Community-Word Project’s Associate Board of Directors celebrated the launch of CWP 2.0’s interactive art project in October 2020.
A college and career exposure program, CWP 2.0 broadens students’ horizons through digital art making, networking, and public speaking opportunities. The students’ culminating website integrates literary, visual, and digital arts to powerfully explore their vision of community, and illuminates the talent, creativity, and collaborative power of these young people.
The Associate Board is committed to the power of creativity in leveling the educational playing field for those students living in struggling and underserved communities throughout New York City.
Abraham Williamson – Chair
Abraham is a lawyer, writer and lifelong learner with interests in artificial intelligence and the creative arts. He is originally from North Little Rock, AR and sits on the Board of Directors for JustMyCities, Inc.,which assists social enterprises and small businesses with out-of-the-box public relations solutions. He is an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, LP, where he works in leveraged finance, fund finance and aviation finance, and serves on the artificial intelligence subcommittee of the Associate Liaison Committee.
He holds a B.A. in political science from Howard University, where he graduated phi beta kappa as a National Achievement Scholar. He also holds a M.Phi in Politics, Development and Democratic Education from Cambridge University, Trinity Hall and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Abraham brings practical experience from his work with the Withers Collection Museum & Gallery in Memphis, TN and unique teaching experience as a former counselor of Arkansas Boys State.
As a former college debater, Abraham never misses a moment to help others find their unique voice and to lend helping hands in a life long mission to foster change agents for an ethical edu-technological revolution
Anna Zhu – Chair
Anna Zhu is a prospective Master of Social Work student with a background in healthcare management. In her latest role at SOMOS Innovation as Senior Associate for Network Management, she worked to improve primary care access and health outcomes for Spanish and Chinese speaking Medicaid patients by designing a full-risk, value-based payment model. Prior to joining SOMOS, she worked at Northwell Health in the Office of the Provider Network as a Senior Project Manager, supporting network performance and integration through initiatives around referral management, data integrity, access, and provider satisfaction. In her previous roles at Northwell Health, she was a project manager in the Medicine Service Line and an administrative fellow. Anna graduated from Cornell University receiving her Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Health and Society, as well as her Master of Health Administration from the Sloan Program. Her hobbies include skiing, portrait drawing, reading, learning Spanish, and traveling
Alex is an Intellectual Property and Technology Transactions Associate in Skadden’s New York office. He earned his B.A. from Harvard University in 2011 and his J.D. from NYU School of Law in 2016. At Harvard, Alex composed three full-length musicals and played guitar with a touring rock band. During his time between college and law school, he worked as a middle school teacher at KIPP Heartwood Academy in San Jose, California, where he taught history and debate to several hundred seventh and eighth grade students. Before joining Skadden, Alex clerked on the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, California for the Honorable Carlos Bea. Alex was raised in a public school system where he jammed his class schedule with so many music and arts classes that he had to go to physical education class after school. He is passionate about the transformative power of creativity and collaboration in music and writing and is inspired by the mission and values of the Community-Word Project.
Annie is a certified wine sommelier, a food, wine, and travel writer, and the founder of DiVino, a wine consulting and communications company (DiVinoNYC.com). She is the executive producer of 21 Days to Wine, a free, 21-episode introduction to wine tasting, which premiered November 14th, 2019 on YouTube.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Playwriting and Italian Language from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago and a sommelier certification from the Italian Sommelier Association in Rome, Italy, where she lived and worked for nearly a decade principally as a travel writer and translator. Her work has been published in Time Out, Real City Guides, The American, Eye Witness Travel Guides, Fields & Stations, Draft Magazine, WHERE Rome, Haute Life Press, Zagat, Gayot, and her own DiVino Blog.
Annie is a great believer in the power of storytelling. She credits arts education with instilling in her both the creativity and confidence to pursue such a meaningful career.
Bria is a recent graduate from Columbia University with her Master of Arts in International Affairs, and she is a proud Spelman College graduate where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature. Bria grew up in Springfield, Missouri, and is passionate about policy and development.
Currently, Bria is the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at Dow Jones where she is responsible for providing ongoing research and best practices; assessing and translating data across the three regions and nine countries at Dow Jones, and reporting on global success metrics.
Daisy holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing & Supply Chain Management and is currently a JD Candidate at Brooklyn Law School. She has always been fascinated by the intersection of technology and storytelling. This interest ultimately led her to start her career in the tech space, spending the last 5 years at Facebook working in their Global Marketing & Sales department. Her commitment to positive social change has led Daisy to explore Law School next, where she will be using her experience working at the forefront of technology to help architect a new reality for generations to come. Having grown up in the NYC public education system herself, she knows firsthand how important programs that give students the space for creative expression and that instill in them confidence can be. She’s happy to be able to partner with the Community-Word Project to bring their mission to life.
Jasmin Morales is native New Yorker, born and raised in the South Bronx, her family is African American and Puerto Rican. Jasmin attended public schools throughout Manhattan and was introduced to Community-Word Project and the power of word during the 9th grade. Jasmine performed throughout the city at poetry slams and with a collective girl group called GirlStory. Now as an adult, she is a Penn State University graduate residing in Brooklyn, NY, currently working as a Resource & Operations Associate for Google Creative Lab.
Katie Freeman is a nonprofit arts consultant and book publicist. She received her MA in Arts Administration at Baruch College and serves on the National Book Foundation and Community-Word Project’s associate boards. She is the administrator for LitNet, an arts service organization for the literary arts. Find her online @foxyhedgehog.
Katrina De Wees
Katrina De Wees is a culturalist specializing in visual and performing arts. She is a multidisciplinary arts curator, creator as well as dramaturge. She has extensive contemporary art experience and has worked within private and non-profit sectors, in various administrative capacities. With expertise serving multiple constituencies–from school groups with special needs, to VIP clientele–she works to provide equitable access to arts and culture.
Ms. De Wees has a broad knowledge of cultural leaders and institutions across disciplines, as well as leading international arts institutions. She brings hospitality, design and sales expertise serving client-centered projects. She is adept at public speaking and intra-department collaboration, using superior written and oral communication with colleagues and the public.
In her personal creative productions, Katrina De Wees creates living installations that merge performance, dance and visual arts. She has presented her artistic work at Dixon Place (NY), La Mama (NY), Les Champs Mélisey (France), and Escola de Teatro (Brazil), among others. She completed her BA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Hampshire College with a concentration on Black Performative Arts as Liberation and a thesis comprised of a series of performances about Black women and intergenerational trauma. She has also completed a master’s degree in Performance Curation at Wesleyan University. Her research examines ethics in museum curation, with a thesis titled: Curating the End of American Rape Culture: Racial, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Power and Transformation in Institutional Landscapes of Cultural Memory. Ms. De Wees serves as a newly appointed Associate Board member of The Community Word Project, and as a patron on the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Young Producers Leadership Committee.
Mauricia is an NYC born and raised Community Word Project Alumnus and educational leader. She is a literacy advocate, and upon graduating from George Mason University’s graduate program, a soon to be Special Education Teacher. In her spare time Mauricia enjoys high intensity workouts, trips abroad, and seafood dinners. She is excited to be a part of the Community-Word Project’s Associate Board of Directors because it gives her an opportunity to give back to a program which opened so many doors for her.
Paige Esterly is a 23 year old playwright, teacher, and arts advocate! Her work has been put up at Theater for the New City (NYC), Equity Library Theater (NYC), TheatreWorks (Mountain View, CA), and The Little Theater of Alexandria (Alexandria VA), among others. She is passionate about art as a tool for education and self-discovery, and is so excited to be on Community-Word Project’s Associate Board of Directors! She currently teaches 2nd grade at Grace Church School in downtown Manhattan.
I spend my day working as a Print Producer at Coach, by night I create for Bawa Studios, and when I’m not working, you can catch me cooking my mom’s recipes or riding my bike around Brooklyn.
With over 15 years of marketing, innovation, content, eCommerce, and entrepreneurial innovation experience, Sheila Collins-McKayle takes a big-picture, strategic approach to all of her projects. A detailed planner and skilled executor, she has a keen ability to blend disciplines and creativity to generate positive results.
Sheila is a groundbreaking product marketing lead on the Enterprise Innovation Group at AARP. The AARP innovation lab is an innovation accelerator that works with start-ups and investors to discover big ideas and bring them to scale to change how people live as they age.
Sheila is a native of Brooklyn, New York. and resides in Brookland in Washington, DC. She has an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and a BA from Long Island University. During her studies, she lived, studied, and worked overseas. Sheila is an arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and an active Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) alumni. She serves on the associate board of Community Word Project, arts education for youth.
Sheila is a wife, a mom, daughter, sister, best friend, financial literacy advocate, hot yoga & Pilates enthusiast, avid reader, passport stamp collector, and lover of live performances – concerts and theater.