Who We Are - TMI Project

Changing the World

One Story at a Time

CHANGING THE WORLD ONE STORY AT A TIME

Co-Founders

  • EVA TENUTO
    EVA TENUTO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORKSHOP LEADER

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “One of the most rewarding parts of working at TMI Project is seeing what storytellers look like when they step off stage. It often looks like they’re floating out of the theater. They look taller; lighter. It’s as if something has truly been lifted. To be able to witness that over and over fills my spirit. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.”

    EVA TENUTO is the co-founder and executive director of TMI Project. Since 2010, she has brought TMI Project from her living room to a host of performance spaces, schools, detention centers, mental health facilities and the United Nations. Eva is the editor and director of multiple solo shows, one of which was awarded Best Comedic Script of 2014 in the United Solo Festival. In 2018, her directorial film debut, Vicarious Resilience, a docu short, celebrated its world premiere at The Woodstock Film Festival. Eva’s own true stories have been published on Longreads.com and in numerous anthologies including Drinking Diaries, Goodbye to All That and others. Eva studied acting at American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She received a BA in Fine Art and Women’s Studies and an MA in Elementary Education, both from Hunter College. More at www.evatenuto.com.

  • Julie Novak
    Julie Novak WORKSHOP LEADER

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “To be a part of helping people release the shame that binds them, to see people transform in the most positive way after sharing their truth is what gives my life meaning. Countless times I have witnessed how the act of being seen and heard can create true connection and lasting change.”

    Julie is a multi-talented performer, writer, and musician who enjoys making people laugh, feel loved, and consider their role in making the world a better place. Aside from co-founding TMI Project, Julie is a media producer and facilitator with The Future Perfect Project, a queer-led organization that offers free arts programming to LGBTQIA+ youth across the globe. She has performed all over the United States, including a tour of her one-person show America’s Next Top, which had a successful run in the NYC Fringe Festival. Currently, Julie is the host of No One Like You (broadcast on TMI Project media partner Radio Kingston/WKNY), a weekly program where she interviews everyday heroes who share uplifting stories about turning their kryptonite into their superpower. Learn more: julienovak.com

TMI Project Team

  • Perla Ayora
    Perla Ayora Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her

    “We immigrants have stories that have been quiet for a long time and now there is finally a safe space where they can be heard. An immigrant has a lot to say about discrimination and culture but also about values, family, learning and justice. Writing your story brings you closer to freedom.”

    “Nosotros los inmigrantes tenemos historias que han sido calladas por mucho tiempo y ahora por fin hay un espacio seguro donde pueden ser escuchadas. Un inmigrante tiene mucho que decir sobre discriminación y cultura pero también sobre valor, familia, aprendizaje y justicia. Escribir tu historia te acerca a la libertad.”

    Perla is a stand-up comedian who enjoys writing songs, poems, essays, and… jokes. Her creativity and love of expression helps to elevate the many diverse voices of Radio Kingston by broadcasting their shows live from various locations throughout Kingston. She is a radio host and the co-producer of “Tokens Inc”. A dark comedy web series about tokenism. Originally from Yucatan, Mexico, Perla was drawn to Kingston for its lively art, music, and comedy scene – but loves that she can also chill at a BBQ or a taquiza with her neighbors.

  • SETH DAVIS BRANITZ
    SETH DAVIS BRANITZ Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: He/Him/His

    “We go through life more alone than we realize. There are thoughts and memories that we don’t dare reveal. Being a small part of TMI Project workshops is an honor and a life-affirming process. Time and time again I’ve witnessed individuals unshelve long stored pains and transform troubling notions into inspiration. I’ve seen acts of courage and ferocity that have changed workshop participants in fundamental ways and am awed by the healing change that occurs as a result of this work.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Seth Davis Branitz is a storyteller, singer and songwriter, and acclaimed chef. He’s produced four albums and his essays have been published by The Weeklings and Longreads. He writes about his experiences with mental illness, addiction, fatherhood, and loss. He’s won multiple Moth Story Slams and has done readings from Brooklyn to Boston.

     

  • David Cagan
    David Cagan External CFO

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    “My vision of finances is very simple: the accounting of dollars should serve people and not the other way around. TMI Project cherishes people and puts their stories first. I feel honored to be playing a small role in this great work.”

    David Cagan has worked in administration, operations, and finance for over three decades. In the for-profit sector, David worked his way up through a national eCommerce mail order company, performing every single job, to become its Chief Operating Officer. He then made a career change to the world of nonprofit. He worked as an administrator for the Local Economies Project and the Hudson Valley Farm Hub. He then joined the Hudson Valley Current as the Director of Operations. His current work includes the TMI Project and the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network. He has a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.A. in Education from Pace University. After work, David enjoys practicing Tai Chi and spending time with his two children.

  • Kiebpoli Calnek
    Kiebpoli Calnek Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: They/He/She/+

    “Working with TMI Project feels like divine guidance. It is humbling to have the opportunity to engage with brave participants, helping them express their true stories, For me, it was transformational to capture and share my story, the Black Trans narrative, in all its raw authenticity and wisdom. This crucial work enriches the spirit of the performer with a platform for their truth and provides a unique window of reflection for the viewer.”

    Kiebpoli Calnek, a non-binary queer Black creative from NYC/Lenapehoking, has generated nuanced performances and creative direction seeped in poetic somatic elements for over two decades. Their social enterprise, Black*Acrobat, produces interdisciplinary programming sharing stories of, for, and with fringe communities, celebrating authentic visions and viewpoints through research, access, and collaboration. They were covered in Essence and contributed, “How It Feels… To Be An Aerial Acrobat” to Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. While living out West, Kiebpoli nurtured film, stage, and literary relationships and in 2018, the concept of Queer & Trans Love Stories (“cuties”) was born at a writing residency in New Mexico’s Peñasco mountains. Kiebpoli’s works received generous funding and support from Elizabeth Streb, Astraea Foundation, Asian Arts Initiative, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. They are a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, SAG-AFTRA, and Actors’ Equity Association. kiebpoli.com

  • Dacia Clay
    Dacia Clay Producer, The TMI Project Podcast, Season 3: Stories for Choice

    Pronouns: She/They

    “I work in podcasts and radio because I wholeheartedly believe in the power of story to build bridges, change minds and hearts, and engage our emotions in a way that nothing else can. TMI Project is using that power for good, and I’m honored to be a part of what they do.”

    Dacia Clay is an audio producer, host, writer, and interviewer. She began her career in public radio as a music librarian, where she started learning audio production by sneaking into the hall studio in between shelving CDs. Since then, she’s developed and worked on many digital audio series, podcasts and radio shows, in multiple capacities, most recently KUOW’s The Wild (adventures in ecology and conservation), Rice University’s Religion Unmuted (about women in religion), Fiber Nation (tales of textiles, crafts, and culture), and Northwest Focus Stories (stories from Seattle’s classical music community with a focus on diversity and inclusion). She’s currently in production with two upcoming series, the Dr. Kimcast (using art and science to teach you about your brain), and Tiny Histories (individual histories through the lens of personal objects). Since 2013, she’s hosted and co-produced the Classical Classroom (about how she knows very little about classical music, so has experts come on the show to teach her). She lives in Seattle where she writes, runs, hikes, hangs out with her partner and their giant kitten, and probably watches way too much TV.

  • HAYLEY DOWNS
    HAYLEY DOWNS Podcast Producer, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    When I first heard the words ‘TMI Project’ I thought, ‘What is that? I want to do that!’ I knew that any group that valued ‘too much information’ enough to make it a ‘project’ of it were people that I had to know.

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, podcast producer, and documentary filmmaker. She produced, edited, and co-wrote seasons one and two of the TMI Project Podcast. She produced the documentary film, Hidden Battles, which was directed by Victoria Mills, about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers. She also produced and broadcast edited Naturally Obsessed: the Making of a Scientist, a film about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Her installations and experimental films: Move, Coleslaw Wrestling and Boar Hog, exploring multi-generational Florida folk culture, have shown at underground film festivals including NY, Chicago and SF, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and Art Basel. She lives in Kingston, New York with her husband and a small brood of furless beasts.

  • Riley Gibbons
    Riley Gibbons Intern

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “I owe so much of who I am to storytelling. Storytelling hasn’t just shaped my perspective; it has connected me to so many things that I love to absorb and create. TMI Project’s focus on the deepest, “too much information,” parts of each person’s story allows for a special kind of connection and growth that’s essential in understanding one another and creating change. It provides a space where people can truly listen, and truly feel heard. I’m so excited to be a part of that.”

    A rising senior at Germantown Central School, Riley plans to pursue a college degree and career that revolves around creativity and social justice. Riley is the president of her class and an active member of her community through her musical and athletic pursuits. She was recently inspired to bring her community together through fundraising for local organizations that support equality and justice. Through these efforts she discovered TMI Project’s work, which struck a chord close to her heart. As an avid reader, writer and lover of stories in all forms, Riley is ecstatic to join TMI Project’s team.

  • Jonathan Gonzalez
    Jonathan Gonzalez Workshop Leader

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    “Joining TMI Project was a great opportunity to push my comfort regarding group facilitation. It was also a way for me to share a story that I’ve have always had inside but been too afraid to share. Finally and most profoundly, it is a way for me to practice and improve my ability to deeply listen to others as they share their stories.”

    Jonathan was born in Oaxaca, Mexico to a Mexican father and Puerto Rican Mother. He is the youngest of 4 boys. Soon after being born he and his family moved to Southern California and lived there for 11years. After many family struggles with gangs, drugs, violence and the prison system his family picked up and moved east to New York State. While this was a chance to get a better education in a better funded school district it was also a culture shock as they moved to a mostly upper class white community in upstate NY. It took many years to acknowledge his identity including that which was also not shared or well understood by his parents due to the effects of hundreds of years of colonization. This was compounded by the effect that the new east coast environment and community had on his awareness of his identity. Jonathan now identifies as a proud Brown man with indigenous Taino(maternal), Chinanteco(paternal) and African ancestry, a mama’s boy, a spiritual nature lover and an environmental and social justice advocate who has has been married to his partner Daisha for 9 years.

  • Raine Grayson
    Raine Grayson Workshop Leader

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    “TMI Project does the exact kind of work that the world needs. From the moment I learned about them I wanted to contribute to the way they spread outstanding courage, community, and kindness. TMI Project makes the world a more honest, open place and I am honored to be given the chance to help foster and facilitate their mission.”

    Raine Grayson is a multi-genre writer whose work focuses on exploring and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community. He specializes in social action theatre and also dabbles in academic essays and creative non-fiction. He founded “Queeries Blog” – a space for queer artists to publish their work freely. He’s worked with The TMI Project before in conjunction with the Trevor Project for “Life Lines: Queer Stories Of Survival”. He’s spoken his suicide survival story on nationally streaming platforms for Trevor Live in support of their suicide prevention chat line. His nonfiction work can be found featured at Queeries Blog, Go Magazine, The Paragon Press, Weasel Press, and soon So Say We All’s magazine “The Whole Alphabet”. His playwriting has been featured by The Playwriting Collective, The Tank, NY Madness, KIT Theatre, The Rosendale Theatre, and Virtual Theatre Collaboration. He is a recipient of the SUNY Thayer Fellowship and Patricia Kerr Ross Award for his playwriting, as well as being recognized as a runner-up for the The Playwriting Collective’s Ball Grant. If you’d like to queer up your timeline, find him on social media @rainerpism.

  • Erik Harris
    Erik Harris Workshop Leader

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    “As a Black trans man, I know I have been lucky to come of age in environments that valued my input and allowed me to thrive, but that is not the reality for so many other people like me. When I heard about TMI Project’s Black Trans Stories Matter, I knew I had to get involved because my community has so many powerful folks and stories that have yet to be heard.”

    Erik Harris is a proud Black, queer, trans man from North Carolina currently located in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Race & Ethnicity Studies from Salem College as well as a Master of Arts degree in History from UNC-Greensboro. Erik is professionally trained as a secondary English teacher. As a high school teacher in Nashville, he was one of the founding advisors of the SafeZone, a club for LGBTQ teens and allies to explore their identities and advocate for their needs in the school. This work, in addition to his own lived experience, has shaped his long-standing passion for social justice and equity work. Erik is currently dedicating his time to building community, developing his writing, and reconnecting to the Earth. When he isn’t working, Erik enjoys hiking, cooking, and playing guitar for his cat, Tux.

  • Shantae Howell
    Shantae Howell Publicist

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “As I navigate through these difficult times as a queer woman of color in an interracial marriage and a predominantly white workplace, I’ve found that being vulnerable and telling my own “TMI” stories has built deeper empathy and understanding than ever before. For that reason and many more, I’m incredibly honored to be joining a team that empowers people to have crucial conversations about race in their own communities.”

    Shantae Howell is a creative marketing professional, with experience in PR, digital media and content development. In her main gig at Vox Media, she leads the ideation and promotional strategy for various entertainment, CPG and cause-marketing campaigns. The fruits of her labor range from branded audio content and short films to editorial sponsorships and snackable influencer videos. Prior to joining Vox Media’s creative team, Shantae was at Facebook supporting small businesses’ on-platform marketing campaigns, and executed consumer brand media strategies at Ketchum.

  • Elijah Jackson
    Elijah Jackson Administrative Assistant

    Pronouns: He/Him/His

    “I could hardly sit still in the audience while attending my first TMI performance. Witnessing storytellers share themselves so honestly and authentically actualized much of what I was passionately studying and writing about at the time. From that moment on, every performance I attended and workshop I participated in brought me to the same conclusion: this isn’t enough, I have to get involved more. The chance to work for an organization centered around storytelling as social justice is truly an amazing experience.”

    Elijah Jackson was born in New Orleans but raised in Mount Vernon, New York. He began his work in community outreach and service in 2005, when for his ninth birthday, instead of gifts, he asked for donations to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. Throughout high school and college, Elijah narrowed much of his volunteer work to tutoring adults in ESL programs and younger students who lacked access to educational services outside of school. While attending Bard College, Elijah discovered his passion for literature and graduated with a B.A in Literature in 2018. Elijah hopes to further pursue his passion and attend graduate school in the coming years.

  • CLARISSA MARIE LIGON
    CLARISSA MARIE LIGON Virtual Event Manager

    Pronoun: She/They

    Clarissa is a self-proclaimed ‘Renaissance Woman’ who makes art because she believes it can change the world. Recent production work includes: Dana H. at The Vineyard Theatre, Measure for Measure at The Public Theatre – Mobile Unit, Before The Meeting at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Jack & at BAM Fisher, Black Light at the Greenwich House Theatre.

  • Rae Lipkind
    Rae Lipkind Workshop Leader / Virtual Event Manager

    Pronoun: She/They/He

    “Sharing our internal experiences out loud is what makes them real and inside of the workshop space they become malleable. It is there that we can reshape our narrative and begin to define our lives as we see them. I’m excited to work with TMI Project so that I can learn more about the art of storytelling and support the magical act of self-discovery.”

    Rae is currently a sophomore at Bard College where they are focusing on a degree in Writing and Theater and Performance. They spent several years working for Footsteps, a non-profit that serves their community of ex-orthodox Jewish folks. In their role as Community Engagement Coordinator, they organized annual weekend-long retreats for 200+ members and were a fierce advocate for marginalized voices. They created recurring workshop programming for the youth in that community as well as LGBTQ+ people. They attended a youth worker retreat led by the collective Rebellious Root and are constantly calling upon the wisdom they gained in that space to inform their facilitation style. Rae will be joining the Brooklyn Community Foundations Youth Advisory Council to help determine how their Invest in Youth grant should be disseminated.

  • DARA LURIE
    DARA LURIE Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories.  If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.

  • Jessieca McNabb
    Jessieca McNabb Program Host

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “Collaborating with TMI Project allows me to incorporate my viewpoint and humor into serious topics, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and injustice, and speak out with humor and heart, rather than rage.”

    Jessieca McNabb was born in Alabama and raised in Ulster County, NY. A sought-after entertainer, comedian, and emcee, Jessieca got her comedy career started at the Laughing Wolf Comedy Club in New Paltz, NY in the nineties. Other performance credits include Rosendale Theatre, Ole Savannah, The Bearsville Theatre, The Colony, Woodstock Pub, and her monthly gig at The Lodge. Since 2019, Jessieca has served as the emcee for multiple nonprofit organizations and charity events, including Black History Month Kingston, Kingston African American Festival, Harambee, and for TMI Project’s annual Voices in Action Benefit Showcase. Jessieca is an activist for Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQIA+ community and co-hosts popular Radio Kingston shows No One Like You, My Kingston Kids, and Harambee Radio.

  • Micah
    Micah Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: He/Him/His

    “TMI Project allows an exchange to happen. It feeds a deep need to know our own truth, to connect to something real. This is an ancient practice of sharing our stories and it’s perhaps the most revolutionary tool we have at our disposal.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Micah serves as the manager at GWI’s (Good Works Institute) Greenhouse Kingston, a yoga teacher at Mudita, and creator of DAY 1 (a New Year’s Day community event). He is on the board of Wild Earth (a non-profit Wilderness School), Radio Kingston, The Center for Creative Education, and O+ (a nonprofit health and wellness festival for artists and creators). He also serves as City of Kingston’s Art Commissioner at the Kingston Farmers Market.

  • BLAKE PFEIL
    BLAKE PFEIL OPERATIONS & PROGRAMS MANAGER, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: He/Him/His

    “It’s humbling to be part of a mission committed to exploring the cultural dynamics of intersectionality. For centuries, the art of true storytelling has allowed for unheard voices to find an audience and untold stories to come to light. In a day and age when truth is constantly under fire, there is hope when all kinds of marginalized voices are able to find platforms like TMI Project to share common ground.”

    Blake Pfeil is a multidisciplinary performance artist & writer whose original songwriting and theatrical work has been featured in notable stints at Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, the Highline Ballroom, NY Live Arts, Kasteel Well (Well, Netherlands), Icaro Teatro (Queretaro, Mexico), Gyeonggi English Village (Paju, South Korea), Concordia College, Emerson College, Purchase College, the National YoungArts Foundation, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Huntington Theatre Company, New Repertory Theatre, BSP Kingston, Denizen Theatre, among others. Blake’s debut album Wallpaper is available anywhere you can stream/buy music online. He is the creator of the Joni Mitchell-inspired theatrical creation THE BBC, 1970 and is currently working on All-American Ruins, a collection of stories based on his experiences exploring abandoned buildings across the United States. Blake is one of the cofounders of NYC-based folk-fusion collective Macabre Americana, hosts “The Pfeil File” on Radio Kingston / WKNY (107.9 FM / 1490 AM in the Hudson Valley), and currently serves as Operations & Programs Manager at TMI Project. BFA, Emerson College; MA, Purchase College.

  • Laura Marie Ruocco
    Laura Marie Ruocco Marketing & Digital Coordinator

    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

    “The intersecting stories of plants, planets, and people are what guide my work as an herbalist and astrologer. Crafting our own narratives and sharing them with the community makes space for such profound healing, and I am excited to join TMI Project in this important work.”

    Laura Marie Ruocco (she/her) is a lifelong weirdo born and raised on occupied Unkechaug land a.k.a Long Island, NY. She currently practices herbal medicine and astrology on the occupied Munsee Lenape lands of Rosendale and Brooklyn, NY. Laura Marie views these healing practices as tools in service of individual and collective liberation, having designed and led many herbal medicine and astrology workshops taught through a radical lens. She has also worked as a volunteer and staff member in the Girls Rock Camp movement, youth counselor for LGBTQIA+ houseless youth, flower farmer, native plant gardener, and feminist sex educator. She is a lover of dogs, books, good food, and the ocean.

  • Cece Suazo
    Cece Suazo Black Trans Stories Matter Creator and Community Outreach Coordinator

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “Before I was introduced to TMI Project I was torn, broken, and felt like damaged goods. To be completely honest, I just wanted to end it all. Today, I live with a greater sense of freedom because I learned how to tell my narrative and live in my truth. I was accepted and gained a new family through TMI Project. I feel whole again, stronger, and more confident in my ability to continue life’s journey. I also felt inspired to reach out to others in the TGNC (transgender non-conforming) community to let them know there’s so much out there for us.”

    Cece is a life-long trans activist and artist. She was honored with the 2018 Advocate Magazine Award for her contributions to the ballroom community and performing arts. She has appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions at Rattlestick, Signature, LaMama, Arcon, and appearing in the New York Times Critics’ Pick production of Street Children and Incongruence at NYTW. Cece also starred in the Bay/San Francisco area premiere of Chisa Hutchinson’s Dead & Breathing at Theater Rhinoceros, as well as in TMI Project’s off-Broadway production LifelinesQueer Stories of Survival for the Trevor Project. In 2019 she had the honor to play trans pioneer Lucy Hicks Anderson in High Herstory. As the 1st trans woman of color at WOW Cafe Theater, she’s produced many works in her 12 years as a collective member. Cece is also one of the founders of TRANSLAB where she recently did a residency in partnership with The Public Theater & WP Theater. Her first play, Shattered Reflections (The Deep Play), had its premiere in December 2018 at the WP Theater. She recently presented her latest play, You Will Neva Enter Our High Holy Land Of Blackness-HIYA, at Long Wharf Theater. Ms. Suazo’s ballroom career began in 1988 as the youngest member in the Iconic House Of LaBeija. She earned Legendary status in 2010, and in 2013, she departed the house after 27 years.

Workshop Leaders

  • Micah
    Micah Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: He/Him/His

    “TMI Project allows an exchange to happen. It feeds a deep need to know our own truth, to connect to something real. This is an ancient practice of sharing our stories and it’s perhaps the most revolutionary tool we have at our disposal.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Micah serves as the manager at GWI’s (Good Works Institute) Greenhouse Kingston, a yoga teacher at Mudita, and creator of DAY 1 (a New Year’s Day community event). He is on the board of Wild Earth (a non-profit Wilderness School), Radio Kingston, The Center for Creative Education, and O+ (a nonprofit health and wellness festival for artists and creators). He also serves as City of Kingston’s Art Commissioner at the Kingston Farmers Market.

  • SETH DAVIS BRANITZ
    SETH DAVIS BRANITZ Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: He/Him/His

    “We go through life more alone than we realize. There are thoughts and memories that we don’t dare reveal. Being a small part of TMI Project workshops is an honor and a life-affirming process. Time and time again I’ve witnessed individuals unshelve long stored pains and transform troubling notions into inspiration. I’ve seen acts of courage and ferocity that have changed workshop participants in fundamental ways and am awed by the healing change that occurs as a result of this work.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Seth Davis Branitz is a storyteller, singer and songwriter, and acclaimed chef. He’s produced four albums and his essays have been published by The Weeklings and Longreads. He writes about his experiences with mental illness, addiction, fatherhood, and loss. He’s won multiple Moth Story Slams and has done readings from Brooklyn to Boston.

     

  • HAYLEY DOWNS
    HAYLEY DOWNS Podcast Producer, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    When I first heard the words ‘TMI Project’ I thought, ‘What is that? I want to do that!’ I knew that any group that valued ‘too much information’ enough to make it a ‘project’ of it were people that I had to know.

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, podcast producer, and documentary filmmaker. She produced, edited, and co-wrote seasons one and two of the TMI Project Podcast. She produced the documentary film, Hidden Battles, which was directed by Victoria Mills, about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers. She also produced and broadcast edited Naturally Obsessed: the Making of a Scientist, a film about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Her installations and experimental films: Move, Coleslaw Wrestling and Boar Hog, exploring multi-generational Florida folk culture, have shown at underground film festivals including NY, Chicago and SF, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and Art Basel. She lives in Kingston, New York with her husband and a small brood of furless beasts.

  • DARA LURIE
    DARA LURIE Black Stories Matter Co-Director, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    I jumped at the opportunity to participate as a storyteller in TMI Project’s first workshop and performance of #BlackStoriesMatter in early 2017 and, later that year, as a TMI Project teacher-trainee. I can’t think of more important work than helping people tell their true stories.  If you think it’s simple, you should try it sometime.

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.

  • Julie Novak
    Julie Novak WORKSHOP LEADER

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “To be a part of helping people release the shame that binds them, to see people transform in the most positive way after sharing their truth is what gives my life meaning. Countless times I have witnessed how the act of being seen and heard can create true connection and lasting change.”

    Julie is a multi-talented performer, writer, and musician who enjoys making people laugh, feel loved, and consider their role in making the world a better place. Aside from co-founding TMI Project, Julie is a media producer and facilitator with The Future Perfect Project, a queer-led organization that offers free arts programming to LGBTQIA+ youth across the globe. She has performed all over the United States, including a tour of her one-person show America’s Next Top, which had a successful run in the NYC Fringe Festival. Currently, Julie is the host of No One Like You (broadcast on TMI Project media partner Radio Kingston/WKNY), a weekly program where she interviews everyday heroes who share uplifting stories about turning their kryptonite into their superpower. Learn more: julienovak.com

Consultants

  • CLARISSA MARIE LIGON
    CLARISSA MARIE LIGON Virtual Event Manager

    Pronoun: She/They

    Clarissa is a self-proclaimed ‘Renaissance Woman’ who makes art because she believes it can change the world. Recent production work includes: Dana H. at The Vineyard Theatre, Measure for Measure at The Public Theatre – Mobile Unit, Before The Meeting at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Jack & at BAM Fisher, Black Light at the Greenwich House Theatre.

  • Jessieca McNabb
    Jessieca McNabb Program Host

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “Collaborating with TMI Project allows me to incorporate my viewpoint and humor into serious topics, such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and injustice, and speak out with humor and heart, rather than rage.”

    Jessieca McNabb was born in Alabama and raised in Ulster County, NY. A sought-after entertainer, comedian, and emcee, Jessieca got her comedy career started at the Laughing Wolf Comedy Club in New Paltz, NY in the nineties. Other performance credits include Rosendale Theatre, Ole Savannah, The Bearsville Theatre, The Colony, Woodstock Pub, and her monthly gig at The Lodge. Since 2019, Jessieca has served as the emcee for multiple nonprofit organizations and charity events, including Black History Month Kingston, Kingston African American Festival, Harambee, and for TMI Project’s annual Voices in Action Benefit Showcase. Jessieca is an activist for Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQIA+ community and co-hosts popular Radio Kingston shows No One Like You, My Kingston Kids, and Harambee Radio.

Our Board

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Ryan Amador

President

“I joined TMI Project’s Board of Directors because when I attended my first performance, I saw something happening that I had never seen before. The voices of real people were speaking out to their OWN community about their experience.  They pulled the curtain away to reveal the vulnerable truth that so many of us keep hidden, which allowed me to look deeper into myself.  I found the TMI Project performance so profound and progressive, that I knew I wanted to do what I could to help support their work.”

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Kyra Greweling

Treasurer

“I joined TMI Project’s Board of Directors after being part of the original workshops and performances, and from the onset you could feel the power and impact of the process they were creating. There is a profound release and forward movement that comes from bravely opening up and sharing a story or secret, both on a personal level and as an audience member. Shining light on issues, garnering compassion, and letting others know that they are not alone are the pillars of TMI Project and being a part of the Board of Directors allows me to feel that I too am changing the world one story at a time.”

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Maureen Bowers

Secretary

“The first time I attended a TMI Project performance, I was hooked. I was a member of the audience who watched, listened, and left feeling the joy, the pain, and the courage of the brave people on stage. They shared their vulnerabilities so that I could somehow feel stronger. I wanted more and knew I wanted to be some part of the process that ensures TMI Project thrives, grows, and touches as many storytellers and audience members as possible. Joni Mitchell once said: “Love is touching souls, surely you touched mine.” That is TMI Project.”

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Erica Brown

Director

“I joined the TMI Project board because I believe that when someone tells a deeply personal story and someone listening connects with that challenge/issue/obstacle, they too feel seen and heard, just by listening.”

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Darnell L. Pierce

Director

“There are millions of stories that need to be told and heard. I decided to join the board at TMI Project because I believe storytelling has always been the most compelling way to learn and unlearn ways of being and thinking.”

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Mike Raimondi

Director

“I joined the Board of Directors at TMI Project because I was inspired by the radical truth-telling I witnessed at my first TMI Project event. I reached out to learn how I could help move the organization’s mission forward. I saw an immediate and urgent need for these stories to be heard and am honored to be able to help make this important work possible.”

Our Board

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Amy Day

President

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Kyra Greweling

Treasurer

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Maureen Bowers

Director

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Vincenza Dante

Director

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Ryan Amador

Director

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Rennie Scott-Childress

Director

Board Members Emeritus

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Amy Day

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Vincenza Dante

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Dariel Vasquez

ashley-knox

Ashley Knox

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Seanne Crozier

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Jeff Roda

Tameka Ramsey

Tameka Ramsey

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Crystal Schachter

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Megan Olivera

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Rennie Scott-Childress

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Claire Dimaiolo

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Yuval Dinoor

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Lily Glasser

Testimonials

  • "By not merely acknowledging my deepest insecurities, but also publicly sharing them at the United Nations, of all the places in the world, I began to accept them. I became more open with my mentors and friends and ended up creating an amazing circle of support based on genuine human connection."

    Momal Mushtaq
    Momal Mushtaq Participant
  • "Listening to veterans' stories is literally a way to consciously share the burden of war with the warriors. I know because through TMI Project, the people in my community listened, and shared the burden of Vietnam with me."  

    Ray Cocks
    Ray Cocks Participant
  • "I don't want the mental illness to rule my life anymore; I want to be free: Free from that which has controlled me. I truly believe that I would have sought help sooner had I heard someone relate a story similar to mine. So I read my story at the performance, and I will continue to read it if people ask me."  

    Anastasia Wasko
    Anastasia Wasko Participant
  • “The retreat had such an impact – in terms of identifying their passions and purpose;  understanding that effective leaders must ‘challenge the process’ and ‘model the way;’  that they build such trusting relationships and a judgment free environment in such a short period of time; and most importantly, that to truly unleash their leadership potential, they need to tell their stories, let go of the demons holding them back and prepare to re-write their future.”

    Maureen Peters Gittelman
    Maureen Peters Gittelman Deputy Director, Eleanor Roosevelt Leadership Center
  • "TMI Project has created an innovative methodology - one that creates community, deepens intimacy and is so needed in our culture at this time. My personal experience has been life changing and emotionally transforming. I have moved to Los Angeles but until there are TMI Project workshops out west, I plan to travel back east once a year specifically to work with them."

    Gaige Clark
    Gaige Clark Founder/Creative Director, Spruce
  • “Both Eva and Sari have done a wonderful job of modifying each workshop to meet the diverse needs of the students as they create a new venue for participants to explore themselves as learners, capture and record their voice in a safe manner, and work on public speaking and performance. I look forward to growing the partnership with TMI Project and our shared effort in serving the students of Ulster County and beyond."

    Jonah M. Schenker
    Jonah M. Schenker Principal, Ulster BOCES Alternative High School
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