Meet our new Director of Programs: a Q&A with Alana


Behind the Book would like to welcome our newest staff member, Alana Benoit, into her new role as Director of Programs! Alana will be managing the Program Coordinators, showing administrative support to them, and also thinking more broadly about how to develop programs and how to build the organization. Our summer intern, Klea Kalia, sat down with her to see what she’s all about:

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was raised in Harlem and currently still live in Harlem. I’ve been in arts education and programming/youth development for a little over a decade since graduating college.

What was your most recent job prior to this one?

I was a high school teacher at an all-girls Catholic school, grades 9 and 10, and I taught english and writing. It was definitely an eye-opening and rewarding experience for me. Working with a lot of young women and being a part of their growth and empowerment as they came into their own identities was something that transformed me, too, as a person.

How do your past work experiences fit with your position at Behind the Book?

I think it brings together all the pieces. My job now requires me to do a lot of thinking around program structure and development of programs but also thinking about how to be in a classroom with students and developing and teaching programs there, so it all comes together in the end with my background.

Were you involved with Behind the Book previously? How did you find us?

It happened to be by chance. I was looking for a director’s position because I was ready to jump back into the programming world from teaching, and I was looking for an interesting and small organization with a big heart, and this one spoke to me the most.

What is your favorite thing about your new job so far?

I love how passionate everyone is about the work that we do. It requires a lot of time and commitment, and I’ve found that everyone here is really dedicated to making things happen, so that’s something that I’m very inspired by, and I’m inspired by the youth and their engagement and their interest in learning and reading and writing.

Fun facts about Alana:
She has two cats and a box turtle!
The last book she read was Hunger by Roxane Gay and would definitely recommend.
She has been a pescetarian for 17 years!
She loves TV–big GOT fan–and couldn’t live without music.
Her personal philosophy is to be you no matter where you are.

We are so excited to welcome Alana into her new role and look forward to working with her here at Behind the Book! We’re also super grateful to our summer intern Klea Kalia who wrote this and two other guest blogs!