Brookline Interactive Group

We’re proud to have an incredibly talented, passionate, and ragtag team at BIG. We work as a creative collective, holding space for the diverse range of professional, personal, and cultural backgrounds each of us brings to the table. We are: an award-winning narrative and documentary filmmaker; a former public school teacher for 10 years; from Yale University to house basement shows, trained and working professional artists and performers; the former chief elected officer of the largest town in MA; a contractor with the UN who used human-centered design in crisis zones to bring communities together and create social resilience; a professional musician and former software developer who found additional fame in his creative classes with teens; and an inventive tech journeyman who knows more about broadcasting and blimps than you do. Amidst all this, we are passionate about community media and committed to empowering all to express themselves by telling their stories and creating our world together. 



Jessica Smyser Bio Pic

Jessica Smyser

Executive Director -
Jessica Smyser has built a career around her passion for providing arts and culture organizations and educational institutions with strategic coherence, financial sustainability, and operational efficacy. Jessica comes to BIG from her most recent role as Executive Director at Cambridge Community Television. At CCTV she led with the goal of establishing the center as an inclusive, modern, and anti-racist organization. Key facets of her work included determining the organization’s future strategy focusing on Equity, Learning, and Revenue. Jessica’s passion is inspiring action among employees and community partners to support access and civic engagement. She received her bachelor’s degree from Smith College and her master’s degree in Organizational Development and Ethical Leadership from Claremont Lincoln University.

Eric Sack

Director of Technical Operations -
Results-driven community leader with 17 years of experience developing innovative communication technology-enabled solutions that serve diverse community needs. Deeply committed to using media and communications to support free expression and community development. Proven ability to assess and plan complex, technological systems in team-oriented environment. Adept at building relationships with a shared sense of purpose. Translates ideas into action effortlessly. Possesses an Improvisational and entrepreneurial mindset able to seize opportunities for organizational advancement.
Heather Hamilton

Heather Hamilton

Deputy Director -
Heather Hamilton is a resident of Brookline and was most recently on the Select Board for the Town. She holds two masters degrees, one in Transportation Policy and the other in Public Administration, although she has found horses to be better teachers. She is very excited to join Brookline Interactive Group as Deputy Director because her new year's resolution was to have more fun while making an impact in the community. Learn more here!

Stephen Walter

Director of Special Projects -
Stephen Walter has been working as a researcher, designer, and program director at the intersection of technology, community, and care for the past 15 years. He's worked with organizations such as the International Red Cross / Red Crescent, the UN, the Boston Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, and was the founding managing director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College. He's currently serving as the Director of Special Projects at BIG, exploring and experimenting with new tools for civic engagement and participatory media - like Civic Brookline! Learn more about Steve's other work and projects here:

Alexia (Lex) Lalande

Engagement & Education Manager
Lex helps coordinate BIG's educational programs and teaches all types of media classes. She also helps run community projects and create content for BIG. She has a Masters of Art in Teaching from Mass Art in Boston, and taught graphic design/media arts for a decade in the Hartford Public school system. In her spare time, Lex likes to watch films and doodle. Check out her portfolio website here:
Dom Lounds

Dominic (Dom) Lounds

Producer -
A recent graduate of Emerson College's MFA film program, Dom specializes in documentary filmmaking and motion graphics. Her work includes archival producing for WGBH broadcasts, animation for both narrative shorts and feature length films, and, most recently, an experimental virtual reality installation. At BIG, she helps to provide civic information and create news content across multiple platforms, all while supporting client and member productions.
Pic of Wes Kaplan

Wes Kaplan

Youth Development & Streaming Media Manager
Born and raised in Newton, Wes Kaplan has been a youth worker and after school educator in the Greater Boston area for over 10 years. With a multidisciplinary background in game design, music production, and community organizing, Wes advises BIG’s Brain Wave Live! Series, a youth driven TV variety show produced entirely by teens. In his spare time, Wes enjoys recording and playing shows with his band and attending midnight movies at the Coolidge.
Marinah J Phennicie

Marinah J Phennicie

Production Manager -
Marinah J Phennicie is a New England based filmmaker who has taught filmmaking and video editing courses at The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, The Sidney Poitier Film Festival, Boston Neighborhood Network, and Cambridge Community Television. After her role as a Senior Media Technician at Harvard’s Hauser Studio, she started her own production company with her partner and is currently in post-production on her first feature film.

Morgan Laing-Buckland

Control Room Operator -
Morgan has worked in the control room at BIG since 2001, directing almost all of the Town of Brookline's government meetings, and running camera for civic events around town. He has an abiding love for cinema and TV, while also being a huge contributor to civic life in Brookline


Taylor Steele Bio Photo

Taylor Steele

Production Intern
Taylor Steele is a Boston University student majoring in Film and Television with a minor in Deaf Studies. Balancing a full-time academic schedule, Taylor also excels in part-time roles at WBUR-FM and the university's athletics department, gaining hands-on experience in broadcasting and live sports production. Passionate about storytelling, she showcases her creativity through both fictional and documentary student film projects. Beyond academics and work, Taylor enjoys playing volleyball, reading, and spending time with her roommates and their two cats. With a strong commitment to education and a love for the arts, Taylor is poised to make a lasting impact in the world of media and beyond.
Daniella Kaplan

Daniella Kaplan

Hello I'm Daniella, and I just graduated from Dean College with bachelors in communication. I studied video and audio while in school. Over my time at Dean I was able to film sports games of all kind, and it helped open me up to the love of sports. I hope one day to go into the sports world, whether that is filming sports or posting for teams. While in this internship II hope to learn more about different areas of video.
Genevieve Temple

Genevieve Temple

Hello! I'm Genevieve. I'm a rising 4th year at Massachusetts College of Art and Design majoring in film/video. I love video editing or anything in post-production. I also love my cat, Lady, and cooking.
Tendo Ochola

Tendo Ochola

Tendo Ochola is 20 years old, originally from Springfield, MA, and currently attending the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where he is studying film and video production. He is a writer, filmmaker, and animator, who focuses on personal studies through comedy, documentary, and surrealist styles. He recently started a filmmaking collective called Parachute Time, in which he hopes to create new stories and collaborate with other creatives. He's particularly interested in sharing his interests at BIG, where he can explore different tools of production in a different environment. He also enjoys playing guitar, skateboarding, and drawing.
Emely Chavarria

Emely Chavarria

Hi I’m Emely, and I recently graduated from Emerson College with a degree in Visual & Media Arts. I’ve worked in many different aspects of production: writer, camera operator, production designer, etc. However, the most important fact about me is that I’m based in Brookline!
Charlotte Pic

Charlotte Hunter

Originally from Oregon, Charlotte is junior at Emerson College studying film and comedy and hopes to become a nature documentarian after graduation. In her spare time, Charlotte enjoys watching reality TV and teaching juggling classes at an elementary school.