The Telling Room, a literary arts education organization whose mission is to empower youth through writing and share their voices with the world, has chosen Kristina M.J. Powell as its next Executive Director. Powell will succeed current Executive Director Celine Kuhn, who announced her planned fall 2021 departure in May.

“As the next leader of The Telling Room, I look forward to bringing my journey of identity formation and passion for the literary arts to this role,” says Kristina M.J. Powell. “Finding our voices and sharing our stories, asking questions, and listening to each other is how we can work collectively to create cultural shifts while celebrating the diversity of experiences and perspectives that strengthens our communities.”

Among others, the hiring committee included Ekhlas Ahmed,  as well as Telling Room alumni ambassadors Amanda Dettmann and Rachel Iradukunda.

“I am excited to build on The Telling Room’s foundational strength of programs and steadfast community support, to deepen and grow the network of our community partners as we continue to uplift youth, empowering them to become curious and courageous leaders,” says Powell. “I look forward to deepening relationships with current partners and creating new connections as we grow the network of support for youth stories throughout the state of Maine. We know that change does not happen alone. Our relationships strengthen us, and working together is how we can actualize a systemic change.

The Telling Room is a Maine-based literary arts education nonprofit whose mission is to empower youth through writing and share their voices with the world. Earlier in 2021, former President Barack Obama dropped in for a Zoom visit with The Telling Room’s Young Writers & Leaders program, which received a prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award in 2015 and was recognized as one of the top 12 youth arts and humanities programs in the nation.

Photo by HAL Photography