Meet BMP’s Newest Team Members: Ava and Romana


Our team at the Building Movement Project has grown in the past few months, and we wanted to introduce you to our newest staff members! Read on to get to know Ava and Romana!

Meet Ava (she/her) – Ava has joined the BMP team as a part-time Associate of Finance and Administration. She is responsible for supporting various operations tasks.

Meet Romana (her/she) – Romana has joined BMP in the new role of Senior Director of Institutional Advancement. Romana will focus on the fundraising and financial sustainability of BMP and advance our efforts to amplify and communicate the organization’s work and impact.

What drew you to BMP?

Ava: BMP stood out because of its commitment to equity, community, and advocacy. They walk the talk around here and it shows internally and externally through the public-facing events and efforts. I was looking for a new opportunity to join forces with a team of passionate individuals who share my values, and BMP delivered. I am an advocate for mission-driven work, and BMP is the perfect place to hone my skills and positively impact the nonprofit sector. 

Romana: BMP’s strong leadership and excellent reputation in the social sector field was the initial draw for me. I am mission-driven and impact oriented, and really wanted to be part of an organization that is making a difference for systemically excluded communities and those who are most vulnerable. BMP’s national scope in pushing the nonprofit sector to wrestle with and face some of the most pressing social issues of our times was inspiring to me. The themes of race equity, leadership, capacity building and movement building have been present throughout my career, and the role that I have taken on at BMP perfectly aligns with my skillset and experiences as well. I could not have asked for a better organizational fit! 

Thinking about the next six months in your role, what are you looking forward to the most?

Ava: I look forward to sharing space with some incredible people and gaining further perspective on what this work means and why it’s imperative. Often those who do the work forget that they need help too; my work in operations and administration is my way of closing that gap. I am most excited to create sustainable and efficient policies and procedures, allowing our staff the time and energy to focus on the bigger picture.

Romana: BMP is marking our 25th anniversary this year. I’m looking forward to onboarding with the organization, learning about critical junctures in our work throughout the organization’s history, highlights of some of BMP’s greatest areas of impact, and finding ways to celebrate them with existing and new partners and collaborators alike. Internally, and in my cross-functional role, I am looking forward to weaving our work together and finding ways to better integrate our research agenda, action-oriented race equity tools and capacity building/sector change/movement building work so that we can have a greater impact collectively. 

With no advance prep, what could you lead a 20-minute presentation or discussion about? 

Ava: 20 minutes? I could give a 7-day lecture with no beaks if I had to. Horror Films are my greatest passion. My award-winning content house, The Horror Advocate, creates pop culture resources focused on the nexus of horror and social justice; using a variety of media types, delivery systems, and cultural patterns as a guide. For example, from February to October of 2023, I ran an interactive online course called ‘The Black Horror Survivors Movie Challenge’ which investigated the cultural myth that, in horror films, ‘the black person always dies first.’   

Romana: Cross-racial solidarity building and collaboration is something I am deeply passionate about and experienced in leading. In 2022, I launched an initiative through the City of Philadelphia called the Black + Gold Series, a year-long intiative to lift up dialogue, conversations and programming to allow for mutual understanding and healing for and between Asian and Black residents. We collaborated internally within various city agencies and advisory commissions to build tools and programming that spoke to very current real needs to come together to be a bridge for communities in the midst of deep, ongoing and historic struggles in our city. We took theoretical solidarity building to the practical, action-oriented implementation to build lasting relationships and community. Some outcomes have included ongoing partnerships between Asian and Black-led organizations working with young people, as well as the development of cultural assets in neighborhoods. I’m super proud of this work, and would be able to talk about it extensively. 

What brings you joy?

Ava: I get the most joy out of my horror film work. Whether working on a documentary, creating an archive, or writing an essay, it comforts me. I love being a cryptanalyst of horror films for those who have been misled and underexposed. I feel privileged to have the experience of expanding people’s minds to how we have underutilized their functionality and unfairly declared them insignificant. 

 Romana: Staying physically active has been a really big and important part of my life, and one way that I stay mentally and emotionally well. I used to run, but now I swim (in the summer) and practice and teach hot yoga. I feel joy when traveling to new cities and countries and practicing yoga wherever I go. I also love to meet new people and discover threads of connection that we share, and can support each other with. 

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