The MAWCA 2016 keynote will be a bit different than in years past: in keeping with the theme of the conference, the keynote panel will be comprised of people outside of the writing center world who have thrived in their careers by creating the kind of collaborative and synergistic relationships and environments that we work towards in our writing centers.

 While traditional keynote speeches feature an academic delivering carefully prepared remarks on a topic related to the conference, our panelists will instead have a conversation with each other, and with you, about collaboration. Our goal is to explore how collaboration is essential to their work and ours, how it leads to innovation and how it creates synergy.

 Panelists will also ask the audience for ideas on solving a particular problem in their field. Audience members will brainstorm with their peers to offer solutions and ideas back to panel members. In many ways, the conversation will mimic the synergy and collaboration that occurs in our centers and in the professional world outside of academia.

Jessica Weber is a writing consultant for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, where she established a workplace writing center in November 2013. She has led writing workshops both within the Reserve Bank and at local universities, and is currently working to extend writing center services to the wider Federal Reserve System. Outside of the Bank, Weber has been heavily involved with CrossFit Fairmount, New Leash on Life – USA, and the Achieve Now reading program. Collaboration and innovation have been vital to both her work and her involvement in the Philadelphia community.

Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association,  West Chester University English Department, West Chester, PA 19383

MAWCA is a 509(a)(2) public charity.

Keynote Panel

Alex Hillman believes in these 3 truths:
  •  True communities & great collaborations start with the foundation of trusting and meaningful relationships.
  •  Learning is a part of everyday life, and we learn best from each other.
  •  Do, or do not. There is no try. JFDI.

He is best known for co-founding Indy Hall in Philadelphia, one of the first and oldest coworking communities in the world. He's shared details about Indy Hall's techniques and approach to building authentic communities, through often radical transparency and real world stories. This has attracted business and community leaders around the world to learn from his experiences. Alex made a stop at Drexel on his journey, which led him, in a round-about-way, to where he is now. He tweets as @alexhillman, and writes at, but the best way to find out more about Alex (including his clients, projects, and collaborations) is to start by introducing yourself.

Jimi (Haha) Davies is the lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for the band Jimmie’s Chicken Shack who has released 7 records in 25 years and toured the U.S. and Europe.  J.C.S. had 2 top 10 hits in 2 different radio formats for their 2 world wide major label releases. Jimi also plays in the band Jarflys. Jimi is also releasing his first solo record in 2016 under the name “Mend The Hollow”.  Jimi is a visual artist who works in paint and mixed media. He teamed up with Jeff Huntington in 2011 for Jah-Haha Collaborative Art which has done many paintings, prints, murals and child mentoring camps. He is the creative director and publisher of Upstart Annapolis Magazine which is a high quality quarterly arts and culture magazine named The Official Magazine of the Arts and Entertainment District of Annapolis. Jimi also is a Founding Circle member of the MTPA Maryland Theatre for the Performing Arts as well as an events and marketing consultant. He is a 30-year resident of Annapolis and lives in a tiny house on the water with his wife and daughter. Jimi likes to fish, snowboard and do crossword puzzles. 

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