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01-05-21 Radical Transformational Leadership: What does this imply? Guest Speakers: Therese Adams and Vernice Miller

Artists for Equity

We invite you to a discussion with Therese Adams and Vernice Miller.

Therese Adams and Vernice Miller invite artists and all of us to use the Arts for transforming the inequities in the world today. They invite us to explore how the arts can open our hearts to equity, dignity, and compassion while revealing unfair systems and cultural norms and inspire everyday citizens to step into action. Due to pandemic, murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, and the MeToo movement, there is an opening in our collective imaginations.

Therese shares: I see people deeply troubled by the suffering around them and looking for solutions and are called to act. And because of COVID19, people are dealing with sickness and loss of job, and concerns about the future. The disparities in the quality of our life, especially for people of color, in terms of housing, education, job opportunities and healthcare availability are so apparent. We need Radical Transformational Leadership now at this opening, during this time of collective yearning for equity and dignity for all so that we do not go back to the way we were, which will happen if we do not address the inequitable systems so everyone thrives.

As artists, Therese and Vernice will share the journeys of their lives –using the tools of the theatre and dance to find freedoms around complicated issues. They will share their drive to radically contribute to creating a post privilege world, and their evolving understanding of how to dismantle the systems that continually feed global injustices.

Vernice shares: my exposure to Monica and her ideas of applying conscious full-spectrum responses put forth in Radical Transformational Leadership has afforded me a clarity of how to harness my inner wisdom, to shift systems for the betterment of all. It is this exposure that has shifted my pedagogical approach from not just what I teach but how. I now consciously curate spaces calling others to source their inner values and to apply them without feeling moralistic. Today whether in the role of artist, teacher, sister, or friend I am charged with making use of the various tools of the theatre and RTL to decolonize the behavior in myself and others to create an equitable, just and fair world where all can live with dignity.

Guest: Therese Adams: For over 20 years, Therese Adams has held nonprofit leadership positions working in Santa Cruz, California as an executive director, fund development consultant, development director, and community organizer. Since 2014, Therese has practiced Leadership for Community Transformation with Dr. Monica Sharma and has supported the training of hundreds of leaders in Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area of California as a practitioner coach. In her work with nonprofits, she has incorporated the Conscious Full Spectrum Response and Radical Transformational Leadership to promote equity and generosity to transform the current nonprofit fund development and philanthropy practices to create sustainable change.

Since 2012, Therese has worked on the issues of homelessness as Community Organizer with the United Way of Santa Cruz County and Development Director at Pajaro Valley Shelter Services. Currently, she is the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), using the Conscious Full Spectrum Response to stop stigma and to improve the treatment for those with mental health conditions. Originally from Los Angeles, Therese moved to Santa Cruz to receive her BA in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz. For several decades, she was the Director of Moving and Storage Performance Company and was the SPECTRA Arts Coordinator and Instructor for Cultural Council of Santa Cruz, County working to ensure every school in the county had arts programming. To contact Therese Adams please email her at

Guest: Vernice Miller is an international theatre artist with a life-long mission to investigate, uncover and share the soul of performance. In addition to being an award-winning actor, she is an educator, director, writer, and social justice activist. Born in Jamaica, Miller has worked in London, Scotland, Wales, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, France, Ukraine, Poland, Slovenia and most recently South Africa. In the U.S. she is an adjunct lecturer and mainstage director at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Her work on the world stage includes long-term collaborations with jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis on Eatonville, a Zora Neal Hurston Project, and with directing anthropologist, Dr. Omotayo Jolaosho’s Three Women (Break the Silence). The theatrical performance of Three Women began at the Market Theater Laboratory in Johannesburg then toured underserved communities throughout South Africa. Its performers address what it means to find one’s voice amidst gendered repression and urge us to “break the silence” regarding women’s bodily and sexual autonomy.

Vernice Miller and Joann Yarrow co-founded A Laboratory for Actor Training Experimental Theatre Company (ALATetc) as a destination to evolve the work they began with Roberta Carreri at Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret in Denmark. ALATetc is now a collective of artists and activists who create work for the stage that provokes dialogue, inspires action, and heightens awareness of personal ethics. ALATetc is in residency in the Theatre Department at John Jay College, offering a rigorous actor training technique to students and professionals alike.

With Kobi Skolnick, Vernice Miller offers training to support emerging and established leaders, generating positive and sustained impact in the communities and organizations. Vernice Miller collaborates with Dr. Monica Sharma; and now, along with her and Therese Adams, is engaged in developing RTLArts. RTLArts is a conscious full spectrum response to using the arts as a lever for challenging systems and cultures that do not support our wellbeing; and instead offer compassionate, courageous alternatives for personal and planetary transformation.

Learn more about Dr. Monica here:

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