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Featured Emcee, Speakers, Workshop Facilitators, and Artists

MINDfest Emcee

Sixta Morel

Sixta Morel

Bilingual Communicator. Former TV host, Voice actress, producer of Gente, Historias y Emociones podcast.

Sixta started working in the media business as a teenager, and has had the opportunity to work in front and behind the camera, in different roles, including tv host, Emcee, voice over talent, and acting. Born in the Dominican Republic, and established in Seattle, Sixta works independently as voice over actress (audiobooks narrator, dubbing actress, e-learning, commercial, etc.) and on camera talent, and as public speaking trainer.

Graduated as radio and TV broadcaster, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, and certificates in Cultural Journalism (DR) and Public Relations and Strategic Communications from University of Washington, and a dubbing certification from A Voz academia in Colombia.

As Master of ceremonies, she has hosted several national and international events, including private, corporates, nonprofits and bilingual presentations. Morel is trained in acting; including a summer program at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NY.


Roxana Pardo Garcia

Roxana Pardo Garcia

Roxana Pardo Garcia aka La Roxay is a self-identifying Hood Intellectual Xingona who was born and raised on occupied Coast Salish Territory. Roxana is the Certified Xingona, Founder, and Cultural Worker of two small businesses, La Roxay Productions and Hood Intellectual Xingona. She is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Alimentando al Pueblo, a nonprofit that won a 2022 MOHAI Everyday Hero Award. She is a graduate of Highline High School, the University of Washington, and forever a student of these streets and life. She was named one of Seattle Times 2020 Local Heroes, 2021 Burien Citizen of the Year and a Seattle Kraken Hero of the Deep.

Roxana uses indigenous knowledge and her genetic memories to do work that will allow people to live with dignity, respect, self and collective determination – because we know, nothing will liberate the hood, but the hood itself. She lives in Burien with her family, loves naps – as any Taurus would.
Instagram: LaRoxayP @AlimentandoAlPueblo
Facebook: La Roxay Productions Alimentando al Pueblo
Linkedin: Roxana Pardo Garcia alimentandoalpueblo.org laroxay.com

Richard L. Taylor Jr.

Richard L. Taylor Jr.

Mental health advocate, Richard Taylor Jr. has created an impact over the past decade as a powerful leader and voice of impact for people around the world. Richard Taylor is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication. Taylor is the Founder of TaylorMade Empowerment, a parent company that oversees the Richard Taylor Jr. brand, publishing and several consulting ventures for corporate clients, a respected self-published author of 7 published books (selling over 35,000 copies), and hosts a Global Podcast. Taylor also serves on the Board of Directors for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Eastside in Washington State.

Richard’s goal is to create safe spaces for difficult conversations and encourage empathy in a society that is clouded with apathy. His message breaks cultural boundaries and challenges bias social norms. Richard inspires the masses to tap into their inner potential to create the change they want to see. Over the years he has intertwined his background and experiences into a vulnerable message of love and empathy that surpasses motivating audiences. The end goal continues to be real life transformation.

Lucía Magis-Weinberg

Lucía Magis-Weinberg MD, PhD

Lucía Magis-Weinberg, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at University of Washington. She directs the interACTlab (International Adolescent Connection and Technology Laboratory). Her research focuses on how the social and affective developmental tasks of adolescence have been transformed by the digital era—particularly in understudied populations in international settings. Her laboratory collaborates with schools in Latin America to advance knowledge on adolescent development and technology use, and also apply developmental science to design school-based interventions to promote digital citizenship and healthy digital habits.

Dr. Magis-Weinberg received her MD from the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM) and her PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London (UCL). Before joining UW, she conducted research at the Institute of Human Development at UC Berkeley as a postdoctoral scholar. She is Executive Editor of Neuromexico.org a leading science communication platform for Latin America.

Tanvi Kale

Tanvi Kale

Tanvi Kale is currently a senior at Eastlake High School in Sammamish, WA. She’s extremely interested in anatomy and psychology, and plans to major in biology, minor in psychology, and enter the medical field after college. After noticing the rise of negative emotions among peers during COVID-19, Tanvi developed an interest in psychology and connected with Professor Magis-Weinberg to learn about the field through a data-driven perspective.

Tanvi is passionate about creating a more inclusive, uplifting, and equitable environment for mental health, and furthers these goals through interning at YouMe Healthcare. Additionally, she enjoys volunteering at the hospital, fundraising with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and playing badminton and tennis in her free time.

Workshop Facilitators and Artists

Leslie Rowans

Leslie Rowans, MBA, CR, CHt

Leslie Rowans is the owner and founder of Your Soul Healing Journey, a Holistic Health and Wellness private practice that integrates Eastern and Western approaches to healing, bridging ancient Yogic wisdom and practices with modern neuroscience for optimal health and well-being in mind, body and spirit.

Leslie is a Certified Reflexologist, Hypnotherapist, and I AM Yoga Nidra™ Practitioner and she is a Certified Facilitator of The Resilience Toolkit™, a trauma-informed set of eight body-focused practices that help to regulate the human nervous system in under a minute, restoring balance and harmony to the body and calming the mind.

To learn more about Your Soul Healing Journey, visit yoursoulhealingjourney.com or contact Leslie directly at (623) 628-8359 or lrowans0766@gmail.com.

Milvia Berenice Pacheco Salvatierra

Milvia is an Afrolatina artist born in Caracas-Venezuela, where she began her career as a dancer combining dance and theater training. Experiences with trauma at an early age fueled in her a pressing drive toward movement. She went on to devote her life to reaching liberation through art and movement.

In this Journey, she has become a contemporary dancer, choreographer, performer, bodyworker, mother and Community Organizer. MÁS (Movimiento Afrolatino Seattle) has become the platform where she continues serving as a conduit for empowerment and beyond.

Otoqui  Reyes

Director of the Hijos de Agueybana group, which is made up of eight artists, all committed to preserving their Afro-Caribbean roots. The group has more than ten years of experience conducting and offering workshops and courses on the historical and cultural importance of the bomba genre.

Megan Ellison

Megan Ellison, RD, CN (founder of Sound Dietitians)

Megan Ellison is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. In addition to these specialties, Megan has a particular interest in gut health, with additional training in conditions such as IBS and SIBO. She enjoys helping people make positive and realistic nutrition and lifestyle changes in order to enhance their health and quality of life. As the founder of Sound Dietitians, Megan loves supporting and celebrating her dietitian colleagues through providing various consulting opportunities across the Puget Sound region. One of Megan’s passions is in mentoring the next generation of nutrition professionals and the SD team happily hosts many dietetic interns each year. Megan is an adjunct instructor at Seattle Pacific University and the coordinator for the SPU Dietetic Internship. For exercise, Megan prefers dance and yoga and for relaxation she plays piano and guitar.

Cynthia Gahan

Cynthia Gahan, B.A. (founder of Heart Art Healing)

Cynthia Gahan is an artist, a teacher, a mother of three, a volunteer, a mental health advocate, and a certified life coach. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute, College of Art in 1998. She has been teaching for 16 years, and has become a strong mental health advocate; currently serving on the Seattle Children’s Hospital Psychiatry Family Advisory Board, and teaching for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Cynthia also teaches art classes to incarcerated youth , elderly residents , private students, and community members. Her classes are infused with Dialectical Behavior Therapy concepts, self-reflection and self-expression.

Cynthia Gahan is a Certified First Aid Arts Responder & Group Facilitator. First Aid Arts equips trauma care providers with arts-based tools and training. Cynthia Gahan believes in the healing power of art and aims to spread the practice to larger communities to promote empowerment and healing for all.

Manilai Song

Manilai Song

Manilai Song is a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming and has studied Reiki energy healing.  After graduating from Simon Fraser University, she worked in the Finance industry for almost 15 years.  She decided it was time to leave the empty and unfulfilling life of living from the mind and move into the heart’s truth. Finding a natural affinity, she has been offering sound baths for 4 years.  She plays intuitively, working with the bowls to create sounds and vibrations that help clear, re-balance and reharmonize the energy systems of the body, mind and spirit.   Although many sound baths incorporate different instruments, Manilai prefers to work almost exclusively with crystal singing bowls allowing the power of the bowls to fill the space.  She lives in Vancouver, Canada and offers events in Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco.  

Angelica Zapata

Angelica Zapata

Angelica Zapata is a mindfulness instructor and coach, born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. She is the founder of Be Ready To Grow, a Seattle-based company that provides training, coaching, and consulting services for organizations that want to support the mental, physical and emotional health of their staff and the community using culturally relevant mindfulness-based practices.

Angelica believes that transcending the pain of life-changing events with mindful self-compassion is the portal to insight, a true opportunity for growth and transformation. As a first-generation immigrant and a former military spouse, she went through many relocations, career transitions, and heartbreaks that she thought had equipped her with the resilience needed to embrace change. However, when she started practicing mindfulness meditation she realized that there is no resilience without self-compassion.

Angelica strives to show up with love for herself and for others while trying to sustainably blend her career, her family, and her hobbies. Some of them are: reading, traveling, journaling and cooking.

Randee Young

Randee Young is a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher.

Since 2015, Randee has been bringing the joy of laughter to wellness retreats and centers, school teachers, health care workers, church groups and senior communities all around Washington State. 

While Laughter Yoga is not her full time job, it is her full time passion! 

With a diverse background in adaptive recreation and senior living, Randee brings a variety of experience to her Laughter Yoga classes, providing a safe space for individuals to let go of inhibitions, experience joy, and learn some tricks and tips to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Come laugh with Randee!

Natalie Lahr

Natalie Lahr

Natalie Lahr is a senior at Sedro-Woolley High School in Sedro-Woolley WA. She plans to major in linguistics with a minor in media and rhetoric studies, and plans to either pursue a career in radio journalism or to continue her studies at the doctorate level and receive university tenure. Her passion to increase educational access inspired her to establish a radio journalism program at her school in order to uplift student voices to a wider audience. Natalie expanded her work to fight stigma and promote open conversations surrounding mental health, and began working with PBS Newshour as the lead student producer for a segment featured in the Edward R. Murrow award winning teen mental health podcast, On Our Minds. This segment covers the struggles teens face navigating the unique challenges of adolescent development in a digital age and highlights an interview she conducted with Dr. Magis-Weinberg. Natalie enjoys writing poetry and has been named Student Poet Laureate for Skagit County. She spends her free time hiking, playing tennis, and soon will begin tutoring at her local community college.

Nadia Mazonson

Nadia Mazonson

Nadia is a senior at Sedro-Woolley High School. She is currently the editorial page editor for The Cub, her school’s student-run newspaper. This January, Nadia and the podcasting team at The Cub produced a segment on oversharing in the age of social media for “On Our Minds,” a podcast about teen mental health produced by PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs. For this segment, she and Natalie Lahr interviewed Professor Magis-Weinberg. Nadia is passionate about storytelling, and hopes to use her work at The Cub to share the lived experiences of today’s teens with a wider audience. Outside of school, Nadia is a pre-professional ballet dancer and a student instructor at her dance studio. After high school, she plans to double-major in comparative literature and linguistics.

Calvin Trinh

Calvin Trinh

Calvin completed his undergraduate in Community Psychology and Health Studies, B.A alongside a certification in personal training from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He also completed Peer Mental Health Navigator training with Mental Health Matters of Washington and continues to volunteer his time to support the program activities. His current interest lies in clinical work on marginalized and high-risk populations and research in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience.  Calvin is working toward his goal of a career in clinical psychology, where it’s his desire and effort in providing zero-cost consumer information on science and science-based tools to optimize individual’s well-being.

Dillon Gilden

Dillon Gilden

Dillon Glidden is a current freshman at Kamiak High School. After school he participates in multiple extra curriculars, one of which being Green Club, an environmental awareness club, where he is eagerly awaiting his position as club treasurer next year. He also is in the non-profit organization Leadership Launch where he is learning how to identify community needs in order to grow as a leader through creating community events. While he does not have a set goal for the future just yet, he knows he would like to take part in a career related to education and/or psychology. Some things Dillon does in his free time include helping out at Serene Lake Elementary and Kamiak High School, musical arts, reading, and researching random fun facts. Did you know that Hyra’s are one of, if not the only creatures, that are immortal?

Jeslyn Kelso

Jeslyn Kelso

Jeslyn is a recent high school graduate and a senior in the Snohomish County non-profit organization, Leadership Launch. She has been an active member of the program since her freshman year of high school, in 2019. After experiencing mental illness amongst herself and her loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has made spreading the importance of mental wellness a top priority of hers. Events like MINDfest and Leadership Launch’s Emotion Commotion are what Jeslyn strives to see and be a part of in our community.

Outside of her professional settings, Jeslyn is passionate about journaling & creative writing. In the fall, she hopes to study journalism in college.

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