Who We Are - TMI Project

Changing the World

One Story at a Time

CHANGING THE WORLD ONE STORY AT A TIME

  • 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.

     

  • SARA DEROSE
    SARA DEROSE EXTERNAL AFFAIRS DIRECTOR

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “I believe that there is nothing more powerful than the exchange that happens when we share our stories with each other. The sharing of personal stories and perspectives bridges cultural divides, breaks down dysfunctional belief systems, and exposes our shared humanity. And given the state of our world currently, there’s never been a more important time to uncover and elevate the stories of the underrepresented in our society.”

    SARA DEROSE is an experienced cause marketing and fundraising professional with more than 15 years in the nonprofit and marketing agency fields overseeing marketing, publicity, fundraising, and strategic planning. Sara holds a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University and a Master’s Degree in Nonprofit Management from New School University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two children, and a dog named Pickle.

  • HAYLEY DOWNS
    HAYLEY DOWNS Podcast Producer, Workshop Leader

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    “As a new resident of the Hudson Valley, when I first heard the words “TMI Project” I interrupted the speaker saying, “What is that? I want to do that!” I had no idea what it meant, but I knew that any group that valued “TMI” enough to make it a “Project” were people that I had to know.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, storyteller and documentary filmmaker. She produced the documentary film Hidden Battles 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 documentary about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Most recently she produced J.L. Sert: A Nomadic Dream, a Spanish/U.S. co-production directed by Pablo Bujosa.  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. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Hayley moved to upstate New York from Brooklyn four years ago where she’s focused on writing and her work as a TMI Project Workshop Leader.

  • 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.

  • Shantae Howell
    Shantae Howell PR Consultant

    Pronoun: She/Her/Hers

    Shantae 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, podcast 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.

  • CLARISSA MARIE LIGON
    CLARISSA MARIE LIGON Virtual Workshop 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.

  • 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 LGBTQ+ 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.

  • Julie Novak
    Julie Novak CO-FOUNDER, 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 NOVAK is a multi-talented musician, actor, performance artist, comedian and also the co-author (with Jacinta Bunnell) of the feminist coloring book Girls are Not Chicks. Whether singing in a punk band, storytelling with TMI Project, emceeing an event for a charitable cause, or performing stand-up, Novak brings her own brand of humor, poignancy and “calculated mayhem” to every live show she performs in. With an often humorous spin on her keen observations, she renders even the very personal, universal. She studied comedy and improv at Second City in Chicago and Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. She’s performed stand-up in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. In 2013 she participated, along with such comedians as Lewis Black and Kathy Griffin, in the Serious Laughs Comedy Festival, headlining “Queerstock”, a gay and lesbian cabaret. She is currently touring her first solo show, America’s Next Top. See more at julienovak.com

  • BLAKE PFEIL
    BLAKE PFEIL OPERATIONS MANAGER

    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 songwriter, musician, actor, and serves as Operations Manager at TMI Project, as well as the co-founder of NYC-based folk fusion collective Macabre Americana. As a songwriter, highlights include: headliners at Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Highline Ballroom, and Rockwood Music Hall, (where Macabre Americana is currently in residence); his debut album WALLPAPER (available wherever you can stream/buy music); serving resident composer @ government-operated Gyeonggi English Village (South Korea); and serving as guest artist @ Concordia College, Icao Teatro (Mexico), and at the National YoungArts Foundation where he recently collaborated with Jay Jackson (aka Laganja Estranja from RuPaul’s Drag Race) on [IN]visibility, a new immersive dance piece which debuted at the original Bacardi Headquarters Building in Miami. Blake is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, a YoungArts alumni, received his BFA from Emerson College, and recently obtained his MA in Arts Entrepreneurship from Purchase College at State University of NY.

  • EVA TENUTO
    EVA TENUTO CO-FOUNDER, 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.

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

    “As a new resident of the Hudson Valley, when I first heard the words “TMI Project” I interrupted the speaker saying, “What is that? I want to do that!” I had no idea what it meant, but I knew that any group that valued “TMI” enough to make it a “Project” were people that I had to know.”

    In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Hayley is a writer, storyteller and documentary filmmaker. She produced the documentary film Hidden Battles 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 documentary about laboratory research by Richard and Carole Rifkind. Naturally Obsessed premiered on WNYC/Thirteen and is distributed by PBS International. Most recently she produced J.L. Sert: A Nomadic Dream, a Spanish/U.S. co-production directed by Pablo Bujosa.  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. Her angst-filled teen journal was included in Mortified: Real Words, Real People, Real Pathetic, published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment. Hayley moved to upstate New York from Brooklyn four years ago where she’s focused on writing and her work as a TMI Project Workshop Leader.

  • 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 CO-FOUNDER, 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 NOVAK is a multi-talented musician, actor, performance artist, comedian and also the co-author (with Jacinta Bunnell) of the feminist coloring book Girls are Not Chicks. Whether singing in a punk band, storytelling with TMI Project, emceeing an event for a charitable cause, or performing stand-up, Novak brings her own brand of humor, poignancy and “calculated mayhem” to every live show she performs in. With an often humorous spin on her keen observations, she renders even the very personal, universal. She studied comedy and improv at Second City in Chicago and Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. She’s performed stand-up in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. In 2013 she participated, along with such comedians as Lewis Black and Kathy Griffin, in the Serious Laughs Comedy Festival, headlining “Queerstock”, a gay and lesbian cabaret. She is currently touring her first solo show, America’s Next Top. See more at julienovak.com

Consultants

  • CLARISSA MARIE LIGON
    CLARISSA MARIE LIGON Virtual Workshop 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 LGBTQ+ community and co-hosts popular Radio Kingston shows No One Like You, My Kingston Kids, and Harambee Radio.

Our Board

ryan2

Ryan Amador

President

kg

Kyra Greweling

Treasurer

mobo

Maureen Bowers

Director

megan_olivera

Megan Olivera

Director

rennie2

Rennie Scott-Childress

Director

Our Board

amyd

Amy Day

President

kg

Kyra Greweling

Treasurer

mobo

Maureen Bowers

Director

vd

Vincenza Dante

Director

ryan2

Ryan Amador

Director

rennie2

Rennie Scott-Childress

Director

Board Members Emeritus

amyd

Amy Day

vd

Vincenza Dante

d_vasquez

Dariel Vasquez

ashley-knox

Ashley Knox

sc

Seanne Crozier

jr

Jeff Roda

Tameka Ramsey

Tameka Ramsey

cs

Crystal Schachter

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
0

Start typing and press Enter to search

X