Ayanna is a Virtual Project Manager and Assistant as well as the Founder and CEO of Your Project Board. With close to a decade of experience in corporate settings, in both small and large firms, Ayanna took her expertise and talents to support and help streamline small businesses.
Using her proactive approach and well versed skill set, Ayanna aims to help clients and partners effectively exceed their goals. She not only supports clients to exceed their goals, she does so with love, patience and flexibility. Ayanna works with a naturally equitable lens ensuring that the organizations she supports feel heard and that they know that their work - and who they are - matter.
Venice Williams is an energetic, passionate and collaborative leader who has a tenacity to build relationships and to find equitable education in all things. Venice began her professional career as a teacher, earning her Bachelor of Science of Education and Master’s of Education in Middle Childhood Education with concentrations in science and math from Wright State University. She would then maintain a 14-year career in the education sector. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, her nine years in the classroom would take her from North Carolina to Atlanta and Chicago. Her last five years were spent working with teachers and students in Chicago and Houston, crafting programs and maintaining resources for their success after high school.
A creative, innovator and critical thinker, in 2020 Venice made the decision to leave her career to explore various avenues that can bridge the many desires she has. She is now living in Costa Rica and is enjoying her experience living abroad. Venice desires to advocate for and expose young people to education through travel, expanding resources and dismantling stereotypes while replacing it with knowledge, understanding and the importance of preserving cultural heritage. Her altruistic energy and outgoing personality has proven to inspire everyone she meets, fueling authentic, intentional relationships. Venice strongly believes traveling is not only a quick getaway from the bustle of everyday living - it can be a gateway to transformative healing. As a Black woman, Venice regards exposure as a key element in the process of unlearning. She is excited to engage and connect with others and to share her lessons along the way.
In Venice’s spare time, you will find her listening to audiobooks, exploring Costa Rica, creating playlists between Apple Music and Spotify, exercising, taking pictures, writing and curating travel experiences.
Sarah approaches her antiracist work with a beautiful mix of scholarly research and theory, and practical, grounded, and relevant lived experience. This lived experience has allowed her to center her knowledge in real examples of oppression, as well as authentic experiences of healing and justice. Sarah is an activist who doesn’t take herself too seriously, yet carries the heavy weight of the work she does with love and care - not only for herself, but for those with whom she works.
Sarah has a gregarious - sometimes startling - laugh that brightens any space! She loves to dress to the “nines” and is creative in all aspects of her being. She is an entrepreneur and designs one-of-a-kind jewelry “for the culture.” She is the mother to three beautiful humans, and has learned more about herself and life from motherhood than probably anything else. Sarah is striving to thrive and to live a life of love, liberation, and light because she deserves it.
In addition to her work here at the (Un)Learning Space, Sarah is a professor of English at the University of Kansas, where she utilizes hip hop pedagogy to teach composition. Sarah is also a 2022-2023 Mellon Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Teaching Scholar.
Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Ottawa University (2002), a Master’s degree in Pan-African Studies from the University of Louisville (2007), a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Louisville (2009), and a Ph.d. in English from the University of Kansas (2016). Basically, Sarah has all the degrees.
Natashia Lindsey is an Assistant Professor of Theatre and faculty associate in Africana and Black Studies at Central Washington University. An interdisciplinary scholar, her work often focuses on the many intersections of race and performance including racial performativity and the unmasking and dismantling of whiteness and white supremacy. She co-facilitates a white caucus for faculty, staff, and administrators at CWU titled "White Bodies, Antiracist Praxis" and she is the vice-chair of Recognition, Equity, and Diversity (RED) for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), Region VII.
She is also a fat activist and works to eradicate fatphobia in the field of theatre. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin's Performance as Public Practice program and a M.A. and B.S. in Pan-African Studies from the University of Louisville
Wallace is currently a Doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Alongside PhD-ing, Wallace works as an education designer, innovator and researcher on issues related to learning and development, flourishing, well-being, relationships and belongingness in educational contexts around the country. Wallace has worked in education for almost fifteen years in a variety of capacities, including as an educator, researcher and designer, as well as district-level roles in DC Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools and Pittsburgh Public Schools. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his partner. In his free time, Wallace enjoys beautifying his backyard, reading, building legos, planting and photography.
Naomi Wilfred is a visionary, a dreamer and a disruptor. A Boston-born transplant turned proud Chicagoan that moved here with a vision of disrupting the world of education. Over the past 10 years she has done just that while wearing multiple hats. During her tenure with Chicago Public Schools, she created and designed for a number of grade levels and subject areas; specializing on how to strategically meet the needs of her students. Throughout her journey, one thing has remained the same; healing-centered classroom and school spaces can lead to true liberation. She understands the education system has not been designed to affirm young people or teachers; especially those that are a part of marginalized groups. She has used the precious time in her classroom to provide identity-centered and relevant learning spaces. Teaching herself and students that they are more than enough. She is a strong believer in understanding how our experiences have impacted the way we navigate the world. Most recently she has engaged in education consulting work that includes but is not limited to coaching, curriculum writing, and leading professional development.
She is a part of a blended family unit which consists of a total of 14 kids that range from 7-44 years old. Her mother, who has been an educator for close to 40 years is one of her biggest inspirations because she has dedicated her life to empowering her family and countless students. She loves to travel, read, bike, and attend concerts/festivals. She can make a great cocktail as well. Lastly, an avid sports fan who may have torn allegiances when it comes to professional teams, but loves her Kansas Jayhawks! Don’t be surprised if you catch her singing or quoting lines from The Office!
Cecily Langford is a seeker and creator of intentional communities and soul connections. Cecily has worked as a middle- and high school educator and administrator in Chicago Public Schools for the past 22 years. Most recently she served as Assistant Principal on the southwest side of Chicago where she worked to create spaces for kids to dream and actualize their purpose. Before that, Cecily grew up in Evanston and as a half-Colombian girl became fascinated by the black/white binary that comprised her schooling experience in the 80’s. She is a mother of three and enjoys nature, people, cycling, practicing speaking Spanish, hiking, yoga, raising hell, creating, running, and singing loudly. Cecily dreams daily of what black and brown unity in Chicago could do to shift our city and improve life outcomes for the communities she loves.
Tiffany is a creative thinker and innovative thought partner with an aptitude for tapping into brand DNA and connecting it to culture to bring forth a cohesive and purposeful brand voice.
With a love for creating and curating beautiful things, Tiffany received her Bachelor of Science in Design and Merchandising from Auburn University. After over a decade in the Brand Management space, Tiffany pivoted to copywriting and editing, utilizing her unique ability to capture the light within an organization to give rise to more purposeful and aligned forms of communication.
You’ll often find Tiffany scouring interior design pages with HGTV as the soundtrack, creating her lane in these toddler parenting streets (send help!), and perusing the “innanets" to see what Black Twitter is on today.
Tiffany’s passion for motivating and supporting people on their journey to wholeness, a shame-free existence, and living their best life has given inspiration to her personal journey to liberation as she answers each call to service along the way.
Leslie loves to spend her time at the intersection of vision and operations supporting the dreams and aspirations of others in the community. She started the pathfinding group Fresh Utopias to create a safe space for visionary leaders to foster creative ideas outside the oppressive forces of white supremacy nonprofit thinking. Her career has spanned youth development, workforce development, college and career readiness, skills development and anti-discrimination. She is passionate about using movement building and community organizing to build strategic operating models that bring revolutionary visions into real world sustainability. Leslie is committed to her own Unlearning journey and never stops questioning how her thinking and being may be rooted white supremacy.
Lydia is healing. She is finding and centering joy, focusing on reimagining self and systems to see the full dignity of all of humanity.
Throughout Lydia’s fifteen-year journey in education as a student, teacher, administrator and non-profit leader, she found herself challenged to design, reimagine, and change the systems she worked within. By examining oppression and it’s conditioning on herself and all whom she engaged, she encountered a collective trauma that stifles change and possibility. Through this journey, she found her path towards antiracism. Her lived-experience created a path where she began to actively resist injustice. Her current journey is now not solely focused on resistance but in freedom dreaming. Lydia is finding hope in the possibility of liberation of her own mind and body, and loves to support others on their journey. She founded The (Un)Learning Space as a converging of lived experience and soul's purpose.
Lydia's work is grounded in (un)learning her own racist trauma and supporting others as they examine and excavate the impact of oppression in their lives, the lives of others and the system in which we all engage. As a dynamic and holistic coach, educator, creator, facilitator, and trainer, Lydia engages with all she meets with compassion and love. She leads with equity, and inquiry. She is empathetic, and her way of being reflects care, especially during courageous conversations. She builds capacity through authentic relationships, and loves every part of this “work.” She has designed and facilitated numerous workshops to support antiracism. She facilitates racial healing circles, offers coaching sessions, and also supports organizations in decolonizing curriculum and resources so as to build cultural competency.
Lydia has a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Kansas (2005) and earned her Master's Degree in Cultural Education and Social Policy from Loyola, Chicago (2010). She is a proud 2019 Surge Alum, and will forever be emerging! #Emergents