With AWAI, You Have an Entire Team Cheering You On — Delivering World-Class Copywriting Training with Heartfelt Support
Yes, we’re all here to support YOUR SUCCESS in one of the best, most lucrative careers in writing: direct response copywriting.
No matter what you want to achieve as a copywriter, you’ll find that the entire AWAI team is passionate about helping you make it happen. As our Executive Director Katie Yeakle often says, “We measure our success by YOUR success.”
Get to know our team here. We look forward to meeting you online, on the phone, or in person at one of our copywriting training events.
Meet our Executive Team
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Hi. I’m Katie Yeakle. As one of AWAI’s Co-Founders, I’ve been around since our beginnings in 1997. (We have a great “how we got started story” which I’m always happy to share … especially over a cocktail!). In the 20 years since we started asking, “Can You Write a Simple Letter?”, AWAI has had a bigger impact on the industry and has changed more lives for the better than we could have ever dreamed. And, for me personally, being part of this always evolving organization, made up of smart and fun and caring people … where we start each meeting with “how can we help our members get more, do more, be more?” … has given my life purpose, drive and so much fulfillment. Prior to AWAI, I held just about every job within a direct marketing publishing company … from proofreader (not my strong suit!) to fulfillment manager to publisher. (Trivia: my first interview after graduating from the University of Florida 30+ years ago was with Mark Ford, who hired me as a copyeditor. He was the company’s editorial director at the time.) When I’m not AWAI-ing, I’m enjoying life with Alan, my love of over 15 years.
Rebecca Matter here — copywriter, marketer, FSU alum (Go Noles!), mommy of two, and wife of the most supportive man in the world. He makes my version of the writer’s life possible. I’ve spent the last 19 years as a direct-response marketer in the publishing industry, and my superpower is getting writers — really anyone — unstuck. I’m a big believer in going after the things you want in life, and also believe the things in life that scare you the most are usually the things worth doing. I’m a lover of all things AWAI … I love the company, love the team, love our members, and love what I get to do each and every day. Yep, I’m one of “those” people. But I LOVE AWAI! (I see a bumper sticker in my future.) I basically spend my day helping writers live the life they’ve always dreamed of. That’s my job! So whatever you need to succeed … whether it’s a hug, a high five, or a kick in the pants, I’m your girl.
Vice President of Sales and Marketing
Hi, I’m Helen. I’m a direct response marketer, theater maven and learning enthusiast. I returned to AWAI in November, 2016 after eight years working on my own. I oversee both Marketing and Member Services … ensuring both departments work together as effectively and efficiently as possible. My whole career has been in the direct response industry. My diverse background includes marketing management, direct mail strategy, list building, direct mail production, joint venture negotiations, and product development. I get to bring my experience with AWAI in the “early days” —when I was working with the “gurus” on creating their products — as well as the new and exciting insights and strategies I’ve learned in my eight years as a successful marketing consultant for Sears Wellness Group, Premier Direct, and more. It’s a joy to be back at such a wonderful company. The care that the staff has for the members — and the joy we all take in celebrating successes — makes every day feel like a holiday. I’m looking forward to helping more members create successes!
Meet our Member Services Team
Director, Premier Memberships
I’m Barbra Hume, and I’ve spent more than 14 years making sure members here at AWAI receive the ultimate member experience. I’ve recently transitioned from Director of Member Services to Director of Premier Memberships — where I’m able to continue assisting members with anything and everything. No day is ever the same! Being part of such a passionate group of players here at AWAI is a huge plus, however being hands on in helping members grow and develop their writing careers is priceless. I started my life in NJ, went to college in NC, decided to give the FL beaches a try (for 14 years) and now I’m checking out life in the Colorado Rockies. With 2 older children living on their own — and ‘rockin’ it, and one in his last teen year apprenticing as an electrician and lovin’ it — and me engaged to a man I reconnected with after 35 yrs., I truly feel blessed.
Hi — I am Shantek, I was born and raised in South Florida! I am a Member Service Representative, I will have been with AWAI a year in October, 2016. I love working here. We are truly a family and I really love helping our members start a new path in life! I feel like I am making a difference. Before joining AWAI, I was a Trade Practice Specialist at the Better Business Bureau. My hobbies include baking (I make a mean red velvet and pound cake!!), cooking, and reading.
Hi — I’m Melissa. I grew up in Rochester, NY and relocated to South Florida in 2015. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications from Suny Old Westbury. I recently joined AWAI and instantly felt like a member of the family. I am a writer by passion and I love the fact that AWAI believes in their members and encourages them to pursue a new life path. Aside from writing, my other hobbies include traveling, playing and watching sports (Football is my favorite) and I also enjoy watching the Food Network and coining myself an amateur chef by association.
Hi, I am Risalee Espinal. I grew up in South Florida and graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in International Business and Trade.
Before working for AWAI, I taught English abroad in South Korea for a couple of years. I really enjoy traveling, meeting new people and hearing their stories. When I have free time, I am probably at home with all my animal-babies (2 cats, 2 dogs and a Gecko!) I am an animal lover who likes fostering whenever possible.
I look forward to hearing all the great stories and accomplishments our members have been able to achieve with the help of AWAI. It’s such a thrill to work for such a passionate company!
Hello — I’m Jessica. I grew up in Northern Kentucky and recently graduated from Northern Kentucky University (NorseUp) with my BA in English. I moved to South Florida in August of 2016. I recently joined AWAI and instantly felt like I was a part of the family. I like to read all types of books, short stories, and poems (I’m not picky). I love learning new things and growing intellectually on a daily basis; I feel I have landed the perfect opportunity to do such here at AWAI. I am a huge sports fan, NFL, NCAAF, NBA, NCAAB, MLB, college baseball, and college softball. I also love HGTV, I’m basically a pro at DIY (or so I like to think)! I love being in South Florida because the weather is always beautiful and nothing beats reading a book on the beach or being knocked down by the waves.
Hey! I’m Jake. I was born in northern Kentucky, just across the bridge from Cincinnati. I have spent the last 2 years in wonderful south Florida. As far as I’m concerned, Florida is my home. I attended Northern Kentucky University shortly before moving to south Florida, where I now live with my beautiful wife and our 4 amazing pets! I am a huge sports fan, spending most of my free time watching all kinds of sporting events, but in particular, basketball!
I am not only proud but immensely thankful to be accepted as part of the AWAI family and thank them for giving me an opportunity to grow and learn as a young person in a busy professional world!
Meet our Marketing Team
Hey! I’m Jaclyn, but I’m mostly known around the AWAI offices as Jax. I’m a wife to an incredible man who is unbelievably supportive and keeps me laughing and sane when I’m having a “one more email” kind of day. I’m also a mother to two AMAZING little boys who have taught the control freak in me to just go with the flow. As AWAI’s Marketing Director, I oversee all our online marketing channels for programs and events. I started with AWAI in 2005, and I’ve dedicated the last 10 years to helping AWAI members launch and grow their copywriting careers. There’s no more rewarding feeling to know I’m helping someone get closer to achieving their dreams, goals and living their ultimate writer’s life. I love musical theater. I’ve thought about turning our sales letters into an audio musical experience in which I’ll sing the copy … so far Katie and Rebecca are not seeing the value … but I’ll keep trying.
Copy Chief, Director, Editorial and Copy
Hi, I’m Sandy Franks. Although I officially started with AWAI last year as Copy Chief, I’ve been a fan and admirer of AWAI for years. I’ve been in the direct response marketing field for over 28 years. Last year I retired from Agora, Inc., the largest newsletter publisher in the country. That’s where I cut my teeth so to speak on marketing and copywriting. Now I’m able to bring those years of experience to AWAI, working with their already talented team of copywriters and marketers. My children are all grown up (well I like to think so) and my husband Mark and I are empty nesters. But we’re filling the nest up with animals … right now we have 2 cats, 2 dogs and a new puppy is joining us in a few weeks. Some people say we’re crazy for having so many pets. I’m a little worried they might be right.
Acquisition Marketing Manager
Hey there, I'm Alexis. I'm a South Florida native (currently living here in Delray) and Florida State graduate. How a degree in English led me to a 20 year career in Digital Marketing, I'll never know, but it seems fitting that I now find myself working for a company that trains copywriters, so I couldn't be more thrilled! I've dabbled in every area of Digital Marketing throughout the years from SEO and Paid Search, to Email Marketing, to Display Marketing, to Web Design – you name it, I've had my grubby little mitts in it. That's not to say I know everything there is to know, because what there is to know moves at lightning speed, which is what makes this industry so fun! So I'm very excited to apply what I know and keep learning with the AWAI team.
What you need to know about me personally is that I'm a 12 year old boy trapped in a … not 12 year old woman's body. I love movies, binge-watching too many shows, reading, playing video games, yoga, craft beer, tiny dogs, and jokes. Seriously, I will laugh at anything. And the Silverball Museum is basically my Xanadu.
Eletters, News Items and Social Media
Hi, I’m Leah! I moved to South Florida a few years ago, after graduating from Florida State University. I’m a Marketing Coordinator at AWAI. One of the things I enjoy about working here is learning about our many great programs and how they’ve made such an impact on the lives of our members. Outside of work, my hobbies/interests and guilty pleasures include art, tanning, yoga/fitness and Pure Barre (I recently became a member of the 100 club at my studio!), reality TV, the Orlando Magic, frozen yogurt, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.
Hi everyone! I’m Kyle. I recently joined the AWAI team as a Marketing Coordinator. I’m originally from Basking Ridge, New Jersey, a decent size town about thirty minutes outside of New York City. After High School, I attended and graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a degree in Marketing Administration.Go Hawks!!! About three years ago, I moved down to South Florida to pursue my marketing career in the warm weather of the sunshine state. I have decided since, that I never want to leave! Some of my hobbies include playing guitar, drawing and painting, and saltwater fishing.
Acquisition Marketing Coordinator
Hey there, I’m Andrew Mikowski and I’m part of the Acquisition Marketing team here at AWAI where I help bring new people into the writer’s life. I started with AWAI in Member Services and it was my pleasure to help our members fulfill their goals. I graduated in the summer of 2016 with my B.S. from Florida State University, but I’ve been a south Florida native my whole life — nothing beats this weather! In my spare time I enjoy fishing, photography and a coffee with a good book on a Saturday morning.
Hi, I’m Tim Matassa! I’m an in-house copywriter at AWAI. I’m originally from Staten Island, New York, and I spent most of my life living near the Jersey Shore before moving to Delray Beach in early 2017.
I taught high school English for 11 years before I found copywriting. AWAI was my path to a new beginning when I decided to change careers — first as a member, then as a freelancer, and now with a full-time position.
AWAI will always hold a special place in my heart because they opened up a world of possibilities for me. They showed me I could move forward, instead of staying stuck someplace I was unhappy. Now, I hope to bring that same realization to our members and prospects.
Outside of work, I love to read and enjoy working out. And I’m a bit of a pop culture junkie. Give me anything with superheroes and I’m happy. I’m also a sucker for live music, late-night horror movies, and anything from Disney. And living in South Florida won’t stop me from proudly supporting my NY sports teams (Giants, Mets, Knicks, & Rangers).
Hello! I’m Julia, and I’m an in-house copywriter here at AWAI. I was born in South Carolina, but I’ve spent most of my life in Florida so I consider myself a Floridian at heart. I graduated from FSU in 2013 with a degree in Literature and Philosophy – Go Noles! I’m a big animal lover, and in my spare time I love going to the beach, exploring new places, or reading. Mostly reading. I have an entire wall of bookshelves at home! Discovering copywriting opened a whole new world for me, and it’s such a thrill to be working here at the AWAI hub.
Meet our Events, Product, and Training Team
Conference & Events Director
Hello Darlings! I have been affiliated with AWAI since 2002, working as product manager, copywriting coach, member services supervisor and now, Conference & Events Director. I have the best job in the world — I get to oversee all events for AWAI — online and offline — ably aided by Fran Tignor and Jade Trueblood. Prior to joining AWAI, I was an Adjunct Professor, teaching fine arts and theatre courses at several colleges and universities. I also enjoyed a successful career as a theatre director and managing director for theatres around the country, including The Phoenix Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Civic Light Opera, A Contemporary Theater and Playmakers Repertory Company. In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering with the local food bank, working with animal rescue — and I can often be found in my garden, weather permitting!
Purveyor of Product
Hello there! I’m Jill Perri, Jack of All Trades and veteran of more than a decade at AWAI. In my real life, I’m the proud mom of Benjamin and wife to my loving, sweet husband, Peter. I take much pride in my life with them. And, I feel grateful to work for a company as dedicated and true to its core values as American Writers & Artists.
Director of Copywriting Training
Greetings, fellow copywriters! I’m apt to burst into song at any moment, and I try to find the humor in most situations and make people smile. I became an AWAI member in 2005, when I learned about The Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting. Hooray! Finally I could see a way out of corporate-cubicle-land and escape a life of cold Maine winters! Since then, it’s been my mission to be the best copywriter and web/SEO content writer I could possibly be — and this turned into a second mission to teach others how to live their dreams as well. I joined AWAI full-time in November 2015. When I’m not training, teaching, speaking and writing, I enjoy walking my dog Louie, spending time with family and friends, and pursuing hobbies (singing, movies, travel, trivia, knitting, hunting for mid-century modern treasures, and more). Now I divide my time between South Carolina and Maine (summers only!).
Jade Trueblood here! I joined the AWAI Family in January 2016 as the Conference Manager aka helping Denise work her magic. It’s very important to me to work somewhere I can make a difference, and at AWAI, your contribution and work every day means something. I get the greatest joy from hearing all our Member success stories, and there are so many success stories, so there is a lot of joy! I have an extreme weakness for anything salted caramel and am happiest on the beach or practicing yoga. I’m originally from South Africa (I recommend Cape Town, if you’re visiting); I came to the U.S. five years ago and immediately felt at home. I found an even more compelling reason to stay when I met my husband while working at a country club in North Carolina. We’re now happily married, and have chosen South Florida as home for the wonderful weather and stunning beaches — with a bit of my heart always in the North Carolina Mountains!
Online Training Manager
I am delighted to be part of the AWAI family as an Online Training Manager. I recently graduated from the New College of Florida with a concentration in Art History. When I am not at work, I am probably with my wonderful partner Ben, who I met on the college improv comedy team.
My interests include baking, games (both video and board), movies and TV, and comedy. I strive to promote the arts in our community, and you can probably find me in a museum on any given weekend. Since I was born in Delray Beach, I of course also love long walks on the beach and swims in the ocean.
Product Creation Coordinator
Hi, I’m Jennifer Wells. I’m a Southern California native and earned a BFA in photography from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. I have lived in Florida for three years and love it! I have a publishing and advertising background and two years ago, joined the direct-response marketing world.
Apart from professional endeavors, I am a mother to two amazing children. I love spending time with them and enjoying all that South Florida has to offer. A few of our favorite activities are swimming at our community pool, the beach, and of course, Disney World! I also enjoy running, working out, cooking, photography, design, and the thrill of finding the perfect treasure while thrifting.
Meet Our Web/IT and Financial Team
Hi, I’m Josh. I was born here in South Florida, and only strayed as far as Gainesville, where I majored in Systems Engineering at UF before returning to my hometown. My favorite thing to do is to tag along with my wife, son and dog on their adventures, and pretend that I’m as outdoorsy as them. I also enjoy playing guitar and basketball. At AWAI I do all the computer stuff that makes people throw up their hands and say “never mind” when they ask me what I do. I’ve been here over 10 years. I love all the different challenges, and along with everyone else here, I really love hearing the success stories from people who have used our company to make their future into what they wanted it to be.
Website and Infusionsoft
After 10 years of listening to my wife, Rebecca, talk about the writer’s life, hearing all of the success stories, and seeing first hand her love of all things AWAI, I decided to jump in and join the team. I work on bringing our programs online, and a lot of the “behind the scenes” technical stuff that would bore you to tears if I described them. I was born and raised in Iowa and I’m a diehard Iowa Hawkeye fan. (GO HAWKS!) I’m the father of two incredible little kids who, when they’re not driving me nuts, are busy cracking me up and warming my heart. And when I’m not playing dinosaurs or building Lego towers, I love to travel, work in the yard, and watch an unhealthy amount of football.
Sr. Web Designer
Hi there, I’m Jared! I help to take the promotional copy our copywriters write and turn it into functional pages on our website. I also advise and implement design and user experience changes on our website to improve your online experience with us. Outside of AWAI, I’m a big nerd. I love playing video games, playing board games, and surfing the internet (I’ve even built my own computer at home). When I’m not nerding out, I enjoy swimming, taking leisurely walks, and living a happy life with my wife.
Hi, I’m Cliff. I was born and raised here in South Florida and attended Florida Atlantic University where I met my future wife. In 2017 I had my first child and found what I believe is the ultimate purpose I could be given in life. I enjoy finding new places to eat, playing basketball and spending time with my family.
I’m glad to be part of the AWAI family, and specifically the Web/IT, and thank them for helping me change my whole direction.
Hi! I am Lindsey Kelly. Originally from the northeast, I relocated to Florida 7 years ago to be near my kids and sister. When they all up and left me, I relocated once again and am currently living in Decatur GA. I have 2 adult children and 1 adorable 6-month-old grandson. Although my background is in the medical field, I started working for AWAI 7 years ago and have never looked back. AWAI is a great company and I work remotely performing a number of tasks in the Fulfillment Department.
Hey there, I’m Ann. I was born and raised in Massachusetts and earned my BS in Business Administration at Bryant College in 1984 before moving to South Florida. I was recently hired as Accountant, in charge of Accounts Payable and other financial matters. Before joining AWAI, I was a Project Manager in the financial industry and prior to that I was in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. I love numbers, solving financial puzzles for people and helping to make sure things are running smoothly. I’m grateful to be a part of the AWAI family which has such passion for their members and is dedicated to an amazing company culture! Outside of work, I enjoy family and a great group of friends, as well as developing my creative side with designing jewelry and producing video presentations of family adventures. I’m currently working on a genealogy video, going back to 1876, to pass onto future generations.