Kimbely Brooks Mazella

Kimberly Brooks Mazella LPC

Executive Director,

The Straightforward Project

Kim is a psychotherapist in McLean, Virginia. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology, and a Bachelor's in Music Therapy.  Kim's brief first marriage ended in 1987 when she discovered her ex-husband was gay. Since then she has worked to support straight spouses in coming to terms with their new and often challenging reality, both in her practice as well as in the greater community. Kim has offered therapy groups for straight spouses since 1989. She also facilitated an AIDS support group for gay men shortly after her marriage ended. She served on the boards of Metro DC PFLAG and the Straight Spouse Network.

In the midst of her grief over the ending of her marriage, Kim discovered a wellspring of strength within herself and compassion for her husband. And on 9/11, after rushing down to the Pentagon grounds to assist just hours after the attack, she found unexpected courage. Both events were personally transformational as well as instrumental in leading to the creation of The Straightforward Project (SFP).


Kim founded SFP as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization to serve as an information and educational resource for straight spouses, their family & friends, and interested professionals. Kim is very proud to be offering this Second Annual Summit for straight spouses.

For more information, please visit

Julie Lopez The Straightforward Project

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Julie Lopez is the owner and founder of the Viva Center in Washington, D.C. First trained as a systems engineer, Dr. Julie ultimately discovered her passion lay with an infinitely more complicated system -- the human system.

A former university professor, she founded Viva Partnership, a mental health collaborative specializing in non-verbal treatment approaches, including brain-- and body--based therapies. Having experienced her own seemingly nonsensical struggles as an adoptee with the "perfect life," Dr. Julie shares the science that helped her remove her own personal and professional roadblocks, and also inspires her work.

Dr. Julie is a recognized trauma expert and is deeply committed to facilitatingtransformations on many levels.  She is certified in EMDR and specializes in working with adult adoptees, sexual abuse survivors and sub-specializes in compulsive behaviors of all varieties.


Dr. Julie is the author of the book "Live Empowered!" and offers transformational retreats.

Learn more about Dr. Julie's empowerment work at

Hench Stephanie The Straightforward Project Summit

Stephanie Hench is a straight spouse with a story, perhaps one similar to yours. And Stephanie is also a straight spouse who has created a new, beautiful and happy life.


She is the retired CEO of Chief Super Market, Inc., a privately owned, regional supermarket chain employing about 1000 people. Chief sold at the end of 2014 and she headed South. Prior to working in the supermarket industry, she was co-owner of two radio stations with her ex-husband.


Most recently, Stephanie served as the executive director of the Straight Spouse Network, a non-profit organization focused on peer to peer support for those who are in relationships with LGBTQ persons. She retired from this position in August 2018.


Stephanie has a communications degree from Tulane University and a Masters of Business and Organizational Leadership as well as an MBA from Defiance College.


Along with serving on many boards and being civically engaged, her favorite activity is volunteering at the Equestrian Therapy Program at Fassett Farm, an organization providing therapeutic horseback riding for disabled persons.


In 2009, Stephanie discovered her husband at the time was gay. She will share the specific tools she used to move through this crisis.  Along with two children, she and her ex-husband navigated this life changing chapter by adapting to change and a heavy dose of resiliency. Stephanie was married earlier this year to Eric, a fantastic straight man. They are spending more and more time in Key West, making new friends and enjoying life.

Stephanie Skylar Hench MBA


Julie Lopez PhD LICSW

Erica Turner The Straightforward Project Summit 2019

Erica Turner LMFT


Erica Turner wants to deepen our collective understanding of people and relationships, and empower folks to make clear-eyed choices for their lives.  Erica is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, entrepreneur and the owner of Rosewater, a psychotherapy practice in Alexandria, Virginia.


Erica is an avid writer and contributor to outlets such as DC Ladies, Brilliant Earth, and Fox5DC. She is also the co-founder of "Therapy is Not a Dirty Word," a platform for mental health advocacy and wellness events. When not doing therapy, writing, or in some way talking about her passions, Erica is planning tomorrow's outfit or stockpiling all manner of fashion inspiration.


Don’t ask her about dating, vulnerability or intimate relationships unless you’ve got a lot of time on your hands. 

Learn more about Erica  at

Erika Ettin The Straightforward Project Summit 2019

Keynote Speaker

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, a consulting company that helps people navigate the world of online dating. Services include profile creation, photo selection, message writing, date planning, and coaching.  She is also the author of the book Love at First Site: Tips & Tales for Online Dating Success from a Modern-Day Matchmaker and the co-host of the popular dating podcast "So, We Met Online…" 


A Little Nudge has been featured in media around the country, including NPR, the New York Times, Ask Men, the Washington Post, CBS, and Good Day Philadelphia. Erika currently writes a weekly syndicated dating column.

Erika studied economics at Cornell University and received her MBA from Georgetown. She started A Little Nudge in 2011. She has worked with over 1000 clients and is responsible for relationships, marriages, and the confidence some people simply need to “get out there.”

Kathi Scholz The Straightforward Project Summit


Kathi Scholz is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor. She earned her Masters degree in counseling from  Marymount University in Virginia. Kathi is trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities, and has extensive training in sex therapy and trauma treatment. In a previous life Kathi  was a professional artist and teacher.

Kathi's practice areas are ones she finds particularly compelling:

  • Sexual concerns, both individuals and couples 

  • Sexual trauma and abuse

  • Depression    

  • Anxiety

  • Relationship distress

  • Self-awareness

  • Life changes


Kathi offers a 10-week “Exploring Sexuality" group for women. To learn more, visit Kathi's website at

Kathi Scholz LPC NCC

Erika Ettin MBA

Lauren Schlenger The Straightforward Project Summit 2019

Lauren Schlenger MA


Lauren facilitates the visual art process to support growth, develop self-awareness, and promote self-expression. As an artist, Lauren understands the innately calming and therapeutic benefits creating art can provide. As an art therapist, Lauren aims to provide a safe environment for reflection, expression, and connection, with a focus on accessing personal strengths and building self-compassion. Lauren earned her master’s degree in art therapy from The George Washington University and currently works as a Resident in Counseling at Sunstone Counseling in Alexandria, VA.


While she frequently works with children and adolescents, she has had the privilege of facilitating the creative process with a wide variety of individuals through  Mindfulness and Creativity workshops, therapeutic artmaking sessions for military families, and grief-focused sessions. When making her own art, Lauren primarily uses paint and photography, with a focus on slowing down to appreciate small moments. You can learn more about art therapy here.


Find out more about Lauren's art therapy practice at

Carolyn Wolfe The Straightforward Project Summit 2019

Carolyn Wolfe LMHC RYT-200

Keynote Speaker

Carolyn is a therapist and yoga teacher in Falls Church, Virginia. After years of exploring ways to help clients heal through traditional talk therapy, she felt she needed a way to help them access the wisdom and healing potential of their bodies.  This led her on a journey through the practice of yoga, eventually completing her yoga teacher training in with Beyond Asana in Philadelphia in 2015. Since then the focus of her yoga practice has been on learning and teaching yin yoga, a deeply meditative form of yoga that allows a unique connection with one's self, through the body. 


Summit participants will find Carolyn's yin yoga classes accessible regardless of yoga or meditation experience.  Most postures are done seated or laying down with an emphasis on holding the stretch and committing to stillness rather than breaking a sweat.  The classes will be specifically curated to include postures that energetically support you, using principles derived from Chinese medicine, leaving you both rested and ready for the second half of the day.  

To learn more, visit Carolyn's website at or connect with her at the Summit!

Amie Shea The Straightforward Project Summit 2019

Amie Shea MFA


Amie Shea is a filmmaker and digital artist based in Northern California. Much of Amie’s film and media work is inspired by her childhood in rural Montana with a closeted gay father. Amie will be presenting her experimental documentary film project titled "A Different Kind of Divorce" at the 2019 Straightforward Project Women’s Summit. Amie earned graduate degrees in International Media & Communication from Uppsala University in Sweden, and Digital Filmmaking from the University of Montana.


A Different Kind of Divorce was created as an experimental digital art installation by Amie Shea about her family’s experience when her father came out as gay. The installation features interviews from every member of Amie’s family, as well as archival (home video) footage. The piece aims to capture the experience of coming out after straight marriage and highlight the different points of view/experiences of each family member. A version of the installation project was first shown in June 2018 in Missoula, MT as part of Amie’s graduate thesis project. The short film version of the project showed at the This Human World film festival in Vienna, Austria in November 2018.  Future showings are pending in both Montana and California. 


In addition to A Different Kind of Divorce, Amie co-founded the Gay Dad Project in 2012 with two other children of a gay fathers. Amie has appeared on The Ricki Lake Show, and has been featured in The USA Today, various print media as well as local television and radio. 


More information on A Different Kind of Divorce  can be found at