Who We Are

Power Poetry would not be possible without the hardworking, talented, and dedicated staff who endeavor to have young people be heard. The Power Poetry team is responsible for promoting a safe space where poets can share their work, as well as encouraging more growth in the organization.

 

George Weiner

Chief Technology Officer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George is the chief technology officer for Power Poetry.org and is responsible for developing and managing all online and communication systems for Power Poetry. He worked as the Chief Technology Officer of DoSomething.org, which, under his leadership, became an innovator in social media, mobile technologies and youth social action. During his time at Dosomething.org George converted over one million users. George was awarded a People's Choice Webby Award in 2009 for his innovative work on Dosomething.org. He is a self-taught techie and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a frequent speaker on not-for-profit tech issues at forums including SXSW, NTEN, the Google Grants Conference, U.N. Youth Summit, National Conference on Volunteering and Service and Blog World.  He has guest lectured at NYU and NYIT and is a frequent contributer to the Huffington Post. George is also the founder of CTO's For Good, a small group of CTOs who use their technological skills to scale.

 

Jessica Wiener

Manager of Digital Programs, Content Creator, Social Media Manager and Intern Supervisor

Jessica is Power Poetry's Digital Community and Social Media Manager. She's been working with Power Poetry since day one when she started as a Content Creator Intern. She interacts with the community daily on-site and through Power Poetry's social media channels. Jessica uses audience feedback to curate content and poetry slam topics that are fresh and appealing for young adult readers.

She graduated from Siena College with a Bachelor's Degree in English and is a bibliophile with a strong passion for poetry and young adult literature. Jessica believes that often the quietest individuals in the room have the most interesting things to say, and that in a world where everyone tends to talk over one another, it is those who patiently listen, internalize, and formulate who hold the key to a better future. When she’s not working, Jessica can be found geeking out over the latest superhero movie.

 

 

Roland Legiardi-Laura

Executive Director and Founder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roland is a documentary filmmaker, poet and educator. He developed Power Poetry based on his work in New York City public schools and he serves as the organization's chief executive. Roland's first documentary, AZUL, tells the story of the Nicaraguan people through their poetry. To Be Heard, his most recent film, is a documentary about three high school poets from the Bronx who use their poetry to change their lives and impact the world; the film is also the inspiration for Power Poetry.  Roland brings to our organization over 10 years of working with youth through Power Writers, a program that encourages high school students across the U.S. to use their words as tools to change their lives and communities. Roland has been active as a board member of the Nuyorican Poets Café for over 25 years. He  also created the world's first traveling troupe of poets--"Words to Go". He lives in the East Village in New York City where he is actively trying to preserve the history and culture of his beloved community.

Thomas Hill

Content Creator Intern

Thomas Hill is a poet and social-justice advocate studying towards his English Bachelor and Masters degree at St. John’s University, Queens, New York. Thomas, affectionately named “Tom Cat” from his poetry community, was a member of the 2014 DC Youth Poetry Slam team, helping win the International Youth Poetry Slam Champion. He has since co-lead writing workshops at Harvard University’s Alumni of Color Conference, performed at the White House, and was sent to South Africa by the DC Commission on the Arts. Tom has been published in the Hampton Review, Crab Fat Magazine, and the Huffington Post. From an early age Tom took great interests in social justice and uses his words to try and help change the world. Tom believes that we shouldn't just say words- we should speak them.