While HER STORY is a reaction to current events happening on the national stage, we want to bring the conversation to the local level and hear from some of the fiercely creative women working and living in Hyattsville.
Kate Taylor Davis
Executive Director, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
Kate Taylor Davis has worked for and with D.C. area arts organizations since 1999. She joined the staff of PAAC in January of 2017. Previously she was vice president of ARCH Development Corporation, responsible for overseeing its arts projects such as Honfleur Gallery and Anacostia Arts Center, which Kate opened as its first director. Past positions include director of external relations at Imagination Stage, chief marketing and communications officer at Olney Theatre Center, and assistant director of education and programs at the Association of Children’s Museums. She is occasional lecturer on the topics of marketing and event planning at local universities, and Kate has served as board member for Anacostia BID, committee member for The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, vice president for The League of Washington Theatres, keynote panelist for Theatre Communications Group, and a grant panelist for Arlington County. In her spare time she helps produce off-beat art events. Kate holds an M.A. in Arts Management from The American University and a B.A. in English from The University of Michigan.
Co-Founder, Green Owl Design
Angela Justice is an artist and interior designer. Justice completed her studies in Fine Art and Art History at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She continues to create large, abstract, color-filled works that have been installed in some Green Owl Design projects, as well as privately commissioned pieces. “I love using color in spaces where it is fitting. In my personal space, I enjoy living around color, it incites so many feelings; it makes me warm, comfortable, and happy.”
After working several years in retail and visual merchandising for luxury retailers Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue, she pursued her graduate studies in interior design at Marymount University. She began her design career working as a kitchen and bath designer while completing her graduate studies and continued designing luxurious kitchens and baths. Angela participated twice in kitchen designs for The Kennedy Center’s National Symphony Orchestra Design House before starting Space 26 Designs, in 2008. Space 26 Designs’ portfolio ranges from residential projects along the east coast to successful commercial spaces as The Emerald Door Salon and Society Restaurant & Lounge, both in Silver Spring, Maryland. "My approach to designing a space is much like I approach a painting; using the right balance of color, space, and visual weight."
As Co-founder of Green Owl Design, Angela continues to find inspiration in her travels, fashion, music, and from other artists and designers. “I want to continue to create inspiring, distinctive spaces. Stepping outside of the box and taking chances is how one grows creatively, how the limits are pushed to create something unalike and remarkable.”
Partner + CFO, Vigilante Coffee Company
Ashley Bodine, born & raised in Prince George's County, Maryland, and a graduate of Elon University with a degree in business, got into the coffee business trying to escape the corporate world. Having worked for talent agencies in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and then a short stint as a Tech Recruiter, Ashley was always in search of her path but felt she hadn't found it just yet. In 2012, she started helping her then-boyfriend Chris Vigilante at farmers markets preparing and selling Vigilante Coffee Company. This hands-on, direct-to-consumer style of business felt right from the start. Ashley's background in business played a vital role in transforming the basement operation of Vigilante Coffee into a multi-million dollar coffee roastery. Today, she is a partner & the CFO of Vigilante Coffee. She has been blessed to travel to coffee origins such as Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Hawaii and work directly with farmers, roasters, and baristas to continue the growth and transformation of Vigilante Coffee. Some initiatives she is currently working on include transforming the company's coffee bars into zero waste and leading the construction, design, and opening of Vigilante Coffee's 2nd location.
Partner + Executive Creative Director, IFDC
Formerly the Creative Director for Discovery Channel Marketing, Heather spent 16 years serving various brands under the Discovery Communications umbrella while spearheading award-winning marketing campaigns for such popular series as Deadliest Catch, Shark Week, Planet Earth and Survivorman.
After her run at Discovery, Heather consulted at Half Yard Productions as a Creative Director of series development working on long form pitches for History Channel, Discovery, Spike and Bravo.
Heather is now partner and Executive Creative Director at IFDC overseeing creative development, production and branding for clients including Discovery, Investigation Discovery, Velocity, Al Jazeera, US Chamber of Commerce, Thomson Reuters, The National Park Service, the Case Foundation, Nat Geo, PBS, AARP, UMUC, Denizens Brewing Co. and Marriott.
Owner + Chef, Pizzeria Paradiso
Owner and chef Ruth Gresser learned her craft at her mother’s side, cooking for her large family and her mother’s catering company. Ruth cooked her way through college before entering the professional food scene in San Francisco at the early stages of the modern American food movement. In 1987, after graduating summa cum laude from Madeleine Kamman’s Classical and Modern French Cooking School, and cooking professionally in French, American, and Italian restaurants across the country, she moved to Washington, D.C.
In 1991, she turned her attention to pizza, opening Pizzeria Paradiso to critical acclaim. Now considered the matriarch of pizza in the District, Ruth has been instrumental in the opening of six popular Washington restaurants. She is the author of Kitchen Workshop – Pizza: Hands-On Cooking Lessons for Making Amazing Pizza at Home, as well as starring in a How to Make Pizza series of videos.
Ruth is the President of the Board of Directors of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, the foremost organization for women in food founded by industry leaders such as Lydia Bastianich, Mary Sue Milliken, Barbara Lazaroff and Barbara Tropp. Ruth is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, has been profiled in The Washington Post Magazine and The Washington Business Journal, and has appeared on numerous local TV and radio stations, and industry panels.