Professional Development

Jessica Farthing, Freelance Writer

Jessica Farthing is a multi-award winning freelance writer with work in BBC Travel, Eat This, Not That, Eating Well, Microsoft News, Insider and many more. Her typical subjects for articles involve travel, food, health and wellness, and lifestyle. She teaches other writers about the world of freelance journalism, most recently at the Pat Conroy Literary Center in South Carolina. As a merit-based member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, she won the 2022 Travel Writing Award for her work highlighting Gullah culture. Jessica is also a proud member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the North American Travel Journalists Association and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She plans to publish her first book on freelancing at the end of the year, with on-demand courses available on her website at that time. 

When she isn’t writing, Jessica is on the boat, the tennis court or riding her horses Lexi and Henry. Her three older children and husband Paul are her joy in life and accompany Jessica for many of her adventures. Follow her journeys on her Instagram @JessicaFarthingWrites or sign up for the newsletter at

Cheryl Harry, Executive Director of Triad Cultural Arts

Cheryl Harry is a cultural curator whose mission is engaging the community in the preservation and celebration of black heritage. She is the founding director of Triad Cultural Arts, Inc., an organization dedicated to presenting programming that contributes to a culturally competent community. Their signature event is the annual Juneteenth Celebration, which commemorates a milestone in America’s history – the abolishment of slavery.

For over twenty years, Cheryl Harry has used her broad-based experience to positively impact the lives of others. From grassroots organizations to national non-profits, she has worked with such prestigious organizations as the Maya Angelou Research Center, The Arts Council, The YMCA, Winston-Salem State University, The National Black Theatre Festival, The Urban League, and the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

She has served on several boards which include: Kaleideum, Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Arts-Based Elementary School, Black Philanthropy Initiative, Creative  Corridors, Mayor’s Design Review Committee, Amani Foundation, Liberian Organization of the Piedmont. Affiliations include the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture – Charter Member and the Association of African American Museums, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Martha B. Hartley, Director of Moravian Research and Co-Chair of Hidden Town Project at Old Salem Museums & Gardens

Martha Hartley is Director of Moravian Research at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. She also serves as co-chair of the Hidden Town Project. A native of Winston-Salem, she received undergraduate degrees from Hollins College and spent a year in Paris during college. From the University of Virginia, she received a master’s degree in Urban Planning and a Certificate in Historic Preservation. 

Her work as a Preservation Planner has included community preservation, advocacy, and public awareness. For over 35 years, Martha and her husband Michael, anthropologist and Director of Archaeology Emeritus at Old Salem, have worked together with the archaeology, history, landscape, and preservation of the Moravian communities in the Winston-Salem area. They have been honored for their work, most recently in 2021 with the David Schattschneider Award for Excellence from the Center for Moravian Studies in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  

At Old Salem, her main work is the Hidden Town Project to Research and Reveal the History of People of African Descent in Salem. Resting on previous work at the museum, the initiative is research-driven and focused on identifying people, building their biographies, and understanding their lives within the white Moravian world, as well as the continuum of history through their descendants. In addition to research, community engagement remains a critical component of the Hidden Town Project through collaboration, education, and public awareness. The history recognizes that African born and derived people are among the founders and builders of Winston-Salem.

Susan Morris, founder of SueMo Consulting

Susan Morris is the founder of SueMo Consulting, a personalized consulting firm building community and professional connections that serve individuals, businesses-profit and nonprofit organizations, working in a variety of industries including education, entrepreneurship, startup management, technology, marketing, program and community event development, networking, and volunteerism. An avid community advocate, Susan works actively to support the people and their efforts who serve a variety of community needs. Susan has a degree in Education from the University of West Florida.

Frank Vagnone, President, Old Salem Museums & Gardens

Franklin Vagnone is a Public Historian who leads the highly respected international cultural consulting firm Twisted Preservation. In addition, he is CEO of Old Salem Museums & Gardens and The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Prior to his current practice, Frank was Executive Director of the Historic House Trust of the City of New York, where he managed 23 historic sites in the five Boroughs of New York City, and The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks, a collection of historic sites and heritage tourism programs. 

Along with numerous published articles, he is the co-author of the best-selling museum-related book, The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums (2016, with Deborah Ryan), and recently authored a case study in the edited book Sound Heritage: making music matter in historic house museums (2021, with John Yeagley). Mr. Vagnone’s blog Twisted Preservation is read in over 90 countries and his professional practice concentrates on marginalized narratives and cultural institution innovations.

His work has been recognized through numerous awards, winning 5 NYC Lucy G. Moses Preservation citations, the 2019 American Institute of Architects Advocacy Award Recipient, and the Museum Association of New York (MANY) state’s prestigious Individual Achievement Award (2016).  He was chosen as one of “2020’s Impactful Heroes of the South” by Garden & Gun magazine. He has appeared in numerous documentaries and conferences.