THE STAFF & BOARD
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founder/ Visioning Partner. Click here for Jawole’s full biography.
Renee Taylor-Foles, Organizational Advancement Partner. Renee Taylor-Foles is a fundraising professional with over 16 years of higher education and medical advancement experience. Her work experience includes development leadership positions at Salem Academy and College, Wake Forest Baptist Health and Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Before joining UBW, Ms. Taylor-Foles was the Director of Corporate, Foundation and Community Support at High Point University.
Ms. Taylor-Foles received her undergraduate degree in biology from the College of William and Mary and her graduate degree in nonprofit organizations from High Point University.
An active volunteer, Ms. Taylor-Foles was a co-founder of the young women's giving circle, The Fondue Fund, a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters for ten years and a member of the Women's Fund of Winston-Salem board of directors.
Tahnia Belle, Operations Manager. Tahnia was introduced to UBW as a participant in the 2007 Summer Leadership Institute (SLI), and in 2015 she returned to join the staff as SLI Coordinator. For over fifteen years Tahnia has managed and developed social impact and leadership development projects for public and nonprofit institutions including The City University of New York, The Africa-America Institute and Columbia University. Her career has spanned the fields of international programs, higher education scholarship management, small business consulting and arts administration. As an artist Tahnia explores poetry, dance, theater and filmmaking, she has produced her first short film, The Black Angel Party. She is also co-founder/Chief Creative Officer of SunnEvents & Consulting, a lifestyle and socially conscious events company. Tahnia received her BA in Geography and Africana Studies from Hunter College and Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Colorado at Denver with a concentration in nonprofit management.
Michelle Coe, Producer. has worked in the worlds of performing arts and independent film for more than two decades. Prior to joining UBW, she was Director of Booking at MAPP International Productions for 6+ years, overseeing booking and touring of all of MAPP’s multi-disciplinary projects. Artists included: Nora Chipaumire; Marc Bamuthi Joseph; Okwui Okpokwasili; Ralph Lemon; Samita Sinha; Dan Hurlin; Lars Jan; Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theater; Emio Greco & Pieter C. Scholten (ICK Amsterdam); Faustin Linyekula; David Zambrano; and others. Prior to working with MAPP International, she was an Artist Representative at Pentacle, and held a variety of positions in the dance and theater world with artists such as Noche Flamenca, Susan Marshall & Company, and many more. Michelle spent the earlier part of her career working on various film and television projects, and holding leadership roles in film organizations (Women Make Movies, Icarus Films, and Independent Filmmaker Project/Minnesota). She has served on numerous screening committees and evaluation juries, including Theater Communications Group/Global Connections, P.O.V./American Documentary, Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s National Black Programming Consortium, and New York State Council on the Arts. She is thrilled to be part of the UBW team.
Henry Liles, Finance Manager. Henry has worked as the financial manager/bookkeeper for Urban Bush Women since 2004. He also fulfills that role for STREB, David Dorfman Dance and Pick Up Performance Co(S). Previously he worked for Paul Taylor Dance Company and Peter Pucci Plus Dancers.
Susan Hamburger, Lighting Designer and Technical Director. Susan has designed for Troika Ranch, Urban Tap, Alice Farley, Chrisopher Caines, Susan Chirniak, Carol Nolte and David Parker and The Bang Group among others. She has also designed for The Abundance Project, Hamletmachine, Logic of the Birds, On The Verge, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Little Shop Of Horrors, Suddenly Last Summer, The Great Highway, West Side Story, The Cryptogram, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Waiting for Godot and Mame, and for many other original plays and performance pieces. Susan is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and joined UBW in 2004.
Cheri L. Stokes, Company Manager. Cheri L. Stokes, a Brooklyn, NY, native, received her M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from The Florida State University and a B.A. in Dance Studies with a K-12 Dance Teaching Licensure from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her experiences include twelve years of dance education, five years of arts administration (including community engagement liaison), and three years of rehearsal assistant involvements with notable choreographers such as Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Okwui Okpokwasili. Additionally, Cheri is a choreographer and performing artist. Her performance experiences include thirteen years of dancing West African, Afro-Contemporary, and Contemporary dance forms in both Greensboro, NC, and Tallahassee, FL. Her choreographic research examines ways in which facets of social vernacular dance forms, specifically Hip-Hop and Dancehall, have influenced her contemporary practice. Cheri is elated to be a part of the UBW family as the Company Manager, and looks forward to her new experiences!
Thamar Fedestin, Program Assistant. Thamar Jean Fedestin is a Boston-born visual artist and arts administrator. She first discovered her love of arts management during her position as Gallery Attendant at MCLA Gallery 51. She later went on to become the Associate Gallery Manager of a pop-up art gallery through the DownStreet Art program. Over the past five years, Thamar has been learning and working in the arts administration world striving to create connections between makers and their community. Currently, Thamar is also working to expand her collaborative mail art project, Post Exchange.
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tammy Bormann, Chair. Tammy has worked for 25 years to dismantle racism through knowledge, dialogue and systemic change. She began her work with the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), becoming the first woman to serve as NCCJ’s Vice President for Programs, a position she subsequently left to begin her own consulting practice, Tammy Bormann Consultants. She has advised the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati; the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, New York City; the St. Augustine’s Church Slave Gallery Project, NY; the Knight Foundation, Charlotte, NC; the Leeway Foundation, Philadelphia; the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and the Ford Foundation’s Animating Democracy Initiative, among others. Tammy has led facilitation skill-building work for UBW's Summer Leadership Institute and serves as its board chair, leading its visioning and strategic planning processes. She earned her bachelors degree in French and communications from Muhlenberg College and masters degree in education from Harvard University. Tammy currently serves as a member of the executive committee of the Muhlenberg College Board of Trustees, and chair of the administrative board of Trinity United Methodist Church. She is a chair emerita of the Myhelan Cultural Arts Center.
Mary Jamis. As president of M Creative—a values-driven strategic communications firm, Mary directs successful strategy and creative development initiatives for visionary clients including The Winston-Salem Foundation (including work for The Black Philanthropy Initiative and The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem), Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Center for Creative Leadership, Ravenscroft School, Columbia College, Davidson County Community College, Old Salem Museum and Gardens, Arbor Acres Retirement Community, and the Winston-Salem Symphony.
Mary is one of the five founders of The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, an initiative of The Winston-Salem Foundation representing over 800 female philanthropists in Forsyth County. Mary is the recipient of the Gateway YWCA 2015 Women of Vision Trailblazer Award. She subsequently joined the Gateway YWCA board in 2016 and serves on the Development Committee. Mary has also been involved in local and statewide efforts around LGBTQ issues, including marriage equality and more recently HB2. She was instrumental in raising the visibility of the LGBTQ community by bringing PRIDE back to Winston-Salem in 2011. Currently, Mary serves on the board of North Star—the Triad’s first LGBTQ Community Center—which opened in 2013. She also serves as an Advisory Council member of the Southern Equality Fund—a new initiative of the Campaign for Southern Equality that prioritizes rapid response funding to QTPOC(queer trans people of color)-focused groups and organizations across the south.
Mary is an undergraduate of Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and has her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Kent State University. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University teaching Buyer Behavior to undergraduate and MBA level students. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Mary and her partner live on a retired dairy farm in Davie County. They are the parents of two adult children.
Yvahn Martin. Yvahn Martin is a digital marketer and entrepreneur with more than nine years of experience managing market strategy, sales analysis, direct, email, search, affiliates and social media in both the B2B software and e-commerce realms, currently the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing at Kipling-USA.com. An MBA and former dancer/choreographer, Yvahn can also be found building WordPress websites, throwing fundraisers for Urban Bush Women dance company, recommending local hangouts for Localeur, writing for HuffPost, or throwing MediaThons.
Ashly Nikkole. Ashly Nikkole is a current associate in the Government Enforcement & White Collar Crime practice group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where she represents institutional and individual clients in a variety of criminal, regulatory and complex civil disputes. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Communication and a B.S. in Business Administration. She is also a graduate of Stanford Law School.
A native of San Francisco, Ashly Nikkole has distinguished herself by upholding her personal philosophy: "To whom much is given, much is required." During her time at Stanford, she dedicated her time to working with the Stanford Three Strikes Project, a pro bono legal organization devoted to addressing the excessive sentences imposed under California's Three Strikes sentencing scheme. Through this organization, she represented clients serving life sentences and assisted in collaborating with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 2012 passage of Proposition 36, which modified elements of California’s Three Strikes Law. Outside of her practice, she continues to explore her passions in passions of law, business and social justice.
Ashly Nikkole is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Alice Sheppard. Alice Sheppard received a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from Cornell and earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Penn State University. She took her first dance class in 2005 as a way of honoring a dare. Shortly thereafter, Alice resigned her academic position to become a professional dancer. Alice studied ballet and modern with Kitty Lunn before making her debut in 2006 with Infinity Dance Theater. After a brief apprenticeship, she joined AXIS Dance Company in 2007. She has danced in pieces by a wide variety of choreographers, all of whom have explored movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies.
Jennifer Smith, Secretary. Jennifer is an attorney with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP specializing in commercial litigation and international arbitration. Jennifer serves on Sanctuary for Families' Pro Bono Council (formerly the Associates Committee) which she co-Chaired from 2008-2012, and her pro bono practice includes the legal representation of human-trafficking and domestic violence victims. She received her JD from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, her masters degree from Columbia University and her bachelors degree from Lafayette College. Jennifer, her husband, and their three children proudly live in New York City.
Photo credits: Henry Liles by Thamar Fedestin, Thamar Fedestin by Janette Santos, Cheri Stokes by Meagan Helman and all others by Crush Boone.
Bring UBW to YOU
A: We love that you want us to come to your community! It's helpful if you contact your local arts presenter and/or college and ask them to bring us to you. The more people asking for us to perform, the better. You also can contact us directly if you're interested in having us perform or teach or give a speech for a special event.
Urban Bush Women was one of three dance companies chosen to represent the U.S. in DanceMotion USASM, a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, produced by BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) to showcase contemporary American dance abroad.
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