The Urban Word NYC team consists of professional artists and administrators trained in both academic and creative spaces. In the past year along, UW staff and interns have helped to provide over 5,000 hours of free writing workshops, produce more than 100 sold-out events, and manage more than 120 organizational partnerships.

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Mahogany L. Browne

Interim Executive Director

Mahogany L. Browne is a writer, organizer & educator. Interim Executive Director of Urban Word NYC & Poetry Coordinator at St. Francis College. Browne has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby & Black Girl Magic (Macmillan), Kissing Caskets (Yes Yes Books) & Dear Twitter (Penmanship Books). She is also the founder of Woke Baby Book Fair (a nationwide diversity literature campaign) & as an Arts for Justice grantee, is completing her first book of essays on mass incarceration's, investigating its impact on women and children. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.


Shanelle Gabriel

Deputy Director

Shanelle Gabriel is a poet, singer, and health advocate. She’s featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, The Rachel Ray Show, HuffPost Live, competed in the National and Individual World Poetry Competitions, and has toured internationally. As an advocate for Lupus, she has spoken for the National Institute of Health, performed at numerous Walks For Lupus, appeared in Women’s Health Magazine, and presently facilitates the South Brooklyn Lupus Support Group. In her role as the Urban Word NYC Program Director, Shanelle is responsible for managing our many partnerships, overseeing the organization’s core recurring programs, as well as the recruitment, contracting, and professional development of Urban Word NYC Mentors and teaching artists. 


Adam Falkner, Ph.D.

Director of Special Projects

Adam Falkner is a writer, educator and consultant.  His work has appeared in a range of literary and academic journals, and has also been featured on HBO, NBC, NPR, TED, in the New York Times, and elsewhere. A former high school English teacher in New York City’s public schools, Adam is the Founder and Executive Director of the pioneering diversity consulting initiative, the Dialogue Arts Project, and an Arthur Zankel Fellow and PhD candidate in the English Education program at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Adam helps manage all of Urban Word NYC’s day-to-day operations, and supports Deputy Director’s vision for organizational growth & strategy.


Erica Miriam Fabri

Creatively College Bound Director

and Residency Manager

Erica Miriam Fabri’s first book, Dialect of a Skirt, was a finalist for the 2011 Paterson Poetry Prize and was included on the lists:’s Best Books of 2010, Small Press Distributor’s Bestseller list and The Poetry Foundation’s Bestseller list. She has worked on projects as a writer, editor and performance director for The New York Knicks, HBO, Lincoln Center for the Arts and Nickelodeon Television. She teaches Performance Poetry at Pace University, and as Urban Word NYC’s Creatively College Bound Director, manages all aspects of the CCB program including instruction, curriculum development, school partner management, and more.  


Roya Marsh


New York Native, Roya Marsh, is a nationally ranked poet/performer/educator/activist and has the dopest sneaker collection to date. Roya was a finalist in the 2013 Poetry Idol, 2013 Inspired Word Slam Master Jam Champion, 2014 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion and captain of the first all female slam team in the tristate area, representing Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She ranked 2nd in the world at the Woman of the World Poetry Slam. She also, took home the N.U.T.S championship as a member of team Reparations. Ranked 2nd in both the indi slam and team slam at Rustbelt 2016. Ranked 2nd at the 2017 National Poetry Slam in Denver, Co. She has been featured in the Village Voice, Huffington Post, Blavity, The Root, Button Poetry, Def Jam’s All Def Digital, Lexus’ Verses and Flow, and BET. She serves as the Poet in Residence with Urban Word NYC and has co-coached the Urban Word Slam team for the past two years.


Camea Davis, Ph.D.

National Youth Poet Laureate Network Director

Dr. Camea Davis is a poet-researcher and teacher educator with a doctorate in critical educational policy studies. Her research and community work explores minoritized youth civic action and youth spoken word as tools to advance equitable democracy. She is currently managing all participating cities of the National Youth Poet Laureate Program.


Michael Cirelli

CEO, Urban Word NYC – LA – National Youth Poet Laureate Program



Ellen Wahl Parker

Board Chair
Principal and Associate General Counsel, KPMG LLP

Monica Hodges

Board Vice Chair
Independent Marketing Consultant

Yana Chernobilsky

Board Secretary
Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, JPMorgan

Heta Desai

Board Treasurer
Vice President & Tax Counsel,Macquarie Group

Eric Adisa

Assistant Principal, Hunter College Elementary School

Antar Al-Qawwee

Vice President, Blackrock

Kevin Buddhdew

Vice President, Credit Suisse

Harrison Thompson

Global Marketing Manager, Bloomberg LP

Edward J. Jacobs

Partner, BakerHostetler LLP

Tina Jacobson

Chair, Space Matters Inc.

Amanda Jacobs Wolf


Heather Marotta

Director, Google Inc.

Nkosi D. Shields

Counsel, BakerHostetler LLP

Jason Wadlow

Standard Chartered Bank New York

Ayana Walker

HBO, Product Management