Writing Team

Linda Estep

Linda Estep is a freelance journalist who currently writes feature articles for the quarterly magazine, California School Business, a publication of the California Association of School Business Officials.

Prior to retirement from full-time employment, Linda was a reporter and business editor of Neighbors, a McClatchy Newspapers publication, and later served the Fresno Unified School District as public information officer for six years. During that tenure, she presided over the California School Public Relations Association for two terms before accepting a position as a consultant for a firm specializing in communications for schools.

Kristen Gerencher

Kristen Gerencher is an award-winning journalist who spent more than 12 years as a reporter for and The Wall Street Journal Digital Network covering health care, business and personal finance in print, online and on video.

Her stories have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald, among other publications. She also has reported on health care and immigration from Canada and Sweden. Gerencher has appeared on KPIX-TV, KQED and WSJ’s video programs; her radio interviews could be heard on KCBS and KFWB. Previously, she worked for KGO-TV’s consumer segment “7 On Your Side.”

She volunteers at the VA Medical Center in San Francisco and has volunteered at Guide Dogs for the Blind and Zoetrope: All Story magazine. Gerencher has a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. She enjoys traveling, writing and music, and believes you are never too old to join an adult ballet class.

Megan Goldsby

Megan Goldsby is learning Los Angeles while working as a reporter KNX Radio. She is originally from Northern California where she worked at KFBK in Sacramento, KCBS in San Francisco and KVON in Napa.

Goldsby graduated from the broadcasting department at San Francisco State University and her first job was at CNN where she covered the Scott Peterson trial.

She has lived up and down the state of California, hailing originally from the small town of Ferndale in Humboldt County. She enjoys covering the intricacies of court trials and the excitement of covering breaking news.

Mary O’Hara

Mary O’Hara is a journalist and writer.  She grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was educated at St. Louise’s Comprehensive, Falls Road, Belfast, and at Magdalene College Cambridge.  Mary has been the recipient of a number of educational scholarships including one at UC Berkeley, where she was an Alistair Cooke Fulbright Scholar. Mary was a staff writer for the Guardian and Observer from 2000-2010 before going freelance. Mary is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in London and a trustee of the charity, Stand to Reason. She is also co-author of the feature film screenplay, Once We Were Old.

Julie Randles

Julie Phillips Randles is a freelance journalist and copywriter based in Roseville, Calif. She has more than 25 years of experience as a writer, editor and marketing and communications consultant. After working for several years as a journalist for a national newspaper chain, Julie began her own marketing and communications business that allows her to write for nearly every publication type and communications vehicle. She is active in a number of charitable causes related to K-12 education and mental health advocacy. Julie is proud to contribute writing services to A2A.

Patti Reising

Patti Reising is the long-time afternoon drive anchor for KCBS Radio, the CBS all-news station in San Francisco. Reising joined KCBS as a news reporter in 1995.

In 1994, she was named “Reporter of the Year” by the Associated Press while reporting for KNX Newsradio in Los Angeles, the CBS all-news station in Southern California. Reising was among the journalists tailing O.J. Simpson’s white Ford Bronco during his infamous slow-speed chase through the Southland.

Reising has a bachelor of science degree in broadcast journalism from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She lives in Moraga, Calif., with her husband, Rusty Rolfe, president of Matson Integrated Logistics. The couple has two teenagers, a daughter who’s a freshman at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a son who’s a sophomore at Campolindo High School. Reising is an avid runner and chef.

Margie Shafer

Margie Shafer is an award-winning reporter and anchor at KCBS Radio, San Francisco, where she covers news ranging from politics to fire and crime to feature stories. In the course of her career, she has interviewed movie stars in Aspen, Colo., Olympians in Sydney, Australia, and wine makers in Napa, Calif. She enjoys her job for its variety, pointing out no work day is ever the same in a job that can have you asking questions of a governor in the morning and a murder victim’s mother in the afternoon.

Margie is married with one daughter and lives in San Mateo, Calif. She enjoys tennis, skiing, yoga, reading and travel.

Margie is pleased to profile members for the Adversity 2 Advocacy Alliance, and is inspired by, and in awe of, people who have dealt honorably with life’s trials and taken those lessons to help others.

Leo Smith

Leo Smith, a San Francisco State University journalism graduate, began his newspaper career as a health and features reporter for the Oakland Tribune. He moved on to the Los Angeles Times for 10 years, covering health, business and general news and features and then continued south, to the Daily Breeze in Torrance.

Over 12 years with the Breeze and other publications in the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Leo served as health, features and entertainment editor, ultimately overseeing coverage at multiple newspapers in Southern California. After a brief stint in the public information office at the Port of Long Beach, Leo returned to his first professional love, newspapers, and now is an editor at the Orange County Register.

Of all the roles he’s played in the newspaper field, Leo most values the work he’s done informing the public about critical health issues and sharing people’s personal stories.