Walter 'Wally B.' Jennings (Founder/Executive Director) is a poet-turned-performer who just happens to have been blessed with the gift of public speaking. Wally B. is the Founder and Executive Director of the Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective-the organization behind the H.E.S. Slam Team project. Heard Em Say, founded in May 2007 was established to provide our community
Liz Prisley (Program Director) is a teacher and spoken word poet, a dynamic performer and progressive-minded writer who uses poetry to promote literacy and self-expression. Over the past six years Liz has taught writing as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, as well as at Virginia Tech, the University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She earned her Masters in English from Virginia Tech and her Bachelors in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida.
Dennis Amadeus (Community Relations Director) is a German-born, New York-raised poet now representing the Tampa Bay Area. While he is an avid poet and community, youth, and cultural activist to this day, it has not always been that way. In his younger years, mostly due to the various traumas of his life, Dennis fell victim to a negative mindset that amounted to numerous run-ins with the law. The ramifications from these legal incidents have now created barriers in his life today that prevent him from using his talents and experience to help effect change in the lives of youth who come from similar circumstances and backgrounds. Walter Wally B Jennings and Heard Em Say Teen Poetry has afforded him this opportunity.
Angela Lawrence (Communications Director) has been a poet and spoken word artist for over 5 years. During that time, she has been nominated for 2015 Tampa Bay Gospel Best Spoken Word Artist, 2015 & 2016 Creative Loafing-Best Local Spoken Word Artist and competed at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam. She is the Founder of the Young Warriors Poetry writing group teaching youth creative writing skills and the power of discovering their voices. Angela has been involved with the Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective since 2013, entering the program to learn more about the aspects of youth slam poetry, assist with performance and create writing prompts to promote personal and professional skills in youth development.
Xavier “CoolKid” Grullon (Slam Coach/Program Assistant) found Spoken Word Poetry in 2013 as a Senior at Spoto High School when he reluctantly participated in the Hillsbrough County Poetry Jam. He went on to compete and be a part of the Heard 'Em Say Slam Team and represented Tampa Bay 2 years in a row at the Brave New Voices International Poetry Festival. He has grown into one of the most sought after and well-respected slam poets across the United States. Inspired by his experience, Xavier founded WeSpoke Slam in 2016 to assist youth transitioning into the adult poetry scene.