Our Team

David Chrisinger

Whether it’s public policy, journalism, or memoir, David Chrisinger has dedicated his life to telling stories that shed a light on the aftereffects of trauma. After spending nearly a decade in the federal government, where he helped policy analysts translate complex and technical research findings into easily digestible policy briefs, David started the first-of-its-kind public policy writing program at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy. He is the author of two books on writing and is currently writing a biography for Penguin Press of Ernie Pyle, World War II’s most revered war correspondent, that is due out in 2023. David is a former columnist for the New York Times’ At War Column and is the editor of a collection of essays written by student veterans who took part in a semester-long writing seminar with David at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Sarah Francois

Sarah Francois is a Clinical Social Worker with 25 years of experience serving adults mental health needs in the presence of complex obstacles. Her work emphasizes confronting life quality impediments; both as imposed by social constructs as well as disparaging, private psychological barriers. Sarah spent eight years in the Department of Veterans Affairs where she volunteered to pioneer clinical efforts addressing moral injury at a time when others were dissuaded by lack of rigor and prestige in this mission. Over the years, Sarah has been called to present on the gravity of moral injury as academia, spiritual community leaders, and survivors have validated the importance of communalizing the struggles therein. In 2019, Sarah was invited to Washington D.C. to participate in a national steering committee for the VA to formalize and disseminate her curriculum for addressing moral injury among combat veterans. Sarah is currently a private practice psychotherapist in Madison, WI.

matthew hefti

Matthew Hefti believes imagination and narrative are powerful tools to solve problems, create connections, build bridges, improve communities, and draw maps for a brighter future. He spent twelve years as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in the military, including four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Matthew is an experienced educator, having presented workshops and seminars in a broad range of subjects, including forensic sciences, criminal defense and mitigation, narrative nonfiction, and creative writing. He also has experience in the traditional classroom teaching language arts and history to 5th-8th graders. He’s a lawyer in Houston, Texas, practicing with Parlatore Law Group. Matthew particularly enjoys advising, representing, and promoting other writers, editors, agents, publishers, literacy organizations, and small business endeavors by creatives. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed novel A Hard and Heavy Thing and has contributed essays, fiction, and poetry to many other publications. He’s an editor and co-founder of Wrath-Bearing Tree, a long-running literary journal and literary and educational nonprofit.

ben leroy

Ben LeRoy has long been fascinated by the power of words and story to connect and expand the world. He was the founder and publisher of the critically acclaimed publishing companies Bleak House Books (2000-2009) and Tyrus Books (2009-2017) until the latter was sold to Simon & Schuster. During his time in publishing, Ben was a frequent speaker at conferences and routinely interviewed for pieces about the industry. After leaving Tyrus Books, Ben worked as a freelance editor, helping authors identify the story they intend to tell and how to best tell it. In 2014, after the suicide death of a friend, Ben did volunteer work in all 50 states as part of the Be Local Everywhere project. He serves on the Board of Common Wealth Development and Wrath-Bearing Tree. He lives in Madison, WI where he is currently at work on a variety of written and mixed media projects.

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