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.
Chief Business Officer
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 Chief Business Officer, 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.
Chief Technology Officer
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.
Meet our Member Success 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 Success 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.
Member Success Manager
Hi — I am Shantek, I was born and raised in South Florida! I am the Member Success Manager, and I have been with AWAI since October, 2015. 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.
Director of Guidance
Hi! I’m Tricia — Director of Guidance and new member of the team. I’ve been in sales and management for over 30 years and feel so fortunate to have joined the AWAI family. The passion and dedication to the members by the AWAI staff is inspiring, and I’m excited to learn from and grow with them. Connecting with our members and guiding them to live the writer’s life has been so rewarding!
I grew up in San Antonio, TX and moved to Austin, TX in 1994. I live with my amazing husband of over 20 years and our super cool teenage daughter on Lake Travis, here in the Austin area. I love boating, yoga, traveling, reading, binge-watching movies and shows, and a nice glass of champagne.
Member Success Team Lead
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!
Premier Member Success Coordinator
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 there — I’m Zita. I was born in Cameroun, Yaoundé then moved around for most of my life. A year ago I landed in South Florida and it has been a fantastic journey. I went to HCC for my Associates degree in Marketing, and I plan to go back to university to get my BA. I got the opportunity to join AWAI and I was more than excited. I get to be a part of a company that genuinely cares about not only our members, but us as well. My hobbies are anything creative! Writing, painting, guitar, piano, singing and reading. I also really enjoy yoga, hiking, and being in the gym (so I can make sure I live until I am 100). Lastly, I spend a lot of my time with my Old English Sheepdog, and when asked, I will talk about him for hours.
Hi — I’m Shane. I was born and raised in South Florida, and I’ve been living in Delray Beach for about two years. I went to Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida where I graduated with a BFA in Creative Writing. Before joining AWAI, I worked as a Delivery Dude in Delray, which I have an endless amount of wild stories from. I am an avid writer with particular interest in short stories and screenplays. In my spare time I watch tons of movies, devour books, and ride my bike around town. I also love to travel, try new foods, meet animals, and go to concerts. I am very happy to join AWAI and be a part of something that I truly believe in while also growing professionally.
Hey there! I'm Natalia — but you can call me Nat. I was born in New York, raised in Haiti, and have been living in Florida for over 15 years. South Florida has become my home and it has been an interesting ride to say the least. I graduated from Full Sail University with my associates degree in Graphic Design.
When I'm not at work providing excellent customer service, I'm usually watching my shows on Netflix and Hulu. I'm a big fan of anime and enjoy spending quality time at home with my pets and my wonderful partner. You can often find me gaming, drawing or photographing in my spare time.
Hello, I'm Reagan! I grew up in New Orleans and graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a BFA in Stage & Production Management in 2018. I've been living in Orlando for almost two years — before joining AWAI I worked as an Attractions Cast Member at Walt Disney World.
In my free time I can usually be found in the theme parks, riding my bike, in a theater, or watching movies with my roommates and our cat.
Hey! I’m Eric. I was born in Espírito Santo, Brazil moved to sunny south Florida around 12 years ago and I’ve been living here since along with my family. I currently attend Palm Beach State College majoring in business. I’m a huge sports fan and I’ve dedicated most of my life to a martial arts called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which I’ve fell in love since day one and currently hold the highest rank of black belt.
I’m thankful and excited for the opportunity to be part of the AWAI family. Looking forward to learn and grow with the help of all of you guys!
Meet our Marketing Team
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.
Director of Lead and Conversion Marketing
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.
Director of Email Marketing
Hi, I’m Lisa Bruette. I currently live in Hagerstown, MD with my husband, two kids and whoodle. I’m really excited for the opportunity to join the amazing AWAI team. I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of the AWAI family and watching it grow for the past two decades! I originally came into the family from Agora as Early to Rise’s marketing manager. (Thank you, Katie!) Six years ago, I started working with Great Escape Publishing focusing on new product development and acquisition marketing.
I am naturally curious, seem to always question why/how things work, and love helping others. I think the combination of those characteristics is what I find so thrilling about direct response marketing. Direct response gives us a measurable way to collect consumer behavior data which can be used to create new products or offerings to satisfy a problem. When successful, it compels our prospect to take immediate action and begin their customer journey with us. The best part for me is knowing it’s the chance to make a positive change in their world.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Hi, I’m Jen Onorati. As a digital marketing strategist and lifelong advocate for writers and artists, my mission is to support creatives’ careers any way I can.
A self-taught copywriter, I embody the AWAI mission of building a career out of the demand for skilled writers — a path that has led to my niche in social media marketing.
When I’m not consumed by writing compelling copy, I’m either in my kitchen perfecting the art of pour-over coffee, attempting to bake the best lavender lemon cupcakes you’ve ever had, or I’m tucked into bed with a sci-fi movie marathon.
I recently returned to South Florida, where I grew up, after living in Portland, Oregon, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Denton, Texas, where I received my Bachelor’s in Humanities, Languages and Art History, my Master’s in Philosophy, and worked in art galleries and organic agriculture. Needless to say, I have a bit of wanderlust and an affinity for adventure. If you ever need a road trip co-pilot, a rock-climbing partner, or a kayaking guide, my bags are packed and ready.
Copy and Content Production Manager
Hi! I’m Cecilia Rivera, but everyone calls me Cece. I was born in Bolivia and moved to the United States when I was 15 years old.
I first joined the AWAI team in 2012 as a Member Services Representative for the Great Escape Publishing travel division. In 2014, I took some time away to study at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and had the time of my life, and when I rejoined the Great Escape Publishing team, I began working as a Marketing Coordinator, focusing on campaign operations.
I’ve always been interested in the technological aspects of digital marketing and enjoyed figuring out how to make everything work together like puzzle pieces. I also loved the fast-paced nature of helping my team fix issues in a pinch.
In my spare time I like to get lost in nature, explore new places and try new foods. I also love photography and make sure to take time to appreciate the simpler things in life. While my friends say I’m the “Mom” of the group, they also describe me as creative, geeky, funny, sweet, and a crazy adrenaline junky.
I’m extremely excited to be a part of the AWAI family again and look forward to learning and growing with this amazing team!
Hi, I’m Jessica! I’m a proud native of Delray Beach, Florida, though it took me moving away to become one.
The first time I ever left Florida was the day I moved into my dorm at Emory University in Atlanta, where I got my BA in English and Film Studies.
I decided Atlanta wasn’t cold enough apparently, so I went to Syracuse University after that, and got my MA in Advertising. Even though I moved away, I could never stay gone for long, coming home every few months to visit my pets (two cats and a dog that I love maybe too much).
My hobbies include drinking too much coffee, planning unrealistic Walt Disney World vacations, calculating the likelihood of the Florida Panthers making the playoffs, and indulging in all forms of entertainment instead of sleeping.
Social Media Community Engagement Specialist
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 am a writer by passion and I have always loved the fact that AWAI believes in their members and encourages them to pursue a new life path.
Being with this company over the past 3 years has allowed me to assist writers of all experience levels and watch them flourish in their careers. Working with members across all of our social media platforms allows me to stay in touch and up-to-date and jump in to help, find answers, and make connections whenever possible. This is what makes me LOVE to wake up every morning and come to work.
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’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.
Hey! I’m Bonnie, and I’m really excited to be a copywriter here at AWAI.
All my life, I’ve been something of a “creative type,” always drawing, painting, singing, writing, dreaming … and being in a community that supports that is amazing.
Over the last decade, I’ve been writing about and teaching photography, with my own photo business on the side. Through that, I’ve been extremely fortunate to visit over 40 countries, teaching, taking photos, and writing from many of them.
Some of my favorites include: Thailand, Bali, Argentina, Tanzania, Peru, Botswana, and my one true love – France.
Besides travel, my favorite thing to do is to get outside with my fiancée and our dogs in my beloved home state of Oregon. We love skiing, hiking, rock climbing, occasionally sleeping in an igloo, and pickleball.
Come find me at Bootcamp and let’s chat about creativity, art, photography, French, travel, and igloo-building techniques!
Meet our Events, Product, and Training Team
Director of Training
Jade Trueblood here! I joined the AWAI Family in January 2016 as the Events 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 love a good winery. I’m originally from South Africa (I recommend Cape Town, if you’re visiting); I came to the U.S. many 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, with a sassy baby girl, living in the Appalachian region.
Hello, Denise Ford here. I’m the Dean of American Writers and Artists Institute. I’ve been affiliated with AWAI since 2003, working in a variety of capacities, including Product Manager, copywriting coach, Member Success supervisor and most recently as Conference & Events Director. Prior to joining AWAI, I had a career in education and management as Adjunct Professor, teaching fine arts and theatre courses at several colleges and universities. And before that part of my life, I was a successful theatre director for professional theatre companies around the country, including The Phoenix Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Civic Light Opera, Playmakers Repertory Company, Weathervane Theatre and A Contemporary Theatre.
In my spare time, you’ll find me working with some neighbors at the community food bank, or meeting friends at our local animal rescue center, or most often, 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.
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 the sunny south (my home) and Maine (summers only!).
Online Training Manager
Hi there, I am Fran, a Delray Beach native. I attended the New College of Florida where I graduated with a concentration in Art History.
I am delighted to be part of the AWAI team as the Online Training Manager. At some point, you will probably hear me directing you to our chat and Q&A panels on a webinar! I can’t wait to “see” you on an online event soon.
When I am not at work, I am probably with my wonderful partner Ben and our cat Leonard. We love to play games (both video and board), watch movies, or spend a morning at the beach.
Meet Our Web and Operations Team
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. 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!
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.
Hi there, I’m Jared! I oversee our design team at AWAI, who work with our copywriters and marketers to turn their copy and campaigns into functional, and beautiful pages on our website. I also advise, and implement, design and user experience changes on our website to improve your online experience with us. I hope that you find our website very useful in your pursuit of the writer’s life. Outside of AWAI, I love playing video games, board games, and surfing the internet. I also enjoy swimming, exploring nature, trying new restaurants, and most of all, enjoing time with my best friend, my wonderful 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, my name is Lawrence! I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and relocated to Orlando, Florida in 2016. A lover of the arts and a nerd at heart, I have always been fascinated with both art and technology from a very young age. Given the passion I have for my two interests, it was only fitting to graduate from Valencia College with two degrees in Graphic Design and Interactive Design.
I am thrilled to be a part of the AWAI team as a Graphic Designer where I design content for our website and social media outlets, along with designing layouts, reports, and marketing collateral.
Outside of AWAI, I am a photographer and I love creating portraits and landscape photos. I find great pleasure in learning — anything from trivial facts, to history, to pop culture and my favorite, a good ol’ YouTube tutorial. I am always excited to dine at a new restaurant or to indulge in a familiar dish. I enjoy being active outside while also playing and watching sports (Go Knicks!)
Hi! I am Lindsey Kelly. Originally from the northeast, I relocated to Florida 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. Although my background is in the medical field, I started working for AWAI in 2009 and have never looked back. AWAI is a great company and I work remotely performing a number of tasks in the Fulfillment Department. I have 2 adult children and my favorite role to date is “grandma”.
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.