I’ve been able to work on some incredible projects with incredible people. Here are some of my favorites. For more, here is a broader overview of my work with various brands and organizations.
The O.G. Experience
Partners: HBO and The Soze Agency
Additional Partners: ACLU, Color of Change, Center for Victim & Human Rights, Fortune Society, Just Leadership USA, Right of Return Fellowship, Vera Institute
I orchestrated a partnership between HBO, who was figuring out their marketing strategy for their upcoming original film, O.G., and The Soze Agency, a social impact firm focused on the role of art in activism and advocacy.
What followed was a brilliant team effort to create an art exhibit in NYC’s Chelsea district — famous for it’s art scene — inspired by the film and featuring exclusively formerly incarcerated artists. There has been, to our knowledge, no other exhibit of this size that only focused on the art of the formerly incarcerated. It was particularly important for this to take place in a geography that is traditionally wealthy and white.
During the exhibit’s run, the evenings were host to private screenings and dinners with artists, activists, elected officials, journalists, influencers, celebrities, and business leaders. In addition to being one of the VIP guests, I served as Soze’s Social Content Director. I was responsible for producing and conducting talent interviews, strategic partnerships with individuals and community organizations, and operational support.
The exhibit received extensive press coverage, including but not limited to Paper Magazine, Deadline, Nylon, New York Magazine, Reason, and Pix11. The conversation on social media generated 10+ million impressions. For more information, including an immersive virtual reality tour of the exhibit, click here.
#RefreshTheTalk x The Open Mic Project
Partner: Absolut Vodka
At the tail end of 2016, I was signed as one of 5 Absolut National Ambassadors. The campaign was designed to expand the brand’s involvement in racial justice advocacy and provide a substantive, genuine, and accessible platform for consumers to responsibly enjoy Absolut during important sociopolitical conversations.
Absolut approached me with a heartfelt message: We have a long history of using our company’s resources and platform to advance gender and sexual equity (which is true — they are one of the very few companies with 100% gender equity in their executive leadership compensation), but we want to do more. Their pitch to me was not one of white saviorism. Rather, it was a nuanced approach to allyship alongside Black voices leading the way.
Over the course of that year, I attended, supported, and promoted many brand activations — including the GRAMMY’S Red Carpet initiative to #RefreshTheTalk regarding meaningful representation and pay equity — and consulted with Absolute internally on their advocacy efforts. This national campaign was featured in over 60 news outlets including the New York Times, Adweek, Creative Pool, Essence, and Nylon.
The highlight of the campaign, though, was not the glitz and glam of the red carpet. I produced and hosted 3 events with Absolut to make literal and metaphorical space for the important conversations we need to foster more often. First, I brought together 20+ people from various personal and professional backgrounds for a community roundtable on sustainable civic engagement. Then, I curated a 6 person expert panel — Brittany Packnett and Alencia Johnson — on on scaling effective social justice projects.
Finally, I hosted a Hanukkah celebration with some of my closest friends to demonstrate that it’s exactly in the environments you’re most comfortable and with the people you know best that you can lean into the conversations that matter. In total, I generated over 500K impressions on social media.
Partner: Getting Out & Staying Out
Additional Partners: &pizza, Bareburger, Debevoise & Plimpton, LLC, Diageo (Ciroc, Deleon, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One), Dos Toros, Point 72, Harlem Grown, Pompette, Prince George Ballroom, Rockefeller Foundation
I began as a volunteer for Getting Out & Staying Out coaching the participants — the GOSO Guys as they prefer to be called — on resume building and job interview practice. The organization serves young men in New York who have had some point of contact with the criminal justice system, including but not limited to incarceration, and it provides the participants with access to education, job readiness training and direct employment opportunities, and expert mental health care.
From the interviews, I quickly ramped up my involvement with the organization working with the CEO and the staff on how to build a coalition of younger, more diverse supporters and how to modernize GOSO’s PR strategy while honoring the privacy and integrity of the valuable work being done. Then, as a member of the Action Board (many organizations call this a Young Professional’s or Associate Board), I led an effort to produce a non-traditional young professional’s gala: the GOSOcial. Our goal was similar to any event: awareness and fundraising. Our method was slightly abnormal, though, because we did not want to subscribe to the standard event production template that so often prices out young people, fetishizes the participants, and missing an opportunity to highlight those doing the work behind the scenes.
We raised $70,000+, created recyclable content for GOSO’s media apparatus, featured Wesley Lowery as Defender of Justice in Journalism, highlighted the staff at GOSO and its sister organization, SAVE East Harlem, an anti-violence program, and build a new template for what non-profit associate boards can and should do.
Beyond Barriers #LoveTravels
Partners: Marriott International & IMG Live
For over 5 years now, I’ve been a partner with Marriott International for an inclusion and equity program called Beyond Barriers #LoveTravels. I began as one of their digital influencers. Rather than just taking vacations and posting photos (not that there’s anything wrong with vacations!), I worked with the team to create relevant sociopolitical and cultural moments in which the true purpose of the program could shine in the context of everything I was already doing for social justice.
The premise of the program is simple: regardless of identity, people should be treated with dignity and respect in every corner of the world. Over the years it’s grown in scope and scale. Now, it functions as a connector bringing people together from all over the country and the world to demonstrate in practice the power of traveling as a means of developing human solidarity and support. It also functions as a resource machine offering funding and institutional support for non-profits and activists creating coalitions across identity, geography, and issue area.
Coalition building isn’t always an exciting and headline creating process. This program, though, has created a way in which companies can actually walk the walk of supporting, connecting, and empowering with tangible resources exactly the folks who need it and will do the most with it. Rather than producing one off and isolated activations that center PR goals, #LoveTravels engineers long term relationships like the one they have with me that center justice and equity. The PR is easy when the work speaks for itself.
#BYBG Tour for Jewish Youth
Partner: BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization)
Having been introduced to BBYO through two of my mentors, Brittany Packnett and Michael Skolnik, I found an avenue by which I could help re-invigorate the civil rights and civic engagement focus of young Jewish people. BBYO is a network of chapters across the country that creates pluralistic and meaningful communities for Jewish teenagers. When I was growing up, our Judaism was inextricable from family and morality so this was a perfect opportunity to draw on my experiences to share that sense of community rooted in justice.
I developed an idea for a tour to different BBYO chapters, chatting with BBYO teens about activism and allyship specifically with respect to the role the Jewish community has played and must play in movements for social justice. Collaborating with BBYO’s leadership and based on their strategic goals for the next few years, we built out a 3 city tour — in Dallas, Boca Raton, and the northern suburbs of Chicago — that zeroed in on empowering the teens with the pedagogic resources they need. Each stop on the tour was customized programmatically for the local chapter based on what they’d been working on and what challenges they’ve faced.
More important than the topics we discussed, though, was the manner in which we discussed them. Certainly, it was a constructive program addressing issues of structural racism, police violence, and solidarity with Palestinian suffering abroad, but it was also critical to implicitly demonstrate and explicitly name the conversational tools necessary to effectively and productively parse through difficult issues. The feedback from the teens, the staff, and the executive leadership was resoundingly positive and recognized the importance of not just navigating specific topics but learning how to keep the process moving forward.