Meet The Flip Team

“Individuals can and do make a difference, but it takes a team
to really mess things up.”

Kirsten O’Brien, Co-Editor

Kirsten O’Brien


Kirsten is a digital journalist living in Seattle. She has a background in print journalism, but lately she spends a lot of time online as a journalist and social media manager for, one of the first major metro newspapers in the country to go online only. See more of her work here. 

Steffany Powell, Contributor

Steffany Powell


Steffany Powell worked many jobs from face-painting clown to bartender to interior designer before settling on her chosen career as a writer and producer, most recently at Amazon. She followed her bliss to become a graduate student in the Communication Leadership program. Her wide and varied knowledge extends from pop culture to politics and beyond. She is endlessly curious about the world around her and is addicted to travel and hopes to someday live overseas. She is still paying off art school, but has no regrets. She is passionate about music, film, vegan cooking and animal rights. Read all her posts here.

Samantha Hautea, Co-Editor

Samantha Hautea


Samantha Hautea is driven by a curiosity about how new technologies can be used to change society and how individuals interact with each other and the world around them. Currently working on her double degree in Digital Media and Communities and Networks, she has worked for the Philippine Rice Research Institute, SEOP Asia, and the University of the Philippines Law Center as a content creator. Her professional interests include development communication, science advocacy, education, and online communities. In her spare time, she is a people-watcher, a comics and video game fan, and an aspiring screenplay writer. Read all her posts here.

Joel Magalnick, Contributor

Joel Magalnick


Joel Magalnick is a longtime journalist, content strategist, user interaction designer, and expert in doing things the way they weren’t intended. In an unrelated note, he once wrote a book, in 140-character chunks, on Twitter. Find him occasionally posting on his other Twitter account, @newsgonedigiSee all of his articles here.

Alex Stonehill, Advisor

Alex Stonehill


Alex is a cofounder and Editor in Chief of The Seattle Globalist. He also teaches in the Communication Leadership graduate program and is the Artist in Residence at the Communication Department of the University of Washington.  He has a background as a visual journalist and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Syria, Ethiopia and Pakistan. His work has been published by PBS, The Seattle Times, FRONTLINE/World and the Seattle Weekly. He recently directed the award-winning documentary BARZAN and he teaches journalism in the University of Washington’s Department of Communication.

Maren Hamilton, Contributor

Maren Hamilton


Maren is a strategic social media marketer focused on creative content that delivers results. Outside of her day job at zulily, you can find her riding her bike, being crafty or enjoying a good cider.

Jillian Reddish, Contributor

Jillian Reddish


Jillian Reddish is a Communications Leadership graduate student in the Communities and Networks track. A recent transplant from Texas, she is still suspicious about Seattle’s weather, but finds that the PNW’s selection of craft brews is making a strong defense.

Jesse Zook Mann, Contibutor

Jesse Zook Mann


Jesse Zook Mann is an Emmy-Award winning television and film producer and  director, specializing in subcultural storytelling. Jesse most recently released the film “Punk Jews.” Past clients include: NBC, MTV, VICE, Travel Channel, Discovery, Al Jazeera, Cafe Mom and You can follow him @zookmann.

Fritz Kessler, Former Co-Editor

Fritz Kessler

Former Co-Editor

Fritz Kessler career hopped from music to restaurants, to personal injury law, to database administrator, before his current role in product marketing for a boutique tech firm in Seattle.  As a graduate student with the Communication Leadership program, he’s awed by the creative power of his classmates, and fascinated by the intersection where digital savvy and accessibility meets timeless storytelling.  As a pop culture consumer, he devours music and movie journalism like candy, and is also contributor at  As a carbon-based unit, he lives for chicken and waffles, and, as a Seattleite, he can be found regularly at Linda’s for Sunday brunch. Read all his posts here.

Connie Rock, Former Co-Editor, Comm Lead Alumni Fellow

Connie Rock

Former Co-Editor, Comm Lead Alumni Fellow

Connie Rock is an inveterate traveler and storyteller with a strong photography bug.  If it involves crafting compelling stories and images, she’s in. Trained as a reporter with a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, she’s now an independent copywriter, content strategist and photographer. As a former editor of Flip the Media and as a Comm Lead Alumni Fellow, she’s happy to help answer questions about Flip, and she supports the team as needed. Read all her posts here.

Drew Stone, Contributor

Drew Stone


Culture-hacking Interdisciplinary Multimediaist.
Small fast teams, creativity, design, games, and forward-thinking culture.
Booted, ENFP, @CommLead #MCCN

Dae Smith, Social Media Manager

Dae Smith

Social Media Manager

Dae Smith is the Flip Community Manager for 2015-2016.

Danny Gross, Contributor

Danny Gross


I am a video/multimedia specialist with experience in various streaming production pipelines, audio engineering, audio and video post-production and digital video mastering among other media skill sets. I am an advocate for technology, communication and education.

Laura Gómez, Contributor

Laura Gómez


Communications professional with more than 3 years of experience in digital marketing and communication, creating content and developing strategies to ensure consistent success for clients in diverse industries from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms.

Meena Tang


Meena is part of cohort 15 in the Communication Leadership program.

Derek Belt, Contributor

Derek Belt


In a previous life, I was a sports reporter. But as the newspaper industry changed I returned to school and earned a Master’s in Communication Leadership from the University of Washington.  As the social media specialist for King County government, I have built an award-winning digital media program that engages 243,000 fans and followers across 180+ social networks.

Zhang “Awen” Wen, Contributor

Zhang “Awen” Wen


Awen is a creative and authentic communication professional with a strong background in journalism and experience in digital video production, photography and content management. Her professional interests include social media, technology innovation, startups, art, and communities. There are three things she loves: visual storytelling, her serendipity, and having a brave heart.

Elysse Reyna, Contributor

Elysse Reyna


A versatile marketer, writer, and communicator, Elysse has a passion for great brands and organizations on a mission. She enjoys taking a strategic and creative role to achieve marketing and communications goals.

Christina Twu, Contributor

Christina Twu


An “outside the box” journalist, nonprofit and communications professional.

Suzi Mirchel, Contributor

Suzi Mirchel


I’ve always been social, or as my elementary school teachers would say, “chatty.” My career end goal is to never have an end goal. Comm Lead cohort 14.

Raven Kelly Smith


Ashley Myrriah Johnson, Contributor

Ashley Myrriah Johnson


Naomi Thalenberg, Contributor

Naomi Thalenberg


Naomi is part of Comm Lead cohort 15. She currently works at TINYPulse as a social media associate.