Creativity, achievement, and positive energy flows endlessly when a group of womxn with different backgrounds and contributions come together. We are intentionally weaving a global web of womxn and girls doing extraordinary work while living empowered lives. We are seeking those who are using adrienne maree brown's emergent strategy, collaboration, equity, entrepreneurship, and justice strategies for womxn and girls of color.
Our Community Wielders receive harp + sword discounts on workshops, are featured on our website and social media pages, access to quarterly fellowship events, and more! If you are interested in learning more about how to become a Community Wielder, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Krystle Starvis is a human services professional who loves and is committed to creative, transformative solutions. With a B.S. in Biology from Towson University, Krystle began her professional career with the practical application of problem solving – research. She spent four years with the U.S. Army Research Lab conducting perceptual science research to improve the efficiency of war fighter equipment. After receiving her M.S. degree in Human Services Administration from University of Baltimore, Krystle went on to manage workforce development programs for Living Classrooms Foundation. Now, Krystle is working with The Aspen Institute and New York Times Columnist, David Brooks, to manage a new initiative, Weave: The Social Fabric Project. Weave seeks to heal divides by shifting the culture of hyper-individualism that prioritizes self over community.
A proud Baltimore native, Krystle serves her hometown as Board Co-Chair for Community Law in Action, member of the Walk for Hope Committee for Elijah’s Hope Foundation, and member of Western High School’s Alumnae Dance team.
Meg Kemp (@meghanclendanielkemp) is an activist, designer, and marketer working at the intersection of sociology, politics, and art. She is a Digital Designer and Strategist for an international NGO* serving over 21 million global beneficiaries. In addition, Meg is the acting Director of Marketing for modular arts cooperative Mind on Fire, and dedicates herself to inclusive arts promotion in Baltimore City. She serves on several advisory boards, and maintains her own consulting business helping nonprofits, artists, and small business owners.
Meg earned a dual degree in Aesthetics and Art History from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and busted her curatorial chops at the Slought Foundation, a non-profit organization in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Practice and Policy that engages publics in dialogue about cultural and socio-political change, often through contemporary visual and performative art exhibitions.
To learn more or connect, please find Meg at her website.
(*Organization name withheld to protect herself and beneficiaries).
Danielle Torain is an independent consultant with over 10 years of management experience in the public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Danielle’s practice is centered in equity-based planning, organizational development, design, policy development, practice and group facilitation. Her areas of specialized focus include: community economic development; workforce development and economic inclusion; access to capital and community investment; and, community participatory planning. Among Danielle’s public honors are Baltimore Business Journal’s Leading Women, Maritime Magic Rising Star of Baltimore (BBJ), and Spirited Woman Rising of Maryland (Red Cross of Central Maryland). She is a 2012 graduate of theLEADERship, a program of the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Prior to launching her consultative practice, Danielle served as a Senior Associate with the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s, leading the unit’s place-based strategies in workforce development and economic inclusion, community capacity building, and resident leadership. Danielle additionally served as a loaned executive with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, directing One Baltimore for Jobs (1B4J), a 5MM demonstration effort to connect un- and underemployed youth and young adults in economically distressed communities with training and placement opportunities. Danielle continues to serve on a number of boards throughout Baltimore and maintains an enduring commitment to supporting emerging leaders throughout the city.
Ateira Griffin M.Ed. (@ms_amg18) is a visionary Baltimore native, thought-provoking educator, facilitator, and community organizer. She believes a part of her life’s purpose is to disrupt all things oppressive to the black community, women of color, and single mother households. She has learned though her experience in urban education, policy, and community organizing that purpose, action, and unconditional love go along way to create change.
Standing on these bedrocks along with over 7 years of teaching and curriculum development experience, Ateira founded BOND, Inc. – Building Our Nation’s Daughters, a single mother-daughter mentoring program, in 2014. She also currently serves as Director of Baltimore Rising, a free 7 – week organizing and advocacy training program for Baltimoreans.
In addition to providing access and education, Ateira cohost Point of Hue Podcast (@pointofhuepodcast), a bi-weekly podcast with Salimah Jasani and Natasha Escobar. Point of Hue is a space created for women of color to share, connect, and learn with one another as we navigate multiple spaces in society and the 21st century. Ateira loves to connect, so feel free to be social with her!
Melina Martinez believes in building strong, inclusive communities that are transformative for their members and the world. With a background in community development, people development, and marketing, Melina loves storytelling and its ability to connect all people to each other. Melina holds a degree in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago. Before StartingBloc, she co-founded Entelekee, a social justice collective offering pro-bono design and communication solutions to grassroots nonprofits. Born and raised a city kid in Chicago, but a lover of nature, avocados, and hot weather, Melina is thrilled to call LA home.
Precious Blake is an arts organizer and visual journalist living in Baltimore, MD. Precious received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration with a concentration in Printmaking at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA.) She is dedicated to advocating for underrepresented artists and making pathways for equitable access to arts resources and education. Precious does this through leading art workshops, freelancing as a career adviser, and creating collaborations that combine her passion for journalism, illustration and highlighting historically marginalized voices. She has been featured in multiple art magazines and publications such as Hyrsteria, the Baltimore Sun, and FRONT. Currently, she is the Program Coordinator for National Partnerships at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she focuses on building professional development capacity for arts administrators, school districts, and educators.
Rachel Zalupski (@razalups) is an ever-curious digital marketing professional with a zest for life. A metro-Detroit native, Rachel completed her undergrad degree at Loyola University Chicago in 2014 in Spanish and marketing/communications, remaining a resident ever since. While she currently works in the advertising tech world supporting media strategy for global brands, she’s working to move into the social impact space supporting women’s empowerment through political activism, education access, and/or reproductive health. She currently spends her spare time working with UNICEF Next Generation, or with a good book and glass of wine - most enjoyably while traveling. She is passionate about leaning into and embracing identity, and creating conversation and community. She is currently working on cultivating her own voice more boldly through writing and podcasting with others.
Sadé Jackson (@crownyourinspiration) is a 17 year old high school senior, entrepreneur, and creator of Crown Your Inspiration, a company geared towards creating awareness, empowering individuals to achieve greatness. The unique blend of poetry and are is used to create clothing apparel that is inspiring and uplifting. Sade is from East Baltimore and is passionate about supporting young black womxn and other youth to fulfill their dreams. "Not many Black girls my age are doing what I do or even have the opportunity to do it. There are many Black girls with talent but no where to put forth that talent."
In 2017, Sadé was named one of nine winners of Baltimore's first Teen Business Challenge. Each winner received seed money of up to $5,000 to grow their business.
Tifanei Ressl-Moyer (@tifanei) is an attorney who works to reform systems that neglect and abuse individuals with disabilities, using intersectional theory to insert racial and gender justice into disability rights framework. She also ensures that effective, client-centered, and culturally competent services reach individuals with disabilities to enable them to thrive in their communities. Currently at Disability Rights California as a Mental Health Legal Fellow, Tifanei has worked with a number of government and private organizations dedicated to disability rights and racial justice, including the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, the Dorothea Advocacy Project, and the Committee for Public Counsel Services.
Abbie Flanagan is a long-time advocate for social justice. For eight years, Abbie served as an Assistant Public Defender and represented juvenile and adult clients across Maryland in delinquency proceedings, waiver and transfer hearings, and criminal matters. Now, as a full-time mother of two girls, Abbie finds ways to leverage her skills and knowledge to support community organizations engaged in youth justice and anti-racism initiatives. She serves on several boards in Baltimore, including Community Law in Action (www.cliayouth.org) and The Choice Jobs Program (www.choiceprograms.org.) A curious person and natural connector, Abbie always enjoys being with other people organizing for a common cause. She holds a B.A. from the University of Kansas and a J.D. from the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
Jade Nicole Neverdon Merritt (@charmcitypretty) is the founder & executive director of Mikey's Miracle Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing sustainable programs & support services that improve the quality of life for patients receiving cancer treatments and their families. Prior to launching Mikey's Miracle, Jade traveled all over the country working in clinical trials, but soon realized that God had an even greater purpose for her work. In January 2016, her mother, Michal Neverdon-Merritt, PhD., transitioned after a lengthy and courageous battle with stage IV colorectal cancer. Through this process, Jade recognized that there are many challenges that patients and caregivers face during cancer treatment, and there was a need for comprehensive support programs. So, in April 2016, Mikey's Miracle Foundation was born. Jade resigned from her role in clinical research and is now focusing full time on turning her tragedy into triumph. She believes that the best way to honor her mother's legacy is to be a blessing to others and is dedicated to providing everyday miracles to families with cancer. In addition to her work with the foundation, Jade is also the creator and editor in chief of the Baltimore based lifestyle & empowerment blog, Charm City Pretty.
Iyore Odighizuwa feels obligated to tell stories that are life changing. She is a producer, voice over talent, and media coordinator currently based in Baltimore. As a former Senior Producer by the age of 26 for WEAA 88.9FM, Iyore has produced over 8 talk programs for radio and podcasts. She is a graduate of Morgan State University and her experience includes booking Chrisette Michele, and Julianne Malveau as guests, marketing with Sony Pictures Entertainment, feature reporting with AfricaWorldTV, and production assisting with Maryland Public Television. Additionally, Iyore has worked with NPR, BET, ICF International, House of Cards.
Iyore received her Masters in producing film and video from American University. The daughter of a Nigerian father and African-American mother, Iyore is currently working on a narrative passion project that focuses on unity between Africans and African-Americans. Her project started as a student project, later forming into a documentary series, and short series, entitled AKATA. In 2012 as a semi-finalist in the Miss African USA pageant, Iyore raised awareness on the issue as a platform in her campaigning. In her spare time she delights in designing flyers, logos and brand + concept consulting.
Tamika Hall (@iamtamikahall1) touches the hearts and souls of nearly 25,000 students, adults, and educators each year through her live keynotes, workshops, online live trainings, and business coaching. A digital media mogul, she is the CEO of TamikaINK Media Group, a design and multi-media company, TamikaINK Publishing and Design helping faith-based writers get published, iWorship96 FM Radio & Magazine which captivated more than 2.1 million listeners last year, and the Grind Like A Boss Academy. In addition, Tamika is the bestselling author of more than 15 books, three which have held the number one spot on Amazon’s Bestseller’s List.
Tamika’s passion is about helping faith-based entrepreneurs build their business, impact the Kingdom, and dominate the Marketplace!
Jacquelyn “Jackie” R. Thomas is a young black woman who some might consider a social justice advocate, higher education enthusiast, and GENERALLY DOPE human!
Jackie was born in New York City, raised in Newport News, Virginia, and attended Morgan Stated University for undergraduate study. Post graduation she completed a year of service (2011-2012) as an AmeriCorps Intensive Advocacy Fellow for justice involved youth and families living in Northwest Baltimore city with The Choice Program before attending Graduate School for Higher Education Leadership and Policy Studies at Virginia Tech. Her love for Baltimore brought her back to the city she calls home today where she serves as a Program Manager with Dent Education. Jackie's passions in higher education centers around student and staff support and advocacy. Her work over the last 8 years has focused on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the functional areas of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Service Learning, Community Engagement. In 2017, Jackie's interest in higher education and community engagement called her to find am intersection for her two passions resulting in her founding Comm+University. Comm+University provides training grounded in social justice and host THE Comm+University PODCAST as a way for stakeholder to utilized their creative energies to develop innovative approaches to community engagement and development.
Kelly Laughlin (she/her) is an artist, maker, and facilitator from Baltimore, MD. She attended the Maryland Institute College of Art where she received a BFA in Printmaking and a concentration in Book Arts. Kelly works to empower womxn in accessing their innate creativity and wisdom in order to build clarity and confidence in their lives. Combining the practices of paper marbling, bookbinding, writing, movement, and mindfulness, Kelly facilitates workshops and womxn’s retreats throughout the United States that serve as foundations for conversation, connecting to self, and building community. Kelly is also the founder of Odette Press, a small batch book bindery and paper marbling studio that focuses on creating lovingly-crafted objects that reflect meditation within landscapes, and serve as spaces for healing, reflection, and restoration.
Jasmine Gibson (@StrategistJas) is a brand coach and digital marketing strategist in Baltimore, MD. Her marketing and branding expertise spans 5+ years where she has helped brands increase awareness, boost profit, build community and recruit leads. Most recently, Jasmine opened her own strategic consulting firm, Miocoa Strategies. There, she works to empower black women who are industry experts with their brand and digital presence. With a passion and expertise in digital marketing and advocacy, Jasmine works in industries where black women are striving to unlock their greatest potential. Prior to starting Miocoa Strategies, Jasmine served alongside various elected officials, advocacy teams and nonprofits on brand development, social media marketing, creative writing, market research, brand awareness, content creation, event management and more. Jasmine continues to be an advocate for black millennials and black women. Jasmine graduated from the University of Baltimore, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Communications with a concentration in Public Relations.
Zara Cadoux, M.A. (@zzdoux) is an anti-racist, feminist educator, facilitator, trainer, and program developer dedicated to working for equity and justice. She is the Director of High School and Graduate Programs for Sisters Circle and has been with the organization since 2014. In addition to her role at Sisters Circle, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Baltimore, serves on several boards, and has her own training, facilitation, and coaching business, Cadoux Consulting. Zara has a B.A. in Geography-Anthropology from Vassar College and an M.A. in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management from SIT Graduate Institute.
Zara is passionate about partnering with and challenging white and other privileged communities to build capacity to recognize, resist, and dismantle systems of oppression. She believes in the power of play to teach leadership skills. In her spare time, Zara is usually playing and coaching ultimate frisbee.