Contact MaurissaMaurissa Stone Bass, Director of Studio
“Change is not an event, it’s a process” Maurissa Stone the founder of Iona Concepts, Inc. an artist whose medium is life fulfills her passion for facilitating individual and community development by creating resource circles for human and community expansion. Maurissa’s artistic expression was formed by responding to the needs of social equity by designing and delivering creative, interactive media based training programs. Her career spans 20 years as a change agent conducting strategic planning, systems change and training initiatives for Federal, State, local governments and non-profit organizations. Maurissa currently works as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Baltimore as well as a training consultant for NeighborWorks America’s National Training Institute. She conducts community development training and consultation nationally. Her unique niche is working with arts organizations by supporting infrastructure and resource development. Iona Concepts, Inc., a Training and Change Management Consulting organization, is the umbrella for The Living Well studio. Iona Concepts’ mission is to facilitate planned change in systems, organizations and communities. Iona Concepts provides the following change management services.
Maurissa specializes in Strategic Planning, Community Development/Organizing, Non-profit Board Development, Career/Life Coaching, Retreat Planning/facilitation, Motivational Speaking, Organizational Development Training, and Iona Circles an organizational, systems and personal change management process designed to address work and life conditions that impact the human spirit and energy.
To hire Maurissa for seminars, consultation, press or anything revolving around The Living Well, please contact her directly.
Contact MichelleMichelle Stafford, Director of Fitness and Wellness
Baltimore Native, Michelle Stafford, had been in the fitness industry for over a decade. What began as a way to get her sexy back after having three children, evolved into a full blown commitment to wellness. As our fitness/yoga director, Michelle brings the diversity of her experience as a personal trainer, belly dance instructor, and yoga teacher. Her background includes both Anusara and Patanjali yoga training, AEA Aquatic Fitness, and NSPA Personal Training. In 2011, she was voted one of Baltimore’s top 5 trainer’s by the “Baltimore Sun Magazine.”
“Change your mind. Change your body. Change your life.” – Michelle Stafford
Contact UkanaUkana McPherson, Facilities Manager
If you are taking the time to read this bio, I would like to first welcome you to our Living Well family. When you walk thru our doors I pray that you feel as warm and welcomed as I did when we hosted our first Dancer Her Size class. I am also the co-founder of a women’s group called the C.o.S.L. Club. (Circle of Self Love) and a women’s dance class called Dance Her Size. The C.o.S.L. Club is a women’s group; that allows every woman to be the best SHE, she can be. Our group was formed to uplift our women and also teach them to embrace their bodies. “Healthy is the New Sexy” and I want each and every woman to be able to face their day to day with that attitude. I am a single mother of a talented 13 year old daughter named Taylor. I have lived in this community for 28 years.
Contact NellDominic Nell, House Photographer
A man of service, Dominic Nell is a native Baltimorean and is the quintessential Renaissance man. A graduate of Randallstown High School, Nell attended St. Agustine University as well as North Carolina State. After leaving College, Nell moved to California in early to pursue a career in acting. While pursing his career, Nell found modeling as an opportunity to support his diverse interest in music and film. After returning to Baltimore a year later, Nell found his gift for mentoring for inner city youth. Coaching football provided him with deeper insight into the opportunities to support the development of young men who lived in his historic Penn North.
In 2009 Nell picked up a camera and discovered a new gift of photography. His most notable work was the documentation of the 2015 civil unrest known as the “Baltimore Uprising”. His work can be viewed on his photography site www.nellaware.smugmug.com. As a consultant for Kids Safe Zone a Baltimore City community Center, Nell provides photography skills training to youth ages 5-18. The Reginald Lewis Museum invited Nell as a visiting artist to facilitate a workshop series for local youth.
Farmer Nell has been added to his moniker as his recent study of urban farming under the City-Hydro program has manifested into a new business venture. His company City Weeds was founded in 2016 and produces micro greens that are sold in community venues and used by chefs across the City. Farmer Nell teaches Food for Life for youth in Baltimore City after school programs.
Nell continues to evolve his footprint of innovation as he was chosen as the second place winner in the Kaiser Permanente’s Social Innovation Challenge where he and his counterpart developed an APP that would provide a tool for job search for local residents. Nell will complete an Acceleration program designed to help bring his innovation to Market in 2017.
Nell is a father of three daughters and a grandfather of baby Nell.
Contact NnekaNneka Nnamdi, Director of Community Wellness
Contact CherylCheryl Hinton, Program Consultant & Healing Technology Facilitator
Cheryl Hinton is a Professional Griot (Gree-o), Educator, Mentor, Author, and Artist. Currently, she is a Preparation for Academic Achievement Adjunct Faculty for a local community college working with a corporate learning community of young adults. She is a Program Consultant for the Living Well. She is also a Tour guide for Renaissance Tours and Productions and the National Great Blacks in Wax which recently guided over 700 freshmen from Morgan State University through the Wax Museum discussing past and present historical trauma. She is a member of the Griot Circle of Maryland, National Great Blacks in Wax, Wombwork Productions, Inc. and National Association of Black Storytellers. Her multi-faceted career has enhanced her exposure to diversity through travel experiences in various countries of Africa and throughout the USA, the Caribbean and Brazil, South America. These opportunities have blended her decades of higher education and artistic from her past positions as a Community Resource Activist, Performer, Teacher and Multicultural Affairs Administrator with her passionate artistic life to facilitate workshops on art, self esteem, mentoring, education, and cultural competency.
Contact JasonJason Harris, Creative Director
Jason Harris, the Living Well’s creative director, has spent 17 years building a visionary practice as a multidisciplinary Afrofuturist artist in Baltimore City, fearlessly diving into a diverse range of projects that have created or supported institutions that operate in and serve the marginalized citizens of Baltimore.
Jason is a writer whose work has appeared in Black Enterprise magazine, Catalyst Literary journal, BmoreArt.com and various online publications. He self-published the speculative fiction anthology entitled, “Redlines: Baltimore 2028″ in 2012, which was featured in the 2016 exhibit, “Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of Black Imagination” at the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Research Center for Black Culture.In 2014, Jason created “Black Books Live”, a podcast that highlights literature from Black writers whose work is not readily available in audio form. The podcast has reached thousands of listeners with its content. Jason has continued to strengthen his writing skills as a participant in the Yale Writer’s conference and as a 2015 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. He is currently working on his first novel, “Fly, Girl”, which he will publish in the spring of 2017.
In 2016, Jason extended his Afrofuturist work to collaborative explorations by joining up with The MotherShip squad, comprised of Olu Butterfly Woods, Stephanie “Safiyatou” Edwards and Jason. They mounted the critically acclaimed Afrofuturist project entitled, “The MotherShip Connection” during Artscape, which is the largest outdoor public art festival in the United States. Jason oversaw the construction of the actual Mothership structure featured in the exhibit, and wrote, filmed, created special effects and edited a short entitled, “MotherShip:MotherVerse” which was screened inside the Mothership structure.
Contact BrittanyBrittany T. Oliver, Director of Outreach and Strategic Communications
Brittany T. Oliver is the Director of Outreach and Strategic Communications at the Living Well Center. A native of West Baltimore, she’s also an activist, naturalist, creative, communicator and social art entrepreneur with over 10 years of experience in racial and gender justice advocacy, communications, organizing and non-profit management. Brittany is the Founding Director of Not Without Black Women, a collective of everyday Black women who aims to radically uplift women’s voices through self-expression, dialogue and sisterhood. In partnership with her brother, her latest project involves building the David L. Hill Freedom Institute, a program aimed to uplift marginalized black youth in memory of her uncle who tragically lost his life to gun violence in August 2016.. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication from Towson University and in her free time, she enjoys African dancing, practices ritual work and leads nature-based workshops across the city. Learn more about Brittany by visiting her website at www.brittanytoliver.com.