2021 Being Brave

THE LINEUP

Bert Baron

Host

Writer, Producer & Podcaster

Bert Baron photo.png

A New Jersey native and lifelong resident, Bert Baron is a New Jersey Broadcasters Association Radio Hall of Fame Inductee & award-winning writer, producer, & podcaster. Over a career that spanned more than 20 years in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania radio, Bert has garnered a nomination for a prestigious Marconi Award from the National Association of Broadcasters, as well as winning more than a dozen JERSEY Awards from the New Jersey Advertising Club, highlighted by his being honored as “Best of Radio” in 2016.  In July of 2019, Bert successfully segued from the broadcast industry into the field of local government work, where he currently serves as the Public Information Officer for the City of New Brunswick, New Jersey using his decades of media expertise to communicate with local, state and national media as well as overseeing all of the City’s online and social media assets. Early this year, while maintaining his position as New Brunswick’s PIO, Bert returned to the New Jersey radio airwaves and can be heard weekday mornings from 5:30 to 10 on Northwest Jersey’s Own RNJ and WRNJ.com.

Melba Moore

Being Brave Award Recipient

Tony Award-winning Entertainer & Performer at Being Brave

Melba Moore photo.jpg

Tony Award winner Melba Moore is a multifaceted entertainer and R&B legend whose career includes four Grammy nominations, television shows and movies. Moore was sexually abused as a child and experienced domestic violence as an adult. A deeply spiritual person, Moore is dedicated to community service and helping others. She is especially passionate about organizations that help people struggling with domestic violence, homelessness and hunger. “I’ve experienced many different kinds of abuse during my life, but by helping others, I’ve learned to help myself.”

Freddie Jackson

Presenting the Being Brave Award to Melba Moore

Freddie Jackson.png

Since the mid 1980s, Freddie Jackson has been a mainstay on Quiet Storm radio. When the sun went down, the moon rose, the candles were lit, and the wine poured, Freddie Jackson's classics like "Rock Me Tonight  (For Old Times Sake)," "Have You Ever Loved Somebody," "Jam Tonight," "Do Me Again," "Tasty Love," "You Are My Lady," and "Nice & Slow" have been a part of our soundtrack for romance.  

Known for his sensual slow jams and songs that serenade, the  

sensual and introspective sides of Freddie Jackson are on full 

on display on Love Signals (2018), his most recent album. While Love Signals is classic Freddie, including signature romantic ballads and mid-tempo love songs, in many ways, it’s the most personal and introspective release of his distinguished 33-year career. "I'm at a place in my life of quiet, peace and tranquility," states the legendary crooner. "I've taken control of my artistry, songwriting, and made lifestyle changes that have transformed me physically, emotionally, personally, and even spiritually. All those transformations which I've embraced are part of what you hear coming through on Love Signals. Each song was carefully curated to send 'love signals' of passion, love, and light all over the world."

Much of Jackson's success and longevity has come from singing songs that the heart recognizes. From its orchestral opening on "Without You," his first single released, to "Just For You," written as a tribute to his now-departed mother, one thing that hasn't changed is Freddie's recipe for a great love song, which he says are "lyrics and melodies sung from the heart." He explains, "For me, a great R&B ballad is one that comes from  the heart and soul. It has to have a great melody, a beginning, middle and compelling end. And it needs to tell the story of love."

While the years have added edges to Jackson's legendary smoothness, the passion and honesty that Jackson brings lyrically can be heard throughout Love Signals. He became a legend singing about eros – that sensual love shared in places where the lights are dimmed, the wine is chilled, and the music is slow and low, and he hopes that Love Signals will usher listeners to a more expansive definition of love – a love that sends out  signals of peace, love, compassion, and healing to all who listen. 

Keyona Lashawn

Performer

Keyona Lashawn.JPG

Keyona Lashawn is an American singer and songwriter from New Jersey. She has been singing since the tender age of two. Ms. Lashawn started out singing in church and after listening to the records of her idols Whitney Houston, Freddie Jackson, Etta James, and Beyoncé, she began writing and recording professionally at the age of 13. In 2018 she first gained recognition for performing and winning first place at the famous Apollo Theater in New York City, where she was acknowledged by one of her idols, Mr. Freddie Jackson, who became her mentor and later got her signed to his label at Climax Entertainment. In 2020 she released her debut single, “Falling in Love,” followed by many more. She is currently writing for many artists as well as working on songs for herself. With her angelic tone and her heartfelt ballads, not to mention her exceptional pen, Keyona Lashawn has a bright future in the industry.

Abigail Hawk

Performer

"The Gift of Time" - Comic Book Excerpt Performance

Abigail Hawk 3.jpg

Abigail Hawk is a New York-based actor, singer, writer, humanitarian, and mom. She began performing theatrically at the age of six and landed her first television role at twelve. Hawk earned a Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship to the University of Maryland, from which she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in theatre performance. Abigail moved to New York City in 2004 and began cultivating an eclectic resume peppered with dynamic female characters.  

 

Abigail has guest-starred on television shows Law and Order: SVU, Body of Proof, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Are We There Yet? She is most recognizable as Detective Abigail Baker, the unflappable right hand of NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on CBS’ Blue Bloods. Her work as LGBT icon Dr. Louise Pearce in the television pilot Distemper earned her rave reviews at the 2019 North Fork TV Festival and a LAFA award for Best Actress.

 

Hawk’s film work includes her award-winning performance in film festival favorite Almost Paris and her starring role opposite Chevy Chase in ION Network’s feature A Christmas in Vermont. Abigail recently returned to the stage in Emmy winner Dorothy Lyman’s haunting new play, In the Bleak Midwinter, off-Broadway in NYC. She was the recipient of the Long Island International Film Expo’s 2019 Creative Achievement Award. Three of her films, Under the Stadium Lights, The Wrong Path

and Assault on VA-33 are currently streaming on multiple online platforms.

 

Hawk has sung and played piano at NYC mainstays The Bitter End, CBGB's, and The Duplex. She co-authored The Unofficial Guide to Surviving Pregnancy Without Losing Your Mind, and her poetry has been featured in online women’s magazine Good Little Girls and Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project. Abigail has delivered three keynote speeches on topics ranging from the importance of an arts education to navigating motherhood. She enjoys working with Habitat for Humanity, Covenant House, ADAPT Community Network, and HeartShare Human Services of New York, who honored her with The Linda Dano Heart Award.

 

Hawk is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor's Equity Association. She resides on Long Island with her busy, beautiful family: husband, two sons, two dogs, two cats, one fish, and probably too many sea monkeys. 

Meridith Grundei

Meridith Grundei.jpeg

Meridith Grundei, MFA, AEA, SDC is an NYC-based actor and director. During the past several months in the comfort of her own home, Meridith has performed with Affinity Arts Consulting bringing DEI and Belonging work into organizations using interactive theater, Playback Theater West out of Denver Co., and with coLAB Arts with the Neilson Street Project. Meridith recently directed a play in development called UNDERTOW, written by Steve Wangh, and will be working in San Miguel de Allende MX this fall directing a solo show called Out of the Blue

She also stared a podcast with her dear friend Joseph Bennett called Are You Waiting for Permission, where together they interview creatives, artists and activists who have given themselves permission to pursue their dreams and to live their purpose. 

 

She is thrilled and honored to be doing her first live performance since March of 2020 with coLAB Arts!

Performer

"The Gift of Time" - Comic Book Excerpt Performance

Chantal Jean-Pierre

Performer

"The Gift of Time" - Comic Book Excerpt Performance

Chantal Jean-Pierre.jpg

Chantal Jean-Pierre is thrilled to participate in another reading with coLAB Arts. A few of her theater credits include Fair View at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Disgraced at Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Intimate Apparel at Dorset Theatre Company, Cincinnati Shakespeare's and Orlando Shakespeare Festival’s productions of Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night at New York Classical Theatre, King Lear at the Folgers, and Henry VI at Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. A few of her episodic television appearances were on: Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam, Blue Bloods and The Good Fight. Find out more at: http://www.chantaljean-pierre.com/ 

Lauren Weinstein

Presenter

Artist & Cartoonist - "The Gift of Time" Comic Book

Copy of Lauren Weinstein Headshot.jpg

Lauren Weinstein is a cartoonist and artist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Slate, Bookforum, Nautilus, and The Guardian, among many other outlets. For the past twenty years, her funny, beautiful, and bizarre comics and graphic novels have addressed universal human issues such as mortality, time, motherhood, and most recently domestic violence.

Since 2019 she has been the artist-in-residence at Town Clock CDC, teaching art the survivors that live there.  Her comic, “The Gift of Time,” was featured on Slate.com. She received the  Stone-Deguire Prize from her alma mater, Washington University, to continue her work at Town Clock.  

Her acclaimed comic Normel Person was the last weekly comic strip to run in The Village Voice. The comic was drawn in response to the tumultuous sociopolitical climate following Donald Trump’s election. In 2019, Weinstein’s Being an Artist and a Mother won the Slate Cartoonist Studio Prize, and was published in Best American Comics 2019. The work originally ran in The New Yorker and is one of a series of visual essays Weinstein has done about matrescence—coming of age as a mother.

Mother’s Walk—a visceral meditation on all the ramifications of childbirth—was selected for the Frontier, a quarterly art and comics monograph series. Weinstein is also the author of three books: Inside Vineyland (Alternative Comics, 2003), a collection of an early comic strip first published in The Seattle Stranger; the teenage memoir Girl Stories (Henry Holt and Co., 2006), which received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly; and an impossible-to-describe, science-fiction epic called Goddess of War (Picturebox, 2008). She has also received two Ignatz Awards and multiple award nominations. In 2015, Weinstein was awarded the Gold Medal from The Society of Illustrators for Carriers, her five-part webcomic about cystic fibrosis that was first published in Nautilus.

Weinstein earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Washington University. Currently, she is compiling a collection of comics about motherhood and working on a sequel to Girl Stories. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Dan Swern

Director - "The Gift of Time" Comic Book Excerpt Performance
Producting Director - coLAB Arts

Dan Swern Photo.jpg

Dan Swern is the co-founder and producing director for coLAB Arts in New Brunswick, NJ, engaging artists, social advocates, and communities to create transformative new work. Swern commissions new multidisciplinary creative work and artist residencies, and facilitates and commissions public art projects from mural and sculptural installation work to creative placekeeping efforts with local government and advocacy organizations. Swern’s verbatim theater projects have included two collaborations with journalist Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg: Life, Death, Life Again: Children sentenced to die in prison and Banished: Children on the sex offender registry. Swern is the creator, director, and designer of the Drama Desk-nominated culinary-theater project Shake & Bake: Love’s Labour’s Lost, which ran off-Broadway in 2018. Swern teaches Creative Engagement for the Masters in Communications and Media graduate program at Rutgers University’s School of Communications and Information.

Mayor Jim Cahill

Mayor of New Brunswick

Mayor Cahill 2.jpg

James M. Cahill is the 62nd Mayor of the City of New Brunswick. He has served continuously as Mayor since 1991. During his tenure as Mayor, New Brunswick has experienced an unprecedented wave of growth and investment that has transformed this once declining industrial city into a thriving 21st century urban center. Mayor Cahill spurred collaborations among the private sector, the City’s health institutions, Rutgers University, Middlesex County, and the City’s redevelopment partner, the New Brunswick Development Corporation, to propel the New Brunswick Renaissance forward with more than $3 billion invested in the construction of new residential, retail, office, educational and healthcare facilities.

Laura Daquila

On-stage Artist

Laura Daquila.jpg

Laura Daquila started art at a young age and is a graduate from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, trained in drawing, watercolor, photography, and sculpture. She sets up a small street gallery that moves around NYC and sells her artwork. Her main influences are the streets of NYC and Los Angeles. She teaches private lessons and at a few shelters around the city. Her focus is on watercolor and ink and pen currently, although she finds inspiration when it comes. 

Elevation Singers

Vinroy D. Brown, Jr., Director

Choral Performers

Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. Photo.jpg

Elevation Singers, led by Vinroy D. Brown, Jr., is a new ensemble dedicated to performing the breadth of diverse repertoire from all communities, especially those of color. Almost all of the performers share a unifying experience through their vocal studies at Westminster Choir College. The solo and collective expression of Elevation Singers aim to create an awareness of beauty in today's world.

Click each name below to learn more about the performers on the Elevation Singers roster:

Director

Vinroy D. Brown, Jr. (pictured)

Sopranos

Silky Carter

Arcia Stokes

Altos

Mariel Johnson

Gia Ware

Tenor

George Johnson III

Basses

Cyrus Fitzgerald

Asa Vaughn-Burnett

Ahmed "JKing" Wallace

Performer

Ahmed Wallace 2.jpg

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, Ahmed “JKing” Wallace is a world-traveled singer, musician, composer and writer. Most known for his work on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, he has had the pleasure of supporting such artists as Matchbox 20 and Justin Timberlake, lending his vocals to projects selling over 50 million worldwide and earning 9 Grammys, amidst many other accolades. A lover of all genres of music, his eclectic discography also includes some of gospel music's  top artists, touring with Kim Burrell, Byron Cage, Natalie Wilson and SOP, and Dave Hollister to name a few. Ahmed is a father, Minister of Music, a graduate of Arts High School and a founding member of The New York Gospel Stars.

E. Denise Peoples

Spoken Word Performer

E. Denise Peoples 2.jpg

E. Denise Peoples is a Paterson, NJ began her career in the accounting field by obtaining advancing positions from bookkeeper, then accountant to accounting manager at various establishments. In 2001, her life took a surprising turn, when she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. After living an unbelievable journey she received a double lung transplant on Monday, October 2, 2006. Once she was released to "join the world again," she met it with a vengeance. Still possessing exemplary leadership, accounting and management skills, she obtained a position with The NJ State Assembly as Chief of Staff to a state legislator. Within this position, E. Denise oversaw the daily operations, managed employees, created and led fundraising efforts and completed required financial campaign reporting.

During her recovery from the lung transplant, E. Denise was intrigued with the advancing work of NJ Sharing Network. The New Jersey organ procurement organization has the responsibility to save and enhance lives through organ and tissue donations. With a sense of appreciation to her donor and a desire to educate others she became a volunteer for NJSN. Her determination, dedication and thankfulness to her selfless donor proved valuable to NJSN. Now, a fulltime employee, as Hospital and Community Services Coordinator she educates students, medical professionals, corporate 

partners, faith-based organizations and the community on the importance of organ and tissue donation. She also creates and implements programs and strategies to advance the core values and mission of the organization.  

 

In addition to her work with NJSN, E. Denise's many talents led her to start Crown2Soul Productions. Believing in grassroots community involvement and cultivation, she launched Mae's Plate, a nonprofit named in honor of her mother, a philanthropist and entrepreneur. Monthly she and other volunteers cook hot meals, gather toiletries, donate clothing, resources, and a lot of love and take to the streets to those "in-between homes," low-income, no-income, and re-entry individuals of all ages. Also under this brand is "Outta Sight and Outta Her Mind," a real life-to-stage dramedy by Breathin Ezy Entertainment. The one-woman show has graced many stages on the East Coast. There is also E. Denise Speaks, a motivational series, that delivers drive and passion into each listener to do better and be better. She also has midday conversations on social media. During Lunch Time Logic, a subject-driven series, she offers step-by-step self-reflection and empowerment. Being grateful for the gift of her transplant by staying healthy and wanting to pass her joy and love for cooking and gardening, The Prep2Live Show was created. Showing on various multimedia platforms, she demonstrates ways to cook and eat wholesome, be mindful and take control, all while having a good time doing it. And now the self-proclaimed Culinary Motivator is an author. E. Denise released The Prepper’s Journal: Your Guide to Prepare, Eat, Reflect, Repeat, her first literary work.  

 

All that this multifaceted woman does is service. Her passion for motivating, storytelling, cooking and gardening has given her a platform to demonstrate through her life that service is the key to happiness all while living, loving and laughing. And she's only just begun.

Eileen O'Donnell

Speaker (VIP Reception)
Executive Director - Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc.

Eileen O'Donnell.jpg

Eileen is the Executive Director of Coming Home of Middlesex County, Inc. She assumed this role in April 2011 and brings to it 20 years of professional experience as a health care attorney and business woman, providing legal, business and policy analysis services to public, as well as private, entities. She also designed and taught a course in Health & Public Policy at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy for four semesters. She holds a B.A. in Psychology; a Masters in Public Policy from the Eagleton Institute of Politics; a J.D. from Rutgers’ School of Law and a Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University.

Eileen is married with 3 children and lives in Highland Park, NJ.​

Robert Rawls

#TheManStand
Fire Director/OEM Coordinator, City of New Brunswick Fire Department

Robert Rawls Headshot_edited.jpg

Robert is a graduate of New Brunswick High School. Robert has done post graduate work at the following institutions:
 

  • Winston Salem State University – Winston Salem, NC

  • The Executive Development Institute, Dillard University, New Orleans, LA

  • The Executive Fire Officers Program, National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, MD

  • Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA

  • Currently enrolled in the Master of Divinity program at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary
     

Roberts love for serving people brought him to the New Brunswick Fire Department, where he has served as Fire Director for the past 15 years (the longest tenure of any Director/Chief in the New Brunswick Fire Department). His love for community has him affiliated with many organizations.  Robert serves as President of the NJ’s Board of Relief Association for the New Brunswick Chapter, serves on the Executive Board of the New Brunswick Education Foundation, serves on the Executive Board of the Winston Salem State University National Alumni Association and the Executive Board of Renaissance Cyclists Defeating Cancer United (RCDCU). Other professional organizations that he serves are The International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters, Vulcan Pioneers of New Brunswick, The NJ State Fire Chiefs Association, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, The Black Chief Officers Committee, and is a Proud Lifetime Member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. 

 

Robert has a passion and love for his community, as evidenced by his active participation in local community events. Robert is also employed by The State of NJ Civil Service Commission as a Subject Matter Expert in Fire Service. One of his greatest accomplishments is the two weeks he spent in South Africa doing workshops for high school students.

 

He is the proud father of three children: his “mini me” Robert Jr. (29) and his daughters Talyah (19) and Saryyah (14). Robert has three siblings; Debbie & Jackie and Victor of Atlanta, GA and one deceased brother, Joseph “Squibbie.”

 

Robert worships at The First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, Somerset, NJ, where the Rev. Dante Quick is the Senior Pastor, and he currently serves on the Church Special Events Committee.

 

He attributes his professional and personal success to his love of God, his deceased parents, Robert and Sonya Rawls, and the many mentors that he has learned under.

Kyle Holder

#TheManStand

Kyle Holder.jpg

Kyle Holder currently works as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the New Jersey Builders Association and also serves as the Co-Chair of the Eagleton (Institute of Politics) Alumni Committee. While at Rutgers University, Kyle was a two-time NCAA qualifier in the 400m hurdles and a Big Ten All-Academic honoree. Kyle also served 5 years with the Rutgers Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC); 3 years as President and also as the RU Big Ten SAAC Representative. Kyle headed the SCREAM Athletes program during his time at Rutgers as a peer educator to explore attitudes, beliefs, community standards, and aspects of the athletic culture that support the occurrence of interpersonal violence. Kyle currently resides in Linden, NJ with his wife, Alma.

Pastor Lillian Hines

Speaker (VIP Reception)
First Reformed Church of New Brunswick

Pastor Lillian Hines.jpg

Pastor Lillian Hines was born, raised and received her formal education in San Francisco, California. She is the daughter of two servant leaders and has been in the church since she was six weeks old, serving in one capacity or another since accepting Christ at seven years old, where she immediately began serving on the youth usher board. Pastor Lillian is a proud HBCU alumna of Texas Southern University, located in Houston, TX, where she earned a bachelor’s in Administration of Justice and Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. She graduated with her Master of Divinity and was the recipient of the John Alan Swink Preaching Award. Lillian is in her third year at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where she is working on her Doctor in Ministry with a concentration in Pastoral Counseling and Theology. Her interests intersect at the crossroads of trauma, pastoral counseling, and wholeness. Pastor Lillian has a hybrid faith background, which has enriched her pastoral leadership and influenced how she leads, loves and lives. Pastor Lillian is a Diamond Life Member in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a trustee on the Hall Education Fund, a prison chaplain and honored to have been chosen as the pastor to lead First Reformed Church with grace, love and wisdom.

Rebecca Escobar

Speaker (VIP Reception)

Town Clock CDC Board President
New Brunswick City Council Member

Rebecca Escobar 2.jpg

Rebecca started her career in community service in 1987, when she was a Teacher’s Aide, Hispanic Homeless Case Manager, Housing Specialist and Family Life Worker for PRAB. She became a Community Relations Specialist for the New Brunswick Police Department’s Community Partnership Program in 1993; and in 1997 she became the coordinator of the Domestic Violence Unit. Rebecca took a position in 1998, with the Community Health Promotion Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital where she assisted in the implementation and design of culturally sensitive health education programs. Rebecca then entered the area of youth advocacy in 2007, when she coordinated Project Connect, a program that facilitated and fostered collaborations with youth service providers, law enforcement and educators to work with at risk and court involved youth in the City of New Brunswick. Rebecca served as the Director of the Youth Services Program at PRAB developing programs designed to provide City youth with the opportunity to engage in activities that foster and promote positive attitudes, behaviors, educational, social and life skills.


Rebecca currently serves as the Program Director at Youth Advocate Programs – Middlesex County (YAP). YAP is a nationally recognized, nonprofit organization exclusively committed to the provision of community-based alternatives to 

out-of-home care through direct service, advocacy, and policy change. YAP’s mission is to provide individuals who are, have been or may be subject to compulsory care with the opportunity to develop, contribute and be valued as assets so that communities have safe, proven effective and economical alternatives to institutional placement.

 

Rebecca Escobar was elected to the New Brunswick City Council in 2010 and served as Vice President from 2011 through 2012. She served as council president from 2013 through 2014; and started her third term in the Council in January 2019.

 

Rebecca served as commissioner of the New Brunswick Housing Authority and is currently the Council liaison to the Housing Authority. She is a member of various advisory boards including the Suydam Street Reformed Church Board of Elders, Town Clock CDC, among others.

Rebecca lives in New Brunswick; she has a daughter Faviola and two grandchildren, Maurice and Ellani Emilia.

John P. Keller

Town Clock CDC Board President & Presenter

John Keller.jpg

John P. Keller is a socially engaged arts educator with 20 years of experience in arts education and production. He is committed to creating projects that use the arts as a lens to examine complex issues that affect communities, integrating the arts into a wide variety of interdisciplinary areas, from the environment, to violence prevention, to transgender rights. As a coproducer and Director of Education for coLAB Arts, John has facilitated joint project design and curriculum development for programming. John has also worked as an independent artist both as an actor, dramaturg, and director. He currently serves as the Board President of Town Clock Community Development Corporation, which provides long-term, affordable, and supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence. 

John P. Keller

Town Clock CDC Board President & Presenter

John Keller.jpg

John P. Keller is a socially engaged arts educator with 20 years of experience in arts education and production. He is committed to creating projects that use the arts as a lens to examine complex issues that affect communities, integrating the arts into a wide variety of interdisciplinary areas, from the environment, to violence prevention, to transgender rights. As a coproducer and Director of Education for coLAB Arts, John has facilitated joint project design and curriculum development for programming. John has also worked as an independent artist both as an actor, dramaturg, and director. He currently serves as the Board President of Town Clock Community Development Corporation, which provides long-term, affordable, and supportive housing for survivors of domestic violence. 

Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills

Presenter & Keynote Speaker
Town Clock CDC Executive Director

Susan Kramer-Mills (Executive Director)

Town Clock CDC Executive Director Rev. Susan Kramer-Mills has been working with the organization since its inception. As the co-pastor of the First Reformed Church, New Brunswick, Rev. Susan chaired the committee, which began to investigate "how to use the buildings of the church" with greater missional purpose. After several years of discussion and investigations, the Town Clock CDC was founded. Rev. Susan was instrumental in the process, as well as leading the construction changes, interviewing the residents, and setting up the programming. Dina's Dwellings was completed in April 2016.

Rev. Susan has had an unusual history. After graduating from seminary, she worked as a registrar and campus chaplain for Naumburg Seminary, located in the former eastern Germany. She also served several years in various yoked congregations in that region. In 1998, she received a call as Associate Pastor to Trinity Presbyterian Church in East Brunswick, New Jersey. She served in that position until 2000, when she and her husband accepted a call as co-pastors to First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

In April 2004, Rev. Susan began working part-time as the Executive Minister to the Classis of New Brunswick, which requires her to visit RCA churches in the region, helping them with issues and visioning. She continues in this position still to this day. Rev. Susan has served civically as a Girl Scout leader and serves on various nonprofit boards in New Brunswick.

Wilhelmina Bryant

Speaker (VIP Reception)
Town Clock CDC Board Member

Wilhelmina Bryant

Lubaina Ahmad

Speaker (VIP Reception)
Town Clock CDC Board Member

Lubaina Ahmad

Elizabeth Barrood

Speaker (VIP Reception)
Town Clock CDC Board Member

TownClockGala0027.jpg

John Keller

Speaker (VIP Reception)

Town Clock CDC Advisory Board Member

coLAB Arts Director of Education and Outreach

John Keller.jpg

John P. Keller is a socially engaged arts educator with 20 years of experience in arts education and production. He is committed to creating projects that use the arts as a lens to examine complex issues that affect communities, integrating the arts into a wide variety of interdisciplinary areas, from the environment, to violence prevention, to transgender rights. As a coproducer and Director of Education and Outreach for coLAB Arts, John has facilitated joint project design and curriculum development for programming. John has also worked as an independent artist both as an actor, dramaturg, and director. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for Town Clock Community Development Corporation.