FOUNDER & CEO
"With her work in analyzing reality shows, and her activism around domestic violence, Sil Lai Abrams has proven herself as a valuable force to changing the perceptions and realities of African American women. I'm proud to know her and the Truth in Reality organization. I look forward to both the work she'll produce and having Sil Lai as a collaborator with my latest endeavor: Howard University's Media Messaging Fellowship."
- Tom Burrell, Founder & Chairman Emeritus-Burrell Communications
Truth in Reality founder Sil Lai Abrams is a NABJ award-winning New York City based writer, inspirational speaker, and domestic violence awareness activist. Her passionate belief in the transformative power of greater self-awareness and personal accountability is the motivating force behind her work to empower others to create empowered lives, healthier relationships and end violence against women and children.
Sil Lai has appeared on ABC, FOX, BET, Court TV, and TruTV as an expert on relationships and domestic violence, and been featured in national magazines such as Oprah, Redbook, EBONY, Black Enterprise and Sister 2 Sister. Her inspirational life story and practical spiritually-based advice has helped Sil Lai become a highly sought after public speaker and workshop facilitator, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Medical Association, Harvard University, and Dress for Success being just a few of the distinguished organizations that have used her speaking services. She has also been featured in Pine-Sol’s “Powerful Difference” campaign, a national cause marketing effort that celebrates women making a positive difference in their communities.
Sil Lai is an active supporter of organizations that combat domestic violence. In addition to being the founder of Truth in Reality, she serves on the Board of Directors for Safe Horizon, the National Advisory Board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the Board of Governors for the National Council on Family Violence. She resides in Brooklyn, New York and is the proud parent of two children.
For additional information on Sil Lai, please visit her personal website at www.sepiaprocess.com.
BOARD OF OFFICERS
Jeff Kaplan is a Partner at Deerfield Management, an investment firm with a focus on healthcare. At Deerfield, Jeff manages the Trading Team and is a member of the Structured Products Team, helping to formulate and manage highly structured financial instruments for healthcare innovation and growth. Jeff is an ordained Interfaith Minister, and a graduate of All Faith’s Seminary International, for whom he also serves on the Board. In 2007, Jeff co-founded Busoga Trust America, an NGO focused on clean water in rural Uganda, and in 2003 co-founded GOAL – Giving Open Access to Learning – an after-school enrichment non-profit program in East Harlem.
Renau Daniels is the Director of Corporate Development at the NAACP, where she is charged with developing new business strategies to meet the organization's annual revenue goals as well as develop and implement strategies to manage, sustain and steward new and existing corporate partnerships. In her prior roles she has served as Community Relations Director at TJX Companies, Executive Director of the Ashley Stewart Stores Foundation, Vice-President of Development for the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund as well as senior management roles in the sales division at Black Enterprise magazine.
NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
Dr. Melinda C. Bier is currently a Research Scientist in the Division of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation, College of Education, University of Missouri, St. Louis. Dr. Bier’s expertise spans the fields of Character Education, teacher preparation and professional development, and the design and use of instructional technology for enhanced teaching and learning. She has extensive experience in the adoption of K-12 educational innovations, providing and managing professional development for geographically and culturally diverse teachers, and in the philanthropic sector.
Dr. Bier currently serves as a principal investigator and/or project director for $3.5 Million in active grants. These projects all involve assessing the impact of school-based positive youth development interventions on student outcomes – health, character, and academic achievement. She has served as a consultant to US Department of Education, Mathematica Policy Research, Character Education Partnership, and Caliber Associates on issues related to program evaluation.
Tom Burrell is a marketing communications pioneer is a recognized leader and change-agent credited with revolutionizing the use of positive and realistic images of African Americans in television advertising. Burrell, a self-taught cultural anthropologist and author of "Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority", established Burrell Communications in 1971, leading the company until his retirement in 2004.
An American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Fame inductee, Burell created some of the most memorable campaigns in advertising history. His award-winning work acknowledged the purchasing power of the African American community and changed the face of American advertising. A reel of Burrell’s advertisements for Coca-Cola is currently archived at the Library of Congress for its historical significance. Today, Burrell Communications bills close to $200 million annually and is one of the top advertising companies in the U.S., specializing in marketing communications targeted to multicultural, urban and youth markets.
Jamal Joseph is a U.S. writer, director, producer, poet, activist, and educator. One of the Panther 21, while incarcerated for 9 ½ years for his active participation in the Black Panther Party, Joseph earned two college degrees and wrote five plays and two volumes of poetry. He is a full professor and former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division, artistic director of the New Heritage Theater in Harlem, and co-founder of the Impact Repertory Company (IMPACT), a Harlem-based youth theater company. He has been featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, BET's American Gangster and on Tupac Shakur's "The Rose That Grew From Concrete" Volumes 1 & 2. Joseph was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award in the Best Song category for his contributions to the song "Raise It Up", performed by IMPACT Repertory Theatre and Jamia Nash in the 2007 film August Rush. Joseph is the author of the interactive biography on Tupac Shakur, Tupac Shakur Legacy. His memoir Panther Baby was published in February 2012 by Algonquin Books.
Ariana Proehl is the creator and host of Know This! with Ariana, an online talk show featuring interviews, news and pop culture commentary that make it cool to “Know Yourself and Know Your World.” She is the former Executive Director of Bay Area youth development organization DiversityWorks, and consulted in public affairs and philanthropy prior to her work in media. Ariana holds a BA in Ethnic Studies with Honors from UC Berkeley and a Master of Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Dr. Scyatta A. Wallace is an award-winning psychologist and teen expert with over 15 years experience working with youth and youth serving organizations. Dr. Wallace combines her love for arts and educating youth as CEO/Founder of Janisaw Company, a curriculum design firm which focuses on life skills and self esteem building for teen girls and young women. She received her BA in Psychology from Yale University and her PhD in Psychology from Fordham University and is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology (with tenure) at St. John’s University.
Dr. Alfonso Wyatt has worked with four generations of young people in community based organizations, public school and the faith community. He is highly regarded for his work with young people in transfer schools, foster care, and juvenile detention facilities, as well as working with young people on their way to college and beyond. He served as Vice President of the Fund for the City of New York for over two decades and is the founder of Strategic Destiny: Designing Futures Through Faith and Facts. He attended Howard University, Columbia Teacher’s College, The Ackerman Institute for Family Therapy, the Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management (INM), and New York Theological Seminary. Dr. Wyatt has also served as Chair of The 21st Century Foundation and Chair of The Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, New York Affiliate.