Who We Are
Family Story is run by Nicole Rodgers and Mia Birdsong with the support of an Advisory Board of creative, innovative luminaries from multiple sectors.
Nicole is a Boston-born, DC-based, senior-level strategist with broad expertise in communications, branding, and research in the public interest. Rodgers is the founder and editor-in-chief of Role Reboot, an online magazine launched in 2011 dedicated to storytelling and social critique from a new generation of Americans rethinking “traditional” family, breaking through stereotypes, and bucking expectations about gender roles, which reaches approximately 250,000 visitors each month. It’s guided by the idea that social change begins with story telling.
In 2014, Nicole received a planning grant from the NoVo Foundation (and fiscal-sponsorship from the New Venture Fund) to advocate for a more inclusive set of “family values” that respects the dignity of real families by shifting the media narratives and offering a new vision for what a good family looks like.
As a former Vice President at Fenton, the nation’s premier public interest communications firm, Rodgers ran Fenton’s branding and messaging practice for the D.C. office and was part of the Education and Women’s practice groups. Previously, she was a PhD candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, studying political communication. Rodgers received her undergraduate education at Northwestern University where she graduated cum laude with a degree in social policy and a concentration in gender studies. Nicole is a proud Bossed Up board member. She has guest lectured at the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and been published online at Salon, The American Prospect, Jezebel, Alternet, the Huffington Post, Good Men Project, and Hypervocal. Her oped on why America needs a broader vision of family was recently printed on The Washington Post opinion page.
Mia has spent more than 20 years fighting for the self-determination, and pointing out the brilliant adaptations, of everyday people. Most recently, she was the Vice President of the Family Independence Initiative (FII). Under her leadership the organization expanded and achieved national recognition. Through FII, she created and curated the Torchlight Prize, an award for groups of everyday people working together to strengthen their own communities.
Mia is a modern Renaissance woman. She has spent time organizing to abolish prisons, teaching teenagers about sex and drugs, interviewing literary luminaries like Edwidge Danticat, David Foster Wallace, and John Irving, and attending births as a midwifery apprentice. She co-founded BirthCircle, a grassroots collective making pregnancy and birth choices more accessible to families. Mia also co-founded Canerow, a resource for people dedicated to raising children of color in a world that reflects the spectrum of who they are.
Mia, whose 2015 TED talk–titled, “The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn’t True”–has been viewed over 1.4 million times already, has been published in Slate, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the Huffington Post, Salon, OnBeing, and Good Men Project, and speaks at conferences and universities across the country. She is a graduate of Oberlin College, a New America California Fellow, and an inaugural Ascend Fellow of the Aspen Institute. She sits on the Board of Directors of Forward Together and the North Oakland Community Charter School.