Ashley Dobson, who chronicles Liechtenstein in this issue, is a freelance writer currently living her European dreams with her husband and West Highland terrier in Germany. A proud native Texan, Dobson is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and has worked at a number of newspapers and websites across the South and in Washington, D.C. As an avid traveler (and travel writer), she believes the greatest souvenir from a new place is an experience. For herself, she collects karaoke songs and has performed on the karaoke stage in 18 different countries so far.
Whether finding the best restaurant in Rome overlooking the Colosseum to taking a private tour of the Queen’s art collection at Buckingham, cultural enthusiast and arbiter Jake Gaines, a native Texan. Our very own James Bond on the social scene, he will gladly wield his saber to pop open a bottle of Champagne before advancing into a masked ball. His motto? Bring your passport and tuxedo since one never knows what can transpire. He’s a handy extra man at a dinner party and is known for his disappearing tablecloth trick. When in doubt, he recommends, everyone into the pool for a midnight game of Marco Polo.
Certified professional life coach and branding expert by day, social commentator by night describes Associate Editor Rob Giardinelli and his multi-tasking when covering this month’s social stories. What may appear seamless actually takes hours of research, interviews, and photo gathering to accurately chronicle the state’s charitable event stories. Giardinelli himself is involved several philanthropies and loves sharing how Texans so generously and passionately give back to the community they love, while he weaves interesting social commentary that showcases the many who work tirelessly to raise awareness toward important issues in the state.
ELLIE LEEPER MORRSION
A founding contributor for The Society Diaries, Ellie Leeper Morrison has been Associate Editor and writer since the magazine’s first issue, covering events, culture, and travel. As The Society Diaries TV‘s co-creator, co-host and digital editor. Morrison also writes and manages her own blog Sequins & Suspenders (SequinsAndSuspenders.com) covering lifestyle, fashion, and more in San Antonio.
LAURA VILLAGRAN-JOHNSON AND KEVIN SMOTHERS
If there is an event or gala to attend in Texas, count on Laura Villagran-Johnson and Kevin Smothers to be on the scene. As the founders of the social guide and online calendar Austin Social Planner, Austin’s definitive online source for society events, they know where to go, when to be there and how to dial in to the particular charity behind it. The founders have a combined an events background of almost 30 years across Texas, New York and Los Angeles. Photography by Stacey Harrell.
Our new Indulge column contributor and The Society Diaries TV host and Digital Producer Tori Johnson is the owner of sTORIbook Public Relations and is a fashion and lifestyle blogger of ThesTORIbook.com. She is also a successful commercial and editorial stylist. In 2015, Johnson was voted San Antonio Fashion Blogger of the Year and has worked with a bevy of top names including Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lancôme, Armani Exchange, and many more.
Our feature photographer for this issue’s The Age Of Enlightenment fashion editorial cover story is Los Angeles-based Mark Oberlin. Oberlin has also photographed the collections of many of the West Coast’s top fashion designers. He is an acclaimed painter, as well, and has exhibited his paintings in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco galleries. More of his work can be found at MarkOberlinPhotography.com
Associate Editor Jennifer Roosth is a Houston-based writer who never ceases to be amazed by the wonderfully generous spirit of the Houston philanthropic community. “It’s nice to live in a city where so many are excited about giving back,” she says, “In the process, they throw some mighty fine parties.”
Our Ms. Modern Manners etiquette expert Sharon Schweitzer, J.D. is an internationally recognized intercultural communication and international etiquette expert who advises and trains executives, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders in Global 2000 companies. An avid writer and popular blogger, she is the author of Access to Asia (Wiley). Her travels, both business and leisure, have taken her to over 60 countries on the world’s seven continents. She makes her home in Austin with her husband John and their golden retriever, Charm. Photography by Korey Howell Photography.
A partner at Gangway Advertising, Cynthia Smoot creates buzz for some of Dallas’ hottest brands through interactive social media strategies and public relations for the firm’s lifestyle clients. She is the go-to resource for what’s happening and who you need to know in Dallas. Through her popular lifestyle blog OhSoCynthia.com readers get the latest scoop and inside information on fashion, food, philanthropy, events, celebrity and reality TV news. Smoot describes her blog as “a love letter to the city of Dallas” and enjoys taking readers along for the ride as she experiences all that the city has to offer.
Jonathan Spindel is a native Austinite with a global appetite for arts and culture. When he’s not searching the world for the best trends to share with our readers, he can be found at local art galleries, music venues, and hip happenings around the capital city. He reports on all that makes us proud to be part of Texas society and is inspired by the unique individuals and organizations he engages as an Associate Editor, highlighting the happenings that bring the best to, and make the most of, our great state.
MIRANDA F. WALICHOWSKI
Miranda F. Walichowski, Ph.D. is a certified professional life coach and docent at Texas A&M University in the Department of Educational Psychology, helping her clients achieve measurable results when it comes to professional and personal growth in her role as coach and principal of MiraNous Coaching & Consulting, LLC (MiraNous.com). Dr. Miranda has developed a coaching process based on how the brain works to help individuals develop self-awareness, self-mastery, and self-actualization. She has co-founded a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational experience, the New You Journey (NewYouJourney.com), an intensive six-month coaching program that culminates in a 1,200-year-old pilgrimage from the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains in France to Santiago de Campostela, Spain.