Writers Block Ink Igniting Social Change On The Page & Stage

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860-44 BLOCK
860-442-5625
12 Masonic Street
 New London, CT 06320

Our Mission

To arm young voices with the power of pen and prose, reinforcing teamwork, accountability, and responsibility; igniting social change on the page and stage.

About The Block

The Writers Block InK was started in 2003 as a 501c3 non-profit organization to encourage youth to use writing and performance as tools to address personal and social challenges on the community stage. Students create original productions which explore critical themes and issues.

Who We Are

Click the image below to watch our short documentary!


 

Board of Directors:

  • President: Clarissa S. Beyah-Taylor
  • Vice President: Theresa Broach
  • Secretary: Alissa Mebus
  • Treasurer: John Wilson
  • General Director: Linda Ferraro
  • General Director: Rahshaan Engrum
  • General Director: Lisa Giordano
  • General Director: Kate Robins
  • General Director: Alicia Thompson
  • Director of Programming: Adriane Jefferson

Strategic Advisors:

  • Jackie Bagwell
  • Serinol Lowman
  • Dianne Kent
  • Richard Hews

Legal Counsel:

 
Writer's Block Staff
  • Interim Senior Director of Writer's Block: Kia Baird (kbaird.writersblock@gmail.com)
  • Administrative Coordinator: Gail McCool (gmccool.writersblock@gmail.com)
  • Creative Director: Kolton Harris (kharris.writersblock@gmail.com)
 
Board of Director Bios:
 

Clarissa Beyah-Taylor, President is a global communications strategist and community activist with more than 20 years of communications experience providing counsel and expertise to corporations and nonprofit organizations. Her experience includes executive roles at some of the world’s largest Fortune 100 companies spanning healthcare, software, transportation and utilities sectors. Clarissa has held several corporate communications leadership roles including Vice President, Communications at Pepco Holdings, Chief Communications Officer for GE Transportation, Global Communications Leader for GE Healthcare IT and for GE Healthcare Services. Prior to GE, Clarissa spent ten years at Pfizer where she held several roles, including leading communications for an $18B global business unit, leading employee communications strategy, overseeing communications for Europe and several R&D functions. She also worked for Bayer Corporation, the American Association for Cancer Research, and Independence Blue Cross in Philadelphia.

Clarissa is founder and President of the Writer’s Block Ink. Since its inception, the Writer’s Block has helped more than 1,000 youth in southeastern CT use the arts to help transform their lives. Clarissa holds an MBA from the University of New Haven and a B.A. in English from Rowan University. She is married with three children and enjoys creative writing and hiking.


Theresa Broach, Vice President is a graduate of Eastern Connecticut State University and a retiree of Pfizer Global Research & Development with experience in nonprofit board support, project and diversity management, and community theatre production. For over 10 years, Theresa has been Vice President and General Manager of the Writer's Block Ink. Theresa is currently Board Secretary of Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, a board member of the Southeastern Connecticut Cultural Coalition, Vice President and Artistic Director for the Emerson Theater Collaborative, and the Director of the Miss Lottie's Jazz Cafe series at the Norwich Arts Center. Theresa has passionately supported local community theater for over twenty years.


Alissa Mebus, Secretary is a marketing and communications strategist with a decade of experience helping organizations refine their message and position themselves for growth. She currently manages marketing and communications for national account relationships at Symmetry Partners, LLC, an investment advisory firm located in Glastonbury, CT.


Since beginning her affiliation with the Writer’s Block Ink in 2009, Alissa has provided significant support, volunteer resources and in-kind services to the organization. She holds a B.A in communications from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. Alissa resides in New York, NY with her husband.


John W. Wilson, Treasurer is currently employed at Hoyt, Filippetti & Malaghan, LLC, a professional tax and accounting firm in Mystic, CT. He is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University with a B.S. in accounting. He has over ten years of tax and audit experience in a variety of industries, including not-for-profit, small business and individual tax preparation and planning. John resides in Waterford, CT.


Adriane Jefferson, Director of Programming is an arts administrator who has worked in the performing arts sector and arts education for 15 years. She is currently an arts program manager and special programs coordinator for The Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts. Prior to that, she served as The Executive Director for the Writer's Block Ink. In 2009, she received her B.A in popular music from Florida Memorial University. She went on to receive a Master of Arts degree in arts administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. Her career has been centrally focused on cultivating and developing talent within arts and entertainment. With her love for community engagement, Adriane has served as an arts consultant to artists, arts organizations, and arts based after school programs where she has helped them to design strategies to achieve their career and organizational goals.

 

Adriane used her background in performing arts and theatre to help structure the drama department at Alonzo Mourning Charities Over Town Youth Center and The Gibson Charter School. Earlier in her career, she worked as a talent agent on The Mike Sherman Show, a program that focused on the pop music industry and covered major music events such as The Billboard Music Awards and The BET awards. In 2005, Adriane created Rhyme Fest, a community event that used hip hop as an advocacy tool for social change. Adriane is a long time affiliate of the Writer's Block Ink. Outside of the role she played as Executive Director, she served as Creative Director and Director of Programming from 2013-2015. Adriane is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.


Dr. Rahshaan Engrum, General Director, is a transitioning military veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard with 18+ years of experience managing and leading business analytics projects and teams. He holds a Doctorate of Business Administration and an M.S. in Quality Systems Management from the National Graduate School, Falmouth, Massachusetts, and a  B.S. in Government from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. His skills and experiences include analyzing activities and establishing organizational goals that reduce unnecessary spending, improve workforce composition, and establish programs to meet organizational goals. He is an associate of Bayfirst Solutions, LLC, and an adjunct professor for The National Graduate School of Quality Management.


Linda Ferraro, General Director is an Organizational Development professional who has successfully worked with Fortune 50 Corporations developing and implementing strategies to increase organizational performance through leadership development and team alignment. While focusing on educating leaders in organizations, she also has extensive academic experience teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels with a focus on organizational behavior, theory and development. Her background includes an MBA from Binghamton University and doctoral work in Management Systems at the University of New Haven.


Lisa A. Giordano, General Director is a playwright, producer, director and visual artist. She is a member of the Dramatist Guild, and her plays have been performed regionally and received honors nationally. As a visual artist, Ms Giordano has focused on American Impressionism, and her works have been exhibited in Connecticut and Rhode Island. She is a co-founder and board member of Emerson Theater Collaborative, and the founder of the Women’s Leadership Forum of Southeastern CT. She was a founding coordinator of the New London Youth Talent Show, sits on the board of the Lawrence + Memorial  Hospital Auxiliary, is a member of the Southeastern Connecticut Women's Network, and a member of the New London Democratic Town Committee. As a faculty and board member of the Writer’s Block Ink, Lisa has worn many hats over the years, including helping to launch 37 student performances as a teacher, producer or director. She has also worked on development, program design and coordination, collaborations, community outreach, publicity and more. She is happy to return as a board member once again.

 

Kate Robins, General Director has led media relations campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic for more nearly 30 years, providing strategic counsel to senior management of nonprofit and for-profit interests on a broad range of business challenges. Her communications consulting practice focuses on helping non-profit and government groups on topics from substance misuse to support for low-income, first-generation college students. Prior to this, she served as director of Pfizer's Research Media Relations for 14 years where she laid the foundation for and managed worldwide interest in a product pipeline that included Viagra, Chantix, and Hoodia among many others. Before that, she led the media efforts at Boston's Beth Israel/Deaconess Hospital. She has managed crises at local, state, national and international levels. She worked at Newsweek Magazine for ten years before she began her career in public relations.

Kate lives in Pawcatuck, Connecticut and has been active in her community, serving on the boards of The Regional Multicultural Magnet School, The Garde Arts Center, The Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut, The ISAAC School, and The Fund for Women and Girls.


Alicia Thompson, General Director is a graduate of University of Bridgeport with a B.A. in Business Management, and an alumni of both the Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI), and Parent Supporting Excellence in Education (SEE). She is a recipient of the 2015 Bridgeport Parent Leadership Award and currently a member of the Stratford SquareWright Playwrights and Stratford Partnership for Youth and Families Coalition.  Alicia is also the Creative Artistic Director and board member of Advocates for Community Awareness.


She has a background in strategic planning, events and stage management. She is also a theater artist known for her customized one woman shows and folklore. Alicia is the creative force behind Artistry is Ministry, which she uses theatrical arts to empower and uplift girls and young women dealing with issues such as self esteem.