Meet the Coaches
David is a writer, editor, and performing artist. He has authored, co-authored and/or edited more than 60 books and numerous magazine pieces and essays. His memoir, American Misfit, was released in 2017. He is the author of Write for Life: Communicating Your Way Through Cancer and Chronic Disease. David has taught at The Cooper Union, Adelphi University, The United Nations International School, and throughout the New York City public school system.
Lisa A Chambers
Lisa A Chambers is a nonfiction writer, journalist, and award-winning editorial professional who, through storytelling, creates original and informative content for magazines in print and digital platforms. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Currently, she is writing a true-crime memoir set in the South. She is the Coach and Editor for Teens Mind zine, created by students from Professional Performing Arts (PPAS) and The Anderson School.
Baghir Ohlu is a composer/producer and music educator, based in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up between the Middle East and NYC, which played a major role in his perspective on the origins of modern and ancient music. Watching a documentary on the origins of hip-hop while growing up, Baghir could not imagine that he would relocate to NYC one day and have one of the godfathers of Hip-Hop as his landlord. He has produced music for some notable artists within the U.S.A. like Erykah Badu and Phony Ppl and abroad and has held numerous workshops in Indonesia and Russia.
Carlos Garcia, is a comedian/actor and the co-host of his regular podcast show, the FratChat Podcast. Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, Carlos also hosted a weekly comedy show "The Greatest Comedy Show of All Time" at the Broadway Comedy Club. He likes creating characters, as well as making up and trying out jokes or comedic bits for stand up comedy gigs at clubs across the United States. Originally from Venezuela, Carlos was educated in the USA and also formerly served as PR rep for other artists.
Sarah Congress writes plays, television spec scripts, and the books for musicals. Her play The Angel Manual received a reading at the HBMG National Winter Playwright's Retreat (2019) and a portion of her book for the musical Lars's Hostel was selected to be in the New Work Series' Emerging Artist Theatre Program (Forthcoming, 2020/2021). In 2017 her comedy The Legal Secretary was presented as a staged reading at The Road Theatre Lankershim Center for the Arts in LA. She holds a BFA in Dramatic Writing (2013) from SUNY Purchase College, and has taken three independent studies in playwriting with David Henry Hwang (2017-18). She currently works in the Dean's office at Columbia University, School of the Arts.
José A. Esquea
José A. Esquea is a proud native New Yorker from the 20th Century. His primary discipline is directing theater and film. In 2005 he founded Soñadores Productions classical theater company dedicated to the production of Shakespeare and other classics with multicultural cast and crew members. The Shakespeare plays were presented at Teatro LATEA from 2006 - 2012 where Jose served as Director in Residence and Artistic Director until 2013 with productions of Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth 2029 (winner of two HOLA Awards), Romeo and Juliet (winner of four HOLA Awards, including one for him for Outstanding Achievement in Direction) and King Lear.
In 2013 Jose was selected by the Stage Directors and Choreographers foundation emerging directors program and his most recent credits for stage and film include workshop productions of “ROYGBIV” a story told through the eyes of Jimi Hendrix, Stir Crazy a workshop production of the life of Richard Pryor Jr. He was a contributor to the textbook of essays titled Weyward Macbeth: Intersections of Race and Performance (Palgrave McMillan). His proudest achievement is being a dad to his two amazing kids.
Rachel Burkhardt is an actress, fitness instructor and social media consultant. She has appeared in commercials, films and onstage in plays, most recently, the feature film Adam (2019) directed by Rhys Ernst, which premiered at Sundance.
She is also a Pure Barre enthusiast, first starting as a client in 2013 and as of May 2019, an instructor as well. In the social media realm, she helps brands develop a voice, reach their audiences and embrace new technologies. She has also managed an acting studio, organized events and produced short films.
She holds a BA in Drama with a minor in Theology from the Catholic University of America and spent a semester abroad at the Moscow Art Theater School in Russia.
One day, at the Great Neck Public Access Channel, the voice talent didn’t show up to record a commercial. Adriana Davis was a producer at the station when the Program Director asked her to voice the commercial. He said, “Your voice makes me smile.” So, she did which began her career in voice acting and coaching aspiring voice actors.
Adriana Davis began work in television, film and radio as a producer, writer, editor and voice actor. Her credits include productions for MTV, A&E, History Channel, NBC News, PBS and Animal Planet.
She founded D-Squared Media, a New York City production company to produce and voice independent films, corporate videos, radio and internet programming. Her films range from the romantic comedy “PLAY IT BY EAR” starring Academy Award® winner Rita Moreno to the children’s music video “Monkey Bars” and the WNEW-FM radio series “Courageous Radio.”
Ms. Davis is also the proud co-director, editor and writer of an acclaimed documentary series about Iraq’s Jewish community that have screened at festivals and on television worldwide. In addition, her timely documentary “WHAT’S FOR LUNCH” profiles the struggling NY City school lunch program serving over 800,000 meals a day.
Sneha Krishnan is an entrepreneur and visual artist who divides her time between New York and New Delhi, India. Sneha specializes in creative strategy, product design, and visual communication. She has successfully worked as a consultant for various creative start-ups and non-profits and co-founded a fashion-tech company that built 'smart bags' in 2016. Despite her diverse experience in fashion, technology, non- profit and venture capital businesses - she is an artist first. She holds her Bachelors in Design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi and Masters of Arts Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
Sadie Sheldon is a multimedia artist based in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a member of the Aquarium Collective and Majaks Theatre, as well as an MFA graduate from Tulane University. Her immersive installations reflect our rapidly changing landscape, magnifying the effects of post-consumer materials and plastics on the natural world. Sourcing materials from the city in which it’s created, her works explore community identity from the things we leave behind.
Kate Newman is a Brooklyn-based beekeeper and freelance writer with nearly a decade of experience leading digital media projects for individuals and brands. She mentors young writers through Girls Write Now, and co-creates a monthly newsletter featuring thought-provoking women called The Broadcast. She'll be starting an MSW program in fall 2021, with a particular interest in narrative therapy and how the stories we tell—individually and collectively— can both harm and heal us.
Caro is an illustrator, cartoonist and muralist. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally. She is currently the Artist in Residence at Bissel Gardens, providing virtual drawing, art and gardening classes for young adults. Previously, she taught art classes through Artists & Craftsman and in Japan.
Virginie Bonhomme is a Haitian American multidisciplinary artist whose works range from painting, photography, music production as well as a self-published author. Her work is deeply rooted in self-exploration, family, and community.
Self-taught, Virginie painted her first collection entitled Duende, then later grew the collection into a self-published book, Duende. Duende is a 3D art book. Virginie’s love for the arts encouraged her to travel abroad to study master painters. Virginie also teaches Art History to children to encourage creative confidence and knowledge of various artists.
Brittany-Laurelle is an Actress, Storyteller and Theater Creator from Harlem, NY. She has appeared in commercials, indie films and onstage in plays, musicals and multi-disciplinary pieces. Her Theatrical training at La Guardia High School for Performing Arts, Adelphi University and UCB provided safe spaces to fine tune the art of storytelling. As an artist, Brittany-Laurelle creates space for vulnerability and connection through dynamic performance.