Board Of Directors

Elliot Chaltry

BarFly, Graphic Designer, Illustrator

Born on the East-side (Port Huron) and transplanted to West-side where I now call home. While attending Grand Valley State University for a BFA in Illustration, I was given the opportunity to work with the creative minds at BarFly Ventures and helping with all of their artistic needs. This has ranged from generating HopCat event branding, to custom screen printed bottles at Grand Rapids Brewing Company and even getting to work with the Drunken Retort at Stella’s making sure they have a packed house.

While working on the branding for the Retort, I slowly became more and more involved with the Diatribe beyond the Monday nights. While poetry may not be my Forte, Getting the tribe a graphic facelift with some new branding was. Since moving to Grand Rapids in 2009, I’ve found my partner Zac Sanders, a little house on the north side, and two of the cutest Boston Terrier mixes in the world (which can be proven mathematically).  If I’m not working in the studio, you can usually find me downtown at any local coffee shops and music venues on the weekends.

Sean Duffey

Diatribe SecretaryForest Hills Northern High School, Master Educator, Organizer, Concert Master 

Sean Duffie and is a Spanish-Immersion teacher at Forest Hills Northern High School, where he has had the pleasure of teaching an incredible team of students in all levels of Social Studies as well as AP Spanish Literature over the last five years. In addition to teaching, he coordinates a 25- member writing club that meets weekly and publishes a literary/arts magazine every school year.

Sean is nearly finished with his thesis to complete his M.Ed. degree in Spanish Curriculum and Instruction from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, where he was fortunate enough to emphasize in 20th century and contemporary Caribbean poetry. This experience has transformed his teaching to emphasize the use of poetry and authentic texts so that students get as minimally filtered of an experience with other histories and cultures as possible. His experience training as a Louder than a Bomb! national organizer in March 2016 cemented his passion for injecting intersectionality into his teaching. Working side-by-side with students, he helps them become adults who will work to bring the marginalized to the center in whatever realm they work and live in.

His interest in joining the Diatribe board of directors stems from his passion for youth voices. In the years he has followed the poets of the Diatribe, and has seen the group transform into an organization whose impacts are felt within not only the poetry/open-mic community, but now within in a number of school communities.

The Diatribe has influenced thousands of students directly and indirectly. Through Sean’s job, he truly understands the positive and permanent impacts the Diatribe has had on students, and as a member of the board of directors, he wants to dedicate himself to facilitating the Diatribe’s mission and continued growth as an organization.

In his free time, Sean sits as concertmaster in the St. Cecilia Adult Orchestra and host bar trivia at the Birch Lodge. He lives with his partner (Eric), his dog (Frank), his cat (Caiaphas), and his best friend (espresso-roast coffee).

Brittnie Finkbeiner

Co-Chair, Chiropractor

Brit grew up in northern Michigan, later cultivating roots in Grand Rapids. She studied Psychology and Women and Gender Studies at Grand Valley State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. She previously served as the program coordinator for Kent County Girls on the Run and as a support counselor for foster and probation youth in San Jose, California. Both rolls encompassed educating and empowering our youth to develop a growth mindset and find a voice true to themselves.

Brit grew up in northern Michigan, later cultivating roots in Grand Rapids. She studied Psychology and Women and Gender Studies at Grand Valley State University where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree. She previously served as the program coordinator for Kent County Girls on the Run and as a support counselor for foster and probation youth in San Jose, California. Both rolls encompassed educating and empowering our youth to develop a growth mindset and find a voice true to themselves.

As much as her ginger skin appreciates the Cali sunshine, the summer storms and great lakes hold her heart.  She temporarily resides in Bettendorf, IA, as she attends Palmer College of Chiropractic. Outside of school Brit is striving to master yoga and serves as a youth educator at the local Unitarian Universalist congregation.

After graduation, she plans to join her wife in their Grand Rapids-based clinic, as a Doctor of Chiropractic and wellness consultant. Brit is extremely passionate about making an impact and connecting the GR community. She believes a healthy individual, leads to a healthy community and a healthy community leads to healed humanity. Only through connection, within ourselves and with each other, can we truly heal.  Brit’s mission is to empower people to authentically express themselves by developing life long, self-sustainable habits of mental and physical well-being.  She connects genuinely, as a partner in the health and wellbeing of the people she serves.

In her spare time, Brit uses writing and music as outlets of expression.  She finds balance spending time with her wife and daughter, running, dancing, cooking, and reading.

Rachel Gleason

Teacher

Rachel Gleason is a dynamic spoken word artist whose performance style is described as a balance between humor-an understated wit- and gospel/evangelical inspired charisma. Rachel’s poetry has been commissioned by both local and national organizations, published in Chicago magazine “Curbside Splendor” and has been featured on WYCE’s Electric Poetry several times. Raised in a strict fundamentalist church, much of her art stems from the intersection of faith and sexuality.

Her coming out story was highlighted on NPR in a series about identity, acceptance, and forgiveness in West Michigan’s LGBT community. Rachel is also a singer/songwriter with a simplistic style and a unique, powerful voice. She performs stand up comedy and acts in sketches with Grand Rapids’ beloved all female comedy collective, Funny Girls, LLC.  She is also the Director of Education and co-founder at The Diatribe, a non-profit organization in Grand Rapids dedicated to uniting and inspiring the youth through spoken word poetry.

G Foster II

Teacher

G Foster II, a.k.a AutoPilot, graduated from Muskegon High School in the year 2000 and received the Wade H. McCree academic scholarship. Attending GVSU, he earned a B.A. in Communications in 2008 and has since used his degree to launch multiple Language Art projects and collective artists groups. He is currently engaged in many personal entrepreneurial pursuits. In 2015, G Foster II and his business partner co-founded River Dolphin Productions.

He is also the founder and host of The Original Back to the 90’s Parties. He also founded Auto’s Tee’s and Fits clothing company focused on promoting Grand Rapids and Michigan through creative word-play and design.  G Foster II is the host of a local open mic founded in 2013, based out of Grand Rapids and now has expanded to Detroit, MI.  Aside from entrepreneurial pursuits, G Foster II is a dedicated artist of spoken word poetry, musician, M.C. in hip hop group Gray Theory, and community activist.  Even though he has no kids of his own, it doesn’t stop him from helping the youth and being the change that he wishes to see in the world.

Mark Haines

Cooperative Living Specialist, Seeker Of Common Good

Mark has lived in communal housing for several years, most recently serving as board president for the Grand Rapids Alliance of Cooperative Communities. Community living has helped to cultivate Mark’s core values:

  • The importance of finding solutions to life’s challenges using the tools and resources around us.
  • The belief that people are good by nature.

Mark has lived in group housing situations in the Netherlands and Tunisia, and also spent two years living and working with Amish produce farmers in western Pennsylvania. Beyond promoting alternative housing/lifestyle solutions through cooperative housing and homesteading, Mark aims to provide cultural space for those who don’t subscribe to the conventional American Dream, by promoting self-empowerment and seeking to remove stigma around sexuality and drug use. Mark has worked in harm reduction and HIV prevention and is also a member of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Marks enjoys reading classical Arabic, playing euchre, and seeing familiar faces around town.

Martel Posey

Treasurer, Community Outreach Director for The Spoke Folks, Bike Specialist, Record Collector, Foodie

Martel plays a vital role in addressing equity within the cycling community as well as actively engaging with disenfranchised communities in his role at The Spoke Folks. Martel is a native of Grand Rapids and has shared his experiences of being a black man in our city by writing articles and being part of public forums and discussions. Martel hopes to one day own a food truck.

He enjoys an amazing record, cooking the best food in town, and riding his bike.

Marcel “Fable” Price

Founder and Executive Director of The Diatribe, Grand Rapids Poet Laureate

…Is a Bi-racial North American writer, teaching artist, community advocate, motivational speaker, and executive director of non profit organization The Diatribe.

Fable is the 2016 recipient of a Community Advocate Award, a 2017 40 Under 40 Honoree, and is the currently holding the title of Poet Laureate.

He is the author of “Adrift in a Sea of M&M’s” (2016) and is currently working to finish his second collection of poems titled Metamorphosis; an extroverted caterpillars guide to becoming an introverted butterfly (2019).

Fable is the first person under the age of 40, and the first person of color to have earned the title of poet laureate of Grand Rapids Michigan; a three-year tenure with already measurable successes achieved within the first year. Fable is highly noted for his work with the youth through his non profit The Diatribe; using his own stories to consume the audience and is making a huge effort in lifting up youth across the country encouraging them to unpack their own struggles.

He is known across the nation for crowd-interactive features that leave those attending enlightened and empowered.

Buckle up, prepare to make a new friend, and enjoy the ride.

Ayda Rezaian

Special Assistant Defender

Originally hailing from Ontario, Canada, Ayda has called Grand Rapids their home fro the last five years. They would describe themselves as a justice fighter by day and a supporter of the local community by night. They are an adventure enthusiast, very loving dog-mom, and passionate about making sure that the marginalized individuals in our community are all provided the same opportunities. 

Sharon Vriend-Robinette Ph.D.

Inclusion Specialist, Youth Advocate, Parent, Outstanding Human

Sharon is an independent scholar and consultant who actively works to make West Michigan a more inclusive community.  She earned a B.A. in history from Calvin College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American culture studies/history from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.  As both a professor and administrator in higher education, she has taught classes in the humanities and social sciences and also led departmental, institutional and regional diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. 

In her research and writing, she explores how art, music, and poetry can empower people and change the world. She is active in the community through professional consulting and volunteering for Grand Rapids Public Schools and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going on outdoor adventures, and listening to and making music.

Jack Woller

Board Chair, Fountain Street Church, Executive Director

Born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan, Jack attended Aquinas College studying Business Administration and Visual Art. He holds certifications in Nonprofit Leadership and Board Leadership from the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland. Jack is currently the Executive Director of Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids Michigan.

In addition to The Diatribe Board, Jack serves on the Board of the West Michigan Gay Men’s Chorus and the Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez. As part of his professional life, Jack speaks at conferences and workshops across the country on topics like Creativity, leadership to nonprofit financial management.

Jack has been married to his wife and partner Andrea for ten years, and together they have two young daughters and a Great Dane. Jack enjoys spending time with his kids, illustration, carpentry, learning, and his custom 1978 Puch Magnum moped.

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Contact/Booking: info@thediatribe.org

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

epic + KCAD logo

Site Design by KCAD students & faculty as part of the EPIC Project.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs logo
Lowell Arts Logo
Diatribe Logo

Contact/Booking: info@thediatribe.org We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

epic + KCAD logo

Site Design by KCAD students & faculty as part of the EPIC Project.

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs logo
Lowell Arts Logo