Meet The Team
Shane Diamond (Shana Natelson) is the Executive Director of Speak About It, Inc and has overseen the performance and cast since graduating from Bowdoin College in 2010, where he spent four years playing ice hockey and talking about sex. Under his leadership, Speak About It has performed for over 100,000 students at 75+ high schools and universities across the country and around the world, sparking countless dialogues about consent education and sexual assault prevention. Shane has also developed programming around the intersection between alcohol and sex, and how to negotiate that with peers and partners. Shane lives in Portland, ME with his partner and their pup, Harvey, and can be found drinking fancy coffee, modeling bowties, and writing bad jokes. For more information about the program, Shane can be reached here.
David Surkin is the creative director of Speak About It. A graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, he has performed in various regional theatre and national tours. He officially received his Actor’s Equity Card while spending two years Off-Broadway in The Awesome '80s Prom. David is excited to return for his 5th year directing Speak About It and having a chance to help start conversations about healthy relationships. David resides in Portland, ME with his wife and son and is the co-owner of Cast Aside Productions and Musical Theater Studio.
Oronde Cruger is the Program Coordinator at Speak About It, Inc and has had his hands on the project in various forms since its creation at Bowdoin College. Most recently, he was an educator with the company for two years and travelled around the country, eagerly spreading the gospel of sexy consent and liberating others to take agency over their bodies and respect the boundaries we all have. Oronde is from Ft. Lauderdale, FL but tries desperately to fit in as a native Mainer; he even owns flannel now.
Katie Coleman is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator for Speak About It, Inc. She joined the Speak About It team in September after graduating from Bowdoin College in May of 2016 with a Visual Arts degree. Katie is originally from Park City, Utah, but has (for now, at least) traded the mountains for the ocean. She lives in Portland, Maine, and when she isn't with Speak About It, she can be found watching the same horror movies over and over again, thinking about trying to skateboard, or making things in the art studio she shares with five dear friends.
Michael J. Blunt is so excited to be joining the Speak About It tour this year. A resident of Salem, you may have seen him in various shows in the Boston area, his most recent project being Nottingham: The Legend of Robin Hood (Ulric). Other credits include Midsummer Nights Dream (Puck), Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) and, The Gift of the Magi (Melchior). To see more of his work, click here. He is passionate about two things; Theatre and Education, so what better place to be but Speak About It.
Olivia Caputo is excited to be joining Speak About It for the 2016 season. She is a Boston-based actress and occasional barista. Favorite roles include Maria in Twelfth Night, Antonio in Twelfth Night, and, finally, Olivia in Twelfth Night (we made it!). In addition to enjoying acting and coffee, Olivia is an avid runner, reader, and romance-language enthusiast. She earned her degrees in Acting, English and American Literature, and Spanish language from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Much to love to her ever-supportive family and friends.
Cruz Castillo once played Winnie the Pooh in a high school play but has no formal acting experience. However, he frequently does drag and his love for sex and relationships has taken over not only his iTunes podcast storage but all of his bookshelves. Castillo spends most of his time on a bike or in the sun. When not outdoors, he can be found lounging on a hammock with a good book or at a dive bar singing karaoke. Castillo is an advocate for transgender/queer/non-binary folks and he intends to pee in the "wrong" bathroom in every red state of the tour. Let's talk about sex!
Kristen DiMercurio "grew up" somewhere in Maryland probably. She then attended Emerson College in Boston where she caused enough trouble that they gave her a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre just to get her out of the building. Now she hangs around Brooklyn with the cool kids, aspiring to form an all-girl gang with a graffiti tag and matching jackets and everything. When she's not doing that, she's talking about time travel as the voice of Dr. Sally Grissom in the podcast ars paradoxica. When she's not voice acting, she also does theatre, short films, tends a mean bar, and sometimes sings loudly in her apartment which her upstairs neighbors just love. She is also a freelance face and body painter (www.thirdeyefacepainting.com). Weird, right? She believes in the message of Speak About It and is super stoked to be making a difference!
Chelsea Evered is a Boston-based actress who went to Emerson College where she recently graduated with her B.A. in acting. At Emerson, she was also an Orientation Leader for three years which sparked her desire to start conversations about healthy relationships with students. Chelsea was most recently seen in "Inferno! Fire at the Cocoanut Grove 1942" where she played Ann Clark at the B.C.A.. When not acting, Chelsea can be found writing, painting, and eating lots and lots of chocolate. She would like to thank everyone at Speak About It for this opportunity as well as her family and friends!
Paige Fasold is thrilled to be part of this seasons Speak About It cast! Paige graduated from Salem State University in 2015, where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Performance. Paige is currently living in Boston, pursing her passion as an actress and artist. For the past month, Paige has been playing the role of a receptionist at a fancy bank. Other past roles include Viola in Twelfth Night, Olympia in Big Love, and Kefi/Felice in Kafka in Tel Aviv. Paige is eager to travel, meet new people, and educate young adults about sex.
Rudy Gerson is a total theater maker who’s committed to work that makes art political and makes politics out of art. One day the performer, the next the critical commentator, and then the committed educator, Rudy doesn’t like consistency, but he does like sex and mostly talking about it. A native of Las Vegas (weird but it explains a lot), Rude Dude graduated from Cornell University in 2015 and made up his own interdisciplinary major (so he can go all sorts of ways). After a short stint in Ethiopia this spring, he’s excited to be moving to Philadelphia in the fall to continue his dream of one day making his mom truly proud by doing something other than attending law school. www.rudygerson.com
Alex Hayes was born and raised in central Massachusetts. He is a 2016 graduate from Clark University in Worcester, MA where he received a B.A. in Urban Geography and Theater Arts. Alex has recently performed in Bachelorette as Jeff and Cliff Bradshaw in Cabaret and has also performed as a member of the Peapod Squad, an improv troupe that has appeared at Improv Boston’s College Comedy Festival. Off the stage, Alex has been researching graffiti and urban spaces for the last three years and plans to one day organize a major mural festival. Alex loves long boarding and his adventurous spirit won’t let him rest until he’s traveled the world. He would like to give a big thank you to Speak About It for making him apart of the team and is super excited to make a difference in peoples lives! Lots of love to Mum, Dad, Ian, Ali, Hayza and all his friends.
Caitlyn Jones recently graduated from Salem State University with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Favorite roles include a naïve 19th-century teenager in Spring Awakening, a lesbian prostitute in Cabaret, a food-obsessed clown in The Comedy of Errors, and a beach-loving prostitute in Motel Rasdell. Caitlyn is also a pro at waitressing, napping, and locking her keys in her car. She welcomes discussion about sex, Harry Potter, and the Food Network; and if you can somehow speak about them all at once, even better!
Kyle Long grew up showing sheep in the glorious foothills of Colorado and graduated in 2014 from Tacoma, Washington's University of Puget Sound with degrees in Music and Communication Studies. He most recently hails from Dayton, Ohio, where he worked in Admissions at Antioch College. Kyle enjoys iced hazelnut lattes, hiking, yoga-ing, craft beer, Mexican food, and running outside from time to time. More than ever, Kyle feels that we are in need of major culture changes around violence, prejudice, and injustice, so he could not be more stoked to be fighting the good fight with Speak About It.
Megan MacKenzie was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and graduated from Colby College in Maine in 2015 with a major in Psychology and minors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Environmental Studies. During her time at Colby, through both academics and her work as a Student Health Educator, she discovered her passion for promoting inclusive and consent-based sexual education. Since graduating, she has been living semi-nomadically in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho working for various outdoor education and wilderness therapy organizations. Considering her two professional interests are sexuality education and wilderness, she is currently brainstorming how she can one day teach sex ed classes in the backcountry. Megan is excited to be a part of Speak About It and encourage thoughtful conversation around consent and healthy relationships!
Francesca Morabito grew up on Peaks Island, Maine (basically the setting of a Wes Anderson movie) and hopes she will always be as fearlessly dorky as she was in Catholic elementary school. She studied Theatre, Italian, and Ethics at Drew University (CLA ‘15) where she worked on several projects that developed her hunger for theatre as a vehicle for social justice. She currently trains in mixed martial arts at the Choi Institute in Portland with plans to be an amateur boxer alongside her theatre career (her mom doesn’t know that part yet and Fran isn’t planning to tell her until after she makes her debut). In the meantime, Francesca is so thrilled to join Speak About It and she can’t wait to start conversations around healthy and affirming sexuality!
Mark Wolf Roberts originally hails from New Jersey and credits his acting skills to fresh-pressed juices and public transit. After a fun and meaningful four years of Shakespeare, booty shaking, and soul searching at Emerson College, he is excited to engage with the Earth for the greater good. His life's work involves promoting community, connection, and education, which currently takes the form of teaching music to the tiniest of Boston's youth. Otherwise, you may find him on a hike in the Arboretum, improving with Paradise Lost: A Movement Collective, or itching for further growth.
Susannah Wilson is a 2016 grad of Emerson College. A Washington, DC native, she is well-schooled in two things: humidity and politics. When she's not riding her bicycle and avoiding aggressive motorists, she can be found reciting Shakespeare and fitting more into a week than is humanly possible. In the past few years, Susannah has enjoyed spending her summers in Western, MA, pushing her body through the rigorous physical training of Double Edge Theatre. She is happy to depart from that tradition this summer to spend her time with Speak About It doing another of her favorite things: destroying the patriarchy and talking about sex. Despite the annual frostbite, Susannah continues to call Boston home, a beautiful city that will allow her both to pursue acting among a range of other hobbies, including (but not limited to) bike mechanics, aerial silks, NPR, and serving pastries to sugar-starved Cambridge locals.
Jeremy Bernfeld is one of the co-writers of the original Speak About It program and mainly responsible only for all of the jokes you didn’t find funny. While at Bowdoin College, Jeremy helped found Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence, a student-led group dedicated to educating men about sexual violence prevention. He also directed the Improvabilities and was a captain of the men’s rugby team. Jeremy is proud that Speak About It and BMASV have continued working to create a healthy and safe climate both at Bowdoin and on campuses throughout the country. He’s now a journalist and radio producer.
Meadow Davis has worked at Bowdoin College since 2006 and holds many titles as the Director of Residential Life, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Meadow co-created the original production of Speak About It and continues to oversee the production as it exists at Bowdoin College, separate from the current work of Speak About It, Inc. She graduated from Trinity College and received her Master's Degree from the College of Notre Dame.
Emily Skinner is a former board member and one of the co-authors and program developers of the original Speak About It performance at Bowdoin College. She graduated from Bowdoin in 2008 with a degree in Neuroscience and Gender and Women’s Studies. During her time at Bowdoin, Emily was very involved with sexual assault prevention and awareness through her work co-leading V-Day, directing the Vagina Monologues, and collaborating with various other sexual assault organizations on campus, including BMASV and SafeSpace. She continued her work with sexual assault prevention at Bowdoin and in the greater Brunswick community after graduation, working as an AmeriCorps volunteer and later working as the Health Education Coordinator at Bowdoin, during which time she worked to develop the original Speak About It program. She is incredibly proud of the innovative and groundbreaking dialogue that inspired this program, grateful to all who shared their stories, and thrilled be a continuing part of the growing Speak About It community! Emily is now a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner living in Boston, MA.
Linzee Troubh graduated from Bowdoin College in 2009 with a degree in History and a minor in Education. At Bowdoin, she was the President of the campus chapter of V-Day for three years, and was regularly seen on stage dancing, acting and improvising. Writing Speak About It in the summer of 2009 was the perfect way to merge her love of the arts and theater while furthering her personal cause and passion of stopping violence against women. She couldn't be prouder to be associated with the work that the team continues to do today. A native New Yorker, she returned to her roots after graduation and has lived in Brooklyn ever since. Linzee is currently the Head of Sales at Cinetic Media, an independent film company in New York. She gets to travel to many of the major festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca and South by South West. She has helped to secure distribution for over 100 films since working in the industry, including EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, BERNIE, FRIENDS WITH KIDS, LIFE ITSELF and BOYHOOD. Surprisingly, she still spends most of her free time watching movies.
Many monologues from the original 2009 Speak About It performance were taken from SPEAK. According to the publication, SPEAK is a compilation of "Bowdoin students' stories about sex: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Some stories happened off campus, but realize that most stories happened here [emphasis included]. We hope that this collection will increase sexual awareness among our community and spark some much needed conversation. Speak." SPEAK was assembled through Bowdoin's chapter of VDAY and continues to be an annual publication on campus.
We want to acknowledge the strength and courage of these original writers, known or otherwise, without whom our current production and organization would not exist as we know it. Your groundbreaking approach to sexual assault education and prevention has inspired thousands of students all over the world to begin a grassroots dialogue about healthy relationships and culture change. Thank you.
Board of Directors
Another Bowdoin College polar bear, Kate Chin was born and raised in Boston, MA. She earned her MBA from Northeastern University, while working at Procter and Gamble (P&G). Currently, Kate is the P&G East Team Leader, which is responsible for delivering strategic growth for the second largest grocer in the U.S. Kate joined Speak About It, Inc.'s board of directors in 2015 and is eager to help SAI continue to grow strategically to deliver positive education about consent, boundaries and sexual expression. She currently serves as the organization's Board Chair.
Colin Hay is a 2010 graduate of Bowdoin College, where he spent four years actively involved with Bowdoin Men Against Sexual Violence (BMASV) engaging peers in a dialogue about masculinity and violence prevention. In addition to BMASV, Colin was a member of the men's soccer and track teams, and preferred Throne over Moulton. Colin went on to study law at Boston University, where he graduated in 2013 and now practices at Verrill Dana in Portland, ME.
Ashley McCurry fell in love with fundraising in 2011 on a successful statewide political campaign for the Maine Democratic Party and a well funded statewide gubernatorial campaign for Congressman Mike Michaud in 2014. She spent three years fundraising for the League of Young Voters and Emerge Maine, both progressive political non-profits with community outreach and education components to their work, where she served on the Executive Board in both organizations (Vice Chair and Treasurer.) After 2014, Ashley spent a year running a student calling program and teaching fundraising to undergraduate students at the University of New England until she was promoted to an Annual Fund Gift Officer in December of 2015. She’s excited to join Speak About It and bring her fundraising skills to the table, but mostly to help support an organization that is doing such fantastic work. When not working, Ashley skis in the winter, runs in the summer, and cooks for friends in a house that is so welcoming everyone who comes over stays far too long. Ashley lives in a very full and tiny home with her wife, two dogs, a cat, and a 21-year-old cousin named Kyle in Portland.
Kim Pacelli joined the Board of Directors for Speak About It, Inc. in 2014. She works at Bowdoin College as Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs, overseeing the Dean's Office, Health, Counseling, and Residential Life. In her role, Kim thinks a lot about student support and policy issues, including Title IX response and prevention work, alcohol policy, and student health issues. Kim is also a licensed attorney having graduated from Maine Law and practiced for a short time working with many K-12 schools in Maine. She lives in Brunswick with her family.
Krista Williamson grew up in mid-coast Maine and is currently working as an International Recruitment Coordinator for a J1 visa sponsor in the Portland area. The program places college students from around the world with US employers for a season. Krista interviews students and works closely with employers to ensure a positive cultural experience for all parties. She has a degree in International Relations and Russian Studies from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Krista joined Speak About It because she feels that it is past time we bring the conversation about consent and healthy relationships to the forefront on college campuses.
Lauren Ouellette-Whelan grew up in Lewiston and graduated from UMaine before moving to Dublin, Ireland and receiving a master's in Development Studies from University College Dublin. After spending several years in Dublin coordinating an international high school program and development and recruitment for an international NGO, she returned to her native Maine and lives in Portland with her husband. Lauren is passionate about education and works for LearningWorks to provide educational resources that help children and families thrive. She's excited to be an advocate for the amazing work accomplished by SAI staff and supporters.
As a sociologist, Genevieve Cox spends a lot of time thinking about inequality and how to make the world a kinder place for everyone. She works for a consulting firm doing social justice-minded program evaluation and teaching classes for Southern Maine Community College. She studied writing and theater as an undergrad and obtained her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of New Hampshire. As a native West Virginian, she thinks Maine is insanely cold but enjoys the access to wilderness. When not doing research, she can be found somewhere in the woods (or desert or mountains) in canoe or tent with her too-smart cattle dog, Opal.
Kara Hughes grew up in Ohio and moved to Maine by way of Boston, Pittsburgh, and Brooklyn. She holds a BA from Harvard and an MFA in writing from the University of Pittsburgh. Stories have been a mainstay in her professional roles – she’s investigated versions of events, taught fiction, researched personal narratives, and written about true episodes in her books Speaking Ill of the Dead: Jerks in New York History (2011) and Myths & Mysteries of Pennsylvania (2012). Joining the Board in January 2017, Kara is excited to use her curiosity and enthusiasm to speak about it, listen to it, and learn from all of it.
Tess Jacquez, originally from California, graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Beloit College in Wisconsin where she was a two sport varsity athlete. She received her masters in applied chemistry from University of Oregon. She then moved to Portland, ME for an internship at the On Semiconductor (formerly Fairchild Semiconductor) in 2011 and has been in Maine ever since. Tess is a process engineer at On Semiconductor as well as a recent graduate of Lift360's Emerging Leader program. She is excited for the opportunity to be a part of the energetic and passionate SAI organization. Outside of work she is an avid surfer, Crossfitter, and volleyball player.
Speak About It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that partners with high schools and colleges to educate, entertain, and empower students to create positive change within their communities, advocate for and practice healthy relationship habits, and prevent sexual violence.
Copyright 2016 Speak About It, Inc. Website by Alexandra Valleau