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Introducing Contently’s Freelance Advisory Board

When we started Contently nine years ago, we had several ambitions. We wanted to change media and marketing by helping others produce high-quality content. We hoped to inspire brands to connect with their audiences by telling stories. But above all, we wanted to carve out a world where journalists and creators could not just survive, but thrive by doing what they love.

It’s easy to get lost in the noise of how content marketing world has evolved since then. There wasn’t as much talk about fitting into a marketing stack. Or divisible content. And definitely not snackable content. As the landscape changed, we realized that staying focused on our north star of supporting freelancers will always be the most important part of Contently’s ethos.

When we published our founders’ contract with the freelance community earlier this year, we promised to establish a Freelance Advisory Board full of individuals who will ensure Contently is doing our part to support them, both within our own platform and the wider freelance economy. Now, we’re excited to announce the board.

Our talent team will coordinate quarterly meetings with this group of talented writers, designers, and multimedia professionals. (And they even let me have a seat on the board, too.) They’ll break down parts of Contently’s process to see how we can improve, covering key items such as as rate transparency, increasing working opportunities, and how clients respond to pitches. They’ll also have discussions on their own experiences freelancing and trends they’re seeing in the market.

From these meetings, we’ll communicate the results with you and share updates on The Freelancer. There are also plans to publish additional resources that make the gig economy a bit easier to navigate—all of which will be informed by the group.

While the board will grow over time, we’re confident it will be an engine for us to create the best marketplace for freelancers possible. With the first meeting coming up this week, I couldn’t be more excited to introduce the 14 people who will help us all get there.

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Poornima Apte

Poornima is a trained engineer turned content marketing writer who loves demystifying tech for B2B and B2C audiences. She writes about topics like robotics, IoT, bioengineering, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and SaaS. A Boston-based writer, Poornima also enjoys covering tech events in the city for B2B clients.

When not writing about technology, Poornima enjoys reviewing literary fiction and narrative nonfiction. As part of FAB, she is looking forward to exploring ideas about how to make the gig economy work more equitably for freelancers.

Lana Bandoim

Lana is a writer who specializes in health, tech, and science with more than a decade of writing experience. Her work has been published in Forbes, Business Insider, The Week Magazine, Yahoo News, and more. She has also produced content for companies such as Cleveland Clinic Laboratories, Elsevier, and WEGO Health.

Lana has been a judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards from the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. She lives in Indianapolis and is excited to join FAB so that she can give freelancers a voice and connect with other writers.

Jessica Benavides Canepa

Jessica is a native New Yorker currently living in Europe. As a freelance lifestyle journalist, editor, and content strategist, she has honed her skills collaborating with top hospitality brands and publications including CN Traveler, Travel + Leisure, BBC Travel, CNN Travel, Marie Claire, The Hilton Group, Intercontinental, the Four Seasons, Trivago and Marriott Hotels. When not busy working, Jess can be found eagerly planning her next big adventure.

Jennifer Billock

Jennifer is a writer, editor, and bestselling author. She owns Jennifer Billock Creative Services, which focuses on magazine writing, culinary travel materials, book editing and writing, and corporate creative copy. She’s also worked with The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler.

Jennifer is the author of five books and coaches young writers in her spare time. She is joining FAB to provide expertise related to the unique challenges and opportunities of travel writing.

Danny Bradbury

Danny has been a technology writer since 1989, covering enterprise and consumer tech for titles including the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the National Post. He has edited multiple magazines and newsletters covering cybersecurity and software development topics.

Danny lives in Canada and contributes heavily to Starbucks’ profits in British Columbia, where he continues to avoid finishing his novel.

Dahna Chandler

Dahna M. Chandler works for thriving financial brands to bring their finance, insurance and real estate content to life. A corporate communications consultant and journalist, she works with senior leaders and editors to develop engaging messaging and stories that help them meet business objectives.

Her brand experience includes Northern Trust, Barclays Investment Bank, Chase, New York Life, and more. She’s also the artist representative for her father, a social justice visual artist, whose work has appeared recently at TATE, Brooklyn Museum, Crystal Bridges, and The Broad.

Ben Gran

Ben has been a full-time freelance writer since 2010. He writes about finance, food and beverage, technology, entrepreneurship, and public policy. Some of his favorite Contently clients include Prudential, First Tennessee Bank, Fulton Financial, and Discover. He has also been published as a national politics writer for Paste Magazine and served as a speechwriter for former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack.

Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Ben is a father of two boys. He has a passion for international travel, which his freelance career makes possible.

Sarita Harbour

Sarita has worked as a freelance writer and ghostwriter for the past eight years, specializing in business and personal finance. Prior to that, she worked as a financial advisor for over a decade. Her writing has appeared on TIME/Money, MSNBC, Yahoo! Finance, RBC, BMO, American Express, The Hartford, Capital One, and MetLife.

Sarita is a homeschooling mom who runs her business, Harbour Content Development Inc., from her off-the-grid home in Canada’s subarctic. She is looking forward to joining FAB to advise on new freelance resources and connect with other digital entrepreneurs who make a living doing what they love.

Casey Hynes

Casey Hynes launched her freelance writing career eight years ago, working out of a small apartment in Beijing. She has written for Forbes Asia, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Vogue India, and The Christian Science Monitor. She also left Beijing for Thailand—and then Thailand for Iowa, Iowa for Canada, and now Canada for Winston-Salem, N.C.

Casey writes on personal and corporate finance, artificial intelligence, and fintech for companies such as LendingTree, KeyBank, and Discover Global Network. Despite the extreme highs and lows of the freelance life, Casey loves self-employment and is passionate about helping others create sustainable careers.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly has more than 15 years of writing, editing, and project management experience focused on business, finance, fintech, B2B SaaS, and entrepreneurship. She’s created content for some of the world’s most recognized financial and tech brands including Bank of America, Metlife, and Morgan Stanley. She’s also written for business publications like Money Magazine and CNNMoney.

Kelly is passionate about entrepreneurship and freelancing as a career path, and she’s excited to contribute to FAB.

Evan MacDonald

Evan MacDonald is a branding and content designer with over 10 years experience working with brands of all sizes including Nike, Microsoft, Zappos, and more. He currently runs a podcast called One Thing Real Quick, dedicated to elevating everyday stories about the creative process.

Outside of work, Evan can be found spending time with his wife and four daughters, playing music, traveling, and enjoying home life, which is split between Seattle, Washington, and Córdoba, Argentina.

Anne Miller

Anne is a journalist and editor who manages content for Fortune 500 companies. A reformed news hound, Anne was previously a front page editor for Yahoo, helped launch Ozy.com’s daily news product, and has turned cookie recipes and knitting stories into viral content. Her byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, NPR, and Slate.

She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two kids, and a grumpy Weimaraner.

John Pring

John is the director of content at Designbysoap Ltd, one of the UK’s leading visual communication agencies. He has created visual content for major national and international brands, including IBM, Leidos, the UN, PayPal, and many more.

In addition to his work at Designbysoap, John is the author of Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band.

Michael Sorrentino

Michael is a veteran broadcast producer who has worked on the front lines of major news stories from presidential elections to international humanitarian issues and everything in between. He launched Sorrentino Media, a digital-first video company, where he works as a producer and consultant for clients.

At his core, Michael is a master storyteller with a journalistic eye and an understanding of the big picture. Having worked with Contently and its clients for many years, Michael is excited to join FAB with the goal of empowering other creators.

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