Meet Kelsey Guerra, the new coordinator for Influence Lab Women Nashville!
Bio: Kelsey grew up acting professionally in Hollywood, signing with her first agent at the age of seven. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Vanguard University and pursued a Broadway, TV, and Film career in New York upon graduating. Her work eventually brought her back to Hollywood, where she co-founded thisishardtoread Productions and is an award-winning producer, writer, and actor on the award-winning feature comedy/mockumentary film, RE-OPENING. Favorite career highlights include LIFE PARTNERS (Tribeca & Sundance Film Festival), BLACK NOVEMBER, THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE (Vivica Fox), PAN AM (ABC), ROYAL PAINS (USA), and BAD TEACHER (CBS).
Kathleen Cooke: Tell us about you! What’s your story, and what do you do in the media and entertainment industry?
Kelsey Guerra: I am co-founder of thisishardtoread Productions with my husband, and we create comedies with heart. I’m a producer, writer, director, and actor – not necessarily all at the same time!
Kathleen: How and why have you gotten involved with Influence Lab Women as the new Nashville Chapter Coordinator?
Kelsey: I recently moved to the greater Nashville area from L.A./Hollywood for the main purpose of collaborating with like-minded industry professionals. I was tired of waiting for some “big break” that would never come, and after producing my own feature film during the pandemic, I realized that Hollywood and the industry is so much bigger than the box we put it in, and Nashville was the place where I felt called to create a movement with people who felt the same way.
Kathleen: When is the Influence Lab Women Nashville launch, and what’s happening?
Kelsey: We are going to start with a small gathering of women at the end of October who are excited to get involved with our mission – to bring women in the industry together who want to encourage, uplift, and empower each other. Let’s get to know each other and bring together others who would like to have a local community of creators and industry professionals.
Reach out to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a part of the group. Once we have a core group of women, we can expand our reach to others who would also like to join us for a larger launch in January 2023.
In July 2022, Influence Lab co-founders Phil and Kathleen Cooke were invited to Rome, Italy, to speak at a much-anticipated global conference for church and marketplace leaders.
The conference, privately hosted in a different city each year, keeps the name and invitation-only membership anonymous—a layer of protection set in place for good reason. Throughout the meetings, Phil and Kathleen were particularly moved by the unity between attending Russian and Ukrainian pastors, discussing ways to bring relief to their people amid the ongoing conflict
“Christians are working together to solve these problems,” Kathleen commented. “And we saw that even in the suffering, there is such joy.”
Other remarkable moments of the conference included reports from fellow members sharing their missions’ work as they rescue children from war-torn nations, build homes in the Middle East, and strategize to overcome food shortages.
“Being a part of this global organization of pastors, ministers, non-profits, and marketplace business leaders was inspiring,” Kathleen said.
They weren’t home for long when Phil was the featured speaker for an online event hosted by Christian Media & Arts Australia. The organization of Christian communication and media professionals across that country asked Phil to speak on his new book “Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking.”
He’s also been on a speaking tour with Christian media conferences in Memphis and Atlanta this past week, discussing his new book and how creativity can transform our effectiveness with the gospel.
Your partnership matters! Your gifts to The Influence Lab help us train Christian leaders worldwide to share the gospel in today’s digital age effectively. The gospel message never changes, but how we share it does. Give here.
As a thank-you for your gift of $35.00 or more, we’re offering partners their choice of several books by Phil and Kathleen Cooke. Find out more here (and consider becoming a monthly partner!)
This week we launch a new Influence Lab Women chapter in Atlanta. As we embark on this new adventure starting June 10th, I was reminded of Jesus as He told His future disciples to throw their nets to the “other side of the boat”. They had been fishing all night and had not caught one fish because they were casting their nets to the wrong side of the boat. Jesus wanted them to learn how to cast their nets in the right direction, and in partnership with Him.
We often miss opportunities because we keep throwing our nets out to the same place, where most fish aren’t swimming anymore. When talking about Hollywood, most outsiders think that you have to live here or in New York to make it in the industry as a professional. This might have been true in the past, but not today. These past hubs of media and entertainment and the arts have spread to many new and thriving media cities. Many longtime Hollywood professionals are moving out and into these new cities – Atlanta being one. Seeing this change has stirred my heart and I am thrilled that The Influence Lab is casting its net outside of California.
As a Christian industry professional for over 30 years, I have worked and supported many different Christian ministries and groups in Hollywood. I moved to Hollywood in the 1990s when most Christians were “in the closet” with their faith. We were an unwelcome remnant of believers. But we were called to make a difference and see lives changed by bringing God’s love to those working in the business. Over the years, I have seen the few grow to be hundreds, and now even thousands of believers in Hollywood. Today, I am seeing more top celebrities affirming their faith and it’s exciting. Those of us who committed our lives to not only our industry careers, but to the lives of others, grew stronger in the ability to “defend our faith”, as the Bible calls us to do. When COVID-19 shut down Hollywood production, the Christians ramped up and ran into the storm by producing and creating more content than even secular media and entertainment at one point.
But now Hollywood Christians are moving out. We have seen a vast migration out of California and across the U.S. in the past few years, which ultimately opened the door to launch The Influence Lab Women chapter in Atlanta. We are joining other Hollywood ministries that have also launched chapters in Atlanta—like our friends at The Hollywood Prayer Network and Master Media, both of which I have served and supported for many years. The Hollywood Christian remnant community is launching into deeper waters. They are bringing the light of Jesus to production sets and offices throughout the U.S. I invite you to pray for us and God’s remnant in the industry, support the work of The Influence Lab, and join us in-person at our upcoming events!
Cast your net with us on the other side of the boat!
If you are in the Atlanta area, join us for Influence Lab Atlanta Women on June 10th!
Have you ever wished you could hear the voice of God more clearly? A sexual abuse survivor, learning to hear the voice of God was a healing game-changer for Michelle Watson Canfield. Speaker, author, counselor and founder of The Abba Project, enjoy this INNER VIEW as she shares her journey and the emotional stability and confidence she has gained through her relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bio – Michelle Watson Canfield, Ph.D., LPC
Michelle Watson Canfield is a national speaker, author, professional counselor of over 25 years, and founder of The Abba Project, a nine-month group forum for dads whose daughters are in their teens and 20’s. She writes guest articles for journals and magazines and her own bi-monthly Dad-Daughter Friday blog and has been interviewed on numerous radio and television programs. Her best-selling book, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart, is followed by her most recent field guide for men, Let’s Talk: Conversation Starters for Dads and Daughters. She has also written contributing chapters in Fathers Say and How to Disciple Men…