing

Ashley is available for virtual coaching.

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Lauren Ann Davies

Web Design Coach

Lauren Ann Davies is a visual designer, UI designer and website maker. She insists everything she designs must be functional, simple, relevant and fun. She enjoys working on branding, ads, emails, truck wraps, billboards, social posts and whatever else she can get her hands on. But, she gets especially geeked about websites, wireframes, food marketing and local business branding. She's worked with amazing clients like Faygo and the North American International Auto Show, had work on the D Show Shortlist and won a slurry of website design awards, but she's most proud of helping local nonprofits and small businesses get the branding and marketing they deserve. As an innate problem solver, Lauren would love it if every project she worked on started with someone saying, “I have this crazy idea. I don’t know how to make it happen. Let’s figure it out.” She also loves cooking, backpacking, knitting and the use of the em dash, but she has a severe disdain for green Jell-O.


Sign up with Lauren for: Website design, graphic design, email design, branding, CMS and website maintenance

Lauren is available for virtual coaching.

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Ron Fournier

Writing Coach

Ron Fournier is the former publisher and editor of Crain’s Detroit Business and now serves as president at Truscott Rossman. As president, Ron helps guide and manage the direction of the firm, including leveraging media, policy-maker and business relationships in Detroit and Washington D.C. Prior to joining Crain’s in September 2016, Ron was an award-winning editor and political writer in Washington, where he served as a columnist for The Atlantic, editor-in-chief of the National Journal, and Washington Bureau Chief for the Associated Press during the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

He also served as a 2005 fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics, where he co-wrote the New York Times best-seller “Applebee’s America.” Before returning to Detroit in the fall of 2016, Fournier published a parenting memoir, “Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations.” It debuted No. 10 on Amazon.com and was a New York Times bestseller.

A Detroit native, he began his family and career in Arkansas, covering then-governor Clinton before moving to Washington in 1993. Ron holds the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for coverage of the 2000 presidential election and he is a four-time winner of the prestigious White House Correspondents’ Association Merriman Smith Memorial Award.

Sign up with Ron for: Speech writing, book proposals and nonfiction

Profit from Ron’s coaching sessions will be donated to the Autism Alliance of Michigan.

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Kendra Furry

Writing Coach

Kendra Furry is a writer-turned-HR-professional and loyal Michigander. She spent her youth filling notebooks with poems and musings before attending the University of Michigan to study English and Spanish. There she met her dear friend Stephanie, who convinced her to be a copy editor for The Michigan Daily. After college, she spent three years as a corporate communications editor for a Fortune 500 company, where she currently works as a training and development administrator. She lives in Lansing but loves any excuse to visit Detroit, especially when it involves supporting other writers. In 2018 she endeavored to write every day and was successful for 82 percent of the year. She loves to travel and always looks forward to coming home to her two cats.

Sign up with Kendra for: Poetry, personal essays, fiction, nonfiction, copy editing, cover letters and resumes.

Kendra is available for virtual coaching.

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Dorothy Hernandez

Writing Coach

Dorothy Hernandez is a Chicago native who moved to Detroit for a boy. The boy is gone, but everything worked out because Dorothy found new loves, including a new boy and the city itself. She's wanted to be a journalist since she was in third grade and has worked at newspapers, including The Detroit News and Chicago Tribune's RedEye edition, as well as magazines, including SEEN Magazine where she is a copy editor. Dorothy is the managing editor of Model D and associate editorial director of Issue Media Group. She also freelances for a variety of publications including NPR, Midwest Living magazine, Thrillist and Eater. In 2018, she was named one of four fellows in WDET and Feet in 2 World's food journalism fellowship where she told the stories of immigrant chefs and communities of color through the lens of food. When she's not writing, you can find her doing Filipino pop-up dinners around town, binge-watching TV shows (her favorites include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Game of Thrones") and checking out new restaurants.

Sign up with Dorothy for: Copy editing, marketing and communications, press releases, website copy, email newsletters, social media strategy and content creation, food writing and photography

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Erin Kirkland

Photography Coach

Erin is a Detroit-based photographer and a born and raised Michigander. She graduated from the University of Michigan where she studied English and creative writing, but learned how to be a photojournalist at the student-run Michigan Daily. Before joining the freelance world, Erin worked as a newspaper photographer — although her love for photography stretches beyond journalism. As a freelancer she’s worked for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME and The Guardian. If she’s not working, she’s probably baking, falling asleep on the couch by 9 p.m. or hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Sign up with Erin for: Camera basics, digital photography and photo editing

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Walter T. Middlebrook

Writing Coach

Walter Middlebrook is a lifelong journalist who returned to Detroit in 2007 to rejoin The Detroit News where he would rise to the role of assistant managing editor overseeing the metro desk and the investigations team. He left the News in January 2018 and spent the fall 2018 as a “journalist in residence” at The Pennsylvania State University where he taught a course on media ethics. Among his accomplishments, Middlebrook has published opinion and special sections at several publications working with a variety of local and national writers. A senior editor and newsroom manager, he also edited and worked with freelance and staff writers in the features, fashion, entertainment, news and business sections of such publications as The New York Times, Newsday/New York Newsday, USA Today and the St. Paul Dispatch and Pioneer Press. He is well known as a hiring editor who has helped many journalists through his extensive network of career contacts. He has won numerous awards and was cited for lifetime achievement by the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and the college of his alma mater, Boston University. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, he is an Eagle Scout.

Sign up with Walter for: Copy editing, cover letters and resumes/career guidance, nonfiction, op-ed pieces, fiction, newsletters and press releases

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Neal Rubin

Writing Coach

Neal Rubin is a columnist and reporter with The Detroit News, which insists on capitalizing the T in The even though it’s awkward. He also writes the nationally syndicated comic strip “Gil Thorp.” A sportswriter at earlier stops in Colorado and Nevada, he was a feature writer and columnist at the Detroit Free Press before being lured away by the News in 2000. His work has also appeared in numerous other publications including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Entertainment Weekly and the in-flight magazines of at least three defunct airlines. He is considered one of the city’s preeminent storytellers and, sadly, one of its worst golfers. While he has helped shape multiple manuscripts for friends, he has no plans to write a book of his own, much to the consternation of his children; they assume that if Dad would only get off his rump, the family could live in a big house on the beach like his friends Elmore and Mitch.

Sign up with Neal for: Fiction, nonfiction, website copy, cover letters, professional bios, comics, copy editing, personal essays and op-ed pieces

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Jeff Waraniak

Writing Coach

Jeff Waraniak is a writer and editor in Detroit who specializes in magazines and web writing. After graduating with an English/creative writing major at the University of Michigan, he spent several years as an associate editor at Hour Detroit magazine and 5280 magazine in Denver, Colorado. In addition to magazines, he’s also contributed to book projects for National Geographic, anthologies like The Detroit Neighborhood Guidebook, and websites like Thrillist and Model D media. He’s currently a marketing and content writer at Henry Ford Health System where he writes health and wellness blogs, stories about patients and other web content. He’s won several awards for his feature stories and more from the Society of Professional Journalists of Detroit. When not in front of a computer, he likes cycling, mountain biking, swimming and donuts. The first three things are mostly just excuses for donuts.

Sign up with Jeff for: Nonfiction, essays, poetry, academic writing, creative brainstorming and medical writing.

Jeff is available for virtual coaching.

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Magglio

Chief Morale Officer

Magglio can’t help you with your writing, but he can cheer you up if you’re suffering from writer’s block. Yes, he’s named after the baseball player who hit one of the most memorable walk-off home runs in Detroit Tigers history. He enjoys lounging in comfortable spots (watch out — he may steal your seat on the couch), treats and more treats. Follow the adventures of this English Teddy Bear Goldendoodle at @magglio_ordoglio on Instagram.

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Kate Abbey-Lambertz

Writing Coach

Kate Abbey-Lambertz is a writer who fell in love with journalism while covering Detroit as a reporter and editor after a stint in indie book publishing. In the last eight years, she has focused on stories about how urban policy affects daily lives — and Detroiters’ unique solutions to tackle the city’s challenges. She got her editing start at age 10 while lending a young person’s perspective to a Detroit reference book series, and has a range of experience spanning more than a decade in journalism, criticism, PR, social media, content strategy and creative writing. She currently serves as the editorial director of Detour Detroit, shaping the voice of a local news outlet designed to grow community and help readers access journalism that connects them to their city. She previously launched the Detroit vertical at HuffPost and covered housing and cities as a national reporter for the media company. Her writing has appeared in Hour Magazine and the Detroit Free Press. In 2014, she managed a reading series with Ugly Duckling Presse that invited national poets and publishers to an Eastern Market letterpress. For 15 years, she has also worked as a coach and tutor for writers of all ages. She’s passionate about helping writers find their voice and connect with their audiences, whether refining a small business’ web copy or helping authors develop personal essays. When she’s not on deadline, you can find Kate biking to Historic Fort Wayne to play a neighborhood soccer game, baking the perfect loaf of ciabatta or accidentally spending hours exploring the Library of Congress’ historic photo archive.

Sign up with Kate for: Print and email newsletters, essays, copy editing, content strategy, website copy, social media writing, news and feature writing, cover letters, resumes and press releases.

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Laura Berman

Writing Coach

Laura Berman is a journalist with a lifetime of professional writing experience and a passion for seeing what’s next. As a three-times-a-week columnist for the Detroit News, she earned a reputation for insightful storytelling and an ability to turn mundane first drafts into pointed prose. Her full-length features have appeared in many national publications, including Newsweek, Time, Parenting and Glamour. While her career has taken her from Bosnia to Moscow to London and Palm Beach, she’s learned there’s no place like home. Now working on a book about the transformation of a single square mile in Detroit, Laura lives with her columnist/editor husband, their daughter Lina and a small-but-mighty goldendoodle.

Sign up with Laura for: Nonfiction, book proposals, personal essays, op-ed pieces and career advice

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Anna Clark

Writing Coach

Anna Clark is a journalist in Detroit who is driven by curiosity and enthusiasm for good, true stories. She’s the author of “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” named one of best books of the year by the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, New York Public Library, and others. Her articles have appeared in Elle, The New York Times, Politico, Columbia Journalism Review, Next City and more. She edited “A Detroit Anthology” and wrote a book about the distinctive literary culture of the Great Lakes State. She's been a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. But for all her love of nonfiction, Anna also has roots in fiction and literature. She was a Fulbright fellow in creative writing in Kenya and she has an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College. She's a contributing editor for the literary journal “Waxwing” and she co-curates the Motor Signal Reading Series. She's also been a writer-in-residence in Detroit high schools through InsideOut Literary Arts and the longtime co-leader of an improv theater workshop at a men's prison. Besides writing and reading, Anna loves running, hiking, cheering for Michigan and Detroit sports, and playing games with her amazing nieces and nephews. www.annaclark.net

Sign up with Anna for: Nonfiction, fiction, book proposals and poetry

Anna is available for virtual coaching.

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Phil Dean

Career Coach

Phil Dean is a lifelong Michigander and enjoys guiding people on their career journeys. Phil has worked as a human resources professional since 2011. He loves helping job seekers perfect their cover letters, resumes and interview answers, so they land the job of their dreams. He's a 2012 graduate from University of Michigan-Dearborn, where he double majored in Human Resource Management and Management. He was named one of 50 University of Michigan-Dearborn “Difference Makers” in 2011 and was given the distinct honor of being the student commencement speaker at his graduation. Phil is currently pursuing his MBA at Wayne State University. In his free time, Phil enjoys singing and rooting for the Red Wings, Tigers and Michigan Wolverines.

Sign up with Phil for: Resume writing, cover letter writing, interview skills and public speaking

Phil is available for virtual coaching.

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Felecia Henderson

Writing Coach

As assistant managing editor at The Detroit News, Felecia Henderson led a department of journalists who were responsible for cross-platform reporting of entertainment and lifestyle news.

Henderson got her start in Detroit when hired at The News in 1989 as a page designer and copy editor. In 1999, Henderson joined the Detroit Free Press as an assistant features editor. After 18 months, she returned to The News to become features editor. She was promoted to assistant managing editor of features in 2007. The veteran journalist’s career also includes stints at the former Cincinnati Post and the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

Her editing, design and leadership skills have been recognized by the Michigan APME, National Association of Black Journalists, Society of Professional Journalists-Detroit Chapter, Michigan Press Association, Gannett Co. and the Society of News Design. She also has served as a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominating juror.

The Louisville native earned a bachelor's degree in Radio-TV and Journalism from Murray State University in Kentucky and a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. Henderson recently retired her editing pen to focus on her company, RAVE Strategic Communications LLC. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, reading biographies and promoting her son Grant Henderson’s company Greatness The One, a Detroit brand dedicated to inspiring young leaders to Be Great through product and design.

Sign up with Felecia for: Copy editing, nonfiction, website content, press releases and social media

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Amanda King

Branding Strategy and Website Development Coach

Amanda King is a brand strategist and website designer who was born and raised in Michigan. She is multi-passionate and has always loved creating beautiful things. After receiving an associate degree as a pharmacy technician and a bachelor’s degree in health administration, Amanda found her true calling. She works with all types of small businesses to help them achieve a greater web presence through their websites and graphics. She is a mom to a 3-year-old little girl named Sydney and a 1.5-year-old puppy named Izzy. She lives in St. Clair Shores and loves visiting small businesses in and around Metro Detroit.

Sign up with Amanda for: Squarespace website design, graphics, social media curation and brand curation

Click HERE to get her brochure regarding services. *If you are interested in just a logo design, email hello@thelaunchive.com. That is a special service for Detroit Writing Room clients only.

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Tim Leonard

Screenwriting Coach

Tim has been writing film and television scripts for the past 15 years. He understands how the industry works and how to take an idea from script to screen. Tim has experience pitching shows to MTV and E Entertainment. He's also worked closely with Bill Myers, the former president at Starz and was credited as an associate producer on the film “Freaky Deaky” directed by Charles Matthau. Tim spent time on the FX Show “Justified” and learned a great deal from the show runner Graham Yost. He has been writing movie scripts for over a decade and enjoys the challenge and creative aspects of writing for the screen. He is the grandson of Elmore Leonard, and son of Peter Leonard, who collectively have published over 52 novels.

Sign up with Tim for: Script writing, television screenwriting, log line and concept development.

Tim is available for virtual coaching.

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Sacred Overstreet-Amos

Photography Coach

Sacred Overstreet-Amos is a Metro Detroit-based photographer who’s been capturing people and events for nearly a decade. She’s passionate about her craft and loves to take photos that inspire people young and old. Sacred graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in communications. She is also a United States Air Force Veteran. After the Air Force, she decided to pursue her passion and founded Moon Reflections Photography — a full-service photography company that specializes in high school senior portraits, business headshots as well as commercial and freelance photography. Sacred’s work has been featured in online and print publications, including SEEN Magazine, The Michigan Chronicle, The Huffington Post, Ebony.com and Rolling Out Magazine, among others. Sacred offers workshops on digital photography and camera basics, where students learn everything from understanding shutter speed to ISO. When she’s not shooting photos, she’s at home with her family, striving to create some amazing little humans who follow their passion.

Sign up with Sacred for: Camera basics, digital photography and photo editing

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Delphia Simmons

Writing Coach

Delphia Simmons is a bibliophile and a serial learner. For most of her life she’s lived in Detroit, where she and her spouse are empty nesters with a daughter, two sons and six grandchildren. One of the vacated bedrooms was quickly turned into a home office with built-in floor to ceiling bookshelves. She credits her life-long love of books and reading for her love and deep appreciation of writing and writers. After graduating from Madonna University where she studied business, she proceeded to work in the human services/development sector where she learned to marry the two. She is the founder of Thrive Detroit Street Newspaper, business plan course facilitator and board chair of Build Institute, and the Chief Strategy and Learning Officer at COTS: Creating Opportunities To Succeed (formerly Coalition On Temporary Shelter).

Sign up with Delphia for: Business plans and business decks

Delphia is available for virtual coaching.

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Robert Yoon

Writing Coach

Robert Yoon is a political journalist and the Howard R. Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Michigan. As CNN’s Director of Political Research, he covered five presidential campaign cycles and helped prepare eight different moderators for 30 presidential debates. His contributions to CNN’s coverage have earned him two Emmy Awards, five total Emmy nominations, a Peabody Award and two National Headliner Awards. In 2016, he was named by Mediaite as one of the most influential people in the news media. He is the host and creator of “The J Word,” a journalism-themed public affairs talk radio program. He is a former political speechwriter and serves as a judge for the annual National Press Club Awards. Robert is also a frequent winner of the office Oscars pool and a tireless advocate of all-day breakfast and all-night diners.

Sign up with Robert for: News and feature writing (print and broadcast), political communications, speeches, op-eds, personal statements, cover letters and copy editing

Want to join our team as a coach? Send your resume and recent work to stephanie@detroitwritingroom.com