Complementary paths in education and nonprofit leadership have led Emily Lederman to Truth Be Told as the organization’s new program director, a position held previously by Truth Be Told co-founder Carol Waid, who retired in December.
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.
Most recently, 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. She developed an advocacy strategic plan for the agency, focused on public housing, immigrant rights and youth leadership. As part of its 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 led by individuals with lived experience of incarceration. Emily is excited to bring her experience in strategic planning, community relations and program development to the program director role at Truth Be Told.
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. While at UT, she facilitated a women’s leadership program in the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. She also organized and led a weekly creative writing workshop at Travis County Correctional Complex. Prior to graduate school, Emily 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 new role at Truth Be Told as powerfully joining together her work in education and nonprofit, and she is excited to learn from the organization’s committed volunteers, incarcerated participants and program graduates who remain in community with Truth Be Told beyond prison walls.