Our inaugural conversation series held at the HBO Theater in NYC and focused on mother loss and how daughters are defined, shaped, and inspired by a mother’s death. Abraham Lincoln said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” As each of us mourns the loss of our mothers, we realize it is she who taught us about survival, the sanctity of life and living it, and the power of a mother’s love.

Our speakers and presenters have a fresh approach in their field and a unique, personal story to tell. Guests were moved by acclaimed authors Hope Edelman and Claire Bidwell Smith, a panel discussion moderated by Carole Geithner, an intimate interview of Rebecca Soffer, co-founder of Modern Loss, by author and journalist Allison Gilbert, and more. 

Missed the sold out NYC event?   

You can now Join the Conversation and be part of our hopeful and inspirational storytelling!

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Meet The Producers


Claire Bidwell Smith, LCPC is a therapist specializing in grief and the author of three books of nonfiction: The Rules of Inheritance (Penguin 2012), After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go? (Penguin, 2015) and the forthcoming Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief (Da Capo, 2018). The Rules of Inheritance has been published in 18 countries and is currently being adapted for film. Claire has written for various publications including The New York Times, Salon.com, Slate, Chicago Public Radio, The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and Yoga Journal. Claire lives in Santa Monica with her two daughters, maintains a private practice, and leads numerous workshops and retreats around the country. 


Hope Edelman is the author of seven nonfiction books, including the bestsellers Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and The Possibility of Everything. Her books have been published in 17 countries and 11 languages and have sold nearly a million copies. Motherless Daughters, often considered required reading for any woman who has lost a mother, is now in its third edition and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in print. More than 35 support groups worldwide have started based on the book.

An expert in the field of early mother loss and mother-daughter relationships, Hope speaks at venues and conferences all over the world and has appeared frequently on television, including Today, Good Morning America, CNN, KTLA, CBC, and Good Morning Australia. Through her coaching business, Lose Live Grow, she helps individuals explore early loss as a means for personal growth. She and Claire Bidwell Smith co-lead three- to five-day Motherless Daughters Retreats several times per year.

Hope lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two teenage daughters. 


Cynthia Dokas Whipple is an attorney who works as a secondary school and college consultant. She is also the co-author of a children's book, Merrilee Mannerly and Her Magnificent Manners, which has been adopted for children's theatre. Merrilee Mannerly, A Magnificent New Musical, is expected to open Off-Broadway during the 2017-2018 season. Much of her current writing focuses on life after losing both her parents in her early 20s. She lives in Avon, CT with her husband and three children. 


Cara Belvin, M.S. is a social entrepreneur and founder of empowerHER: a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization for young girls who have experienced the early loss of their mothers.  She has been recognized as one of Boston’s Exceptional Women by Magic 106.7 FM, South Shore Living Magazine’s Women of Influence and a Speak for Thyself award recipient.  Robert Kraft and the New England Patriots recognized Cara as the Myra Kraft Community MVP for her volunteerism and has been featured in numerous media outlets.  She frequently presents on issues surrounding adversity, women’s empowerment, and social entrepreneurship.

In her own coming-of-age as a young woman, she spent countless hours as a breast cancer advocate with Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and it was in this role and through her own experiences as a motherless daughter that she saw a need for more community support. Cara lives on the South Shore of Boston with her husband and two children.  


Carlye Rubin and Katie Green are a Director/Producer team passionate about telling stories that break taboos, provide an injustice a platform or give a voice to the marginalized. After working in various capacities in documentaries and NGOs respectively, the two met and bonded over the shared loss of their mothers. The pair co-founded Smoke & Apple Films in 2011. They made their directorial debut with The (Dead Mothers) Club (HBO, 2014) and followed it up with The Family I Had, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by FilmRise and Discovery I.D.