Team

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Founder

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Marj Kleinman

Creator | Producer | Photographer

Marj Kleinman is a visual storyteller and the creator of Stoop Stories. A lifelong Brooklynite, residing in her childhood brownstone, she has years of stoop-sitting under her belt. This symbol of Brooklyn culture became both her refuge and muse, especially in times of crisis. 

In addition to photography, Marj has more than 20 years of experience as a children’s content producer and writer, creating award-winning educational media with PBS KIDS, Sesame Workshop, Scholastic, and Noggin. Her work has been featured in the New York TimesTime Out New York, PBS Parents and Scary Mommy. She was also a contributing writer/photographer for Toca Boca Magazine, exploring the power of play and creativity in childhood.

 

Marj holds an M.A. in Educational Psychology from New York University and a B.S. in Theater Management from Emerson College. She has taught theater to kids and photography to grown-ups. Marj is mom to a very feisty black cat named Blackberry.

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April Somboun

April Somboun is a marketing and communication strategist. She has worked for companies such as Scholastic, a brand that influenced her childhood, the American Heart Association, and the Council for Economic Education. Throughout her career, she has created multi-million dollar partnerships that benefited children and their families with a focus on economic mobility, financial literacy, and health. She has also worked in international development creating jobs for those who made less than a $1/day.

April holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and earned her Bachelor’s at the University of Washington. April serves on the board of the Brooklyn Book Bodega and is a volunteer at the Laotian American National Alliance.

She is also a proud mom to Hitchens and Clementine.

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Kendra J. Ross

Kendra J. Ross is Founder/Director of a BedStuy based art and community platform called STooPS that hosts the BedStuy Annual Art Crawl on stoops, sidewalks, and gardens around the neighborhood. A dancer, choreographer, and community worker from Detroit, MI, Kendra now lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, NY.

 

As a performer, Kendra has traveled the world dancing for Urban Bush Women, DJ Kid Koala, MBDance, Andrea E. Woods/Soulouworks, Monstah Black, Afaliah Tribune, Moving Spirits Dance Company, Oyu Oro, and Ase Dance Theater Collective. Kendra is currently a member of Movement of the People Dance Company.

 

Her work has been featured as an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Studios for Dance and The Neighborhood Project by 651Arts, BAX Space Grantee, Visiting Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Dixon Place, Actors Fund Theater, Florida A&M University and Museu de Arte in Bahia, Brazil.  www.thekendrajross.com

Advisory Board

 
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Betsy Book

Betsy Book is a UX professional who’s been working in the internet industry since 1997. While growing up in various places like Japan, Guam, and Florida she always knew NYC would be home. After moving to the city in 1993 and spending a few decades as a New Yorker, she knows this will be home forever. Having lived in both stooped and stoop-less buildings over the years, Betsy is incredibly thankful for the brownstone stoop that was her only outdoor space during the early part of the pandemic. 

Betsy has a B.A. in Art History from the University of Alabama, an M.A. in Art History from CUNY, and an MBA from Baruch College. After many years at various small start-ups, she spent nearly 7 years at American Express and is now working as a Principal User Experience Researcher at LinkedIn.

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Joe Harrell

Joe Harrell is Executive Producer of ALL ARTS, a new multiplatform network at The WNET Group, where he oversees digital and creates new programming for the TV channel and streaming service. Prior to ALL ARTS, he served as Executive Producer of First Person and the Senior Director of Digital Strategy for The WNET Group. His work focused on audience development, revenue models, brand management, and program development on web, mobile, social media and digital video platforms.

Prior to WNET, Harrell was the Director of Marketing and Product Management at Alliance for the Arts, where he developed and launched NYC-ARTS, and oversaw all marketing and communications efforts.  Previously, as Director, Corporate Communications at Time Warner, Joe was responsible for Time Warner Corporate’s digital communications, including its corporate website, TimeWarner.com, and online employee communications.

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Marj Kleinman

Founder | Producer | Photographer

Kate Warrington

Marj is a visual storyteller and the creator of Stoop Storieslifelong Brooklynite, residing in her childhood brownstone, she has witnessed the gentrification of Boerum Hill. Marj has over 20 years of experience as a children’s content producer and photographer, creating award-winning, innovative, educational media for Scholastic, PBS KIDS, Sesame Workshop, and Noggin. She holds a Master’s in Educational Psychology from NYU and studied Performing Arts at Emerson College.

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Lara Weinberg

Co-Producer | Editorial Director

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Kathleen Donohoe

Kathleen is the author of the novels Ghosts of the Missing and Ashes of Fiery Weather, which was named one of Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read New York City Novels. Her stories and essays have appeared in Web Conjunctions, Washington Square, SNReview, Harpur Palate, Irish America Magazine, and the anthology The Writing Irish of New York. She also writes on Medium.

Kathleen grew up on Avenue J in Midwood. Her mother was a nurse at Kings County Hospital, and her father and four uncles were New York City firefighters.

An amateur genealogist, she spends a great deal of time poring over censuses and other records, piecing together the lives of her ancestors, most of whom resided in Manhattan and Brooklyn. This work has led her to appreciate the need to preserve the stories of New Yorkers, in their own voices.

Besides Midwood, she has lived in Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. For the past five years, she has been living in Kensington, where she spent all of quarantine in an eight-hundred-square foot apartment with her husband and son. Currently she is at work on her next novel, Saints in Brooklyn.

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Danielle Reid

Danielle is a native Brooklynite with a BA in media studies / communications and a Minor in history.

 

Danielle has over 3 years of experience in the non-profit arts world; both behind and in front of the scenes. Danielle has experience and interest specifically in community outreach, production, events,bdevelopment/research, operations, and social media storytelling.

 

In her free time, Danielle loves making jewelry and whipping shea butter.

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Jenna Peskin

Jenna moved to Queens last year and has been looking for ways to learn more about the city and its various communities. 

 

With a background in marketing sales, nonprofit management and grant writing, Jenna's passion for storytelling has been a driving part of her professional career from the start.  Whether helping small businesses communicate their message through various forms of advertising or working with My Friend's Place in Hollywood, CA (a daytime drop-in resource center for youth experiencing homelessness) on grant proposals, she values the power of storytelling. 

 

As her greatest passion, Jenna loves to work within communities to better both the business and nonprofit sectors specifically through creative messaging and storytelling.  

 

Community Contributors