Our Teachers

Elizabeth Perlman


Elizabeth is the founder and Executive Director of the Intuitive Writing Project. She created this writing program because it was what she wanted and needed when she was a teen. Even after seven years of leading workshops and developing curricula, Elizabeth continues to be inspired (and often moved to tears) by the wisdom, depth, and raw, world-changing courage of teenage girls.

Elizabeth has a BA in Media Arts & Film and a Masters in Transformative Arts—the study of creative expression as a tool for personal growth. She is also a certified Group Leader in The Amherst Writing Method. Before launching the Intuitive Writing Project in 2013, Elizabeth worked for over ten years as a graphic designer and art director in the advertising industry.


Elizabeth lives in her favorite city, Oakland, California, where she loves to run in the redwoods and write for hours and hours, ideally (like the Brontë sisters) by candlelight—scribbling with pen on paper. Elizabeth is currently working on a book about the Intuitive Writing Project. To contact Elizabeth, you can reach her at elizabeth@intuitivewritingproject.org.


Melissa Quiter

Melissa is the Director of Middle School Programs. She also teaches classes for our Women's Writing program. Back in 2015, Melissa single-handedly launched our online publication, The Intuitive Voice, for which she served as our first Editor-in-Chief. Because of her work in creating The Intuitive Voice, she was a driving force in the publication of our first printed anthology, Declare What You Know To Be True.

Before coming to the Intuitive Writing Project, Melissa spent ten years teaching high school Journalism and World History at Miramonte High School, where she brought their student newspaper,The Mirador, to national prestige. Earlier in her career, Melissa worked as a journalist at The Sunday Times in London. She also worked as an international trip leader, a writing tutor, a rock climbing teacher and a yoga instructor. Melissa has a BA in Journalism from Boston University.

As the busy mother of three small children, Melissa is always happy for those small moments when she gets to work on her own writing! To contact Melissa, you can reach her at melissa@intuitivewritingproject.org.



Dina Varellas

A Bay Area native, Dina Varellas is an RYT-200 certified yoga instructor who has been a devoted practitioner for over a decade. She also loves writing, through which she seeks to heal, grow, and discover her true essence. Her passion for the Philosophy and Tradition of Yoga, Feminine Yoga, and meditation transcends and supports her daily life.

Dina is a certified Intuitive Writing Project Facilitator with The Intuitive Writing Project. Committed to creating a sacred space for young girls and woman, she invites her students to explore their curiosity and essence through the practice of vulnerability, courage and our innate wisdom and creativity.

Dina is continually exploring more balanced and holistic ways of being and believes that what she does outside of teaching greatly influences her ability to serve her students. She enjoys spending time in Mother Nature, swimming in warm ocean waters, rivers, and lakes. To contact Dina, you can reach her at dina@intuitivewritingproject.org.

Gretchen Cion

Gretchen Cion is a writer and an educator who has been bringing the magic of creative writing to students for over twenty years. She has taught as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist and writer in residence, working with both children and adults. She is grateful for the way in which her students inspire and inform her own writing.

She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.A. in Education from Hunter College in New York City. While teaching in NYC, she was involved with Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which ignited her love of creative writing. Thanks to her profession as an educator, she has written countless stories to help teach the craft of writing. Gretchen is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Nonfiction at San Francisco State University.

When she is not writing, she can be found compiling the perfect mixes for her rise-and-shine dance parties or practicing her Italian as she stretches toward becoming a polyglot. Gretchen lives in Berkeley with her artist husband and their two wildly cool boys. To contact Gretchen, you can reach her at gretchen@intuitivewritingproject.org.

Colleen Weems


Colleen Weems is the author of the fantastical book The Ifs, with another book of fiction on the way. When she's not subbing for the Intuitive Writing Project, she's a social media strategist and brand journalist.

As a self-described "semi-professional people watcher," Colleen is the blogger behind The Fulcrum Chronicles. She's been writing since the fourth grade, and encourages everybody with a pen or a keyboard to do the same. Originally from the Sacramento area, she's a graduate of USC School of Journalism, where she met her husband John. They have two sons and live in Walnut Creek.


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©The Intuitive Writing Project

San Francisco Bay Area