Let's Write Together

MICHELLE MILLER, MEd, Executive Director


Michelle joins the Guild in 2019 with over two decades of experience in international marketing and nonprofit management. Previously, Michelle directed PepsiCo’s advertising campaign from Hong Kong and Shanghai and Reebok’s global marketing campaign from Boston. She also led fundraising campaigns for NGOs focused on children’s welfare in China and human trafficking in Thailand. Michelle serves on several committees implementing social justice programs as communities rebuild from the pandemic. She believes in the power of diverse voices and in 2020 helped launch the Guild’s mentorship and global outreach programs to widen the IWWG community. Michelle holds a Master’s degree in Education from Boston College and a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Harvard University. She speaks Mandarin, French and Spanish and is writing her first novel. She lives in Providence with her daughter, Lara..

Cathleen O'ConnorCATHLEEN O’CONNOR, PhD, Board Chair

Cathleen O’Connor, PhD is a life-long New York resident, 30-year member of the Guild and former Technology CIO with an MBA in International Finance. She is on the faculty of the IWWG teaching creative writing, the power of the first chapter for fiction, and how to create a successful anthology. Her articles have been published in Canada’s ALIVE magazine and Australia’s THE SPHERE. She has been featured on ABC News in Green Bay, WI and quoted in the Huffington Post.

Cathleen has offered programs in writing to not-for-profit organizations in her community, including Support Connection, a Westchester County organization providing services to women with breast and ovarian cancer, and Wainwright House, a non-profit center dedicated to education and programs for transformational living. She served on the Board of the Barbara Giordano Foundation, a NY nonprofit offering services and support to women veterans for two years and was instrumental in the development of their governance policies.

Her books include, The Everything Law of Attraction Dream Dictionary (Adams Media, 2010), and The Collection: Flash Fiction for Flash Memory (Anchala Press, 2018). She is at work on her first novel.


Gaye Eschenbach, CPA is a Senior Manager in the Private Business Services Group of Eisner Advisory Group LLC, one of the largest accounting, tax and business advisory firms in the U.S. With over 20 years of experience, Gaye’s expertise covers many industries including manufacturing, wholesale distribution and real estate. Her responsibilities include tax planning and review, financial statement compilation and review services, as well as accounting technical support. Gaye is a member of EisnerAmper’s continuing education committee, organizing training opportunities for new and seasoned staff. She teaches courses on various tax topics and is a content provider for the EisnerAmper website. Gaye has volunteered her time to local community non­profit groups such as Ramsey Responds, PTOs, and her local homeowner’s association. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, gaming, and playing with her exuberant puppy, Alfie.

CARIDAD PINEIRO, Board Secretary

Caridad Pineiro is a transplanted Long Island girl who fell in love with the Jersey Shore. When she isn’t taking long strolls along the boardwalk, she’s also a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author with over a million romance novels sold worldwide. Caridad is passionate about writing and helping others explore and develop their skills as writers. She is a founding member of the Liberty States Fiction Writers and has presented workshops at the International Women’s Writing Guild, RT Book Club Convention, Romance Writers of America National Conference as well as various writing organizations throughout the country.

When not writing, Caridad is also an intellectual property attorney.www.caridad.com  


Andie Cranford is the executive editor of The Narrative ARC, an online resource for writers that examines everything from the elements of grammar to the universal patterns in bestselling and critically acclaimed novels.

A professional copywriter and copyeditor with over eight years of experience, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Memphis. She is currently working on her Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Lesley University. She is finalizing her debut young adult fiction novel, Jubilee. When she’s not writing, you can find her listening to audiobooks as she renovates every room in her 80-year-old house.


Christie A. Cruise, PhD is an educator, advocate, and an author with a passion for empowering Black women and girls to speak their truths boldly and unapologetically. This passion led her to serve as a volunteer for St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s Raising St. Louis Program and Girls Incorporated of St. Louis, a mentor with the Reach & Rise Program of the Gateway Region YMCA, an advisory board member for Nia Kuumba African and African American Women’s Spirituality Center, and treasurer for the Young Ambassadors of the YWCA of Metro St. Louis.

Dr. Cruise released her first book, It Don’t Hurt Now: My Journey of Self-Love & Self-Acceptance, in January 2019. She has contributed to blogs for the Black Mental Wellness Corporation and The Healing Collective Global. Her poetry, reflections, and self-portrait photography has been published in Gumbo Magazine, Remington Review, Gallery & Studio Arts Journal, and Sunspot Literary Journal.

Dr. Cruise received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois; a Master of Science from Eastern Illinois University; and a PhD from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education in a variety of areas including social justice, diversity, and inclusion.


Rachel Efthemes is a Partner in the Private Client Services group at Mazars in the US and delivers specialized personal income tax planning and consulting services to high-net-worth individuals and their families. She is also actively involved with staff recruiting, the training and development of Mazars personnel, and is a formal and informal mentor through Mazars, NJCPA, Junior Achievement of NJ, American Corporate Partners, Kutztown University, and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Rachel has been published in Bloomberg BNA: Pension and Benefits Daily, Meadowlands USA and quoted in Barron’s and was an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she taught Federal Income Taxation of Individuals to graduate and undergraduate students. She graduated from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, summa cum laude, received a Master of Science in Taxation from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in NJ and CO.

Rachel is passionate about gender equality and female empowerment and leads the NJ office Women@Mazars group which helps to advance the firm’s strategic plan to enhance the development and retention of women leaders. She lives in PA with her husband and daughter and enjoys spending time with family and going out on the boat.


Trish Hopkinson is a poet and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com and provisionally in Colorado, where she works as a product director for an international software company, runs the regional poetry group Rock Canyon Poets, curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM, and is a Poetry Reader for The Adroit Journal. Her website includes hundreds of interviews with literary magazines, journals, and presses with a focus of sharing information on how to write, publish, or participate in the larger poetry community.

Hopkinson is one of two alternating literary arts program coordinators for the Utah Arts Festival, and co-founded Provo Poetry in 2015 to feature Utah poets in Poemball vending machines with three permanent locations in Provo and Salt Lake City. Her poetry has been published in several magazines and journals, including Sugar House Review, Glass Poetry Press, and The Penn Review; her third chapbook Footnote was published by Lithic Press in 2017, and her most recent e-chapbook Almost Famous was published by Yavanika Press in 2019. Hopkinson happily answers to labels such as atheist, feminist, and empty nester; and enjoys traveling, live music, and craft beer.


Michelle Hopson is a trusted consultant to Boards and Executive Leadership advancing work force and process integration causing people and systems to inter-functionally achieve high level results. She enjoys diversity and maintaining a mix of meaningful people, roles, and activities that cultivate her values. She serves as the Principal at Hopson Consultancy – a certified minority owned business supplying organizational development services; a Director of Administration at Friends of Animals; a contracted Chief of Staff at vChief; a National Board Member at EcoWomen; an Executive Function Coach at NFIL; a Fordham University Mentor; and a local Parish Council Member.

In 2015, Michelle was selected to attend a Harvard Advanced Leadership Institute symposium for Harvard Fellows, established, and emerging leaders of regional non-profits, cause-advancing organizations, public and government organizations. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Legal and Policy Studies from Fordham’s College of Liberal Studies, and also received an Executive Education Certificate from Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business & Graduate School of Social Service, Center for Nonprofit Leaders.

Her husband, daughter, and shih tzu help her recharge from her commitments. They’re usually at the town beach during twilight, soaking in a reverse sunset, and telling each other how this feeling never gets old.

Cynthia Manick, Board Member

Cynthia Manick is a poet, storyteller, and community leader. She is the author of Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016), and editor of Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019) and The Future of Black: Afrofuturism and Black Comics Poetry (Blair Publishing, forthcoming 2021). She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and Château de la Napoule among others. Winner of the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry, Cynthia was also awarded Honorable Mention for the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. A performer at literary festivals, libraries, universities, and most recently the Brooklyn Museum, her work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day SeriesAGNI, VIDA, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.

By day, Cynthia serves as a Data Coordinator and Scrum Master at Candid (formerly Foundation Center and GuideStar); and is Founder and curator of Soul Sister Revue, a quarterly reading series for established and emerging poets who write in the narrative tradition of storytelling. She’s currently East Coast Editor of Jamii Publishing, trustee of the NYC chapter of the Awesome Foundation, and serves on the editorial board of Alice James Books. She can be found at http://www.cynthiamanick.com/.

HOPE PLAYER, Board Member

Former Treasurer of The International Women’s Writing Guild, Hope Player is the author of the book Find the Numbers for Your Business Plan (Full Court Press, 2010), Hope has published articles in New Jersey CPA magazine, Blue Ridge Business Journal, Bergen Record, RacersReunion.com, and Bergen Health and Life. Interim Co-Executive Director from 2018-2019, Hope is a member of the IWWG faculty, teaching business skills to writers.

Hope’s business, The Arcadian Group, provides advisory services and training to small businesses.  She holds the professional designations of Certified Public Accountant and Certified Valuation Analyst. A Cayce, South Carolina native, Hope received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina in Columbia.

Hope served in leadership roles with the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the Fort Lee Regional Chamber of Commerce, New Century Venture Center, as well as many other civic and arts organizations.  For her dedication to small business, she was recognized by the Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants and by the Small Business Administration.

A member of IWWG since 2003, Hope loves the time she spends with writers and artists and is honored to be able to share her skills with the organization and the membership..


Paula Chaffee Scardamalia is a multi-published author, a book coach and editor, and a dream and tarot intuitive. In 2019, Schiffer Publishing published her nonfiction book, Tarot for the Fiction Writer. Wild Rose Press published her fantasy romance novel, In the Land of the Vultures in December 2018. She self-published her first book, Weaving a Woman’s Life: Spiritual Lessons from the Loom, in 2006, which won Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Awards, Bronze.

For 20 years, Paula’s presented workshops across the country at: Romance Writers of America national and regional events; San Diego University Writers Conference; International Women’s Writing Guild; and at smaller venues like destination resorts and bookstores. She’s edited for and coached authors across the US, Canada, and Europe.

As a freelance writer, she wrote: book reviews for Foreword Magazine, Broad Universe, and Clarion online; and feature articles for Crafts Report Magazine, Faery Magazine, and First30Days.com.

Paula has published Divine Muse-ings, a weekly e-newsletter, since 2009. She was dream consultant for PEOPLE Country Magazine from 2010 until 2017, when it ceased publication.

She received her MFA from International College (Los Angeles, CA), and BA, from Penn State University.


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