Saturday Keynote: Ms Gypsy Soul


Jewel Pearson

Keynote Saturday 12pm: Tiny Houses: They weren't a fad, so what's next?

After downsizing her homes and lifestyle over the course of 10 years, Jewel designed and built a beautiful 360 square foot tiny house in May 2015 that she calls home. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, her urban and very chic tiny home was a big hit on HGTV’s shows “Tiny House, Big Living” and “How Are They Now” and was just recently featured on Apartment Therapy’s new video series #TheNewHomesmiths. 

Connect with Jewel at 


AARP Georgia Speakers Stage

Saturday Speaker Schedule

We are excited to have a number of subject matter experts coming to our event.   Speakers are brought to you by AARP of Georgia.

Saturday, May 11:

11:45am: Mitsubishi Welcome

12:00pm: Keynote Speaker Jewel Pearson - Tiny Houses: They Weren’t a Fad, So What’s Next?

1:00pm: Will Johnston & Kim Bucciero - ADUs and Pocket Neighborhoods (tour and talk) 

2:00pm: Bonnie Casamassima - The Psychology of Sparking Joy in Our Spaces

2:30pm: Brandy Hall - Plant to Provide: Making the Most out of Your Land

3:00pm: Kay Sibetta - Livable Communities: Planning for a Better Community 

3:30pm: Coles Whalen - Building Your Simple Life

4:00pm: Jamie Gilbert - The Art of Aging in Place 

Sunday Key Note - Tiny House Expedition

Alexis Stephens & Christian Parsons


Lessons Learned from Traveling 55,000 Miles with a Tiny House

An intimate exploration of how the tiny house movement is radically redefining the American Dream, from the meaning of success to housing policy, and how crisscrossing North America in our DIY tiny house on wheels has transformed our lives. Presented by filmmakers, educators and advocates behind Tiny House Expedition, Alexis & Christian—owners of the world’s most traveled THOW!

AARP Speaker Stage

Sunday Speaker Schedule

Sunday, May 12:

11:45 am: Mitsubishi Welcome

12:00pm: Keynote Speakers Alexis Stephens & Christian Parsons - Lessons Learned from Traveling 55,000 Miles with a Tiny House

12:30pm: Coles Whalen -  Living in a Tiny House Community 

1:00pm: Eric Kronberg - ADUs and Pocket Neighborhoods (tour and talk)

1:30pm: Robin Butler - The Three-Legged Stool: What You Need to Know About Tiny Houses 

2:00pm: Robert Reed - Pocket Neighborhoods Among Us

2:30pm: James Martin - Building an ADU in Your Backyard

3:00pm:  Kay Sibetta - Livable Communities: Planning for a Better Community

3:30pm: Nadia Giordani - Backyard Warrior: Tiny House Owner

4:00pm: Will Johnston & Kim Bucciero - Policy Changes for Tiny Houses

Speaker Bios

Jewel Pearson


Jewel D. Pearson, Ms. Gypsy Soul

Founder of Tiny House Trailblazers

After downsizing her homes and lifestyle over the course of 10 years, Jewel designed and built a beautiful 360 square foot tiny house in May 2015 that she calls home. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, her urban and very chic tiny home was a big hit on HGTV’s shows “Tiny House, Big Living” and “How Are They Now” and was just recently featured on Apartment Therapy’s new video series #TheNewHomesmiths. 

A project manager and consultant by day, she’s also a tiny house advocate and community leader sharing her tiny living experiences, offering consulting services and teaching workshops throughout the country to encourage and assist others in achieving their tiny living dreams. Jewel is also the founder of Tiny House Trailblazers; a duo collaboration of powerful and uniquely talented women of color who together are a strong representation and voice for diversity and inclusion within the tiny house movement.   

Connect with Jewel at

Eric Kronberg


Eric Kronberg is a zoning whisperer. He specializes in examining and demystifying zoning ordinances to find ways to make great projects possible and help others navigate through the zoning swamp. He uses his skills for the force of good as a principal at Kronberg Wall, leading the firm’s pre-development efforts by combining skills in planning, development, architecture, and zoning. Eric leverages this potent cocktail to chart the course of best possibilities for each site’s redevelopment. His work with Kronberg Wall, the Incremental Development Alliance, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Georgia Conservancy, and the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition has solidified his stance as an advocate for walkable and bikable communities.
Eric has also been deeply committed to community redevelopment for the past several decades. He has served as a community leader in roles of Vice-President, President, Zoning Chair, and now Zoning Guru Emeritus for the Edgewood Neighborhood in Atlanta, GA.

Coles Whalen


Coles Whalen began her professional career as a full-time musician. She grew her fan base the grassroots way, playing hundreds of shows across the country while living and traveling in a truck and camper. After spending so many wonderful years living small, she was eager to get involved in the simple living movement when it started to take off in the US. 

She joined EcoVentures as their Marketing Director in March 2015 and developed their National Tiny House Jamboree, an industry expo, which drew over 40,000 attendees. 

She now serves as the Marketing Director for Simple Life and has guided the company's brand development from conception through to the sellout of its first tiny house and cottage community. She continues to write and produces music, including several award-winning albums for children, and perform.

Bonnie Casamassima


Bonnie Casamassima is the Principal and Founder of Interweave People Place. She is an Interior Design professional with expertise in Biophilic Design, sustainability and research- driven environments. Her support focuses on guiding commercial and residential clients through the process of understanding how their spaces can be designed to enhance their intentional quality of life.

Robert Reed


Robert E. Reed, III, Director of Community and Residential Sustainability Services at Southface, a non-profit advocating for sustainable homes, workplaces, and communities for more than 40 years.  Robert leads Southface’s Urban Sustainability Practice working with teams developing sustainability initiatives in the cities around the region.  Most recently Community Sustainability Services developed a Sustainability Action Plan for Atlanta BeltLine Inc. and led development of Greenprint Midtown, an Eco-District overlay for Midtown Atlanta.  Robert represents Southface with the TransFormation Alliance promoting Equitable Transit Oriented Development.

Kay Sibetta


Kay Sibetta joined AARP Georgia in July 2017. Prior to joining AARP, she served as the Volunteer and Human Relations Coordinator for Gwinnett County Government and launched Volunteer Gwinnett. As a seasoned community engagement and marketing professional, she leads AARP’s Financial Security and Livable Community initiatives in the Metro Atlanta area. She has also served as a marketing professional for national nonprofits and cultural institutions such as the American Heart Association, International Spy Museum, and the Maryland Zoo and National Aquarium.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate communication from the University of Baltimore and is a graduate of Leadership Gwinnett Class of 2016.

Will Johnston


The Executive Director of the MicroLife Institute, is a thought leader and innovator in the micro living world. Over the past four years, his organization has enabled policy change and brought acceptance of micro structures in the Southeast through events, projects and advocacy. His philosophy is allowing people to think outside the box by putting them in one.

Brandy Hall


Brandy founded Shades of Green in 2004,  and for the past decade+, she has studied and taught permaculture design alongside some of the world's leading professionals. Moving from Asheville, NC, to Atlanta in 2011, she began to pollinate the Atlanta area with a whole-systems permaculture perspective, empowering individuals, businesses, and communities with practical tools to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

James Martin


James Martin is a filmmaker based in Atlanta Georgia. In 2016, he and his wife Jen converted a 1988 school bus they named Eldon into a motorhome, which they enjoy traveling around the Southeast in with their pup Cilantro. In 2018, they began construction on converting two shipping containers into an accessory dwelling unit in their back yard and were the first permitted residential container structure in the city. Follow along on their journey by following them on instagram at @casitacontainer

Nadia Giordani


Nadia Giordani was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, WI.  She loves to travel, and to talk about health and living tiny. She holds a MS degree in Clinical Nutrition, from Life University in Atlanta.  She has always been passionate about health and decided to pursue a carrier in Nutrition in 2010.  Her passion came from experiencing improved health in her own life and in that of her daughter’s, when she changed their diet.  She strongly believes in “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”. 

Nadia joined the Tiny House movement in 2016, when she was faced with the reality of soon becoming an empty Nester.  The idea of living in a large house alone, was overwhelming.  In February of 2017, she and her daughter where featured on their own episode of “Tiny House Big Living”.  She looks forward to less mess and more travel.  Nadia currently lives in Atlanta, GA.

Jamie Gilbert


Jamie Gilbert is a gerontologist and wellness educator. She designs and implements cost-effective, accessible, evidence-based practices that improve the biopsychosocial outcomes of individuals who are marginalized. She is a member of the Lifelong Community Advisory Board for the city of Decatur, GA and teaches workshops/volunteers at Grace House Men's Transitional Facility in Columbus, GA. Jamie has a MS in Gerontology and MS in Management and is currently pursuing a Developing Healthy Communities graduate certificate at Tufts University. She is also a certified aromatherapist, Reiki Master, and Eden-at-Home associate.

Robin Butler


Robin Butler has been building homes for 40+ years. He is experienced in design, plans, building, the permit process, building inspections/ inspectors, plus dealing with planning and zoning departments. In 2015, he saw a need in the tiny house movement. He put his experience to use by founding NOAH, a third-party inspection and certification company for tiny houses on wheels. NOAH helps both professional builders and DIYers create safe, certified homes.