Urban Bush Women Staff
Renee Taylor-Foles is a fundraising professional with over 18 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.
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.
Organizational Advancement Partner
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 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 the arts. As an artist Tahnia explores poetry, dance, theater and filmmaking. 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.
Manager of operations & Special projects
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.
Michelle 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.
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 Associate Producer, and looks forward to her new experiences!
Cheri L. Stokes
Catherine Caldwell was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a performing artist, choreographer and dance educator holding a Master of Arts Degree in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans. Catherine is an Administrative Fellow with Junebug Productions and is the Associate Director of KM Dance Project choreographing and performing in company works. Catherine has spent over ten years teaching dance in the New Orleans Charter School system, and most recently as a member of the Dance Faculty at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). She was selected as a Teacher Fellow with the Bates Dance Festival and has participated in the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance Teacher Workshop, as well as the Ailey School Horton Teacher Workshop.
Catherine’s introduction to Urban Bush Women was at the 2010 Summer Leadership Institute where she served as an intern. Since then, Catherine has spent five summers with Urban Bush Women’s SLI as a participant and most recently as a faculty member. Deepening her organizing and choreographic practices, she participated in a BOLD workshop and in the Choreographic Center’s Generative Dancer Workshop. Catherine is now excited to serve as the new Program Logistics Coordinator for Urban Bush Women.
Program logistics coordinator
Makeda Smith received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Temple University in 2013. Born in Los Angeles, CA, she was raised in Richmond, VA where she began her dance training, attending the Center For the Arts at Henrico High School. Makeda was first introduced to Urban Bush Women, participating in master classes during her time performing and training with the Richmond City Dance Theatre from 2006 to 2009. In addition to her interest and years of experience in fashion retailing, merchandising, client relations and management, Makeda is a self-taught Social Media and Marketing Director currently working with performance art collective, ColemanCollective, and event planning business, Luxury x Elegance x Allure, LC. She has taken on an immense interest in arts administration and is truly honored to be reunited with UBW, joining its staff in December of 2018.
Brooke Rucker is an artist and activist located in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA in Dance from Florida State University where she had the opportunity of meeting and training with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. Brooke is a company member of Charles Anderson's, Dance Theatre X, based in Austin, Texas and also performs with Michelle Fletcher and her company, Here Now Dance Collective based in Brooklyn, New York. Apart from performing, Brooke is also a maker, her work centering around black female identification and the need to confront and unpack the internalized racism we all carry in our bodies. Her most recent work, If a black falls in a crowd and makes a sound, does anyone hear it?, premiered at Florida State University in the Spring of 2018. Brooke is also a writer, using her blog, (Brooke)lynn, to address political issues in the hopes of creating a space where people from different racial backgrounds can begin having dialogues, if not to come to more of an understanding, than to at least begin practicing how to communicate about the different lived experiences we have.
Visioning Partner Assistant
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tammy is principal of the TLB Collective, a nationwide community of educators, scholars and activists committed to dismantling racism through knowledge, dialogue and systemic change. The TLB Collective researches, designs and facilitates dialogue-based change processes that disseminate knowledge, create lenses of analysis, and equip individuals and organizations across the US with the tools they need to identify and dismantle systems of inequity. Tammy works domestically and internationally to train others to design and facilitate intentional dialogue processes that invite deep learning, collective reflection and informed action for social change. She earned her BA in French and Communications Studies from Muhlenberg College, where she currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, and her Ed.M from Harvard University.
As president of M Creative—a values-driven strategic communications firm, Mary directs successful strategy and creative development initiatives for visionary nonprofit clients in the southeast. 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, NC. She is the recipient of the Gateway YWCA 2015 Women of Vision Trailblazer Award and has been involved in local and statewide efforts around LGBTQ issues, including marriage equality and more recently HB2. Currently, Mary serves on the board of the Gateway YWCA, North Star—the Triad’s first LGBTQ Community Center, and is a returning board member to The Women’s Fund. She also served as an Advisory Council member of the Southern Equality Fund—an initiative of the Campaign for Southern Equality that prioritizes rapid response funding to QTPOC (queer and 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. A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Mary and her partner live on a retired dairy farm in Davie County, NC.
Yvahn Martin is a digital marketer and entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience managing e-commerce and digital sales acceleration for companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Yvahn is currently the Director of E-Commerce and Digital for GiorgioArmaniBeauty-USA.com. An MBA and dancer/choreographer, Yvahn spends her spare time exploring the world of dance through 360 filmmaking and AR/VR applications.
Ashly Nikkole davis
Ashly Nikkole Davis 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 of law, business and social justice.
Ashly Nikkole is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Jennifer Smith, Treasurer. Jennifer is a New York based attorney specializing in financial services regulation, 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.
Debra Brookes is a senior attorney with the New York State Department of Financial Services. Starting with DFS in 2013, Deb investigates matters involving the enforcement of banking and insurance laws and regulations, and previously the enforcement of frauds committed against New York consumers who purchased harmful financial products such as online payday loans.
Before joining DFS, Deb was a white-collar federal prosecutor with the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division. For over 14 years, Deb investigated and prosecuted criminal antitrust violations, including bid-rigging, price-fixing and customer allocation conspiracies, as well as other white-collar criminal violations such as tax evasion and mail/wire and tax fraud.
Ngozi has an extensive background in both the mobile and media industries. Her tenure includes integrated and digital marketing, ad sales and promotions at Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia) and Fox Cable Networks. With a marketing and digital media MBA from NYU, Ngozi got her start in mobile app monetization and distribution with marketing and partnership roles at several mobile tech startups. She has managed client strategy at ad tech firms, InMobi and Drawbridge, and now leads user acquisition at theater ticketing startup, TodayTix. She is currently the Co-Chair of the Global Talent & Partnerships committee for Women in Wireless.