Hank Smith ~ Religion Professor & EFY Speaker
Hank, a native of St. George, Utah, is known for his sense of humor and spiritual insight. He served a mission in California and is now a religion professor at BYU. He earned an MBA from Utah State University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. Hank is well-known for his many Talks on CD like Do’s and Don’ts of Dating, Break Up With the World, and I Love My Friends!, all available through Deseret Book. Hank is a favorite speaker at EFY and Education Week. He enjoys running marathons and eating lots of ice cream (which is why he runs marathons). Hank and his wife, Sara, live in Mapleton, Utah with their five children.
Eric Richards ~ EFY & Education Week Speaker
Eric is here today because two missionaries chose to go tracting one day in San Diego. Later, his own mission began in Honduras and ended in Alabama (due to a bone tumor). He played water polo and volleyball in college, during which time he met his wife, Megan, as they worked as EFY counselors; the two were married in the San Diego Temple and have four children. Eric’s current assignment is writing church curriculum in addition to being a Seminary Principal; in the summertime, he directs at EFY and speaks at BYU Education Week. Eric loves cooking for people, photography, remote controls, ice cream and iPhones. And, on a side note, he loves chocolate more than most women do. Most of all, he loves teaching and being with valiant Latter-day Saints. Learn more about Eric through his website http://www.brotherichards.com, on Facebook @brotherichards, and on Instagram @brotherichards.
Evie Clair ~ America’s Got Talent Finalist
Evie Clair was a top ten finalist on America’s Got Talent Season 12. She is 14 years old and has been playing piano and singing since she was two. Evie got her start at age 8 singing and tap dancing in Annie at Hale Theater. She performed the National Anthem at an Arizona Diamondbacks game, released two original pop singles and received one of three Judges Choice awards in a world-wide contest for her cover of “Glorious.” Her music video cover of “Take On Me” was awarded by Arizona Interfaith Movement for promoting the Golden Rule and presented at the Parliament of the World’s Religions and she recorded an album produced by Arizona Golden Rule Educational Experiences called “Stars Shine Brightly.” Evie won a contest to sing the theme song for the movie, “Once I was a Beehive,” and was able to perform it live for the official movie premier and have her original song, “For You,” on the movie soundtrack. During her time on America’s Got Talent, Evie was able to touch the hearts of all the celebrity judges and millions of Americans who raved about her performances, the tone and control of her unique voice, her beauty inside and out, and her ability to connect to audiences.
Fatima Dedrickson ~ Fitness & Lifestyle Blogger
Fatima grew up in Sweden and then attended college in at Brigham Young University. She competed for the Track & Field team and just recently decided to be officially done competing professionally. She is a proud member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and loves her faith. Fatima met her husband Ben while in Utah and they got married in 2012 in the Salt Lake City temple. Together they have three children. Fatima is passionate about all things fitness, fashion, photography, family, and food.
Jef Rawls ~ Comedian, Actor & Charismatic Connector
Jef has been acting and performing in film, TV, video, commercials, and on stage for more than 25 years. Jef is the owner and producer of the Jester’Z Improv Comedy Show, where some of his favorite people to perform with have been the cast of Studio C, Lindsey Stirling, and Sean Astin. He is currently producing and hosting an interview show called “Inside the Laughter” and got the opportunity to interview Dick Van Dyke (from the movie Mary Poppins). Jef played the role of Judas Iscariot in the Mesa Easter Pageant and has done numerous other film projects with the Church (including Mormon Battalion in San Diego). Jef is the father of 6 kids: Jeferson Hunter, Lincoln McKay, Rosevelt Elizabeth, Pierce Monson, Ford Hinckley, and Truman Kimball.
Michelle Gifford ~ Beauty Revived Founder & Mormon Mompreneur Co-Founder
Michelle is the founder of the non-profit photography movement, Beauty Revived, that shares the stories of real women with real beauty. She is also one of the founders of Mormon Mompreneur, a podcast and website dedicated to guiding the faith-filled mompreneur to create a business that succeeds and fulfills. She lives in Southern California with her husband and five children. Michelle loves taking pictures and eating guacamole (not at the same time) and will never turn down a dance party.
Rhea Maynes ~ My Time to Blossom Author & Investment Manager
Rhea graduated from BYU in Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. After graduating, she chose a career path in finance, where she now works for Goldman Sachs in Investment Management. In her spare time, she travels, mentors, and reads. Rhea also enjoys fashion styling, exploring world cultures, and teaching. She has an active life with her husband and border collie.
Emma Jarvis ~ My Time to Blossom Author
Emma Jarvis will be inspiring girls to strengthen their spiritual side. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2014 with a degree in English. A passion for reading and writing begun at a young age and continue to be her main source of enjoyment. Jane Austen, Henry James, Scott Fitzgerald, and JK Rowling are among her favorite authors whom she returns to time and again. She spent two years working for the Church at the Church History Library where her love of history and her testimony of the Church grew everyday. She loves the devotion of saints around the world and is inspired by their stories. Her dream calling is Girl’s Camp Director. She and her husband were married in the Manti Temple in 2014 and now reside in Dallas where they are awaiting the arrival of their first baby boy in June.
Ashley Johnson ~ My Time to Blossom Author
Ashley Johnson loves trying new recipes, being a mom, singing loud in the car, and ending the day with a walk around town. Ashley has a solid testimony of Jesus Christ- the source of true happiness. Ashley hopes to spread joy, teach happiness, and start the occasional dance party. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from ASU with a degree in political science. She left a mission call for marriage to her best friend. You can follow her day to day adventures here.
Ashley Romney ~ My Time to Blossom Author
Ashley Romney is a positive psychology enthusiast and has a passion for finding old books and fabulous fashion finds at D.I. She has spent several years volunteering in quite the array of nonprofits and various causes and currently serves on the board of ‘Utah’s Distinguished Young Women’ as well as ‘Ivy Girl Academy’ with founder Jessie Funk. Not knowing what she wanted to do in life and feeling late to the game she recently started back at the University of Utah with an ambition to obtain a Ph.D. in Psychology studying teen girl behavior, realizing God’s timing is simply beyond perfect. Ashley and her husband have a passion for health, he is a personal trainer and both of them follow a Whole Food Plant Based lifestyle. Ashley currently serves as her wards Young Women President and is the founder of ‘The Power of One Girl’ where she empowers teen girls through coaching, worksheets, and workshops, to have strong self-esteem by coming unto Christ as they choose to take power over their own life. You can visit her site, The Power of One Girl, here.
Ivy Van Dusen ~ My Time to Blossom Author
Ivy is a wife, a mother, a business-owner and a goal-setting-enthusiast. Ivy met her sweetheart, Kody at a BYU football game and they were married in 2015 in the Mesa, Arizona Temple. She graduated in 2017 from BYU with a degree in communications and family life. During college she also started my own clothing/jewelry business called Ivy Avenue. She is a huge fan of trying new things and “going for it” even when things seem scary! She says, “I don’t believe were meant to sit on the sidelines in life but rather to get out there and give it our all!”. Shortly after graduating she had a sweet baby boy, Jack. Although she has many hobbies, dreams and passions in life, none of them are as important to her as her roles as wife and mother. She is constantly striving to build her foundation on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encouraging others to do the same because she knows that is where true success and happiness comes from.
Nicole Carpenter ~ My Time to Blossom Website Manager & Social Media Marketer
Nicole graduated Summa Cum Laude from ASU in Educational Studies with a minor in U.S. History. She worked as a teacher and received the A-Plus teaching award. She has a love for building websites and managing social media. Nicole loves her current position at My Time to Blossom, as their Website Manager and Social Media Marketer. She is a licensed cosmetologist and a lover of dark chocolate brownies. Nicole currently resides in Gilbert with her husband and two adorable kids June and Adam.
Tricia Baird ~ Etiquette Specialist
Tricia is a graduate of Mountain View High School in Mesa. After serving an LDS mission in Salta, Argentina, she received a Master’s of Accounting from BYU and began her career working for a large firm in Boston. While in Boston, she met her husband Bret and eventually traded in tax returns for days at the park as they began a family. She has enjoyed being able to work part time as they’ve raised their five kids and especially loved the opportunity to be an on-line instructor for BYU-Idaho. Most recently she has been the H.R. Director and the Head of Payroll for Avista Senior Living Management Company. Early morning runs, family dance parties, being in the temple, and warm, homemade cinnamon rolls are a few of the things that fill her heart with joy.
Julie Lerch ~ High School Educator & Entrepreneur
Julie grew up in a small farming community in Alberta, Canada. After graduating from high school, she took a bold move by becoming an “Aupair” in Northern England. During her travels she learned to love the theatre and became fascinated with historical sites. After returning, she immediately went to BYU to pursue a degree. After two years of college she decided to take time out to serve a full-time mission and was actually called back to Northern England. After completing her mission, she completed her B.A. in Theatre Arts Education. Julie became a drama teacher in Tucson, Arizona and competed competitively. During this time, Julie founded and currently manages her own successful piano business, Creative Kids Piano Studio. She studied piano through the Royal Conservatory program in Canada where she completed and competed in all of her levels. While raising her kids, she continued her education and received an additional degree in Special Education. Julie has been actively involved as a guest speaker and director at several Girl’s Camps, Treks, Stake Road Shows, Young Women’s activities and at Stake Youth Conferences. Julie is passionate about reaching out to youth to inspire them to reach their goals and dreams and instills this in her own four children.
Young women participate in a large scale service project every year to help women and children in their community and the world. Past projects have benefitted African orphans, South American flood victims, the Child Crisis Center, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Banner Children’s Hospital, Helen’s Hope Chest, and Feed My Starving Children. Our service projects are a highlight of the conference each year.
Jester’Z Improv Comedy Show
Young women love to laugh and have fun so Jester’Z is always a crowd favorite. Jester’Z Improv Comedy specializes in clean comedy for all ages. They perform for local audiences every weekend, teach improv classes, and perform for corporations all across Arizona, Utah, California and Idaho. Jester’Z has been coming to the conference since the beginning and always puts on a great show.
Young women get to walk the runway in their favorite outfit and show the confidence and poise they have gained during the week. Participation is optional, but whether cheering from the audience or strutting down the runway, they have a fabulous time. Downeast has sponsored the show and provided their latest fashions for some young women to model since the very first conference.
Young women are given opportunities to learn new skills they can use throughout their lives. There are various craft projects throughout the conference so young women can use their creativity to make something beautiful and memorable. They have created fun things to take home like scrapbooks, wall art, jewelry, journals, and dreamcatchers.
Young women get to release their energy before bedtime by dancing the night away at the all-girl dance party. After spending their day learning, serving, and making friends, the young women release all their energy while dancing to fun music provided by our favorite DJ’s from Prime Time Music. The parties are brought to the next level with a mirror ball, disco lighting, bubble machine, and sing-a-longs.
Young women will have an amazing experience when they get to be audience members in an intimate concert with Evie Clair. In true concert fashion, opening acts will start the night out right and get everyone excited for Evie. Past concerts at the conference have included the unstoppable Alex Boye, the melodious American Idol contestant Brooke White, and the captivating Mindy Gledhill.
Girls’ Night In
Young women will get to have fun participating in a variety of activities during the Girls’ Night In party. Last year was the first time we tried this activity and it was a big hit! The girls got to get their hair braided, learn how to make friendship bracelets, color, sing, dance, and so many other things.