Kelsey Cooke grew up acting professionally in Hollywood, signing with her first agent at the age of 7. 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 in the award-winning feature comedy/mockumentary film RE-OPENING. Favorite career highlights include: LIFE PARTNERS (Tribeca & Sundance Film Festival), BLACK NOVEMBER (Vivica Fox), PAN AM (ABC), ROYAL PAINS (USA), BAD TEACHER (CBS), and THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE.
Kathleen Cooke: OK full disclosure – you are my oldest daughter and the new Influence Women Nashville Chapter Director. I could tell lots about you…but I’ll let you tell us a bit about yourself.
Kelsey Cooke: I am co-founder of thisishardtoread productions with my husband, Chris. We create comedies with heart. I’m a producer, writer, director, and actor – not necessarily all at the same time, hah! I began in the industry as an actor at 7 years old in Hollywood and came up through the industry working not only in LA but after college in New York, working on stage and Broadway musicals before moving back to LA in 2013 as an actress and producer.
Kathleen: How and why have you gotten involved with Influence Women as the new Nashville Chapter Coordinator?
Kelsey: I recently moved to the greater Nashville area 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 the Hollywood industry is so much bigger than the box we put it in. Nashville was the place where I felt called to create a movement with people who feel the same way. I know the multiple challenges of a career in the media and entertainment and the importance of collaboration with the right people and having a community of people who support each other not only in their work but in their faith.
Kathleen: When is the Influence Women Nashville launch, and what’s happening?
Kelsey: We are going to start gathering women on November 9th 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 and align their media career with their faith and values. Let’s get to know each other and think of others who would also like to have a local community of creators. Please reach out if you would like to be a part of this initial group.
If you want to connect with Kelsey and Influence Women Nashville, reach out to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com 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.
How do you lead and balance your career, while prioritizing Jesus in your schedule? Read this week’s INNER VIEW with Lisa McGloiry, executive director for Dream of Destiny, as she breaks down the most important life lessons she’s learned as an executive-level professional working in the corporate and nonprofit sphere.
Bio – Lisa McGloiry, J.D.
As a creative visionary and leader, Lisa has over 25+ years of experience in communications, marketing, and public relations for corporate and non-profit entities. Currently, she is the executive director for Dream of Destiny, a diversity and inclusion ministry at Shepherd Church, a 10,000 member multi-racial and multi-cultural church, with three locations in Porter Ranch, Woodland Hills, and Agua Dulce, California.
Lisa is also a certified church consultant specializing in communications and marketing. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and, in her spare time, is a conference speaker and writer. Lisa holds a bachelor’s degree in legal studies at the University of Maryland (UC) and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Concord Law School at Purdue University Global. Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid), she and her family served as missionaries in Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa for many years.
Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband Michael, stepson Blair, and is a paw parent to a spoiled terrier named Charlie. She loves music, salsa dancing, dogs, lions, and all things purple.
Kathleen Cooke: This month, we focused on leading where God has you, even if it seems insignificant or small. What has God taught you about that?
Lisa McGloiry: God has taught me to seek His mind and heart about everything to make sure my plans, intentions and desires are aligned with His. I’ve learned to ask Him about my role in His bigger story. God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him. I would encourage women to rely on the Holy Spirit for more wisdom. We can never ask God a silly question because He wants to give us direction and answers. (James 1:5) When we call on Him, He will show us mighty things. (Jeremiah 33:3) I’ve learned the power in “the ask.”
Kathleen: Yes, often we forget to ask God with the right heart. He knows our schedules and what is good for us here and now. Working at a mega-church in media can get intense; how have you learned to balance your work and family and keep your priorities in line?
Lisa: I’d like women to understand that God wants to spend more time with His children. When we fail to prioritize our time with Him, we miss out on the abundant life Jesus promised — more joy, peace, wisdom, favor, mercy — inherent rights as daughters of the Most High. One thing that has sparked my faith is realizing that we were not made to live outside the continual presence of our loving Heavenly Father. Jesus died so we can have a close relationship with our Papa God — the maker of the universe, the one who knows all things, and who holds us in the palms of His hands.
Kathleen: What’s a life lesson that you’ve learned?
Lisa: Here’s a learned life lesson. “If you ever want anything in life, just ask God for it.” It seems really simple, but I wasted so many years searching for approval or favor from others rather than looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. One day, the Lord said, “Why don’t you trust and wait on me?” One of the names of God is Jehovah-Jireh — God our Provider. He provides much more than just our financial needs. Psalm 23:1 says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” When we look to Him, He will supply our needs, so we never lack anything.
Kathleen: We are called to be influencers of God. The Bible says it this way; we are to be a “sweet aroma.” How can we do that in our day-to-day lives?
Lisa: God has given us the capacity to be influencers in our homes, workplace, and community. Our influence is mighty and tangible. As Christ followers, when we walk into a room, lead, work, create, serve, pray, and play, we can dramatically change the atmosphere and people around us. I’ve asked of the Lord not only to use my gifts and talents for His Glory but also to give me the ability to refresh others. People in the world are hurting more than ever before and need to see Jesus in us. When His presence permeates our being, we leave a sweet lasting aroma and show who God is by our love, acts of service, empathy, kindness, and grace that we extend to others.
Connect with Lisa:
We’re growing! Influence Lab Women is expanding into the hub of film and television production in Atlanta. “Hollywood and New York are no longer the only epicenters of media production,” shares Kathleen Cooke. “Influence Lab Women is thrilled to introduce you to the new Atlanta Influence Lab coordinator, Anna Oakley.”
The kick-off of the Atlanta group will be an in-person watch party of the Influence Lab Women’s online event featuring guest Cindy Bond, producer of “Redeeming Love” and the box-office hit, “I Can Only Imagine.” If you live in the Atlanta area, sign up here to join us for this event. (Not in Atlanta? Sign up here for the free webinar.)
And now, meet Anna Oakley…
Hi! My name is Anna Elizabeth Oakley, and I’m an actor, puppeteer, and children’s coach living in what has come to be known as the “Hollywood of the South” – Atlanta, Georgia. In December 2021, I journeyed to LA to hear actress and producer Jessica Oyelowo speak at The Influence Lab Women’s Christmas Gathering. I didn’t know anything about The Influence Lab and little did I know what God truly had in store for me that night. After a long desert season of almost two years due to the pandemic, the gathering blew me away and filled my soul. It was not only an evening filled with new connections, friendships, and empowering prayer but of being strengthened and mentored in faith and career excellence. I was inspired to press on and into what and where God had purposed for my life.
My immediate question when I met Kathleen was, have you thought of bringing this to Atlanta?
It turns out she had! The Influence Lab team had been praying about expanding into Atlanta. They, too, knew that Atlanta had grown into a strong industry community and had become a major hub for TV and film production. The Influence Lab had felt an urgency to expand, encourage and empower professionals there. But how? It was a matter of God’s timing. That night I felt God tapping me on the shoulder and calling me into action. (more…)
Feeling confused about your identity and place in this world? Current events and cultural influences have pushed many of us to re-examine our identity and seek out ways to bring biblical truth into situations. If you’re wanting to make a difference and help stop the tidal wave of identity dysphoria, join Kathleen Cooke and guests producer-director-writer Alexandra Boylan and actor-writer-TV host Cynthia Garrett for the next online Influence Lab Gathering, “The Identity Variant: How Hollywood and the Media Influences our Kids, Teens and All of Us.”
The Identity Variant: How Hollywood and the Media Influences our Kids, Teens and All of Us
September 30, 2021
5:30pm PT – 7:30pm CT – 8:30pm ET
The event is free, but registration is required for this Zoom webinar. Register now.
“Having worked in Hollywood for many years, I know how media and entertainment affect our emotional connections and in turn affect our actions,” shares Kathleen Cooke, media executive and founder of The Influence Lab and Influence Lab Women. “We must be vigilant to use media and entertainment to tell powerful stories and share the wisdom of God.”
The world has become a pandemic of confusion driven in a large part by dominant social media influence and Hollywood agendas. If you’re a creative working in the media and entertainment industry or a leader in your field, this event will help you discover how you can use your talents, influence and leadership to convey God’s truth in relevant and impactful ways.
Ready to make a difference? Join us on September 30, 2021 for “The Identity Variant.” Find out more about our guests and sign up here.
“We must be vigilant to use media and entertainment to tell powerful stories and share the wisdom of God.” – Kathleen Cooke