Steve Harding

Board President

A retired small business owner Steve has lived in Saint Petersburg for 18 years. After graduating from Oregon State University he joined the Navy as an aviator and accumulated over 300 aircraft carrier landings in a jet airplane and served in the Vietnam War. Upon leaving the service he worked for IBM making the 100% club both years he was employed there. He worked for AON Corporation for 14 years before starting his own business.

Steve was on the Board of Directors for the Walton County Mental Health Association as VP of Finance. He has served as Assistant Treasurer on the Board of First Unity Spiritual Campus and is Presently President of Powerstories Board.

Amarelys Perez

Board Member

Amarelys Perez is excited to be a part of these amazing team! With her new relocation to Florida finding a community with like minded theater enthusiasts has been a blessing and she is excited to bring in her extensive theater background from New York. With more than a decade of performance experience under her belt, Amarelys has been a prominent figure in distinguished theater companies such as Repertorio Espanol, Pregones Theater, Intar, Henry Street Settlement, and even played a pivotal role in co-founding Rubi Theater. The breadth of her theatrical journey has honed her skills and deepened her passion, which she now looks forward to infusing into Powerstories’ creative endeavors.

Georgia Carmichael

Board Member

Georgia is a visionary graphic designer and the proud owner of Carmichael Grafix, llc. With a passion for visual storytelling, she specializes in crafting captivating brand identities, stunning illustrations, and impactful marketing materials. Georgia is committed to creativity and client satisfaction.

JoAnn Solomon

Board Member

Coming soon!

Fralia Colón

Board Member

Fralia is beyond grateful to support Powerstories Theatre with her experience and creative background to bring true stories and open Tampa’s hearts. Fralia is thankful to have met Powerstories in 2019, while doing her first play in the Kennedy Blvd location. You may have also seen her in various musicals as a performer and or backstage throughout the Tampa theater scene. Fralia wants to keep inspiring minds and hearts so make sure to say ‘Hi’ when you see her! WEPA!

Cate White

Board Member

Cate White, born and raised in New England, raised two daughters in Tampa who both have their Ph.D. One granddaughter in Seattle. Recently retired from nearly 50 years as a Pediatric nurse. Meditation teacher, tennis and pickleball player, forest bather, and yoga enthusiast.


Fran Powers

Founder and Executive Director

Fran Powers is the Founder of Powerstories Theatre Inc., a nonprofit theatre that stages true stories to open minds and hearts. Fran believes that stories are powerful. They are moving and create genuine emotions. They are authentic experiences that engage, connect, and inspire us. Her mission is to help others know and celebrate their own true stories then connecting them with audiences to build confidence, inspiration, and purpose in others.

Her first vision for the company came to her in 1998 as she crossed the Wyoming border on a bike ride across America. When she returned to Tampa Powerstories Theatre was born. Since then, Powerstories Theatre has served over 30,000 individuals and sixty organizations through theatre productions, workshops on how to tell your story, and leadership programs for girls.

In 2010, Powerstories Theatre won The National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, and it was presented to Fran at the White House by former First Lady Michelle
Obama. In 2011 Powerstories won the WEDU award for Artistic Excellence and in 2013, Fran was honored as a Community Hero by the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2022
Powerstories received the Joseph Parra Courage Award from the Tampa Bay theatre community.

In addition to leading Powerstories, Fran has written and produced twelve autobiographical plays and one musical. She was the Director of Grants for the Conn Foundation, Executive Director for Alpha House, Board President of The Healthy Start Coalition, and served on numerous other Boards. She has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre from Fontbonne College in St. Louis, Missouri, and a master’s degree in education from the University of South Florida.

Fran’s greatest wish is that everyone honors and celebrates their unique stories.

Clareann Despain

Artistic Director

Clareann Despain is an award-winning director and producer.  Recent credits include Ride the Cyclone (USF), Murder on the Orient Express (Stageworks), Twelfth Night (St. Pete Shakes). She holds a Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Despain has taught at the University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College, University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of New Mexico.

Recently, Clareann was the Producing Artistic Director for the award-winning but short-lived Straz Produced series in the Jaeb Theatre in Tampa, FL. As a member of Outcast Theatre Collective, she collaborated on the development of an online model for Forum Theatre, bringing Theatre of the Oppressed training to organizations across the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course her career, she has worked in theater management for several companies including: the Straz Center and Next Generation Ballet in Tampa; Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre in New Orleans; the MFA program at the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) & Lamplighters Music Theatre in San Francisco; PCPA Theatrefest in Santa Maria, CA; Nevada Dance Theater in Las Vegas, NV; and Hancher Auditorium in Iowa City, IA.

Deb Kelley

Director of Marketing

A Tampa native, having earned her degree from the University of Tampa, Deb is proud to lead the marketing efforts at Powerstories Theatre. In her other hats, she has owned The WriteOne Creative Services, a one-stop-creative shop for graphic design, web design, and PR copywriting since 2005. You’ll also regularly spot her reporter’s byline in numerous Tampa Bay magazines and newspapers, and she’s also a theater critic for Broadway World, Tampa. In her rare free time, she’s an author, lyricist, producer, director, actor, and award-winning playwright with plays across stages in Tampa Bay.

Sheri Whittington

Programs Specialist

Coming soon!

Cheryl Flowers

Lobby Manager

Coming soon!

Shannon Zettler

Manager of Administration

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Shannon graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English Literature and spent some time working in higher education. Her creative side was intrigued by the mission and art of Powerstories and she is looking forward to using her talents to facilitate furthering the goals of the theater. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, reading, and watching hockey. Go Bolts!

Chris Corley

Director of Technical Theatre

Coming soon!

Krista Blanchette

Krista Blanchette

Director of Girls’ Program

Coming soon!

Sefanie Coren

Stefanie Coren-Marotta

Girls Leadership Theatre - Teaching Artist

Coming soon!

Ivy Sunflower

Girls Leadership Theatre - Teaching Artist

Ivy Sunflower is a multi-talented force in the performing arts world. As an award-winning actress and teaching artist, as well as a director, acting coach, and published model, Ivy has solidified her position as a prominent figure known for her exceptional skill and unwavering passion. Ivy Sunflower has received numerous accolades throughout her career. Notably, she was honored with the Communication of Arts Award by the City of Pembroke Pines in 2013, the esteemed L.I.F.E (Ladies in Film and Entertainment) Award at the Sunshine City Film Festival 2022, Best Actress at the Black Art & Film Festival 2022, and was recognized as Teaching Artist of the Month by American Stage in July 2022. Recent screen projects include the award-winning short film “The Decision” and “The Recipe” by A Toneice Evans Production LLC, the worldwide award-winning acclaimed feature film “I Need I Want” produced by Liggins Carbrera-Liggins Productions (now available on TubiTV and Amazon Prime), the featured film “What Tha Hell” produced by Gotcha Film Productions (now available on TubiTV), and the ground-breaking comedy series “Nothing Else Matters” produced by DreamMakerz Productions. Ms. Sunflower has been seen on stage in American Stage’s “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” and “School Girls or the African Girls Play”, “BATON” at Florida Studio Theatre, amongst other remarkable productions. Ivy Sunflower is also a member of both the “Love and Fire Improv” and “A Sketchy Sh!t Show” travelling improv troupes. As well as a costume model at Ringling College of Art & Design and on-air model at The Home Shopping Network (HSN).

Driven by a genuine desire to share her knowledge and expertise, Ivy has dedicated herself to teaching and mentoring aspiring artists. Ivy teaches courses such as Introduction to Acting, Tv/Commercial Acting, and Playwriting with American Stage, Improv at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, and many more with her private coaching sessions. She aspires to inspire upcoming creatives, helping them refine their craft and instilling the confidence to pursue their dreams and tell their stories through the performing arts. Ivy Sunflower is thrilled to be joining the Powerstories team, an organization that shares her passion for empowering voices and sharing impactful stories.She looks forward to collaborating with the talented team at Powerstories and helping to create meaningful experiences for participants in the Girlstories Theatre Leadership Program.