Fortune Cookee Speaker Series

Asking Tough Questions and Finding the Answers Together


Dear Friend:

Too many of today's important issues and challenges are broken down into soundbites that do not drive people to search beyond the surface for a deeper meaning. Instead, they hold them in the stale patterns that separate people into opposing sides. The Fortune Cookee Speaker Series will provide a serious, collaborative alternative.

Our mission is simple, audacious, and daring: to collectively establish core ideas and beliefs that all people can support and aspire to honor, regardless of how we identify ourselves and each other.

The primary home for our live events will be the 1100 seat Flagler Auditorium. A typical program will include a talk or lecture, an interview, and an audience question and answer session.The program speaker will be a recognized leader in their field of expertise and will bring unique insights to national and global topics and issues.

Fortune Cookee's aim is to be unique. The live event is supported by mobile, social, and web-based products and services that allows the community and the speaker to have an interactive experience beginning 30 days prior to the live event. Our social, local, and mobile focus will drive advertising and ticket sales, support public relations and marketing efforts, and bring the community and the speaker together into a conversation that culminates at the live event.

Over time, we aspire to create a following that is built on freedom of ideas, themes, topics, and issues that will reach and include anyone, anywhere. Please help us to make this vision a reality.


Christopher Horton

CEO, Fortune Cookee

Your Gift and How We Will Use It

Please help us raise the needed contributions to make Fortune Cookee fully self-sustaining. With $30,000.00 in donation we will be fully self supporting.

Here is a simple overview of our monthly expenses:

Flagler Auditorium Costs: $1500.00 per event

Speaker honorarium and travel: $6500.00 per event

Administrative: $5000.00 per month

Technology tools and support: $1500.00 per month

Total Typical Event Cost: $15,000.00

The Fortune Cookee Speakers Series expects to generate $30,000.00 in ticket sales and advertising revenue per event.

Thanks to our partnership with the Gargiulo Art Foundation, a 501(c)3, your gift is fully tax deductible.

A Gift that Works for You - The Benefits of Contributing to FCCS

1. You will receive (2) VIP Tickets to each event and the speaker meet and greet before or after the show.

2. You and your business will be recognized in all marketing and promotional material, digital and social media during our 2015-16 season. Additionally, Fortune Cookee will recognize our founding contributors throughout all future seasons.

3. Fortune Cookee will use Facebook, Twitter, Email Marketing, Text / SMS Marketing, podcasting, blogging, web-based services, and our event programs to promote our events and your company.

4. Should you wish to stay anonymous, we will honor your request as well.

To make your gift, please contact us at (386) 569-1964.

Meet Our Inaugural Speakers

Carl Studna, Photographer

Carl Studna is a world-renowned photographer and videographer, inspirational speaker, teacher and multi-award winning author. Carl’s intimate portraits of influential people ranging from Paul McCartney to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are published and known worldwide. The primary theme that weaves its way through Studna’s lectures, workshops, interviews and published works is that life is a sacred journey to be cherished and embraced; awakening to the splendor that lies in life’s seemingly ordinary moments.

Spanning over two decades of his photography career, Carl has been assigned all over the world to shoot CD and album covers, book covers and other publicity platforms for musicians, teachers and authors such as Paul McCartney, George Harrison, James Brown, Jefferson Airplane, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Genesis, Kenny Loggins, Deepak Chopra, Tom Robbins, Ram Dass, Marianne Williamson and John Bradshaw. Carl also had the honor of photographing His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the first Synthesis Dialogues in Dharmasala, India. You have seen Studna’s work in periodicals such asRolling Stone, Musician, Time and USA Today. A passionate storyteller, Carl’s illustrious history with rock icons has been shared via radio interviews, college lectures and art galleries across the country. Carl’s most memorable professional assignments have involved photographing and spending time with individuals who served as inspiring figures of his youth.

Studna received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Expressive Arts from Sonoma State University and his Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Carl is also a member of the esteemed Transformational Leadership Council, a group of leaders of personal and organizational transformation who support each other in their contributions to the world.

Carl Studna: Abounding Beauty -- Life From An Artist's Frame of Reference

Ester Nicholson, Inspirational Speaker

Healing comes from looking in the mirror and facing the truth. Twenty-five years ago, when Ester Nicholson looked in the mirror, she saw a broken young woman—a teenaged mom hopelessly addicted to crack, food, abusive relationships, anything to bury her shame and self-hatred. Today, Ester is an acclaimed healer, musician, speaker, and educator.

As a leader in numerous social justice movements, Ester is committed to healing communities following tragedies. She is currently working toward a ceremony of amends between the government and law enforcement of Ferguson, Missouri and the mother of Michael Brown.

Ester is a licensed spiritual therapist who for 17 years has studied under Michael Bernard Beckwith, founder of the Agape International Spiritual Center, who is probably most famous for his appearances on Oprah and as a featured "teacher" in the popular book and motion picture, The Secret. She’s a motivational speaker who brings her personal experience of 25 years of sobriety coupled with a deep understanding of spiritual practices to audiences around the world.

She’s also a gifted vocalist who’s completed two world tours with Rod Stewart and Bette Midler, performed multiple times at Madison Square Garden, appeared on Oprah, The Tonight Show, The View, Good Morning America, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and has released her own critically-acclaimed albums of soul-nurturing music.

Ester Nicholson Keynote! - MLK Celebration (at the Tacoma Dome)

Rami Nashashibi, Social Activist

Rami Nashashibi has served as the Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) since its incorporation as a nonprofit in January 1997. He has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago and has been an adjunct professor at various colleges and universities across the Chicagoland area, where he has taught a range of Sociology, Anthropology, and other Social Science courses. He has worked with several leading scholars in the area of globalization, African American studies and urban sociology and has contributed chapters to edited volumes by Manning Marable and Saskia Sassen.

Rami has lectured across the United States, Europe, and Asia on a range of topics related to American Muslim identity, community activism and social justice issues, and is a recipient of several prestigious community service and organizing honors. Rami and his work with IMAN have been featured on many national and international media outlets including the BBC, PBS and a front page story in the Chicago Tribune. In 2007 Islamica Magazine profiled Rami as being among the “10 Young Muslim Visionaries Shaping Islam in America” and in 2009, Chicago Public Radio selected Rami Nashashibi as one of the city’s Top Ten Chicago Global Visionaries. Rami was named one of the “500 Most Influential Muslims in the World” by The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in concert with Georgetown’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. He was named a White House “Champion of Change” in 2011, and was also invited by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Commission for the Elimination of Poverty and as a member of the Governor’s Muslim Advisory Council.

Rami lives with his wife and three children on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Krista Tippett with Imam Rami Nashashibi on American Muslim social justice