Meet the Circle of wise council


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Our Circle of Wise Counsel is functionally BYI's Board.

Isabel Antreasian

Isabel Antreasian joined the Circle of Wise Counsel at the end of 2018, and will be supporting Black Yield Institute’s Servant-Director and staff in the development of programs. She brings with her several years experience in developing, facilitating and nurturing community programs and partnerships at Whitelock Community Farm in Baltimore’s Reservoir Hill, and experience in organizational development as part of the Farm Alliance of Baltimore. She holds a BA in Media and Cultural Studies and American Studies from Macalester College, and a commitment to community-driven education. She is grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to and learn with the Circle of Wise Counsel. 

Circle of Wise Council Member

Lisa Johnson

Circle of Wise Council Member

Ramona Dowdell

Ramona Dowdell is a Youth Development professional with over 13 years of experience in Community Relationships. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, and raised throughout the southern states, she has served individuals, families and organizations both domestic and international. Currently, in the role of Community School Coordinator, Ramona collaborates with partners to enhance assets and meet identified needs on the macro level. 

Circle of Wise Council Member

Shima Cook

Circle of Wise Council Member

Teal Hinton

Teal Hinton is a public health data enthusiast from Baltimore, MD. Her past work involved developing retail based nutrition education programs. She loves using data, research, and evaluation to support the quality and impact of public health programs.

Circle of Wise Council Member

Tywanna Taylor

Tywanna is a member of BYI's Budget & Fundraising workgroup. She is also a Maryland native, who loves enjoying blue crabs and cook beverage under the summer sun. Tywanna inspires to share and achieve the goal of Black economic autonomy. 

Circle of Wise Council Member

William Lyoo

William comes to BYI with experience in Education and community engagement, and is originally from Baltimore, MD.  He works on the Communications team in service of BYI’s mission to advance Black Food and Land sovereignty.

Circle of Wise Council Member

Eric Jackson

Black Yield Institute is an emerging Pan-African institution based in Baltimore, Maryland. It aims to build independent power by establishing an action network and incubator of and for Black people and entities in pursuit of Black food sovereignty.


Eric Jackson is the founder and Servant-Director of Black Yield Institute. From 2011 to 2013, Eric served as a Community Health Organizer with the Baltimore City Health Department’s Baltimarket program, where he established an initiative called Neighborhood Food Advocates and worked to organize residents to improve access to healthy food in Baltimore City. Since 2013, Eric has been educating future change agents as an Adjunct Professor teaching community organizing and macro social work practice. From 2013 to 2016, Eric was employed by the University of Maryland School of Social Work in its Social Work Community Outreach Services, where he served as a Community School Coordinator at Harlem Park Elementary/Middle School. Eric worked with students, families and the school community to support school climate, culture, attendance and family engagement, including through cooperative economic development and food/environmental justice work. Eric has received Bachelor’s and Master’s of Social Work degrees from Morgan State University and the University of Maryland, School of Social Work, respectively.


Ultimately, Eric’s vision is to organize and develop leadership within Black and poor communities with the goals of dismantling racism; building greater social, political and economic power; and establishing self-determination though institution and nation building. Eric, a lifelong resident of Baltimore, also enjoys teaching, reading, connecting with good people and eating good food. He is supported and loved on his journey by his four strong children and powerful Queen, Diara.

Founder and Servant-Director

If interested in serving on the Circle of Wise Council...

Are you committed to Black people and Black liberation? Do you have a background/skill set in economic development, organizing, urban farming, and/or fundraising? If so, contact Black Yield Institute at

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