Eight years of volunteer facilitating the Talk to Me Writing class for Truth Be Told awakened Katie Ford to the common narrative thread of trauma, abuse and addiction in the stories of incarcerated women. In December 2016, she left behind a 20-plus-year editorial career in pursuit of work inspired by the transformation she witnessed in the classroom when incarcerated women were given the tools and safe space to discover their strengths and personal worth.
In July 2017, supported by donations she raised independently, Katie implemented the first trauma-informed program at Lockhart Correctional Facility while still volunteering for Truth Be Told. In August 2017, she accepted Truth Be Told’s invitation to serve as part-time executive director.
Katie has spoken on behalf of Truth Be Told at the National Adult and Juvenile Female Offenders Conference and the Travis County Sheriff’s Vision Summit: Looking Toward the Future of Re-entry. She has completed numerous continuing education courses in restorative justice, gender-responsive principles and treatment, expressive arts for healing, and recovery and support for justice-involved women.
She views her midlife career change as her way of showing gratitude for the women who awakened her to her purpose and given her life meaning beyond measure.
Creative Mornings: https://creativemornings.com/podcast/episodes/katie-ford
Complementary paths in education and nonprofit leadership have led Emily Lederman to Truth Be Told. A strong believer in the transformative power of storytelling, Emily has taught literature and creative writing classes for adolescents, college students and adults impacted by the criminal justice system.
Prior to joining Truth Be Told, Emily managed community engagement at the nonprofit Grand St. Settlement in New York City, where she completed an American Council of Learned Societies Postdoctoral Public Fellowship. For the agency, she developed an advocacy strategic plan, focused on public housing, immigrant rights and youth leadership. As part of the plan's implementation, Emily led trauma-informed social justice trainings for staff and developed a teen advocacy program. She also built and sustained strategic relationships with public officials, community leaders, nonprofit partners and educational institutions.
While in New York, Emily also had the privilege of serving on a criminal justice reform campaign led by JustLeadershipUSA, an advocacy group that empowers individuals most affected by incarceration to drive policy change.
Emily earned her PhD in contemporary literature at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin in 2016. She has designed and taught college-level courses on social justice and the intersections of gendered and racial oppression. At UT, she facilitated a women’s leadership program in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Emily also organized and led a weekly creative writing workshop at Travis County Correctional Complex. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the nonprofit Citizen Schools, developing curriculum and managing volunteers.
Emily’s knowledge of literature, gender studies and restorative justice inform her leadership and her commitment to social justice. She views her role at Truth Be Told as powerfully joining together her work in education and the nonprofit sector.