The get lit team
Diane Luby Lane
Diane Luby Lane is the founder and executive director of Get Lit – Words Ignite, a California-based arts education nonprofit that has transformed the landscape of teen literacy by empowering new generations in literature, self-expression and performing arts. She is also the founder of the Get Lit Players, an award-winning classic teen poetry troupe and the most watched poets on the internet with over 300 million views. The Get Lit Players tour throughout the country, have appeared at the White House three times, collaborated with the United Nations, were featured with John Legend at The Hollywood Bowl and perform each year for over 50,000 of their peers, igniting schools and communities with art and social consciousness. In 2012 Lane created the now annual Classic Slam, the largest youth classic poetry festival in the nation. Lane’s Lit Kit, a standards based, in- school curriculum, has been adopted by schools throughout the U.S. and internationally. She is an actress with numerous commercial, TV and film credits and the author of the award-winning Get Lit Rising, published by Simon & Schuster and Words of Women, published by Samuel French. She is also the co-writer and co-producer of DANTE, an original adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, which stars Get Lit Poets. She was the playwright and star of the one-woman show Deep Sea Diving which she toured with Chicano poet and author Jimmy Santiago Baca. Lane is a TedX speaker, a graduate of the Annenberg Foundation’s Alchemy + Leadership Program, a Southern California Leadership Network Fellow and served on L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Poet Laureate Committee. She is a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award. She attended USF and NYU, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, two dogs, and two cats. To book her for a speaking engagement, please visit www.dianelubylane.com.
Amanda Conlee is the Finance & Operations Director at Get Lit. She oversees large and small inner-workings of the organization under Executive Director Diane Lane and Chief Financial Officer Karen Williams Redman, including event design and construction, budget and payroll, and human relations. Amanda is a proud native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and she is passionate about her dog Kolby (also known as the “office dog”), craft beer, and teen literacy! She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina’s prestigious journalism program, but she has dedicated her professional life to the maintenance and growth of small businesses. Prior to Get Lit, Amanda worked as the Director of Operations for HH Fremer, an architecture firm in Santa Monica, and for Raleigh-based forensics retailer S.A.F.E. Source. She is applying her corporate experience to carefully and effectively manage daily goings-on at Get Lit, and she is exhilarated by the work that Get Lit does inspiring and educating local youth.
Kelly Grace Thomas
Kelly Grace Thomas is the Manager of Education and Pedagogy for Get Lit – Words Ignite, and co-author of Words Ignite. She is a three-time championship poetry coach and was a high school English teacher for ten years before joining Get Lit. Kelly is also the winner of the 2017 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle, a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2016 Fellow for the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. Kelly’s poems have appeared in Tinderbox, Nashville Review, The Boiler, Sixth Finch, Muzzle, PANK, and more. Her book, BOAT/BURNED is forthcoming from YesYes Books.
Samuel Curtis is the Get-Lit – Words Ignite “Filmmaker-in-Residence”, responsible for developing the film and digital media program for our new content studio, Literary Riot Media. He currently lives in Topanga, California, producing two feature music documentaries, anticipating releases in the spring of 2018 and fall of 2018; He has produced web series’ for Red Bull, MeUndies, and DreamworksTV. His work has screened at The Grammy Museum, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Skirball Cultural Center, The Actor’s Gang Theatre, The Sarasota Opera House, on national television on the CMT network, and at regional film festivals across the country. He also has a deep passion for folk music and produces live Americana shows throughout Los Angeles.
Rachel Kilroy is the Program Coordinator & Graphic Production Artist at Get Lit. She aids the daily operations and long-term projects of the organization, including the creation of curriculum materials. overseeing the production of anthologies for In-School Residencies, supporting the Program Director in facilitation of program tasks such as event planning, scheduling, & budget management, helping with marketing and designing promotional materials for all of the events, as well as completing various administrative tasks to keep the office organized and running smoothly!
Through her work as an administrator in the arts sector, she endeavors to be a force in producing programs that bring about systemic change to the implementation of arts education programming. Her passions lie in advancing the ubiquity of arts education, expanding access to arts participation for every child, and engaging art learners of all ages. Her personal experience and logistic skills has moved her to give back to society and enlighten others on the importance of arts education. Led to the field of arts administration as the answer to the question of how best to utilize her dynamic skill set, she is committed to working in nonprofit arts organizations. She has her B.A. from California State University, Long Beach in Studio Art. Rachel continues to explore her own artistic freedom through exciting graphic design opportunities that come her way. Ultimately, it’s art that is at the heart of every experience she supports, develops, or energizes!
Monique Mitchell is the Education Coordinator for Get Lit. A Los Angeles native, Monique served as a Get Lit Player in 2009 and 2010 before moving to New York to attend Manhattanville College. She studied Communications with a concentration in Cinema Studies and Creative Writing, and she has since worked as a content creator for the DTLA-based production company Contend. Monique is excited to return home to the organization that built her foundation and altered her destiny, and she hopes to utilize poetry to impact and serve her local and global community.
Hanna Harris is a professional spoken word artist and educator. She has performed at LACMA, Warped Tour, Dodger Stadium, live on KPFK, and at over 40 schools in the LA area. She is a Teaching Artist at Get Lit, and her work has been featured in Melancholy Hyperbole, Bluepepper Magazine, and Teen Ink. She was the recipient of the 2016 Can Poetry Save the Earth Prize, as well as being a two-time Editor’s Choice recipient & Poet of the Month. She has taught workshops at UC Santa Barbara and was featured on Refinery 29’s Obsessee. She was recently named a Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador of Los Angeles by Urban Word.
Colleen Hamilton is the Development Coordinator at Get Lit. A Bay Area Native, she moved to Los Angeles in 2014 to attend UCLA, where she recently graduated summa cum laude with her BA in Education & Public Policy. After working as Get Lit’s 2016 Los Angeles County Arts Commission Intern, she joined the team full time in 2018. She is delighted to discover new avenues to elevate young people’s voices through strategic community partnerships & events. A poet herself, her work has been featured throughout the country, including platforms such as Refinery29 and RookieMag.
As a Mexican-American spoken-word artist, playwright and educator, Raul Herrera has been involved with Get Lit for over 8 years facilitating growth within students across the nation. Herrera has served the organization as a Get Lit Player, Literati Fellowship member, teaching artist, and is currently Get Lit’s Education Coordinator. In 2014, he received the Pentathlon award given to the overall speaker at the California State Championship of Speech and Debate for Community Colleges. His writing is featured in Get Lit Rising, Coiled Serpent published by Tia Chucha Press and, in 2017, he wrote Dante, a modern Hip-Hop adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, produced by Tim Robbins and The Actor’s Gang Theatre in Culver City. Raul plans on continuing his pursuits in screenwriting and education.
Andrew David Stewart
Andrew David Stewart is the Social Media Coordinator of Get Lit – Words Ignite. He studied opera performance under Glenn Siebert at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where he also began his career as a composer for film and theater. He has had multiple roles in arts based non-profits since 2010, where he was a musical theater educator and director. Since 2015 he has been working in social media with top level brands and clients. He is currently self producing a folk, nature, and classically inspired album. He is also an avid outdoors enthusiast.
Arielle EstoriaBorn and raised in foggy Northern California, Arielle Estoria Leda Wilburn is a Writer, Speaker and Creative. Through various aspects of storytelling: Spoken Word, Event Hosting, Acting and Voice Overs, Arielle orchestrates each art form out of a “Words not for the ears but for the soul” motto. This motto stems from her dedication to remind her audience that words are meant to be felt and not just heard, her ultimate purpose behind her work and in life is a diligent pursuit of instilling and reminding people of their worth through words. Arielle is the Co-Author of two self-published collections of poetry: Vagabonds and Zealots (2014) and Write Bloody Spill Pretty (2017) which can both be found on Amazon.com and in 2016, released her EP of poetry and music titled Symphony of a Lioness.
Austin AntoineAustin Antoine is a multifaceted performance artist that blends the lines between music, poetry, and theatrics. Austin commits to mixing all of his passions with abilities that span from singing soulful solos to conquering an opposing rapper in a contest of improvised wit. After graduating California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in acting, Austin has sustained artistic success through touring performances, rap battles, musical collaborations, and hosting creative workshops. His work can be seen with Sofar Sounds, Guinness Book of World Records, TeamBackPack, ThatLowd, Joomanji, and TheyGotTime.
Brian Sonia-WallaceBrian Sonia-Wallace is a LA native poet, educator, and author. He is currently working on a nonfiction book for Harper Collins about new life for poetry in the midst of decaying Americana, and his work on this topic has been profiled by the New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, BBC, and others. Brian was the 2017 Writer-in-Residence for Mall of America and Amtrak Trains, and he creates typewriter installations in unexpected places around the world as RENT Poet. As an educator, Brian regularly teaches poetry and performance at UCLA as a guest lecturer, in residencies with schools through Get Lit, and at 24th Street Theater. He believes everyone needs a poem.
Hanna HarrisHanna Harris is a professional spoken word artist and educator. She has performed for Hilary Clinton, Matthew McConaughey, the Women's March, LACMA, Warped Tour, Dodger Stadium, live on KPFK, and at over 100 schools in the LA area. Hanna is also the coach of the Los Angeles Youth Poetry Slam team and has taught both residencies and workshops at UC Santa Barbara, Into Action, and various schools & organizations all over Southern California. She is raising her cats to be feminists.
Hazel RoseHazel Rose is an artist and educator from San Francisco. She is honored to have been working as a teaching artist with Get Lit since her arrival to Los Angeles in 2017. She studied Peace and Conflict Studies at U.C. Berkeley and has taught expressive arts for more than ten years in the Bay Area. She worked as a poet mentor at Youth Speaks, a curriculum consultant at SF Jazz, and a Mindfulness and Hip Hop teacher at the Mindful Life Project. She is also a recording artist and performer whose work has been featured on outlets like VIBE and URB Magazine. She is deeply passionate about the transformative and healing power of creativity.
Marcus JamesMarcus James is a spoken word artist and educator. He has performed at over 60 schools across California and has performed for the California Endowment for the Arts, Dodger Stadium, Warped Tour, Verses and Flow and Button Poetry. He has taught workshops at various schools and organizations across California some including UC Santa Barbara and Into Action. He is currently the coach of the Los Angeles Brave New Voices youth slam team and a teaching artist for Get Lit's Saturday Drop-In Class. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Film and Media Studies along with a minor in Museum Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.
- Jimmy Santiago Baca
- Ned Colletti
- Paul Cummins
- Jessie Dillon
- Malissa Feruzzi Shriver
- Leonora Horwin
- Brad Koepenick
- Eric Matthies
- Katherine Moore
- Jessica Oyelowo
- Ed Pearl
- Bill Plaschke
- Leslie Poliak
- Karen Redman
- Tim Robbins
- Luis Rodriguez
- Yosi Sergant
- Rebecca Woolf
- Jonathan Zeichner
- James Zukin
Board of Directors
Gary Romoff, Chairman of the Board, has had a diverse & fascinating career in the agriculture business. He started at Sunkist & Dole and now owns a business that invests in permanent crop real estate (ranches) in Yuma, AZ, Central Valley, Coachella Valley, and Northern San Diego County. He is a proud Get Lit parent and passionate about spending time with his family. Education: BS, Finance, San Diego State, 1990; MBA, USC, 1994.
Paul Jablon is President of The Jablon Group, Insurance & Financial Services. Jablon specializes in counseling high net worth individuals and families in the areas of estate planning, business succession and charitable planning. A graduate from California State University at Northridge with a degree in Kinesiology, Paul started his career as a physical education educator. After earning his California Lifetime Teaching Credential, he taught biology and physical education. He was a Master Teacher for the graduate students at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Paul draws on his teaching experience to explain and communicate difficult, complex estate planning issues to his clients and their advisors.
Diane Luby Lane is Founder/Executive Director of Get Lit-Words Ignite, Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education and teen poetry programs, and the Get Lit Players, an award-winning classic teen poetry troupe, who perform for over 10,000 teens each year. Get Lit partners with the Magic Poetry Bus, the official project of California Poet Laureate, Carol Muske-Dukes. Lane is author of Words of Women, a compendium of original monologues for women published around the world and has appeared in numerous films, television shows, and national commercials. Her critically acclaimed one-woman show, Deep Sea Diving (AKA Born Feet First), has toured high schools and colleges across America with poet Jimmy Santiago Baca. In recognition of her work as an educator and creator of Get Lit’s ground-breaking literacy curriculum, Lane received the James Patterson Page Turner Award for promoting literacy and the KNX Hero Award. In 2012, Lane was honored as a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Volunteer Service Award.
Jill Rosenthal, Esq. received her law degree at Georgetown University after graduating summa cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley. She spent 20 years working as an attorney in prestigious law firms, and then as General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Affairs for The Sports Club Company, before moving on to establish The Rosenthal Firm specializing in independent investigations. During Rosenthal’s time at UC Berkeley, she taught several courses focusing on the oral interpretation of classic poetry, an approach that aligned perfectly with Get Lit’s curriculum. In 2011, Rosenthal met Get Lit’s founder Diane Luby Lane at a dinner party and became an enthusiastic supporter of Get Lit’s mission. She is also a devoted “mentor “ to the “Get Lit Players” and even accompanied them to the White House in 2011 at the invitation of First Lady Michele Obama. Rosenthal has had several of her own poems published in literary journals including, most recently, the Columbia Journal of Literature and Art.
Alexander Trivas has taught English and Global Studies in independent schools for over 15 years. Currently he works at The Brentwood School in Los Angeles where he has spearheaded numerous service learning enterprises as well as annual poetry events. He holds his undergraduate degree from The University of Pennsylvania and his master’s degree in Education and Writing from Johns Hopkins University. When he is not evaluating his students’ writing, he serves as a de facto editor for his wife’s (Tracy Trivas) books. In his spare time, he writes poetry and children’s books. He recently launched onebillionpoets.com, a social networking site for teens around the world to share and discuss poetry.
Dr. Seniora Matthews is a Medical Doctor specializing in Psychiatry. She graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City Medical School in 1994. In 1998, she opened a private medical practice specializing in Psychiatry in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi, she made the decision to move her practice to California in 2009. She was introduced to Get Lit at a fundraiser in 2009, and joined the Board of Directors a year later. Her interest in poetry stems from her childhood of reciting poetry in school activities and church functions. Throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, her love of poetry blossomed through reading and performing poems throughout the Southern states. Her favorite poets include Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, among many others. Dr. Matthews remains as determined and committed as ever to bringing the power of poetry to youth throughout Southern California and across the country.
Ellen Picataggio has the hospitality industry in her blood. Her family emigrated from their native Korea to Las Vegas in 1971, and purchased their first hotel, the Minuteman, that same year. In 1979, the Cho family relocated to the quaint beach resort community of Lincoln City, OR, following their purchase of the historic Surftides. As principal of the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel Group, Ellen oversees the brand identities and design development of the Los Angeles hotel and its restaurant TART, as well as Surftides. She also is overseeing the design of the group’s newest restaurant concept, Saint Martha. Additionally, Ellen donates her time and expertise in support of her alma mater, assisting with branding and design for the Pinecrest Chalet—a historic Northern California family resort purchased in 2012 and currently being restored by the Cal Alumni Association. She is also a board member to NAKA (National Association of Korean Americans), a non-profit, civil and human rights organization providing a voice for Korean American youth and is a continuing supporter of LAYN (Los Angeles Youth Network), an organization that administers and houses homeless teens in Los Angeles. In her free time, Ellen is a devoted mother to her two sons, Graeme and Magnus.
Carolyn Rodriguez (2016-present) is a vice president and program and administration manager of the Marketing department at City National Bank. She joined City National in 1989 as part of the Controller’s department before moving to Marketing. Carolyn heads the bank’s award-winning flagship literacy program, Reading is The way up®. Since its start in 2002, this nonprofit initiative has donated more than $1.2 million in grants directly to teachers in elementary, middle and high schools in five states, and provided more than 500,000 books to classrooms, libraries and nonprofit organizations, which have benefitted more than 600,000 children. She has spent a large portion of her life volunteering to enrich the lives of children. Her passion is mentoring at-risk youth, which she has done since 2007. She has volunteered as a surrogate with the LAUSD’s Division of Special Education, sitting in on Individualized Education Programs and making educational decisions for children who are in foster care, homeless, or on probation. Carolyn also serves on the advisory board of Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services and the Children’s Defense Fund-CA Leadership Council.
Suzanne Stern Gilison (2016-present) is a passionate advocate for the arts with a professional background in business as well as museum administration. After an early career in tech and financial services public relations, Suzy returned to her true passion, the arts, and joined the Education Department at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) where she developed programs for visitors with disabilities and special needs. Suzy then moved back to Los Angeles where she joined the Development Department at LACMA and was instrumental in expanding the museum’s donor base to young art enthusiasts and collectors. She is active in local and non-profit organizations such as InsideOutWriters, The Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, the Los Angeles Opera and the Brentwood School. Suzy earned a B.A. in English Literature from Tufts University and B.F.A. from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) in Boston.
Cristina Pacheco is an activist, producer, and nonprofit consultant based in Los Angeles. Cristina works at the intersection of social justice and arts practice. Previously, she served as the Director of Programs at Arts for LA where she created the ACTIVATE Arts Advocacy Leadership Program, training community arts advocates in areas of policy, leadership, coalition building, and communication. She has produced live theater, innovative art exhibitions, and other immersive events to amplify justice-oriented movements. Cristina was one of the organizers of the Women’s March in Los Angeles and continues to organize locally as one of the founding members of Artivists LA, a collective of artists supporting resistance efforts. She also serves on the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Employment Equity for the City of Los Angeles and on the Board of Directors for The Underground Museum in Los Angeles. www.cristinapacheco.com
Eric Fullilove is a CPA, MIT graduate, and published author. He has extensive experience in media, advertising and publishing, having worked in various capacities for CBS, Young and Rubicam, and Scholastic, the US publisher of the Harry Potter books. His non-profit experience includes stints at AIDS services provider Housing Works in New York City, Teach for America, World Vision International, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Monica. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Relief International, a $100 million global humanitarian relief and development agency. He has known Diane Lane and Get Lit since 2007 and is a great admirer of the impact the organization is having on young people.
Naveena Ponnusamy is a nonprofit development and communications executive with experience in local and global organizations. She currently serves as the chief development officer of Venice Family Clinic and was previously the executive director of development for the RAND Corporation. Naveena has also served in leadership roles at the University of Southern California including as assistant dean of external affairs for the USC Marshall School of Business. Previously in her career, she worked at Edelman's New York office where she managed communications strategies for a variety of clients in the nonprofit, corporate and economic development sectors. Naveena holds a BA from Columbia University and an MA from New York University.
Delta Wright‘s signature approach to designing interiors is based on her belief that every interior should be a portrait of those who live in them. Combining her technical grounding in architecture with an impressive creative pedigree, she exudes imagination and soul. Seeing home as a place of well-being, her environments radiate warmth through the use of sophisticated elements set against airy, relaxed interiors. Each project is crafted to elevate the soothing elements of nature – light, views and gardens. Her studio’s recent three-year collaboration with award-winning architect Hagy Belzberg was awarded “Best Large Residence, 2015” by Interior Design magazine. Over her 20-year career, her commercial projects include the models at the Commune-designed 8th & Grand in Downtown LA and the iconic Farmers Daughter Hotel. Delta is an honors graduate of Pratt Institute's master program in New York. Her conceptual and client-driven approach was honed through her 10-year partnership with bi-coastal firm Curated, which she cofounded in 2006.
Erika Abramshas nearly 20 years of experience across post production, accounting, and personnel management. She is a leader and multitasker who maintains a sense of humor, even in high pressure situations. She’s responsible for overseeing Encore’s 200-strong Burbank staff, who delivered more than 15K VFX shots in 2017, and also drives internal expansion strategies to support continued growth profitability, while interfacing with Encore’s Atlanta and Vancouver facilities. A firm believer in the link between happiness, trust and productivity, Erika encourages a consistently positive working environment and fosters a fair, family-like atmosphere at the studio. She joined Encore in 2016 after 12 years at Furious FX, where she held the dual role of VFX Producer and Operations Manager, juggling multiple shows and responsibilities. Prior to VFX, Erika spent nearly seven years in human resources, overseeing recruitment, hiring, personnel management and benefit administration for sizable companies. In addition to her role at Encore, Erika is on the Los Angeles advisory board for AIGA, a committee member for the LA Design Festival, a peer group member for the Television Academy and a community volunteer. A native Angeleno, Erika deeply loves tacos and is known both for her professionalism and amazing cookie baking skills.
A board for emerging arts professionals & young thought leaders
Heather Elena HeslupHeather is a creative non-profit arts management professional making strides within the Arts, Culture and Education industries. Heather holds a BA in Television & Film Production from Howard University and a MA in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. She is a diverse professional with over eight years of experience in managing complex organizational relationships, producing effective and quality arts programs, developing strategic arts plans, and building partnerships that foster growth and sustainability. Heather’s varied scope of skills has been highlighted through her work with prominent arts and educational institutions including: Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Arts for LA, Los Angeles Unified School District, California Institute for the Arts, Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College Chicago, Public Broadcast Service. Currently Heather serves as the Implementation Manager for Turnaround Arts: California, charged with managing coordinating and orchestrating implementation of the Turnaround Arts program across elementary and middle schools in California. Heather is a passionate advocate for the arts as a change agent in our schools and is dedicated nurturing the creativity within our diverse communities.
Michelle Suzanne SnyderMichelle Suzanne Snyder is a poet, teacher and community-builder. She comes from a vibrant family of teachers, artists and writers who helped shape her involvement in public issues that greatly impact her community and in turn, the world. Since she was young, Michelle has used art and writing to inspire, inform and remain committed to social justice. She is the recipient of both the Western California Journalism Society and Norm Strung Outdoor Writers Association excellence in journalism awards. For the past seven years, she has been an English Language Arts/Literacy teacher. Her love of language, culture and teaching even landed her in Korea and China where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL). Michelle recently began a Non Profit Management Masters program at Antioch University, and is currently one of the founding faculty members at TREE Academy, a new, innovative non-profit school with a customized academic approach.
Katrina FryeKatrina Frye is the founder of Mischief Managed, an artist services company working with artists of all mediums to get their career’s off the ground and money in their bank accounts. She strongly believes that artists are the architects of culture and transcribers of history. Katrina’s roster currently includes ten artists, from composers to poets, from around the US. She has been working in arts administration and management for 10 years and has received her Master's degree in Arts Management from the Claremont Graduate University. She practices black and white film photography since getting her Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts from Point Loma Nazarene University. And on the weekends you can find her coordinating a wedding or two. Follow her artists and insights @mischief_arts or mischiefmanaged.info.
Jazmín N. MoralesJazmín Morales is the Coordinator of Community Engagement and Career Development at the Colburn School. A classically trained violinist who also grew up playing mariachi and other regional Mexican music, Jazmín has spent her life and career navigating the space between Western and folk art traditions, and supporting others -- especially other women of color -- in those fields. She made her orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of 13 and played with an all-female mariachi during the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Before coming to the Colburn School, Jazmín was the Artist Services coordinator at La Jolla Music Society. She is an active member of Emerging Arts Leaders – Los Angeles (EAL/LA) and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), and currently serves on the Emerging Professionals Board of Get Lit – Words Ignite. Jazmín earned her B.A. in Ethnomusicology from UCLA and M.A. in Arts Management from the Center for Management in the Creative Industries at Claremont Graduate University.
Patricia GarzaPatricia is a member of the artistic staff at Center Theatre Group (CTG) where they manage new play projects as the Artistic Development Program Manager specifically focused on collective and ensemble creation. Patricia most recently served as Assistant Department Director for Education and Community Partnerships at CTG for six years. Patricia has consulted on strategic planning processes for multiple companies such as El Teatro Campesino. Patricia has been selected as a Theatre Communications Group’s (TCG) Young Leader of Color and as a fellow for the Salzburg Global Seminar on Young Cultural Leaders twice. Recently, Patricia was selected to be featured in Latino Leaders Magazine as a Club Leader for Los Angeles and is a recipient of TCG’s Leadership U Continuing Ed grant. They currently serve on the young professionals’ board for Get Lit, LA's leading nonprofit presenter of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Patricia has a MFA/MBA in Theatre Management from California State University, Long Beach and a BA in English with a minor in Theatre Studies from UC Berkeley. Their passion is working with other theatre professionals nationally on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion with a particular focus on the LGBTQ community.
Andrea AbeledaAndrea Abeleda has over a decade of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit, and community engagement. She is currently a Contracts Officer at First 5 LA. Prior to First 5 LA, she was Program Manager at the California Community Foundation (CCF) overseeing a $2 million portfolio to support arts opportunities for individual artists and for low-income, diverse residents to access local, affordable and relevant arts programs and services. In addition, she helped manage the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, a funder collaborative working to strengthen L.A. nonprofits through strategic restructuring. Andrea worked at Kidspace Children’s Museum from 2006 to 2010 in various fundraising capacities. Abeleda earned a bachelor’s in art history and sociology from the University of California Irvine. She currently serves as an advisory board member for Get Lit – Words Ignite and Asian American Practitioners in Philanthropy.
Eugene S. AllenEugene S. Allen is Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs at Viacom. Mr. Allen is responsible for managing television development and production for Viacom’s Vh1 and MTV networks. He has a myriad of experience negotiating and drafting television production and development agreements as well as negotiating entertainment talent and staff agreements. Eugene received his B.A. in Political Science from Morehouse College, and his J.D. from Loyola Law School. He is admitted to practice in California.
Lynz FlorenLynz Floren wears many hats and juggles creative projects aplenty. As a singer/songwriter, anthem coach, painter, video editor, event host, consultant and all around connector of people, he sparks those around him to be their best and most inspiring selves. With a BA in Community Studies from University of California Santa Cruz and an MBA from University of Phoenix he continues to be a student of community organizations and small business entrepreneurship. He is currently enrolled in the Co-Active Coaching Certification program through Coaches Training Institute and manages the Audio-Visual needs for the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s events department and their online continuing education programs.
Yuliana RafailovaYuliana, aka Yulia, Rafailova is an academic advisor who believes that grades and test scores do not represent a student’s intelligence. After a decade of tutoring, Yulia developed a unique assessment and tutoring program and dedicated over 10,000 hours across six years advising students on academic and executive function skills. After four years directing a tutoring company (franchise) with over 100 tutors and $750,000 in annual revenue, she now serves as an education blogger and consultant to the franchise headquarters. Yulia trains business owners, tutors, and education consultants on the best practices of tutoring, program development, and community outreach. She also provides parent education presentations on executive function focused on teaching parents to foster emotional intelligence in their kids. Yulia’s new business venture, MindFull Education LLC, is dedicated to education reform and professional development. Yulia’s passion for education comes from being a curious student and explorer of all subjects - especially art, science, literature, and music. She is a graduate of CSUN with a BA in Political Science.
Charles JensenCharles Jensen is the author of six chapbooks of poems, including the recent Story Problems and Breakup/Breakdown, and The First Risk, which was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. His previous chapbooks include Living Things, which won the 2006 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, and The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon. A past recipient of an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, his poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Bloom, Columbia Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Field, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is the founding editor of the online poetry magazine LOCUSPOINT, which explores creative work on a city-by-city basis. He lives in Los Angeles, where he serves program director of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, one of the largest and most prestigious open enrollment creative writing programs in the nation, and volunteers with Arts for LA and the Lambda Literary Foundation.
Clark SimonClark currently works as a Foundation Relationship Manager at The Giving Back Fund. In this role, Clark oversees a portfolio of celebrity, athlete, and high networth individuals’ philanthropic foundations/family foundations. Advising them on everything from event planning and management to best practices in philanthropy. Prior to joining The Giving Back Fund, Clark used his background in nonprofit development, public relations, and social media to help advance I Know I Can, the largest college access program in Ohio, where he was also a member of the Development Board for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Clark has a degree in Political Science from The Ohio State University where he was also a Captain on the Cheerleading Team and the Philanthropy Chair for his fraternity, Kappa Sigma.
Ari LubetAri Lubet is a literary manager and producer at 3 Arts Entertainment. After graduating from film school at the University of Wisconsin in 2007, Ari began his career in the film industry as an assistant to a literary agent at Creative Artists Agency and to Michael Sugar at Anonymous Content. He went on to become a literary manager and producer at 3 Arts Entertainment, where he has been since 2013. Ari represents writers and directors in television and film, as well as novelists and comic book creators. He is currently producing the Netflix television series AMERICAN VANDAL which premieres September 15th.
Tiffany MoselyTiffany Mosely is an attorney advocating for individuals, businesses and estates in tax controversy matters before the Internal Revenue Service and United States' Tax Court. Tiffany dedicates her free time to running a high school mock trial program for the California YMCA Model Legislature and Court and serving as a regular guest speaker on Federal Tax Practice and Procedure at California State University Northridge. She also is assists as Interim Director of Bet Tzedek's Taxpayer Clinic. Tiffany received her B.A. in Sociology from Howard University and her J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing her LLM in Taxation at Loyola Law School. She is admitted to practice in California and United States Tax Court. As both a writer and a legal advocate, Tiffany believes deeply in extending the reach of every person's individual voice.
Tess JablonTess Jablon is a second generation Angelino whose involvement in community and social responsibility began when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at a young age. Influenced by her parents - who were involved in various charitable organizations - Tess understood the importance of philanthropic involvement and the impact an individual can make and started a fundraising team for the Los Angeles charter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Currently a Tour Accountant at David Weise & Associates, she proudly serves her creative clients by creating financial clarity through a grounded management style and allowing them to focus on what's important - the art. Tess is also the founder of Accounting for Others (“AFO”), an internal charitable charter within her 150+ employee firm. AFO advocates and implements paid volunteering time off for individual employees and monthly group volunteering events in concert with various local non-profit organizations.
Natalie MarreroNatalie Marrero is the Executive Director of Viver Brasil Dance Company. She has dedicated her career to preserving culture and is passionate about creating spaces for communities through art practices. She received a B.A. in Dance and Urban Studies from Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts. Inspired by the impact of arts in the social sector, she worked as a Senior Peer Educator with the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence. After beginning an M.S. in Urban Policy and Management, she moved to LA to study at Claremont Graduate University, earning an M.A. in Arts Management. Natalie’s experience stems from her work in education, government, and nonprofit organizations and is passionate about strategic administrative practice. Natalie has worked at the NYC Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, NYC Mayor's Office of Special Projects and Community Events, The Future Project in San Francisco, New York and Newark, New Jersey, Children Aids Society of New York, California Institute of the Arts, and consulted with organizations throughout LA County. Marrero serves as a founding Board Member and Board Chair to MICHIYAYA Dance in New York and volunteers at non-profit organizations throughout LA whose missions are to develop social justice practices in the arts. Marrero received several awards: the David S. Wood Award for Humanitarianism, the New School’s Emerging Leader Award and Senior VP for Student Services Alma Mater Award, a Certificate of Recognition and Certificate of Appreciation from the City of New York and the Friedman Award in 2015 & 2016 for her community organizing, creative arts programming and domestic violence advocacy.
The Actors’ Gang
The Actors’ Gang is an independent theatre founded by Tim Robbins and home to Get Lit’s monthly Open Mics, as well as the groundbreaking Prison Project, which brings commedia dell’arte to incarceration facilities across California. More at theactorsgang.com.
Center Theatre Group
Center Theatre Group is the largest performing arts organization in Los Angeles and home to the August Wilson Monologue Competition and so many other amazing youth outreach programs. We are so proud to partner with them! More at centertheatregroup.org.
Youth Speaks is the largest youth spoken word organization in the country, and maybe the world. Thank you for the guidance & inspiration! “The next generation can speak for itself.” More at youthspeaks.org.
Turnaround Arts is a partnership created by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education and the White House Domestic Policy Council. The program is designed to bring arts into some of the lowest performing schools in the country. More at turnaroundarts.pcah.gov.
The Ash Grove has been a major voice for the experiences, beliefs and feelings of the music community since 1958, offering support and performance space to the Get Lit Players since its inception, under the guidance of Ed Pearl. More at ashgrovemusic.net.
Wondros offers strategic consulting and a full suite of creative services for clients at the cutting edge of business, health care, philanthropy, public policy, and the arts. Wondros has been instrumental in the production of the Get Lit NOW weekly web series providing a platform for poets to respond to breaking news & celebrate free thought. More at wondros.com.
Taskforce PR creates culture that changes culture, consolidates power and builds momentum. Taskforce PR designs creative strategies, produces meaningful engagement, organizes communities online and offline, builds campaigns that inspire movements and changes prevailing narratives. They combine the quality, power and creativity of the commercial sector with the inclusive process, values and heart of the nonprofit sector. More at taskforce.pr.