About Us

We believe that people improve the quality of their interpersonal interactions by understanding the power and influence of their own behavior.  Impacting behavior is at the root of every program we design and deliver.

Whatever the workplace, we transform what are often thought of as intangible skills into tangible, useable tools.

Our team of expert facilitators, educators and actors become experts in your organizational culture in order to customize trainings and present realistic and relevant situations and solutions.

We deliver our results-oriented content with imagination, empathy and humor in a way that creates memorable connections, resulting in learning outcomes that evolve into real-world change.

Team Leaders

Jay Frankel

Founder & President

Jay@truetolifetraining.com

Prior to starting True To Life in 1999, Jay worked with Gap Inc., where he was responsible for management, sales and leadership development in the Northeastern United States, as well as starting new operations in Paris, France.  Leaving Gap to become the Director of Training for Viacom Inc., Jay played a key role in the creation of a new division of the company, which merged all the core brands of Viacom, including MTV, Nickelodeon, and Paramount Pictures, into one business concept.  In 1999 Jay founded True To Life Training. He was determined to solve the “soft skills” challenge of transferring nuanced learning from the training room to the real world. Today, Jay is a highly regarded consultant to summer camps throughout North America. His passion for start up ventures continues as he has overseen the launching of 9 new specialty camps for the Foundation for Jewish Camp, supported by an $18 million grant from the Jim Joseph and AVI CHAI Foundations. 

Jana Jacobson

Director of College and University Programs

Jana@truetolifetraining.com

Jana holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a MA in Educational Policy and Administration from New York University. Jana started her career in Residence Life as an RA her sophomore year of college and continued her experiences through her role as a Graduate Residence Director in graduate school. Jana discovered a love for learning in the residential environment and a deep commitment to student leadership development, so she decided to pursue Res Life as her career and served as a Residence Director for 5 years and an Assistant Director for Residence Life for 6 years. Jana has dedicated her professional life to the growth and development of college students, and the staff and faculty who work with them, including four years of involvement on the NEACUHO executive board, being recognized as the NEACURH Advisor of the Year in 2011, and winning the Dan Hallenbeck Service Award in 2013. Jana is also a huge animal advocate and volunteers with a rescue in her free time.

Tyler Catanella

Content Development & Team Leader

Tyler@truetolifetraining.com

Tyler Catanella holds a BA in Theater Education from Emerson College.  As a working Teaching Artist, Tyler is known for his compassionate demeanor and his ability to connect with everyone he meets. Tyler teaches throughout the greater Boston area and works extensively with K-12 students, college students, and the educators that work with those populations. Additionally, Tyler loves to be a dad to his three legged cat, Buck.

Joy Arcolano

Content Development & Sr. Team Leader

Joy@truetolifetraining.com

Joy Arcolano holds a BA from Russel Sage College and an EdM Arts in Education from Harvard Graduate School. As a long-time Teaching Artist, Joy has a true love for teaching and learning. She brings her expertise to her work by focusing on every learner's style and every organization's learning culture. Joy brings a warmth to all of her workshops and has been enjoying her work with True to Life for 12 years. Joy is also a faculty member at The Boston Conservatory.

Brett Gurwitz

Team Leader

Brett@truetolifetraining.com

Brett Gurwitz holds a BA from the University at Buffalo and a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. He has over ten years of youth development experience as a supervisor, mentor, trainer and therapist. Brett is a strong listener who can skillfully bring a group together and challenge their development. In addition to his work with True To Life, Brett works as a Coach and Trainer with Ramapo for Children where he helps educators and youth-service professionals gain practical tools they need to grow as leaders and promote success for their young people.

Molly Cahen

Team Leader

Molly@truetolifetraining.com

Molly has over 12 years of experience working with children and staff in summer camps and after school programs. After serving as the Literacy Program Coordinator at Kids Orbit After School and the Assistant Director at NC Mountain Lake Summer Camp, Molly received her Masters in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She currently serves as a Trainer with Ramapo for Children. Molly also combines her backgrounds in education and the performing arts with Story Pirates, where she inspires young people to explore improv, theater and creative writing. While Molly no longer gets to spend her summers at camp, in her heart, she'll always be canoeing on the lake.

Jordan Mackenzie

Team Leader

Jordan@truetolifetraining.com

Jordan Mackenzie holds a BA in Theater Arts from Dean College, where she was also a Resident Assistant. Jordan has an inspiring energy and brings it into every educational environment she teaches in. As an educator with a strong commitment to social justice, Jordan has connected deeply with the power and potential of bystander intervention. In her free time, Jordan loves to take obscure pictures on her cell phone, travel, and experience culture and life as much as possible.

Jen Melville

Client Care Manager

jen@truetolifetraining.com

Jen currently holds a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Higher Education Administration. Prior to joining True to Life Training, Jen served 7 years as a Residence Director and 3 years as the Assistant Director of Residence Life specifically for Learning Communities and First Year Student Programs. During her tenure in Higher Education, Jen specialized in Staff Training and Development. Jen prides herself in her acute attention to detail and love of logistics. She is excited to assist the True to Life clients in meeting their needs. Jen currently lives in Long Island, NY with her husband and spends her free time visiting thrift shops searching for hidden treasures, getting lost in a good book and of course enjoying her daily trip to Starbucks.

Melissa Cassara

Client Care Specialist

Melissa@truetolifetraining.com

Melissa joined True to Life Training in 1999 and is currently a Client Care Specialist and internal Team Trainer. She assists clients during custom project development and helps onboard new team leaders within our company. With expertise in communication and public relations, Melissa is an integral part of developing how we serve our clients prior to training. Also a gifted writer, instructor, and award-winning actress, Melissa is an active member of our content development and facilitator team. Given her long relationship with True To Life, Melissa is lovingly known as “the person who knows everything!”

Actor/Facilitators

Anna Aronson

Actor/Facilitator

Jake Athyal

Actor/Facilitator

Dani Berkowitz

Actor/Facilitator

Danielle Bourgeois

Actor/Facilitator

Lauren Brickman

Actor/Facilitator

Shanae Burch

Actor/Facilitator

Jordan Clark

Actor/Facilitator

Sean Close

Actor/Facilitator

Alex Davis

Actor/Facilitator

Austyn Davis

Actor/Facilitator

Katie Grindeland

Actor/Facilitator

Tessa Hersh

Actor/Facilitator

David Jiles

Actor/Facilitator

Tonasia Jones

Actor/Facilitator

Kayleigh Kane

Actor/Facilitator

Poornima Kirby

Actor/Facilitator

Ross Magnant

Actor/Facilitator

Caroline Rhoads

Actor/Facilitator

Marissa Rae Roberts

Actor/Facilitator

Matt Ryan

Actor/Facilitator

Nick Schoen

Actor/Facilitator

Julien Sky

Actor/Facilitator

Travis Smith

Actor/Facilitator

Brenna Sweet

Actor/Facilitator

Kai Tshikosi

Actor/Facilitator

Addison Williams

Actor/Facilitator

Amelia Windom

Actor/Facilitator

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