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Jeff Amstutz’s love of writing goes back to high school when he helped launch a student-lead literary magazine. While he loved creating the layout and design of the magazine more than the actual writing, his love for helping tell stories took hold. Since then, his career has included designing dozens of publications and helping tell hundreds of stories. Great writing, paired with compelling design is one of Jeff’s favorite things. “I could design feature stories all day, everyday. It is one of the greatest loves of my design career and when I feel the most free and satisfied as a creative individual.”
Jeff started A2Z, a marketing firm based in Appleton, WI, in 2007 when he and his husband moved from Charlottesville, VA. A2Z has grown from a boutique design studio to a full-service marketing firm serving international, national and regional clients from more than a dozen industries. Jeff and his team have garnered dozens of awards, helping solidify A2Z as one of the leading creative firms in Northeast Wisconsin.
Jeff and his husband Chad fell in love with Door County a decade ago and now they spend as much time as possible in their “happiest of places.” In the fall of 2021, they started renting an apartment in Sister Bay and plan to build their dream home in northern Door County in the next few years.
Ashley Prange was born and raised in Green Bay Wisconsin, with summers in Egg Harbor, Door County. After working in Washington D.C. as a staffer on Capitol Hill and analyst at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Ashley founded a vertically integrated natural makeup line called Au Naturale Cosmetic that has received features and awards from Allure, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, Domino, Vogue and Real Simple magazines.
Tori Martinez holds an Art degree from St. Norbert College – DePere, WI, and received her teaching certification from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. A long-time educator, Tori enjoys working with kids of all ages to encourage them to spark their creativity through the arts, reading, and writing. She’s taught from Alaska to Mexico and landed back in Door County where she has been an ESL teacher, regular education teacher, and high school Iibrary associate. She makes her home in Sturgeon Bay, where she enjoys its working waterfront and small-town charm.
Tori’s favorite thing to do is spend time with family – her personal chef husband, Mauricio, their two teenaged kids, Malaya and Rio, and their dog named “Bird” always have fun walking in the woods and visiting state parks. She loves the outdoors and has been section hiking the WI Ice Age National Scenic Trail over the past five years and hopes to finish someday!
She fancies herself a poet, has always dreamed of writing children’s books, and has a YA novel in her head that needs to be written.
Valerie Clarizio is a Door County native who attended Southern Door High School. She earned a Master of Business Administration degree with a Finance emphasis from Lakeland College. For the past twenty-three years, she has worked for the City of Sturgeon Bay as the Finance Director/Treasurer. Valerie has served on the Municipal Treasurers Association of Wisconsin Board in many capacities including holding the office of President during the 2016/2017 term. She continues to serve as a District Director.
When not crunching numbers for the city, Valerie can be found penning romance novels. She has a passion for writing as can be verified by her published accomplishments consisting of ten novels, three novellas, and three short stories. For almost ten years, Valerie was a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America where she served as the Treasurer during the 2016/2017 term.
Valerie is an outdoors enthusiast. In her free time, you’ll find her and her husband of thirty years out hiking trails in national parks, state parks, or Door County land trusts. When not on land, you might find them on the water fishing for the ultimate Salmon, or kayaking inland lakes and tributaries.
Allison Vroman got her start in the county like many – slinging eggs and cheeseburgers during the summer to make money for college. Upon graduation from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a degree in English, she landed a job as a writer and eventually editor with the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living. After helping to share the stories of the peninsula for nearly a decade, her own story took a turn when she met her husband. They hopped around the Great Lakes for a few years as he finished his career in the U.S. Coast Guard. Now, she is delighted to be back “home” and once again involved in perpetuating the stories of Door County through Write On.
When she’s not pecking away at her keyboard for her 9-5 job as a copywriter, you can usually find her adventuring (or scheming up the next adventure) with her husband Jonathan, daughter Ivy, and two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Hazel and Bosun.
Mauricio Kilwein Guevara was born in Boyacá, Colombia and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He has taught literature and writing at the college level since his early twenties at Bowling Green State University, Marquette University, Vermont College, Universidad de las Américas (México), La Universidad Javeriana (Bogotá, Colombia), and Universidad del Norte (Barranquilla, Colombia). He taught for a dozen years at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and, since 2003, at UWM. He’s the author of four books (both verse and prose fiction) published in the United States, a collection of translations published in Madrid, Spain, and a comic play that received a staged reading Off-Broadway. His writing has appeared internationally in Argentina, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, México, and the UK. He was the first person of Latinx descent to be elected as President of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Board of Directors. He divides his time between the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee and Egg Harbor with his sweetheart, poet & teacher Janet Jennerjohn, and their rescue dog, Django Reinhund. Mauricio and Janet have two adult children, Andrés Esteban and Diego Eduardo. Mauricio enjoys sharing his love of language arts in schools, libraries, and other community settings.
Alessandra and her husband came to Washington Island to grow vegetables for Hotel Washington for the summer season in 2015. After their first two growing seasons on the Island, they decided to move to the Island full-time. They started Hoot Blossom Farm, which now grows veggies, herbs and flowers for Island residents and restaurants. Alessandra and her husband also helped found Gathering Ground, a nonprofit dedicated to cultivating community and learning in partnership with the generous earth through agriculture. She currently serves as its part-time executive director.
Alessandra holds a PhD in English from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. She has poems published in anthologies and literary journals such as Rewilding: Poems for the Environment, Smartish Pace, Spillway and others. She writes a column for the Washington Island Observer called Everyday Nature that mixes two of her loves — poetry and nature.
Lauren began her career as a high school English teacher in 2006, and comes to Write On, Door County as a passionate educator, writer, and community member. After earning her MBA in 2019, Lauren was eager to make the move into an organization whose mission and vision was closely aligned with her own. Lauren is an avid poet and has been a contributing editor to Door County Living Magazine and the Peninsula Pulse since 2002, and brings with her a deep appreciation for the Door County community’s history and arts.
“I feel blessed to be joining such a visionary organization supported by strong community leaders. I have been watching Write On grow and touch the lives of so many people these last few years, and I am so encouraged by the future of where Write On will go in the coming years. There is much to look forward to as we fulfill the mission of helping people tell their story.”
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Sara Sohns moved to Door County in 1994 and married Steve eight years later — then came Gwendolyn. The three reside in Fish Creek farm country. Sara has a B.A. in Mass Communications and a minor in Business Administration. She works as a Personal Banker and has been with Baylake Bank, now Nicolet National Bank, for twelve years. Active in the community, Sara is a member of the Northern Door County Rotary Club and on the board of Money Management Counselors. Her interests include music, travel, reading, writing poetry and painting with Gwendolyn too!
I really enjoy collaborating with ideas and crafting with words. Sharing my love of words and helping others promote their creations are what I enjoy most with Write On Door County. I joined Write On Door County because I believe that writing is a great way to grow, share thoughts and learn from each other. Write On is all about this and I am so happy to be involved!
Dee Paulsen has lived in Sturgeon Bay since 1982, with her husband Eric. They have two grown married children, son Nels and daughter Annika, two grandchildren and one granddog. Dee has a B.S. in Elementary/Special Education from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and an M.S. in Education with an emphasis on children’s literature from Viterbo College. She has taught for 23 years in grades 2, 3 and 6, (her heart is still in 6th grade Language Arts) and has worked as an office manager for Crown Life Insurance and Door County Eye Associates. Her interests include travel, reading, writing poetry, visiting elementary classrooms to read and do writing projects, and organizing gatherings with friends.
“I love encouraging folks of all ages and abilities to ‘write it down.’ I love words! I believe writing can be interesting, humorous, serious, and healing. I think every person has something to learn about themselves through writing – just to keep to themselves or to share. Everyone indeed has a story to tell.”
Margaret LeBrun grew up in Southern Door County. As co-founder, former publisher and executive editor of Insight Publications, a business-to-business publishing and events company in Northeast Wisconsin, she produced the monthly Insight magazine, featuring the region’s top companies and their CEOs. She has worked as a reporter, editor and writing coach for newspapers in Wisconsin and New York, receiving numerous state and national awards for her writing.
Margaret has served on the boards of the Fox Cities YMCA and Goodwill of North Central Wisconsin, as well as the marketing committee for New North, Inc. She received the Athena Leadership Award in 2014 from the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and was named to the Southern Door High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015.
She received her degree in journalism from UW-Eau Claire. After living in Upstate New York for many years with her husband, Dave Allen, the couple moved to Appleton. In recent years they have spent time at their cottage in Sturgeon Bay, where they plan to eventually live when they’re not traveling. Their young adult sons live in Madison and Colorado Springs.
Growing up on the bay in Door County, I was fortunate to be introduced to the arts at an early age. Words are my passion, and helping other writers hone their craft feeds my soul. Upon selling my business magazine to my partner in 2018, I searched for my new “tribe” … and I think I found it with Write On, Door County!
Anne Haberland Emerson lives in Fish Creek with her husband, the architect and artist Minnow Emerson. She studied at Lawrence University and UW-Madison and worked as a writer at the University of Chicago Press before coming to Door County to open Edgewood Orchard Galleries in 1969.
It was through raising their children in Door County that she became involved with the local k-12 school and developed a deep commitment to the wider community. Anne was a founder of the effort to build the Door Community Auditorium at Gibraltar School in Fish Creek, and she has received statewide recognition for her advocacy of the arts, receiving the Governor’s Award in Support of the Arts in 1987 and the Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. She is also honored be among those who have received the Door County Community Foundation Philanthropist of the Year Award.
Anne is passionate about education and the interconnectedness of all the arts. She loves reading and writing, being in the great outdoors, and most of all being with her family, which now includes four young grandchildren growing up nearby.
What makes Door County such a wonderful place to live and visit? The natural beauty, the people, and the profusion of the arts truly nurture the human spirit. Write On will place the literary arts alongside the visual and performing arts to bring even more opportunity for human expression and connection.
Myles Dannhausen Jr. has loved the written word since his older sister gave him a copy of S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders when he was 8 years old. An Egg Harbor native and Gibraltar High School graduate, he works as the Content Editor of the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living magazine, where he has told the stories of Door County for 15 years. His writing has also appeared in Wisconsin People & Ideas, Edible, Chicago Athlete, GapersBlock, OnMilwaukee, Running Times, and several other regional publications. In 2013 he co-founded Peninsula Filmworks with Brett Kosmider and David Eliot to tell stories through video. Like everyone else, someday he’ll write a book.
Jerod was the founding director of Write On and serves as its Artistic Director, overseeing the residency program as well as conferences, festivals, classes, and presentations. He serves on the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and on the boards of several local organizations. From 2009-2019, he served on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP), representing Writers’ Conferences and Centers. He has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in a number of print and online literary journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Blithe House Quarterly.
I am proud to be part of the beginning of Write On, Door County. In the summer of 2013, I took what many might consider a huge leap of faith and left my job as Program Director at one of the oldest writing organizations in the country — the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis — to head this new center. It remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am grateful to all the board members who joined with me in taking this risk, and to all the wonderful people who have supported us as we moved from dream to reality.
Contact Jerod at firstname.lastname@example.org.