Thursday, Dec 8, 2016
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Executive Staff

Tracy Simmons, Executive Director

Tracy Simmons/Photo by Bethany Mahan
Tracy Simmons/Photo by Bethany Mahan

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.

Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she teaches Journalism at Gonzaga University and serves as the executive director of, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

You can reach Simmons at



Emily Geddes, Chief Operations Officer

Emily Geddes (Ask a Mormon) serves as our Chief Operating Officer. Emily has her MBA and her services have been donated to SpokaneFAVS by ME2 Solutions.  Reach her at

Emily Geddes was born to two physicists and grew up as a Navy brat. Born-and-raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Brigham Young University, and earned an MBA from Eastern Washington University. She has, at various times, jumped out of an airplane at 10,000 feet, worked in health care administration, lived in and traveled around Europe, and interned at an electron beam accelerator facility.

Geddes lives near Spokane with her husband Gene, their three sons, 13 chickens, a cat, and her two library cards. She blogs about books, religion, feminism and family at


RIFF MATTRERiff Mattre, Director of Information Technology

Riff focuses on website development, maintenance and problem solving for He coordinates website modifications and IT assistance and consulting. Reach him at

Riff Mattre’s been fascinated by our current social and psychological development as a human race since he was a teenager and believes our most important questions have been answered many times before, many, many centuries ago. He once traveled all the way to a Buddhist monastery in Southern France just to realize Jesus and Siddhartha would have been very good friends.

As in Star Wars, Episode I, Mattre believes, “Your focus determines your reality.” His favorite movie of the 20th Century will always be Fight Club. So far, his favorite movie of the 21st Century is The Imitation Game. He believes the absolute-best-movie-on-the-planet-likely-for-a-very-long-time-to-come is without-a-doubt, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. He is a production foreman at the local newspaper and enjoys the life of an urban monk in the heart of Spokane, Washington.


Toni NiemiecRev. Toni Niemiec, Event Logistics Director

As Event Logistics Director, Niemiec oversees the logistics of the SpokaneFaVS regular and seasonal events including Coffee Talk, Pub Talk, Faith Feast, Mixers and much more.

Walking the spiritual path has been part of the Rev. Toni Niemiec’s life as long as she can remember. She said as a child she was not raised in a “traditional” religion.

She began attending the Religious Science Church in 1987. In 1993, she became a licensed practitioner with Religious Science International. She completed her ministerial training with Dr. James Golden and became a staff minister at the Redding Church of Religious Science in 2001, and an assistant minister in 2002. In the fall of 2006 she and her husband, Rev. Joe Niemiec Jr., became the pastors at the Center for Spiritual Living Spokane.



Peter J Houston-Hencken, Journalism Intern

Peter Houston-Hencken
Peter Houston-Hencken

Peter Houston-Hencken is a  Journalism/Mass Communication major at Whitworth University. He is minoring in Political Science and has worked as an editor for his school newspaper; The Whitworthian. Houston-Hencken grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the son of a Presbyterian pastor and marriage and family therapist, he grew up in the church and is follower of Christ. Since coming into college, his worldview, political views, and theological views have continued to changed and grow. He is a fan of comic books and hopes to pursue a career as a journalist. Houston-Hencken found a combination of his passions (following Christ and journalism) at SpokaneFāVS and will be working with the website this summer writing news stories and features.

Eliza Kinnaman, Journalism Intern

Eliza Kinnaman
Eliza Kinnaman

Eliza Kinnaman grew up on the west side of Washington State, not far from the ocean waves. She is currently a sophomore at Eastern Washington University, where she is pursuing a degree in communications with a minor in journalism. She is engaged to the love of her life and works a part time job in Spokane. When she isn’t busy she loves to go on hikes, bake and cook with her fiance. If doing none of the above, you can find her with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.



SpokaneFaVS is always looking for enthusiastic supporters to lend a hand in keeping FaVS running!

Contact Emily Geddes at to talk about available volunteer opportunities including Marketing Director, Calendar Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Fundraising Coordinator, Advertising and Promotional Executive, and more!

Contact Tracy Simmons at if you’re interested in internship opportunities, from copy editing to graphic design, social media to event planning, photojournalism to public relations.